Endomorph, Mesomorph, Or Ectomorph? (The 3 Body Types)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: June 19, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

Are you an endomorph looking to lose weight? A mesomorph high on bulking up or an ectomorph just looking to get toned?

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.

As a personal trainer, this is one thing I always assess first with my clients, and in this guide, I'll show you precisely what these body types mean.

Quick Summary

  • Identifying whether you are an endomorph, mesomorph, or ectomorph is crucial for tailoring your fitness and diet plans effectively.
  • Each body type requires a unique approach to diet and exercise, with specific recommendations for endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs to achieve their fitness goals.
  • Nearly half of women have a banana-shaped body, and only about 8% possess an hourglass figure, indicating the diversity and complexity of body types.
  • Recognizing and embracing your body type is not just about physical health; it's a journey towards self-acceptance and optimizing personal well-being.

Endomorph Body

Endomorph body type

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

They are those who have soft, round bodies with a high proportion of fat [1].

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

Endomorphs do not gain muscle quickly. Unsurprisingly, they gain weight easily and have a hard time keeping a fit, muscular body even if they try a variety of healthy food planning and workouts.

This is due to 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 since they have a slow metabolism.

Their 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 this calculator.

Read More: Fat Burning for Endomorphs - Diet, Fitness & More

Mesomorph Body

mesomorph

Mesomorphs are the lucky ones: they have fantastically good genes in terms of physique and metabolism.

Mesomorphs are the people we typically call built or in shape.

They’re the jocks who make pull-ups look perfectly effortless, and according to some, they’ve got the ideal figure.

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

Minimal training and exercise can make them lose fat easily, and they can get muscular too fast.

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.

Learn More: Mesomorph Workout: Exercises for Mesomorph Body Type

Ectomorph Body

Ectomorph body type

Ectomorphs are those who are naturally skinny, lithe, and slender – the exact opposite of endomorphs [2].

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

These are the people we tend to call lanky and skinny and have issues with gaining muscle mass.

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

Women who are ectomorph 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 this calculator here to get your results.

Training & Dieting Tips for Each Body Type

youtube

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 stuff.

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

1. Endomorph Body Type

fat stomach pinch

Typically, the problem you’re going to face is being a little on the heavy side, as endomorphs are great at gaining muscle mass but struggle to lose it because they have a slow metabolism

If you feel like you can’t drop the pounds no matter what diet regime or insanity workout you adopt, you’re not alone.

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, 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 - RelatedBest Bcaas For Men 

Endomorph Fitn​ess Tips:

  • Cardio is your friend. Fat burning is at its best after training, as you’ll have run out of glycogen, and your body will have to move into burning body tissue for energy. This will make fat loss easier.
  • Rather than jogging along, focus on interval training. Think two minutes fast, one minute slow to get that fat burning fast.
  • If you’re looking to gain muscle, go for about four days of weightlifting – the goal is to get as much burn as possible while avoiding overtraining. Challenge yourself to follow and 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 training in five to six sets.

The endomorph body type isn’t a death sentence, but it does require more food control, workouts, and training that combines compound weightlifting with high-intensity cardio.

2. Mesomorph Body Type

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

Mesomorph Dieting Tips:

  • Don’t go for a high-protein diet unless you want to bulk up. Otherwise, think of an equal amount of carbs, proteins, and fats for balanced nutrition. 
  • Whole foods over processed foods – this will help you avoid potential muscle melting into fat.
  • Even your metabolism is going to slow down easily 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. This does not mean doing away totally with carbohydrates and fats. 

>> See Our Recommended Whey Protein Powders <<

Mesomorph Fitness Tips:

fit man working out lifting weight
  • 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.

3. Ectomorph Body Type

dumbell lifting very thin guy

Whereas endomorphs would give an arm and a leg to lose some of their fat, ectomorphs struggle to gain fat and muscle alike [3]. This is where protein powders, increased caloric intake, and multivitamins are really important.

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.
  • 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.

>> See Our Recommended Mass Gainers <<

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 gain.
  • 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.
crazybulk tony

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.

Psychological Aspects of These Body Types

The psychological impact of body types is profound. Endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs may experience varying self-perceptions and societal reactions.

Endomorphs often face stereotypes about laziness and lack of discipline, potentially harming self-esteem.

Mesomorphs, typically admired for their athletic build, might feel pressure to maintain this ideal.

Ectomorphs, perceived as weak or underdeveloped, can struggle with body image issues. These perceptions, influenced by societal ideals, significantly affect individuals' mental health and self-worth.

This body image impact on psychology has been significantly studied by the Department of Applied Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston [4]. And as a personal trainer, I know how difficult it can be for people to overcome that image.

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Body Types

Body types are shaped by a complex interplay of genetics and environment.

Genetics predetermine our basic body structure, influencing whether we're more likely to be endomorphs, mesomorphs, or ectomorphs [5]. However, environmental factors, including diet, physical activity, and lifestyle choices, can significantly modify these genetic tendencies.

Epigenetics also plays a role, where lifestyle factors can alter gene expression, impacting body composition. Thus, while genetics sets the stage, environmental factors and personal choices actively sculpt our body types.

4 Main Women 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 [6].

Here are the four most common types:

apple and babana shape body

1. Apple - 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.

2. 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.

3. Pear - Pear-shaped women simply have larger hip measurements than bust measurements. Often, pear-shaped women are endomorphs with a higher fat to muscle ratio than the average person.

4. Hourglass - 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% 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.

​References:

  1. https://www.coachweb.com/lifestyle/4511/ectomorph-endomorph-or-mesomorph-what-is-your-body-type
  2. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/what-is-the-best-workout-for-an-ectomorph.html
  3. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/weight-gain
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9970735/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5963773/
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/women-body-shapes
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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2 thoughts on “Endomorph, Mesomorph, & Ectomorph
Explaining The 3 Body Types

  1. Thanks for explaining the types of body builds. I’m looking over the web to know what is my body type because I need to make the correct workout plan to lose weight. Cheers mate!

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