Know Your Body Type
There are many things in life that make humans unique from one another. Whether it's your personality, abilities, or physical looks we're all very unique. These differences are the results of our genetic makeup. One interesting subject in the area of genetics is somatypes.
Somatype is another term for body type. Most people have a genetic predisposition toward one specific somatype and supportive traits from a second kind. In the 1940's scientists introduced the theory of body types. Their ideas described three basic human body types: the endomorph, characterized by an excess of body fat; the mesomorph, marked by a well-developed musculature; and the ectomorph, distinguished by a lack of either much fat or muscle tissue. They did also state that most people were a mixture of these. These three categories of morphology are used to predict how certain people will react to certain portions of macronutrients, thus enabling health professionals to determine correct diets and exercise regimens for their clients. The three somatypes are widely known in sports such as bodybuilding, and in the applied health fields involving nutrition and weight management.
Somatypes are looked at most often in sports for different types of athletes. An athlete cannot change what their body type is; all they can do is use nutrition to their advantage and play a sport that fits them as an individual.
A classic ectomorph is typically a person who is naturally thin. These individuals usually have a low body fat percentage, small bone size, a high metabolism, and a small amount of muscle mass and muscle size. These factors all compliment one another to produce a thin, wiry, nervous type of person or athlete. The bones are light in weight, joints are smaller than normal and muscles are underdeveloped. The limbs are relatively long in proportion and the shoulders tend to droop down.
The ectomorph has a linear physique as they may appear to be straight up and down, and may appear longer than he or she really is, due to the length of limbs coupled with lack of muscle mass developed on those limbs.
The ectomorph does not have natural athletic power and each ounce of muscle they strive for will take extra effort. It is common to find ectomorphs in sports like cycling, cross country running, and other endurance sports. The high metabolism of an ectomorph requires them to eat large amounts of food, especially those that are carbohydrate dense to fuel workouts.
The second somatype is the mesomorph. The mesomorph has well-defined muscles and large bones. The torso looks thin, and they have a relatively low waist. The bones and muscles of the head and skull are prominent. Features of the face are clearly defined, such as cheek bones and a square, heavy jaw. The face is usually long and broad, and is rectangular in shape. Arms and legs are muscled and even the digits of the hand are developed.
Mesomorphs tend to make excellent all around athletes, especially bodybuilders. This body type is often called "good genetics" from a physical person's perspective and it has been said that every person, regardless of body type should strive to look like a mesomorph.
The skin and hair is usually thick in texture and mesomorphs have the tendency to be muscular and ripped, maintaining the best attributes of both the ectomorphs and the endomorphs. It is the middle ground as far as genetics are concerned and these people are able to hold onto the muscle they build, while still losing undesired body fat.
A mesomorph's diet can be high in calories as long as they are physically active. They wouldn't be required to consume as much carbohydrate as ectomorphs because a mesomorphs metabolism is slower. This rather unique mix of mediocre metabolism and rugged structure make for great football players, bodybuilders, and other physical sports.
The somewhat unfortunate end of the spectrum in body type genetics is the endomorph. As with each somatype, there are different degrees to which a person can be labeled as one type or the other. The body of the extreme endomorph is round and soft. The physique shows the delusion that much of the mass has been concentrated in the abdominal area. The arms and legs of the extreme endomorph are short in length which may give the appearance of huskiness. The hands and feet of the endomorph are comparatively small, and the upper arms and thighs are often more developed than the lower parts of the arms or legs and the body has a high waist.
People who are strict endomorphs generally are non-athletes and they carry a high percentage of their weight as body fat. It is the "short end of the stick" when it comes to genetics. Endomorphs really have to watch what they eat because although they can gain muscle fairly easy, it is a burden to strip unwanted body fat. This becomes a problem because it takes endomorphic people longer to lose fat, thus taking a considerable amount of muscle as well.
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Many endomorphs desire a leaner, more defined look, and should try cutting the fats down to a minimum. Lean protein sources are generally recommended and things like sweets and junk food should be consumed at an absolute minimum. It would be beneficial for an endomorph to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day to keep metabolism going so there is a lesser risk for storing extra body fat. Endomorphs should strive for adding some extra muscle as well in order to boost their already slow metabolism.
These three categories of body types are used to predict how certain people will react to certain portions of macronutrients, thus enabling health professionals to determine correct diets and exercise regimens for their clients. It is evident that there are true, distinct differences in the way these genetic hands are dealt. The applied health fields are recognizing these differences and taking action in developing ways to help people on both ends of the spectrum achieve the results they desire no matter what their genetics may be. It is important for everyone to understand his or her own body type so they can lead comfortable healthy lifestyles through correct diet and exercise choices that fit them as individuals.
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