Sunday, March 10, 2013

What's in a Somatotype?

Has it been two weeks already? Well of course it hasn't been, but we need to discuss something else that you should be taking care of about a week into the new you. We need to figure out your body type, or as it is more commonly referred to in the training world, your somatotype. Most people have a hard time with this because of stereotypes that have been placed on them their entire lives, and others might even have a few honesty issues involved too. In any regards, once you have honestly and accurately identified your somatotype, the new you is a lot easier to attain.

First let’s talk about the three types, and how they are identified as well as how they affect your workouts. Get out your training journal because you will want to write this down.

Ectomorph: The ectomorph is the extreme somatotype. An ectomorph who eats reasonably healthy and tends to avoid large amounts of fat and sugar, are usually the people that everyone hates because they can “eat a lot and never gain weight.” An ectomorph is characterized by smallish bones and very little muscle mass.

An ectomorph will have a very steep angle in his or her thorax, and the ribs are closer together.
Ectomorphs are generally far better endurance athletes than bodybuilders by nature, and may excel in cross country running. This is due to the fact that their muscles are long and tight, and very hard to strain. This is not to say an ectomorph cannot be a bodybuilder. Once an ectomorph gets it together, diets and exercises, they drop weight like stones in a pond.

Facts are facts, but some people really like that long and sleek body that only an ectomorph is going to have. Do NOT fool yourself though. It is possible for an ectomorph to be out of shape, and I should know, I happen to be one. If I eat healthy I stay skinny, regardless of how much I eat. If I carry a steady diet of ice cream and candy, I carry a spare tire that looks extremely strange with my skinny legs and small neck, and this is the way you tell if you are an ectomorph hiding under an unhealthy and overweight figure.

Mesomorph: The mesomorph body type has a medium sized bone structure. The mesomorph makes gains in muscle mass much more quickly than the other two types. The mesomorph responds quickly to planned exercise and to dietary discipline.

Mesomorphs are generally what you see and admire the physiques of, in general life. The full figured women, the barrel chested man. Of course some men like women even more full figured like myself and tend to admire the endomorph. Many women see a healthier man as a man that carries some weight as well. Mesomorphs tend to be what you find in your physique after more exercise, so don’t be surprised if you label yourself one of the other two and then later on come to the conclusion that you are a mesomorph instead.

Endomorph: The endomorph is characterized by a round physique, carrying extra body fat.
The endomorph has a large bone structure, and has a good portion of muscle mass.

The endomorph has a wide thorax (rib cage), which makes a large angle with his ribs.
Endomorphs do have a hard time keeping weight down. DO NOT be discouraged by this because the upside of an endomorphic physique is pretty good. When an endomorph puts the time into the gym, their bodies radically change. You can very easily go from fat to buff. All of the big bouncers at the local night clubs were most likely the heavy kids in school that simply moved the weight around with hardly any effort and a simple diet change. The severe hourglass women that a lot of men, myself included, get into are endomorphs, and a lot of them just found a simple life change to keep them that way.

The hardest part of the various physiques is the fact that a lot of overweight people want to assume they are endomorphs when they are not. We grew up to believe that “big boned” was a reliable excuse to being overweight. Here’s where you need to get honest about it all. If you tend to carry a lot of extra weight around your knees and your elbows then chances are pretty good that you are an endomorph, but you could find out after a month at the gym that you really are a mesomorph that just really let yourself go. If you have a generous girth and skinny arms and legs then I have some really bad news for you, or some really good news for you depending on your mind set. The really bad news is that you can no longer lie about your big bones, but the good news is, the treadmill and simple dietary changes is probably going to make you skinny really quick like most ectomorphs.

Please think about this all a little bit as you watch your body change slightly over the next week or so of treadmill therapy. Take a look at the other people wandering around the gym, from your perch on the treadmill and try to see in them where you probably need to be. Stop looking at the poor woman who is genetically scrawny with envy and now get a better understanding of what she actually goes through trying to put some healthy weight on. Think of the guy with the big arms and the big belly, and just note that he probably has to feel like he is starving all day just to get back into last year’s jeans himself. Now think of how great you are doing and smile at all of them when you walk by. It’s infectious.