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Understanding Body Types

A person’s body type (also known as their somatotype) serves as a way to classify his/her physical make-up and/or certain physiological characteristics. There are three general categories we all fall into: I types (ectomorphs), V types (mesomorphs), and O types (endomorphs). Today’s article will give a brief description of each to help further educate you on which category or categories you fall under.

Ectomorphs tend to be thin, with smaller bone structure and thinner limbs. The first person that comes to mind to represent this body type is an endurance athlete (think of the top finalists in Beach to Beacon every year). They are known for their ‘fast’ metabolisms that can be considered hyperactive at times. High energy levels and excess calories tend to be burned off with continuous movement throughout the day.

I types generally do best with a higher carbohydrate diet (not as apt to feel the ill effects of eating cookies like other somatotypesL) coupled with moderate protein and lower fat intake. A nutrient distribution for this body type should be around 55% carbs, 30% protein and 15% fat. Overall, ectomorphs should think ‘higher carbs and lower fat’.

Mesomorphs tend to have a medium-sized bone structure and athletic body. If they’re active and strength-train, they usually have a considerable amount of lean body mass. Think of a wrestler or gymnast as someone that falls into this category. Their bodies are designed to be powerful, performing much better during anaerobic (strength training/sprinting) than aerobic (jogging) exercise. They are testosterone and growth hormone dominant.

A V type will usually take excess calories and put them towards more lean body mass and dense bones. In essence, these people usually gain muscle and stay lean easily. They generally respond better to a mixed diet, with balanced carbohydrates, proteins and fats. A nutrient distribution for this body type should be around 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. Overall, mesomorphs should focus on a ‘balanced mix of all three macronutrients’.

Endomorphs tend to have larger bone structures with greater amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Think of a football lineman, power lifter or track and field thrower (shot put/discuss) as those that best endorse this body type. Whereas ectomorphs usually burn off excess calories with a lot of movement, excess calories in endomorphs don’t create the same caloric expenditure and are usually stored as fat.

O types generally have a slower metabolism and don’t tolerate carbohydrates as well. They do better with a higher fat and protein intake and carbohydrates properly timed (i.e. post-workout). A nutrient distribution for this body type should be around 25% carbs, 35% protein and 40% fat. Overall, endomorphs should think ‘higher fats and protein, lower carbs’.

These somatotypes are not necessarily an either/or for many people. We can be a combination of at least two of them. Whatever body type, strength training focusing on full body, multi-joint movements should be a cornerstone in your exercise library. This is why ATS places such a premium on it. Whether you’re an I, V, O type or a combination, an elevated resting metabolism will do a world of good in the long run. For help assessing your somatotype to design a more appropriate diet, please don’t hesitate ask!