People come in all shapes and sizes, as well as body types. Depending on your body type, you might react completely differently to a workout or nutrition routine compared to someone else. While there are an almost infinite number of possible body types, with no two individuals being completely the same, people can be broadly separated into three categories.
These three categories are called somatotypes or physical body types. The three broad categories include endomorphs, ectomorphs, and mesomorphs. These somatotypes represent different types of body structures as well as how easy it is for people with each somatotype to gain or lose weight.
Your body type can inform how you should structure your diet and your workouts to maximize your results on your fitness journey.
The Three Main Body Types (Somatotypes)
The three somatotypes — ecomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs — are the primary body types that can be used to categorize most people. These types were theorized by American psychologist William Sheldon in the 1940s.
Here is a rundown of each body type:
1. Ectomorph Body Type
An ectomorph is the smallest body type. They may have difficulty gaining both fat and muscle and typically maintain a low BMI (body mass index).
An ectomorph body type will usually be slim with a fast metabolism and lean body composition, which leads to increased food consumption. Those with an ectomorph body type need to work to maintain their weight, as it can be easy for them to burn fat and muscle over time.
The typical ectomorph body shape is lanky with a small midsection due to the constant struggle to store fat or attain lean muscle growth. Obesity won’t be as big of a concern for ectomorphs as it may be for different body types.
2. Endomorph Body Type
Endomorphs have an easy time packing on body fat and a harder time losing it. A slower metabolism means that endomorphs have to work out harder if they want to maintain or lower their weight. Fat is especially likely to stick around if you are an endomorph.
An endomorph will also tend to have a wider bone structure that is more compatible with higher fat and muscle content than an ectomorph.
To maintain a lower body mass index and avoid further weight gain, those with an endomorph body type, also called endos, typically need to watch what they eat and follow an aerobic exercise routine.
3. Mesomorph Body Type
A mesomorph body builds muscle easily and has an easier time moving both up and down in weight. They will usually have a moderate-sized frame that is in between those of endomorphs and ectomorphs.
Those with this body type do not gain weight as fast as endomorphs, but they have a much easier time gaining weight and achieving muscle gains than an ectomorph. Maintenance of any weight is usually easier for someone with a mesomorph body type.
Those with a mesomorph, or meso, body type are characterized by broad shoulders and more narrow hips than an endomorph.
Other Body Types
These three body types are vague, and while most people will fit one of these types more than the others, it might be beneficial to consider a position in between two of them. For example, you may be a combination of an ectomorph and a mesomorph or an endomorph and a mesomorph.
These combinations would fit you if you find that you gain weight quickly in some places and not in others. For example, some people build muscle and fat in the lower body much more easily than in the upper body, or vice versa. To accommodate a hybrid body type, you need to adopt a mixture of the workout and nutritional routines required for both body type categories.
How To Structure Your Diet Based on Your Body Type
The basic rule of any body type is that you need to count your macros or macronutrients; these are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Your body type will determine the ratio of each macro that you should incorporate into your diet. You also need to pay attention to how much you eat in terms of calories when deciding on your nutritional splits.
Diet Structure for Ectomorph Body Types
If you are an ectomorph with narrow shoulders and a narrow waist, you will want to eat a moderate amount of protein and fat, along with a lot of carbs. Because an ectomorph is likely to burn calories quickly, a large volume of carbohydrates can help them gain weight more efficiently.
With this body type, you should focus on complex carbohydrates, like those you can get from fruits and grains, as opposed to the processed carbohydrates you can get from fried foods and noodles. A fast metabolism runs best when you eatpushes the body towards carbs, which is why a high-fat diet would not be in your best interest with an ectomorph body.
Supplements may also be helpful to increase your protein intake if you’re an ectomorph trying to build muscle — you’re what the bodybuilding community calls a “hardgainer.”
Diet Structure for Endomorph Body Types
If you have an endomorph body type, your body naturally has more fat content, especially in the abdomen region, in the form of visceral fat. Fats and proteins are higher on your food priority list, as carbohydrates can easily be broken down into stored sugar.
Healthy fats are more beneficial for your body type than processed carbohydrates. Eating a lot of vegetables and protein-rich foods such as meats or beans will help you build muscle without packing on additional fat.
Diet Structure for Mesomorph Body Types
If you have a mesomorph body type, you should make sure you are maintaining a relatively high-calorie intake due to how easily you can build muscle mass.
Compared to ectomorphs and endomorphs, you’ll want to prioritize a very balanced diet. Carbs and fats will keep your energy up, and protein will help maintain and build muscle mass. It is essential to keep up an active lifestyle if you want to continue eating a large number of calories without gaining most of your weight in fat instead of muscle.
How To Structure Your Workouts
If you are an ectomorph, you should focus on strength training to build muscle. Hypertrophy and strength training combined with a high-carb and high-calorie diet can help you gain muscle and maintain it.
If you are an endomorph, on the other hand, you’ll want to focus on high-intensity workouts for fat loss. Even if you are a fit endomorph, you are still at risk of gaining more fat than other body types, so keeping up these workouts is the best practice. Ensuring that cardio is included in your workouts is essential.
If you are a mesomorph, you should mix up your training depending on what you want to achieve. A mix of strength and high-intensity workouts will yield the best results.
Everybody reacts differently to nutrition and exercise, so you need to take the time to figure out what your needs are. If you are an ectomorph, understand that you will have a harder time gaining muscle and fat, while endomorphs will have a harder time losing them. If you are a mesomorph, focus on a balance of practices between the other two body types.
In addition to adapting your workout and nutritional routines, you should also adapt your athletic bag. Efficiency is essential in the gym, so if you are doing a HIIT workout, then make sure you have the tools you need at the ready. Haven Athletic Duffels focus on organization, so you can get the most out of your workout.
The Large Duffel will meet all your needs, whether you are transporting your change of clothes for a high-intensity workout or your post-workout protein shake to build muscle. When it comes to your fitness routine, don’t wing it; work out the most efficient way — with the most efficient gym bag.
Are You an Endomorph, Ectomorph, or Mesomorph? | Everyday Health
Somatotype | Definition & Facts | Britannica
Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High-Frequency Strength Training To Lower Frequency Strength Training | PMC
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