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Body Types Explained: How to Exercise & Eat Correctly for Your Body Type

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

We all have different bodies and different genetics. Whether your goal is weight loss, general fitness, weight gain, or building muscles, it is important to know what your body type is. You can easily plan your diet and exercise routine once you identify your body composition. And, of course, you can achieve your dream body.

In this article, we are covering each of the three body types meaning ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. We are going to provide you with some training tips and strategies for each of those three body types. Also, we’re going to tell you how to adjust your workouts based on your natural body type.

Different body types for men and women
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What Is a Body Type?

In the 1940s, William H. Sheldon, Ph.D., MD, introduced the concept of three body shape types, or somatotypes. Since then, coaches, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, and even doctors have used this concept to help create individualized and effective fitness plans. The point is everyone falls into the three categories. However, these somatotypes are generalizations.

What Are the Three Body Types?

There are three distinct categories of the human body: the ectomorph, the mesomorph, and the endomorph. Obviously, most people aren’t going to fit exactly into one category or another. We tend to have a combination of the three body types. However, knowing which one you predominantly lean towards can help you structure your workouts and your nutrition program to reach your ideal weight.

How to Identify Your Body Type

Here is a quiz to identify your body type so that you can use our general training and nutrition guidelines. 

  1. What best describes how your body responds to weight gain?
    1. I gain weight easily and find it very difficult to lose weight;
    2. I gain weight very easily, but I can also lose it easily;
    3. I do not gain weight easily, and I find it very challenging to add weight to my frame.
  2. Describe your ability to gain muscle mass:
    1. I have a naturally thick physique and do not have a hard time building muscle;
    2. I have a naturally athletic physique and do not have a hard time building muscle;
    3. I have a naturally thin physique and have a hard time building muscle.
  3. If you stopped working out and healthy eating, what tends to happen to your body?
    1. I would naturally gain weight, especially in the lower body;
    2. I would gain weight evenly but still have an athletic look;
    3. I would lose weight or get skinny fat (low body weight but high body fat).
  4. How would you best describe your bone structure?
    1. Very large;
    2. Medium to large;
    3. Small to frail.
  5. What best describes your body shape?
    1. Pear or apple shape;
    2. Hourglass shape;
    3. Rectangle shape.
  6. How would you describe your body type as a child?
    1. Overweight;
    2. Average;
    3. Underweight.
  7. When you try to wrap your thumb and finger around your wrist, what happens?
    1. They do not touch;
    2. They touch;
    3. They overlap.

You are an endomorph if you answered mostly A’s.

You are a mesomorph if you answered mostly B’s.

You are an ectomorph if you answered mostly C’s.

Now when you know what your natural body type is, you’ll make much better progress in the gym. Ultimately, your fitness goal should be to get as close to a mesomorphic build as possible. With correct training and nutrition, this is an attainable goal.

So, what are different body types? Let’s take a closer look at mesomorph, endomorph, ectomorph body types. 

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The ectomorph is a skinny person who typically has very little body fat and very little muscle mass. They usually are slim, and tall, with long limbs, short muscle bellies, and long tendons. Also, these people have a high rate of metabolism.

They have low myozenin production which is important for muscle gain. So, they have to work hard for building muscle mass. Generally, only their limb muscles have got build.

Benefits of Being an Ectomorph

On the plus side, the gains that they do make, tend to be leaner, more solid, and better quality gains.

Cons of Being an Ectomorph

They have trouble gaining weight. For the ectomorph, muscle growth takes longer. Also, due to low myozenin, ectomorphs have difficulty in doing tough training and intense training.

Training Tips for an Ectomorph

Ectomorphs need to focus their efforts on gaining muscular body weight. Getting bigger is the number one priority. So, heavy weight training will help the ectomorph stimulate muscle growth. And doing a slower-paced workout with longer rest periods between sets will allow for heavier weights to be lifted.

A good rule of thumb is to rest at least 2 minutes between sets and even longer for big compound power lifts such as the squat, deadlift, and bench press.

Ectomorphs need to train less frequently in order to give their body plenty of time for recovery and growth. A good rule of thumb is to train every second day or 3 days a week. 

When it comes to cardio and aerobic activities, these should be kept to a minimum for ectomorphs, especially while they’re in that growth phase and trying to get bigger. We mean keeping your outside activities to a minimum will conserve calories and allow those calories to be utilized for growth and recovery.

To sum up, here are our training tips for an ectomorph:

  • Focus on strength training;
  • Perform 3-4 sessions weekly;
  • Use moderate to heavy weights;
  • Do 6-10 reps;
  • Longer rest, 2 mins per set;
  • Perform compound movements (exercises that work several muscles or muscle groups at once). These movements are most effective to build muscle mass and the  quickest to gain strength.

What Is the Best Ectomorph Diet?

When it comes to the nutrition of ectomorphs, they need to make sure that they are consuming more calories than they burn off in order to have a caloric surplus from which to grow. Ideally, they should go at least 4 hours without eating something but they should keep that regular influx of food in their system to provide that caloric surplus. 

Ectomorphs have a very fast metabolism so the risk of gaining body fat is low. Even if they do gain some body fat during their mass-building process, they can easily get rid of that excess body fat once they return to a lower-calorie diet.

The best diet for an ectomorph is approximately:

  • 55-60% carbohydrates (from complex carbs, vegetables, and fruits);
  • 25% protein;
  • 20% fats.

Food List for an Ectomorph

Every meal should contain a combination of quality protein and carbohydrates. The diet should be focused on unprocessed and natural foods. Adding in some higher calorie foods and higher fat foods like peanut butter, red meat, whole eggs, and full-fat dairy products can help the ectomorph to increase their caloric intake for growth.

Fish and meat:

  • White fish
  • Seafood (scallops, shrimp)
  • Lean steak or beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs


  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Milk (keep to 1 serving a day)

Starchy vegetables and grains:

  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potato
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Brown rice

Fruits and vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Berries
  • Banana
  • Green beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus

Nuts and seeds:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios

Foods to Avoid on the Ectomorph Diet:

  • Foods with high-fat content, like chips and fried fat content;
  • Foods with high sugar content, like ice cream, cookies, candy, or cake;
  • Refined grains, such as white rice or white bread;
  • Processed foods, like fast food and ready-made sauces;
  • Sausages and cured meat like hot dogs and sausages.

Ectomorph Diet Example

Breakfast: A low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt with a sliced pear and a whole-grain toast

Snack: Banana with almond butter

Lunch: Tuna mashed with avocado, mixed greens salad

Snack: Protein bar

Dinner: Mushroom and chicken stir-fry over brown rice

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In the middle of this both worlds, we have the mesomorph. The mesomorph is categorized by a muscular body. They typically can gain or lose weight easily depending on how they structure their diet and training. 

For the most part, they have the ideal combination of lean muscle to low body fat. Most bodybuilders have a mesomorphic body structure, especially top-level bodybuilders. So, when you hear someone talking about this person having good genetics for bodybuilding, they’re talking about having a mesomorph body structure.

Benefits of Being a Mesomorph

  • Can pack on a lot of muscles and also keep the body fat low;
  • The ideal body type (i.e. genetically gifted);
  • Muscular athletic body;
  • Maintaining a healthy diet, they can gain or lose weight easily;
  • Can gain muscle and stay lean.

Cons of Being a Mesomorph

Mesomorphs are prone to gain weight quicker than ectomorphs. If you are a mesomorph and weight loss is your goal, keeping your calories in check is essential.

Training Tips for Mesomorph

Mesomorphs tend to be in the middle of the road as far as muscle mass and body fat. They naturally have an athletic body but to improve it they still need to exercise and diet correctly. Most top-level bodybuilders have a mesomorphic body type. 

Weight training for mesomorphs can be done more often and for longer sessions, than would be ideal for an ectomorph. But they still need to be careful not to overdo it.

Depending on the fitness purpose, a mesomorph could focus on the guidelines suggested for an ectomorph and perform their training to get bigger. Or they could focus more along the guidelines outlined for an endomorph and gear their training towards losing fat.

A lot of mesomorphs like to cycle their training between bulking and cutting phases. Generally, they focus on gaining body mass and bulking up during the fall and winter. And then they switch to training for fat loss during the spring and summer in order to get that lean body.

Endomorphs and ectomorphs can ultimately take on a similar training cycle pattern when they begin to take on some of the characteristics of a mesomorph and their bodies get more developed. But they will always have those tendencies and need to work on their trouble areas: gaining size for ectomorphs or losing fat for endomorphs.

To sum up, here are our training tips for a mesomorph:

  • Focus equally on cardio and strength training;
  • Mix both compound and isolation movements. Isolation exercises focus only on one muscle group at one time. They help to define and shape the muscles in a more aesthetic manner;
  • Use moderate to heavy weights;
  • Do 8-12 reps;
  • Rest 30-90 secs between sets;
  • 3 to 4 times weekly for both cardio and strength training;
  • 45 to 60 mins of a quality workout session.

What Is the Best Mesomorph Diet?

The best diet for a mesomorph is approximately:

  • 35% carbohydrates (from complex carbs, vegetables, and fruits);
  • 35% protein;
  • 30% fats.

Food List for a Mesomorph

Some healthy fat sources include:

  • Seeds like hemp seeds and chia seeds;
  • Avocados;
  • Coconut oil and olive oil;
  • Nuts such as peanuts, cashews, and almonds;
  • Salmon and other fatty fish.

Some healthy protein sources include:

  • Fish;
  • Chicken;
  • Lean beef;
  • Turkey, lean cuts;
  • Milk;
  • Eggs.


  • Berries;
  • Avocado;
  • Citrus fruits rich in Vitamin C;
  • Apples.


  • Onions and garlic;
  • Leafy greens like spinach; 
  • Squash like pumpkin and zucchini; 
  • Peppers;
  • Asparagus; 
  • Mushrooms;
  • Artichokes.

Foods to Avoid on the Mesomorph Diet

  • Foods with high-fat content, like margarine, chips, hamburgers, and fried foods;
  • Foods with high sugar content, like ice cream, cookies, candy, or cake;
  • Processed foods, like fast food and ready-made sauces;
  • Sausages and cured meat like hot dogs and sausages.

Mesomorph Balanced Diet Example

Breakfast: Smoothie made with peanut butter, soy milk, and banana

Snack: An orange and roasted chickpeas

Lunch: Turkey chili, a small whole-grain roll, and a side salad with vinaigrette

Snack: Chocolate protein shake

Dinner: Spaghetti squash noodles with ground turkey sauce and tomato.

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On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the endomorph and generally, this is a fat person. Endomorphs are short with a heavy tummy and hip. They have long muscle bellies and short tendons.

This large heavy-build body is categorized by the soft-round body. In fact, a lot of powerlifters, strongmen, and wrestlers have an endomorphic body type.

Benefits of Being an Endomorph

Unfortunately, endomorphs typically gain body fat very easily. However, on the plus side, they also gain muscle mass and strength very easily. 

Cons of Being an Endomorph

They’re always struggling to lose body fat.

Training Tips for Endomorph

Endomorphs should adjust their training and nutrition to help optimize fat loss. 

An endomorph’s biggest problem is losing body fat and keeping it off. So, when it comes to weight training, the main focus is on burning up more calories to create a leaner physique.

Endomorphs should be using shorter rest periods between sets and a higher volume of sets in order to create more calorie expenditure along with more frequent workouts. Ideally, they should do weight training at least 4 to 5 days per week to help improve their muscle-to-fat ratio and go along with the weight training.

Endomorphs should be doing at least 30 minutes of daily cardio to help burn up that stored body fat and increase their metabolism. Doing activities like fast walking, hiking, bike riding, swimming, and using cardio machines at the gym are all great ways to burn off extra calories.

Here are our training tips for a mesomorph:

  • Perform compound movements with short rest between sets to burn more calories and fat effectively;
  • Moderate weights;
  • Perform 8-15 reps per set;
  • Short rest, 30-60 secs between sets;
  • Add superset trainings. Perform 2 exercises back to back without rest;
  • Circuit and interval workouts are very effective as well;
  • Keep in mind cardio is the core of your training;
  • Perform 4-5 sessions of cardio per week and 2-3 sessions of strength training;
  • 45-60 mins of a quality workout session.

What Is the Best Endomorph Diet?

When it comes to nutrition for endomorphs, they need to eat less than their maintenance calories in order to burn up stored body fat for energy. Ideally, they should be consuming 4-5 small meals during the day. 

These meals should be based primarily on lean protein and green vegetables. The only time starchy carbohydrates should be consumed is immediately after exercise; because at this time the body is primarily replacing muscle glycogen and the carbohydrates will be unlikely to get stored as body fat.

Obviously, sweets, junk foods, and processed foods should be eliminated from the diet, except for an occasional treat once or twice a week.

The best diet for an endomorph is approximately:

  • 25% carbohydrates;
  • 40% protein;
  • 35% fats.

Food List for an Endomorph

Here is what to eat for endomorphs to boost their metabolism.


  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Asparagus


  • Avocado oil and olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Grains and starches:

  • Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
  • Squash


  • Salmon 
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs 
  • Beef


  • Yogurt
  • Low-fat milk


  • Melons
  • Avocados
  • Low-carb fruits like berries

Foods to Avoid on the Endomorph Diet

  • Soft drinks;
  • Simple carbohydrates (white bread);
  • Sugary foods like cookies, doughnuts, candy, and cakes.

Endomorph Diet Example

Breakfast: Omelet made with spinach and peppers, topped with avocado slices

Snack: Hummus and sliced veggies (celery, bell pepper)

Lunch: Quinoa mixed with chopped veggies and chicken breast, tossed with tomatoes

Snack: Protein bar

Dinner: Salmon, mushrooms, and steamed broccoli

How Long Does It Take To Achieve Your Goals?

For ectomorphs, it takes at least 6 months to build muscle mass and 1 month to lose weight. On average, mesomorphs will see significant gains of size and strength in 3-4 weeks. To lose weight, they need at least 3-4 months. Typically, endomorphs can build muscle mass in as little as 2-3 weeks with consistent training. However, they need 5-6 months to lose weight.

While some people may have to work harder than others to gain muscle or lose body fat, making progress is possible for everyone regardless of their genetics. Often people with a stronger work ethic and more determination can overcome their limitations and surpass those with better genetics.

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How to Calculate Calories

It’s important to know how many calories you need to eat. In fact, there’s a million ways to figure this out. To get the number of calories that is specific to you, you’re going to take a look at your age, height, weight, sex, and specific goal.

Step 1. Calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

You can do so by going to a website. We are not considering any exercise at all. That’s what your basal metabolic rate is. That means how many calories you burn per day when you’re just laying.

Step 2. Total Daily Energy Expenditure

We’re moving on to step two, where we’re actually calculating how many calories you burn in the day. This includes all of the things like exercising, blinking, and brushing your teeth. All the physical activity that you can do throughout the day, in addition to your BMR. That’s called your TDEE, or your Total Daily Energy Expenditure. 

You can use this link to calculate this. As you can see, there are different categories from no activity to very active. You’re going to pick the number that best suits you.

The key is to be honest with yourself about how active you are. Most people are overestimating how much activity and exercise they’re doing on a weekly basis.

Step 3. Specific Calorie Goal

The final step is determining your specific calorie goal. And the way that weight loss (or weight gain) occurs is by energy balance manipulation. So that means that we’re looking at: 

  • how many calories you’re consuming through food; 
  • how many calories you’re burning through exercise; 
  • and our BMR.

That balance is going to determine whether we gain weight, lose weight, or maintain our weight.

For example, in order to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you burn to create a caloric deficit, so your food intake is lower than your calories out, which is your TDEE. 

So, how low should you go? 3500 calories are roughly equivalent to one pound of body weight. If you eat 500 fewer calories than you burn, it will cause you to lose one pound a week.

We recommend following your calorie range for at least two weeks, assessing your results. If you haven’t seen the results that you should expect, then adjust your calorie intake by 250 and repeat the process until you start seeing the results that you are expecting. 

Once you start seeing those results, do not drop your calories anymore, unless you stop seeing results for a significant amount of time. The scale weight naturally fluctuates, so don’t make changes too quickly.

Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph: FAQs

What are the 3 body types female?

The 3 body types female: ectomorph mesomorph endomorph. 
Ectomorphs are generally tall and slim, with a narrow waist, a delicate bone structure, longer limbs, and narrow shoulders. They find it difficult to gain weight and build muscle mass. 
Mesomorphs have a perfect balance between fat and muscle. These people have moderate height and larger waist. 
Endomorphs are characterized by a shorter stature with a bigger bone structure, wider waistline, and broad shoulders. 

What body types do most models have?

Catwalk models must be slim and tall, so most of them are ectomorphs. However, nowadays, there is no ideal body shape. And a lot of models don’t fit exactly with one category or another. 

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