What’s your body type?

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Why Should You Know If You're Ectomorph, Mesomorph Or Ectomorph

Knowing your body type will help you determine the right diet and workout plan for particular needs. Your body type could be ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph without you knowing. As you probably noticed, there is an endless amount of conflicting diet plans and workout plans and you could be dieting and working out for 6 months with minimal results and no motivation to workout or eat well anymore.

At one point in my life, I got to accept that I was now overweight and that there was no way I’d ever be able to get back to my high school weight. I gave away all my nice jeans that I didn’t fit into anymore to my leaner friends and was wondering why I didn’t fit into any of the Guess jeans (it was my favorite store back then).

before-after weight loss my dream shape

My personal progress

I am a real mesomorph and back in 2010, I was about 5’6” and 170 pounds putting me in the overweight category as well as making more of an endomorph. I was doing a little bit of cardio but absolutely no weight lifting thinking it would get me look like a man. Then one of my friend told me to read an article in a fitness magazine about how to train for your body type. I then realised I was a mesomorph and that I should do more weight training rather than cardio and to count my calories. I am now 120 pounds and I kept it that way for now 2-3 years!!! Putting me on the lean side of the healthy weight for my height.

Turbo-Amplify Your Results By Understanding Your  "Somatotype"

body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph)

The concept of somatotypes (or body types) was introduced by William H. Sheldon, PhD, MD, in the 1940s. According to this theory, the description of body type based on three components :

1. Ectomorph ("thin")

2. Mesomorph ("muscular")

3. Endomorph ("round") 

Everybody would be more or less of each of these 3 categories on a scale of 1 to 7. Meaning you could fit in 2 or all of these categories at a different degree.

This technique has then been used by nutritionist, kinesiologists, personal trainers and even doctors to give customized fitness plans.

The 3 Different Body Types

So depending on if you have more or less characteristic of an endomorph, mesomorph or ectomorh, different kinds of training and nutritional diet will work better for you. First, I will describe the characteristic of each body type so you can see which one looks the most like you. Secondly, I will describe what kind of workout and nutrition is most adapted for each somatotype. Note that it possible that you have characteristics of 2 of them. In this case, you can take advice from both categories and do something in between.

1. The Ectomorph

An ectomorph is the typical skinny girl. They usually have long and think arms and legs and have a fast metabolism making it hard for them to gain weight but also to gain muscles. They usually have small shoulders and are not very curvy.

Typical characteristics of an ectomorph :

  • Narrow bone structure
  • Typical "hardgainer"
  • Small shoulders and hips
  • Naturally skinny
  • Body looks straight up and down
  • Long legs
  • Small muscle mass
  • Has a hard gaining weight (both fat and muscles)
  • Fast metabolism

Nutrition For The Ectomorph :

Since ectomorphs have a very fast metabolism, they need to eat a lot of calories to be able to increase their muscle mass as this will help them achieve muscle definition and a more toned look. The ectomorph must eat quality lean proteins (such as lean ground beef, pork chops, turkey/chicken breast, fish, seafood, eggs, protein powder, etc) and healthy fats (olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, avocados, olives, nuts, natural peanut butter) but luckily for them, eating junk food occasionally such as burger or slice of pizza from time to time is not going to make the ectomorph fat.

It is recommended to eat 1 to 1.5g of protein per pound of body mass daily in order to increase muscle mass.

Also, since ectomorphs don't need to worry about their insulin levels as much, they can add some clean carbohydrates to their diet such as rice, sweat potatoes, oatmeal, spinach, sweet peppers, green beans, broccoli, bananas, edamame beans  and other fresh produce. They might also have whole grains if they do not cause inflammation to their bodies. They should also have a snack before bed, as this will prevent muscle catabolism.

Training For The Ectomorph :

Ectomorphs have a really fast metabolism that burn calories really efficiently (almost too efficiently) and it can be hard to achieve muscle definition or even to maintain an healthy Body Mass Index.

Ectomorph should keep their workout relatively short and keep some rest days in their week as their recovery capacity is not a efficient as other body types.

But hey, if you want more muscle definition, more defined bubble butt or abdominal definition, nothing will stop you, all you need is dedication and the right way of eating and training.

To start with, ectomorphs are usually good endurance athlete (think cross country runner) but in order to increase muscle mass, the ectomorph should limit cardio training as this can burn muscle mass. Three times a week doing 15 minutes HIIT workouts or 30 minutes of moderate cardio is totally enough.

For strength training, I would recommend compound movements as much as possible (including squats, deadlifts, lunges, leg press, assisted pull ups, push ups, bench press, rows, shoulder press, etc.) with a 3-day split with abs twice a week. Using a shock technique such as superset, dropsets and circuit workout techniques once a week to maximize results is recommended!

2. The Mesomorph

The mesomorph in good shape is the typical "Fitness Model" girl. It is also possible for someone who looks more endomorph to tend more on the mesomorph side with a better diet and training.

Typical characteristics of a mesomorph :

  • Medium to large bone structure
  • Body tends to be lean and muscular
  • Large shoulders, narrow waist and broad hips
  • Hourglass shape
  • Might gain weight around hips and thighs
  • Generally Strong
  • Develops muscles easily
  • Gains fat faster than ectomorphs

Nutrition For The Mesomorph :

Since the mesomorph gains weight easier than the ectomorph, they have to keep an eye on the amount of calories they eat. They also need to keep an eye on the insulin level as this is the hormone that controls not only hunger but also tells the body to store fat. In order to do so, they should keep an eye on the amount of carbohydrates they eat and include more healthy fats and lean proteins to their diet. Try to minimize the amount of starch as much as possible helps a lot. Even fruits should be consumed moderately when trying to lean down.

A caloric ratio of 30% calories from proteins, 40% from carbohydrates and 30% from fat is recommended. (Keep in mind that 1 gram of fat contains more calories than a gram of protein or a gram of carbohydrate).

Training For The Mesomorph :

The mesomorph responds best to weight training 3x a week on a 3-day split training (example : leg, core, upperbody) and can get away with the same amount of cardio as the ectomorph (3 times a week) but HIIT workouts are more effective than regular cardio for the mesomorph.

This being said, the mesomorph should have longer training sessions than the ectomorph with short break between repetitions. Techniques such as superset, drop sets and circuit workout are very effective. If at any point you find yourself too muscular, it is always possible to reduce protein and calorie intake and increase cardio in order to reduce muscle mass. So don't be scared! You won't turn into a female bodybuilder overnight... Specially not without their "special medication" as female bodies are not meant to look like that naturally.

3. The Endomorph

Unfortunately, if you are in this category you'll have to work harder than the ectomorph and the mesomorph to maintain a healthy weight. On the other hand, most people are in between 2 categories, which means true endomorphs are rare and it is possible for an endomorph to tend more towards mesomorph, endomorph or in between. The bad news is, since the fat is stored in the abdomen, it also means it is stored deeper next to the organs which increase the risk of developing health issues. This makes it important to keep an healthy weight.

Typical characteristics of an endomorph :

  • Large bone structure
  • Tends to gain fat around the abdomen
  • Gains muscle and fat very easily
  • Is generally short
  • Legs shorter than their bodies
  • Round physique
  • Finds it hard to lose fat
  • Slow metabolism

Nutrition For The Endomorph :

It is possible for an endomorph to change its body type, the catch is that it takes a lot of hard work and dediction. The endomorph should aim for an average weight loss of 2 pounds per week. To do so, they must adjust their calorie intake in order to reach their goal. The Ketogenic Diet works well on endomorph as they do not handle carbs well and I've seen drastic results from this diet. But cutting carbohydrates (wether it's from sweets or pasta but even from oatmeal and fruits) is critical for an endomorph. Overall replace these with non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats while keeping an eye on calorie intake.

Training For The Endomorph :

The endomorph is pretty much the opposite of the ectomorph, meaning that they put on weight easily but they also put on muscles easily. Putting on muscle mass will also increase your metabolism and make you burn fat faster. This being said, weight training is the main goal of the endomorph. Since endomorphs usually already have a decent muscle mass covered by fat, their body can handle higher intensities of training without risking overtraining. In order to preserve muscle mass, they should avoid regular cardio and do 15 minutes HIIT workouts 4 times a week along with 4 strength training a week, targeting different muscle groups each time.

To conclude :

The majority of people do not fit in one single category, in fact, as said in the publication Health-Carter Anthropometric Somatotype, you belong to each one of these categories at a degree of 1 to 7. It is also possible to change your body type with some dedication and tips. This should only be a guideline to test what could work better for you.


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Author: Myriam

Fitness passionate, civil engineer and now blogger. After losing 45 pounds in a year and maintaining for a few years, I decided to create my website to share my nutrition tips and workouts to help other people achieve their fitness goals and maintain it.

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  1. Awesome article! I can definitely relate to the Mesomorph body type (and a little Ectomorph as well – if I am too active and don’t eat enough I will lose my hard earned muscles)! I think I would honestly be obese if I would carry on my lazy winter lifestyle as an Endomorph, loll! This is the right body type for a girl that likes to rest and eat a lot… hihihi 🙂

    Time to reach my full Mesomorph potential this spring!!

    Thanks for the great tips Mimi <3

    Post a Reply
  2. I don’t mean to sound picky, I just want to make sure I’m understanding things properly. Are the couple of references to ‘ectomorph’ in the Endomorph ‘Nutrition’ section an error? I’m reading that thinking it’s going to be all about the Endomorph shape but am thrown off seeing how “the Ketogenic Diet works well on the ectomorph”. ?? I’m clearly well into the Endomorph category so I want to be sure I’m following all the best advice. Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you very much for your good observation. There was indeed a typo!! Everything is now corrected, I’m so sorry about this 🙂

      Post a Reply
  3. what happens if you’re naturally an ectomorph but after two kids turned into an endomorph lol

    I started before kids at 105, 5’2, skinny, petite, “little”, “teeny”… blah blah.

    now after two kids, deep depression, horrible choices for birth control and antidepressants… I’m an endomorph (I think??). I’ve been losing weight after being off those meds & have been eating like crap (and drinking at least 1-3 sodas a day). would I still follow the ectomorph things!?

    I’m sorry if this is a lot of info I’m just confused and sad and lost on which one to follow lol. thanks!!


    Post a Reply


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