Solon: Somatotypes

Pio Solon

EVER wondered why some people look the way they look regardless of training or nutrition?

In the 1940s, William Sheldon introduced the concept of body types or what is commonly known as somatotypes. Since then, nutritionists, exercise scientists, and even doctors have used somatotypes to guide their interventions with patients and their clients.

There are the three somatotypes:


Ectomorphs are long and lean, with little body fat and little muscle. They have a hard time gaining weight. Fashion models and basketball players fit this category. While most of us love to hate these genetically blessed individuals, some male ectomorphs may not be thrilled with their narrow-chested frames, and some female ectomorphs long for more womanly curves.


Mesomorphs are athletic, solid and strong. They’re not overweight and not underweight and they can eat what they want without worrying too much about it. They both gain and lose weight without too much effort.


Endomorphs, on the other hand, have lots of body fat, lots of muscle and gain weight easily. Football lineman tend to be endormorphs —they’re heavier and rounder individuals. And they don’t have to necessarily be overweight. Think of powerlifters or shot put athletes.

In the next few weeks, I will write about how to optimize training for each body type.