Rating Body Types (Endomorph, Mesomorph, and Ectomorph)

(This is an excerpt from the e-book "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" by Tom Venuto. Page 82 to 95)
Rating body types

Although there are three basic categories, pure body types are very rare. Few people are 100% of one body type and 0% of another. Usually there is a mix of two or even all three types. However, most people will tend to gravitate towards one type predominantly.

In order to more accurately classify people, Sheldon developed a 7-point scale to determine the degree to which each person held attributes of each body type. The first number ranks the endomorph component; the second number the mesomorph, and the third the ectomorph. For example, an extreme endomorph would score 7-1-1:

Endomorph 7
Mesomorph 1
Ectomorph 1

A pure mesomorph such as a world champion bodybuilder who gains muscle
easily and was lean and muscular before ever touching a weight might score 1-7-1:

Endomorph 1
Mesomorph 7
Ectomorph 1


Combination body types

Combination body types are more common than pure body types. For example, someone who gains muscle easily, but who also tends to gain fat along with the muscle is an endomorphic mesomorph (endo-mesomorph). This body type is typical of football linemen, heavyweight wrestlers, shot-putters and many bodybuilders. This is the type of person with high levels of muscle, but the muscle is often covered with a layer of fat. Someone with this body type might score 5-6-1:

Endomorph 5
Mesomorph 6
Ectomorph 1

Another example is the ectomorphic mesomorph (ecto-mesomorph). This is the type of person without an ounce of fat and with some fairly substantial muscle development on a tall and linear frame. Basketball players often have ecto-mesomorph body types. An ecto-meso (think Michael Jordan) might score 1-4-5:

Endomorph 1
Mesomorph 4
Ectomorph 5

Because the lines between body types are obviously quite blurry and somewhat arbitrarily chosen, the question is, how do you know which is your predominant type? Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of each somatotype to better help you classify yourself.


The Ectomorph

The ectomorph tends to be tall and skinny with small joints and a small waist. Ectomorphs are naturally lean and usually never have trouble with excess body fat during their entire lives. Many ectomorphs can maintain extremely low body fat while doing no cardiovascular exercise whatsoever. Ectomorphs have overly efficient metabolisms. In other words, they “waste” excess calories as body heat, so they can often eat whatever they want without gaining fat. The downside is that ectomorphs also have a very difficult time gaining muscle.

Ectomorphs usually stay close to the same body weight within a fairly narrow range. If they have any weight fluctuations, it’s usually in the direction of losing weight, especially if meals are skipped or caloric intake is too low. When an ectomorph increases their activity level, they will usually drop body weight and body fat very rapidly – sometimes too quickly. Excessive cardio is usually counterproductive.

Many ectomorphs begin bodybuilding to fill out their skinny frames. Although ectomorphs will seldom, if ever, develop the massive muscle thickness of the pure mesomorph, with persistence and hard work, most can overcome their body type and build impressive physiques showing excellent muscular definition. However, ectomorphs will usually lose most of the muscle they gained if they quit training or if they allow their calories to drop too low for too long. Without proper ectomorph training and nutrition, they will eventually slide back towards the level of leanness where their body is most comfortable. It takes lifelong commitment for an ectomorph to keep the muscle and body
weight up.

Characteristics of the ectomorph

Naturally skinny, wiry
Long limbs, linear
Small joints, small-boned
Small waist, narrow shoulders
Angular, projecting bones
Naturally lean (low levels of body fat without even working out)
Often call themselves "Hardgainers"
Low strength levels prior to starting a training program
Fast metabolism – they burn up everything, even when overeating
Don’t store carbohydrates as fat – high carbohydrate diets are ok
High energy levels
Tendency to be overactive and restless (hyperactive)
Natural born endurance athletes (successful at distance/endurance sports)
Sometimes hard to maintain weight
Extremely hard to gain weight
Sometimes insomniacs
Respond best to low volume, brief, infrequent, high intensity weight training
It takes years of hard weight training and heavy eating to overcome this body type


The mesomorph (a.k.a. the “genetic freaks”)

Pure mesomorphs are naturally lean and muscular with small waists, broad shoulders, medium-sized joints and large, round muscle bellies. Mesomorphs are the typical natural-born athletes and bodybuilders. Most of them were lean and muscular before they even started working out.

For example, Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson is very mesomorphic (5) with very muscular arms, shoulders and chest. He also has a moderate ectomorphic component (4) with small joints and very low body fat. There is no sign of any endomorphy (1) whatsoever. Johnson would probably score a 1-5-4.

A bodybuilder like Arnold Schwarzenegger is almost pure mesomorph (7) with low body fat and massive muscles. Because of his height and long limbs, he has a small ectomorph component (2). He also seemed to get quite bulky in the off-season, indicating a slight endomorph component as well (2). I would rate Arnold a 2-7-2.

Mesomorphs are the genetically gifted people we all “love to hate” because they gain muscle and lose fat so easily. These are the people who don’t seem to train or diet hard at all, yet their bodies respond like crazy.

Characteristics of the mesomorph

Medium joint circumference
Small waist
Broad/square shoulders
Chest dominates over abdominal area
Naturally lean (low levels of body fat without even working out)
Naturally muscular (muscular before they even started working out)
Naturally strong (strong before they even started working out)
High energy levels
Don’t store carbohydrates as fat – high carbohydrate diets are ok
Highly efficient (fast) metabolism
Controlling body fat is easy
Gaining strength is easy
Gaining muscle is easy
Losing body fat is easy
Responds very quickly to just about any type of training (fast results)
Natural born athlete (successful at strength and power sports)
Top-level professional bodybuilders are often pure mesomor


The endomorph

Most people who are working hard but still struggling to lose body fat are endomorphs. An endomorph is someone with a slow metabolism who is genetically prone to store fat easily. Endomorphs are usually, but not always, large framed with medium to large joints.

Endomorphs sometimes have varying degrees of carbohydrate sensitivity and insulin resistance, so high carbohydrate diets are usually not effective for body fat control. Processed and refined carbohydrates that contain white sugar and white flour are especially detrimental and tend to convert to body fat more rapidly in endomorphs. Low to moderate carbohydrate diets with higher protein usually work best for endomorphs.

While some genetically gifted mesomorphs and ectomorphs can eat whatever they want and never gain any fat, the endomorph must eat clean and healthy almost all the time. This requires the development of high levels of nutritional discipline. Endomorphs are the types who will tend to gain body fat very quickly if they eat too much or if they eat the wrong types of foods.

Endomorphs cannot “cheat” frequently and get away with it. Their metabolisms are extremely unforgiving. One or two cheat meals per week seem to be the limit. Poor daily nutrition habits or frequent cheat days always set them back.

Endomorphs generally have a very difficult time losing fat with diet alone. Even a nearly perfect diet sometimes won’t work by itself because the endomorph needs the boost in metabolism that exercise provides.

A larger quantity of cardio is almost always necessary for the endomorph to lose body fat. Someone with a low endomorph component may stay lean with little or no cardio at all. Extreme endomorphs usually need cardio every day before the body fat begins to come off.

Occasionally, an extreme endomorph (7 on the endomorph scale), will have a difficult time losing fat even while on a well-constructed training and
nutrition program. Extreme endomorphs sometimes need to restrict carbohydrates drastically (under 100 g./day for women, under 175 g./day for men) before any substantial fat loss occurs. They may also need to use a carbohydrate cycling approach that rotates high carbohydrate days with low carbohydrate days in order to stimulate their sluggish metabolisms and prevent going into starvation mode. Santa Claus is the archetypical endomorph.

Endomorph characteristics

Naturally high levels of body fat (often overweight)
Usually large boned, large joints, large frame (but not always)
Short, tapering arms and legs
Smooth, round body contours (round or pear shaped body)
Wide waist and hips
Waist dominates over chest
Tendency to always store excess calories as fat (can’t get away with overeating)
Keeping fat off after it is lost is a challenge
Tendency to be sluggish, slow moving and lacking energy
Slow thyroid or other hormone imbalance (sometimes)
Fairly good strength levels
Sensitive to carbohydrates (carbs are easily stored as fat)
Responds better to diets with higher protein and low (or moderate) carbs
Naturally slow metabolic rate/low set point (fewer calories burned at rest)
Falls asleep easily and sleeps deeply
A lot of cardio is necessary to lose weight and body fat
Extremely difficult to lose weight (requires great effort)
Bouts of fatigue and tiredness
Often describe themselves as having a "slow metabolism"
Tendency to gain fat easily as soon as exercise is stopped
Tendency to lose fat slowly, even on a "clean," low fat, low calorie diet.
Often overweight, even though they don't eat very much
Respond best to frequent, even daily, training

Comments

  • chikinitochikinito Posts: 461
    Ok tong thread nato. Meron palang combination body types. Hehehe..

    Nalilito na tuloy ako. ^_^
  • nrg500nrg500 Posts: 1,235B-Class
    sa tingin ko, 90% endomorph ako dahil ang laki ng hips ko, kapantay lang ng latissimus dorsi ko

    kailangan ko talaga palakihin ang latissimus dorsi ko para magkaroon ng V-shape ang torso ko


    madali rin ako tumaba pag sobra ang kain

    sa mga tulad ko, di pwede na walang cardio training
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