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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356 Comments+ Post Comment

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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.

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:48

Hi There,
I am the unlucky combination of Ecto-EndoMorf, Tall, wide and gain of fat incredibly fast.
I am only at the age of 16 and have been fat my entire life, because I'm incredibly tall, wide and fat I look like a giant from a mythical movie standing near people. It is incredibly depressing being with other people, especially being the largest in my year. I've been playing all my lift until I was 14 and even though we did some extreme fat burning exercises I was still unable to loose weight, a few extreme events occurred and I eventually quit Rugby. Even though I have pulled myself to try it, it is incredibly embarrassing for me to run in public or even at the gym but I try, I don't do it often but I do try. My diet is the same as most people, I don't eat alot, I don't like sweets or fatty foods but I do eat alot of bread and rice based foods.

For the last 5 years I've been completely depressed, i've tried alot of diets but they don't last long. I really would like some help is there any sort of plan I can follow even if it takes years I want to do it.
Please keep in mind im incredibly busy with school being in Grade 11.
I would just like to ask is there any type of plan there is for people like me (a young Ecto-Endomorf)
Please give me some sort of advice because I've gotten to the point where i'm starting to loose my sanity being this overweight since I was a toddler.
Thank you for reading.

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Posted Sun, 05/26/2013 - 20:42

Hello. I have a question as I am a endo-mesomorph what supplements should I take?

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Posted Thu, 05/23/2013 - 01:03

I have been going to the gym for about 3 months now !! this article has been an eyeopener for me !! THANKS A TON !! RGDS

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Posted Fri, 05/17/2013 - 15:26

I am 25 and I guess I'd be an endomesomorph. I have always been able to get my legs extremely strong as well as my back and core, for some reason I have never been able to increase strength in my chest and shoulders. I have a large rib cage and broad shoulders but can't ever get my bench press up to more than 140 lbs. I've recently switched exclusively to dumbell exercises for chest and shoulders, do you think this will help with long term strength gains? I also was morbidly obese until 2 years ago, since then I've lost 108 lbs and am now trying to gain 20 or so lbs of lean mass without supplements as most are banned by the company I'm supposed to start work with soon.

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Posted Sun, 05/12/2013 - 13:20
Ali sajid

I am a endomorph and have been training for 7 months . When i started i had too much fat my arms were not well defined and they were only 14" but now i have 17" of arms but still they remain undefined and i use too much wheat and meat in my diet and this has also caused my waist to increase 40" and i am confused bcz i use high intensity training with heavy weights.what should i do

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Posted Fri, 05/10/2013 - 00:20
Patrick Donovan

Hello everyone,

I'm a 21 year old with a mesomorph body type. Over the last three years I have experimented with different types of pre/post workout formulas, as well as different types of weight gainers/protein shakes.

Let me save you the money and time by saying that any gains you develop while on these products will only be SHORT TERM. Don't get me wrong, I believe these products benefit people who have a hard time keeping a workout routine, or have a hard time developing muscle. However, the truth is, if you need to take something to give you the desire to work out, perhaps you should assess the reasons behind why you exercise.

Protein shakes/ weight gainers are a great way for an ectomorph to gain size, but without a healthy diet as a foundation, you are literally pissing your results away.

I intake between 2000-5000 calories a day, I'm maintaing a waist size of 29 on a 190lb frame. I DO NOT LIFT HEAVY, gains can be accomplished by muscle confusion, not over exertion.

My routine is:

Upper Body
7 sets of 60 pushups (I have increased the reps +10 every week after starting at 20)
7 sets of 20 pull ups, varying from bicep/tricep/forearm focused sets (Increasing the reps +5 every week)
4 sets of 20 with an ab roller
2 sets of 50 Russian Twists with a 3 kg medicine ball (increasing +10 each week)
2 sets of 35 V-Crunches (increasing +5 every week)
2 sets of 20 Leg Raises (Increasing +5 every week)

I run 2 miles afterwards trying to maintain >6 1/2 minute mile.

Lower Body
Dumbbell Squats 3 sets of 15 (increasing 10lbs a week)
Sumo Squats 3 sets of 15 (increasing 10lbs a week)
Calf Raises 3 x 40 (increasing 10 reps a week)
Lunges 3 x 15 (increasing 10lbs a week)

I run between 2-5 miles trying to maintain >6 1/2 minute mile (Increase the mile time by 30 seconds for every mile)

I eat 3 eggs almost every morning or drink a Serious Mass protein shake. I eat a decent sized lunch of mostly fruits and veggies, and for dinner steak, chicken, fish, or a couple of sandwiches. Amino acids are a good idea to take after you eat dinner so your body can recuperate through the night as you sleep.

Remember, you're going to get out what you put into it, there is no such thing as fast gains. What comes fast... Goes away fast. Rome wasn't built overnight.

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Posted Tue, 05/07/2013 - 15:01

I am 42 years old. I am 5 foot 10. I am 170 lbs with a 31/32 inch waist. I need an eating and workout program specific for me. can you help?

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Posted Wed, 05/01/2013 - 11:38

I am the Endomorph I have been losing weight just cant seem to lose the fat stomach it is slimming on the sides not he front so it always look like I'm, with child. What can I do to get rid of it I exercise different exercises because of a back injury. please help yes I have a good diet plan.

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Posted Thu, 04/25/2013 - 16:33
Daniel Newman

I'm 6'3 is there any way I'm just fat ? I weigh like 260 but when I work out I don't lose weight. I went trough foot ball and didn't lose any weight and I tryes my hardest ?But I got more tone

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Posted Wed, 04/24/2013 - 05:59

hi one quick question. can body type change? for example. i started bodybuilding 7 years ago with 40 kgs of weight. the current weight is now 75kgs with 9% bf. im just wondering can it change overtime? or ill be forever eating mad to maintain. thanks!

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Posted Mon, 04/22/2013 - 08:09

This information really helped me. Thanks.

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 21:37

Hi. I'm definitely an endomorph. My whole family is. Does anyone know of a BMI scale strictly for endomorphs? Although I weigh a lot, the BMI doesn't take into account a lot of stuff such as muscle mass and body type. I'm an offensive lineman at my school, and as you can guess, I'm much stronger than the average person. I'm not trying to be arrogant, but that is the way my body is. At 6'2" the BMI says that I am supposed to be 190 lbs when I am 260. Please help?

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Posted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 18:23

Hey I think my body type is an endo/mesomorph. I fine that I have no problem in muscle gains at least to where I want to be but I want to have a more defined midsection. Everywhere else is fine but want a bit more slimmer I eat right but cheat a little, I go to the gym regularly 4 times for weights and I run anywhere from 3 to 4 time a week about 5 miles. I also do HIIT some training days should I do it everytime for better results?

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Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 18:24

I've always been tall and have never been fat. I have thick shoulders and a flat stomach... 6'4 and 11.5 stone. I'm a kickboxer, I get 4-8 hours of Hight Intensity Training a week. I put on noticeable muscle, but am no body builder. Which category do I fall under? Ecto or Meso?

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Posted Sun, 04/07/2013 - 22:18

I always been the smallest and lightest, I cannot even do 8 or 10 pushups what should I do?
Im desperate at this moment

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Posted Wed, 04/03/2013 - 18:44

Hello man , I'm very glad that i found ur website and now i know how my body works, I just need a little help ,My body is Ectomorph ,I have a problem of puting on weight ,I got serious mass and it works i went from 78-84 on 1 bag + (good food ) but if i dont eat 1 day I can drop 1-2kgs in 1 day , but what am worried about am I burining muscles or fat ? when I lose those 1- 2kgs and I really love to work hard , and Im in the gym for about 2 hrs sometimes 3 , I burn alot of carbs and this may be a problem how long do u recommend my workout should be ? 1hr ? Please really need that answer

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Posted Sat, 03/23/2013 - 16:26

it is very difficult to find a true mesomorph these days

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Posted Sun, 03/17/2013 - 20:32
matt stevo

im an ectomorph :)

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Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 14:24

I am quite confused about what body type that i am. I have been chubby all my life till about the age of 15(87kgs) then I lost 20 kgs in 4 months but still had some little fat in front of my stomach.(67kgs) I then slowly picked up body fat till the age of 17. Since this year has started I have set goal of getting a six pack. Begging of the year i weighed 82. Now i weigh 72. I have been gyming and training hard. I am thin but still have a bit of baby fat by my stomach, I also have a little to moderate amount of muscle differnition(I have been lifting weights for 2 years now). My whole family is relatively skinny, tall(180cm) but we all have stomach fat. please tell me what body type I am? thanks

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Posted Thu, 03/07/2013 - 18:03
Joe Blassingame

Hey, I'm just looking for advice, I'm 6'2" tall, and I weigh about 200 lbs. I'm just wanting to be able to see my abs, and build my chest and legs. I think I fall into the echo/meso category, but I'm not sure. I don't gain weight easily, but I have to be careful how much I eat. I am about 12-13% body fat, but I want to be close to 5-7% as quick as possible. How would I do that?

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Posted Thu, 03/07/2013 - 17:20

Sweet article. I have been trying to find something like this. I am an endo, I am over 6ft which makes it even more difficulty in my opinion to figure out my own body. I eat light and right, but I gain everything I eat, plus side is that I lift everyday and I gain every day.

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Posted Sat, 03/02/2013 - 07:24

I want to say a big thank you for this article. I'm from Lagos, Nigeria and there are limited yet very expensive facility available here> i'm 5'8 tall and i remember i have gained 3kg in 5 months once in my life time and that's 2010. i took up smoking at the age of 17 and i haven't looked back since then. i find very difficult to add weight but lose it without much effort and that makes me an ectomorph.
I have been trying to gain weight since i started smoking without success and now that am 25 most people think i am 16 cos am short and very skinny (55kg).

I am from Africa and that makes my case quiet peculiar is there anyway you guys can help me?