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What are the Different Body Types?

By Christina Edwards
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An individual's body type, or constitution type, may determine his or her body size and shape. While people come in many shapes and sizes, most can be classified as one of three different body types — Ectomorphs are usually skinnier, while endomorphs carry a bit of extra weight, and mesomorphs tend to have a more athletic body. Many experts now agree that a person's body type has more to do with genetics than lifestyle. Different body types typically require different weight control and muscle-toning exercises.

A person with an ectomorph body tends to be naturally skinnier than other types. These people are most likely skinny throughout their lives and have a narrow waist, along with narrow shoulders and hips. Ectomorphs typically have a very high metabolism, which leads to a very low percentage of body fat.

Despite having an easy time staying thin, this can pose a problem for some. Individuals with this particular type typically do not have much of a body shape due to a lack of lean muscle. Many ectomorphs may have to work very hard at gaining muscle.

Diet requirements for ectomorphs who are trying to gain weight should include an intake of at least 500 extra calories per day. Proteins and carbohydrates are especially important, and fat should be eaten in moderation. An endomorph's exercise regimen should focus on gaining muscle mass. Intense heavy workouts, such as strength and weight training, are best for this. As cardio workouts can increase a person's metabolism, these should be limited.

Endomorphs, in general, seem to have the opposite problem of ectomorphs. Individuals with this body type are often considered to be chunky or fat, and they tend to have big bones and a round face with a thick trunk and thighs. Because people with an endomorphic body have a lower metabolism, they will almost always have a higher percentage of body fat. An endomorph will usually gain weight very easily and find it harder to lose this weight.

When trying to lose weight, endomorphs should lower their calorie intake and eat very little fat and sugar. Low-calorie foods are considered to be the best, and protein should be obtained from lean poultry, such as chicken and fish. Characteristically, endomorphs are often concerned with losing weight and body fat. This can be achieved with frequent low-intensity cardio workouts.

An individual who usually has an athletic, lean body is often considered to be a mesomorph. People with mesomorphic bodies are not typically overweight, nor do they have a problem gaining weight. Mesomorphs generally have a high metabolism, and therefore, they have a lower percentage of body fat. They are often characterized as having broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and good muscle definition.

Since mesomorphs can usually shed weight just as quickly as they can gain it, a strict diet is not usually necessary. Like most individuals, however, they should pay attention to nutrition, and eat a healthy balanced diet. When exercising, mesomorphs should increase their daily calorie intake. Moderate strength training is more often than not all that is necessary to get a toned body. Because these body types can get much larger than intended, mesomorphs should not overdo it when it comes to exercising.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1004868 — On May 05, 2021

If you are asking for fashion, then the body types are more than three and yes you can have a mixture of body types, particularly if you are fluffy. You may need to dress for large breasts, belly, and wide hips.

By famnfriends — On Feb 23, 2011

@healthnwell--I think we are all a combination of "types" in some way or another. We are not really one hundred percent symmetrical. One side is usually bigger or smaller in some way. A shoe size, a breast size etc. What I usually do when I am trying to figure out what category I fit into, is to look at the all of the characteristics of each category and decide which one I have the most in common with. It has worked pretty well for me.

By healthnwell — On Feb 22, 2011

This is interesting. I was trying to figure out what body type I am and this helped me a lot. The only question I have is, can you be a combination body type? I seem to have a few characteristics of both the mesomorph and the ectomorph body types.

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