Over the years, there have developed several different types of categorizing the human body. In
Ayurvedic medicine that evolved from five thousand-year-old Sanskrit teachings, body types and their
associated personalities were defined as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. If we go back to our high school/college
days you will probably remember a guy by the name of William H. Sheldon.
It was Sheldon who introduced his theory of Somotypes back in the 1940's. His basic theory proposed that there are basically
three body types and each body type has a specific personality associated with it. The theories that Sheldon
presented has become a central vein running through literature and research with respect to weight loss,
exercise and bodybuilding. The body type system that Sheldon introduced characterized the human body
as ectomorphic, mesomorphic, or endomorphic.
Dr. William H. Sheldon (1898-1977)
A Forgotten Giant of American Psychology
Not every human being fits exactly into one of these
categories but contains characteristics of each, although one is usually predominant over the others. In
order to determine your body type, one needs to look back at your adolescent years to determine which
category your body type you possessed before changes due to age and lifestyle transformed you into what
you are today. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about here. Flex Wheeler is an ectomorph
body type if you can believe that because of his rapid metabolism and physical makeup when he was an
A thin, delicate build usually characterizes the ectomorph. This individual has trouble gaining weight and
muscle growth takes much longer to achieve and is harder to maintain. The ectomorph is very lean with
little body fat and usually very little muscle mass. These individuals tend to be like the endurance athletes
such as long distance marathon runners or the tall, very lean super-models.
If you fall into this category, take a look at the members in your family. It might just be that you inherited
a predisposition to thinness. What the ectomorph needs to do is add more calories to his or her diet. The
way to do this is not by eating larger meals but by eating more calories over several smaller meals. By
adding an additional five hundred (500) to one thousand (1000) calories per day spread out over five (5) to
seven (7) meals you give your system a chance to utilize more of the calories consumed.
Look at the foods
you are currently consuming and then either add to them or look at other food sources that are more calorie
dense. Add dried fruits in addition to fresh or maybe eat more nuts and grains. As an ectomorph you can
increase you fat intake upwards to around thirty (30) percent but make sure that your consuming the
majority from unsaturated fat sources such as fish and vegetable oil for example.
When it comes to exercise, the ectomorph needs to limit outside activities other than weight training. In
order to build muscle, almost all energies should be put toward weight training exercises using low reps
and heavy weight. You will also need to rest more due to the heavy strain. Workouts should be spaced
about forty-eight (48) to seventy-two (72) hours apart.
Concentrate on compound movements such as the
deadlift, squats, and reverse grip lat pulldowns and incline bench presses. The idea here is to build mass by
working several major muscle groups at once, allow plenty of recovery time and worry about the definition
A hard, muscular body with a more mature appearance usually characterizes the mesomorph. This
individual has little trouble gaining or losing weight and possesses the ability to rapidly pack on muscle
mass. These are the "body beautiful" types that have little problem with being under or overweight. These
individuals can usually eat whatever they want and miss workouts with almost no visible affect. This gift
of genetics allows for a widely varied diet and diversity in training. These individuals are able to train
heavy to build mass and definition at almost the same time.
The mesomorph should strive to consistently eat a health and well rounded diet limiting fat intake to
around twenty (20) percent over four (4) to six (6) meals a day.
Consumption of protein should be in the
ballpark of 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. One of the pitfalls with this body type is that the
individual can become complacent by missing to many workouts or thinking that they can get away from
eating a healthy diet and have an extra desert without doing any harm.
It is important for everyone
including these individuals to eat a health diet and maintain consistent training because disease and health
problems play no favorites regardless of how blessed you are with genetics. The affects of poor diet and
lack-a-daisy training will eventually become evident especially in later years when your metabolism begins
to slow down.
Exercise should be consistent including resistance train two to three times per week and aerobics either
daily or on off days. Prioritize workouts to achieve the goals you aim to accomplish. As a mesomorph,
you have a lot of freedom but don't take it too much for granted.
The endomorph is usually characterized by a soft, round body and is usually a person of large stature.
This individual has trouble losing weight but usually gains muscle rather easily. These individuals tend to
be heavy with a high percentage of both body fat and muscle. Persons such as football linemen or
extremely obese individuals would be example of those who would fall into this category. Diet and exercise
both are of utmost importance to those of this body type. The first thing to do is begin with eating smaller
meals several times a day.
By spacing out meals and snacks to every two (2) to three (3) hours, four (4) to
six (6) times a day; you begin to speed up your metabolism. Never eat two (2) carbohydrate meals back to
back as this encourages the accumulation of fat by allowing the body to be accustomed to using
carbohydrate as a predominant fuel when the objective is to switch your metabolism to prefer fat. Another
important factor is to eat most of your calories, especially for carbohydrates in the early part of the day and
consume more protein in your meals as the day progresses.
The idea here is to avoid eating at night to
reduce the amount of calories which leads to larger fat gains. A good rule to follow is to decide when your
going to go to bed and back up three or four hours from that time. This is the time you should have
finished your last meal. The other thing to remember here is to drink lots and lots of water.
your system will be going through will need a lot of water to help speed up your metabolism and remove
byproducts and waste toxins efficiently. The diet should consist of foods high in fiber such as fruits,
vegetables, whole grains and beans. Eating lean proteins, avoiding dairy products as much as possible are
the important factors. Allow yourself to eat foods you like but be sensible about your choices.
important that you are not only satisfied from eating but also that the foods you eat give you emotional
satisfaction as well. By eating foods you like you give your self the chance to enjoy what you eat as well as
being healthy for you without the guilt or urges to a sneak snack or overindulge on binge foods from the
nearest vending machine or fast food place.
Exercise is the other important component of the endomorph's success. Start by adding your favorite
aerobic activity on a regular basis such as walking or cycling. Build up to at least thirty (30) minutes per
day five (5) to seven (7) days a week. Then the next phase should be to incorporate a weight training
routine into your schedule two (2) to three (3) times per week with at least two (2) to four (4) days
separating these workouts.
Depending on recovery ability of the individual this should allow adequate
time. Stick with basic exercises to start with that work all major muscle groups such as those suggested for
the ectomorphs. You can add isolation exercises for definition alternating between them to achieve the
musculature and tone you desire. The aerobics enhance the rate and number of calories you burn calories,
especially those from fat. The weight training will increase muscle mass and muscle tone that will require
more calories to maintain and that consumes more calories twenty-four (24) hours a day.
Regardless of your body type, there is a plan of attack to help you get the results you are looking for. The
idea is to accept the body type you are and then follow a plan of action to eat and train for that body type.
Remember that no matter which body type you are there is no substitute for hard work, commitment and
perseverance to succeed in achieving your goals.