There are three main body types. Ectomorphs who are skinny and lanky. Think supermodels and basketball players. Mesomorphs who are more muscular and associated with a masculine body type. Athletes such as sprinters are a good example. And then there are endomorphs.
Endomorphs tend to struggle with their weight, gaining weight easily and losing weight with difficulty. Female endomorphs are soft and curvaceous, and have a very feminine body shape. Male endomorphs have soft and round bodies, but when in shape tend to look more like mesomorphs. Think gladiator Russell Crowe and the beautiful actresses of the 1950’s.
If you have trouble losing weight despite your best efforts, chances are you’re an endomorph. Below you’ll find some of the endomorph’s main characteristics.
- Naturally chubby
- Round, soft physique
- Short neck
- Tapered limbs
- Long trunk
- Prominent thighs and/ or upper arms
- Limbs can appear short (until weight loss)
- Wide bone structure
- High levels of body fat (may be overweight)
- High fat-to-muscle ratio
- Underdeveloped muscles (until exercise)
- Poor muscle definition
- Muscles hidden under layer of subcutaneous fat
- Strong bones
- Medium jointed/ boned
- No osseous indicators (projecting bones)
- Maintains higher weight/ BMI range
- Good posture
- Prone to knee and feet problems
- Good flexibility
- Low center of gravity
As an endomorph, you’ve probably struggled with weight problems your whole life – being chubby or even overweight. Maybe you were called “big boned” when you were a kid – you weren’t overweight, but not slim either. But as you’ve got older it’s become harder to keep the weight at bay.
The truth is that when it comes to body fat, endomorphs are on the back foot. The following are some of the metabolic traits common in endomorphs:
- Slow metabolism
- Gain weight easily
- Lose weight slowly
- Good ability to gain muscle
- Excellent digestive system
- Slow digestion
- Highly efficient nutrient absorption
- Excellent tolerance to fasting
- Low activity of the nervous system (slow), i.e. slow reaction time
- Not very sensitive to stimuli, good pain tolerance
- Trouble regulating body temperature in hot, humid conditions
- Cool skin
- Oily, moist, smooth and thick skin with good elasticity
- Low energy levels: sluggish and calm, even lethargic
- Attacks of tiredness/ fatigue
- Minimal nonessential movements
- Sleep well
- Low sleep requirement
- Low neuromuscular tension
- Sluggish thyroid
- Equivalent to Kapha body type in Aryurvedic Doshas
ENDOMORPH EXERCISE ABILITY
- Cardiovascular system is stronger than an ectomorph, but weaker that that of a mesomorph.
- Moderate/ good cardiovascular efficiency
- Good endurance
- Gains muscle relatively easy.
- Strength, flexibility and endurance are good, easily trainable and maintainable.
- Excellent relaxation
- Good muscle endurance
However endomorphs have:
- Difficulty maintaining body fat percentage within healthy range. Weight gain occurs even after short breaks from exercising.
SPORTS ENDOMORPHS ARE GOOD AT
Endomorphs are naturally strong and have good endurance and movement, and tend to do well in middle-distance activities. Endomorphs make great swimmers and also excel in sports requiring power and body weight force. Female endomorphs are represented in badminton, netball, martial arts, judo, field events (e.g. shot-put, discus, hammer throw) and tennis.
However, most endomorphs participating in sports, particularly at an elite level, are active, fit and lean. Therefore, they often don’t look like endomorphs unless it aids their performance. Instead they appear less endomorphic and more ectomorphic and mesomorphic through nutritional and training programs.
Endomorphs lack the speed of mesomorphs and the endurance of ectomorphs, who excel in fast paced aerobic-type exercise and endurance sport respectively.
FAMOUS FEMALE ENDOMORPHS
Female examples of famous endomorphs include:
FAMOUS MALE ENDOMORPHS
While in-shape female endomorphs still look like endomorphs but slimmer and toned, male endomorphs when in shape look more mesomorphic.
The first 4 endomorphs below are all (okay pretend to be) superheroes. But at one point or another they were overweight and out of shape, whether as kids such Henry Cavill who was reportedly nicknamed “Fat Cavill” at school or chubby kid Dwayne Johnson. They went on to become Superman and “The Rock” respectively (who says success isn’t the best revenge?). And what about Chris Pratt who played the funny sidekick until he dropped the weight to unleash his abs and inner superhero (or dinosaur whisperer). And then there’s gladiator Russell Crowe.
So despite what you may think, being an endomorph isn’t half bad, especially if you plan on saving the world.
Male examples of famous endomorphs include:
Dwayne Johnson – “The Rock”
Henry Cavill – “Superman”
THE ENDOMORPH CONUNDRUM
The good news is that, from an evolutionarily point of view, you’re pretty awesome. Back (waaay back) when food was scarce and starvation a real threat, endomorphs were the ones most likely to survive. Think Darwin, natural selection, survival of the fittest and so on. If you were good at storing fat, you had an excellent chance of survival. The bad news is that times have changed – a lot. Mobile phones, e-mail, self-driving cars, comfy sofas, Twinkies (deep-fried too!) and 600-calorie coffee beverages mean that your body type isn’t faring so well anymore. Your thrifty genes are now an obvious disadvantage.
The problem endomorphs face is that a combination of traits has conspired against them to create a perfect storm. Firstly, endomorphs tend to gain weight easier than other body types. Secondly, endomorphs have greater difficulty losing weight than the other body types. It is this exasperating combination that has many endomorphs at their wits end and leaves many endomorphs fighting a losing battle against overweight and obesity.
Endomorphs tend to get poor results when following nonspecific diets that do not address and have not been adapted to their needs. What works for a friend, might not work for you. And emulating their diet or exercise regime that successfully transformed their body might do nothing for you. Endomorphs respond best to a diet and workout plan that takes their body type into consideration.
Can an endomorph drop the weight and get lean? You bet your bottom dollar. Endomorphs have fantastic potential and a great ability to transform themselves, more so than any other body type. With a nutritional and exercise plan suited to your body type you can lose the weight and keep it off.
ENDOMORPH WEIGHT LOSS PLAN
- Strip away body fat
- Increase fitness
- Balance body shape if needed
- Work out with higher intensity
- Train often enough
- Do the right type of exercise
- Follow a diet for endomorphs
- Do endless crunches to try and spot-reduce
- Exercise for hours at low intensity (aka long, slow, steady-state cardio)
- Eat/ drink sugar-rich foods