Today, I want to talk to you about body types.
You’ve got the ectomorph (thin and tall), the mesomorph (athletic and muscular), and the endomorph (usually characterized as short and fat).
There are plenty of training programs out there to hang their hat on the idea that somatotyping can help you “train smarter to maximize your potential.”
The theory is that knowing your body type will tell you what your ideal training and diet program should look like.
If you look like this, then your body type is this, and here’s how you should eat and train.
Personally, I think it’s nonsense.
The terms ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph were coined in the 1940s by a guy called William Sheldon, who believed that the size and shape of a person’s body could be used to predict their personality.
Somatotypes weren’t meant to help people decide what to eat or how to train.
Nor were they supposed to be used as a way to estimate your potential for muscle growth or fat loss.
What somatotyping was designed for and what some people are now using it for are two completely different things.
As trainer Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes points out in Digging Deeper into the Science of Somatotypes:
“Somatotyping relies upon subjective assessments of anatomy to infer subjective assessments of psychiatry. These assessments were never validated by any controlled experiments. They were purely the observations of Sheldon himself and his personal beliefs on body type for determining personality.”
This doesn’t mean that individual differences don’t exist, that everyone will see results at the same speed, or that training shouldn’t be tailored to the needs of the individual.
They do, they don’t and it does.
However, knowing your somatotype tells you very little about what your diet and training program should look like.
Recommendations that ectomorphs should limit themselves “to three workouts a week,” that mesomorphs “respond well to low reps and power moves,” or that endomorphs should “steer clear of white bread and rice” aren’t just useless.
They’re actually worse than useless, because they distract you from the things that really matter and mislead people into thinking they’ve discovered something important.
Somatotypes can’t predict how you should train and eat any more than they can predict your personality.
It’s a subject you can quite happily file away in the “I don’t need to know anything about this” drawer.
SEE ALSO: THE FLAT BELLY CHEAT SHEET
If you want less flab and more muscle when you look down at your abs (or where they should be), check out The Flat Belly Cheat Sheet.
It's a “cut the waffle and just tell me what to do” PDF, written in plain English, that tells you exactly how to get rid of belly fat. To download a free copy please click or tap here.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN FINNChristian Finn holds a master's degree with distinction in exercise science, is a former personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest, and Perfect Body magazine.