In the 1940s, Dr. William H. Sheldon introduced the theory of Soma-types. His theory described three basic human body types: the endomorph, characterized by a preponderance 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. He did also state that most people were a mixture of these types. Sheldon’s description of three body types has become an integral part of most literature on weight loss and fitness.
The three body types are further described below.
Endomorph: The biggest concern is shedding body fat and adopting a lifestyle that keeps it off. Strength training is the best investment to achieve a better muscle to fat ratio and improve metabolism. Using moderate weights at a quick training pace with very little rest between sets and exercises will produce the best result with the least amount of time. Lowering your calorie intake, eating frequent small meals, engage in daily activity such as brisk walking and strive to increase the time training each week to optimize metabolism and reach your goal weight.
- Soft body
- Round shaped
- Trouble losing weight
- Generally gains muscle easily
Mesomorph: A naturally muscular body. Strength training can be done more often and for longer sessions. Should train with moderate to heavy weighs, at a moderate pace, not resting too long between sets. Stick to a good healthy diet to keep you lean and muscular. Engage in aerobic activities to round out the training program and keep the CV system fit.
- Hard, muscular body
- Rectangular shaped (hourglass shaped for women)
- Gains or loses weight easily
- Grows muscle quickly
Ectomorph: Should concentrate on gaining weight in the form of good lean muscle tissue. Weight is best fairly heavy with a workout pace slower with longer rest periods between sets. Eat more than you’re used to and often to assist in the muscle development.
- Flat chest
- Delicate build
- Has trouble gaining weight
- Muscle growth takes longer
When you know which type you are (or which mixture) and exercise correctly for that type, you will make much better progress with your training program and yield better results toward your physical goals.
While some women may think that Kate Moss, tall, lanky, thin is the ideal body type, from a fitness view point she really isn’t. And many women who tend to be endomorphic will save themselves much suffering by not striving to change themselves into ectomorphs, it’s not going to happen. Conversly a true ectomorph who wishes to be a Sumo wrestler would also be in for a big disappointment. It is important to look at ourselves with a discerning eye of appreciation and celebrate our bodies, it is the only one we have ~ let’s make the most if it!
With a well balanced exercise strategy and lifestyle plan we can make the most of our genetics and live happily in our own skin.
What is your natural body type?
Are your health and fitness goals in alignment with your natural body type?
Have you set a realistic goal for yourself with respect to your genetic make up?