Understanding Body Types

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated October 21, 2015)

The most common body types cited in western culture tend to be those hypothesized by William Herbert Sheldon in his 1954 book Atlas of Men. These types are named after the germ layers of embryonic development, which are called ectoderm (the parts that become the nervous system and skin), endoderm (becomes the digestive tract), and the mesoderm (the parts that become muscle, blood vessels, and the heart). These then developed into the Ectomorph, the Endomorph, and the Mesomorph. There are psychological aspects attributed to each body type, but here I will only go over the physical traits.

The Ectomorph is generally agreed to have an easy time remaining thin. This body type tends to have the long, lean muscles you might see in a swimmer or Pilates instructor. Some might call this body type frail because it tends to have smaller bones and be so delicate. If you are an Ectomorph, you may find that weight training can be too strenuous if done for too long or too often, so be careful and pay attention to how your body feels. It can also be hard for this type to gain weight. Your diet should be high in calories of good quality until you get to a weight at which you are comfortable.

The Endomorph has no trouble at all gaining and storing fat. This body type is associated with the word "big" (as in waist and bone structure). To get into better shape, it is suggested that Endomorphs concentrate on increasing muscle and reducing fat. This improves your ability to burn calories, since just having more muscle on your body will automatically raise your metabolism.

The Mesomorph tends to be stereotyped in cultures as the "hard worker" or "popular" one. If you have this body, you will find that you are naturally fit. This does not mean that you cannot get out of shape and gain unnecessary weight, but you'll find that it's easier to build muscle for you than for the other body types. Do not worry too much about becoming too big. When you reach your preferred size, simply weight train with high repetitions using a reasonably sized weight and you will find that you can remain at your current level of fitness.

MORE FROM CASSANDRA

Exercise Plans for Beginners

The secret to exercise is to not try to do too much right away. Give yourself time to grow and you'll start seeing results in ...

Discover More

Removing Musty Smells from Upholstery

Just about all upholstery can end up smelling really terrible. It is possible to get the scent out though, and possibly wash ...

Discover More

Parenting Tips for Organizing Children's Rooms

Anyone who has a child knows just how difficult it can be to keep your child's room organized and clean. Never fear though. ...

Discover More
More Beauty Tips

Understanding Body Shapes

Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and one is not better than another. Once you understand about body shapes then you'll ...

Discover More

Understanding a Winter Person

While the actual season of winter may not be a general favorite, those with the winter color palette remind us what winter ...

Discover More

Body Cream

When you go to a beauty store the choices for body creams can be overwhelming. Here's a place where you can start so next ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured beauty tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured beauty tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)