Health and Fitness: Knowing your body type and shape

By “Superman” Phillip Johnson

Many people don’t realize that your body type is a factor in your fitness endeavors. Whatever your goals are whether it’s to lose weight, gain muscles and strength, or to get in the best shape of your life, may depend on knowing what your body type is and how it can affect your goals. Although it does affect you in how fast you attain your goals, there are instances of overcoming your body type and still achieving your fitness goals.

Here are the 3 body types of an individual:
1.) Ectomorph: Lean and long, with difficulty building muscle
2.) Endomorph: Big, high body fat, often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat
3.) Mesomorph: Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells

So many ask me how does that affect my workouts and diets when I’m a certain body type?

Well, in actuality, Ectomorphs stay lean despite hours in the gym, They are usually thin people and it’s harder for them to gain weight and muscles. Endomorphs struggle to shift their gut and it’s harder for them to lose weight especially in certain areas. Most have a rather pear shaped body and many are considered overweight or getting there. Mesomorphs pack on muscle with ease. They don’t have much of a problem packing on muscles or weight and can control their weight almost anytime they want. Most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiast fall into that category. Learning which body shape you were born with, and understanding what that means for your training and diet plans, will help you train smarter to maximize your potential and get closer to building the body that you’ve always wanted.

I was born an Ectomorph myself and was very thin almost all my life until I decided to gain weight and muscles. I did it through proper training, a better diet, and consistency. I ate more and exercised more especially with heavier weights in the gym. I went from 120 pounds as a 27 year old man to 190 pounds in only 9 months. I drank whey protein drinks, took vitamins and supplements, and ate foods high in calories, protein, and carbs. That is the way a person with my body type has to train and eat to gain weight, muscles, and strength. I also became a 3-time World Champion Powerlifter. I never took performance enhancing drugs like Steroids or HGH (Human growth hormones). Many do take that for size and strength but I’ll discuss that on another issue. It’s very dangerous to take any drugs for performance enhancing.

I quickly transformed myself from an Ectomorph to a Mesomorph. That can be done with any body types with the right training and diet. Many of us have a combination of the body types especially in certain areas. We fall between body types.
Endomorphs have a different way of exercising and dieting. I always train those who are considered Endomorphs with lighter weights, more repetitions, more cardio and high intensity aerobics and plyometric type exercises. Of course their diets will consist of leaner meats, more vegetables and fruits, less carbs and fats in their diets, and of course being consistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day like they say, so patience is always needed to achieve your fitness goals. It takes time to create the body that you want. Supplements play a huge part as well as far as burning body fat, energy, lean muscles, and recovery.
I’m not a firm believer in spot reducing. I believe your whole body has to lose the weight and not just your problem areas.
Know what your body types are and get proper training, rest, diet, supplements, and cardio according to your body type and fitness goals.

Phillip Johnson is a certified Personal trainer, martial arts sensei, boxing coach, and self defense coach, and has been training and teaching for over 44 years. He started in California. He is also a retired police officer from California. He trains at the Hogan YMCA, Red-X Fitness Gym, and is one of the personal trainers Intergraph/Hexagon in Madison. His contact information is: (951) 970-7635 Email: