The ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph; understanding different body types.
January 6, 2015
Body types. This word may trigger various ideas your head. Perhaps you’re thinking about a fat person who is extremely obese, or that skinny guy from next door who can count his ribs trough his skin. Perhaps you’re just thinking about that “normal” guy, with the average height and the welfare layer of fat, which is considered the, oh so sexy, dad bod nowadays. But when we talk about body types in the world of fitness, we delve in to this concept on a deeper level. In this article I’ll primarily be talking about what body types there are and what each body type has as specific pros and cons. Please bear in mind that your body doesn’t have to consist out of one single body type!
What are body types and what body types are there?
To kick it off, it would be nice to know what body types exactly are. Well, it’s not that complicated. Body type means what type or rather what build your body has. This means your biological ability to grow in a certain way. It’s important that you don’t mix this up with external influences that will come in to the equation at a later time. For example a fat girl or a muscled man, this fat and muscle is added later in life. Body type is solely based on what cards you got dealt from the start, meaning the width and lengths of your bones, but also the ability to grow fat and muscles slow or fast. These are factors you can’t change, but knowing what category you’re in, can help you a lot with choosing what would be the best way to train towards your goal.
So what body types are there? There’s three body types, of which all people consist. These are the, ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs. As I mentioned earlier, the average human body does not consist out of one body type. This mean that parts of your body can be endomorph and another part can be mesomorph. It is however, very rare that you have traits of an endomorph and an ectomorph combined. Since these are the complete opposites of each other, whereas both these body types are directly connected to the mesomorph.
What are the pros and cons of each body type?
Before I ramble on any further about this whole “body type concept” with all these fancy words, I should explain what the traits of each of these body types are.
- A fast metabolism, which causes;
- Slow fat increase.
- Slow muscle increase.
- Thin build, small shoulders, small hips and relatively long limbs.
- Small stomach capacity, which also contributes to the slow fat and muscle increase.
- High dopamine sensitivity, which may cause:
- An overall happier way of thinking.
- More motivated and sensitive for positive encouragement. EG: rewards and persuasion of goals.
- Faster sexual stimulation.
- High insulin sensitivity which may cause:
- Lower chance of type 2 diabetes.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Low cholesterol levels.
- Wide clavicles/shoulders and a narrow waist. (which result in what I like to call, the reversed rocket. Where the upper body has the shape of an upside down rocket)
- Average metabolism, which causes;
- A quicker gain in fat then the ectomorph. But still very easy to control.
- Muscles grow at a fast pace.
- Relatively thin joints.
- Average insulin and dopamine sensitivity.
- Mostly referred to as the “ultimate body building type”
- A “square build” meaning that the clavicles, shoulders, hips, waist and legs are all broad.
- Large stomach capacity and high appetite.
- A slow metabolism, which causes;
- Rapid fat gain.
- Rapid muscle gain.
- Underdeveloped muscles, which can be developed by proper training.
- Sensitive for carbohydrates and insulin, which causes;
- Higher sugar conversion.
- Higher chance on type 2 diabetes.
How should you handle each body type?
So obviously each body type is stimulated by different types of training and nutrition. This is the reason why it is so important to know what your body type is, so you can prevent a lot of “damage” and safe a lot of time. For example, if an endomorph would copy the nutrition and exercise of an ectomorph, he will most likely gain a lot of fat and not that many muscles. Don’t worry though, to simplify everything, I listed all optimal tactics for each body type down below. Bear in mind that I used a low fat, high muscle body style, as goal here. As for nutrition, for the optimal result this should always be “clean”.
- Try to eat more than the recommended amount of calories.
- Eat as much as you want, where a normal bulk diet consists of 105-120% intake, the ectomorph can and should eat as much as he can. EAT, EAT AND EAT!
- You want to aim for;
- 50% carbohydrate intake. Make sure these are complex carbs that can be spread through your body throughout the day. (If you do feel like ingesting some fast carbs, make sure you do this post work-out for a quicker recovery)
- 30% protein intake. Try to get the protein in the purest form possible, chicken breasts, egg white and protein shakes are great sources.
- 20% fat intake. Make sure these fats aren’t saturated. Healthy fats like fish oil, nuts and our all-time favorite peanut butter, are great examples.
- As for any bulk diet, make sure you eat often times a day. Keep that body of yours buzzy!
- Try to keep the amount of repetitions low and use a high amount of weight. Cardio is not advised as there is no need to burn any calories. Besides, you’ll burn quite some calories during the strength training as well.
- 8-12 repetitions till failure
- Reversed pyramid (12-10-10-8)
- Bulk regularly, I’m not going too much in depth on this since there is an entire article written about this.
- Approximately 30% healthy fats, 40% carbs, 30% protein.
- As a mesomorph you get a choice on what build you want to create.
- If you want to have average size muscles with endurance you should go for a higher amount of reps. preferably 12-20 repetitions till failure.
- If you want to have the “beast sized muscles” go for the same workout as the ectomorph. Preferably 8-12 repetition till failure.
- Try to eat a little under you advised daily caloric intake. It is possible to bulk, but if you choose to do so, be aware that you should train very often (6-7 times a week) to keep up with your caloric intake.
- Approximately 40% healthy fats, 30 % carbs, 30% protein.
- As an endomorph you want to focus on strength training and muscle gaining. This is due to muscles increasing the metabolic rate. Meaning if you have bigger muscles, you will also burn more calories in rest.
- A good amount of reps to go for is 12-20 if you want to optimize fat loss.
- If you want to go solely for the muscle, just go ahead and take the same route as the ectomorph and the mesomorph.
- Cardio training can be a good supplement to losing some extra fat, however, lifting should be the primary focus.
How do I know what body type I have?
In the 1954’s mister W.H. Sheldon wrote a book in which he scaled the human body types, 1 being the lowest and 7 being the highest. In this form of scaling a 7-1-1 would be the “perfect endomorph”, a 1-7-1 would be the “perfect mesomorph” and a 1-1-7 on its turn would be the “perfect ectomorph”. Now as I mentioned a couple of times, no one has a one of these “perfect” builds. You could have a little bit of all builds or perhaps just a bit of one and a lot of another.
On top of that, there is no absolute way to see what body type you have. However, by using everything you’ve learned in here, you can spot out many of the characteristics of each body type. As a general guideline, you can use all the “common” training techniques and after a while check for yourself on what field you think you are progressing to slowly (muscle gain, fat loss). This in combination with some common sense should get you on the way. As always, I hope this helped.
Be happy, be you.