Your Body Type - Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph?

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.

The Three Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph

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.


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:
Ectomorph body type
  • 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.


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.

Mesomorph body typeTypical 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.


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.

Endomorph body typeTypical 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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378 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 03/06/2014 - 20:07

im a mesomorph!!!!!

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Posted Wed, 02/19/2014 - 11:45

I am an ectomorph, can anyone recomand a good training plan for me? I do like to do push ups, chin ups and pull ups. I don't really like to use exercise machines.

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 14:33

Hi guys,
I'm 19 years old, 180 cm, 74 kg, "i'm not skinny xD", and my Body Type is ectomorph/mesomorph.
as i cant get fats very easy, naturally athletic physique, Well defined muscles, Rectangular shaped body.
I only wanted to know the best workout for me in the gym.
thanks in advance. :)

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Posted Wed, 01/22/2014 - 09:54
Nathan Hatter

this is very strange

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Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 13:41

Im 24 and my body type is very lean just around 50Kgs..suggest to me somethng so that i can putup some weight..pls

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Posted Thu, 01/16/2014 - 06:40

Im an ectomorph, :c. R.I.P ZYZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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Posted Wed, 01/15/2014 - 13:35

Hi after reading your article I consider myself to be btw meso/endo. I'm an accessional drinking but I love to eat. It's always bad eating...I will say 60percent bad 40percent good...I don't work out as often as I should...however do drink plenty of water...I'm 48/male 265lbs want to loose about 40/50 lbs..that's my long term short term gold is about 20lbs... What do you suggest?

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Posted Wed, 01/15/2014 - 08:38
sqb krish

im 17. im 6'2 and i just hate my
height i wanna loose 3 inches off
my height any suggestions please ?

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Posted Tue, 11/10/2015 - 03:21

Chop off your feet rom your ankles

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Posted Mon, 02/01/2016 - 15:55

or three inches off the top of your skull

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Posted Sun, 01/12/2014 - 04:42
srinivasan shiva

hey! i weigh 90 kilos nd im 6ft tall.
i thnk im an endomorph.i have broad shoulders,gain fat easily and cant lose weight easily ive been gymming since 9 months now.have lost 10 kilos so not sure if im an endo or meso

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Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 11:40

Right, the guy who created all this endo/ecto/mesomorph bullshit has pretty much been universally discredited by modern science.

It's all bullshit basically. Yes, people have different BMRs, but that's it.

"...Sheldon's theories enjoyed a vogue as the "pop-psych flavor of the month" through the 1950s. Modern scientists, however, generally (with occasional exceptions) dismiss his claims as outdated, if not outright quackery..."

It's the 21st Century guys - let's stop spreading pseudo-science!

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Posted Sun, 12/22/2013 - 16:44

if I do not load up with carbs before I go to sleep I cannot fall asleep. If I do weightlifting at night; I do vigorous routines but I want to eat when I get home. I mean I do broccoli and cauliflower a lot.but I love the carbohydrates and I get agitated if I do not have them. Like I want to start a brawl. And so even though I have been lifting for a long time you do not see so much muscle because I have the fat. So solution what do I do.

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Posted Wed, 07/08/2015 - 08:56

For many people whose bodies are accustomed to eating large quantities of carbohydrates, transitioning to a diet lower in carbohydrates can involve two or three weeks of feeling "agitated" or "irritable" while their bodies "reset" the way they metabolize. But, after that two-to-three week transition, those feelings stop.

So, a solution for reducing carbs in order to reduce calories (and, always keep in mind, losing bodyfat is primarily about eating less calories than your body burns, and that reducing carbs is generally the best means of reducing calories for most people) is to stay with low carb eating despite your "agitation" during that unpleasant two-to-three week metabolic transition. After you're through the transition, those acute feelings will fade.

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Posted Thu, 12/19/2013 - 11:04

hey guys.. I am purely mesomorphic-- well , the characteristics given there perfectly fits my physical attributes. my question is, is it good? or BAD ???

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Posted Wed, 12/18/2013 - 20:38
darshak patel

Wholaho.....i m mesomorph..... :)

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Posted Tue, 12/10/2013 - 13:31

I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I'm now about 5'5' at 103lbs. I'm still trying to lose 8 lbs of fat and instead gain 20 of muscle.
People tell me I have it 'lucky' or 'good' because I'm so skinny. I'm a guy- I NEVER wanted to be short feminine and skinny. I always wanted to be a typical masculine guy who was at least 5'9' and could get muscle without killing myself over it. I also struggled with hypothyroidism- horrible painful bouts of it. I've starved myself to keep of pounds. Apparently I'm lucky for actually working to keep my weight. I'm sick of hearing people say that. If you aren't losing weight- you aren't trying hard enough. If you aren't willing to try as hard as I have, you don't NEED to lose the weight. I have the worst metabolism, hypothyroidism, and the most stressful, time-consuming life issues imaginable. If I can work out to get skinny and I can try my hardest to get muscle, you can too. Put down the negativity and start using self-control. This isn't being mean, it's telling people the truth. Unless you're tied to life-support and unable to move, you can do it.

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Posted Mon, 11/18/2013 - 04:53

I'm 63 and haven't run for 30 years. I'm 5'8" and weigh 207 lbs. my cholesterol is a hair high but outside of a few minor back issues, I feel fine. I'd like to start a running routine again but am a little concerned about wrecking my knees which at the moment don't ever hurt. Any suggestions?

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Posted Sat, 06/13/2015 - 15:43
Laurence Almand

DON'T jog at your age. You will ruin your knee and ankle cartilage and probably end up having a knee replacement. Research indicates that brisk walking, stair climbing, and mountain hiking are all as effective as jogging to maintain cardio health and lose weight.
Buy some hiking boots and head for the mountains! Enjoy the fresh air and lose weight at the same time. Im now 72 and weigh the same as I did in high school, thanks to biking and hiking.

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Posted Tue, 11/05/2013 - 02:51

Endomorph here . Right on. Gain muscles easily and hard to lose fat

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Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 23:13

Whats my body shape? If the...
Shoulder is 40.5 inches
Hip1(belly button line) is 31 inches
Hip2(6 inches bellow belly button) is 36 inches
And the
Chest is 33 inches
Im 18 yrs old male...

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Posted Tue, 10/27/2015 - 22:07

I'm 13 and I'm the same size as you so... I think you might be an Ectomorph.

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Posted Thu, 10/31/2013 - 12:16

Is there an equivalent chart for women??

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Posted Fri, 10/11/2013 - 13:16

My body is the fatfuckomorph right now. Working on fixing that though.

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Posted Mon, 09/30/2013 - 19:39

Im a mix between ecto and meso....whats the best way to gain muscle in a quick wise and supplement wise to help defend my title???

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Posted Sun, 09/29/2013 - 08:25
UK patient

It's probably most unhealthy for ectomorphs to eat more. Calorie reduction causes an increase in lifespan and vice versa. In Japan, Suma wrestlers live less long than the general population.

Try the websites on low-carb. diets; e.g., These sites seem to be devoted to helping mainly the naturally overweight but the advice on keeping down blood sugar should benefit all of us. It reduces the diseases which also kill thin people.

I count as intermediate between ecto- and mesomorphic. At age 60, I accept my life-long lack of muscle definition and a BMI of 22. I want to live longer and healthier, not heavier which means not force-feeding myself.

W Wilson, I think you should consult those low-carb. websites and even consider a cheap genetic test. I read recently that some people lose weight on that diet and others lose weight even if eating more carbs. Of course, being ectomorphic I've no experience of losing and gaining weight; it doesn't happen to me.

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Posted Thu, 09/26/2013 - 05:05
zaid baigj

I am very shinny like ectomorph ..I hate it .. how I want to be Mesomorph ? Please help me.

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 20:29
my hubbys wife

My hubby used to be 365lbs and is now down to 204 at 6" 7'. So, a huge balloon, and is now skin and bones. He has the hardest time finding clothes that fit him. Anyways, his secret was discipline. From how Ihear it, he ate oatmeal, and oatmeal, and maybe a green smoothie. He is never full and constantly has to tell his body that he is not hungry.

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2013 - 09:14

I m endomorph tell me exercises to look good

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Posted Thu, 08/15/2013 - 13:31

Ectomorph here, 33y/o 5'11" always stay around late 140's-150 can't seem to get out of it /: my goal is 175-180... anybody have good nutritional & supplement advice for us hard gainers? (: I'm trying for a total body change within the next year

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Posted Thu, 08/08/2013 - 15:14
tracey hopkins jr

i am a combination of endo and ecto, i have great genetics but i wont pull that card because ppl will use that as an excuse and is rather discouraging to hear. realistically its simple physics. all according to your personal fitness goals there are a number of diff variables included. generally diet is most essential. u hear it everywhere cant stress it enough. most ppl know the basic needs, no need me to flood the box with fruits, veggies, water blah blah blah. (see a nutritionist) honestly everything is in moderation. listen to your body. the neurological transmitters send responses throughout the nervous system that allows your brain to communicate with the body. if theyre not in harmony ,mental DISCHARGE duh. moderate cardio level. have a well balanced regime. stay consistent, utilize great form in all exercises, and incorporate time under tension. for example do slow controlled movements to spur more muscle hypertrophy. its as simple as that. i can on all day but for the time being follow me on instagram @trayday15 and add me on fb tracey blacksupaman hopkins. stay blessed everyone

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Posted Thu, 08/08/2013 - 14:23

Could it be possible that my upperbody is an ectomorph and my lower is a meso?
im skinny fat.. im lean in my upper body small wrists and thin arms. but i have a bulging stomach. Not sure if it's just bloating because if I tuck my stomach in there's just a little pooch.

My lower half (legs, thighs) is huge but its mostly muscle rather than fat.

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Posted Wed, 07/08/2015 - 09:13

Yes, it's possible.
Many if not most people have a mix of body traits. For examples, some have genetics for lots of leg muscle but little upper body muscle; some for big upper body muscle but little leg muscle; some for big backs but small chests, etcetera.

So, the most that each person can do is to optimize whatever mix of genetic potential he or she has. Few are lucky enough to have genetics for becoming aesthetically, muscularly proportioned over their entire body (the few that do are the few who can become the physique champions and fitness models seen in magazines!)

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Posted Wed, 08/07/2013 - 05:56
Joe Perry

The like to dislike ratio on everyone's comments is funny. A lot of haters here

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Posted Sat, 08/03/2013 - 17:21

Does a female version of this chart exist?

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Posted Wed, 08/26/2015 - 23:19
Anonymous Writer

Well, yes. I'm sure you've heard of things like hourglass and plum shaped bodies etc.? I'm sure if you look up 'women's body shapes' you will be able to find yours and work out your strengths and weaknesses.

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Posted Sat, 07/27/2013 - 18:43
W Wilson

This is all very interesting reading but seems to only apply to men, what about women?! I am 60 years old, 5ft 5 1/2 inches tall and weigh approximately 8st 1lb, I run 6 1/2 miles every day, do spinning classes 4 nights a week, exercises every evening and also quite a lot of cycling or if weather not good then the gym. My problem, is case you are thinking what is my problem then, is that I have love handles and a large, what I consider, fat waist and no matter what I do I cannot get rid of either. My husband says if I do any more exercise of any form I will kill myself. So please could you tell me how to overcome (reduce) my problem areas?

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Posted Tue, 07/16/2013 - 22:08

I think i'm a mixture of a Ectomorph and a Mesomorph, i am 5'11 145lbs with 6-7% body fat. I find it hard to gain weight but i can lift like a mother f*cker.

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Posted Sun, 07/14/2013 - 23:11

I'm defiantly an ecto. Im 19 years old 5"10 and weigh 140 lbs. I have been working out for the past 16 months, more than half this time I've spent being plateaued. I used to eat complete utter junk food but for the past 3 months I've been eating a bodybuilding diet (low carbs and fat) with a high protein intake. Lost 15lbs(down from 155) and kept my strength but still can't seem to get past my plateau. Have done a cycle of some supplements from extreme fitness with a post but I lost all those gains.

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Posted Tue, 07/16/2013 - 22:11

lol guy you cant just take protein and expect to gain, you need high carbs high protein, i'm on the same boat as you im 16 5'11 145lbs you should watch TMW on youtube there good and funny to watch, also try Penitentiary style lifting from "CT Fletcher" on youtube i gained 20lbs in 3 months.

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Posted Sun, 07/14/2013 - 23:06

I'm defiantly an ecto. Im 19 years old 5"10 and weigh 140 lbs. I have been working out for the past 16 months, more than half this time I've spent being plateaued. I used to eat complete utter junk food but for the past 3 months I've been eating a bodybuilding diet (low carbs and fat) with a high protein intake. Lost 15lbs(down from 155) and kept my strength but still can't seem to get past my plateau. Have done a cycle of some supplements from extreme fitness with a post but I lost all those gains.

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Posted Sat, 07/13/2013 - 15:44

Hi I'm 15 and I weigh around 138 I can tell if I am an ectomorph or a mesomorph my insta is @marcoss_m if you guys can check out my profile and please help me know what I am.

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Posted Sat, 07/13/2013 - 15:26

I think I am a endomorph. Its very hard for me to lose weight. In a week or two without excerise, I can easily gain a few pounds. I am pretty short (5'5) but I am only 14. I go to football conditioning and I can squat pretty good amount of weight (250lbs) and also I can bench alot for my age (~170). I'm still confuse if I am endomorph. I got most of the traits but I might not be tall due to my age. Any answers?

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Posted Thu, 06/27/2013 - 02:21

yoga was the trick that let me redefine my my body type. legs that were always short, squat but extremely muscular from biking and running a re now longer looking and and leaner due to manipulaing my muscles thru stretching afew times a week,for maybe 20 -30 mins. u don't need to get into all the crazy positions, tho it is challenging and the energy of the blood flow thru muscles is so goodfeeling. i suggest trying for a week or 2. treepose, up & down dog, warrior pose ,triangles. Easy peasy, you will be happy w/results.

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Posted Fri, 06/21/2013 - 16:31

thanks! i got correct spelling of this types of body fat composition.

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Posted Tue, 06/11/2013 - 16:54

My name is Kier I am 22 years old and have been trying to build my physique at the gym on and off for 5 years now and simply cannot build muscle mass which really angers' frustrates and depresses me as other people I know who are a few years younger than me are getting huge and fast. I first tried building muscle mass wen I turned 16 and started taking supplements such as creatine capsules and maxi muscle protein shakes and still nothing. I felt a decrease in my arms and then at 17 I found that when I started massaging ice gel into my arms they started to feel bigger and more solid but I still have decreases in my physique to this day. But then when I turned 19 I was going to the gym regularly and was seeing a bit of increase in my physique. But then when I broke my ankle playing football two years my arms have simply decreased to an all time low. I know it sounds stupid but I feel as though that I was in hospital having my op on my ankle I feel as that the morphine and other stuff they were injecting into me may have done something to my muscle fibres? After giving up on building a huge physique . i i I even had a testosterone blood test to see if I had low testosterone but they came back negative to my dismay. I then stumbled across this and have maybe come to a conclusion that I have an ectomorph shape and if so is there still hope for me building my physique and getting the muscular look I've always dreamt of? If so how long will it take, what dietary and supplements do I have to take to get the look I've always wanted?

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Posted Wed, 06/05/2013 - 23:24

Hey guys, I'm pretty sure I am an endomorph. I went many years drinking to much soda and not being active after I got out of the military so naturally I got fat. I was 6' 2" and got up to 320lbs. About a year ago I got kind of a dangerous job and needed to be in better shape. I got serious about diet and hit the gym like a maniac and in 18 months I weighed 225. The problem is the second I let up just a little the weight started coming back QUICK. I am back to cutting carbs and weight lifting and its coming back off. Do I have to do this the rest of my life. I love pumping iron, but I love to eat too. Portion control is a big factor, I just feel hungary all the time. Even eating 6 small meals a day and pounding approx. 1 galon of water per day I just want to clean out the Frig.

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Posted Sun, 06/02/2013 - 05:05

I dunno my body type !! I gain fat fast but muscles slowly !! Suggest me something !!

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Posted Fri, 05/31/2013 - 04:26

I am definitely an ectomorph. I always just did lighter weights but I'm going to pick myself up a gym membership and will be hitting the gym hard daily this summer/in college.

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Posted Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:54
Jake Evans

I'm a skinny ecto, that is starting to eat before bed but ibwas told I should use supplements as well, do anyone have a suggestion for what I should take for someone that what's to start building there body.