People come in all shapes and sizes. The amount of muscle, bone and fat we carry makes our bodies unique. Don't like your body type? Blame your parents. You inherited your body type from them and their parents before them.
Which Body Type Are You?
Everyone can fit into one of three body type categories: Mesomorph, Endomorph or Ectomorph.
Mesomorphs are muscular and short. Their bone frame may be large and their bodies gain muscle easily. They can gain fat, but not as easily as Endomorphs. Examples are singer Madonna and actor Russell Crowe.
Endomorphs, are soft and curvy. Their bodies want to gain fat but resist gaining muscle. Their bone frames may be small, medium or large. Examples are newsmaker Monica Lewinsky and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Ectomorphs are tall and skinny with delicate bones and light muscles. Their bodies resist gaining both muscle and fat. Their bone frames are usually small. Five percent of the population has this body type. Examples are singer Whitney Houston and singer Mick Jagger.
Most people are a combination of two body types--Mesomorph and Ectomorph or Mesomorph and Endomorph. There are more mixed types than pure types. Think of the range of Body Types along a continuum:
If you learn to love the body you have, you'll never be disappointed. Every body type can be fit and healthy.
Another reason to care is because underestimating or overestimating your body type and frame size can dramatically affect if you are living healthily.
Living With Your Body Type
Your body type does not change the rules for good nutrition. Maintain a diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, skim milk, fish, lean meat, poultry, beans and nuts. Choose foods that are low in animal fat and added sugars and eat sensible portion sizes. Get aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Aerobic exercise conditions the heart and lungs.
You can tailor your exercise routine to body type. Besides 30 minutes of aerobics, ectomorphs can switch off every other day to weight workouts to build muscle, endomorphs can do longer aerobics and weight train to build muscle, and mesomorphs might train with lighter weights to avoid bulking up and, of course, do aerobics.
- William H. Sheldon, The Varieties of Human Physique: An Introduction to Constitutional Psychology (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1940).
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