There are several exercise programs out there which are tailored towards a specific body type. But which one is yours?
The three main body types are Mesomorph (muscular), Endomorph (higher body fat), Ectomorph (lower body fat and lower muscle mass).
Most people are a mix of two body types, with one being dominant and the other secondary.
For example, someone can be primarily an Ectomorph (>55%), with a rather pronounced secondary Endomorph component (~35%-45%). This person would be an Ecto-Endo.
If someone’s non-dominant components were very weak (>10%), they would be plainly called Ecto or Meso or Endo, for there is no significant secondary component. Those are the body types that actually resemble the original idea of the body types the most closely.
If someone had a dominant Ectomorph component, but their Endomorph and Mesomorph components, or all components were about equal (25% each), this person would be “Mixed“ or “Balanced”. I am assuming that a very small amount of the population, if not no one is entirely “Balanced”.
If you happen to be “Mixed” (e.g. 50% Endo, 25% Ecto, 25% Meso – celebrity example: Jennifer Lopez), then follow the advice of the main body type (in this case, Endo).
To figure out your body type (also called Somatotype) you can take this test and/or look at the celebrity examples and descriptions below.
Traits: stereotypical Ectomorph – tall, skinny, difficulty gaining weight
Strengths: High metabolism, lowest natural body fat from all the body type, long legs
Weaknesses: “Hardgainers” (great difficulty gaining muscle), women lack curves
Traits: narrow and lean frame like an Ectomorph, with a similar ability to grow and keep muscle like a Mesomorph
Strengths: Lower body fat, some ability to gain lean muscle mass, fairly high metabolism
Weaknesses: not able to gain as much muscle as a Meso, often shorter in height
Traits: narrow and lean frame like an Ectomorph, with some amount of fleshiness at the limbs, stomach and/or breasts like an Endomorph
Strengths: can be the most appealing female physique, the men are usually tall
Weaknesses: “Skinnyfat” without training, difficulties with gaining muscle mass
Traits: stereotypical Mesomorph – muscular, athletic, no difficulties with either gaining or losing weight
Strengths: most able to build great muscle mass naturally, can be the most appealing male physique, naturally athletic look
Weaknesses: may develop too much muscle mass in unwanted places (e.g legs)
Traits: athletic like a Mesomorph, but with the leanness of an Ectomorph (primarily around the legs or arms)
Strengths: most able to make significant “lean gains” (build muscle without gaining too much fat), can have the most appealing “beach body” physique
Weaknesses: may have disproportionately small legs (esp. calves) or forearms
Traits: athletic like a Mesomorph, but with the fleshiness of an Endomorph at certain body areas or parts, like legs, arms, stomach, or butt
Strengths: good ability to gain muscle
Weaknesses: tendency to look “bulky” if they do not deliberately keep their body fat % down
Traits: stereotypical Endomorph – round, short, pudgy, difficulty losing weight
Strengths: the women keep their curves at lower levels of body fat
Weaknesses: great difficulty losing body fat, slow metabolism
Traits: plump like an Endomorph, with the narrow bones and arms or legs of an Ectomorph
Strengths: the women are typically the curviest of all body types
Weaknesses: difficulty losing body fat, may have difficulties with gaining muscle mass
Traits: plump like an Endomorph, with a similar ability to grow and keep muscle like a Mesomorph
Strengths: can put on the most size and look quite imposing
Weaknesses: muscle gains are usually accompanied by substantial fat gains, difficulties with leaning down