Before undertaking the process of weight loss it is important to learn about your body type (also known as somatotype). There are three basic body types, each reacting to weight gain and loss in a different way. Nutritionists, fitness instructors, doctors and other health professionals use body type to aid them in designing individual, effective and efficient weight loss and fitness programs. Knowing your body type will help you to understand your body, so that you can work with it rather than against it.
All body types can gain or lose weight but the degree and rate at which they do varies. This will enable you to achieve your goals, make it easier to plan a fitness routine and diet suited to you that will provide you with maximum results.
THREE BODY TYPES
Most of us do not fit perfectly within these body type groups, but instead have qualities of at least two body types. Experts believe that many people are a combination of body types, such as ecto-mesomorphs or endo-mesomorphs, where they’re mainly like the mesomorph, but with traits of the ectomorph (e.g. small joints or a trim waist) or with qualities of the endomorph (e.g. a tendency to gain fat easily). However, while we may not fit a body type exactly, we will fit into one category better than the next and have a predominant body type. It is important to determine which of these classical body types best defines you so that you have the best chances of reshaping your body.
When looking at other people it is not always easy to determine what body type they are by how they presently look. However, knowing they looked before and after they transformed it, can be very revealing (e.g. Janet Jackson, Madonna, Brad Pitt).
BODY TYPE GOAL
The goal is to move away from the archetypal black and white definition of your body type into a grey area that is a more fitting combination of two body types. With exercise and nutrition you can sculpt the body and balance those body types out.
BODY TYPES ARE A FRAMEWORK
Body type is a combination of your bone structure, bone density and musculature, which are genetically pre-determined. Unfortunately, no amount of exercise will transform a short-limbed woman into a long-limbed one, because characteristics, such as the width of you hips and shoulders or whether you are small or big boned are unchangeable.
Whether you can get skinny or more curvaceous all depends on your body type. You cannot change your body type in the sense that an endomorph will always have a greater tendency to put on weight compared to a mesomorph or ectomorph. However, an endomorph can change their body in the sense that they are not destined to being overweight as long as they make extra effort with regards to calorie intake and fat intake and exercising regularly. This gives you the opportunity to be realistic about what you can achieve and how much work you have to put in to achieve it, so that you can work with your body to make it the best it can be. So, if you’re an endomorph, while your friends may be able to get away with much less effort, you now know that you have to put in a lot more work to the the results you want. But, you know that you can get there.
Just because you may not have long limbs, lots of muscle or some other characteristic that you yearn for, does not mean you shouldn’t even try to make your body the best it can be. As with everything in life, in order to be successful, you first have to accept what you have and what you’ve been given. The truth is, that when a female body is slim and toned, it can transform the plainest of women, into stunning beauties. Similarly, a male body that is lean and athletic can transform the most average of men.
CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR BODY TYPE?
Now, the truth is you can make each body type absolutely stunning. You just gotta work with what you’ve got. If you are beautifully curved like Jennifer Lopez, you will make yourself ill to be a Kate Moss. Instead, lose the fat, get toned and be as beautiful as Jennifer Lopez. In fact, let’s take Kate Moss. She is 5’6″ and by right has no business being a supermodel. Yet, she is the most famous of them all. She’s not perfect, but she has the whole world believing she is.
If you veer on the skinny side like Brad Pitt (he’s become less ectomorphic with age!), don’t try to be Schwarzenegger. Brad Pitt isn’t and he’s having no problems. Instead, lose the skinny fat body, build muscle and you’re in business. So, do not be mad at your genetics. Do not use them as an excuse. You cannot change your genetics. It is an impossibility. You can change your weight. You can change your body fat percentage. You can change how much muscle you have. The only reason your body is not what you want it to be is because of you and you alone. It’s tough, but you must take responsibility for your body. If you don’t, you will fail.
BODY TYPES: STARTING POINT
The different body types are simply starting point of what your body is and what you can do with it. Although you can’t change the framework (i.e. you cannot change skeletal structure) but you can manipulate the muscles and fat on top of your skeleton to look like you have changed your shape. Whether you are an ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph, it is you, through hard work and dedication, proper diet and workout plans, that decides what your body will become. If you have a natural tendency to be fat, it is your decision making – how much you eat, what you eat, and how much you exercise – that has led you to become and stay fat. You may have to work very hard at being and staying lean, but you can be lean. While this sounds tough, it’s actually pretty empowering, because it means you can do something about it.
HOW DO YOU TRANSFORM YOUR BODY?
Eat and exercise right for your body type! Apart from large doses of will power, determination and persistence, you need to tailor your diet and workout according to your individual needs. Knowing your body type can definitely help you nutritionally. For example, endomorphs tend to be more carbohydrate sensitive than the other somatotype’s and therefore benefit from a lower carb diet. The different body groups also require different types and intensities of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training to reach their goals. There are types of training that you might want to avoid, so that you don’t emphasize parts of your body that you actually want to downplay.
So, the bad news is that you’re stuck with the genetics you were born with, the good news is that knowing your body type is the first step to learning how to work with it and transform it.
If you want to tailor your exercise and nutritional program to your body type, “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” is worth investigating. It tackles body types and allows you to adapt your weight loss program to your body type. Macronutrient ratios, food types, calorie requirements, resistance training and cardiovascular exercise strategies are tailored to body type.