What’s Your Type?

William Sheldon, PhD, MD, introduced the concept of somatotypes in the 1940s. Sheldon asserted that there were three primary categories to which people could be  assigned based on the extent to which their bodily physique conforms.

We are all born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition. Most people are combinations of the three primary body types:

  1. Ectomorph

  2. Mesomorph

  3. Endomorph


Ectomorphs are long and lean. Their bodies are low in both body fat and muscle. They have a hard time gaining weight.


Mesomorphs are athletic, solid, and strong. They are neither overweight nor underweight,  They both gain and lose weight without too much effort.


Endomorphs have lots of body fat, lots of muscle, and gain weight easily. They are heavier and rounder individuals.


Combination Types

Classic combination somatotypes include pear-shaped ecto-endomorphs with thin, delicate upper bodies and high fat storage in the hips and thighs, and apple-shaped endo-ectomorphs, with high fat storage in the mid-section and thin lower bodies.

Your somatotype is a combination of your musculature, and your bone structure. While these characteristics are genetically determined and unchangeable,  you can eat and exercise in a way that emphasizes and develops your best features.

Some nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and doctors have used somatotypes to help design nutrition and fitness plans.


Eat and Exercise Right for Your Somato-Type


Aim to eat five or six meals every day. Choose nutrient- and calorie-dense foods like nuts and seeds, dried fruits and starchy vegetables. Try to make sure that 30% of your calories come from fat.

When exercising, keep cardio or aerobic training to a minimum and focus on building muscle through weight training (e.g. lower repetitions, higher weight)


Adhere to a balanced diet, exercise  and lifestyle.  (See prior blogs)


Avoid crash dieting as this encourages fat storage. Eat frequent, smaller meals. Eat slowly and drink adequate water. Focus on lean proteins and high-fiber foods that promote satiation.

Exercise should include at least 30 minutes of moderately-paced aerobic activity five days a week. Weight training two or three times a week to tone and strengthen your muscles can be included to increase muscle and speed up metabolism.

By manipulating your diet and exercise program to suit your somatotype, your chances of successfully reaching your healthy weight goals can be significantly enhanced.

Do you know your type?


About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin