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!

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343 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:01
smegmalips

Decamorph. Genetics are invalid

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Posted Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:16
appiah richmond

My body is a mixture endo and meso type.I like to eat fatty foods that I cannot get rid of.

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Posted Sun, 12/21/2014 - 13:05
Zack C

I have never seen such horrible grammar spelling and general bad English. You guys must be joking. Don't people know the difference between "buy" and "by" ???

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Posted Fri, 11/14/2014 - 13:43
Jason Reffitt

Skinny fat is the way to be!

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Posted Sat, 10/04/2014 - 01:54
Michael C

These 3 body types remind me of the 3 "doshas" in Ayurveda: vata (ecto), pitta (meso), and kapha (endo). Ayurveda says the same things regarding metabolism, muscle mass and the ability to gain muscle. Additionally, it goes into great detail about other aspects of physiology as well as psychology. Long textbooks have been written about the 3 types, so I won't mention any more here, you can Google for the details if you want. I will say, though, that from my experience, it's very accurate. You can tell me your favorite foods and I'll probably be able to guess your type. The same goes for spending habits, hair color, predominant emotions, etc. Check it out.

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Posted Sun, 07/05/2015 - 06:41
Pickwit

While it is true most individuals have a combination body type, what good does it do to strive for the "perfect 10" bod when the soul needs adjustment. Having a balance between optimal morals, physical activity and stamina, proper nutrition and healthy socialization amongst others is the balance needed for a content life. Focusiing on one area harshly is not fruitful in the pursuit of a balanced life.

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Posted Mon, 09/22/2014 - 06:08
setareki ratuvou

good gain some muscles

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Posted Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:44
jordan

im an ectomorph and im skinny ive been trying to gain weight mostly so that id look good and I want to feel good about my body also so that girls would look at me instead of the other way because im skinny pleace can anybody help me out

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Posted Sat, 06/13/2015 - 15:47
Laurence Almand

Jordan - Accept your heredity. If your parents were skinny you are going to the slim, so don't complain. Consider yourself lucky that you don't weight 250 and have heart problems! Im also an ectomorph and have had good results with systematic weight training, even though I will never be "musclemorph". A word of warning: DON'T try using steroids to gain weight. They cause weight gain, but they also cause serious liver cancers and heart problems. Those of us who are "born slim" are lucky, so accept yourself.
About the girls: If you cultivate a nice personality and are considerate and appreciate women, you will find a good woman who appreciates you in return.

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Posted Sun, 06/21/2015 - 03:59
paul

Laurence, that is a cracking reply. You're a good guy.

Jordan I'm an ectomorph and used to think the same way as you, I'd try hard at the gym for months and see vey small gains. I took up running and guess what us ectomorph are great at it. Go for a run see how you enjoy it. I bet you'll get the running bug.
As for the girls , Laurence has hit the nail on the head.
All the best mate

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Posted Thu, 08/28/2014 - 00:18
bob

okay then

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Posted Sun, 08/24/2014 - 00:46
sam

yolo

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Posted Sat, 08/02/2014 - 21:44
jerry

I'm an ectomorph , I recently came to the conclusion that I want to gain weight and start strength training.
can someone please offer me an advice as what kind of diet I should follow and exercise routine that would be ideal for my body type . thank you in advance

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Posted Sun, 07/20/2014 - 02:54
Sarah

Thanks for sharing such a nice thought, article is good, thats why i have read it entirely

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Posted Mon, 07/14/2014 - 21:14
tommy

i am a mix of ecto and mesmo because i dont gain weight that fast and i dont watch my dieght but i have a big chest and weigh 110lb but i bench 140 and squat 220 sooooooooo i ant no slow ganing ectomoprh

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Posted Thu, 04/24/2014 - 06:44
Ywain

Cool, it still works

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Posted Sun, 12/21/2014 - 13:08
Zack C

Tommy you sound like an ectomorph to me at 110 pounds! Most ladies I know would love to have your body...

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Posted Thu, 04/24/2014 - 06:42
Ywain

If you are really serious about losing weight, it's simple:
Just stop breathing until you get to the weight you like.

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Posted Fri, 04/11/2014 - 20:39
Patrick

I've always thought about this.
What that abaddon dude is saying is your body type depends on how hard you work.
Basically you choose your body type, through the way you live your life.

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Posted Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:29
German

It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it's time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read more things about it!

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Posted Sun, 03/16/2014 - 12:43
samuel nweke ge...

knw ur bodi type if u've nt knwn.

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

im a mesomorph!!!!!

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

Hi,
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.
Thanks.

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

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
Sameer

Im 24 and my body type is Ectomorph.am 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
Milos

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

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

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 goal....my 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 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 far.im not sure if im an endo or meso

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

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
mark

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 Thu, 12/19/2013 - 11:04
reno810

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
Alek

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
Greg

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
aaron

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

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

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

Is there an equivalent chart for women??

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

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

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

Im a mix between ecto and meso....whats the best way to gain muscle in a quick manner..diet 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. drrosedale.com, perfecthealthdiet.com. 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
amit

I m endomorph tell me exercises to look good

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

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
Kaycee

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

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