Body Types – Ectomorph | Mesomorph | Endomorph

March 13th, 2008 Posted in Conditioning, Diet, Weight Training 108 Comments »

You could be wasting your time with exercise and proper nutrition, if you don’t know how to train and eat based on your body type!

Everyone’s body is different, I am sure you will agree. All bodies look different, smell different, work different, move different, etc… Why would you train like someone who is genetically gifted to be a bodybuilder, if you are genetically gifted to be a Kenyan endurance runner? It doesn’t work. Let me explain how you can better target your daily routine to your body type.

What is a Body Type?

A body type describes how easily it is for you to gain and lose, fat and muscle. Some people are just predisposed to being large, like Ronnie Coleman for instance. While others tend to stay skinny no matter what they do. Let us get into the details. There are three kinds of body types; ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.

Ectomorph Body Type

Ectomorph Body Type
Ectomorphs usually refer to themselves as hard-gainers, which means that in order for Ectomorphs to gain muscle, it takes significant hard work, dedication, and lots of food. These folks usually carry very low levels of bodyfat, tend to have smaller muscles, and often have a smaller skeletal structure.

Training for Ectomorphic Body Type

Ectomorphs should be lifting heavy weights. That’s all there is to it. These guys need to build a strong core, a strong foundation, upon which to build the physique they desire. Compound exercises with a rep range from 3-5 should be used to facilitate strength gains. After a stable base is built, Ectomorphs will want to incorporate hypertrophy training, which is about 8-10 reps of slightly more isolationist exercises, like seated dumbbell shoulder press, or dumbbell bench press, single arm triceps extensions, perhaps single-leg extensions, and maybe a few curls. Since maximal intensity is needed during sets, and since stored ATP should be replenished as much as possible, rest periods between exercises should last about 2 minutes.

Diet for Ectomorphic Body Type

You skinny bastards have metabolisms faster than a bullet. If you are not eating, you should be. When you’re not hungry, eat. If you just ate and you’re full, eat some more or drink some milk or a protein shake. Pick the high calorie, high protein, healthier foods, and constantly be eating. Foods that are highest in healthy fats should provide the biggest bang for the buck since the Omega 3’s and calories will go a long way to putting on some bulk. Try 95% fat free beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and all-natural peanut better. Keep milk, yogurt, kidney beans, and fruit on hand for snacks. Protein bars are good too, if you can stomach them. I prefer Pure-Protein bars and Chef Jay’s Trioplex.

Mesomorph Body Type

Mesomorph Body Type
Mesomorph bodies are more inclined to gaining muscle mass quite easily. These folks are considered the ‘genetically gifted’ when it comes to bodybuilding. They are not necessarily easy gainers, but they are definitely not hardgainers either. Mesomorph body types are very athletic looking and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. These are the guys that people refer to as jacked, ripped, and cut; and they usually walk with good posture. Mesomorphs can build muscle faster than Ectomorphs and can also lose fat much faster than Endomorphs, as long as they eat and train properly.

Training for the Mesomorphic Body Type

The best form of training for a Mesomorph would be heavy weight lifting utilizing maximal force. This would include the kind of explosive training found in powerlifting and Olympic lifting. Different exercises should be utilized in each and every training session targeting every muscle in the body with heavy weights to increase size and strength. Full body training probably works best for Mesomorphs since they can recover quickly and adapt to traditional training programs easily. Cardio should still be performed, but kept to a maximum of 2 sessions a week. This will keep the heart and lungs healthy, and the fat at bay, while not impeding muscle growth. 30-40 minutes for each cardio session is ideal. Intensity should be kept at a high intensity to focus more on the fat burning process rather than the chance of minimizing muscle mass. Interval sprints and other explosive exercises should be mandatory.

Diet for the Mesomorphic Body Type

For the mesomorph, a balanced diet should be maintained. A 30/30/40 balance of protein/fat/carbs should be utilized. This will give the trainee a full supply of nutrients and enough diverse calories to facilitate muscle growth and to maintain a lean physique.

Endomorph Body Type

Endomorph Body Type
“Hey fatty, having trouble getting lean?” You don’t want to say this to an endomorph because most likely he is stronger than you and will either crush you with his fist or sit on you. This body type is more likely to gain fat but is also more likely to be big, strong, and large boned. Endomorphs usually have a soft and squashy appearance, and they have much tougher time losing fat than the other two body types. The most can be made of this body type with a dedicated workout routine, and a dedicated nutrition plan. It is not that bad to be a big fat guy, as long as you know how to turn it into a jacked, ripped, son of a bitch through diet and exercise.

Training for the Endomorphic Body Type

Weight training should be kept to a higher rep range for most workouts. I recommend 1-2 complexes per week with several exercises strung together and little rest between sets. An example of a complex might be a deadlift into a hang clean into a push press into a back squat into a rear push press, and back to the floor. This will train for endurance, strength, and will keep the metabolism elevated. Endomorphs will still want to dedicate one day a week, one week a month, or two months a year, to serious strength training. The majority of the training though, should focus on the 8-12 rep range. Cardio is a big plus for endomorphs. 3-4 sessions of cardio per week is recommended, for 40-50 minutes at a time. At each cardio session, different types of cardio exercises should be utilized. Sprints, complexes, jumping rope, cycling, and kickboxing classes are all examples of decent cardio exercise.

Diet for the Endomorphic Body Type

It is best to eat about 7 or 8 small meals through the day. The key phrase here is SMALL MEALS. I am talking like 300-400 calorie meals. This type of eating increases your metabolism and your body burns additional calories when it is digesting food, so keeping your body in a constant state of digestion is a bonus. Concentrate more on protein and carbs, and keep fat to a bare minimum, especially saturated fats. Fats are the higher calorie nutrient and should be kept to only 20% of your overall diet.

Now that you know where you stand and have a better idea of how to train for your body type, I expect that you will examine your current diet and exercise plan. Make the changes that you need to make in order to maximize your efficiency, and get back in the gym! Be sure to contact me with any questions.

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108 Responses to “Body Types – Ectomorph | Mesomorph | Endomorph”

  1. Skully says:

    I have no idea what’s my body type. I am a 20 year old female, and exercise 5-6 times a week (mostlt weight lifting) since my goal is to gain muscle mass.
    By the trainer, I was told that I have more upper strength than lower strength (got broad shoulders, more straight looking legs).

    I notice that I gain fat easily, and lose it quite easily (IF, I kept my diet/exercise in check.) For the past 5 years my weight has been practically stable to an extent. Falls back and forth between 46kg (my lowest)-54kgs (my highest). My problem is that I only gain weight in my lovehandls and belly, otherwise my arms, legs…whatever are always the same, with little or no changes. Since I started exercising since (Dec), until to date.

    I lost 4kgs of fat, and gained 2kgs of muscles (more or less), which i have been told is little.

    Currently I weigh53kgs w/21 kgs of muscles and 16kgs of fat. Yup.

    My program is this. A split workouts between upper and lower and 1 day 45 minutes cardio. I’ve gained noticeable muscles in my upper body, but not my lower…

    I am so confused about my body type and what I should be doing!

    • Steve says:

      Sounds to me like you might be a mesomorph, able to gain muscle and lose fat relatively easily. I think maybe you just need to set a priority. If you want to gain lower body muscle mass, stop doing endurance cardio with your lower body and start focusing on muscle building. Try some Werewolf Training.

  2. Skully says:

    I am also pretty short. 5’2 (158cm)

  3. Chris says:

    Hey Im not quite sure of my body type. You see I gain muscle very fast and tend to keep a good amount of it when I stop training. I do tend to carry a small amount of fat but I believe it’s due to my horrible diet. I’m never fat per say and always muscular and I do lose weight quite fast… When I diet properly. So I’m not quite sure if I’m an endo or a meso. If you need more info hit me up via email. Thanks for your time and support.

  4. eiit8 says:

    idk what i am….ecto or meso… im 5’11 and weigh 145… i have small waist of 31 inchest and chest is 43 inches and im pretty toned.. i bench 210 n curl about 115 pounds.. i run a 4.8 40 yard dash but im slim n have pretty wide shoulders.. i eat alot but dnt get fat or gain weight..but i work out n just get stronger each day but not really bigger.. any help with how to get bigger wud help..thanx

  5. Jim Bob says:

    I dont know what body type i am. I weigh about 155 pounds and am about 5 foot 10 inches. I have a waist of 30 inches and am toned. Could you tell me what body type i am plz?

  6. Katrina H says:

    i am 5’4 female and my weight fluctuates between 135-140. i have a tendecy to gain weight in my stomach but i gain muscle quickly in my arms and legs. what would my body type be.

  7. adithya says:

    I am 18 year old male.I workout regularly and i have got a big bulk body with very broad shoulders wide waist (i don’t have much fat but still wide) and big thighs. My friends ask me from where i got the strength but it has been natural for me. What type of body i have?……

    • Steve says:

      Probably endomorph, though I don’t know enough about you to say for sure.

      • adithya says:

        I am 6 foot tall, I am big but not too fat and I am a way bigger and heavier than my other mates. I have good stamina and energy. If i miss my workout for a month, I become too fat. I don’t do much weight training but i have more strength than others…..

  8. k0nj02 says:

    Well…i dont know what tipe i am. well what i am curious is my whole body “look” i have small width of shoulders, large width of hips…and i have “large” lungs…i mean when you look me by profile side my upper body is huge. is that normal? :S what to work on

  9. Katrina H says:

    What exercises can i do to develop larger thighs and bigger calf muscles. do i need more protein in my diet, and do protein shakes work?

  10. Jack says:

    Shoe Size: 8
    Hips: 38 inches
    Shoulder Width: 18 inches
    Shoulder to Wrist: 22.5 inches
    Chest: 36 inches
    Waist: 30 inches
    Inside Leg: 29.5 inches
    Height: 5 feet 2 inches
    Collar: 14.5 inches
    Head: 22.5 inches

    I lose fat very quickly but get a lot heavier after regular strength training.

    What somatotype would you consider me to be from these details and measurements?

  11. Ric says:

    Good site.

    I’m a 58 year old male. Weighing 245 lbs. 5′ 10″ My chest is 50″, waist about 40-42″ Neck is over 21″. No double chin, but big head, big bones, and have very muscular thighs, calves and arms. I tend to gain weight easily and lose it as well when I watch the diet, but am bad about caloric intake.

    I have always participated in mixed martial arts up until 2 years ago when I blew out lower disc. Can’t keep up with the young pups anymore on the mats, but continue to do some like training. I run 2.4 miles 5 days a week in 26 minutes. I do planks every other day for a minute t2 reps and push ups 25 3 reps again, every other day, usually. I just can’t seem to lose the fat around mid section but Dr. says I have lots of strong muscle under that fat. I am big but most don’t think I weigh what I do. People tend to walk around me as they have told me repeatedly I look menacing. I don’t feel that big, but…I am perceived as such. I am not fat looking but do have more body fat then I feel I should. I don’t want to kid myself. Am I doing enough exercise? I love to work out but since stopping working out at the Pit, I do the above work outs only now. My cardio is excellent. I don’t do weights that much at all and never have. Is that enough?

    I checked out pictures of mesomorph’s and endomorph’s. I feel I am not classic to either build but a combination of both. Is that possible or am I kidding myself.

  12. Lauren says:

    Hi I’m 33 yr Female. I’m 5″2.5 and weigh 110-115 lbs currently. Small frame. Slight pear shape. (very narrow shoulders and bigger hips) I’ve been up to 128 lbs tops. I’ve exercised a lot my whole life-jogging, spin, and light weights 3 times/ week. In had a very hard time losing any weight until I got off the pill and cut back calories <1000/day. Not as much exercise recenty-but the weight came off easier regardless. My husband and I want to try to get pregnant and I don't want to gain a lot of weight. What should I do to prevent that from happening?

  13. Arif says:

    i find it very hard to put on weight and build muscle but i am very strong

  14. King Jaffry says:

    Hi, I am 17 years old Guy. And I think I am endomorph cause I have fat on my body ! So please tell which exercises should I do ! Specially really best ones.

    And the diet which I had to take which costs very little…

    Thanks.

  15. Steven. B says:

    Im 16. I can gain muscle quick. Its mostly all lean. W/some bulk in my chest and tri`s. Im probably one of the bulkiest guys in my age group in my training class. But im also sknny and sometimes my body doesnt take in all it should. I can gain fat and mass, but still remain lean uder it w/no bulk. And my neck is kinda long. Am i like a freak combo of all the body types? Or am i unable to gain mass because im still growing?

    Thanks for any help.

    • Steve says:

      Sorry but I have no idea what you are describing. Either you can “gain muscle quick” or you can’t. It sounds like you are trying to gain mass, but first you say you can gain mass easy but then you say you can’t, so I don’t understand the question. You are probably a mesomorph but maybe you either don’t lift heavy enough or you don’t eat enough to gain muscle. I’d probably need to know way more about your body type, training, and lifestyle to maybe any other recommendations.

  16. Carmen says:

    Once an Endomorph body type loose weight, what will happen with their excess skin? Will they just have to walk around with the weight of that skin and still look unattractive?

  17. nick says:

    I seem to have characteristics of both meso and ecto. Can you be a combination of the three or is it one or the other? I am 6’5″ 230lbs and athletic, I have broad shoulders and large physical features 48″ chest 36″ waist. I also lose weight easily and can get skinny if I dont exercise. If I could compare my body type to someone I think I would say I resemble a prototypical shooting guard in basketball (Jordan, Kobe, etc) obviously not nearly as athletic.

  18. Generally good advice, though I have to disagree with the part about eating anything you see for ectomorphs. If you are not working out, I don’t think you should be drinking protein shakes, since it will be converted to fats. However, if your main goal is to bulk up, I think it’s alright, though it’s best to minimize it. my 2 cents :)

  19. Craig says:

    I pretty much agree with your workout approach for ectomorphs, but most ectomorphs are anxious to pack on weight and muscle. I understand building up strength, but I find the optimum muscle building to be between 6 and 12 reps. I especially agree with the rest periods. I would just like to add that workouts shouldn’t last more than an hour and only 3 times a week. If you are an ectomorph you have to realize that your body doesn’t handle the stress as well as the other body types.

  20. John Danzer says:

    Endomorph’s are not necessarily muscular. There are a lot of Endomorphic Ectomorphs and Ectomorphic Endomorphs who are very low in Mesomorphy.

    Examples: Leonardo Dicaprio Endo 4.5/Meso 3/ Ecto 4.5

    This type can actually be harmed by lifting heavy weights

    Another example Robert Pattinson: Endo 5/ Meso 2.5/ Ecto 5

  21. I guess that makes me a mesomorph.

  22. Satyarup Das says:

    all that u need to know about body.

  23. Jaclyn Ortega says:

    I'm predominantly a mesomorph

  24. Jackie says:

    According to the body type quizzes that I tried & the findings that my gym did to my body a few years ago, they all say one thing: that I fall under the medium frame mesomorph. However I doubt if I’m a pure mesomorph because I used to have a pear-shaped body which is an endo characteristic although right now I have a more hourglassy statistics which is a meso characteristic. I have been overweight for most of my adult life although I do admit that the major part of it is due to my negligence while the minor part is that I was diagnosed with PCOS that made me very overweight & look more like an endo. Also I notice that I gain fat easily but my body is also very responsive to diet & exercise so I tend to lose weight easily too not to mention that my calves are always more pronounced since I was a kid.

  25. Patrice Sellers says:

    So that explains it I'm a Mesomorphic.

  26. David Brewer says:

    Body types are made in the kitchen… not in the gym. That is not to say that exercise isn't a must. It just means that eating the right foods at the right time of day in accordance with your training is what will change/maintain your body mass index and overall body shape.

    I am naturally ectomorphic in body type and I have no trouble putting on solid muscle mass while consistently staying lean. I mix my workout up as far as what exercises and how many reps/weight per set I do every week or two. This creates confusion for your muscles; thus eliminating the 'plateau' effect. I have seen considerable muscle mass growth while doing sets of 12 and 15 as long as I am eating correctly throughout the day. I don't always do those rep counts but it proves that what is said above is not entirely true.

    Eighty percent of your results will come from diet and nutrition. Please don't cheat yourself by believing that certain workout routines will give you dramatic results alone. Too often do I see people quit because they workout really hard and do what their buddy tells them and it doesn't work. It's because 'that guy' is most likely a mesomorph and you are most likely not eating properly.

    We all have google at our disposal these days. Just read, read, read, read, and read some more. For examples of proper form and amazing workouts my personal favorites are Scott Herman and Zuzana Fitness on youtube.

    Have fun. :)

  27. Ayman Khalaf says:

    you seem like an endo-..you hve a similar body type like a friend of mine

  28. Meade says:

    What if you gain both muscle and fat easily? I do both. I can gain muscle very easily. I have very muscular legs and it doesnt take much lifting to see results. I also gain fat pretty easily, or don’t lose it very well, whichever way you look at it.

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