Listen to part of a lecture in a physiology class.
Professor: How about everyone stand up for a second? Come on. Don’t be shy. Great. Now take a look around the lecture hall at everyone. Do you notice anything? Think body types, guys.
Student A: Everyone looks like they need a couple of cups of coffee.
Professor: Or maybe you guys need to try to exercise more. Okay. Go ahead, and take a seat. Well, what I was trying to do with my little experiment is to show you that we all come in various shapes and sizes. In general, an individual’s body type can fit into one of three general categories: endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. These are called somatotype, and, for the most part, each one of our bodies, as well as our character or personality, falls in one of them. Have you heard of somatotypes before…? No? Well, our body types are usually fixed by heredity, that is, genetics. For example, if you are tall and thin, it is pretty much impossible to change physically. If you are short and have large bones, that is how you will look for much of your life. Our bone and muscle structures as well as their density are predetermined by our genes. Now, this doesn’t mean you cannot shape your body to be a more desirable look. Proper exercise and diet can certainly max out the potential of whatever body type you might be, but still, inside, you will remain that body type in essence. Does this make sense to you guys? Student B: Sure, Professor Nelson. So, what are the three body types?
Professor: Well, how about you do me a favor and stand up again for the class? Great, thanks. Now, everyone take a look at her body. Guys, no whistles, please. Okay. Now, we would probably describe her as taller than average and a bit thin. Correct? Okay, you can go ahead and sit down. Because she is tall and a bit on the lean side, we would say she is an ectomorph. Be sure to take all this down, guys. There will be a quiz on it tomorrow. I promise. Now, in general, ectomorphs also sometimes, but not all the time, display similar personality characteristics. They tend to be type B personalities and are a bit reserved or shy, sensitive, and emotional. Now, if you would describe yourself as an ectomorph and your personality fits what I have just described, please raise your hand. Great, thank you.
Okay, let’s move on to the second somatotype. Let’s see… You in the purple polo up here in the front. Could you stand up for me please? Um, turn around for us a couple of times. Great, thanks. Go ahead and take your seat. Thanks. Now, class, how would you describe his body?
Student B: Well, I think he looks great! He’s got a great build and isn’t too short or tall.
Professor: And, I think most of us would agree with you. We would say he is a mesomorph. Mesomorphs have very athletic builds. Their bone and muscle structures are well balanced, and their body fat percentage is low. I guess you could say that mesomorphs have an athletic build. When it comes to somatotypes, class, it is all about proportions. Clearly, he has a very well-proportioned body and probably works out or exercises religiously. Am I correct…? Yes, I thought so. Now, what about the stereotypical personality of the mesomorph? Well, again, in general, they are type A personalities. They are very energetic and outgoing, and they also tend to be very confident in themselves and their abilities. Okay. Now, that leaves one more somatotype to explore, and I’ve saved this one for myself. It’s only fair, right, class, that you critique my body as well, right? So, here I am. Have at it!
Student A: Well, Professor Nelson, you are a bit short and probably need to exercise more or try to cut back on the fast food or something. Sony, ma’am.
Professor: Oh, there is no reason to be, and I thank you for your honesty. Class, his description is right oh par. I am what you would describe as an endomorph. Endomorphs typically are shorter than average, have larger bones, and tend to be more overweight than the average person. When it comes to personality, they are very sociable, relaxed, fun-loving, and compassionate, all of which I would definitely describe myself as. Okay, now that we have defined the three somatotypes, I’d like to discuss the different techniques of exercise each body type should be involved in on a regular basis to try to make their proportions more equal, and yes, this goes for the mesomorphs, too. While mesomorphs may seem perfect, their seemingly ultimate body type can sometimes lead to their downfall.