Different Body Types

What body type and body shape are you?

There are three different body types classified as Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph, however, not many people fall into one category, usually, you will be a combination these.

Ectomorph – a lean and angular body shape, long limbs, slender, slim, narrow waist. Ectomorphs can lose weight easily and have lower levels of body fat but find it more difficult to gain lean muscle mass.

Mesomorph – strong athletic body type, muscular build, well-developed shoulders and slim hips Mesomorphs have a faster metabolism than other body types and can lose weight and gain muscle mass easily.

Endomorph – a round body shape, short and tapering limbs, larger boned than other body types, plump/stocky appearance, usually have round faces with larger thighs and hips, small hands and feet and high waist. Endomorphs have higher levels of body fat than other body types but can also easily build muscle. Weight loss is difficult.




If you are overweight it may be more difficult to establish your actual body type from the 3 different body types or you could in fact be somewhere in-between. You can also be short or tall or thin or fat for your body type.

Diet has little to do with different body types but it does have an impact on what you weigh on the scales.

Different body types are largely dependent upon genetics, it is impossible to change your body type but you can learn to make the best of what you have by toning your body shape.  As well as different body types we all have different body shapes. Your body shape is determined by the total balance of your body together with your physical features. For your overall look you need to take into account your muscle tone, body fat and body mass index, the appearance of your skin i.e. cellulite, fluid retention and posture – more on these later.

Different Body Shapes

four different female body shapes

In addition to the 3 different body types, women are typically described as having hourglass, pear, apple or ruler body shapes. Men have a rectangular or cone shape.

Hourglass – Hourglass shaped women have well-proportioned upper and lower bodies with a narrow waist. They are inclined to gain weight all over the body in particular the hips and chest area.

Pear – Pear shaped women have larger lower bodies and small upper bodies. Hips are slightly wider than the shoulders and weight is gained below the wait. Usually have small chests and flat stomachs.

Apple – Apple shaped women are bigger on the top half of their bodies than the lower half. Slim hips and a large chest and stomach.

Ruler/Banana – Ruler shaped women are waif-like thin (don’t you just love em!). No significant differences between the size of their hips, waist and shoulders. Weight is gained on their stomach and back sides whilst retaining slender arms and legs.

Suggested Exercise Routines for Different Body Shapes

There are not many women who are 100% happy with their body type or shape (if any), however, exercise does help to tone your body whatever your shape.

Focus on both cardio and resistance exercise. Cardio will help to keep your weight in check and resistance will help to maintain the balance between your upper and lower body. Remember to keep resistance weights light otherwise you will build up too much muscle mass.

Biceps curls, shoulder presses and squats.
Slow jogging
Exercise bike (light resistance)

Try to slim down your lower half, focus on aerobic exercises that work your lower body and resistance exercises that build up your upper body.

Cycling (low resistance)
Push ups and shoulder presses

Focus on aerobic training to slim down and lose body fat. By working on your lower body you can balance out your chest and shoulders.

Uphill walking
Leg squats
Stair climbing

Focus on cardio exercises to help lose weight in any problem areas (buttocks and stomach). Apart from that exercise to keep your symmetrical body shape including all muscle groups.

Step classes
Uphill walking or jogging
Bench and shoulder presses

Other Factors Associated with Overall Body Shape and the 3 Different Body Types

Muscle Tone
Exercising a muscle causes it to become firm, with improved metabolism, responsiveness and blood supply. Lack of exercise results in the muscle becoming stretched and slack. It is also less responsive and has a reduced rate of metabolism. Even when relaxed, a muscle that is regularly exercised will appear toned. Muscle tone can be improved by either exercise or passive exercise where the use of electrical equipment causes the muscles to contract and relax (treatments available in salons and spas).

Body Fat
The amount of body fat stored underneath the skin will depend upon your weight. This fat is not always evenly distributed, leading to problem areas for women usually the thighs and bottom and during perimenopause (the transitional 2-10 period before actual menopause “the final period” and postmenopause) around your middle abdomen area sometimes described as “middle age spread” or apple shaped.

Body Mass Index
The body mass index (BMI) is a height divided by weight measure often used to determine if someone is overweight.
The formula to work out your own BMI is:- Weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared.
The average adult BMI is between 20-25; in excess of 26 is considered a health risk.

Cellulite is a term used to describe fatty tissue that causes the overlying skin to appear dimpled, like ‘orange peel’ in appearance. The most common areas of the body for the occurrence of cellulite are the thighs, buttocks, knees and the tops of your arms (triceps).

Cellulite is caused by:-
– poor lymphatic circulation resulting in poor elimination of waste products from your body
– a sedentary lifestyle, resulting in weight gain caused by low energy expenditure and sluggish circulation due to inactivity
– poor diet and metabolism problems due to hormonal balance.
**Slim women who exercise regularly can still be affected by cellulite.
Increase your exercise regime, improve your diet to include fresh fruit and vegetables and whole-grain foods, avoid or reduce processed foods and increase your water consumption to flush out any excess toxins. Both manual and mechanical massage are good for helping to reduce cellulite using cypress, lemon and lavender essential oils.

Fluid Retention
Fluid retention is accumulated tissue fluid which causes swelling. Fluid retention/bloating is a symptom of menopause and is common before menstruation, affecting the abdomen and breasts. Fluid retention can also be caused by allergies, excessive intake of processed foods, high intake of salt and insufficient water. If you press your skin and it remains indented and does not spring back, this is an indication of fluid retention.

Posture varies from person to person and is affected by your occupation, health, psychological state and muscular strength.

Good posture is recognised when the body is in alignment:-

  • Head held up
  • Arms loose at the sides of the body
  • Back held straight but not stiff
  • Abdomen pulled in
  • Hips held at the same level
  • Bottom pulled in
  • Feet – body weight equally distributed

Obviously, some postural disorders are caused through bad habits, others are genetic postural deformities which cannot be corrected.


Female Body Shape. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_body_shape
What’s Your body Shape? Retrieved from http://shopyourshape.com/body-shapes/
Different Body Shapes. Retrieved from http://livelifewell.co/category/fitness/fitness_health_info/body_anatomy/body_shapes.php

Page Last Updated on November 4, 2017