Confession #1: I Married an Ectomorph.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband. We have a great relationship but sometimes, just sometimes I wish he would stuff it … literally! You see, my husband is a true Ectomorph — thin, fast metabolism, can eat anything and not gain weight, drops 5 pounds with just 20 minutes of cardio. It can be frustrating for me — a curvy Italian with lots of muscle and a respectable layer of fat to cover it up. I do loads of cardio just to maintain and can put on pounds just by glancing at a bowl of pasta!
What Type Are You?
These “Somatotypes” were described by the psychologist William Herbert Sheldon in 1940 in an attempt to determine temperament based on body types (like the “jolly fat man”or the “hotheaded muscleman”)
Note that many people have qualities of two body types. For example, Ecto-Mesomorphs or Meso-Endomorphs.
- Soft and round body shapes
- Heavy and short bones
- Curvy and hourglass
- Generally short and stocky
- Gains muscle and fat easily
- Slow metabolism
- Finds it hard to lose fat
- Athletic and muscular
- Medium bone structure
- Narrow waist, wide shoulders
- Gains muscle easily
- Fast metabolism
- Does not store fat
- Loses fat easily
- Small boned
- Long, thin limbs
- Narrow pelvis and hips
- Thin, lean muscle mass
- Fast metabolism
- Loses fat easily
- Difficulty gaining muscle
I consider myself a healthy Meso-Endomorph. I’m muscular and strong but find losing fat a never-ending challenge. Sometimes, it’s tough living with a house full of Ectomorphs.
Confession #2: I Can’t Eat Like My Husband…
Before I got married (which was late in life at age 47) there was never any food in my house. When I moved in with my husband (and his 3 ectomorphic children) I was in heaven. They had a pantry full of snacks and made a meal out of a loaf of bread and butter. I paid the price by gaining 20 pounds after my wedding.
Healthy eating is a constant struggle for me… and one I don’t always win. Like many slow metabolizers, I could truly be happy eating one big meal a day. I have to force myself to eat several small, nutrient-dense meals each day. My ectomorph husband has no choice. With such a fast metabolism, he has to eat every few hours or he gets dizzy. But me… I don’t even know what the symptoms of hypoglycemia feel like. So while “snacking” works for him, it just causes me to over-eat!
Confession #3: I Love Weightlifting…
I’m a total gym rat. Nothing makes me happier than pushing heavy weight. This is where my Mesomorphic qualities shine. While my svelte husband has to work really hard to put on muscle and keep it on, my body responds quickly to weightlifting and the muscle sticks around even if I miss a few workouts. Luckily, more muscle helps increase resting metabolism so it’s a win-win for us Endomorphs!
Confession #4: I’m Having an Affair with my Elliptical…
On the other hand, it takes me a long time and a lot of treadmill time to shed fat. I add a cardio component to almost every workout and don’t feel like I got a good workout unless the intensity is high or the time is long (at least 45 minutes.) While my husband can shed his holiday weight gain in a few days, it can take me weeks before I see any results.
Confession #5: I Have Learned to Love What I Got…
Once on a tropical vacation with friends, we decided to charge a dollar each time one of us mentioned our weight, eating habits, or complained about our body type. Let’s just say we made a few bucks (and spent it on a nice bottle of wine!) It made us realize how much time and energy we spend on it. Years later we are still vacationing together, but now we let it all hang out!
When clients ask my advice about getting fit. My number one response is “Love what you got!” It takes all kinds of bodies to rock the world and we need to appreciate the special challenges of each. All metabolisms are NOT created equal. You can’t change the length of your limbs or the shape of your bones. You can however, use nutrition and exercise to affect how much body fat or muscle you have. So acknowledge that you may be a scrawny ectomorph or a doughy endomorph. You may never get bigger calves or stop fighting the “muffin-top.” So stop comparing yourself to others and get to work on what you’ve got!
So the next time I catch myself trying to stuff my Ectomorph husband… I’m going to celebrate our body types, eat another meatball, and love what I got!