In the 1930s, and 1940s, Dr. William H. Sheldon, a professor from Harvard, became engrossed with the study of human body types. As a psychologist, it was Sheldon's primary intention to discover how body types were related to temperaments such as introversion and extroversion. As a part of his extensive research on the subject, which included studying over 4000 photographs and interviewing hundreds of people, Sheldon developed a classification system for body types known as somatotyping.
Sheldon identified three basic body types: endomorphs, mesomorphs and ectomorphs. Endomorphs are the "fat retainers." Characterized by roundness, excess body fat and large joints ("big bones"), endomorphs often have great difficulty in losing body fat. Mesomorphs are the "genetically gifted." They are lean, muscular and naturally athletic. Mesomorphs lose fat and gain muscle with ease. Ectomorphs are the lean, skinny types. They are usually very thin and bony, with fast metabolisms and extremely low body fat.
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