Everybody has a somatotype, or a genetic body type, that predicts their aptitude for certain fitness activities and goals. Knowing your somatotype might be good information to have, but don't put too much stock in it. You'll only limit yourself.
Image by Anthony Topper.
There are three somatotypes: Mesomorph, ectomorph and endomorph. You'll find many resources that try to help you figure out which you are and suggest specific workouts and diets according to that. For instance, an ectomorph is "supposed to" have a hard time gaining weight and muscle (hence the nickname "hard gainer") and have characteristics that are tailored more toward endurance sports than strength sports. And usually, these details merely lead to hard gainers telling me that they can't gain muscle no matter what. (This is our response.)
While it's nice to get a bird's-eye view of your genetics, which do play a factor, the knowledge is more of a distraction. All of this is also much more complex than somatotypes let on. Most people don't neatly fit into one of those body types -- it's usually a combination -- and your body type shouldn't impact what you do or change the science. As Nick Tumminello, a Baltimore-based personal trainer, tells AskMen:
The principles of biomechanics and physiology don't change based on genetics. A biceps curl is a biceps curl. High load is high load. High reps are high reps. Going to failure is going to failure. None of those things change relative to your somatotype. What changes is the variance in your response to those stimuli.
The message here is similar to our previous article: Stop relying on genetics, try different things and see how your body responds. If you prematurely lump yourself into a category, you may not know what you are capable of and enjoy doing.
The Myth Behind Body Type Training [AskMen]