Ultimate Guide to Understanding Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph

Ultimate Guide to Understanding Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph

We arrive in the world with much the same physical form as each other.

But in a matter of just a few years the difference in our shapes and sizes is striking.

That’s down to the fact that we all have different body types and our bodies all function differently: our cell DNA creates muscle at different rates, burns fat from some parts and not others, and builds bone in varying amounts. In other words, we each have our own worker cells that determine how we look - commonly known as Intelligent Design.

Such pre-destiny can be frustrating for those of us who use fitness and nutrition to present the best physical version of ourselves. If our body is made to be lean, for example, we will find it harder to build muscle & bulk out; likewise, if we are destined to store a quantity of fat we will find it challenging to lose weight which can result in lost motivation.


Would it help to know that you are not alone? In fact, scientists and nutritionists discovered a while back that all male and female body shapes belong to one of three distinct body types:

  • Ectomorph
  • Mesomorph
  • Endomorph

And because these three types are so well defined… there is hope!

Up until now you may have wondered why your fitness and nutrition routine has not had a huge impact on your physique. You may even have looked at others in the street or in the gym and wondered what was their secret to a healthier look, and why achieving your own physical goals seemed impossible. Are they genetically modified? Possibly, but probably not. The truth is they may well have already caught on to the notion that their body type requires a specific regime of health nutrition and exercise. And ever since then they have been working in sync with their genes…

Now it’s your turn:

From being “stuck” with a body that seems unwilling to change, you will - by the end of this article - be at the start of your own physical revolution. You will know your body’s needs, strengths, dislikes and limitations.

And by becoming more aware of your own Intelligent Design you will be able to tailor your diet, workouts and rest periods to yield positive and encouraging results within weeks. So, let’s take a look at each of them…


  1. The Ectomorph

Have you a slight but lean build? Would you say your metabolism is faster than most? But do you find yourself spending buckets of time in a gym without notable muscle gain? If any of these apply, you are an Ectomorph.


You’d make an excellent long-distance runner because your body has been built to take a carbohydrate molecule and run with it. As a result, its energy is used in a millisecond.

That’s good in some ways because whatever you take in doesn’t convert to fat, but on the other hand if you’re looking to gain muscle mass this little quirk of genetic brilliance isn’t going to help you.

Best Ectomorph Diet

If you’re an Ectomorph who wants to build muscle you will need to pile calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat on training days and reduce your carb intake slightly on rest days. But before you consider your Ectomorph diet to be a free-for-all, think again.

As with the other two body types your body is going to get unhealthy if you fill it with empty calories and fat-laden food.

What you need is daily nutrition comprising:

  • Proteins
  • Nuts, seeds, avocadoes
  • Oats
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Peanut butter

SCI-MX Supplements and Instructions for Use

With a recommended intake of 3,000 calories a day plus protein and carbohydrates, a sport supplement such as our MUSCLE MEAL HARDCORE is an ideal choice.

Used between meals in conjunction with a spot-on exercise routine and a rounded diet, a 155g serving provides the perfect balance of energy, fat, carbohydrates and protein for an Ectomorph.

Best Ectomorph Gym Routines

A lean, mean, running machine is what you are. But if you want to build muscle cut your cardio workout to a minimum in favour of heavy compound lifting (bench press, military press, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups). Fill your Ectomorph gym routine with high intensity and high volume weight lifting but low-intensity cardio. You may also try limiting your visits to three times a week, because…

What’s Not Going to Work for Your Body Type?

…A daily visit to the gym is not going to work for you, and once there you need to steer clear of the standard body-building isolation moves. Exercising smaller muscle groups won’t spike the release of hormones needed for muscle growth, although they are still useful to do. But big moves on big groups of muscles will bring the Ectomorph’s success.

  1. The Mesomorph

Are you able to build well-defined muscle easily? And does your healthy (and average) metabolic rate keep your fat content at the lower end of the scale? But are you prone to resting on your laurels? If so, you are a Mesomorph.

You may knock them in the aisles because of your body’s propensity to look lean and muscular but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re 100% healthy. Building bulk and being blessed with a naturally world-beating physique may lead you to court a sloppy gym routine and a bad diet.

And all-in-all that means poor conditioning and ultimately an unhealthy body.

Best Mesomorph Diet

Although you’re in need of a similar composition of diet to the Ectomorph, your Mesomorph diet should be more balanced of carbs, protein and fat, with less emphasis on carb intake. You are still going to need 2,500 calories a day and your body will respond well to more or less any food you intake…

…But you will need to eat clean carbs and fats such as those found in nuts and seeds.

Importantly, don’t relax your discipline; if you don’t stem your simple carb intake your body will become more insulin dependent and it will begin to store fat. A basic guide to Mesomorphs is to consume meals that are 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% lean protein and 30% healthy fats.

SCI-MX Supplements and Instructions for Use

Finding a supplement containing fewer bulking carbs is essential. Protein bars and supplements such as the GRS 9™ Protein System with low carb composition are perfect.

Some say Mesomorphs also respond well to creatine supplements which aid performance during short bursts of high-intensity exercise. That brings us nicely onto the Mesomorph training guide:

Best Mesomorph Gym Routines

Unless you want to bulk up to the extreme, the best Mesomorph workout will be the high-intensity workout we just talked about. Athletic training which includes sprints, jumps and power moves will spike your Mesomorphic metabolism to great effect.

Getting blood flowing full of hormones is only going to improve your physique, general strength, and fitness. But don’t forget to have rest days.

What’s Not Going to Work for Your Body Type?

Because of your body’s natural tendency to respond well to food and exercise some believe Mesomorphs are less likely to worry about what they eat and how much they exercise and, as such, they are more susceptible to a lack of motivation.

In terms of gym routine, you are going to have to bring together a plan of action, because stepping into the gym without a focus is bad news for you. If you've identified yourself as a mesomorph and need some direction then take a look though our training guides or seek help from a PT to get you started.


  1. The Endomorph

Do you gain muscle bulk easily but also fat? Would you consider your body a little “softer” and more pear-shaped than you would like? Do you find yourself at the mercy of blood sugar levels and with an appetite larger than most? If so, you are an Endomorph.

You have the one body type that likes to store provisions for the winter… all year long! The same carb molecule the Ectomorph uses so quickly will laze around longer and is more likely to turn into fat.

But there’s no excuse for not following a regime to counter this biological tendency.

Best Endomorph Diet

Unlike the owners of the other two body types, it is necessary for you to reduce your daily calorie intake. A low-carb diet consisting of highly proteinaceous foods and good clean fats is essential if you want to see changes to your body shape. Because of this you should control your fitness and nutrition more strictly than anyone else.

A basic guide for Endomorphs to follow is to consume meals that are 40% complex carbohydrates, 40% lean protein and 20% healthy fats.

What you need is a diet comprising:

  • Protein foods
  • Nuts, seeds, avocadoes
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Vegetables (for complex carbs)


Starch and simple carbs found in bread, white rice, cereals, cracker and sweet foods.

SCI-MX Supplements and Instructions for Use

Supplements similar to those taken by your Mesomorph cousins are recommended. SCI-MX’s WHEY PLUS RIPPEDCORE is an ideal protein drink, low in carbohydrates and yet with added Green Tea nutrients which will help to increase your metabolism.

Importantly: Avoid energy drinks.

For someone with your underactive pancreas drinking something with added sugars is going to send your blood sugar through the roof and give you three minutes of mania, before forcing you to sleep.

Best Endomorph Gym Routines

High-intensity training can be substituted for something more relaxed, to begin with. Focus on weight training because this will build muscle which over a longer period of time (even when you’re not at the gym) will continue to chip away at your fat cells: That’s the feather in your cap.

Split your Endomorph gym routine between building different parts of your body, and lift heavy weights with low reps in tandem with physical conditioning.

What’s Not Going to Work for Your Body Type?

News Flash: An Endomorph cannot lose their gut by performing 100s of sit-ups.

Nor is an hour-long treadmill session going to be the miracle cure for your shape. In order to achieve results, you need to do a lot of interval work including heavy weight lifting and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio to shift the weight from around your midriff.

Fitness and nutrition are the bugbears of the Endomorph.

And finally…

No matter what our body type, if we are dedicated to changing our shape we need to work with what we have. Our genetic predetermination is a powerful stretch of running water. We can’t swim against it, we can’t dam it and we can’t change its course.

Part of realising the right physical results is finding the direction in which the water flows and swimming with the current. A great diet, exercise routine and supplements targeted specifically for your body type will pay off more quickly, but only in tandem with a determination to succeed, self-discipline and maximum effort.


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