If you know what your body type is, you can plan accordingly in making true and significant changes to your physique.

Ever wonder what your body type is? Well, believe it or not it’s a common question I get from many people. It’s certainly a relevant question because your exercise regimen and eating habits are weighed heavily by your body type and other factors. If you know what your body type is, you can plan accordingly in making true and significant changes to your physique.

In theory there are three body types: ectomorph (very lean/skinny), mesomorph (athletic), and endomorph (thick/heavy). Ectomorphs are those of us who have trouble putting on muscle and keeping it on. Mesomorphs are those with athletic builds and for the most part have the ideal frame most aspire to, and endomorphs are those who have trouble getting rid of body fat and who are more prone to add on pounds. In reality, most people are a combination of body types.

If you understand your body type, you will have a better success rate of properly training your body and getting the results you want. As an example, I attached photos of my client Shaun. Shaun is naturally an ectomorph. So my goal with him from the very beginning was to challenge his body to put on solid muscle. His diet and caloric intake was increased to ensure success as well as the type of training and supplements he took. When he first started training with me, he weighed 117 lbs. Currently he’s 174 lbs.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is my client Brandon, whose photos are also attached. Brandon is an endomorph. So my goal with him from the very beginning was to increase his metabolism through a customized training program and diet regimen. His body fat percentage was 20 percent when he first started training with me. It was cut in half to 10 percent during his training, and then a little more for bodybuilding competition. Ultimately, both Shaun and Brandon took on the physique of a mesomorph upon completion of their goals.

I know this feels a little like advanced education on the body. But it really is important to understand your body and know how to change it. If you’re not sure, you should seek out a personal trainer who has experience in this area and can truly help you move your progress forward. Knowing your body type is a key component in transformation success, but it is not the only factor. Other factors like genetics, hormonal imbalance, and the body not functioning at perfect levels also play a factor. It’s for this reason that I encourage many of my clients to have a yearly physical and have these things checked. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.

Over the years I’ve seen and trained all body types and bodies with physical issues: diabetics, weight loss clients, bodybuilders, fibromyalgia clients, clients with bone density issues, and clients with thyroid concerns, just to name a few. I mention this to bring home the fact that we should always be aware of our body, its strengths and weaknesses. Exercise and proper training can significantly improve all those things I just mentioned. We just have to understand how. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.” Think about that for a second. Our body in all its facets, good and bad, is a miracle. If we don’t take the time to know and understand it, who will?

Michael Shaw is a certified fitness trainer, sports performance nutrition specialist, owner of Shaw Fitness, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, and a fitness and fashion model manager. He can be reached at www.michaelroyshaw.com.