Do you have trouble losing weight, yet you seem to gain it easily even after slipping up with your diet? Or are you trying to gain weight, but it seems that you can eat for weeks without gaining a gram? Well, it could be something to do with your body type. But is it that simple? What are the 3 body types, and which one do I have?
Everyone’s body is different. This is why you need your customized diet and workout plan to achieve your fitness goals. Your body type dictates how you respond to certain food intakes and training. Here is what you need to know about 3 different body types and much more.
Body Type Definition
Body type or somatotype is a concept theorized by Dr. Sheldon in the 1940s. The researcher concluded out that there are different body compositions that people have.
According to Sheldon, a person’s body type is unchangeable. Also, certain psychological and physiological characteristics are determined by whatever somatotype you have (14).
What Are The 3 Body Types?
The three types of somatotypes include:
Dr. Sheldon believed that each body type’s traits were set in stone (while in the womb). So, he derived the above names from pre-birth development of the endodermal, mesodermal, and ectodermal embryo layers.
What Are The 3 Female Body Types?
The three somatotypes in females are the same as those in males. So, women can also have Endomorph, Mesomorph, and Ectomorph body types.
The characteristics of these somatotypes also don’t vary from one gender to the other. Hence, Endomorph, Mesomorph, or Ectomorph females will have the same traits as their male counterparts (5).
What Are The 3 Types Of Muscles In The Body?
The three distinct muscles in your body include the following:
Cardiac muscles are located in your heart region and are under involuntary control. Smooth muscles are located in the walls of hollow organs such as your digestive tract, and they are also under involuntary control. Skeletal muscles are attached to the skeleton and are under voluntary control. These muscle fibers are not related to body types (10).
Characteristic Of The 3 Body Types Of Female And Male
Here is how each somatotype is classified in both genders:
You will have the following characters if you have this somatotype:
- A more relaxed, extroverted, and comfortable personality.
- The predominance of soft roundness in various parts of your body.
- Digestive viscera will be more massive and will dominate your body economy.
- Wider and stocky body.
- Fat will be stored in your lower part of your body.
- Slow metabolism.
- Best strength compared to the other types.
- More muscles which come with more fat.
- Hard, heavy, and rectangular outline.
- The predominance of muscles, connective tissues, and bone.
- More active, assertive, aggressive, and dynamic personality.
- Natural athletics body with well-defined skeletal muscles (4).
- Relative predominance of fragility and linearity.
- Delicate frame.
- The greatest skin surface area than body mass that causes sensory exposure.
- More introverted, inhibited, thoughtful, and sensitive personality.
- The body is similar to a marathon runner.
- Fast metabolism.
- Find it hard to build muscle and fat.
Can I Be A Combination Of 2 Somatotypes?
When it comes to the 3 main body types, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. You can have a combination of two somatotypes. This means you have some characteristics from two different body types.
Ayurveda 3 Body Types
Other than Dr. Sheldon’s classification of body types, another grouping is known as Ayurveda (a form of alternative medicine with its roots in India).
According to Ayurveda, things are composed of five elements: fire, space, air, earth, and water. The mentioned elements combined to form 3 different types of metabolism, which are referred to as doshas.
They include the following:
- Vata Dosha
- Pitta Dosha
- Kapha Dosha
In classifying the above, several factors were considered, such as emotional, mental, and physical characteristics. Also, other aspects such as tongue color, pulses, and so forth were taken into account (11).
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Characteristics Of The 3 Types Of Doshas
Here are some traits that will aid you to identify the type of metabolism you have:
1. Vata Dosha
- You will be slender.
- You might have predominant features.
- Large intestines.
- Large bones.
- Bigger ears.
- Wider thighs.
- Large skin.
- Larger pelvis (1).
2. Pitta Dosha
If you have this type of metabolism, you will have the following traits:
- Medium build.
- Stable weight.
- Small intestines.
- Smaller stomach.
- Reduced size of sweat glands.
- Small eyes.
- Less skin surface area.
- A lower amount of blood.
3. Kapha Dosha
- A tendency to become overweight.
- Associated with the chest, lungs, and spinal fluid.
Now that you know the 3 body types of male and female. You also have an understanding of Dosha metabolisms. The chances are that you already know the body and metabolism type you have. So, why are they important?
Each body type has specific psychological and personality characteristics. For instance, endomorphs were found to be easy going by Dr. Sheldon. He also discovered that ectomorphs were introverts and mesomorphs assertive (8).
Even though Sheldon’s ideas have been debunked recently, the concept of body types has endured in some ways. Different researchers have found out that there may be a relationship between somatotypes and sports performance.
A 2018 research found out that active men with ectomorph and mesomorph somatotypes performed better in the lower body’s strength exercises. Mesomorphs also performed better in upper body exercises like bench press and so forth (3).
Overall, researchers concluded that your somatotype could predict your strength performance (3).
Another cardio endurance study found out that active men with mesomorph and blended ectomorph-mesomorph somatotype had the greatest aerobic capacity improvements after a training program. The subjects were subjected to 12 weeks of track interval exercise sessions and compared to other somatotypes (2).
To sum up, your body type is defined by your body composition and metabolism, which will influence your fitness exercises and the diet you take.
How To Train Endomorph Somatotype?
Endomorphs have a tendency to become overweight easily. Hence, training and diet here should only focus on fat loss. Stick to the following tips:
- Watch your diet: Consume foods with fewer saturated fats and calories. This is to ensure that you take in fewer calories and consume more in your workouts. Also, don’t starve yourself. Eat enough food to support your daily or weekly workouts.
- Focus on metabolic conditioning: Most of your training sessions should be about increasing your metabolic health. So, use shorter rest periods and circuits for strength training (7).
- Do aerobic training: Consistent aerobic training will help you increase your metabolic efficiency. It will also boost your daily calorie burning.
- Increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis factor: Move more during the day when you are not in the gym. Do not use a car for a shorter distance; instead, walk to the market, supermarket, or any other nearby place. This will increase the energy you burn every day.
- Focus on losing fat: Due to your slower metabolism, you will have surplus energy stored as body fat. If you maximize your fat burning capacity while supporting muscle mass building, you will accomplish this. So, take enough proteins and do strength training to support your muscle mass during times of your calorie restriction (9).
How To Train Ectomorph Somatotype?
Ectomorphs have different characteristics and challenges from endomorphs. Most ectomorphs have a higher rate of metabolism. They may also find it hard to build fat and muscle. For these reasons, you should stick to the following if you fall under this category:
- Maximum strength training: Prioritize training your muscles first. Remember, your body type doesn’t gain muscle mass easily.
- Reduce cardiorespiratory training: This kind of exercise drains your energy, which means that you burn many fats and energy while doing them. You do not need to overdo them as your body has little to no fats. However, some cardio is still important for improving or maintaining the health of your cardiovascular system (12).
- Rest for longer: Fast-paced exercise burns a lot of calories. Here, you want to burn as little as possible. So, consider resting for long periods.
- Eat a mass gain diet: You will need to consume a lot of calories. Remember that your metabolic rate is higher. So, take diets rich in complex carbs and healthy fats. You could even include nutritional mass gainer shakes into your diet.
- You need proteins: Just like endomorph bodies, you also need high-levels of proteins. If you are strength training, consume 1.2 to 1.6 grams for every kilogram of your weight. Daily protein intake will increase your muscle growth (13).
How To Train Mesomorph Somatotype?
Mesomorphs have things a little bit easier than the other groups of body types. Their metabolisms are efficient, and they can build muscle mass with minimum effort. If your body type falls under this category, stick to the following tips:
Watch your diet:
Even though your metabolism rates are efficient, you should be keen on what you consume. If you are doing intense training, then you must consume enough calories to support it. Proteins should also be part of your diet. Take 1.2 to 2.2 grams for every kilogram of your weight, depending on your activity and training intensity.
Do more advanced training forms: Your body is ready to transition to exercises such as SAQ training sport and athlete exercises. You can take these to continue building your muscle mass (6).
The Bottom Line
The above are the 3 body types in male and female. The body types are classified based on body composition and metabolism. The exercises, training, and dieting for each somatotype vary greatly due to the difference in metabolic rates.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
Reviewed by: Kristen Fleming
- Dosha brain-types: A neural model of individual differences (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of dominant somatotype on aerobic capacity trainability (2005, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of Lower-Body Resistance Training on Upper-Body Strength Adaptation in Trained Men (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Everything you need to know about the mesomorph body type (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- ‘Morph’ Into Your Ideal Body (2002, medicinenet.com)
- Safely ramp up exercise intensity: How to reboot your workout routine (2020, edition.cnn.com)
- Study reveals how exercise improves metabolic health (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The influence of somatotype on anaerobic performance (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight-loss program for life (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Types of muscle tissue (2019, medlineplus.gov)
- Understanding personality from Ayurvedic perspective for psychological assessment: A case (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What to know about cardiorespiratory endurance (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about the endomorph diet (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What Your Body Shape Says About Your Health (2020, webmd.com)