Our bodies are all remarkably different. That’s what makes each of us interesting and unique. But when it comes to nutrition and exercise, most of us fall into one of three categories. These categories, known as somatotypes, help us understand how the shape of our bodies impacts our ability to build muscle and burn fat.
No matter your somatotype, we think you are beautiful! Learn more about embracing body positivity here.
What is a Somatotype?
Somatotypes were introduced by Dr. William Sheldon in the 1940s. The basic premise is that most bodies fit into one of three main body types, defined by their overall shape, ability to gain or lose weight, and athletic ability.
We’ve learned a lot about exercise science and nutrition since the 1940s, but Dr. Sheldon’s theories still shape (no pun intended) many of today’s training regimens. By understanding the three body types, we can learn to eat and train for the body we have, with realistic expectations.
The Three Body Types
There are three somatotypes: endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. While many of us fit into one of those three categories, we are all beautifully unique. Some people fall under more than one category or none of the categories. Understanding where you fall in the somatotype spectrum can also help you become a better athlete.
Endomorphs are often described as “big-boned,” “stocky,” or “curvy.” They have more muscle mass and, yes, more fat than other body types. They tend to gain weight easily but have a difficult time losing weight or keeping it off.
However, endomorphs also build and maintain muscle mass easily, making them stronger than other body types (Luisa Madrigal, anyone?). Many champion weightlifters are endomorphs.
Ectomorphs often hear that they are “too thin,” “too lanky,” or “shapeless.” They have naturally high metabolisms, meaning they are usually thin and lean, with very little body fat. While they tend to be the ones we endomorphs love to hate, ectomorphs also have very little muscle. They may have smaller breasts, hips, and glutes and have to work hard to build and maintain muscle mass.
A mesomorph is somewhere in between the other two somatotypes. They tend to be naturally athletic, with plenty of muscle mass, relatively low body fat, and the ability to easily lose or gain weight as needed. Mesomorphs make ideal athletes because they can transform their bodies with relative ease compared to other body types.
What Is My Body Type?
Not everyone fits squarely into one of these three body types. There are many variations in somatotypes, so if you aren’t sure where you belong, you’re in good company.
Learning about and understanding your somatotype can help you embrace the body you have rather than longing for the body you want.
If you aren’t sure which somatotype best fits your body, try taking this somatotypes quiz.
Embracing Your Somatotype
Each of the three body types responds differently to diet and exercise regimens. The trick is to work with your somatotype to create a plan that meets your health and fitness goals.
While it was once believed that somatotypes were unchangeable, we know that’s not the case.
Endomorphs can embrace proper nutrition, relying on lean proteins and other low-fat foods. Endomorphs who exercise regularly (a good mix of cardio and weight training) can build muscle and burn fat while increasing their naturally sluggish metabolism.
Endomorphs likely won’t ever be stick thin, which is perfectly fine. Endos, your bodies are perfect just the way they are!
Ectomorphs often struggle to gain weight and build muscle. Their naturally fast metabolisms burn calories just as fast as they can eat them, making it difficult to get that bodybuilder physique. If mass gain is the goal, ectomorphs can focus on mass-building diets and stick to weight training over cardio.
Ectomorphs may never have huge biceps and wonder thighs, and that’s okay. Ectos, your bodies are bootyful.
Mesomorphs undeniably have the best of both worlds. They can lose weight and trim down easier than endomorphs, but they can also bulk up faster than ectomorphs. Mesos can easily tweak their nutrition or workout plans to help them meet their health and fitness goals. A simple increase in protein can generate more muscle mass. And running an extra half mile a day could be all a meso needs to meet that weight loss goal.
Mesos, you are exquisite, just the way you are.
The WodBottom Line
No matter what kind of body type you have, we think you are perfect. Thin, thick, round, straight, bulging biceps or barely-there booties, all bodies are beautiful. That’s why we make clothing that celebrates every body, in every shape.
Keep rocking that bod, no matter what shape it is!