From the time we are old enough to look in the mirror ask “Mommy, why doesn’t my body look like Susie’s?” we are told that every body is made a bit differently and we need to accept our unique body type. But in fact, there are only three body types, with a little bit of overlap between them. By learning which of the three body styles you inherited, you can plan a fitness routine that makes the most of it.
The three primary body forms are Mesomorph, Ectomorph and Endomorph and each comes with both positive and not-so-positive traits. But by focusing on the strengths, you can minimize the negatives and build the best body nature will allow.
Mesomorph Body Type
A Mesomorph body can be recognized by its overall rectangular appearance. Hips and chest tend to be wide – we sometimes describe a Meso body as being “big boned”. There are more male examples of Meso body styles, but women can certainly fall into this category of body type, as well.
The exciting part of the Meso body is its ability to easily build muscle. So you’ll find plenty of examples of Meso-style bodies at the gym and on Muscle Beach. If you’re a Meso, it’s best to follow nature’s lead and build as much muscle as you can. After all, lean muscle mass burns calories and give shapes and tone to the appearance of the body.
Unfortunately, while Meso’s don’t have any problem adding muscle, they often carry extra fat, as well. To burn this extra fat, it’s important to incorporate an extra cardio session or two per week. Of course, it’s human to want to focus on the things we already do well, so Meso’s usually prefer to lift weights than run on the treadmill, but a more balanced workout routine will give better overall results. The best workout plan for Meso’s would be about 40 percent strength training and 60 percent cardio.
Ectomorph Body Type
The Ectomorph body is often a runway fashion model, tall and thin, can eat anything without gaining an ounce. Picture Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyl. There are both male and female Ecto body types, but while the Ecto is a favored body type for women, it may not be so for men. While they don’t carry much extra fat, Ectomorphs also have difficulty gaining muscle.
The best workout routine for Ecto body types focuses more on strength training than cardio. In fact, cardio routines are done primarily for the endurance and health benefits than for weight loss purposes. But because of their slender bone structure, Ecto body types are more susceptible to injury, so strength training is important for health purposes, as well as the more toned appearance that muscle can provide.
Endomorph Body Type
The Endo body style is characterized by curves. Endos are strong and usually carry a higher percentage of muscle than Ectos or Mesos, but they often carry a great deal of fat. A male Endo is likely to be a defensive lineman on a football team, and a female endo may spend her life on one diet after another. Oprah Winfrey is a good example of a female Endo who has produced a toned and healthy endo body through her healthy diet and exercise routines.
Because building muscle mass comes effortlessly to an Endo, whereas fat loss is a constant effort, the Endo workout plan should incorporate no less than 70 percent of the weekly workout time to cardio, and devote the remaining 30 percent to strength training.
By being honest with ourselves about the body nature gave us, we can accept the positives while we work to correct the short falls. Just remember that Mommy was right when she told us that “nature made every body perfect just the way they are”, but it never hurts to give nature a little bit help.