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Body Types - has anyone really changed theirs?

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  • Body Types - has anyone really changed theirs?

    So here's the commonly used body type distinctions/categories:

    - Endomorph (chubby)
    - Mesomorph (lean)
    - Ectomorph (skinny)

    What I've been wondering lately is: Have I ever come across someone who managed to change their body type? Obviously the mesomorph is the target for most people, so I can improve my question:

    Have any of you - or people that you know of - always been typically endomorph/ectomorph and then manage to change into mesomorph? I'm not talking about chubby guys getting less chubby, or skinny guys getting a *little* bit more muscular. I'm talking about guys who used to be *really* chubby and never were lean changing into lean, or guys who never were muscular and never were muscular changing into muscular/lean.

    I'm beginning to think that while it certainly makes sense to try to be as fit as possible, we may not be able to change our body type as much as we want to - and even most people who for example manage to lose a lot of fat usually don't change from chubby to lean - unless they used to be lean for the most part of their life.

    In essence: Do you think that one can go from Jimmy Moore to Mark Sisson with easy, primal lifestyle changes - or is it more likely that when you make those lifestyle changes you simply end up being "emaciated chubby"?
    MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

  • #2
    I think "change" is unlikely - "reveal" is certainly possible.
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    • #3
      Each has a natural look. I am an Endomorph (chubby). Can you change your natural type......... NO!

      I have found that I am very carb sensitive. I put on weight by looking at cake. So for me to become lean I will have to keep my carbs way down. I do however believe for the first time that I can become lean! Will I still be shaped like a B-52 Bomber? Yep but I can be a lean Bomber.

      This is a lean enough version of an Endomorph.



      Or




      It may be hard to do...... But I will keep it as my end goal for as long as I can breath.
      Last edited by AnarchoGrok; 06-08-2011, 03:16 AM.
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      • #4
        Remembering that these terms are just concepts, in that, you have agreed with someone elses rules about how you should look or be defined, just what is the technical defintion of Chubby? Lean? and Skinny? My wife is 5'2 and weighs 100lbs, and probably has about 24% body fat, she is a small asian woman, so is she lean, skinny? or chubby? I don't care! She is just the way I love her! I was "husky" as a kid...WTF? That was the term used then for trying to find me pants...I would say I am still husky but a bit more lean. I am not the "Rep. Weiner" type to go sending any pics off of my body, frankly it is not that good, but I am satisfied with my progress and happy that I can still improve.
        My two cents... don't get caught up in terms... eat, move and be happy!
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        • #5
          @Coach Palfrey: "Reveal" would mean that a fat mesomorph lost a lot of bodyfat. The question is whether an endomorph could both gain muscle and lose fat to such an extent that he would look like a mesomorph. This isn't obviously so - in order to gain muscle one has to train *and* eat, and if endomorphs put on fat more easily than mesomorphs, it may not be possible for them to change their body composition that easily.

          @AnarchoGrok: Those two pics seem like obvious mesomorphs to me.

          @Littlesigh: If anyone is happy with looking like any of the types I listed then I'm happy with that. But please don't tell those who aren't that they should simply accept the situation. Some people claim that anyone can change their body composition to a mesomorph - I'm simply interested in whether that's the case, and - if so - how to do it.
          MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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          • #6
            So give us an example of an endomorph... Just carrying a lot of extra bodyfat doesn't make you a specific bodytype, it just means you need to work harder and diet more strictly than the naturally lean person.
            I basically have a hard time believing the notion that certain people with "genetic limetations" won't be able to diet down to low double or single digit bodyfat and have a "lean" look.

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            • #7
              I think I already mentioned Jimmy Moore as an example of an endomorph: High body fat percentage combined with a lack of muscle mass (compared to a mesomorph). Obviously I would also consider myself an endomorph, and I also find it very difficult to "lean down".

              BTW: You say that you have a hard time believing that some people might not be able to "lean down". Yet this forum - and many other low-carb / paleo forums - are full of threads where people complain about weight loss plateaus. That's why I'm looking for examples for people who were obese and then managed not only to lose a lot of fat and keep it off, but also to build/preserve a substantial amount of muscle mass. I don't personally know of anyone who managed to do so - all the people who lost a lot of fat either were sort of "skinny fat" afterwards, or didn't have that much fat to lose to begin with and changed from somewhat bulky, moderately overweight mesomorph to lean mesomorph.


              And another more general note: I don't think that people can be absolutely divided into those three categories - but I do think that they are useful as rules of thumb.
              MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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              • #8
                The way that I always understood the body types was more about shape than size:
                Endomorph-round (but you can be lean and round, like Beyonce)
                Mesomorph-muscular, thick (which can be lean with lots of muscle definition or big and heavy, like an ex-linebacker who has put on a bunch of weight)
                Ectomorph-angular (tall, thin supermodel-type or long-thin limbed person with more belly than would be healthy)

                You can make the most of your shape, and it's easier to gain or lose weight if you are a certain type. For instance, mesomorphs are easy-gainers when it comes to muscle and fat, while ectomorphs are hard-gainers. Endomorphs tend to put on weight more easily overall, but usually retain their basic proportions, while an ectomorph tends to gain weight less easily and it tends to be in the belly-area. Most people are not strictly one body type.
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                • #9
                  I've often considered that the whole "body type" classification is not really relevant. I mean, how is it helpful? People are either at their target fat/muscle levels, or not, right?

                  I know people like to say "I'm a ____" because everybody loves classifications, but... does it really mean anything? Ultimately you are a function of your eating and activity types/intensity.
                  "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."

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                  • #10
                    ^ If it helps, I can formulate my question without these classifications:

                    I'm chubby. I've lost a lot of fat, but I'm still overweight - I doubled my strength, but I'm still not really muscular. Is there a way for me to get really lean and really muscular, or are there boundaries that I can't overcome with lifestyle changes, but which would be totally different or perhaps even non-existent for other people?

                    Over the last two years I've tried many things, and I now know for sure from first hand experience that merely eating right, supplementing with n-3 and what have you and working out doesn't automatically (or in Mark's words: effortlessly) transform me into Brad Pitt. Fair enough, I didn't expect that to happen anyway, but reading this and other paleo/low-carb forums I get the feeling that many think that way. The question is: Are those members of this forum who are in fact lean and muscular that way because they eat/move primally - or have they always been lean and muscular in principle and simply got out of shape and corrected that by eating/moving primally. The latter seems more likely to me. As I mentioned above, I've yet to see someone who went from really chubby out-of-shape couch potato to lean ripped Adonis.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tawny View Post
                      The way that I always understood the body types was more about shape than size:
                      Endomorph-round (but you can be lean and round, like Beyonce)
                      Mesomorph-muscular, thick (which can be lean with lots of muscle definition or big and heavy, like an ex-linebacker who has put on a bunch of weight)
                      Ectomorph-angular (tall, thin supermodel-type or long-thin limbed person with more belly than would be healthy)
                      I always believed this to be true too. I think you fall into one category and don't really "move" into another. The whole "body type" thing was devised as a way to explain why different people will look different from each other when their body composition measurements are roughly the same.

                      I'm a true mesomorph - straight up and down, essentially curveless and boy-shaped (yay) and I always carry a good amount of muscle. Even when I was a super-skinny stick fugure in the hospital being treated for anorexia I was still a mesomorph. I was striving to be the lithe 'supermodel' skinny chick but my body just never could get there - I looked like a really large, rectangular skeleton. Even when I was pudgy due to insulin resistance, etc., I was still a mesomorph; I had tons of muscle under all that pudge and even though I was carrying lots of bodyfat, I wasn't pleasantly "curvy" like Beyonce. Just thick and heavy-looking.
                      Last edited by ErinC; 06-08-2011, 08:40 AM.

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                      • #12
                        ^ Interesting implication there - seems like your insulin resistance didn't cause your body to change fuel partition much. I agree with that, but it flies in the face of what Taubes is preaching.

                        I'd like to emphasize that I don't think that you're born with a certain body and there's nothing you can do to influence it - like I said above, I lost a lot of fat last year and surely gained a few pounds of muscle mass as well, and when people see me they compliment me on having lost weight and looking more muscular. I'm still a far cry from Brad Pitt type mesomorphy though, and that's the whole point of the thread: Chubby guys who want to look like Mark Sisson should prepare themselves for the possibility that it may simply not happen. ;-)
                        MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jenny View Post
                          I've often considered that the whole "body type" classification is not really relevant. I mean, how is it helpful? People are either at their target fat/muscle levels, or not, right?

                          I know people like to say "I'm a ____" because everybody loves classifications, but... does it really mean anything? Ultimately you are a function of your eating and activity types/intensity.
                          I thnk there's some benefit to understanding that your body shape is diffficult to transform, so there will be boundaries around what your "finished product" will look like when you do get your weight/composition down to the level you're happy with. Figuring out roughly what shape you are can help manage your expectations - i.e. "I'm an endomorph so I'll never look like Gisele Bundchen; instead I'll strive to look more like Beyonce."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
                            Chubby guys who want to look like Mark Sisson should prepare themselves for the possibility that it may simply not happen. ;-)
                            I agree with this. It's all about managing expectations.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
                              As I mentioned above, I've yet to see someone who went from really chubby out-of-shape couch potato to lean ripped Adonis.
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