“What’s my body type?” You’ve asked.
Well, like you, at some point(s), most of us have had to ask the same question: tried to find out what our body type or even shape is.
It’s a normal, reasonable question.
And, if you’re like many people, you’re probably very sensitive about your body (structure) and care to know how other people view you. For some, this can define how they see and feel about themselves.
Am I too thin? My legs look too big for a girl’s! I will never be able to get into that lovely gown; I’m just too fat!
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For others, it’s more about relating their body type to certain personality traits—a myth that has long been debunked.
Before we proceed any further on this topic, it’s important to note that, everybody is beautiful. Your body type or shape neither defines your personality nor state your health status. And you shouldn’t allow it to knock you down.
For the most part, our body types/shapes are built-in, determined from birth by our genes, which control traits like height, bone structure, and fat & muscle distribution. As we grow into puberty, certain other hormones get activated (still built-in) and contribute their quota in the body’s entire shaping process.
What does this mean?
It means that certain factors are clearly beyond your control. And you should learn to embrace what you have been given. Besides, “One man’s make is another’s mar” is a natural law in life.
Even though you can take that law into your own hands.
Yes, you can still choose to be proactive and sculpt your body into almost any structure you want. If people like Christopher Columbus, could do it, then why can’t you?
While certain factors cannot be controlled, others can!
With the right adjustments in lifestyle choices, you can work with your present body type to effectively change or optimize your body composition. You can get into that body type you’ve always wanted—or something closer to it. You only need the right shift in your dieting, exercising, and maybe fashion. It’s a balancing act, and this is what you should focus on.
You can do it.
So much said so far, let’s get back to the original question.
What’s my body type?
There are three basic body types:
Also called somatotype, the body types are generally categorized into these basic three: the Ectomorph, the Mesomorph, and the Endomorph. This is a broad classification, and as with almost anything, it’s uncommon to find someone who “neatly” fits into any single category. Oftentimes, we are a combination of two somatotypes in varying proportions.
There are tons of articles out there about how having a general idea of what somatotype you fit into can help you in your journey to change or optimize your body composition. We will get to that shortly.
In the meantime, let’s examine the three somatotypes in more detail.
Ectomorphs tend to be long and thin, with little body fat and very lean muscles. They generally struggle to gain weight, no matter the amount of food they consume. Those of them who have a hard time gaining muscles are called “hard gainers”.
You can identity ectomorphs by their lean build, long limbs, and small muscle bellies. Even when they add weight, they still look thin in their calves and forearms. Runway fashion models are a perfect example of this body type.
As an ectomorph female, you may find yourself longing for more womanly curves. That’s okay. You can work your way around it to transform or improve your body composition. But you must first understand that being an ectomorph doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be weak. You can still be as fit and healthy as someone with more body mass. All it takes is proper dieting, exercise, and fashion—as we shall see in a later category.
Ectomorphs are characterized by:
- Little body fat and very lean muscles
- Lean build
- Long limbs and stringy muscle bellies
- Narrow hips and clavicles
- Struggle to add weight
- Thin calves and forearms even with total body weight gain
- Deemphasized curves
- Slow metabolism
Taking the best of both worlds, the naturally blessed mesomorph sits on the fence. Athletic, solid, and strong, they’re neither overweight nor underweight. They can also gain or lose weight without much effort. This allows them some freedom (just some!) to eat what they want without worrying too much about it. This nature-given lenience also extends to their exercising and fashion.
The mesomorph may have wide shoulders, narrow waist, comparatively thin joints, and round muscle bellies. They have a natural tendency to be fit and relatively muscular.
It’s important to also note that being a mesomorph doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re healthier, fitter, or stronger than the other two body types. It’s, for the most part, an advantage in the body’s esthetic composition.
Mesomorphs are characterized by:
- Athletic, solid, and strong
- Neither overweight nor underweight
- Wide clavicles
- Narrow waist
- Thinner joints
- Long and round muscle bellies
Endomorphs tend to have lots of body mass, which can be composed of fat and/or muscles. Think of the typical football lineman…heavy and rounded. Endomorphs gain weight easily (and keep it on), but they don’t necessarily have to be overweight.
Queen Latifah and Oprah Winfrey may be good examples.
An endomorph generally has a wider and thicker look than an ectomorph or a mesomorph. They may be characterized by a blocky figure, thick rib cage, wide or thicker joints, wide hips (often larger than their clavicles), and shorter limbs.
While some endomorphs tend to love to eat more, others just add on weight even with little food consumption. This doesn’t mean an endomorph cannot live a fit, healthy, and happy life. They can be as fit, healthy, and strong as (or even more so than) an ectomorph or a mesomorph.
Are you an endomorph looking to shed pounds? You can, but with hard work and discipline.
Endomorphs are characterized by:
- Lots of body mass
- Rounded and heavy with large fatty or muscly body
- Blocky figure
- The thick rib cage, wider/thicker joints, wide hips, shorter limbs
- Gain and keep on weight easily
- Not necessarily obese
- Fast metabolism
How can I change or improve my body type?
You should first understand that your somatotype is a combination of your musculature and bone structure, traits already genetically determined and almost nearly unchangeable.
However, you can learn to eat, exercise, and dress in a way that develops or emphasizes your best features while minimizing those you would love to change (if you could).
So, how can you do that?
The following information explains more.
Ectomorph’s guide to dieting, exercise, and fashion
As an ectomorph looking to add some flesh to your frame, it’s advised that you first see your doctor rule out the possibility of any underlying medical issues. This helps you know what dieting course or exercise routines you should adopt or avoid.
And just because you’re slim doesn’t mean you’re fit or healthy. You have to take your diet and fitness very seriously.
How many times do you eat in a day? You might have to aim for five or six meals a day. Eating more times in a day will help balance out an ectomorph’s naturally fast metabolism. For your snacks and meals, go for foods that are rich in nutrients and calories. Some people tend to avoid fat—don’t do this. About 30% of your calories should come from fat. Also, pack your menu with high protein meals and carbs. This helps you boost and maintain muscle mass.
If you can, you might also include mass-gainer nutritional shakes in your diet.
As hard gainers, ectomorphs should reduce workouts that involve cardio or aerobic training. You should rather opt for exercises that aim for muscle building with fair heavyweights.
As with the other two body types, sometimes an ectomorph few other body types, with the mass on certain areas of the body which may be atypical of a true ectomorphic body type. In this case, it will be smart to place less emphasis on those areas and to go for compound exercises, to achieve balance.
Because of their model-type body composition, ectomorph females often have comparative ease finding stylish outfits. Stylists may, however, point you toward clothes that are a little bulky to fill out your thin frame. Choose your jackets and pants carefully, since they may be too short for your frame. On the other hand, your slim build can make clothes drape over your narrow shoulders too loosely, making your proportions look unbalanced.
Mesomorph’s guide to dieting, exercise, and fashion
For the genetically blessed mesomorph, there are no strict dieting, fitness, or fashion specifics. But don’t feel invincible! There are still a few things to be conscious of.
As a mesomorph, it’s easy to gain or lose weight, so controlling your body weight will not be too difficult to do. Your efficient metabolic system will allow for quicker muscle growth or fat burn than the other two somatotypes.
As a middle-of-the-road body type, you should target proper calorie balance; nutritious plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables; and equally split macronutrient foods like fat, carbs, and protein.
As we’ve already noted, you have an easier time than most people staying slim and fit. Naturally built for sports and other physical activity (or so you look, at least), you can easily choose any fitness program that you want—strength, endurance, aerobic, balance, or flexibility training. Whatever fitness goal you choose, you already have a good head-start with this body type. The raw materials to build your desired body type goals are already there; you only need to balance this with realistic goals and the right workouts.
Usually, the recommendation is 150 minutes per week. Any activity that helps you hit this mark is great.
Mesomorphs should bear in mind, however, that no matter how good they look in the mirror, this is only a literal reflection of their health. As a mesomorph, you are not immune to the risks of an inactive lifestyle. The same rules for health and well-being apply to you as to the other two somatotypes.
You must take good care of yourself with a proper diet, adequate sleep, sufficient exercise, and effective stress management.
As a mesomorph female, you should already have a great wardrobe that flatters your naturally enviable body type. Even though body type is completely different from body shape, women under this somatotype tend to be either hourglass- or pear-shaped. Either way, this means that you likely have a slim waistline—don’t shy away from flaunting it!
Go for jackets and pants with narrow waistlines to show off your nice curves. Avoid baggy outfits and horizontal lines & cuts with wide shoulders. They may not give complimentary feedback.
Endomorph’s guide to dieting, exercise, and fashion
As an endomorph, you will have a tougher battle fighting weight gain. This puts you in a position where you have to be more careful about your diet, fitness, and fashion than the other two body types.
That said, what are the options for you?
Cut down on “sweet food” like sugar and other refined, simple carbohydrate-rich food. These items are easily overeaten, leading to excessive storage of fat and unwanted weight gain. Fad diets can also make your body hold onto fat reserves—avoid them!
What you should do is to adjust your diet so that you eat smaller meals more frequently at ideally 5-hour intervals. Eat at a slower pace and drink more water. Foods rich in lean protein and high fiber will help give you a feeling of fullness for longer while promoting muscle growth. Fill up with vitamin- and mineral-rich meals, like fruits and vegetables, to assist weight loss. And fat? Well, a little is healthy and needed. The right fat choice would be nutritious omega fatty acids and plant-based fats.
It’s important to note that while calorie intake is vital to weight management for any body type, the case is even more so important for endomorphs.
Inactive lifestyles and calorie excesses encourage fat accumulation. Endomorphs can solve this problem in two basic steps.
When starting, you should focus on moderately-paced fat-burning activities. You should walk, jog, cycle, or do similar, simple aerobic activities for, at least, half an hour five days a week. The goal at this stage is to build up cardiovascular health for upcoming higher intensity training.
When you begin to shed weight, you can incorporate strength and endurance training with weights to tone and strengthen your muscles. Doing this two or three days a week will burn extra calories.
We recommend that you combine cardio and strength training to help you shed fat quicker instead of maintaining just one type of exercise.
Stylists recommend an endomorph female pays close attention to her waistline when choosing outfits. Instead of buying clothes that cling to your waist, opt for designs of flowing style pants, gowns, and skirts. Pockets or belts will not do justice to your figure, rather choose styles and darker colors that will grace your silhouette.
By now you will have been able to identify what somatotype you belong in. Are you are ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph? If you still cannot identify where you fall under the somatotype scale, then you may be a combination of any two body types.
This knowledge will help you adjust your lifestyle to change or optimize your body type the way you want. You can eat, exercise, and dress right for your unique somatotype.
At this point, it’s worth noting that your body type is often a literal reflection of you. This means that being a mesomorph, for example, does not necessarily make you healthier, stronger, or better than persons with the other body types. And by the same token, being ectomorph or endomorph doesn’t mean you aren’t (or cannot be) fit or healthy.
And you shouldn’t allow any form of body shaming, self or external. You’re awesome the way you are. Different strokes for different folks, people’s perspectives, and tastes differ. You have to accept yourself first and make the most of what you have.
And if you still feel the need for change or improvement, it’s possible. Just eat, exercise, and dress properly.
With passion and discipline, you can reach almost anybody goals.
And be healthy and happy.
My name is Grace Gyimah, a devoted wife and mother of 2. I’m a licensed Social worker, currently working with the Veterans administration. I’m so glad that you have taken the time to check out Gurlzcare today. As a woman I take joy and pride in seeing my fellow women’s needs being met; hence the birth of Gurlzcare. From the latest trends in fashion, fitness tips, home, makeup, and many more; our goal is to take care of you. Thanks for visiting today and have an awesome shopping experience.