What Does Your Body Type Mean For You?

You’ve probably heard of eating and exercising for your body type. Maybe you’ve even felt stuck with a certain body type label. The three overarching body shapes that are still discussed today go as far back as the 1940s. 

It was psychologist William Sheldon who defined the three main body types, or somatotypes. 

Why would a psychologist be interested in body types? Because Sheldon also believed that each body type corresponded with certain personalities and temperaments. Though this may have been a respected idea in the past, it’s largely ignored as old-school thinking today. 

Personalities aside, what can your body type say about you? Let’s have a look at the common understanding of the three somatotypes and general advice you might find for each one: 

Ectomorphs

    • Appearance: This body type category is defined as thin, with a straight-line appearance, and with little fat and muscle. 

    • Weight tendencies: Generally speaking, ectomorphs are thought to have difficulty putting on weight and building muscle. 

    • Diet: Consume more healthy calorically dense foods such as nuts/seeds, whole grains and clean proteins. 

    • Fitness: Focus on weights and resistance exercise. 

Mesomorphs

  • Appearance: This body type naturally appears athletic, muscular, and strong.

  • Weight tendencies: They can easily put on muscle and lose excess fat. 

  • Diet: As long as it’s healthy, have at it!

  • Fitness: A mix of resistance and aerobic exercise works fine for those that can naturally maintain a weight they are happy with. 

Endomorphs

  • Appearance: Usually defined by a rounder, though not necessarily heavy, body type.

  • Weight tendencies: They can easily gain weight and need to put in extra effort to lose and keep it off. 

  • Diet: Sticking to whole, unprocessed foods, with lots of fibre, and lower fat content (and thus lower calorie) intake may be ideal. 

  • Fitness: Regular aerobic exercise in a fitness regime may be needed to stimulate weight loss. 

What’s the takeaway? 

If you’re looking at yourself in the mirror, you may find that you’re a combination of these categories. That’s no surprise, as we humans come in so many different shapes and sizes, and while these general body types are still being highlighted on the internet, their associated tendencies don’t have to define us. 

Each body type has different advantages and weaknesses. While you may find it helpful to know in which category you fall for some general ideas on diet and exercise, keep in mind that with good lifestyle habits, anything is possible. 

For example, if your body type reflects the endomorph category at the moment, adjusting your habits to help stimulate weight loss may give you a more mesomorphic appearance. For example: try to move more and eat whole, high quality foods that keep you satiated, while avoiding nutrient-poor, high-fat, ultra-processed foods. 

That being said, no matter your shape, the advice mentioned above will do any body good. So know your shape, but love it too--in all the areas of wellbeing.