In the 1940s, American psychologist William Herbert Sheldon categorized the human physique as Ectomorphic, Mesomorphic and Endomorphic. He named the classifications after the 3 germ layers of embryonic development: the Endoderm, the Mesoderm, and the Ectoderm.
The Body Types as Encyclopedia Britannica Describes
Based from that academic description, you can now distinguish your body type by viewing the following visible characteristics.
This body type belong to people with a thin face, high forehead, small heart and large nervous system. People with this body type are tall with long legs and arms.
- Skinny and thin built.
- Narrow and long frame.
- Thin hips and clavicles.
- Small joints.
- Flat belly.
- Long arms and limbs.
- Thin chest and buttocks.
This body type possesses globular body, round head, large stomach and bodily organs, short extremities, and thighs. It also has plenty of body fat.
- Large skeleton.
- Thick rib cage.
- Wide, thick joints.
- Wide Hips and clavicles.
- Short limbs.
- Fat body without muscle definition.
This body type pertain to people with large shoulders, broad square face, large heart, and heavy-muscled body parts. It has minimal body fat.
- Wide clavicles and shoulder.
- Well-balanced body built.
- Slim waist.
- Thin joints.
- Flat belly.
- Large muscles.
Health and fitness experts and practitioners had observed that some people appear to not exactly fall within the identified classifications. For example, some endomorphs because of large skeleton, thick rib cage, wide, thick joints, wide Hips and clavicles, and short limbs are muscular with visible body contours that make them appear like an athletic mesomorph: they are exceptionally well trimmed endomorphs.
There are also ectomorphs because of being skinny and thin built, narrow and long frame, small joints, long arms and limbs and thin chest and buttocks who have bulging and large stomachs: they are just over fat ectomorphs.
There are also supposed to be athletic and symmetrical endomorphs who are either very thin or obese, they are simply unfit endomorphs.
Such observations point out that you should accept what body type nature had given you and provide what that body asks for in terms of exercise, food and rest.
It’s not because you’re a massive endomorph that you can eat less food than your body needs and do little exercise. Being a tall and thin ectomorph doesn’t enable you to swallow all food that come your way without becoming over-fat and unhealthy.
Cognizant of human individual differences, Health and fitness professionals had tested some exercise protocols and diets that suit particular body types. Here are some of their recommendations:
Exercises and Nutrition
Your body type necessarily influences the activities and movements that you can do. But certainly, your weight, range of motion, biological age, physical and mental characteristics are the major factors to consider regardless of your body type. All exercisers, regardless of body type are governed by the Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand (SAID) principle.
The SAID principle says: the human body adapts specifically to stressors -whether bio-mechanical- imposed on the human body. For example, by doing a 5-lb. kettle bell raise on your right arm - 3x/week for 4 weeks, your arm will gain the benefit of the 5-lb. 3x/week kettle bell raise you did in 4 weeks: your left arm will not gain the same benefit.
Moreover, not all exercises are equal and not all exercisers are equal, too. A 5-lb. kettle bell raise has a different effect on your right and left arms: it will have different effects for an ectomorph and a mesomorph or 2 different endomorphs. This is why the exercise protocol and nutrition plan for different individuals-even of persons with the same body types couldn’t be the same.
However, health and fitness experts agree that all humans follow basic movement patterns: training along these basic patterns yield beneficial effects.
- Pull - act of exerting force on a thing to cause it to move towards you.
- Push - act of exerting force on a thing to cause it to move away from you.
- Squat - sitting with your knees bent and your buttocks close to ground.
- Lunge - a sudden forward thrust of your body.
- Hinge - act of moving the parts of your body with hinge joints.
- Rotation - act of moving part of your body with rotating joints.
- Gait - act of moving your feet alternately.
When you perform these movements, you’ll stimulate the major muscle in your body. When these movements are systematically and periodically done,the targeted muscle groups are trained to efficiently carry out your daily activities. Therefore, exercises that mimicking the said human movement patterns that apply to you should be adopted to cater to your personal needs.
The ectomorph is often below the average weight for his height. An ectomorph tends to have high metabolism resulting in difficulty gaining in weight.
- Low to moderate strength training exercises
- Plyometric exercises
- Low to moderate cardio
- Eat as often as you need
- Eat natural foods. You may take protein supplement after intense strength training to stimulate muscle building.
- Calorie mix (Try to gradually increase muscle-building calories)
- Fat--------------- 40/100
- Protein --------- 20/100
The endomorph, being large, heavier and fat laden, naturally requires exercises that suits his frame, weight and body composition. Workout programs that burn fat and promote muscle development are appropriate. A dominantly aerobic routine combined with strength training are suitable. Aerobic exercises are low medium intensity exercises that utilize slow-twitch fat burning muscles which promote endurance and overall well being. Strength training exercises train fast-twitch carb burning muscles that enhance strength.
- Body weight Squat
- Body weight Lunges
- Body weight Good Morning
- Eat 3 square meals a day.
- If possible, eat diets originating from natural sources such as vegetables, fish, meat and poultry.
- Take protein supplements that trigger muscle development so that your fat will be replaced by muscle mass.
- Calorie Mix: (If possible, eat as much calorie as you could burn but not more)
- Carbohydrates—40/ 100
The mesomorph lies between the ectomorph and the endomorph. He has larger bone structure then the endomorph and has lower fat percentage than the ectomorph. He is the athletic type. As such, he possesses the body type that everybody desires to have. Depending on his inclinations, he could become an athlete, a physical fitness coach or an ordinary well-built and healthy person.
- Moderate to heavy strength training (Farmer's carry, Push-up, Pull-up, Dead-lift, Bench Press, etc)
- Aerobic exercises (Running, Swimming, etc)
- Plyometric exercises (Jumping jacks, Squat jump,,etc)
- Eat 3 square meals/day
- Take protein supplement after heavy exercise
- Calorie mix
Generally, professional athletes and sports enthusiasts engaging in intense activities require high quality soluble protein to augment natural food supply.
The Most Used Protein Supplements
- Whey protein This is said to be highly soluble because it is the retained milk component after the curds are discarded. This is used to hasten muscle damage recovery after intense training.
- L-carnitine supplements are said to help in mitochondrial function and production of power. You can get some of this in meat.
- Pure creatine monohydrate is said to give you more power and increases water retention in your muscles.
- Vitamin D is said to help maintain your testosterone level.
- Vitamin K2 comes from animals and it help strengthen bones and helps reduce calcification in your arteries.
The food you eat, at times, couldn’t provide all the nutritional elements your body needs; this is the main point of talking about supplements. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the food you take should adequately supply the nutrients your body specifically needs in terms of quality and quantity.
Thus far, you have seen that your body type naturally leads you to engage in specific activities. Such activities, in turn, require you to eat the type of food in such quality and quantity required by the activities. To make sure that your body receives the nutrients it requires before, during and after exercise, you may need to take appropriate food supplements.
Suitable exercise and nutrition are vital factors you need to sustain whatever body type you have. That is assuming, of course, that you are likewise giving your body sufficient and appropriate rest.