3 body types and what they mean for your diet and fitness
Following a diet and exercise regime can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure of your body type.
There are three main body types: endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. Though ectomorphs are believed to be tall and endomorphs short, in truth height has nothing to do with body type.
Some people are a combination of one or more of these body types, having, say, an upper body that’s more ectomorphic and a lower body that’s more endomorphic.
How to identify your body type
Usually thin and lightly muscled, an ectomorph also tends to have small joints and bones, naturally low body fat, small shoulders, chest, and buttocks, and long arms and legs. They tend also to have trouble gaining weight because they have a fast, efficient metabolism, tend to be hyperactive, and have difficulty gaining muscle.
Lean and muscular, a mesomorph has medium to large joints and bones, which make them naturally strong. They also have broad shoulders and evenly distributed body fat. Losing fat and gaining muscle is easy for them because their metabolism is naturally efficient. And their body tends to respond quickly to exercise.
Usually having a smooth, round body, an endomorph also has medium to large joints and bones, small shoulders, a high waist, and large hips — all of which combine to give a pear-shaped silhouette. They gain muscle easily, but it tends to be underdeveloped. And because they tend to have a high level of body fat and a slower metabolic rate, they tire easily. This makes slimming and sculpting a challenge.
3 things to consider when determining your body type
Do you gain weight easily if you overindulge in alcohol or fattening foods? And if so, do you easily lose this weight after you change your diet or exercise more than usual? If you answered yes to both questions, you’re probably a mesomorph. If you easily gain weight but struggle to lose it, you fit the profile of an endomorph. And if you don’t put on any weight to begin with, you’re most likely an ectomorph.
Compare your diet with your appearance. If you consume a lot of calories but still manage to stay thin without any strenuous exercise, you’re probably an ectomorph. If you consume few calories and still appear relatively thin and healthy, then this indicates you might be a mesomorph. Finally, if you eat few calories but are still heavy, you’re probably an endomorph.
3. Bone and joint structure
To determine whether you’re small-, medium- or large-boned, encircle your wrist with your thumb and middle finger. If your finger overlaps your thumb, you’re small-boned, or an ectomorph. If your finger and thumb barely touch, you’re medium-boned, or a mesomorph. Finally, if your finger and thumb don’t touch, then you’re large-boned, or an endomorph.
"Morph" into a smarter eater
Endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs alike are encouraged to eat diets that promote their fitness and health. Here’s what you should eat for your body type.
If you’re an endomorph, you should think “paleo” diet — lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and olive oil. Your diet should be lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fat. This will help you lose fat and maintain your energy levels.
If you’re a mesomorph, you’re encouraged to eat balanced meals. Your diet should be 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. Because you gain weight easily, you need to watch your calorie intake. Choose whole foods over processed foods whenever possible, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nonfat dairy, and nuts and seeds.
If you’re an ectomorph, you’ll respond well to more carbohydrates in your diet along with moderate protein and lower fat intake. you should eat around 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat. Focus on such complex carbohydrates as whole wheat couscous, brown rice, and quinoa rather than processed ones.
Hope for every body type
Whether you’re an ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph, you still have the potential to develop the type of figure you’ve always wanted. All it takes is a sound diet and regular exercise. Of course, the type of diet that works best for you depends on your body type. Knowing this will allow you to develop routines and habits that will speed you to your fittest figure.
- "Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph: How to Train For Your Body Type," Coach, December 21, 2016.
- "Match Your Shape," Oprah.com, July 14, 2010.
- "The Foolproof Way to Find Out Your Real Body Type," Who What Wear, April 22, 2017.
- "What’s Your Body Type?," Super Skinny Me, November 2, 2011.