Does Your Body Type Determine Your Ability To Lose Weight?

Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN

Has anyone ever told you that you just don’t have the “body type” to lose weight? Or, have you ever noticed that some people are just naturally skinny no matter what they eat? I know I have. That’s because each person can be characterized as possessing a certain degree of 3 body types, which include:


The ectomorph shows a predominance of linearity and fragility with a great surface area-to-mass ratio giving enhanced sensory exposure to the environment. For instance, it is easy for the ectomorph to both get hot and cold very quickly. Likewise, of the 3 body types, ectomorphs have the easiest time losing weight since it's their tendency to be "skinnier" in the first place.


The mesomorph is characterized by a predominance of muscle, bone, and connective tissue. This makes it easier for them to gain muscle mass, regardless of their workout routines. When it comes to weight loss, mesomorphs will never be as skinny as an ectomorph but they can lose fat and maintain a more natural muscular frame.


The endomorph body type is characterized by soft roundness and large digestive organs. As such, the overall tendency for an endomorph is to obviously be heavier (or fatter). In general, it is more difficult for someone with a predominantly endomorph "somatotype" to lose fat because it greatly goes against their bodies natural state of balance. However, this doesn't mean that weight loss cannot be achieved, it is simply more work than say the ectomorph.


In reality, you are not just one body type. Instead, you (and all of us) are a composite of all 3 bodies. For instance, Olympic athletes tend to be predominantly high mesomorphy (more muscle) and low endomorphy (low body fat). However, the precise breakdown would obviously be different between a 100m sprinter and a marathon runner, for instance.

As such, it is difficult to make blanket weight loss recommendations for people. For instance, telling someone that they should reduce their body fat from 18% to 14% might not be wise if that person is already at 14% or lower because they are an ectomorph.

In general, "ideal" body ranges for men are 10-20% and for women 15-25% but as you can see these will vary quite dramatically if you're in a certain sport or more of one body type than another.

Just remember that if you want to lose weight, it is really a change in body composition that you are after. No one wants to lose muscle, right? You want to lose fat (and still maintain a healthy body fat percentage) while getting your body in great shape through regular strength training and interval cardio workouts.

If you're more of an endomorph, I won't lie to you - it will be tougher to lose weight and keep it off. But you can do it. You just need to a little bit more hard work than the ectomorph. Just keep working hard and you will succeed at losing weight no matter what your body type!

Sheldon, W. (1940). The Varieties of Human Physique. New York; Harper & Brothers.
Powers, S. & Howley, E. (2001). Exercise Physiology: Theory and appilcation to Fitness and Performance. New York; McGraw Hill.

Yuri Elkaim is a world-renowned fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert. He is the creator of Fitter U and Treadmill Trainer, author of Eating for Energy, and the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men's soccer program at the University of Toronto. His trademarked 12-week Fitter U iPod workout program has been helping thousands of people around the world get in shape and lose weight fast without the cost and inconvenience of hiring a trainer. Go to now to get your FREE Fitter U workout and "How to Get Fit and Lose Weight Fast" report!

 Get Lifestyle Matters delivered to your e-box:
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner
See the other articles in the exercise/weight loss series:
Groovin on Fitness
Exercise Recovery- What Works Best?
What's the Ideal Amount of Exercise to Lose Weight?
When Can I Expect To Lose Weight Working Out?

No comments:


Turn off the news. Throw away the newspaper. Get outside and go for a walk. Dr. Christiane Northrup said going for a walk is a perfectly acceptable form of treatment for certain types of depression!