Attempting to enter the basic American search for self-control, individuality and thinness has not brought most people more health and happiness. Instead, we often feel as if we have failed and the blame is laid squarely on our shoulders. But the social requirement that we achieve the “ideal weight” is based on the presumption that we can completely control our body size. In fact, the size and shape of our bodies are as genetically determined as skin and eye color. Each one of us inherits a specific body type. Even though the media would have us think otherwise, there are really many healthy and normal body types. For ease of reference, body types have been categorized into three main types. Each body type has advantages over the others for certain activities, but a person with any body type can be healthy and fit and look great!
Thin, angular, lightweight frame with little muscle or fat mass. Ectomorphs are generally tall and thin and have long arms and legs. These people have difficulty gaining weight and muscle no matter how much they eat or how hard they weight train. They have the body type you tend to see in ballet dancers, runway models, long-distance runners, and some basketball players. A very small proportion of the population has this type of body.
Average to large frame, stocky, soft, rounded appearance with a larger percentage of body fat. Endomorphs are generally shaped like apples or pears and carry more body fat. Their bodies resist losing weight and body fat no matter how restrictive they are with their eating. In fact, the more they “diet,” the more their metabolisms slow down to resist weight loss. These people are better able to handle long periods of starvation and famine (which was a benefit to our ancestors). Sports they excel at are distance swimming, field events, and weight lifting.
Low to average body fat, strong muscle mass with little fat. Mesomorphs are generally muscular, shorter, and have stocky arms and legs. These people are strong and tend to gain muscle mass when they do strength training. They may find it difficult to lose weight, but they excel in power sports like soccer, softball, vaulting in gymnastics, sprinting events in track and field.