From time immemorial, people have been categorized according to their body types. They’re slotted in terms such as fat, thin, skinny, or obese. Greek philosopher Plato talked about it in 380 BC, German philosopher Nietzsche referred to it in the early 19th century, and American psychologist William Sheldon cited it in 1940. An amusing school of thought divided people into fruit-shapes such as apple (heavy on top) and pear (bigger hips). Fortunately, today, we have a better understanding of body types and how to live healthy. Read on to find out how to match your shape with your diet and lifestyle.
The Body Types
The more scientific description of bodies divides them into three categories: endomorph (big built with high body fat), ectomorph (lean, and average weight for their height) and mesomorph (large muscular frame with low body fat). Well-known endomorphs are John Goodman, Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé. Famous ectomorphs we know are Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Kate Moss and Audrey Hepburn, while Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney and Tina Turner are mesomorphs. Regardless of the category, each one of them has managed to maintain a fit and healthy body of their choice.
What Body Are You?
Most of us tend to gain weight during the holidays, where we are tempted to eat the wrong foods. If you can lose the weight easily by changing your diet and exercise routine, you’re probably a mesomorph. Those who struggle to lose the excess weight are most likely endomorphs, and if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t put on any weight in the first place, you belong to the ectomorph category.
What You Should Eat
Ectomorphs are advised to eat high-density foods such as almonds, peanut butter or avocado, with 50-60 percent of their meals consisting of carbs. Endomorphs should eat 30-40 percent carbohydrates and consume plenty of water and vegetables to stay full for longer. Mesomorphs can maintain a diet of 40-60 percent carbs with sufficient calories to maintain their current muscle mass.
Fitness & Exercise
Ectos should train heavier, with repetitions in the 5-10 range, take longer rest breaks because of the high weights used and should ideally avoid cardiovascular workouts. Endos should train in the 15 plus reps range and should do as much cardio and compound lifts as possible. Mesos function well with a range of 8-12 reps. They ought to do enough cardio to stay lean, but avoid overdoing it.
It doesn’t matter what body type you are—a positive mental attitude is essential to being healthy. Trying to fit into a preconceived physical stereotype will only lead to a struggle. An endomorph aspiring to be skinny could end up with an eating disorder, just as an ectomorph wanting to be as bulky as a professional bodybuilder could ultimately get frustrated.
Not everybody fits neatly into any one single category, but can be a combination of two types as well. So figure out your combination and work with it. Focus, instead, on your strengths while you eat and exercise. Let fitness become a goal towards your journey to loving your body.