What are the different body types?
Strong, curvy, lean, weak, or flabby! How many times have you heard people explaining their body types in this way? While these are adjectives based on people’s subjective viewpoints, types of body shapes are much more than this.
William Herbert Sheldon introduced the concept of all body types in the 1940s. He based these body types on the three germ layers of embryo development. These three layers include your heart, muscles, and blood vessels (mesoderm), skin and nervous system (ectoderm), and the digestive tract (endoderm). He believed that these body types affect not just how your appearance but also your temperament.
Before we understand all body types, it’s important to know your unique body type. The reasons include:
- Each body type responds differently to different exercises and nutrition plans. Knowing your type helps in knowing the types of nutrition plans and workouts that will help change your body composition (muscle over fat ratio).
- Knowledge of different body types helps in having realistic expectations from your workout plan and achieving them holistically.
Whether it is a men body type or a women’s body type, everyone’s bodies fall into one of the three categories. Here we have not just classified the different body types and types of body shapes but have also detailed specific diet and workout plans that work for each of these:
- Ectomorph: In this type of body shapes females and males are lanky, thin, and tall. This body type has these characteristics:
- A slender waist
- Small joints
- Narrow hips
- Long limbs
- Difficulty gaining weight and muscle
Nutrition: Since ectomorphs have a fast metabolism, they burn more calories in a short time. It may often seem that while they can eat however much they want, they never seem to gain weight. The most appropriate diet is the one that is high in carbs. Since they also seem to have little or no muscle mass, a diet high in proteins is also essential. Here are some tips for food intake for ectomorph women and men body types:
- Eat every 2-4 hours.
- Include starchy foods such as rice, sweet potatoes, and oats in your diet.
- Choose fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, bananas, pineapples, peaches, avocados, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets, and carrots.
- Cook your food in ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil.
- Include dense snacks such as nut butter, and dry fruits in your diet.
Workout: Whether your workout goal is to gain muscle or maintain a lean and strong body, here are some workouts that ectomorph female and male body types will benefit from:
- Cardio for stimulating muscle growth and maintaining overall health.
- Weight training for building muscle and increasing strength. You can include deadlifts, chin-ups, shoulder presses, and squats in your workout plan.
- Mesomorph: This is a solid and naturally athletic body type. Different types of body shapes for men in this type have muscular arms, chest, shoulders and legs. Women of this body type tend to have a medium frame with an hourglass figure. Here are the characterises of a mesomorph:
- Thinner joints
- Wide calves
- Narrow waist
- Broad and square shoulders
- A proportional body
Nutrition: In this men and women’s body type have more muscle than fat, they need more calories. To maintain a healthy weight and body structure, you need fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in equal proportions. Here are some tips:
- Include sources of protein in very meals such as beans, lentils, eggs, meat, fish, chicken, etc.
- Mix and match different sources of carbs such as pears, apples, sweet potatoes, lentils, berries, brown rice, oatmeal, and green beans.
- Choose healthy fat sources such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
- Cook your meals in coconut oil or olive oil.
Workout: The goal of these female and male body types is to avoid putting on too much fat and to attain or retain a lean physique. A workout plan with a mix of both cardio and weight training helps in doing so. Here are some tips for male and female body types in this category:
- Do at least 30-45 minutes of cardio 3-5 times a week. You can choose running, swimming, cycling, or brisk walking in your regime of workouts at home.
- Include moderate to heavy weightlifting in your workout schedule 4-5 times a week.
- Endomorph: In this type of body shapes males and females are usually shorter in height and have stockier bodies. The different types of body shapes include those that can be described as curvy or apple and pear-shaped. Here are some characteristics of endomorphic males and female body types:
- Thicker rib cage
- Shorter limbs
- Wider and stockier joints
- Hips wider than calves
Nutrition: Since in this type of body shapes females and males have a slow metabolism and tend to gain weight easily, they need to be conscious of their food intake. Since people in this body type find it difficult to lose weight, they need to follow a diet high in fats and proteins and low in carbs. Here are some tips:
- Include healthy fat sources such as almonds, walnuts, eggs, fatty fish, cheese, low-fat milk, cheese, etc.
- Cook your meals in olive oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil.
- Choose the right kinds of carbs such as legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
- Avoid white bread, pasta, sweets, soft drinks, refined cereals, fried & salty foods, red meats, alcohol, etc.
Workout: Since improving metabolism and burning fat is important for the endomorphic types of body shape males and females should focus on regular workouts that create calorie deficits. You should concentrate on weight loss exercises and must include:
- Cardio workouts at least 2-4 times per week.
- Include strength-training workouts for muscle building and losing weight such as deadlifts, squats, pushups, etc.
Now that you know the different types of body shapes, you can have clear diet and fitness objectives. It is essential to be confident in your body type and keep yourself healthy. Don’t get fixated on ‘popular’ body types and blindly follow fad diets and workouts.