It should go without saying that exercise has great benefits. Whether you are looking for increased muscle size and tone, improved cardiovascular function, or another variable that define fitness; provided you follow solid training principles, you will see improvements in desired areas. However, one aspect to keep in mind when you start training is body type- also know as somatotypes, created by William Sheldon (1899-1977).

Each human being is genetically unique: no two humans are the same. While this is the case, an individual will fall into one of the three categories of body type: Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph.

Ectomorphs are characterised by a slim build, low body fat, short trunks, long limbs and minimal muscle mass. Ectomorphs will have a hard time gaining weight and muscle mass; training should be focused on compound: multi joint, weight bearing exercises. Ectomorphs will generally have a fast metabolism and burn calories rapidly. Well know ectomorphs include: David Beckham, Lisa Kudrow, Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz.

Endomorph will tend to have a pear shaped appearance, with much of the mass being concentrated around the abdominal area. Endomorphs arm and legs tend to be short in length, whilst the upper region of these limbs are more developed that lower sections. This body type will also feature a spherical, large shaped head. Training for the endomorph should focus around speeding-up their naturally slow metabolism, with cardiovascular exercise being ideal, as well as circuit training also being appropriate. Famous endomorphs: John Goodman, Shane Warne, Roseanne and Jack Black.

The mesomorph is identified by well-defined muscles and large bones; torso will taper to a relatively narrow and low waist creating a V-shape for males, and an hour-glass for females. The bones and muscles of the head are projected, with features of the face clearly defined; cheek bones and a square- abundant jaw. Mesomorphs can develop and build muscle mass without much difficulty, and can usually eat without fear of gaining fat. Mesomorphs are athletic by nature, so training can consists of any individual preference. However, it must be noted that high volume cardiovascular exercise can cause the mesomorph to lose lean muscle mass. Celebrity mesomorphs include: Mike Tyson, Marion Jones, Bruce Willis and Laila Ali(daughter of Muhammad Ali).

Combination of Body Type
Whilst the body types are segregated into the three categories, many will find that they are a combination of body types. An individual may carry the characteristics of an ectomorph in long limbs, mixed with the well defined muscles and large bones of a mesomorph.

While people may see one of the above three body types as superior, it is important to remember that a healthy body should be a persons main aim, because at the end of the day: there is no such thing as a perfect shape.