The so-called “body type” is allegedly genetically determined and has a substantial influence on muscle building and the entire fitness training. The different body types – or somatotypes – are divided into 3 heterogeneous metabolic types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph . This typology was introduced in the 1942s by the American physician William Herbert Sheldon and is mainly used today in sports medicine and fitness training, but is controversial in medical use.
The metabolic type cannot be changed by an optimal diet, effective fitness training or strict discipline. Only the phenotype , the appearance of an organism characterized by genetic characteristics, can be influenced by external effects (e.g. muscle training or healthy nutrition).
Nobody can show a 100% pure body type. Each metabolic type combines relevant and less relevant phenotypic characteristics into a distinctive, individual organism. Many different characteristics of the 3 body types correlate with each other, e.g. the fast fat storage, which is unmistakable for an endomorph, and strong, powerful muscles that are typical of the mesomorph.
What body type do I have?
A medically accurate determination of the body type can only be carried out by a sports doctor. In addition to the visible, phenotypic characteristics, the sports doctor also takes into account body weight, height, a bone width measurement, skin thickness measurement and a measurement of the circumference of the extremities to determine the metabolic type.
With the help of the different metabolic characteristics you can quickly define your own body type. With his somatic constitution types, William Sheldon provided the basis for a successful body type determination. We have broken down the 3 types separately in a separate article to enable you to customize your typing. Of course, various features can also overlap. What body type am I?
The 3 body types at a glance: ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph
The ectomorph tends to be slim and tends to be slim. The relatively ineffective use of energy in the metabolism means that the ectomorph hardly attaches any fat. But it is very difficult to build muscle effectively as an ectomorph.
A naturally athletic figure (typical “V-shape”) with pronounced, voluminous and powerful muscles characterize the mesomorph. Small fat deposits are only found on the abdomen and hips. A mesomorphic metabolic type can easily build muscle and has a low body fat percentage, which enables successful and effective six-pack training.
The endomorphic body type can build muscle quickly, but is also prone to fat accumulation. That is why the muscle definition of an endomorph is only possible with a perfect training and nutrition plan for building muscle and regulating the body fat percentage.
The body types in everyday training – training and nutrition
Although clear differences between these individual metabolic types can often be observed in practice, this trace of the “differences” is lost during strength training at the latest. Even if the basic muscular requirements between ectomorph and endomorph couldn’t be more different, the training principles can be adapted almost 1: 1 to all metabolic types.
When it comes to nutrition, things look very different. The biggest difference here is usually in the efficiency of energy conversion , which is very individual for each person (and “metabolic type”). While the mesomorph can often choose whether his training focus is on muscle building or fat burning , ectomorph and endomorph have to make a clear decision:
- Ectomorphs tend to inefficient energy conversion and have to absorb significantly more energy compared to meso- and endomorphs so that muscle building can take place. This calorie surplus can only be achieved through an individual diet, e.g. our nutrition plan for ectomorphs.
- Endomorphs turn the situation around. Here, a much more efficient energy conversion leads to the fact that the endomorphic metabolic types are very rarely slim. The only way that can change the physical requirements in the long term is a planned energy deficit in the daily diet, which can be optimally implemented with a nutrition plan for endomorphs.
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