A Beginner's Guide To Learning Your Body Type (So You Can Workout Smarter, Not Harder)

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When it comes to training, it's not enough to just be aware of the different body types. It's crucial that you know which body type you have. To avoid this would be doing your health and fitness routine a grave disservice. Comparably speaking, it would be like receiving a blood transfusion without knowing your blood type. Yes — it's that important.

In the 1940s American psychologist, W.H. Sheldon coined the term somatotype as the system of classification for different body types. Sheldon's model consisted of 3 distinct body builds — endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic.



Today we're going to break down each build clearly for you, the readers to be able to gauge where you fit. Be honest with yourself! There's nothing innately superior about one type versus the other. It's about understanding where on the scale you fall in order to better your workouts. Remember, it's about working smarter, not harder!!



Body types are not linear, it's possible to fall somewhere in-between the spectrum. The descriptions below offer basic descriptors that will make it easier for y'all to determine what's what! As per Encyclopædia Britannica:


"A human physical type tending toward linearity. The extreme ectomorph has a thin face with high forehead and receding chin; narrow chest and abdomen; a narrow heart; rather long, thin arms and legs; little body fat and little muscle; but a large skin surface and a large nervous system. If well fed, he does not gain weight easily; if he becomes fat, he is still considered an ectomorph, only overweight.


"a human physical type tending toward roundness. The extreme endomorph has a body as nearly globular as humanly possible; he has a round head, a large, round abdomen, large internal organs relative to his size, rather short arms and legs with fat upper arms and thighs, but slender wrists and ankles. Under normal conditions the endormorphic individual has a great deal of body fat, but he is not simply a fat person; if starved, he remains an endomorph, only thinner.


"A human physical type that is marked by greater than average muscular development. The extreme mesomorph has a square, massive head; broad, muscular chest and shoulders; a large heart; heavily muscled arms and legs; and minimal body fat. He tends to develop muscle easily. His muscular development can usually be distinguished from that of one who has developed his muscles through body-building exercises. "

Alright, so we guess given those descriptions it seems like being a mesomorph does make life a little easier, but, hey! The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Understanding your body type is great, accepting it is even better!

Now that you've gathered where you fall on the body build spectrum, we're going to advice you on a couple things that will enhance the quality of your exercise routine. In accordance with BodyBuilding.Com these simple training tips can be applied to each body type.


"They're often naturally lean, which is a great upside. The downside, especially if they are trying to improve their physiques, is that they have a hard time gaining muscle mass."


"Unlike ectomorphs, endomorphs have no problem adding mass to their bodies. Their problem is getting rid of it. If people with this body type want to get lean, they must be very diligent about eating well and getting lots of cardiovascular exercise."


"Their joints are big enough to support large muscle mass, but small enough to create a pleasing visual proportion between muscle mass and joint."

Again, body types are NOT linear. There's a strong possibility you're not going to be 100% of anything. That being said, you will lean more toward than the others. If you're torn, go ahead and do some personal observation over the course of a few days. There's nothing to be ashamed of, just figure it out!

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