In this guide, you’ll learn about the 3 body types: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.
I’ll cover these 3 body types for both women and men.
So if you’re ready to become a master of ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs, let’s jump in.
First, let’s go over the fundamentals.
What is body type?
So what is body type?
It’s the shape of your body.
The 3 types were created by U.S. psychologist W.H. Sheldon.
The reason: to simplify the complex human body.
And creating this classification system sure helped.
By knowing which one of the 3 types you were given by your parents, and understanding the needs of your type, you can improve your health and fitness.
If you know how to design a training program, and stick to the ideal nutrition for your specific body type, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy.
And achieve your ideal body fat percentage.
The 3 Main Types
Here are the 3 main types:
Let’s now go over each of them.
As you read through this, try and pinpoint your type.
You can use your body type to speed up your fat loss.
If you know your type, then you want to factor that into how you design your training plan.
Find the one that sounds like your most natural shape.
Keep this in mind too:
Your individual type doesn’t mean you have all of those characteristics.
But don’t confuse being an endomorph with simply being overweight.
If you are sedentary or don’t eat healthy, your may not represent your actual body type.
So don’t get genetics and lifestyle mixed up.
For example, calculate your caloric needs and see if you’re consuming the right amount of calories.
Our Calories Calculator can help you do that.
Ectomorph or “The Skinny Type”
In this section, I’ll go over the ectomorph.
What is the ectomorph body type?
A person with an ectomorph body type is naturally lean.
And it’s very unlikely for this person to struggle with obesity.
In fact, they usually struggle to gain weight.
For many ectomorphs, they can eat the entire kitchen and barely gain weight.
An ectomorph is your typical model strutting down the runway during fashion week.
In the sports world, many elite marathon runners and professional basketball players fall into this same category.
Long and lean is the best way to describe this type.
- Thin bones
- Not a lot of muscle
- Low body fat percentage
The ectomorph appears fragile. And that’s because they are delicately built.
How can an ectomorph get big?
Ectomorphs can eat a lot of food and often not gain any weight or fat.
Because they are the types of people who go to a buffet, scarf down 10 plates of food, and they’ve burned off the calories before they leave the table.
So how can an ectomorph get big? They should go to more buffets. And eat more frequently.
If your focus is to be less lanky, workouts should center around strength training.
If you’re a runner or actively involved in endurance sports, you’ll have to consume a massive amount of calories to offset the caloric expenditure.
Portion sizes play a big role in nutrition. For the ectomorph, portion sizes are going to be considerably bigger.
Ectomorph Weight Gain
Since it’s hard for an ectomorph to gain weight or add muscle, the desire to do so must be met with a total commitment.
If a person with an ectomorph body type is going to bulk up, then they must be ready to work extremely hard.
Both in the gym and in the kitchen.
And that’s how they can turn that desire into reality.
But it’s not easy.
Are ectomorphs weak?
In most cases, ectomorphs have less muscle than other types.
But they’re not necessarily weak.
Ectomorphs have long and lean bodies and sometimes pack a mean punch of lean muscle mass.
Ectomorphs have active metabolisms and struggle to put on mass. And keep it on.
But it is possible.
The ectomorph type is extremely lean and typically resides on the very low end of body fat percentage.
And although they typically don’t need to lose fat, an ectomorph has the natural ability to lose fat.
Plus, they can do it with ease.
Mesomorph or “The Athletic Type”
In this section, I’ll go over the mesomorph.
What is the mesomorph?
The mesomorph is typically the type of person who looks like a natural athlete.
A mesomorph doesn’t necessarily jump the highest or run the fastest. But they look the part.
And in many cases, a mesomorph is a great athlete.
A mesomorph can take time off from training, come back, and get back to where they left off in no time.
For many, it’s like the mesomorph was born to be muscular.
Gain muscle easily.
In addition to having natural muscles, mesomorphs are known for being able to add more muscle too.
And they do it easily.
Lose weight easily.
Adding muscle is not the only thing that comes easy for mesomorphs.
Metabolizing food quickly and losing weight fast are also common characteristics of mesomorphs.
Basically, the genetic lottery winner goes to them.
Better at training.
Since this body type starts with more natural fitness than others, it’s easier for mesomorphs to transition to more advanced training programs.
Do you have a mesomorph body type?
If you gain or lose muscle quickly, then this is likely. Our Training Tracker my help you better understand your numbers.
Endomorph or “The Heavyweight”
In this section, I’ll go over the endomorph.
If you have a stocky figure with an oval face, and more substantial legs, you are probably an endomorph
Body fat percentage is high.
Endomorphs have a more notable body fat percentage, and they store more fat. For most, there’s a natural tendency to gain weight. For many, this is the least desirable type. Obesity is serious stuff.
Generally, endomorphs are naturally on the higher end of the body fat chart.
They also have the biggest bones of the three different types.
Weight gain is easy.
Do you ever go on vacation and come back significantly heavier?
If so, which of the 3 body types do you think is most likely? Yes, that’s right, you might be an endomorph.
In just a matter of days, endomorphs can gain significant weight. It’s the only one of the 3 body types that can put on weight so easily and quickly.
Weight loss is hard.
If you struggle to lose weight, despite strict dieting and a workout regimen, you’re likely an endomorph.
Are there any benefits to being an endomorph?
Endomorphs need to do more to achieve the same goals as other body types.
And although endomorphs are most inclined to storing body fat, and being overweight, there’s an essential benefit of being an endomorph.
Great at bulking up.
If you want to gain muscle, then the endomorph has better genetics than an ectomorph.
With the right workouts and diet, both male and female endomorphs can transform their bodies into powerful ones.
Get tired easily.
It’s essential to prioritize the importance of intelligent training because they are the types that tend to get tired more easily.
That means an endomorph needs to maximize their time and energy during training sessions.
And not waste it.
What sports are good for endomorphs?
Endomorphs excel at sports that require strength and power.
Also, endomorphs typically have a strong lung capacity and can build up substantial aerobic engines.
If they are working diligently, and eating well, they can perform heavy squatting.
And other strength training exercises focused on the upper legs.
What should an endomorph eat to lose weight?
Let’s say the objective is weight loss.
You must eat fewer calories and aim for a significant caloric deficit.
But even following a strict diet plan is usually not enough for an endomorph.
If you love to eat, and you are an endomorph, then you need to discipline yourself.
Both with your eating and your training.
But you probably already know that.
The best type of training plan focuses on burning fat and lowering body fat percentage.
Depending on individual goals, a mixture of stamina and endurance workouts are usually best.
In many cases, training to run a half marathon can help endomorphs shed pounds and drop body fat more efficiently.
You don’t need to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time.
But embrace endurance training.
The endomorph has its work cut out for itself, but anyone can accomplish impressive feats with the right mindset and training plan.
What is your body type?
Each one of us has unique physical and psychological characteristics.
Don’t use your genetics as an excuse to not put in the effort.
Rather, let an honest assessment help you formulate the best roadmap to lead you to success.
Need accountability? Our training programs may be perfect for you.
And let me clarify something else.
I am NOT suggesting you set goals based only on your type.
Instead, think of your type as your starting point.
And train intelligently for your specific goals and genetics.
Because the truth is: our genetics do make a difference.
For example, mesomorphs and endomorphs rarely compete in professional distance running with ectomorphs.
Is this a coincidence? No.
And powerlifters are rarely ectomorphs.
Remember, everyone excels at different things.
So everybody can achieve big goals.
By understanding body types, you have a better perspective on how to achieve your ideal body fat percentage.
And we’re constantly changing so it requires constant work.
Some Things To Remember
If you’ve studied the human body, you know we’re made up of:
Our skeletal structure changes throughout our childhood and adolescent years.
Once we reach adulthood, our skeletal structures stay about the same for the rest of our life.
Muscle & Fat
Our muscle and fat distribution can change throughout our entire lives.
But everyone has a predisposition to being a certain type.
And the aging process is something everyone experiences.
Over the years, you’ve most definitely experienced changes in what you see when looking in the mirror.
So get used to it because change is inevitable.
Due to a woman’s sex hormone levels, fat distribution will change for her.
In addition to a women’s sex hormone profile, estrogen concentrations will impact where body fat is stored.
A change in appearance a nothing new for a woman.
Consider before puberty when both men and women have a similar waist to hip ratios.
As a girl enters puberty, their estrogen levels will prepare her for childbearing.
And she stores more fat in the upper legs.
Since waist size is not really impacted by this, a women’s waist to hip ratio is often lower than for men.
However, a guy typically has a greater upper body to waist ratio and therefore gives men more of a V shape.
Related: Check out our free BMI Calculator
Also, let’s say you’ve recently lost weight or gained weight.
If so, then consider that.
It’s not that your body type changed.
Rather, you just layered it with more fat.
Or you burned off fat and exposed its true type.
This is not a perfect science.
We’ll always have outliers but this is simply a way to look at the general patterns and trends.
Since this is a live guide, check back again soon for more content.
I hope you find this information valuable.
Scott Fishman is the founder of AllWorldU. He’s coached hundreds of athletes on 6 continents. Some of his clients include coaches, trainers, physical therapists, doctors, and elite athletes.