If you are curious as to which body type you have, you came to the right place. There are three distinct body types. Although some people will fit perfectly into one of these groups, others may find that their bodies are a combination of the three. When most people consider “body type,” they are usually thinking about physical characteristics. Physical appearance does play a part in determining your body type, but you must also take into account the size of a person’s frame and their metabolism.
The Skinny One
The ectomorph can instantly be spotted anywhere. These people are on the light side of the average weight for their height and are very slim and straight with minimal curves. Ectomorphs often have high metabolisms and gain virtually no weight no matter how much they eat. Ectomorphs tend to have:
- Small joints
- Difficulty building or maintaining muscle
- A small appetite
- Narrow chest and hips
- A “pencil” or “ruler” frame
- Very low body fat
The Beefy One
Endomorphs are the exact opposite of ectomorphs. The Endo is heavier in appearance and has little muscle definition. He or she will have a round and smooth appearance and will be hard pressed to drop weight. Endomorphs also tend to have the following characteristics:
- Has tried several diets and exercise programs with little to no results
- Large “apple” or “pear” shape
- Eats large serving sizes or several small meals a day
- Low muscle definition
- High amounts of adipose (fatty) tissue
- Large frame
The Athletic One
The mesomorph body type is the one that everyone admires and wishes they had. The mesomorph is the person who seems to gain muscle just by looking at the barbells in the weight room and has a very lean and trim physical appearance. The Meso is between the Ecto and the Endo and has characteristics of both of them. Mesomorphs have medium to large bones and joints and low body fat. They also have:
- A symmetrical build
- Excellent muscle definition
- Low body fat
- The ability to burn fat easily
- The ability to build muscle with little effort
- A Small waist
- Wide shoulders
- Average meal sizes
The mesomorph has special exercise and dieting needs that differ from those of ectomorphs and endomorphs. The mesomorph is often thought of as the “genetically gifted” one. They are the ones with the excellent posture and the wide shoulders. Male mesomorphs usually have a “V” or rectangle shape. Female mesomorphs tend to have an hourglass figure. Mesos are natural athletes and are strong and fit without even trying. The world’s leading athletes are all mesomorphs.
Weight training is as important as diet and cardiovascular exercise to build muscle and reduce weight. For every additional pound of muscle that you build, your body will burn approximately 50 calories more each day, or 350 calories per week. When you lose muscle, you burn fewer calories.
Fat and Muscle Myths
There are two misconceptions surrounding fat and muscle. One is that your muscles will turn into fat if you stop weight training. This is not true. Muscle mass and body fat are two different types of body tissue. This misunderstanding may come from the fact that those who stop eating well and exercising will eventually start to lose muscle from inactivity. Bad eating habits combined with a slower metabolism will result in weight gain.
The flip side of the previous misconception is the belief that exercise turns fat into muscle. Again, these are two different types of tissue you’re looking at. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, resulting in fewer calories being stored in your body as fat cells. If you find that you are reducing in size from your workouts, this is a sign that your metabolism has improved. And that burning feeling you get in your muscles while you are working out? That is the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles caused by an anaerobic exercise routine. It is not the feeling of fat burning away.
Should You Go on a Diet?
If you are dealing with the problem of losing weight, you may be considering the idea of going on a diet. However, going on a diet will only set you up for automatic failure. How do you expect to achieve lasting results if you are going to go back to your old habits after a few weeks? As stated by a very wise person, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results each time. To see lasting results, you will need to make a permanent change in your diet and your routines. Don’t worry – you do not have to eat grapefruit and consume lemon water and apple cider vinegar every day for the rest of your life! By balancing your food intake with the proper amount of exercise, you will be well on your way to achieving lasting health. Studies show that a combination of diet and exercise will have nine times more impact than exercise alone.
If you are going on a diet, you will be automatically reducing the number of calories that your body is receiving per day. This will result in a slowing down of your metabolic rate. Exercise will help keep your metabolism high to allow you to burn off those extra pounds efficiently.
If you only restrict your caloric intake, your body will think that it is being starved. As a result, it will hold on to your fat reserves to keep you alive.” Starving the fat away” is a weight loss technique that will fail more often than not.
Exercise and the Mesomorph
Doing cardiovascular exercise will result in a caloric deficit that you will be unable to achieve through diet alone. You will also help your body stay in a fat-burning mode without going into preservation mode. Weight training will help you to maintain your muscle mass as you lose weight and keep you looking healthy and toned. Try to get your heart rate over 75% of your HR max for 25 minutes 3-5 days per week during your cardio sessions. This not only helps you burn calories, but also helps build a thicker, bigger, and stronger heart (unlike weight training, this type of cardio increases both the size and thickness of the left atrium) which will help you with weight training by increasing the efficiency of energy/nutrient transport.
Although you may be gung-ho about losing weight as fast as possible, take it easy. Rapid weight loss can do more harm than good. The loss of more than two pounds per week means you are losing water or muscle instead of fat. If you are losing weight at this rate, you probably need to eat more food or slow down with the cardiovascular training. In order to lose weight for good, you need to lose it slowly. Aim for the loss of one to two pounds per week. Another reason to avoid rapid weight loss is to prevent the formation of stretch marks from losing weight too fast.
How the Mesomorph Should Eat
Now that you understand how a mesomorph should be exercising, the next step is determining what you should be eating. Your meals will look different than those for ectomorphs and endomorphs. Balance is especially important for the mesomorph as this body type falls in between the other two. The mesomorph diet should consist of an equal balance between the three macronutrients – carbs, protein and fat. Men should consume the following, with women consuming half these amounts. These figures are for each meal of the day.
- 2 palms of protein
- 2 fists of vegetables
- Two cupped handfuls carb-rich foods
- Two thumbs fat-dense foods
Because mesomorphs can still gain weight, it is important to eat whole foods rather than processed meals. Whole foods are generally lower in unhealthy weight-inducing fats, refined salt and processed sugar. Aim for non-starchy veggies, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and good fats such as grass-fed butter, organic coconut oil, and cold-pressed olive oil for a healthy mesomorph body type.