Aaron Savvy, ACSM Certified Trainer
Frustrated guy here! I hear people talking about having different body types. I don’t know my body type—can you explain this to me? —Zach, Beverly Hills
Let me break this down for you and everyone else wondering. People come in all shapes, but most can be placed into a particular category of body types: mesomorph, ectomorph or endomorph. These body types have different characteristics, and you should tailor your workout to whichever you belong. Here’s the rundown on the different types of bodies:
A mesomorph (or meso, for short) can be defined in one word: muscular. If you’re a meso, your body type is usually the envy of all gym rats, because you can increase your muscle size quickly and easily. The well-developed, rectangular shapes of mesomorphs are representative of their thick bones and muscles. (Before you get too excited about this perfect form, keep in mind that being a meso may also mean you have poor flexibility.) If you are a characteristic mesomorph, you have a well-defined chest and shoulders that are both larger and broader than your waistline. Your abdomen is taut and your hips are generally the same width as your shoulders. Although mesomorphs generally store fat evenly all over their bodies, they can become overweight if they are sedentary and consume a high-fat and/or high-calorie diet.
A one-word description for the ectomorph body type (or ecto, for short) is slim. If you’re an ecto, mesomorphs and endomorphs usually don’t want to stand next to you. It’s not that ectomorphs aren’t personable; it’s just that you’re probably a tall, slender individual who has trouble gaining weight. An ectomorph is relatively linear in shape with a delicate build, narrow hips and pelvis, and long arms and legs. As an ecto, your muscle and bone outlines are usually visible (especially if you are an extremely thin ecto), and you normally have less fat and muscle mass than people with other body types.
A one-word description of the endomorph body type (or endo, for short) is curvy. Comparatively, if you’re an endomorph, your body fat may have a tendency to settle into the lower regions of your body, predominantly the lower abdomen, hips and thighs, rather than being distributed evenly throughout your body. Keep in mind that most endomorphs don’t have all the features of characteristic endomorph, but a blend of features from other body types as well.
If you are discouraged by your body type, there is hope. The key is consistency with your weight training and nutrition. Though you may not look like Marilyn Monroe or Arnold Schwarzenegger, you can get your body looking pretty damn hot!
Email Aaron your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.