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…



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.



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.



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.



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


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you... lee@leehayward.com


  • Ryan Philipson

    Hey Lee I am a combination of Ectomorph and Endomorph, i have all the caracteristics of an Endomorph except gaining muscle, i DONT gain muscle easy, i gain it very hard, i have to be really strict to gain even a pound of muscle, on the other side, fat gain has a very high priority.
    So its kind of a combination. What do you think??

  • Akram

    Hey lee
    I am an ectomorph and I also have the same problem of gaining weight slowly. Thanks for your comments. God bless you lee.

  • Thomas J Ahern

    Unfortunately,I’m also Diabetic & 66!Age & diet pretty much detiremens(sp?) how I train. Tom(Irish)

  • Hillary

    i am an endomorph I have a problem losing weight especially my abdomen. I WILL WANT TO KNOW WHAT TO DO.

  • Shane

    Forget it there is no way of getting out of this mess, I need some inspiration. Do you think that the weight room can become an unhealthy thing. I’m feeling healthy mow, the truth is that this plateu is eating away at my heart, and we all know that is bad news I need to go for a run!

  • jibin

    hey lee i am between ecto and meso before 3 years my body was good enough with musles but now i am lillle bit fat ,81 kg,and 5.8 feet,plase recomnd a suitable training programe. thank you

  • hello lee heyward
    i found good articles and i just follow the programs that you are telling me!
    and i get good result. so i must thank you.
    i wrote about what was my body type that you asked me on your E-mail.
    thank you lee

  • Hey Lee I am a combination of Ectomorph and Endomorph, i have all the caracteristics of an Endomorph except gaining muscle, i DONT gain muscle easy, i gain it very hard, i have to be really strict to gain even a pound of muscle, on the other side, fat gain has a very high priority.
    So its kind of a combination. What do you think??  

    Yeah, a lot of people refer to this as “skinny fat” and it’s more and more common then ever. You need to train and eat for fat loss, but with extra emphases on heavy weight training to build lean muscle tissue at the same time. This is pretty much how bodybuilders will go about training for a competition.

    I cover a lot of great tips and suggestions that you can use in my Extreme Fat Loss DVD program at: http://www.leehayward.com/dvd

  • ashish

    i am 5.6”.My weight is recently 64kg.I have ectomorph body type.According to my body structure mainly i need to increase my body weight and specially my chest portion.I have a muscular chest but comparison to my other body parts the chest portion is with less volume.I have been trying to grow up my chest but still it is same.So i want suggestions in terms of workout routine and daitry supplements as well as coach i would feel glade if you send me some tips to grow up my arms.
    I am waiting for your quick response coach
    Yours bodybuilding student

  • thank u for the tip
    that’s useful

  • Good Morning Lee, At 57 years old today and retired I look and feel more like a Meso. I am not skinny nor am I round. Imagine yourself when your out of commision for awhile, you look like you have done weight training in your past but you need to lose some weight and get some definition. I used to look like internet trainer Travis Stoetzel when I was 17 and in the Marines 72-78 but, now I look like you out of shape or Elliott Hulse out of shape. That is why I am reading all your e-mails and watching your video’s so I can look like you the way your are today and getting ready for compition. Awesome… Great articule Lee. keep your readers Lean, Mean and ready for War. Stay Strong, Live Strong and Grow Strong… Herc.

  • james

    thx lee. i’m 6ft2in about 215 lbs though i seem to fit the ectomorph explanation because i’m still a little lanky and genetics gave me skinny legs. but with a bit of extra BF around the abs that just wont go away. maybe it’s just a protruding belly syndrome type thing. and with how intense i have to workout for me to build muscle i seem to also fit the bill as endomorph.

  • Your body type can change with proper training, etc. So even if start off lean and lanky, or soft and round, you can build yourself up to look more like a mesomorph (that’s the whole goal of bodybuilding).

    But you need to look at where are you mostly right now, do you want to gain mass, do you want to lose bodyfat, etc. and take the appropriate training action.

  • Ka'ili

    I’m 6’1″ and about 250 lbs. I’m definitely an endomorph. I can gain muscle fairly easily. When I used to workout in late intermediate/early high school, I was closer to being a mesomorph, but still had some blubber going on. I’m 21 and a student, and i live with my family. We usually have healthy food in the house, but not nearly as much as in my childhood. Consequentially its hard for me to eat healthily. As for workouts, I’m going to be starting a body weight program again, and I’m going to add 30-min walks to that as much as possible. Any other suggestions for me? I’m tired of feeling tired all the time and not having energy to do things at the spur of the moment. Looking this way oddly doesn’t have much effect on me. For me, it’s more for my health. Thanks, and I appreciate these posts!

  • Omar

    Hi Lee, Can you point us towards some REAL ectomorphs out there, that we can google, who have become bodybuilders? Thanks.

  • Sarah

    Hey Lee, this Somatotyping (Heath-Carter) has always really interested me, but particulary in the last 7 years since starting weight training. Through my teenage years i found it very difficult to loose body fat / weight and ended up with a lot of yo yo dieting. When i exercised i often saw an increase in weight on the scales which scared me off exercise and weights until i discovered more about my body and body composition etc. I worked for the Australian Sports Commission for many years and had an opportunity to be tested for body composition by the Talant Id team who use a combination of anthropometric testing (skin folds, bone density, height, weight and bone length cicumfrance measurements). This showed my stats of being moderate to high level of Endomorph and Mesomorph (shown below)
    Endomorphy 5.4, Mesomorphy 5.4, Ectomorphy 0.7
    (0.5 to 2.5 – low; 2.6 to 5.4 – moderate, 5.5 to 7 – high; 7 plus: extremely high)
    Though research and trial and error i am getting a better picture of how to best train for my body type, but any extra hints are always helpful!
    I find i put on muscle quite easily but need to work quite hard with the nutrition and HIIT training to burn the fat. I also seem to hold the muscle well if i keep up high protein and don’t stop exersising completely…
    Do you or any of your readers have a similar body type to me and can offer some suggestions for helping me to speed up my results. I am 6’4 150 pnds and 30% BF. I am aiming to compete in a bikini comp in 6 months and under 20% BF

    Cheers, PS: Love your work 🙂

  • Mark

    Hi Lee, I’m definitely an Endomorph. I typically get up in the morning and hit the gym for 30-35 mins of cardio immediately followed by one of my weight training routines where I try not to take more than 1 minute rest between sets, so it sounds like I am doing the right thing there. However, I usually have a protein shake when I first get up before I head out the door to the gym and then another immediately after my workout. Should I stop drinking my pre-workout shake? Thanks, as always, for all you do 🙂

  • Mark


    Have you tried changing up your workout routines to get around your plateau and re-inspire you? I know this works for me. Looking forward to trying out new exercises and a new routine gives me motivation and I usually start seeing almost immediate gains when I try the new exercises.

  • My body type is Endo-Ectomorph

    I do not gain muscle easily and even worse, lose it VERY easily

    On the other hand,I gain a lot of fat as well.Especially around the lower back due to insulin resistance.

    So essentially,Endo-Ecto
    The WORST bodytype EVER!

  • Ka’ili:
    I’m 6’1″ and about 250 lbs. I’m definitely an endomorph.I can gain muscle fairly easily.When I used to workout in late intermediate/early high school, I was closer to being a mesomorph, but still had some blubber going on.I’m 21 and a student, and i live with my family.We usually have healthy food in the house, but not nearly as much as in my childhood.Consequentially its hard for me to eat healthily.As for workouts, I’m going to be starting a body weight program again, and I’m going to add 30-min walks to that as much as possible.Any other suggestions for me?I’m tired of feeling tired all the time and not having energy to do things at the spur of the moment.Looking this way oddly doesn’t have much effect on me.For me, it’s more for my health.Thanks, and I appreciate these posts!

    Just take things one step and a time, don’t try and do too much, too soon. First step get your butt in the gym and workout consistently. Then focus on cutting out the junk food that you already know you shouldn’t be eating. Then you can move on to a more advanced fat loss diet plan such as the one that I outline in my Extreme Fat Loss Program at: http://www.leehayward.com/dvd/xfatloss.htm

  • Omar:
    Hi Lee, Can you point us towards some REAL ectomorphs out there, that we can google, who have become bodybuilders? Thanks.

    Sure, 2 former Mr. Olympia’s come to mind… Frank Zane and Dexter Jackson were both ectomorphs. When Dexter first competed he was 130 pounds, now he’s competing around 230 pounds!

  • I’m definitely an ectomorph haha…gaining mass is very hard becuase of all the over eating I have to do but I am blessed with pretty good shape and the ability to get shredded even when I don’t eat so clean.

  • Jeff D

    Hi Lee,

    I am an Ectomorph & have recently switched from 3 sets of 8-10 reps to 4 sets of 3 reps w/ heavier weight. Although I do mostly compound exercises, I also like to work in some iso exercises. Should I go low reps/heavy weight on iso exercises, like flies & cable lat raises, or just with compound exercises?



  • Ka'ili

    Lee Hayward,

    Ok thanks! I’m gonna get right on it when I get home. Can’t afford a gym membership yet, but I can start at home.

    God bless!

  • mark

    i think im a mix of ecto and meso beacuse i got some of the characteristics of both i can kinda gain weight easly when im eating right but i lose it super fast if im short of some carlories and im skinny lol

  • Sarah


    Opps i mean i am 5’4″! Shorty

  • Dani

    Thanks for this Lee coz i know how to train/diet a endomorph into a Ectomorph and diet a ectomorph into a mesomorph but i havent been to sure on the training and this must be where i was going wrong. I am an ectomorph myself and although my lady tells me i am starting to ‘fill out’ abit i havent gain size at all yet people have commented on how strong i am (at least for my size) i have been discovering what you stated here and this has just reconfirmed. I didnt realize the rest breaks had to be so long so thanx the help

  • Rob

    Good refresher but bring something up on your site about working out around injuries. I recently got diagnosed with a SLAP tear in my shoulder any tricks for a endomorph to continue training with out my shoulder hurting

  • Rosie C

    I’m really confused about my type…I think I’m a combination Ecto and Meso..I can gain muscle easily but I don’t retain it. My wrists are tiny but I have thick ankles and heavy calves. I lose weight fast off my upper body and my bones show (rib cage, clavicle, etc) but have big muscles on my lower body. Ecto from the waist up and Meso from the waist down? Is that possible? I was skinny as a child and chubby as a teenager, then as an adult I was average when I didn’t work out or watch what I ate. My mother is an obvious endomorph and my father is a typical ectomorph. How do I figure out my body type?

  • Jibi

    my body is having a layer of fat which is hard to lose

  • michael

    hey lee

    i just wanted to say thank you for the years of advice brother i was 6’6 310lbs of fat and by doing the workouts ive seen on your website and eating right im 6’6 280lbs of muscle went from Endomorph to Mesomorph body in two years so what im trying to say is if i can do it any of you can do it just eat right and train like a champion

  • michael

    hey lee

    just wanted to say thank you for the years of advce brotherwas 6’6 310lbs of fat and by dove seen on your webste and eatghtm 6’6 280lbs of muscle went from Endomorph toMesomorph body m trysfdodot just eat rght and trake a champon

  • Potoia Latu

    Hi Lee I’m losing weight slow, but my muscle is grow, but my problem is my tummy , so I’m in Endomorth. so what do you think? Thank you…

  • i read somewhere that ectomorphs should train with 5-10mins between each set to recover, thanks for confirming that they dont have to spend quite that long resting as i am a proper ectomorph (5’10 144lbs/65kg) and i really dont wanna spend all day sat around the gym ‘resting’

  • Rob:
    Good refresher but bring something up on your site about working out around injuries.I recently got diagnosed with a SLAP tear in my shoulder any tricks for a endomorph to continue training with out my shoulder hurting

    I’ve got a good video about re-habbing shoulder injuries at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9bvVGFYl-8

  • Fat, skinny, muscular!?!

    Hey lee I use to be fat did insanity and my metabolism blasted so I went from a endo to ecto now Ive gained about 10 pounds of muscle 96 to 109.. I want to get up to about 115 to 120, but my abs are slowly going away, is there anyway I’ll be able to stay about the same weight (115 -120) and get my abs… Thanks please answer…. Oh and I also work my legs bout 2 times a week my quads have gained size but i havnt really noticed a difrence in my calves, please answer… Thanks

  • Dustin Attebury

    I am an Endomorph. I have never had a problem gaining muscle, but I gain fat even faster. I drive a big rig for a living. So sitting all the time and not getting a lot of exercise, and a bad diet. What kind of exercises should I be doing? What kind of diet should I be on? Thank you

  • jay wolford

    Hey Lee, first of all i want to thank you for all the very valueable tips that you share. they have been a lot of help. I have been a truck driver for 11 yrs.I didn’t care for exercise untill about 2 yrs. ago. I was 220 lbs., having chest pains and headaches. When I started driving i was about 130lbs. so I figured my blood pressure was high. It was 139/89 and i was only 28 yrs. old. I started to work out to bring my blood pressure down, and now its normal. Thats when i became “addicted” to working out. I love it! I lost 55 lbs. but now I’ve plateued. I’ve tried to keep 5 meals a day at about 300 cals. with protiens at about 25 to 35 gms. per meal, and keeping cardio for 45 to 60 mins after about 120 min weight training.and 2 min rest (I do push myself to exhaustion. typically 4 sets 8 to 10 rep. I’ll do inc. press, then flat press, then decline press, and ounce in a while 3 sets of 12 pullovers. all d.bs.) but i can’t seem to loose any more weight. Any Ideas? Also I am getting some pec growth, but not satisfied. My pecs seem to be the only muscle group thats not responding as well as the rest. Do you think a higher rep. like 3 st. of 20 to 25 might stimulate growth? I would really appreciate some feed back.( the above is a sample of how i work. i try to focus on 1 major group per day or 2 smaller per day. chest on mon. bis,tris, shoulders-rear,middle,front, and upper traps on wed. chest on thurs. or fri. depending on how the tris feel, back on sat, legs sun. or mon. depending on how the body feels, take a day or two off then start over. Beleive it or not I have the energy for the whole workout, and I am getting results. I have been out for 2 mos. so im trying something new, 3 sets 20 reps with 90 sec. rest. sorry this comment is so long i just want your informed opinion. Thank you so much for your time.

  • Rob,

    I’ve got a good video about rehabbing shoulder injuries at:

  • Rosie C,

    Yes, this is possible. It’s common for a lot of women to look like they have 2 different bodies connected at the waist. Generally women can get very lean up top and still have stubborn bodyfat down bottom.

  • Potoia Latu,

    Yes, generally if you struggle to lose bodyfat then you have endomorph tendencies.

  • Dani,

    You don’t need to wait that long between sets. But you should rest about 2-3 minutes between sets in order to handle maximum weight when training.

  • Fat, skinny, muscular!?!,

    If you want to weigh a certain bodyweight with lean muscular definition, you’ll generally need to bulk up beyond that weight and then diet back down. So in your case if you want to be a ripped 115 pounds, you should bulk up to at least 130 and then diet back down to 115. That’s how competitive bodybuilders do it and that’s why they have different phases for their off season mass building and pre-contest fat loss.

  • Dustin Attebury,

    I’d recommend you check out my Extreme Fat Loss Program. I’m actually giving this away as a FREE Bonus for my Total Fitness Bodybuilding Inner Circle Members. You can get your copy of this program at: http://www.TotalFitnessBodybuilding.com

  • jay wolford,

    Since you’ve been following the same type of diet for a while now and have already lost 55 pounds, it sounds to me like you need to incorporate a carb cycle diet plan to help speed up your metabolism and get your body burning fat again.

    If you would like me to help you set this up for you, you should sign up for the Total Fitness Bodybuilding Inner Circle Coaching Program at: http://www.TotalFitnessBodybuilding.com

  • John Gerber

    I have tried to order from you, but am unable to get “Click Bank” to work for me? Do you have a suggestion?

  • John Gerber,


    ClickBank is normally very good, but sometimes their security system will reject perfectly good cards. So I’m going to make a secondary order page using PayPal, so hopefully you’ll be able to sign up using that page.

  • Thomas J Ahern(Irish)

    I thought that this bit of information might help some people.I don’t know the truth but this is what my Diabetic Dr told me.At a recent office visit,I asked him-I workout nightly,eat cleanly,only have a yougurt for lunch but I still stay heavy.I’m not complaining! I have a fairly good build,I’m 68 &
    very active,so I didn’t understand why,He told me that it’s because insulin makes you gain wt!The
    higher the dose,the more likely the wt. gain! Thomas J Ahern(Irish)
    P.S. I only include the (Irish) because it’s my nickname.Most of the Biker community wouldn’t
    know who T.J.A. was because they only know me as Irish.

  • John Gerber:
    I have tried to order from you, but am unable to get “Click Bank” to work for me?Do you have a suggestion?


    I’ve created a back up order page for the “Inner Circle” Membership at:

    So if you couldn’t place your order with the primary order system, you can use this one instead.

  • madhan

    Hi lee my body type is Ectomorph pls can u tell the bicep methods to improve my bicep..
    my height is 6 my age is 32.pls tell me for muscle growth.