What is your body type: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, or Endomorph?


There are three distinct categories of the human body:

The endomorph, characterized by a preponderance of bodyfat.

The mesomorph, marked by a well-developed musculature.

The ectomorph, distinguished by a lack of either much fat or muscle tissue.

Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph

Ectomorph Mesomorph Endomorph
  • Thin, little bodyfat or muscle mass
  • Has Trouble Gaining Weight
  • Muscle growth takes longer
  • Muscular Body
  • Gains Or Loses Weight Easily
  • Grows Muscle Quickly
  • Soft Body
  • Round Shaped
  • Trouble Losing Weight
  • Generally Gains Muscle Easily

Obviously, most people are not going fit exactly in one category or another. We tend to have a combination of the 3 body types. But knowing which of the 3 body types you predominately lean towards can help you structure your workouts and nutrition program to better meet your fitness goals.

Here are some general training and nutrition guidelines to follow for each of the 3 body types…

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Ectomorph

Ectomorphs need to focus their efforts of gaining muscular bodyweight.

Heavy weight training will help ectomorph’s stimulate muscle growth. Slower paced workouts with longer rest periods (i.e. at least 2 minutes between sets) will allow heavier weights to be lifted and thus help stimulate more muscle growth. Ectomorph’s also need to train less frequently in order to give their body plenty of time for growth and recovery. 3 weight training workouts per week would be ideal.

Cardio and other aerobic activities should be kept to a minimum until you are happy with your current bodyweight. This will conserve calories and allow them to be utilized for muscle growth.

Ectomorph’s need to make sure that they consume more calories then they burn off in order to have a caloric surplus from which to grow from. Ideally they should not go any longer then 2 hours without eating something. Each meal should contain protein and starchy carbohydrates. While the diet should be focused around natural unprocessed foods, some higher fat foods like peanut butter, red meat, whole eggs, and full fat dairy products can be added to the diet to help increase the caloric intake.

Ectomorph’s have really fast metabolisms so the risk of gaining bodyfat is low. And even if they do gain some bodyfat during the mass building phase, they will easily be able to get rid of it once they return to a lower calorie diet.

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Endomorph

An Endomorph’s biggest problem is losing bodyfat and keeping it off.

Weight training will help endomorph’s develop a better muscle to fat ratio in their body and therefore speed up their metabolism. Ideally endomorph’s should train at a fast training pace (very little rest between sets and exercises) to help burn up more calories during their workouts.

A minimum of 30 minutes of daily cardio, preferably done first thing in the morning before eating, will help burn up stored bodyfat and help increase the metabolism. Moderate intensity activities like brisk walking, bike riding, and cardio machines at the gym are ideal.

Endomorph’s need to eat less then maintenance calories in order to burn up stored bodyfat for energy. 5-6 small meals spaced out every few hours during the day. These meals should be based around lean protein and green veggies. The only time starchy carbohydrates should be consumed is immediately after exercise. At these times the body is primarily concerned with replacing muscle glycogen and the carbohydrates will be unlikely to get stored as bodyfat after exercise. Obviously, sweets, junk foods, and heavily processed foods should be eliminated from your diet, except for an occasional treat once or twice per week.

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Mesomorph

Mesomorph’s tend to be in the middle of the road as far as muscle mass and bodyfat. They generally have a naturally fit body, but to maintain it or improve it they need to exercise and diet correctly. Most successful bodybuilders have this body type.

Weight training can be done more often and for longer sessions then would be good for an ectomorph, but mesomorph’s still need to be careful not to overdo it. Depending on the individuals fitness goal, a mesomorph could focus on the guidelines suggested for an ectomorph and gear their training towards gaining muscular bulk. Or they could focus more alone the guidelines outlined for the endomorph and gear their training towards fat loss and getting ripped.

A lot of mesomorph’s like to cycle their training by bulking up and gaining muscle mass during the fall and winter months. And then switch to training for fat loss during the spring and summer months, in order to have a lean fit looking physique for the summer.

Eventually ectomorph’s and endomorph’s can take on a similar training cycle pattern as their physiques get more developed and they begin to take on some of the characteristics of the mesomorph. But they will still have a tendency to need more work on their trouble areas (i.e. gaining size for ectomorphs and losing fat for endomorph’s).

When a mesomorph is happy with their muscle size and leanness they can simply train to maintain it by sticking to a good healthy diet and performing moderate cardiovascular exercise several times per week to keep the bodyfat in check.

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Conclusion

When you know what body type you have and then train and eat properly for your body type, you will make much better progress with your workouts.

Your goal should be to look as close as possible to a mesomorph. With the correct exercise and diet this is an attainable goal. And while some people may have to work harder then others to either gain muscle or lose bodyfat, progress is possible regardless of genetics. And very often people with a stronger work ethic and more determination will be able to overcome their limitations and surpass those with better genetics.

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About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online helping people build muscle, lose bodyfat, and get in shape since 1999. Lee was selected as one of the Top Fitness Trainers Online through YouTube's Next Trainer Program and his work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes.

137 Comments

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  • boomerangg

    Reply Reply

    I certainly have enjoyed your site for the three years that I have been watching, but get someone to write for you. Your use of the english language needs improvement. I know you have quite a few followers from outside the country, but don’t let them influence your use of the language. Remember you are Canadian, english is your first language, use it well and be proud of your communication skills. You are not just a musclehead, so don’t write like one! Respect.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dale

    Reply Reply

    This is very helpfull….I have always done my cardio after eating…I think the tip to do it befor will help greatly…TY

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • daniel

    Reply Reply

    I am 5’7″ 220 pounds 4 months following your program started a t 232 pounds not loosing as much weight as I want to but lifting more weight every 2 weeks. question. I eat 1/4 cup of oat meal every morning some granola and fruit no sugar, is this ok?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Jim

    Reply Reply

    Great article…..very usefull stuff

    Lee…..have a question for you. I’ve read/listened to all of your articles, and not one of your articles do you suggest eggs for any of your shakes or meals

    Old school body builders drank egg shakes as a way to gain protein……hald doz or more at a sitting

    What say you???

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • daniel:
    I am 5’7″ 220 pounds 4 months following your program started a t 232 pounds not loosing as much weight as I want to but lifting more weight every 2 weeks. question. I eat 1/4 cup of oat meal every morning some granola and fruit no sugar, is this ok?

    ============

    That’s ok for your complex carbs, but you need to have a combination of protein and carbs with breakfast. Never eat carb only meals, always have protein AND carbs.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Jim:
    Great article…..very usefull stuff

    Lee…..have a question for you. I’ve read/listened to all of your articles, and not one of your articles do you suggest eggs for any of your shakes or meals

    Old school body builders drank egg shakes as a way to gain protein……hald doz or more at a sitting

    What say you???

    ==========

    You can add pasteurized egg whites to your shakes, but I wouldn’t recommend eating raw eggs. You can get pasteurized liquid egg whites in bulk at:
    http://leehayward.com/eggwhites

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Jason

    Reply Reply

    boomerangg,

    It’s hard to believe that there are actually D Bags out there that would leave such a lame comment as if their dumbass opinion really matters. By the way, just because one is Canadian does not necessarily make english their first language you ignorant prick. I guess you are just a dumb musclehead, so that is why you ignorantly write like one. Respect.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Leonardo

    Reply Reply

    great great great!!! When you start nobody cares about it, but when you know it you start seeing results

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Anthony

    Reply Reply

    Great information to have, thanks, Lee! I have a question. I would probably put myself somewhere between mesomorph and endomorph body type, I grew up being overweight but beginning in around 2009 until now I have lost over 100 pounds with most of the weight loss being between 2009-2011. My weight loss was due to diet changes and I have managed to keep it off as well. I have only recently been consistently working out for the past 2 1/2 months and I’m getting great results so far. I am 180 right now and I’m 5’8″ but I still have some loose skin around my chest and midsection and some around my arms. Do you think this is from the rapid weight loss? What do you recommend for exercises that I can do to tighten some of the look skin I have. Should I just continue on a regular consistent workout routine? Will work itself out that way? I have gained so much knowledge from your youtube channel. Thanks for all your tips, Lee!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • James

    Reply Reply

    If you have thin bone structure does that consider as ectomorph?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Matthew Costis

    Reply Reply

    I have used your methods and workouts. Results were excel ant. Thank very much. Its too bad your in Canada and not in Clearwater Florida.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Anthony:
    Great information to have, thanks, Lee! I have a question. I would probably put myself somewhere between mesomorph and endomorph body type, I grew up being overweight but beginning in around 2009 until now I have lost over 100 pounds with most of the weight loss being between 2009-2011. My weight loss was due to diet changes and I have managed to keep it off as well. I have only recently been consistently working out for the past 2 1/2 months and I’m getting great results so far. I am 180 right now and I’m 5’8″ but I still have some loose skin around my chest and midsection and some around my arms. Do you think this is from the rapid weight loss? What do you recommend for exercises that I can do to tighten some of the look skin I have. Should I just continue on a regular consistent workout routine? Will work itself out that way? I have gained so much knowledge from your youtube channel. Thanks for all your tips, Lee!

    ==================================

    When you have lost a lot of weight it’s normal to have slack skin. If you keep the weight off it should tighten up a bit, but I know several people who have lost 100+ pounds and have gotten tummy tucks to remove the excess skin around the mid-section.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • James:
    If you have thin bone structure does that consider as ectomorph?

    ================

    Generally yes, if you have a small structure you are probably an ectomorph.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Gilles Jacob

    Reply Reply

    Greetings lee! thank you for the informative article

    Seeing as you suggest slower paced workouts so you can lift more for ectos.

    Being an ecto myself,(and troubled gaining weight) should i have more benefits from doing a 5×5 Rep/set instead of the high reps (10,15,20) that you mostly suggest?

    Thank you in advance

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Gilles Jacob,

    Yes, you can benefit from including heavier lower rep training in your workouts. One good example is in my 12 week workout program that you can download for free at:
    http://www.leehayward.com/12-week-workout-program/index.htm

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dean

    Reply Reply

    Thanks for all the help

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dean

    Reply Reply

    Dean,

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dean

    Reply Reply

    boomerangg,

    Training has nothing to do with language writing or speaking thanks for all the help Lee. What a&$?@@@ prick
    Dean,

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Tracy

    Reply Reply

    Lee I just want to say that I have gained alot of usefull info from your newsletter and I have a just one personal comment…. I love your truthful disclaimer …. it is right on the nose. if you dont get off your but and use the info in your training programs and leave it on your computer you WON’T get any results…. just wanted to say that and KEEP IT REAL.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Sean

    Reply Reply

    We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.

    Your site provided us with useful information to
    work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will likely be thankful to you.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • this is absolutely true.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • josian

    Reply Reply

    hi lee:
    i have a question for you:
    i think i have a “mesomorph” body type,
    and i was wondering is a 3 day body split is
    good for a “mesomorph” body type for example:
    day 1:legs.
    day 2:back and biceps.
    day 3:chest,shoulders and triceps.
    is this a good 3 day body split for a mesomorph body type?
    thank you!
    your friend,
    josian.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Arfan Ahmed

    Reply Reply

    This is the best training module ever read, good job done

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Arfan Ahmed

    Reply Reply

    Hi,

    Lee

    My body type is Ectomorph and i would like to know about gaining weight and more muscle so please suggest me something.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Maurice

    Reply Reply

    Lee,

    I’d like to join but I don’t have much in the way of “equipment”. I got your grippers (100, 200 & 300), i have 8lb. dumb bells and a 12lb. kettleball. I have 3 wide elastic bands and 10lb. ankle weights.

    Also, my house doesn’t have room for big equipment pieces which is why I have small pieces.

    How can I “gain” from you and “gain” muscle?

    HELP!!!!

    Thanks

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • I am an oldie ectomorph. My lack of weight has been a big + for athletics but I’m getting a little tired of looking like I’m going to blow away in the next wind. Must have some ++’s as I am too dense to float in fresh water. Oh well, I’ve done 3/4 hour of back in the gym today, so have to wait until tomorrow, a legs day. Breakfast no. 2 is coming up, based on scrambled eggs with all the yolks. I don’t know how people can stomach yolk-free eggs. Keep up the inspirational work and helpful hints, thanks Lee.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Great article! We’ve included a link in our curated guide at http://bodybuilding-fitlife.blogspot.ca

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Norman Paskowsky

    Reply Reply

    Thanks for the informative information! This was exactly that I needed!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • This is exactly the information that I just spent 2 hours looking for, I know this blog is a few years old but thank you for explaining this for me.

    Clearly I am an andomorph, because that constitutes myself when i’m considering the amount of body fat that I have. At first I considered myself to be a ectomorph, but because I have always done my cardio after eating a meal, and finding ways to naturally increase my energy before work outs. This has helped me decrease my body fat and after reading your program I can see that if I continue doing this I may be able to lose my body fat quicker than using other dieting techniques.

    Thanks for your advice

    -Mandy, interested student in weight loss and personal improvement

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Noel Yaneza

    Reply Reply

    Yes..as 59 yr old I can join training hard to.my very young group of body.builders.thanx to your good programs.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Hussnain

    Reply Reply

    Thanks Dear Lee..
    You are helping me very much…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Keon Nelson

    Reply Reply

    I am 5’8” 330 lbs and desire to lose weight. to be honest I am a sugar addict (sodas, cookies ice cream & cake) not making excuse. my schedule is- 4:30 to 4:30 to and from work 4:30 to 8:30 I watch my kids or go to T-ball practice. what are some ideas or options I have to do 30 min. cardio daily and workout?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Steve Post

    Reply Reply

    Lee I think I’m a mesomorph not sure my legs are thin but very muscular but my back is wide my shoulders and arms and chest are muscular, problem is the gut I only gain in the gut area any suggestions ?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Nisarg Patil

    Reply Reply

    Sir I am an ectomorph with high metabolism. How much weight should I lift? According to your blog, ectomorphs should lift heavy. But I don’t understand how much weight is enough heavy to lift.
    Please answer.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Abhishek Rane

    Reply Reply

    Dear Sir,

    My body type is Ectomorph. I joined gym when I was 49Kgs and after 8 months I am now 57 Kgs. But now my weight has stopped incresing and I have reduced my working schedule from One muscle per day(6 days workout per week) to 2 muscle per day (3 days a week workout). Please suggest some some good die as well as workout schedule.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Tattooed 911

    Reply Reply

    boomerangg,
    This is not meant to be a English class Mr. Canadian. Why don’t you respect that !

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Miles

    Reply Reply

    boomerangg,

    Really?!? The man is providing us with(in my case) much needed advice. If you want English perfection, go read an English novel!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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