Like it or not, the shape of your body is largely determined before you are born. In fact, body type is genetic, and aside from diet and exercise, there's little you can do to change it. There are three main categories of body types for men: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. While many men have characteristics of more than one body type, most fall more into one category than another. It is helpful to know your body type because it can help you determine the best way to eat and exercise to achieve your desired body shape.
The Skinny on Body Shape
Ectomorphs are generally very slender. They can eat whatever they want and never seem to gain weight, even when they want to. Some ectomorphs also lack muscle tone. If an ectomorph desires to add weight or build muscle, it is important that he restrict cardiovascular exercise and perform slower, more controlled strength-training exercises at a high weight with low repetitions, which will encourage hypertrophy -- increase in muscle size. Combined with a nutritious, high-calorie diet, an ectormorph can put on weight and build mass.
It's In the Genes
An endomorph has a high body fat percentage and generally low metabolic function, making it difficult to lose weight and keep it off. Even men who eat healthy and exercise can be endomorphs if it is in their family genes. It is important for endomorphs to exercise frequently at high intensity, engaging in both cardiovascular and resistance training. When strength training, exercises should be performed at medium weight with higher repetitions and very little rest between sets. This type of training will burn the most calories. An endomorph should eat a nutritious, low-calorie diet including lean meats, fish, and fruits and vegetables.
The Natural Athletic Build
Mesomorphs are those lucky few who were born with an athletic physique and have little trouble maintaining it into adulthood. Mesomorphs are generally fairly active, but they can go through periods of inactivity without gaining weight or losing muscle tone. While a mesomorph still needs to eat healthy and exercise, including moderate cardiovascular and strength training, he can get by with just maintaining his current state without worrying about health problems or excessive weight gain or loss.