There are different three body types, and we all fit into one of the three. And most often we fit into a combination of two different types. It is rare that a person is exactly one body type, and much more common that you are a combination of several body types.
The three different body types are:
- Endomorph – naturally higher body fat content
- Ectomorph – naturally tall and skinny
- Mesomorph – naturally lean and fit
Determining your body type is important, as it will affect your fitness and nutrition plan. If you’re naturally chubby like most of us (it’s a curse!), then you need to be very carb-conscious in your diet and do plenty of exercise. This is most people in Western culture, hence the very high obesity rates.
On the other hand, if you’re lean and skinny and have difficulty putting on muscle, then heavy-duty protein is in your future if you’re trying to build a lean physique.
And if you’re naturally lean and muscular without a lot of effort, well, we really don’t like you much! You are blessed and have what the rest of us want – a naturally fit frame. And considering that most adults are overweight or obese (65%+), there seems to be very few mesomorphs out there. Most of us have to really work at it. Which is why it’s helpful to know the keys to a lean physique.
Body types are all quite different, but they can be generally categorized into one of three groups.
Your Body Type and What it Means
Here is the run down on what your body type means, and how body types impact fitness goals, as well as your diet. (1)
Ectomorph Body Type
Appearance – Lean and long; generally skinny in appearance.
Gym – An ectomorph body type generally has difficulty building lean muscle, and does not naturally have a muscular frame.
Focus on compound movements that work multiple muscle groups like squats and deadlifts (as opposed to isolation moves like bicep curls); compound movements also provide a hormonal boost to help build muscle.
Too much cardio can be detrimental to your muscle-building goals, as you generally need to be in calorie excess (not deficit) to build muscle.
Diet – Eat a balanced, nutritious diet consisting of carbs, protein, and fat, and you don’t have to worry about carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes, etc). And you’ll likely need to pack on calories and do resistance training to build lean muscle.
To build a lean, muscular physique it is really important to eat protein with every meal, and also drink a high protein shake after your workout [mix a few scoops of whey protein power like Muscletech Nitro with 8 oz of whole milk or Muscle Milk], and drink the shake within 30 minutes of your workout ending. You might consider two high-protein shakes per day.
Endomorph Body Type
Appearance – Generally pear-shaped; tend to be overweight or even obese without proper fitness. The good news: all controllable with a clean and nutritious diet and solid fitness plan.
Endomorphs also generally have larger bone structure, so if have two men who are both 5”10” tall with identical body fat %, the endomorph will likely outweigh the ectomorph by 15 pounds or more
Gym – Good, balanced attack in the gym. Endomorphs should always make cardio workouts a high priority. Cardio should be done on a daily basis, that is the always the best solution. Cardio is the best way to burn calories and burn fat.
You’ll also want to do resistance training to build lean muscle, as a muscle burns substantially more calories than fat.
Diet – A low-carb diet (on most days) is a must to maintain a healthy weight. Focus on a diet high in lean meats and vegetables (see these foods here).
Unless you are doing 30-60 minutes of cardio every day, then you must be very carb-conscious. Carbs are the kryptonite to a healthy weight for an endomorph (by carbs we mean: bread, pasta, potatoes, etc). Focus on lean meats and vegetables.
Mesomorph Body Type
Appearance – Athletes; very good physical shape; lean muscle; high metabolism. A naturally lean person, with a naturally good muscular frame.
Gym – Balanced workout program with resistance training and cardio. Mesomorphs build lean muscle quite easily, and can develop an impressive physique without even being a gym regular. It is akin to the genetic lottery.
However, don’t take fitness and training for granted, for as you age things will not always be quite as easy. Develop and follow good habits.
Diet – Focus on an even balance of proteins (lean meats), complex carbs (whole grains, vegetables), and healthy fats (olive oil, nuts etc).
You likely don’t need to avoid carbs, but also don’t take clean dieting for granted. A clean, nutritious diet is important for mesomorphs (just like everyone else) to maintain excellent long-term health.
Your Genetic Body Type Does Not Determine Your Destiny
The body type you are genetically born with does not determine the body type that you live with! An endomorph has the ability to look like a mesomorph, just as a mesomorph can look like an endomorph. (2)
Resistance Training is Key for All Body Types
- Payne, A. (2019). Body Types: How to Train & Diet for Your Body Type. National Academy of Sports Medicine. https://blog.nasm.org/fitness/body-types-how-to-train-diet-for-your-body-type.
- Kandola, A. (2020). Mesomorph body type: Definition, diet, and working out. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mesomorph-body-type.