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Your Body Type - Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph?

Average: 4.1 (165 votes)
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Body type influences how you respond to diet and training. Understand your body type in order to plan your muscle building training and diet program.

Image courtesy of Govt. of Western Aust. Dept. of Health

When I first got into the muscle building scene I was overwhelmed by the amount of different training programs, bodybuilding supplements, diets, articles and information there was out there. There were so many conflicting diets and training programs available and I had no idea what I “should” be doing. The result of this was about 6 months in the gym with little gains and almost no motivation to workout anymore.

I was at a complete loss and about to throw in the towel and give up. Then a guy in the gym gave me a magazine and told me to read the article in there about body types. So I did and it opened my eyes up to the reason why I wasn’t making any gains in the gym.

I am a true ectomorph (classic hardgainer) and my bodyweight was 60.2kg (132.5lbs) when I first walked into a gym. I had no idea about body types back then. I assumed (like most beginners do) that the more I worked out the bigger I would get. Thinking that “more was better” I started following a program designed for an elite bodybuilder. This resulted in gains of about 1.7kg in 6 months.

After reading the body type article in that magazine I started to understand more about how my body type worked, my metabolism, and gaining weight. Being an ectomorph I need to focus on calorie intake, long rest periods, and minimum cardio. It was only then I started making some real gains and I’ve never looked back.

So it’s important to be able to identify and understand your body type. Different body types require different training methods and diet plans. So listed below are the 3 male body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph, along with their characteristics.

Ectomorph

An ectomorph is a typical skinny guy. Ecto’s have a light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually ectomorph’s have long thin limbs with stringy muscles. Shoulders tend to be thin with little width.

Typical traits of an ectomorph:

  • Small “delicate” frame and bone structure
  • Classic “hardgainer”
  • Flat chest
  • Small shoulders
  • Thin
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Finds it hard to gain weight
  • Fast metabolism

Ectomorphs find it very hard to gain weight. They have a fast metabolism which burns up calories very quickly. Ecto’s need a huge amount of calories in order to gain weight. Workouts should be short and intense focusing on big muscle groups. Supplements are definitely recommended. Ectomorphs should eat before bed to prevent muscle catabolism during the night. Generally, ectomorphs can lose fat very easily which makes cutting back to lean muscle easier for them.

Mesomorph

A mesomorph has a large bone structure, large muscles and a naturally athletic physique. Mesomorphs are the best body type for bodybuilding. They find it quite easy to gain and lose weight. They are naturally strong which is the perfect platform for building muscle.

Typical traits on a Mesomorph:

  • Athletic
  • Generally hard body
  • Well defined muscles
  • Rectangular shaped body
  • Strong
  • Gains muscle easily
  • Gains fat more easily than ectomorphs

The mesomorph body type responds the best to weight training. Gains are usually seen very quickly, especially for beginners. The downside to mesomorphs is they gain fat more easily than ectomorphs. This means they must watch their calorie intake. Usually a combination of weight training and cardio works best for mesomorphs.

Endomorph

The endomorph body type is solid and generally soft. Endomorphs gain fat very easily. Endo’s are usually of a shorter build with thick arms and legs. Muscles are strong, especially the upper legs. Endomorphs find they are naturally strong in leg exercises like the squat.

Typical traits of an Endomorph:

  • Soft and round body
  • Gains muscle and fat very easily
  • Is generally short
  • "Stocky" build
  • Round physique
  • Finds it hard to lose fat
  • Slow metabolism
  • Muscles not so well defined

When it comes to training endomorphs find it very easy to gain weight. Unfortunately, a large portion of this weight is fat not muscle. To keep fat gain to a minimum, endomorphs must always train cardio as well as weights. Usually supplements may not be needed as long as the person has a high protein intake in their diet.

A Combination of Body Types

These body types aren’t set in stone. In fact, most guys have a combination of two body types. These combinations are either ectomorph/mesomorph or mesomorph/endomorph. It is not uncommon to find a pure mesomorph that gains weight like an endomorph for example.

So which body type are you?

Given the information above you should be able to identify your body type. You may also want to optimize your diet and training to suit your body type.

One final point I want to mention is that no matter what your body type you can build a big, ripped, muscular physique. Even the skinniest of guys can bulk up. Yes, it’s harder but if you’re willing to put in the hard work it can be done. I have about the skinniest natural build possible and at the time of writing this article I have gained about 30kg (66lbs) of lean muscle mass.

Learn more:

Learn more about how to build lean muscle naturally on your body type by joining Muscle and Strength. Muscle and Strength has a huge community of Muscle and Fitness enthusiasts who can help you reach your goals!

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    Average: 4.1 (165 votes)
  • About The Author
    Damien Mase is the owner and CEO of Muscle & Strength, LLC. The goal of Muscle & Strength is to provide people with the tools they need to build the body they want.
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Comments (334)

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james
Posted Tue, 06/12/2012 - 08:26

I think these two body types mesomorph/endomorphfit me for example; i gain weight easily, slow metabolism, 6 foot, stocky build, hard to loose weight and i build muscle well. I'm 47 trying to find a workout/diet that will work for me over long term, for it seems i'm dong something wrong. James

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Elise
Posted Tue, 06/19/2012 - 00:03

I'm a mixture of ectomorph and mesomorph, I'm a 12 year old girl, and I'm 5ft 5"

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poor guy
Posted Thu, 06/28/2012 - 16:10

Believe it or not guys, im a endo/ecto .. I have small shoulders, big waist, gains fat easily but only in the belly. Im weak, my legs are not strong, i have man boobs. when i work out, nothing happens, i dont gain muscles. just fats in the waist area. sucks to be me!

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Martin
Posted Tue, 07/17/2012 - 09:06

Hey, Im Mesomorph, but I have a very fast metabolism, how can I get rid of it? Well I can gain weigh quite fast , but still it's kind of annoying. Thanks.

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Mario
Posted Wed, 08/29/2012 - 17:30

Dr. Charles Glass did the first article I ever read on the three body types back in the 90's. A fantastic article that had the Meso/Endo combination doing very little cardio but doing moderately heavy weights at 10-12 reps. I used this method and at one point in my life reached 215 lbs at 4% body fat. I am 5'11.

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Jay C
Posted Sat, 09/01/2012 - 08:05

hi there , i have been trying to bulk up for 6 an half months now , but dont really see a difference yet , could it be becouse its too soon? or could it be becouse I'm not doing the right excersices? im a ECTOMORPH type of guy , who finds it hard to gain weight , but i have started on having 5 meals a day now , so I'm hoping it will make a difference.

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james
Posted Tue, 09/04/2012 - 19:09

Like me, i know my diet is everything as making gains are only as good as what yiou eat. i eat alot of protein, very little carbs if any. Very hard fir me to loose weight so this is why i eat protein with each meal. Try to not eat past 6pm at night but your dinner should be fullfilling.

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Kirsten
Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 05:16

Does this only applies to guys?

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yeng
Posted Wed, 09/12/2012 - 03:11

Hello,
I'm an ectomorph. I'm 30 yrs old and my height is 5'7" weighs around 57-60. I want to gain weight and get rid of my belly fats. What workout would suit for me and food to eat? I eat egg white 3-5 pcs a day does it help?

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Got2Train
Posted Tue, 09/18/2012 - 13:10

What about a Ectomorph/Endomorph combination?
Does such a thing even exist?

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Michael
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 22:45

I'm just starting out trainging. I'm 26, 5'8" and 220. My mid-section and thighs carry most of my body fat while my arms and upper torso are neither very muscular nor very pudgy. Sort of pear shaped I suppose. Given these stats would I be considered and Endomorph? I can't remember a time I wasn't overweight so I have nothing for comparrison.

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corey
Posted Fri, 09/28/2012 - 21:47

Hey man im 15 years old, 6'6ft, 161Ibs, I have large shoulders my wrist is 7.5in circumfance but my finger do overlap as I have large hands, I have a square jaw but I lose and gain quickly everyday my weight fluctuates around 5-7 Ibs but I just want to gain muscle 1 year on the swim team and I gained nothing although my time did incrase thanks to me improving my form, I dont care if I have to work outside of practice I just want increase my muscle mass so I can get better times

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etchell lou maceda
Posted Tue, 10/09/2012 - 21:53

i think i was the combination of two....either mesomorph or endomorph......... i was typically short but got tha athletic abilities..........

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Germain
Posted Fri, 10/12/2012 - 23:19

Is it possible that you are a combination if the 3? Cause I feel that I can relate to all descriptions mentioned above..

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israel
Posted Wed, 10/17/2012 - 10:32

ECTOMORPH BUT HOW CAN I GAIN WHEIGHT

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Doc
Posted Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:11

you should attain muscle weight rather than body fat which is useless, building muscle you will get bigger, remember protein, rest and the right type of weight training you will see the desired results.. look at the 5x5 weight trainigng routine, works well for me and keep muscle building constant. make sure you rest i only workout 3 times a week and im growing at 47 years old...

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bkay
Posted Thu, 10/18/2012 - 09:11

I'm not quite sure which category i fit into... i'm relatively tall compared to most people but i guess i can say i'm an average height ( 1.80 cm ), i feel very weak and unhealthy, i weigh 85 kg and i have curves, man boobs and just a fat ass and such. I'm only 19 years old, i just sit on my ass and eat junk food all day and play games, some people mention that if i worked out i would have the perfect body, my body shape is easy to compare with someone that's lean and built ( just shape ), however i have fat on me, and they have muscle !!! which category would i fall in to ? if anyone knows please reply

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josh
Posted Fri, 10/19/2012 - 20:39

I guess I'm Ecto.... I weigh 145,6'2,& I'm thin..
what should I use to gain weight & muscle?
any help anyone?

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william
Posted Sat, 10/20/2012 - 09:46

i think i'm an endo/mesomorph, i'm 5ft 11 wieigh 15 and half stone and have no belly fat or any much fat at all but just enough to cover up muscle definition.

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michelle
Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 - 09:44

i'm also an endomesomorph. it's frustrating, but fascinating at the same time, cause while I'm having a hard time with my belly fat, I'm gaining impressive mass and bulking up everywhere else, especially my biceps.

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michelle
Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 - 09:48

I also wanted to mention that i get huge, quick, easy strength gains

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Brother :)
Posted Sat, 10/27/2012 - 18:52

I'm a combination of a mesomorph and endomorph, i'm quite fast,strong and a good endurance runner and I got a good ammount of muscle however I can gain fat very fast but lose it very quick too and I've got a soft body it's not hard muscle. So I came to the conclusion that i am a mesomorph and endomorph.

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Dennis
Posted Tue, 11/06/2012 - 01:20

I am lucky and cursed. I am very strong, but gain fat easily. If I run, and only run, I get cut.

Some stats.. When I was young, like 21, I got down to 68KG and could bench 140KG (set of 10 with a spot on the last 3). I was also very lean, maybe 3% fat (8 pack, veins on my lower stomach - the rest of me was shredded too). I was boxing a bag and speed ball 5 days a week for an hour, and doing weights after my boxing session also 5 days a week. I looked and felt incredible.

But then I gave up cause of just getting emotionally down around the ages of 26 and I blew out to 24% fat, and 88KGs. Felt like crap. So I started running and doing push ups. With 6 months I got down to 10% with running everyday (only maybe 3-6KMs) but up and down hills. The final 5% I lost over the next 6 months and I also incorporated playing basketball.

Anyway, I have now (30yo) put fat on again. And although not as ugly as when I got fat before, im 88KGs and around 17% fat. I joined the gym 4 weeks ago and my bench has improved from 70KGs x 10 (3 sets) to being able to do 70,80 then 90KG all sets of 10. Just today I did a max rep/weight self test and I scored 3 reps on 110KGs! Stoked! Cant wait for the results - I give myself 6 months I should look good. moral of the story.. train hard like you want it.

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Chad
Posted Wed, 11/14/2012 - 16:47

Hi, I'm a Endomorph-5'8, 110kgs stocky build, have ALOT of muscle mass but I have this beer guts that I can't get rid of. It pisses me off, i can work out doing cardio for months, lose a lil weight then LOOK at a Big Mac and put it back on. Just wondering if you have any dieting tips (what to eat what not to eat) cardio exercises that might help me out. Other than that I've been blessed with a awesome build-its just very hard to maintain!!

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Teri
Posted Thu, 11/15/2012 - 15:48

Hello, I believe I am a mesomorph. I am a woman that is 58 yrs. old. I got very sick with diabetes and neuropathy, so I had to do something about it or I would have died. My feet were turning red and purple. I went to the hospital this was 3 months ago. The Doctor told me if I did not take care of myself I would have to have my feet amputated. My blood pressure was 189 over 91 when I went into the emergency room. I was eating whatever I pleased and gained alot of weight. So, I decided I had better take good care of myself or I would die. I went on a strict diet and exercise program. I have always had a tendency toward gaining muscle mass. I believe it is because of my heritage of my Parents being Russian and Lithuathian. I recently lost these past 3 months 35 pounds and have gained a good amount of muscle. I knew I could do both at the same time. My free weights are 15 and 25 pounds, my bench press is 40 and my legs are 40 lbs. Though I believe I need to increase my leg press. Will have to go to the gym for that. I am well on my way to a healthier new me. I have 13 inch biceps and still goin at it. The reason I have bigger biceps is from working out in the past, cuz it was not hard to regain more muscle since I had some there to begin with. I take a Whey Protein Isolate and eat plenty of protein & my carbs are always eaten by the early afternoon. I take a multi-vitamin & magnesium, I take ALA for the Neuropothy and diabetes and glad to say they are both under control. I am so excited and it only took me 3 months to feel this good. I can't wait to see what I will look like in a few more months. I want to be a bodybuilder. Oh yes, & one more thing I am now off my blood pressure medicine!!! I already see the muscles in my stomach & I am finally losing that pouch on my abdomen. I have lost 3 dress sizes & my friends keep asking me what I am doing to get this way, but when they find out it is hard work with exercise involved, I usually get an answer like oh I do not like to exercise. Oh well, it takes a commitment & perseverance! I decided this is a lifetime thing for me. No more going back cuz it means my life.

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Adam Fultz
Posted Sun, 11/18/2012 - 14:00

At post conference George describes entering the ring as a feeling of like, "paralysis, (looks at dana) ehhh ehh it's an english proverb" - GSP

LOL! ! ! ! ! !

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Angelo
Posted Sat, 11/24/2012 - 18:53

Hey, I'm turning 16 and I'm approximately 100lbs and 5'0". I'm not that muscular but I'm not that thin also. I'm thinking that I'm half ectomorphic half mesomorphic. Should I wait for my post-puberty stage to know my "true" body type, because I'm thinking that I'm still growing? Or should I do something in order to improve my body as early as now? What workouts should I do?

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Joey
Posted Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:36

It's definitely not too soon to start building the body you want! Choose a beginner workout routine and focus on perfecting the form of the various exercises. http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner.html

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doc
Posted Fri, 11/30/2012 - 17:59

What you should ask yourself is this what type of body do you desire, do you play certain sports? building a body around certains sports are benficial to that area, though you just might want to hit the beginners area here and start from there i thin its a great plan and will do the job. The right foods along with rest and exercising properly will yield you the best results.

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Teri
Posted Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:13

Hi Angelo,

I saw your post and wanted to say I believe it is never too early, or too late to start working out. You will feel so much better. Don't be in a hurry, just take it one day at a time. It is now 4 months since I started and time is flyin by for me. I take a Whey protein isolate instead of a regular Whey protein because I am trying to lose weight. The isolate has no fat and no cholesterol or sugar. If you start on Whey Protein make sure of the ingrediants in it. Some people cannot take creatine or extra arginine due to liver problems. So, with any suppliments check with your Doctor even though you are young. I would suggest to you if you want to gain muscle their are many Whey Proteins out there that will help you. I also take l-arginine to gain muscle mass. Make sure you look into these things though and then determine what is right for your body type. As for me I never have felt better in my life. I hope to work with people to help them with their medical problems with natural suppliments and get them on the path to a healthy new body.

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Ean
Posted Sun, 12/09/2012 - 17:25

im 30 years old and 5"11 inchs i recently went to see my doctor and he told me in muscle and strength terms im ectomorpic and he said all i need to do is keep going to the gym and i will eventually gain weight and not to take any muscle or weight gainers or protein powders as since MAY i have actually gained 3 lbs in weight and i know that doesnt sound like much but to me thats alot

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A.Jones
Posted Sat, 12/22/2012 - 03:39

This has helped me to better understand the male body and the possibilities of body types when writing. Thank you very much for sharing this!

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jon
Posted Sun, 12/23/2012 - 03:06

i find i have a mix of all three i am muscular but i find it hard to put on muscle it takes me a long time and if i try to bulk no matter how healthy i eat i usually put on unwanted fat around the mid section and have to spend ages working it off i have made good gains but i feel that i put in far too much effort. when i bulk i usually eat 5-6 meals of lean meat protein ,brown rice and brocolli but i always cut the bulking short because even though i gain muscle i gain too much fat .this by rights shouldnt happen i am strict with my nutrition . i have a feeling i need to approach my diet from a completly different angle.

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Eduardo Gamez
Posted Mon, 12/31/2012 - 23:04

I'm a mixture of ectomorph and mesomorph. I gain and lose fat weight quickly and muscle weight tends to take it's time when I work on it. I don't bulk up. My muscles tend to just get very firm and dense. I'm 6 ft 2 in so I'm generally a tall person.

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David
Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 02:52

I'm a little confused about my body type. Right now, if you look at my body, you'd immediately think Endomorph. Regardless of this, I'm like 15 pounds overweight for my height. In fact, when I move and watch my muscles flex it looks as though I'm a Mesomorph.

Am I a combination of the two, or am I a Mesomorph who's currently just overweight?

And what can I do to lose this weight?

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JAZ
Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 16:00

Hey guys my name is jaz i am kind off mesomorph except the fact that ITS HARD FOR ME TO GAIN FAT BUT I LOOSE FAT EASILY DUE TO HIGH METABOLISM...could u guys guys give me some suggestion ...i am 19 years old and is 69 kg..PLSS HELP ME OUT GUYS

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Luis
Posted Sun, 01/06/2013 - 16:27

I have an insanely fast metabolism: I eat almost all the time, but barely gain weight. I'm 6'3" and weigh 160 lbs, so I'm relatively skinny for my height and have rather bony collarbone and shoulders with a flat chest. On the other hand I have wide shoulders and very strong leg muscles and I'm one of the best athletes in my year. What kind of body type do you suggest I am? And what type of exercise would probably suit me the most?

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bilel
Posted Mon, 01/07/2013 - 14:07

plz give me advice

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Aaron
Posted Thu, 01/10/2013 - 07:00

Hi.

I think im a mix between an Ectomorph ( Since im about 6 ft 3-4 tall, long limbs and long muscles ) and a Mesomorph ( Since i have board shoulders and i tend to gain fat pretty easy ). I've been doing a workout that i put together from this site but i honestly don't have any faith in it ( Not saying i don't put everything into it when i work out ) more on the lines of.. i can't really see any results.

When i first started my workout, i noticed a vain in my left arm that wasn't there before ( Im just assuming that its a good thing ) Should my right arm be the same?

If anyone out there who would like to give me a hand in finding the right direction i should be going in like, proper workout's, diets, nutrition it would be much appreciated.

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Joey
Posted Thu, 01/10/2013 - 16:23

Results take time. I'd encourage you to keep at it! Focus on progress - every time you hit the gym = more reps/weight. Whatever your goal is, make sure you are eating in accordance with that goal.

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mesomorph/endomorph
Posted Tue, 01/15/2013 - 20:38

I just stumbled on this article and it seems so simple. It makes perfect sense, too. I'm starting it tomorrow! I am a mesomorph/endomorph, so I'm just worried about losing too much muscle with the severly limited protein intake plus the MRT that I'm doing.

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Jack
Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 12:06

I am a mesomorph. 5'11 and 135ish pounds I work out like an ectomorph. Time to build some arm muscles I guess.

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Vik
Posted Mon, 01/21/2013 - 07:51

Hi: I am an Ecto/Meso. I am 42 years old but healthy. Is it advisable to start weight training at this age to bulk up and be fit?

Please advise.

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Joey
Posted Mon, 01/21/2013 - 15:06

Yes

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YashRaj
Posted Sat, 01/26/2013 - 10:37

I am a complete ectomorph (male,20 years old), and being an Indian, my diet is high on carbs and low on proteins. No matter how much I eat, I seem to burn it up without any significant weight gain. I have been working out for over 6 months now, and I have gained only 7kgs, and no significant muscle enlargement (only toned muscles now!).
Could you recommend me some workout and diet plans? I don't mind taking protein supplements.

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Jacob
Posted Sun, 02/03/2013 - 23:45

Hi there everyone, I am not 100% sure of what I am so i'll give a brief history.
I was not obese as a toddler but around the age of 5 or 6 my mom started eating unhealthy and gaining weight and in turn, so did I. At the peak of my obesity I was 245 pounds and around 5"7 around the age of 14-15. I started losing weight and got down to my lowest being 175. At that point I still had some skin left (major concern was and still is the small pouch at the bottom of my stomach) and some Pruett wide legs. Today I am 19 6"1 and 190 pounds. I have been going to the gym for almost a year near daily and am thin on most of my body but my legs. I hqve a very thick bonestructure but in most places my skin is tight to the bone, definitely not just saying big boned. I have really broad shoulders wide feet and overall wide bone structure, sort of a stocky shape although I am tall and sort of long as well. Since I moved away from bc I have stopped smoking weed and eat 3 times a day, almost whatever I want with not much exercise (as I live in the country side right now, for only about 3 weeks) but since moving I have dropped from 200 to the 190. So I guess I'm trying to say I have a fast metabolism, even in Vancouver I woukd eat a lot of bad shit but not gain much weight, although I did work out 4 or 5 times a week. I would like to know what kind of shape you think I am working with? Ask questions please!! I was watching the superbowl while writing thiz so I realize it may not be the most concise piece of work haha. Thanks guys :)

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Carlos
Posted Thu, 02/07/2013 - 14:21

I am 5'9" 270# and have been going to the gym for a year now. I am getting bigger and my clothes don;t fit well anymore and can;t seem to get rid of the fat. I am endomorph. I try to eat healthy but i am not in a diet. I drink red wine regularly. Thank you Steve.

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Scotty
Posted Fri, 02/08/2013 - 13:32

I've just started training again after a good few years off. (usual story, work and family got in the way!!) I would say that I'm of a mesomorph build. I'm 39, 5" 11', 13 stone, broad shouldered with fare muscle definition under a thin layer of fat.
I'm trying to eat 1g of protein per body weight pound but I'm struggling as I'm always feeling full, I really have to force the food down. Would protein shakes and bars suffice as they would be easier to consume than chicken, tuna, cottage cheese etc etc?
I'm currently working with weights 3 daya per week (approx 1 hr per session) and cardio 3 days per week (approx 40 mins per session).
Any advice on what sort of programme I should be following for decent muscle gain, unfortunately I can't do much lower body at the moment as I have tendonopothy in my ankle from a running injury?

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mnsjason
Posted Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:19

I'd personally recommend any quality whey protein powder to help you meet your needs. It's especially great for a post-workout shake, and will certainly help you meet the 1g/pound goal that you're shooting for. As for routines, there are quite a few that have been designed specifically for muscle mass gains. Feel free to look some over here: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/muscle-building.html

If squats and the like are out of the question, look over some alternatives under the Videos section of the site. You can view multiple movements for quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and much more.

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jim
Posted Wed, 02/13/2013 - 18:29

scotty to be honest i think real food is your best option other drinking than protein shakes, i always have atleast 3 containers premade by just adding water at that time just before i feel hungry. protein bars i dont feel are real food, though some will argue my opinion but for me real food or protein shakes work great for me. try that plus very filling. good luck

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