The 3 Main Body Types: How to Eat and Train For Them

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Did you know that there are different body types in the human body? The three main ones include ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. Determined by genetics, your body type has different hormonal and physical characteristics. Knowing which category you fall in will help determine how you respond to food and training techniques.

What is your body type

The concept of the body type was developed in the 1940s, dividing each person into three basic somatypes. The characteristics of each type are based on genetics and physiological characteristics but are a generalization. Knowing where you fall can help you get a baseline understanding of how to determine your diet and exercise routine.

Ectomorph Body Type

Ectomorphs have speedy metabolisms and difficulty building muscle.

Shape Characteristics:

  • Long Limbs
  • Small Frame
  • Low Muscle Mass
  • Naturally Skinny

Think of an ultramarathon runner or high fashion model!

The nutrient distribution should be higher carbohydrates and lower fat to gain muscle and shape. When weight is put on through muscle, it is necessary to keep training to retain the weight. For example, I have an ectomorph friend who once got injured and could not work out. You would think they would have gained weight, but their muscle mass rapidly declined.

Their metabolism ate through the hard-earned muscle as fuel because they could not keep up. This is the challenge of being an ectomorph. Eat 500 calories above maintenance intake to keep your hard-earned shape. Limited cardio is best, and for strength training, simple routines with heavy compound movements are recommended. Eating the bulk of carbohydrates around weight training will assist in muscle retention.

Mesomorph Body Type

Mid-range metabolism and can gain muscle quickly with limited fat gain. Mesomorphs still need to eat a high-calorie diet to gain muscle and can bounce back quickly with weight gain.

Shape Characteristics:

  • “X” shape with a small waist
  • Visible muscle
  • Naturally Fit

Think bodybuilder, crossfitter, or gymnast!

photo woman bodybuilder using cable and pulley machine while facing mirror
Photo by Sabel Blanco on

The one difference with this body type build is Mesomorphs have to pay attention to how high above maintenance calories they go. A recommended mixed diet of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% protein. Mesomorph body types should pay attention to insulin levels when dieting by limiting carbohydrate intake, allowing the mesomorph to develop lean muscle gains.

Mesomorphs should stick to low glycemic carbohydrates, especially post-workout, to limit fat increases. Mesomorphs excel in power and strength activities that mix cardio and weight training. Strength workouts should be moderate to heavyweight with little rest between sets.

Endomorph Body Type

Quickly gain weight and have a hard time losing it.


  • Wide bone structure
  • High Fat Mass
  • Short Limbs
  • Rounder but not necessarily overweight

Think Football Linemen or Powerlifters!

different body types of woman wearing black clothes
Photo by Anna Shvets on

Endomorphs have reduced insulin sensitivity, so limit total carbohydrate intake to control fat gain. Carbohydrates signal the release of insulin, which blocks the body’s ability to break down fat. As a result, time carbohydrate intake when your body needs it with frequent small meals

A high fat and protein diet is an ideal diet ratio. High glycemic carbohydrates are not great for an endomorph, especially after a workout, since this will spike insulin. With low insulin sensitivity, your body will not utilize carbs as well as the other body types.

In contrast, on rest days, calories and carbohydrates should be lowered. Exercise should be part of your daily routine, and you should always incorporate cardio to reduce fat gain. Finally, it is vital to get to the gym as much as possible without overtraining, and at least four days of weight training will help maintain your metabolism.

The Take Away

Although these are the three main body types, not everyone will find they fit into one description completely. It is possible to take characteristics from more than one to make up your unique body types like an ecto-mesomorph or meso-endomorph. Besides, your body type can change over some time through consistency. If you’re curious about your body type, try this assessment.


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