Somatotypes are one method professionals use to clearly describe body types. People with a higher percentage of muscle than body fat may have the mesomorph somatotype. Mesomorphs typically shed and gain weight easily, and they have an easier time building and maintaining muscle mass than other types. Knowing what somatotype a person is can help trainers and dieticians design workouts and diets to help their clients achieve their fitness goals.
Characteristics of a Mesomorph Body
People with a mesomorph body type are more likely to have certain characteristics:
- Firm, muscular body
- Good muscular definition
- Rectangular body shape
- High physical strength
- Even muscle distribution
- Gains muscle easily
- Lose weight quickly
In many ways, the mesomorph is the ideal athletic body type. With even muscle distribution, they are rarely underweight or overweight. People who are actively attempting to stay trim may consider this body type a disadvantage.
Impact of Somatotype
Somatotypes have become a core concept in many training programs, and many people create or follow workouts specific to their body type. However, it is important to remember that a person’s somatotype is only one factor of many that influences their body. Experts recommend focusing on fitness goals rather than body types. A mesomorph who wants to stay extremely thin can do so, though it may take a bit more effort and a more restrictive diet.
Assuming a person is aiming for the ideal mesomorph physique, they can make a few tweaks to their eating habits. Muscles require more calories to maintain, but more calories can also lead to fat gain. Proteins such as white meat, fish, beans, and eggs have a good balance between nutrition and calories. Fruits like blueberries can speed up post-workout recovery.
Determining Caloric Needs
It is extremely difficult to avoid gaining fat while also increasing muscle mass. However, a person can limit their weight gain by calculating their basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the minimum number of calories necessary while performing no activity. While there are several equations to calculate BMR, the easiest way is to use a dedicated calculator. Remember that because mesomorphs have greater muscle mass, they may require slightly more calories per day.
Mesomorphs gain muscle quickly and are generally equally muscular across their body, though this can change if they use routines targeting specific areas. Experts recommend lifting moderate to heavy weights while limiting rest between sets, five days a week. Mesomorphs who want to build strength and stamina without muscle mass should use higher reps with lighter weights. Adding in bodyweight exercises can also help with this.
Cardio and Aerobic Exercise
Since mesomorphs often consume more calories to maintain their musculature, achieving a lean physique can be difficult. Try incorporating high-intensity interval training two or three times a week, along with a couple of sessions of standard cardio. Interval training may involve:
- A five-minute warm-up jog
- Intervals of 30-second sprints alternating with two-minute recovery walks
- A five-minute cool-down of walking and stretching
Mixing in standard cardio burns fewer calories but helps prevent overtraining and injury.
Differences in Sex
Females generally have more body fat than males, though research shows they are just as likely to have a mesomorph body type. One study suggests that children tend to have somatotypes that are similar to their mothers, though this needs additional research. Additionally, while few studies focus on the overall prevalence of each body type, those that exist do not indicate that sex has a notable influence on somatotypes.
Athlete Body Types
A large number of studies have attempted to discover if athletes are more likely to have certain body types. Various investigations indicate that different sports seem to reward different somatotypes. For example, one study found that kayakers are more likely than soccer players to be mesomorphs. The same study states that low-level athletes do not have the distinguishable patterns of somatotypes that elite athletes do. A study of female netball players found that mesomorphy influenced the position the athlete played.
Some people believe that due to their body type, mesomorphs are more prone to certain injuries. However, this may just be because mesomorphs are more likely to participate in activities leading to injuries, such as high-level sports or weight lifting. One study researched the effect of mesomorphy on lower limb and back injuries. The results showed that mesomorphs were not more likely to have these injuries.
Very few people have a singular somatotype. Most people are a combination of two somatotypes, though some may have features of all three. A 2017 study discovered six somatotypes in their testing group of 146 participants. Of these somatotypes, endomorphic mesomorph was the most common, with 56 participants. Because endomorphs and mesomorphs can both gain muscle and fat quickly, the prevalence of this combination makes sense.