The journey to a healthy lifestyle can feel a bit overwhelming at times. There is an overload of information available with just a few clicks of the mouse. How do you sort through it all? How do you know which applies to you? Should you eat a higher carbohydrate diet? Do you need to do long bouts of cardio? The answer to most of these questions lies with you.

Understanding your body type is essential to help you train most effectively. It can also help you determine which nutrition approach best suits you. It may help to unlock the keys to get you over a plateau or kick start your weight loss journey. You must first understand each body type and then determine where you fit in. Keep in mind, most people are a blend of two body types and they show their traits in a variety of ways. Let’s take a look.

image1Ectomorph: This body type is typically tall and slender. They are able to stay slim relatively easy, but also struggle with adding muscle mass. They are a typical “hard gainer”and many consider them to have a “fast metabolism”. Male ectomorphs have relatively small shoulders in relation to their lower body and female ectomorphs are more flat-chested than the other body types. Some celebrity examples include: Paris Hilton or Adam Levine

One simple way to tell if you are an ectomorph: Wrap your middle finger and thumb around your wrist. Typical ectomorphs will have an overlap – sometimes a significant one.

Mesomorph: This body type is typically a more athletic, v-taper build than ectomorphs. Their shoulders are wider than their hips and their upper and lower body appears balanced with a smaller waist. Mesomorphs are able to add muscle mass relatively easy without adding a lot of fat. Some celebrity examples include: Halle Berry or Hugh Jackman.

How to tell if you are a mesomorph: Wrap your middle finger and thumb around your wrist. Typical mesomorphs will touch – sometimes barely.

Endomorph: This body type is typically round through the middle. Endomorphs tend to be shorter in stature, but not always. Most of their excess weight is through the mid-section (in men) or hips, thighs, and buttocks (women). They have wide shoulders and hips with a straight mid-section. Endomorphs struggle to lose weight, but are able to add muscle mass relative easy. Some celebrity examples include Kim Kardashian and Vin Diesel.

The way to tell if you are an endomorph: Wrap your middle finger and thumb around your wrist. Most endomorphs will not touch.

Now that you understand the three main body types, which category do you fit in? Keep in mind most people are a blend of two and just because you are born with certain genetic traits, does not mean you can’t achieve your ideal physique. With proper nutrition, a sound training program and a lot of hard work, you will get there.