Body types are much more different from body shapes. People are born with different inherited skeletal structures and frameworks that contribute to their body types.
The concept of body types was introduced in the 1940s by William H. Sheldon, Ph.D., MD. Nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and doctors have used body types to determine diets, exercise routines, and habits for different people.
We have 3 body types and these include; ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Body type or somatotype refers to the three generalized body compositions and structures that people are predetermined to have.
What are the different body types?
As seen earlier, body types are categorized into 3 types which are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Let us look at each of them in detail.
Through his research, William Sheldon concluded that we all have inherited body types that determine whether we are leaner, heavier, or in between. He concluded that basing on body types reaching weight loss and fitness goals requires an individualized program.
People with this body type are thin and struggle to gain either body fat or muscles. No matter how much food they eat or calories consumed, they remain the same in terms of weight.
They are often regarded as ‘hard gainers’. What this simply means is that with such a body type one can eat anything at any time and not gain weight.
This however doesn’t mean that they are healthier than people with other body types. The fact that they can eat junk and unhealthy food as well as getting minimal exercise, they are prone to other health risks other than weight gain.
Characteristics of ectomorph.
- Ectomorphs are thin with a small bone structure and have little fat on their bodies.
- They are slow weight gainers.
- Have a fast metabolism
- Have small shoulders and chest.
- Ectomorphs can lose weight easily.
- They tend to have a delicate bone structure.
- Have less endurance and find a tendency of failing to stick to a workout program.
The recommended diet for ectomorphs
The fact that ectomorphs don’t gain weight easily or can easily lose weight, weight gain is not so much of a worry to people with such a body type.
Ectomorphs also respond well to carbs, fats, and all foods and so food restrictions are not a concern to them.
However, for health reasons, choosing healthy food types can promote a healthy lifestyle.
How much do you know about healthy eating? Read the article What is healthy eating? and How can you improve your health with eating?
If people with the ectomorph body type wish to gain weight, then they should enroll in a high-calorie diet and should eat more often.
Exercises for ectomorphs.
For weight loss, ectomorphs don’t need to work out as their bodies have a faster metabolism and can burn calories much faster.
Exercises should however be done to stay healthy.
Endomorph is a body type or somatotype that is said to have a higher body fat percentage yet with less muscle mass.
Characteristics of an endomorph.
- Have a higher percentage of body fat with less muscle mass.
- Often have around and heavier shape.
- More sensitive to calorie consumption than people with different body types.
- Thick arms and legs: People with the endomorphic body type tend to have sloid and thick limbs relative to their height and weight.
- Store fat more easily.
- Slower metabolism than normal.
- Low endurance and they tend to tire much easier.
- Easy weight gains even while on a normal diet.
- Pear-shaped physique.
- Fall asleep much easier.
Recommended diets for the endomorph body type.
People with endomorph body type tend to gain weight much easier and struggle to lose it since they have a slow metabolism, low muscle mass, and high amounts of body fat.
Diets meant for people with the endomorph body type are aimed at reducing calorie intake and fat accumulation in the body. This leads to eating a mix of healthy fats, proteins, carbs from vegetables, nuts, fruits, and whole-grain foods.
On the other hand, refined carbohydrates are avoided.
With a list of many weight-loss diets, it may be difficult to pinpoint certain diets to take. However, most weight-loss diets can work as they are aimed at restricting calories or fat burning which is what a person with an endomorph needs.
Is there a diet meant for people with an endomorph body type?
It should be noted that endomorphs have a slower metabolism, tend to gain weight easily, and have a hard time losing weight compared to ectomorphs and mesomorphs. Putting this in mind, the best diet for endomorphs should have a higher healthy protein intake, proteins, and a lower carbs intake.
The paleo diet has these qualities and it may be the best diet to help lose fat while keeping the energy levels.
When not enrolled on a specific diet, here are the foods an endomorph can eat.
Healthy fats foods sources.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Coconuts and coconut oil.
- Dark chocolate.
- Fatty fish such as herring, tuna, mackerel, trout, and anchovies.
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and peanuts.
- Seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds.
I wrote an interesting article about Health fats, take a minute to read it, don’t worry It will open in another tab. Read it here.
- White fleshed fish.
- Lean beef.
- Low-fat milk.
- Beans, lentils, and peas.
- Pork loins.
- Plain Greek yogurt.
- Cottage cheese.
Carbs shouldn’t be avoided but rather carefully selected. Whole-grain carbs should be chosen over refined carbs.
Examples of whole-grain carbs are;
- Whole grains such as wheat bran, Shredded Wheat, oats, barley, brown rice, buckwheat.
- Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans,
- Whole fruit such as bananas, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, grapefruit, pear
- Legumes like kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans
Check out our article “Good carbs vs bad carbs”. This article will be useful to you. It talks about the good carbs to eat and the bad ones to avoid.
These are the foods you should avoid.
White bread, white rice, baked foods, heavily processed foods, refined cereals, foods rich in sodium, alcohol, cooking oils with a lot of saturated fats, candies, chocolates, and soft drinks.
Exercise is an important aspect of endomorphs. It helps burn calories and fat. Exercises can help them increase metabolism and weight loss when they create a calorie deficit.
Examples of exercises
High-intensity interval training (HIIT): This refers to specific types of training and is done in intervals. It involves short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.
HIIT improves cardio health and is great at burning calories and fat.
Steady-state training (SST): it involves longer sessions of consistent moderate to low-intensity exercise. Endomorphs can try doing 30-60 minutes of steady-state training sessions 2 to 3 times a week.
3. Mesomorph body type
People with Mesomorph body type have a medium frame or medium body structure. They easily develop muscles and have more muscles than fat.
Mesomorphs are strong and solid with more muscles than fat on their bodies.
Characteristics of a mesomorph.
- muscular chest and shoulders
- Even weight and muscle distribution.
- Muscular arms, legs and tend to respond well to bodybuilding as gaining muscles is almost effortless.
- Naturally lean.
- Medium size joints and bones.
- Female mesomorphs usually have a defined hourglass figure while the Male mesomorphs have a V or rectangular shape
- Efficient metabolism.
- Losing fat is almost effortless.
Recommended diets for mesomorphs.
Mesomorphs may gain weight and lose weight easily since they have a higher muscle mass. People with mesomorphs body types can do better on high-protein intake diets with less consumption of carbs.
To form the best diet for mesomorphs, consider protein foods, fruits, and vegetables plus whole grains and fats.
Proteins fill your plate with a third of proteins such as eggs, white meats, fish, beans, lentils, and high-protein dairy, like Greek yogurt.
Fruits and vegetables: the other third of the plate should have foods such as green leafy vegetables, potatoes, cauliflower, green peas, and whole fruits like apples, mangoes, strawberries, and others.
Whole grains and fats: you should have a great source of carbs from whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal. Healthy fats should also come from foods like coconut or olive oils, avocado, and nuts and seeds.
Exercises for mesomorphs.
Cardio can be enough to get people with mesomorph body types to lose weight. 30, 50 or 45 minutes of cardio done 3 to 5 times a week can help mesomorphs stay in shape.
Weight training: 3 to 4 weight training exercises of around 8 and 12 reps are enough to lose weight for mesomorphs.
Can you change your body type?
Body types are determined by the skeletal frame and therefore it can’t be changed by a certain diet or exercise. You can however practice healthy eating to support a healthy weight and lifestyle.
The bottom line.
People are beautiful no matter what their body type. Body types shouldn’t be used to judge beauty but rather be used to set individual diet plans or exercises for weight loss or healthy living.