The most common New Year’s Resolution that we all make year after year after year is to get in shape physically. While this is a great time of inward reflection, the resolutions are seldom carried out and rarely achieved. Come February or March and the gyms are all empty again, except for the regulars. Instead of going into a rant on “how to keep your New Year’s resolution to get in shape,” I have decided to take a slightly different approach by saying, “get to know and embrace the body you are in.”
We all have physical features we really like about ourselves. For some it’s their eyes, for others it’s their long, lean legs or thick hair or perfect teeth, etc. Instead of beating yourself up over those things about your body you don’t like (like the extra 10… or 20… or 30 pounds), embrace whatever it is about you that you find beautiful.
Find some resolve in the fact that genetics determines our body types---for the most part. Each of the different body types respond to exercise and nutrition very distinctively. So, no matter what this year’s diet or exercise trend may be, you are going to be limited some by your specific body type. There are three main body types (or any combination of these) that will describe your build. These are ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.
The ectomorph is small-boned and generally tall and thin. The body shape is linear with long limbs, fingers, toes and neck. It is difficult to gain weight and build muscle. Ectomorphs are not very powerful physically. Think Kate Moss and Edward Norton. Depending on your goals, you may want to bulk up some by working out with heavier weights or by eating more quality high-calorie foods than you are used to. If this is your goal, keep cardiovascular components to a minimum.
The mesomorph is the athlete who builds muscle very easily. The muscle tone is prominent and firm and the body shape is hourglass. Posture tends to be very good. The mesomorph gains fat more easily than the ectomorph. Think Sylvester Stallone and the Serena Williams. The concern here is to not let the extra pounds add up. Maintain your naturally fit body with regular exercise and good nutrition.
The endomorph is soft-bodied and round. The muscle tone is underdeveloped. The limbs are short and taper off, giving a stubby appearance. Endomorphs also gain muscle easily like the mesomorphs, but tend to become more massive because weight loss is difficult. Think Rosie O’Donnell and John Goodman. The biggest concern here is adopting an active lifestyle to keep off the extra weight. Strength training with moderate weights will help replace the extra fat with lean muscle to improve metabolism. Steer clear from junk foods and sweets.
Most people fall into one of the three main categories, but with some traits of another. For example a mesomorph may have small bones like the ectomorph or gain weight easily like the endomorph. Knowing what body type combo you have is helpful in directing your exercise routine, nutrition and realistic expectations. Endomorphs who strive to be ectomorphs are only setting themselves up for failure. It simply can not happen safely. Conversely, a true ectomorph would never be able to become a sumo wrestler either!
Keep this in mind as you begin working toward this year’s resolution. Maybe if you are more realistic with your goals from the beginning, then achieving them will come easier this time! There is no better resolution than to embrace your body for what it is and what it isn’t.