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.

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:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

4.1 STARS
174 VOTES
RATE THIS
About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

339 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/06/2013 - 16:27
Luis

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?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 16:00
JAZ

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 02:52
David

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?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 12/31/2012 - 23:04
Eduardo Gamez

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 12/23/2012 - 03:06
jon

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 12/22/2012 - 03:39
A.Jones

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!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 12/09/2012 - 17:25
Ean

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:13
Teri

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 11/24/2012 - 18:53
Angelo

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?

Joey's picture
Posted Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:36
Joey

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. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines/beginner.html

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 11/30/2012 - 17:59
doc

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 11/18/2012 - 14:00
Adam Fultz

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! ! ! ! ! !

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 11/15/2012 - 15:48
Teri

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 11/14/2012 - 16:47
Chad

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!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 11/06/2012 - 01:20
Dennis

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 10/27/2012 - 18:52
Brother :)

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 - 09:48
michelle

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 - 09:44
michelle

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 10/20/2012 - 09:46
william

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 10/19/2012 - 20:39
josh

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 10/18/2012 - 09:11
bkay

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:11
Doc

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...

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/17/2012 - 10:32
israel

ECTOMORPH BUT HOW CAN I GAIN WHEIGHT

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 10/12/2012 - 23:19
Germain

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 10/09/2012 - 21:53
etchell lou maceda

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/28/2012 - 21:47
corey

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 22:45
Michael

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/18/2012 - 13:10
Got2Train

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 09/12/2012 - 03:11
yeng

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?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 05:16
Kirsten

Does this only applies to guys?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/01/2012 - 08:05
Jay C

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/04/2012 - 19:09
james

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/29/2012 - 17:30
Mario

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 07/17/2012 - 09:06
Martin

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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/28/2012 - 16:10
poor guy

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!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 06/19/2012 - 00:03
Elise

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 06/12/2012 - 08:26
james

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

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/30/2012 - 01:20
Thom

Hello. Im 18 and a mix of ecto and meso. Its impossible for me to gain any weight, and ive been stuck at 155 lbs for a few years. I am also 6'2 ft. I have the rectangle bone structure but i have skinny (for my height) arms and legs. I am naturally athletic as well. I was wondering what the best course of action with my diet would be to help gain weight whilst weightlifting. Any advice will be appreciated.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/17/2012 - 02:37
Pawan

Hi,
i am the truest ectomorph !! I,m 20 years old and have an average hieght of 5'8 but i weigh only 50 Kgs and am struggling to become healthy.My problem is that i go to the toilet mostly twice in a day unlike others and if i try to increase my diet i tend to go more often....so ic ant gain weight...what type of diet and excersice would help me gain muscles fat and weight???plzzzzzzzzzz help

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/11/2012 - 02:43
Rishabh Singh

Hey!!.. My height is 6.4.. My weight is about 88 kgs.. I am slightly on the thinner side.. What should be my body type? What protein shud i take to develop proper and strong muscles? What shud be my regular work out routine? Plzz Help me..

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/04/2012 - 09:36
flat belly

Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the web the easiest
thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they just do
not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the
top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal.
Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/15/2012 - 06:42
luk

earl, if u find it is really hard to gain weight, try cutting cardio out of your routine and calculate your daily calorie intake. once u have found this out try add an extra 1000 calories to your diet and record your progress every couple of weeks, remember eat low GI carbs and alot of protein try for 1.8-2g per kilo, aswell as your fish oils and multi vitamins, even chucking in a couple of green teas a day can change your physique

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/08/2012 - 06:39
Earl

I'm scary skinny ectomorph. I can't gain weight even i eat more.. Is it posible for ectomorph to become mesomorph?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/15/2012 - 06:43
luk

dude, eat hard or die mirin'

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 03/27/2012 - 16:33
Mathew

i am an endomorph..i used to weight 220 pounds but i have done a lot of dieting and working out and am now 130 pounds(i am 18 years old and 6'1). recently, ive cut down my workout from 6 times a week to about 3-4 times a week based on pure exhaustion and mood swings. ive been getting really tired from dieting/watching my calorie intake and exercising ALL THE TIME because of my body type being endomorphic. i was just wondering if theres any way to change how my body reacts to food and if i can be like some of my friends, who basically eat anything and they dont gain weight(they are ectomorphic).

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 03/26/2012 - 23:50
Bob

How do I burn fat fast? I am 13 and weigh 100 Kg

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 03/27/2012 - 13:48
Steven

Focus on eating primarily healthy foods and getting regular exercise.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 03/23/2012 - 02:16
Vladislav

Are you able to tell what's your bodytype at the age of 13? I gained heaps of height, weight and muscle in the past year - I almost doubled my weight in one year. My dad is naturaly mascular, my mum is average genetics, but I wan'r say that I am solis like my dad. Will I get more mascular than I finish puberty? I lift weights 3 times a week.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 03/16/2012 - 16:14
jbizzy

You say that 1.7kg in 6 months is "not getting results?" Your bio says you've been training for over 10 years. If you had continued to gain 1.7kg every 6 months for those 10 years you would have gained ~34kg (75lbs) and weigh 210lbs right now. Your bio says you only weigh 180lbs, and even the comment at the bottom which says you put on 66lbs is at a lower rate of gain than you originally had.

You seem to be suffering from the same problem that plagues the fitness community, which is demanding almost instant gains. Exactly how much *lean muscle* did you expect to put on in 6 months? 10 pounds? That's insane, anyone in the fitness community will tell you that to put on 20 pounds of muscle in a year requires steroids. Certainly you could put on 20 pounds of fat in a year, which is likely what people will be doing if they follow your advice about eating as many calories as possible and not doing any cardio.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:12
Zade

I'm not a trainer, but a real endomorph. It's a life long battle, but it can be won. Being a female, we naturally have more body fat than men. I'm prone to cellulite as well. I'm trying some other things such as Velashape and Zerona in conjunction with weight training and cardio. I do 1 to 1.5 hours of cardio. I try to do a different kind of cardio everyday to confuse the body. It's working and I'm losing a lot of inches. I'm a 10/12 and shooting to fit back into my college size 8 jeans. The two above mentioned procedures are FDA approved and non-invasive. I also take a fat burner in conjunction with some CLA. Hydrate hydrate is the name of the game too. I eat carbs only in the morning and its the good stuff. High protien and high fiber is my lifestyle eating habits. Anyone with questions or advice let me know.