Body types are not an exact science but a good indicator if you use them in contexts. Did you ever notice that some people are just naturally skinny, naturally fat or naturally lean and muscular? It’s not your imagination. There are different body types and genetics out there and they definitely play a role in how our bodies look.
More importantly, these different body types play a role in how easy or hard it is to change how our bodies look. Think about it…
Some people (ectomorphs) seem to eat whatever they want and never gain weight. Some people (endomorphs) seem to get fat no matter how much they work out or how little they eat. Some people (mesomorphs) look like they work out, even when they don’t.
This is all very real, and these genetic factors are something we all have to live with whether we like it or not. Fortunately, though, we aren’t stuck being what our natural body types make us out to be. We can ALL improve the way we want as long as we do what we need to do.
So, let’s start with the basics. There are 3 different body types:
Figuring out which category you fit into will help you understand why certain aspects of your diet and workout are harder and slower (or easier and quicker) for you than they are for other people. And from there, you’ll be able to figure out how to adjust your diet and work out to fix it.
What is an ectomorph?
Let’s start with the body type I personally know the most about… ectomorphs. As a guy who started working out at 5’11 120lbs, this is definitely the category that I fit into.
Ectomorphs are the naturally skinny body type. These are the men and women who were likely skinny their entire lives without actually having to put much (if any) effort into their diet or workout. These are the people who seem to be able to eat as much as they want and never gain weight.
This isn’t true of course (anyone who eats too much will always gain weight), it’s just the genetics of an ectomorph make it a whole lot harder to reach that point for weight gain to occur, especially when compared to the other different body types.
Common genetic traits of ectomorphs:
- Lightning fast metabolism.
- Tiny bone structure (skinny wrists, skinny ankles, etc).
- Sometimes a little hyper, and often times overly frigidity (which increases their NEAT – non-exercise activity thermogenesis – which is part of what causes that super fast metabolism).
- Often picky eaters don’t always possess a huge appetite.
- Naturally lacking muscle and strength.
- Naturally skinny, although not naturally lean (there’s a difference).
So if your goal is to just be skinny or to excel at a sport primarily based on endurance, you definitely want to be an ectomorph rather than an endomorph and possibly even a mesomorph.
But if your goal is to build muscle, be strong, get big, or be fast and explosive, then the last thing you want to be is an ectomorph. Trust me, I know.
As I said, I started off super skinny and my only real goal was to build muscle and gain weight. I know firsthand exactly how much harder it is to reach these goals if you aren’t born with one of the body types that are much more ideal for reaching them.
Those same genetic factors that make us naturally skinny are the same factors that make gaining weight and building muscle as hard as they can possibly be. It also puts a lower limit on the amount of muscle we are genetically capable of building and how big we are capable of getting.
So, while it was nice to grow up never caring about my diet or what I was eating or ever needing to “watch my weight,” we ectomorphs definitely got screwed when it comes to building muscle. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t. We most definitely can completely transform our bodies for the better… it’s just going to be a bit harder than it is for a mesomorph or an endomorph.
Speaking of these other different body types…
What is an endomorph?
The next body type is basically the complete opposite of the previously mentioned ectomorph… the endomorph.
Endomorphs are the naturally fat body type. These are the men and women who were likely always at least a little bit bigger, thicker and often fatter than everyone else most of their lives. These are the people who, despite their diet or workout, seem to gain weight just thinking about food and find it nearly impossible to lose it and keep it off.
This isn’t true of course (anyone who eats fewer calories than they burn will always lose weight), it’s just the genetics of an endomorph make it a whole lot harder to reach that point for weight loss to occur, especially when compared to the other body types.