Who has never seen a post on social networks, text on a fitness website, a video on YouTube, or something about “body biotypes”: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph?
We found informative materials about body biotypes, their physical characteristics, body shapes, and differences in each one’s metabolism; we even saw a diet and training targeting each biotype, whether to increase muscle mass, reduce fat or improve athletic performance.
Unfortunately, these days we can’t just type something into Google and trust the information presented. There are many invented details, many personal opinions (coming from people who don’t know the subject), many statements based on “it works for me,” and many lies!
When we talk about reliable information, we need to talk about “reproducibility,” substantiated and explained facts.
The main objective of this text is to elucidate one of the biggest myths ever seen in weight training rooms: the myth of the “body biotype.” Here you will learn the real meaning of ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
If you’ve already read something about biotypes on the net, you’ll need to reset all the information because it’s all a big mistake! Are you ready?
Table of Contents
After All, What Does The Term Biotype Mean?
We find the word biotype related to the capacity for change in the physique, either to increase mass or reduce fat – for example, phrases like “ectomorphs are those with difficulty gaining mass.”
We also found materials relating biotype to types of diets and specific training methodologies (diet for ectomorphs, training for ectomorphs…) and physical characteristics, such as “this biotype has a large bone structure, muscle hypertrophy, sporty appearance, little body fat, waist narrow.”
We begin by clarifying that biotype has nothing to do with body composition and physical shape. The correct name for physical composition/shape or body characteristic is somatotype.
What Is The Difference Between Biotype And Somatotype?
Note that this definition is not even a difficult question to elucidate. If we look up the meaning of biotype in the dictionary, we will find the report “group of individuals with the same genotype.” Since the genotype is related to genetics.
But when we look for somatotype, we find the following definition: “Each of the types of classification of the human body according to its physical structure.”
The three anthropometric characteristics are:
- Fat (endomorphy)
- Muscularity (mesomorph)
- Linearity/thinness (ectomorph)
The somatotype does not represent the shape of the individual but is one of the components that together determine the physical body. We define these components by physical assessment by anthropometric measurements; they are highly malleable, flexible elements with a great capacity to change.
The endomorphy component tends to rise as a passive and with an unbalanced diet.
If you happen to lose weight quickly and lose muscle mass, your ectomorph component will become more evident (as it will be related to height and weight).
But the mesomorph component will increase if you train and eat, looking for hypertrophy.
Realize the size of the deception!
Somatotypology is an important tool of anthropometry, and it has been treated and talked about completely wrongly.
Importance Of Knowing Your Somatotype
Knowing the somatotype is important for the coach and the athlete’s physiologist. Athletes’ anthropometric characteristics are relevant aspects concerning their performance and planning strategies for each sport.
With somatotype, those responsible for the training and competition strategy can monitor the athlete’s development.
It is useless for the lay individual to know his somatotype. Unless you merely want to follow the data, it is useless information, as there is no ability to interpret and apply it.
Understand Why There Is No “Ectomorph Diet”
See the error in this situation: a way of evaluating the physical state and body shape was popularized by definition related to genetics.
That could be why people started to think there would be specific training and diet for each of the three classifications. But the fact is that it has nothing to do with genetics. We must understand that each of the three classifications must be considered a physique component.
As seen above, with the same typology/somatotropin tool, people are evaluated within three components in the body/physics: the individual has an endomorphic part (fat), a mesomorphic piece (musculature ) and an ectomorphic component (linearity).
Attention, to understand, see this example: generally, men and women store fat in different patterns. Men deposit more fat on the trunk, called the android pattern (android obesity). In contrast, women with a higher fat concentration on the hips have a gynoid pattern (gynoid obesity).