Actress Calista Flockhart, tennis champion Serena Williams, and comedian Peter Kay. Each exemplifies a distinct body type, a difference in frame that transcends weight or shape. Like eye colour or height, body type is dictated
by heredity, and its fixed at birth.
In the 1930s, Harvard psychologist William H. Sheldon described three basic body types with terms still used today:
Ectomorphic - a quick metabolism and a slender body with little fat are hallmarks of an ectomorph. This body type has a lean frame, often with narrow hips, long legs, and a long neck. Some rail-thin ectomorphs have trouble gaining weight.
Mesomorphic - muscular mesomorphs look like natural-born athletes, with wide shoulders, a narrow waist, and broad hips. The weight they gain tends to distribute itself evenly, and they lose fat and build muscle at a fast rate
Endomorphic - endomorphs suffer from a slow metabolism. They put on pounds quickly, and they have to fight to keep weight off their heavy bones and sturdy frame. Without exercise, their body fat sticks around, even when they follow
a healthy eating regimen.
Understanding your body type before starting a weight-training or diet program will help you have realistic expectations and set attainable goals. If you're an endomorph, for example, an exercise and diet plan may change the amount of fat and muscle you have, but it can't make a big-boned woman look like a waif. And both endomorphs and ectomorphs tend to develop smaller muscles than mesomorphs.
No body type is inherently better than any other; cultural and social forces, not biology, often determine what kind of body is in favour. Rather than striving for a look that contradicts your body type and that may be out of fashion in a few years aim to make the body you have as healthy and fit as possible.
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