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Endomorph, Mesomorph, Or Ectomorph? Fitness For The 3 Body Types

Endomorph, Mesomorph, Or Ectomorph? Fitness For The 3 Body Types
Written by Michael Garrico

When it comes to fitness, it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. This is because we all have our own unique body types.

You’ve probably heard women with large hips describe themselves as pear-shaped or others lacking in curves joke they’re built like stick-straight rulers.

With men, you’ve got those who are built, buff, doughy, and lanky. We’re top-heavy or bottom-heavy, we’ve got beer bellies and chicken legs and muffin tops. But body type is much more complicated than the everyday labels we give ourselves.

What’s Your Body Type?

Your body type, known as your somatotype in the world of physiology, will help you determine your own unique needs from workout programs to supplements and diets.

Using a body type calculator, you can find out what your body type is and create a specific workout and diet plan designed for your success.

In this article, we’ll tell you what your body type is and how that should shape your diet and workout so you can reach your fitness goals.

The 3 Body Types

Let’s start with the three main body types: the endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. These are physiological terms, so they of course sound more complicated than they really are.

Here are the three main body types explained, in plain English:

The Endomorph

Stereotypical endomorphs are really good at gaining weight – but that doesn’t mean they’re always overweight.

Endomorphs are people who have soft, round bodies with a high proportion of fat.

Oftentimes, this fat is localized around the stomach, hips, and thighs.

These are people we typically call big-boned; even if they’re muscular, they’ll look heavier than others.

Endomorphs have a hard time building muscle definition and losing weight, even if they try a variety of diets and workouts.

Endomorph body type

Endomorphs are people who have soft, round bodies.

This is due to a naturally low metabolism and a low tolerance for high-carbohydrate foods. Even a little break from regular exercise (especially cardio) could result in pounds creeping back into those unwanted trouble spots.

The endomorph physique is characterized by:

  • Thick rib cage
  • Wide, thick joints
  • ​Short limbs
  • Blocky physique

Think you sound like an endomorph? Check your body type with the XX calculator here.

The Mesomorph

Mesomorph body type

Mesomorphs have compact, muscular bodies.

Mesomorphs are the lucky ones: they have fantastically good genes when it comes to physique.

Mesomorphs are people who have compact, muscular bodies.

These are the people we typically call built or in-shape.

They’re the jocks who make pull-ups look perfectly effortless, and according to most people, they’ve got the ideal body type.

Mesomorphs have “problems” many of us couldn’t relate to: if anything, they bulk up too much and need to slow down the weightlifting.

They’re naturally great athletes and can push much harder and longer than other body types.

The mesomorph body type has:

  • Wide clavicles
  • Narrow waist
  • ​Thin joints
  • Proportional physique

Want to find out if you’re a mesomorph? Check out the body type calculator here.

The Ectomorph

Ectomorphs are naturally skinny, lithe, and slender – the exact opposite of endomorphs.

People with the ectomorph body type have lean and delicately built bodies.

Ectomorphs are low on fat and muscle tissue alike. These are the people we tend to call lanky and skinny.

Typically, ectomorphs have high metabolisms – they’re those friends you hate because they can eat all they want without gaining a pound, while they’re frustrated they can’t seem to build muscle no matter how hard they work out.

Ectomorph body type

Ectomorphs are the people we tend to call lanky and skinny.

Women lack those feminine curves, while men can’t grow out of that boyish look.

Ectomorph bodies tend to have:

  • Narrow hips and clavicles
  • Small joints
  • ​Long limbs
  • Thin physique

Does it sound like you’re an ectomorph? Check out the XX calculator here to get your results.

Women’s Body Types

Although dividing people into three different body types is an imperfect system, typically, most people fall fairly neatly into one of these categories. When it comes to women, though, the amount of body types can range anywhere from three to eight, depending on who you’re asking.

Here are the four most common female body types:

The Apple

Women's apple body shape

Women with the apple body shape have broader shoulders and large chests, while their hips are narrower. Women with the apple body shape would be considered mesomorphs.

The Banana

Women with the banana body shape have a more rectangular physique. They are lacking when it comes to curves as well.

Unsurprisingly, they fall under the category of ectomorphs.

The Pear

Pear-shaped women simply have larger hip measurements than bust measurements.

Women's apple body shape vs pear body shape

Apples and Pears: Which body shape are you?

Often, pear-shaped women are endomorphs with a higher fat to muscle ratio than the average person.

The Hourglass

Women's hourglass body shape

The Hourglass.

For most women, this is the ideal feminine form: the hips and bust are nearly the same size, and the waist is thin.

Nearly half of women, though, are banana-shaped, and a mere 8 percent have the hourglass figure.

Usually, women with the hourglass figure fall somewhere between mesomorphs and endomorphs, as they have the curves of an endomorph but maintain the thin waist of a mesomorph.

So, What’s My Body Type?

Figuring out your body type isn’t always as simple as looking at a handful of pictures and saying, “Yeah, that’s me!” To calculate your body type, check out our calculator below.

Body Type For Weight Loss And Weight Gain

So you understand what characterizes each body type, and you’ve figured out what yours is. But what are you supposed to do with this information, anyway?

As we mentioned before, knowing your body type is a great tool when it comes to designing a workout and diet plan that will help you reach your goals more efficiently and effectively.

Ectomorphs and endomorphs are near opposites when it comes to physique. Naturally, we’re not going to recommend that they eat the same thing and lift the same weights.

Here are some training tips and dieting tips for each of the three body types.

Weight Loss For Endomorphs

So you’re an endomorph. Typically, the problem you’re going to face is being a little on the heavy side, as endomorphs are great at gaining weight but struggle to lose it.

If you feel like you can’t drop the pounds no matter what diet regime or insanity workout you adopt, you’re not alone. But don’t worry. There are ways to eat and work out that will help you reach your goals.

Endomorph Dieting Tips:
  • Keep full by drinking plenty of water
  • Keep full by eating plenty of vegetables
  • ​Cut processed foods
  • ​Cut calories – you simply need less than other body types
  • Get in whole grains
  • ​Eat only 30-40% carbohydrates
  • ​Control your portions and eat 5 to 6 small meals
  • Get the protein to build muscle, but stick to lean sources like chicken, turkey, and seafood
  • Invest in metabolism boosters like caffeine and performance boosters like BCAAs so you can push through high-intensity workouts
Thin and fat women

Ectomorphs and endomorphs are near opposites when it comes to physique.

Endomorph Fitness Tips:
  • Cardio is your friend. Think one or two days a week at the least. Fat-burning is at its best after weight training, as you’ll have run out of glycogen and your body will have to move into burning body tissue for energy.
  • Rather than jogging along, opt for interval training. Think two minutes fast, one minute slow to get that fat burning fast.
  • If you’re looking to build muscle, go for about four days of weightlifting – the goal is to get as much burn as possible while avoiding overtraining. Challenge yourself to go to failure after around 10 reps.
  • ​You need maximum muscle use, so focus on weight training that hits numerous muscles at once, like squats and deadlifts.
  • Go for circuit training: this means a low amount of rest as you alternate between weight training and cardio in five to six sets.

The endomorph body type isn’t a death sentence, but it does require more dietary control and workouts that combine compound weightlifting with high-intensity cardio. As long as you keep an eye on your diet and find ways to enjoy regular workouts, you can maintain a near-mesomorphic physique.

Weight Maintenance For Mesomorphs

Mesomorphs have a wide variety of goals – some are looking to avoid bulking up too much while maintaining an athletic lifestyle.

This is especially true for women who want to maintain a more feminine, hourglass physique.

Others are bodybuilding experts and are completely content to continue to bulk up.

Let’s look at how diet and fitness plans can help mesomorphs reach their unique goals.

Mesomorph Dieting Tips:
  • It’s all about balance, mesomorphs. Don’t go for a high-protein diet unless you want to bulk up. Otherwise, think an equal amount of carbs, proteins, and fats.
  • Whole foods over processed foods – this will help you avoid muscle melting into fat.
  • Even your metabolism is going to slow down someday. When it does, you’ll have to learn how to reign in your calorie count to avoid fat gains along with your muscle gains.
Mesomorph Fitness Tips:
  • There’s no need for major and frequent compound lifts unless you’re really looking to bulk up. If you want to maintain your muscular physique, opt for resistance training and low to moderately heavy weights with 3-4 sets of about 6 reps.
  • Being a mesomorph means muscle gain, but muscle can turn into fat if you don’t get in cardio a few times a week. If you’re afraid of bulking up too much, more frequent cardio is a great option for weight maintenance.
  • ​Because you’re so naturally athletic, it’s easy to master an exercise routine or sport fast and stifle muscle development. The key is variety.
  • You could workout forever, but don’t. Try to keep it under two hours – otherwise you risk overtraining.

As a mesomorph, it’s less about a struggle to gain or lose weight and more about deciding what you want and adjusting your workout and diet to that goal. When you know what you want, it’s just a matter of eating and exercising smart.

Weight Gain For Ectomorphs

Whereas endomorphs would give an arm and a leg to lose some of their fat, ectomorphs struggle to gain fat and muscle alike. This is where protein powders, increased caloric intake, and multivitamins are really important.

Just as weight loss ultimately isn’t impossible for endomorphs, weight gain is possible for ectomorphs with the right diet and exercise plan. If this is your situation, here are a few tips to get a little more meat on your bones.

Ectomorph body type holding weight in a right hand

Struggling to gain some fat?

Ectomorph Dieting Tips:
  • If weight gain is what you want, one of the easiest ways to do this is to up your calorie intake, especially when it comes to healthy fats and proteins. Tired of hearing you need to eat more? We’re sorry, but it’s a key part of the bulking process!
  • Try to eat every two hours at least.
  • ​Add a lot of protein powder and pre- and post-workout supplements to your diet.
  • Go for high calorie weight gain shakes to get those extra calories in.
  • ​For once, we’re going to tell you not to be afraid of junk food and cheat days. Highly processed foods aren’t good for anyone, but don’t be afraid to hit that greasy pizza joint from time to time.
  • If you’ve tried out all of these tips and still can’t gain weight, consider visiting your doctor for a check-up and blood work. There may be another issue at the root of your weight like hyperthyroidism.
Ectomorph Fitness Tips:
  • Often, ectomorphs are “skinny fat,” meaning they lack muscle mass and have more fat. Getting your body composition measurements is a good starting point to see just how much muscle you want or need to build.
  • Weightlifting is your new best friend. Hit numerous muscle groups with compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups.
  • ​Don’t over-train. Hit each muscle group only once a week, and with only a few exercises.
  • Keep cardio at a minimum. You really don’t need that calorie burn.
  • Give yourself the necessary rest days to avoid putting your muscles through too much stress and failing to bulk.

Bulking up takes a lot of effort, dedication, and calories for ectomorphs, but it’s doable with the right diet and workout strategy. Eat a lot, get lifting, and don’t worry about hitting the treadmill too hard.

Knowing Your Type And Training Right

Human body types

Your diet and workout plan needs adjusting based on your body type.

If you hadn’t heard of endomorphs, mesomorphs, or ectomorphs before reading this article, you’re not alone. We love to talk about fitness as a one-size-fits-all type of thing, but knowing your body type is going to give you that edge to really reach your goals.

Whether you’re aiming for weight gain or loss, muscle growth or simple weight maintenance, your diet and workout plan needs adjusting based on your body type.

Are you an endomorph looking to lose weight? A mesomorph high on bulking up? An ectomorph just looking to get toned? Whatever your goal is, try out these tips. How’s your experience been with your body type?

About the author

Michael Garrico

I’m a 29-year-old personal fitness trainer and nutritionist living in sunny Miami, FL. I’ve spent the last 10 years staying at the forefront of the health and fitness industry.

In that time, I’ve helped hundreds of people shed the excess weight and get into shape, maintaining their healthy new lifestyle through proper training and eating habits.

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