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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359 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 09/17/2011 - 09:43

I am 5'7'' and 121 lbs asian male. I started weight training such as dumbbell curl,chest press,lateral raises,prisoner squats,bent over row,hammer curl,side curl 2 month ago with 114 lbs and assigned it few different workouts for different day. My workout intensity are about 1 hour daily. Now I am 122 lbs, but I realize that everyday my weight is not stable. It can be 120 lbs, then goes up 122, then goes back 114 or 116.
I want to know the correct workouts for me to gain weight since I read about some workouts are not suitable for weight gainer ectomorph such as lateral raise. I need help to plan my diet also.
Thank you.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/03/2011 - 15:20
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Posted Fri, 10/14/2011 - 17:20
john han

some times you are not at you full potential, so it happens. it might help if u take 3 or 4 days off, and see how much you have lift. also stretch you muscles before working out.

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Posted Thu, 09/15/2011 - 20:43

hey i always thort i was big boned and wud always be fat in highschool i was 6ft5 and weighed 130 kgs,then got down to around 96 kgs i speed my metabolism up to a point where i could eat like a horse and stay at the same weight, so i stopped tryn to lose fat thnkn this was my normal size, but recently iv realised i still have quite abit of excess fat left on me stil. also i put on muscle easily and i gain and lose fat easily, im really curious what my body type is? im guna try lose all my excess fat then ill let u know what i weigh

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/03/2011 - 15:18

Hi Troy,

That might not have anything to do with bodyfat so it's hard to say. How hard you train can have a huge impact on body composition while bulking.

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Posted Sat, 09/10/2011 - 22:24

hi i wanna some informations about loosing waight at the stomake part and having a defined muscels in it quickly and thx for uu

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/30/2011 - 11:09

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

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Posted Sat, 02/04/2012 - 01:05

focus on cardio and core excersize.(4 days per week)..this is where fat likes to 'hang out'. watch your carbs and junk food..(6 days per week)(7th is a ''free dayy''...but no junk food on the 7th day) these aand you will see a fast response. i won 2 weight loss compititions using this method (1500 cal/day for females...add 300 for males)all ''salad veggies are free clories so never ever go hungry...drink lots of water.... all my heaaaaaaalthy regimens and excercize are monitored by my gym/personnal aaaaaaaa button is broken hahaaaaaaaa

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Posted Sat, 09/10/2011 - 11:58

hey im 12 and i wanna do body buildin and stuff i can deadlift 90kgs alreddy :D got any tips

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/30/2011 - 11:09

My best tip is to take your time and learn form. Keep working on it every week.

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Posted Fri, 08/26/2011 - 17:51
Chub B

I think I'm Endo/Meso, but I'm not sure. However, I need a workout / diet regiment to follow---desperately!!! I'm 5'2 and 243 lbs woman. I recently had a baby and I am ready to get fit. Can u help an over-weight, new mommy?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/31/2011 - 23:53

Hi Chub,

This workout is a great choice:

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:
<strong>Need more help? <a href="">Ask me on the forum.</a></strong>

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Posted Tue, 08/02/2011 - 12:03
Dane Gayle

all of this is good and all but knowing your body type is one thing. Am not satisfied with my body type, by anycahnce can it be changed. For example i would like to be a ectomorph. Its great to be a meso...Altho my musles build fairly well. i want height so that my muscles aren't missed because of a short statue.

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Posted Mon, 08/01/2011 - 13:44

I think im an Ecto because i workout everyday but find it VERY hard to gain any muscle what so ever. I lift heavy and try to hit my muscles slow and hard but it really doesnt work. I dont have supplements but i eat loads of protein and calories.
can some one direct me to gain muscle mass?
e.g when to workout, whether to do it every day.. such n such

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 08/04/2011 - 15:11

What does your daily eating plan look like?

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Posted Fri, 10/14/2011 - 17:14
john han

you should not be working out every day. get a routine in place with resting days and workout days, plus a good meal plan

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Posted Thu, 07/28/2011 - 07:21

Im an ectomorph who has just started going to the gym about two weeks ago, what kind of workouts should I be doing to gain muscle? And do you have any suggestions for supplements?

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Posted Thu, 07/21/2011 - 04:43

My body type is ectomorphs
iIam 31 yers old weight 65
but growth of my muscles r very lean and thin
how can i built my muscles with work out in zym or home zym
suggest me all techinqes and valuable routins work out
I hope u solve my problem
I want to look muscular and stronger
pls reply

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Posted Sat, 02/04/2012 - 00:44

chander, try increase in protien. lift weights to build muscle. when you can do 3 reps of 10..increase weights for 1 rep, 2 reps regular weight...then increase again but for 2 too 3 reps...when easy increase want muscle build...take breaks lift heavy...muscles have to tear a BIT AND HEAL TO GROW. cardio is not for you...strength train is

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Posted Wed, 07/13/2011 - 23:23
Kyle L.

I don't mean to be negative, but what I took mainly was that if you're not a Mesomoprh your not going far. I'm a Ectomorph, of course. I've been weight lifting for about 4 years. My desire and commitment to growing stronger aand fitness is over whelming. I've changed my works numerous times, tried different supplements and eating habitats. I've gone up and down in weight. From workouts that involve; doing the aimlessly look around for a new machine to work on , to power lifting, and muscle building.

I don't like accepting the fact that I won't keep progressing. I've felt lately that this is the strongest I'm going to get. While the people I've seen day in and day out are improving, and gaining strength. Cause they have that oh so awesome Mesomorph type.

I know I must sound like a baby or what not, but that's just my frustration. No matter how much I workout, or intensely. I'm not going to get any stronger or ripped like that bald guy whom lacks humility in the tank top.

My biggest thing is that if this is widely known within the community. Why is it that the majority of workouts are tailored to mostly Mesomorph type physiques? I mean from what I'm seeing on here there's quite a bit of Ecto's.

Sorry about an spelling errors.

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Posted Sat, 02/04/2012 - 00:38

keep up your stregth training. if you require a trainer, get one. try increasing weight when it seems too easy(even just for one repition at a time)...i am a mix of mes and ecto...i am a woman! i beat men in armwrestling and karate all the time...but cant seem to shed this darn 'muffin'' around my mid section...i have incresed my 'core excercise' and decresed my upper body (chest and shoulders) I can do it...and so can you! i will never have a size 3 figure! but i am who i am...

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Posted Thu, 06/23/2011 - 05:04

hi sir

i guess i'm an ecto/meso body type where my upper body type looks like an ecto with flat chest and thin ,my lower body type is of meso type (but it's like endo for me)

i find it difficult for doing any physical exercise

please suggest a good answer for me

i'm 5'10 and having 69

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Posted Tue, 06/21/2011 - 16:20
Ryan S

I think I am an ectomorph. It is very hard for me to gain weight, and very easy to lose weight. Here is my dilemma. I love doing Judo. But, Judo is a very cardio intensive workout that trims my body. But, I want to find a way to gain weight and mass at the same time that I practice this sport. Is this possible?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 07/14/2011 - 15:37

Hi Ryan,

Absolutely. One of the keys is to find calorie dense foods that don't fill you up, such as whole milk, almomds, etc. You an also add a bit of butter or olive oil to veggies, that sort of thing.

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Posted Fri, 07/15/2011 - 10:35
Ryan S

Thanks steve. I think if I work out everyday that would help too. Its hard with a busy schedule. What other foods can you recommend to me? Thanks.

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Posted Sat, 06/11/2011 - 04:36

I have a friend Cindy who is in her mid 30's, a recent divorcee. She had put on weight after her marriage failed. Currently, she is almost 140% overweight. She used to be only 110% overweight. All her life she has problem managing her weight. She is determined to overcome her weight problem and wants to look slim again. Her target is to see significant changes in 3 mths m within 9 months to be slim. She is 160cm, 75kg n her body is endomorph. Would you be able to recommend some diet n training regime to help her achieve her target?

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Posted Fri, 06/10/2011 - 05:57

Hello there. My name is Harry and I am a very round child. I was wondering what the best way to loose weight is. I want to be just like my best friend Sam. i also like to sometim,es eat too much and put weight on like a I LOVE TOAST

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Posted Fri, 06/03/2011 - 12:06


I am a classic ectomorph, at least I think I am. I am 5'10 about 163 lbs. It is very hard for me to gain muscle and weight. In your article you wrote "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."

I am wondering about the long rest periods. About how long in between workouts. Right now I do a 3 - 4 day exercise routine with the following type of exercises:

front and back squats, deadlifts, power snatches, clean and press, barbell and dumbell bench presses, chin ups and pull ups.

Thanks for all your help!

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Posted Tue, 05/17/2011 - 20:12
billy andrew


i'm having trouble building chest mucles any sugg

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Posted Tue, 05/17/2011 - 19:30

I know I'm definitely a mesomorph. Currently at 131 lbs, around 5' 7" to 5' 11". 8-11 percent body fat (mostly around my lower abs. I'm Trying to gain about 30lbs of lean muscle and tone up my core (again my lower abs and obliques). I know green is good when trying to clear up the excess fat around the core but my parents dont really buy healthy food like that. So any advice for general foods around the house and oblique workouts would be great. And im trying the six meal diet currently and trying to get to 2 gallons of water a day. I have Whey protein but i dont really use it consistently. Current training routines are split days, each one lasting 45mins to 1hr, high intensity. So cardio is included in it. An example of my workout is the Spartacus workout from the Iphone App. Again any advice to help me with my goal of gaining 30lbs of lean muscle and getting even more toned during the summer would be greatly appreciated.

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Posted Mon, 05/16/2011 - 03:14

Hi,to me for your muscle to be physically develop some one adequate diet.

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Posted Sat, 05/14/2011 - 15:43

omg i just read this article and im reading the Ecotomorph characteristics and im like OMG THATS ME! i have trouble gaining weight and im thin and all that stuff! how can ectomorphs gain lots of muscle and weight?

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Posted Sun, 05/08/2011 - 15:26

I do not hav the characteristics of an ectomorph but i am rilli slim and I don't gain weight easily. Pls which am i?

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Posted Sun, 05/08/2011 - 15:20

I'm slim but I am a mesomorph. Because, i do not have the characteristics of an ectoderm (ectomorph) But rather of a mesomorph. The thing is, am not sure which i am. cuz am rilli slim, nd i dont gain weight easily

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Posted Sun, 04/10/2011 - 10:51
Jason Traweek

How is it I'm 34 years old and have never heard the term"ectomorph"?I'm just always told I'm skinny or have a high metabolism! I'm 5'11 an 145 lbs. that hasn't changed since I was in Highschool. No matter what I do All I can gain is maybe 5lbs., and even that will go away. Thankyou so much for the info! Now maybe I can get a workout plan and a diet that will actually work. Now I know.......I'm an ECTOMORPH:)

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Posted Thu, 04/07/2011 - 07:24

Mesomorph, I stopped training 2 years ago due to injurie. I'm 20 y, 6 ft tall and weighing 225. With 13% body fat. I still have a big chest and very wide and muscled shoulder. On my work I lift weights off 55lbs all day long so my arms are in pretty good shape. Most of the people i meet think im working out. Good to hear that. Im planning to work out again.

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Posted Thu, 03/31/2011 - 11:58

When you can be more than one body type can that be a ecto/endomorph??

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Posted Fri, 03/25/2011 - 14:22

Hello, i am an experienced gym goer. I am 20 years old, my body fat is about 12-13%. I weigh 236lbs and am 6'2". now i am at the lowest body fat percentage i have ever been. My training consists of rugby training twice a week, squash matches after weight training. unfortunately, i have a very demanding corporate job and therefore have a very inflexible schedule. i weight train 2-3 times a week, they usually are filled with explosive power, speed, core and maximum lift training. i am very strong (250 kgs deadlift, 140 kgs bench, 140 kgs powerclean, bent over row 150 kgs, 100 metres sprint in 12.5 seconds)i eat far too much dairy for my own good and eat exorbitant quantities of pizza and pasta on weekends. i don't drink very much, maybe once a month on average and i do not take any supplements (both legal and illicit). from what i could extrapolate from the three body types i would say that i am 85% mesomorph, 10% Endomorph and 5% ectomorph. My question is, would it be completely inextricable for me to have 8% body fat without subjecting myself to hours of arduous, mind numbingly boring cardio and diminishing my high protein, carb rotating diet? I thank you in advance for any feedback relayed.

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Posted Sun, 03/13/2011 - 15:52

Is body types passed on through genetics?

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Posted Sun, 03/13/2011 - 13:07

I'm a combo of ecto and meso. I am naturally thin but with muscle, I am super strong naturally, I can build muscle normally, I almost can eat anything but not to much. I'm trully gifted!

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Posted Fri, 03/11/2011 - 14:53

I don't know which body type I am... I have skinny arms and legs but I have a fat belly and flab on my chest. I've been like this my whole life and after weight training correctly (with a personal trainer sometimes) for about six months, nothing's changed hardly. I find it terribly hard to gain muscle but very easy to gain fat. No matter what I eat when I train, I gain fat and hardly any muscle. A few months ago, I just stopped gaining muscle altogether and just carried on gaining fat. I feel like giving up. Please help!

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Posted Thu, 03/10/2011 - 16:46

i'm 16 and an ectomorph and as you say it is hard to gain muscle but my father was an ectomorph at my age, now he is a ball, does that mean that when I get older my metabolism will get slower? and if that happens will it be possible for me to get muscle easier?

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Posted Wed, 03/02/2011 - 13:31

This is very interesting information. What I'd like to know is what happens as they get older. I've seen information on recommended diets for the different types when they are younger and just starting out in their exercising. What changes in diet are recommended for older members of each group. Apparently I was an ectomorph when I was younger, though I didn't know it. I grew up on a farm and farm work made me quite strong. I used to say "so what if I'm skinny. Piano wires and hoist cables are skinny and look how much tension they can hold." I was very proud that I could lift weights that people expected only big guys could lift. Then when I was 25 I got injured with 7200 volts electricity. Now at 55 I find out I was (am?) an ectomorph. I'm thinking I should learn more about this and find out what kind of diet I should be on. Thanks for any information you can provide.

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Posted Sun, 02/27/2011 - 13:05
La Borinquena


I'm trying to figure out my body type. As a child i never consider myself bony, however, I was about 70lbs even after my first pregnancy. Although, it looks like I would be skinny I was always consider a curvy woman. I have always been small on the chest though it looks like broad/medium shoulders. I have always been small on the waist compared to my hips/buttocks, which makes me look not fat but not skinny. It wasn't until I join the military that I developed some strong muscle. I don't consider myself a couch potato as I rarely can sit still, I enjoy outdoors and physical activities. I grew up walking, skating, biking and hiking all my life. Anything with water is very enjoyable. After my second child I gain from 90 lbs (after building muscle in military) to ~130lbs. It doesn't matter if I gain or loose inches, the wight has always been about the same. However, the difference its noticeable whether there is a fat or muscle. I love the gym and push myself as hard as I can but after leaving the military and having a busy schedule, I can never seem to have the time. I rarely eat...I'm so busy that I forget to eat and thought at times I feel the hunger, its easily forgotten when i'm busy. I love rice, potatoes and pasta, and crave at times of stress, i think. I enjoying having a tone body, but lately while not gaining/loosing much of inches or weight, i can see where the fact its starting to cover my lean muscles and is almost impossible to remove. I also think that at one point I developed my thigh muscle a bit too much and all I want is a lean toned body. I think I eat pretty healthy, though at times I crave fast food. Since I was 15 yrs old, I get sick when eating fatty foods due to gallbladder removal and learn to stay away from them. But salads all the time can get boring I've done it all my life. I love fruits and vegetable and lately I'm having a hard time at the intake of liquids (specially water). I don't drink sodas much, but love tea. Overall, I am confused of which body type I am. I am 5' ~130lbs and weight has been a pendulum between ~125-135lbs, with visible difference on inches when I work out. Could you help me define my type and how to reach a goal of 110 to meet proper BMI? I don't necessarily agree with fad diets or wight loss supplements, and I have a hard time taking vitamins (sensitive stomach). I want to get back at my old self as not makes me a little depressed.

La Borinquena

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Posted Wed, 02/23/2011 - 18:20
diala 19 years old andi have a great body but the only thing that i dont like about myself is that i have narrow shoulders and they are bony i would like to have wider shoulders and to get my breasts more muscular and 170 cm tall and my weight is 112 can i achieve what i want??..what kind of food and excercise should i do?

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Posted Sat, 02/19/2011 - 09:29

Hey so i'm 5"6 and i'm about...159 158 i'm 19 i'm a male.I'm a Mesomorph. I used to weigh about 197 and now it took me forever to get me out of the 160's lol. I run typically 4-5 miles 2 days a week. I do perfect pushups and dumbell workouts 2 days and then i have a rest day.I try to incorporate core but i just can't get rid of my tiny gut I do every core exercise i can think of. I do have whey protein. But i'm trying to lose weight. So, What would be like a skinny weight for me but with the muscle i have now. My chest is very strong and my calfs thier very big as well. my triceps are big. Just my gut is my main problem. Any help will be helpful.

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Posted Sat, 02/19/2011 - 07:54

My body is ecto-meso, what sports would best be suited for me?

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Posted Fri, 02/11/2011 - 13:26

I'm an ectomorph.

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Posted Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:54
anup singh

i have ectomorph type body. That is why i'm so thin. Would u plz sugest me some food or anything for gain weight b'coz sometime i'm feeling to bad when girls talked about my thinness.

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Posted Sat, 02/05/2011 - 19:02

Hi, ive been training for 2 years without a real workout done by a professional and I thought i wasnt gaining anything cause of that so I went to get a detailed workout plan and have been doing that for a month and 1 week. I have been sleeping and eating right but my gains dont show but ive gained 10 pounds which i know some of it is fat. At this point I think im ectomorph with a little bit of mesomporph so I was wondering if im going to need to take supplements like whey protien, glutamine and creatine?