In the 1950s, psychologist W.H. Sheldon identified 3 somatotypes: endomorphic, ectomorphic and mesomorphic. Sheldon's theories about how body type correlated with personality type may have been dismissed by the psychology community as quackery but his body type classification system was embraced by the bodybuilding community as a way of identifying muscle building and fat burning potential.
Endormoph body types have a large bone structure, wide waist, wide shoulders and can store fat easily. Mesomorph body types have a medium bone structure, broad shoulders, smaller waist , can build muscle easily and don't store fat easily. Ectomorph body types have long thin muscles and limbs and don't store fat nor build muscle easily.
Just looking around at friends, family and coworkers you can see these somatotype classifications are fairly accurate but before you start making excuses about how this is keeping your from your dream body there's one very important body quality Sheldon never addressed in his work because his work was focused on personality traits and not on fitness...
If you're a human being then you are endomorphic no matter what somatotype you are. Being able to store fat is actually what kept the human race alive in times of famine. So even ectomorphs who are naturally thin and mesomorphs who are naturally muscular have fat storing ability which means that everybody CAN get fat. So what does all this have to do with getting your best female figure? EVERYTHING!
The more you understand about somatotypes (your body structure and fat storing capability) as well as female body types (where you store fat and build muscle on your body), the more you can customize your workouts to get the body makeover results you want.
There is an endless array of tests and quizzes you can take to find your somatotype and body type but really all you need is your phone camera and maybe an honest friend to help you figure it out. I recently posted some examples of interesting combinations on facebook that may help you identify your somatotype/female body type combo. **Large pic of celebs at bottom of page.
In case you're wondering, mine is ecto/ruler but not 100% ecto. My entire family is ecto/ruler (most of them tall and thin) BUT over the years lifestyle choices have changed that for some of my relatives so while my father remains lean as he has been most of his life, my 3 siblings who had his exact body type are now overweight (some more than others). So my family genetics is actually a great example of how YOU are 100% in control of your body shape. It's also a great example of how even skinny people are endomorphic and can gain serious fat due to unhealthy lifestyles.
So how do you take advantage of your somatotype and body type to get your desired body shape? With the A.B.C. rules of fitness: ALWAYS BE CUSTOMIZING your fitness routine to your body. The quick tips below clue you on how to do that easily.
1. Do you tend to store a lot of bodyfat easily? First, stop stressing that you're more endomorphic than other body types because you got plenty to celebrate. Unlike the other somtatotypes you can look super curvy AND toned without having to worry about building too much muscle and looking manly. The solution to your fat storing issue is metcon workouts most of the time until you get close to your desired weight and bodyfat level. Also you have to be more careful about eating adequate calories for your actual activity level and metabolic type. Just because you're an endo/hourglass or endo/pear doesn't mean you're destined to be soft and chubby looking or have a fat flabby butt for life. Your daily choices have a lot more to do with how much fat your body stores than your genetics do.
2. Do you burn fat easily but have trouble building muscle? Congratulations skinny mini you can get away with a lot more dietary sins than other body types but you may want to dial down the metabolic training a bit and experiment with different types of weights, tempo and workout timing, as well as exercise combinations that target those hard to grow areas. Experimenting with your carb/protein/fat ratios can also be beneficial just make sure to continue to eat adequate calories for your needs. Always keep in mind that all somatotypes and body types can gain weight and bodyfat with excess calories regardless of how healthy those foods are.
3. Do you have body parts that shape up fast and others that just don't respond? Stop spending so much time on what you enjoy or what you're good at and start focusing on what your body needs to look more balanced. Ever see those women with super toned arms, ripped abs, a lot of butt fat and/or fat thighs covered in cellulite. My coworker Brandy (not really her name) has this problem and used to complain about it all the time. Imagine a girl with Michelle Obama arms, figure competitor abs, a fat butt and flabby thighs with cellulite. It wasn't a somatotype or body type issue it was her unbalanced workout plan that focused on tons of arm and core work while ignoring what needed work, her lower body fatloss. Never once did I see her actually doing sprints or jump lunges or squat thrusts and this is a person who needed tons of that!
4. Do you have too much bulk in the wrong areas and not enough lean muscle in others? Focus less on trouble zone training. Muscular thunder thighs (not the same as fat thighs by the way) don't go away with MORE squats, more lunges, and more leg focused cardio exercise. The belly fat doesn't melt and a thick core doesn't whittle with MORE core work. Small butts and small boobs WILL get smaller with MORE burpees and HIIT workouts. THINK about what your body needs to look balanced then cut out what you're overdoing and fill in the gaps with what you're not doing. You can't afford to take the Simon says approach to training. That only works for people who need to lose a lot of weight or for total beginners.
5. Do you have a naturally lean body that just doesn't seem to respond to the types of workouts curvy chics on YouTube do? STOP training like a curvy chic unless you are one. You've seen these types with the constant jumping and burpees and pushups. Ecto/rulers and meso/cones need this stuff in small doses while endo/hourlgass and pyramids need a lot more of this to burn those fat stores and balance their naturally curvy body shapes. Remember A.B.C - always be customizing your body part and fatloss training to fit how your body responds so you can be lean but still maintain curves in the right areas.
For example if I did a ton of core and upper body work i.e. burpess, pushups, pullups, every week my core would get really hard but also really square and my back/shoulders would get really wide like a cone body type because of my fitness background. Worst of all my butt would just get flat and my hips would look really narrow compared to my waist and shoulders. This has happened to me before when my frequency of core/upperbody/fatloss training was way too much. I posted pics of this on fb too.
Sculpting the body you want whether you're an endomorphic cone or an ectomorphic hourglass requires a bit more effort than just losing weight or losing fat or building random muscle. It's about finding the right exercises to balance your shape so you can get your muscle and curves exactly where you want them.
I had a lot of fun with this chart but obviously this is just my opinion and you are free to disagree with my classifications. Here's the list of celeb somatotypes/body types from left to right starting with top row.