So body types. Hmmmm, how many times have we heard somebody refer to what body type they were? Pear shaped, apple shaped, boxy, rectangular, curvy, but there’s also another body type. Somatotype. This is a theory created by William Herbert Sheldon in the 1940s that associated body types with human temperament types. I’m sure you’ve heard the terms ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph, but do you really know what these are and the theory behind them?
I’ll give you a brief description:
A somatotype is another name for body build or physique. It describes how lean or muscular you are or if you’re prone to a higher percentage of body fat. Different somatotypes will respond differently to various physical activities. The three categories that he puts these body types in are:
Mesomorph- Medium frame rectangular in shape typically strong and solid and have more muscle than fat.
Ectomorph- Most resistant to fat and muscle gain, fast metabolism, small frame.
Endomorph- High bodyfat, less muscle, heavier and round, more sensitive to calorie consumption.
There’s a simple quiz you can take that can help you calculate what body type you are. This can help you design a workout and eating plan that works best for you.
For example, I am a combination of mesomorph and endomorph. Lucky for me they have very similar traits, food plans and exercise regimens.
As a mesomorph I gain muscle and fat very easily, but if I follow a diet high protein (chicken breast, ground turkey, egg whites, lean beef) and stay low in carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oats) commit to cardio 35-45 minutes 3-5 times a week (I actually aim for 6-7) and strength train with moderate to heavy weight with little rest in between 5 days a week, I can maintain a healthy body composition.
As an endomorph I also have sensitivity to carbohydrates and insulin, similar to the mesomorph. Cardio recommendations would be high intensity interval training (HIIT) for 30 minutes 2/3 days a week and steady state cardio 2-3 days a week. So basically 4-6 days of cardio a week which as I mentioned previously, I aim for 6-7. It is almost impossible for the endomorph to lose weight strictly by doing cardio training alone. This is because they generally have a slower metabolism. (Yup I can definitely attest to that!). The endomorph must also perform resistance training in order to maintain a healthy body fat. After all, resistance training (weight training) does in fact increase your metabolism! Recommendations for resistance training for the endomorph is to train big muscles with compound movements aiming for about a ten second rest in between sets. Because I fall into two body categories, it’s easy for me to manipulate my food and exercise to work for both body types and still hit my goals.
An ectomorph, would have a diet and workout program look more like this:
You’re able to go a little heavier on the carbs, but be sure to choose the right ones. Fruits and veggies that are high in fiber like apples, berries, pears ,broccoli, green peas, and sweet potatoes are all great choices. You also want to be sure to add in quality whole grains. For example brown rice, quinoa and oats. Since Ectomorph’s tend to lack muscle strength, be sure to get plenty of quality protein in your diet as well. Chicken breast, ground turkey and whitefish are all great choices.
Your workout should be heavier on resistance training such as dumbbells, plate loaded and pin loaded machines sometimes known as Nautilus equipment (I would recommend 5 days a week) and lighter on the cardio because you tend to have a faster metabolism and will burn calories quickly. Too much cardio will accelerate your weight loss making it harder to maintain muscle mass.
While this is just an overview and suggestions, it is definitely helpful to know how to best accommodate your body during your workouts!
Here’s a great mesomorph friendly pumpkin pie shake
One cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or rice milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (check out our products at the shake bar!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp. chia seed
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
4-5 ice cubes
Place all ingredients, except ice, into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes, one at a time, and continue to blend until shake reaches a desired consistency.
If you have any questions, or want to discuss a fitness plan with one of our trainers based on your body type, please email our Fitness Manager, Sarah, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you set up with a trainer today!
While I am trained and educated in these topics, I have found these websites to be accurate and user friendly. For more information check out the links below.
Personal Trainer, The GYM @ Milford
ACE- CPT, FN, OES, FES, CES