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The 3 Body Types Explained: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph

The 3 Body Types Explained: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and EndomorphSo you want to know what the three body types are and how you can find out which one applies to you. We’ll explain each type and some common attributes that make up each body type. Each body type will also be explained in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Each has it’s own, so you can decide to play by your own strengths or weakness and apply it to your training.

The Ectomorph Body Type

The ectomorph can be easily spotted in any weight room. They are often below the average weight for their height and have a skinny appearance. Ectomorphs tend to have very high metabolisms and often complain of relentless eating with little to no weight gain.

Common Ectomorph Characteristics  Include:

  • Small joints
  • Skinny appearance
  • Hyperactive
  • Fast metabolism
  • Can eat whatever they want
  • Get full easily
  • Small chest and buttocks
  • Difficulty building muscle
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Low body fat
  • Narrow frame (“pencil frame”)

Notable Ectomorphs:

The 3 Body Types Explained: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph

Guess which body type?

Examples of male ectomorphs include:

  • Brad Pitt
  • Bruce Lee
  • Toby Mcquire
  • Chris Rock
  • Edward Norton

Examples of female ectomorphs include:

  • Kate Moss
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Calista Flockhardt
  • Gisele Bunchen

Ectomorph Training Tips:

  • Train heavier with repetitions in the 5-10 range
  • Take longer rest breaks (due to higher weights used)
  • Do compound lifts
  • Do not do cardio
  • If you must do cardio make sure its HIIT style cardio

Ectomorph Dieting Tips:

  • Eat high density weight gainers for added calories
  • Try high density foods such as almonds, avocado, or peanut butter
  • Break calories up into several small meals if you cannot stomach big meals
  • Eat at least 50-60% carbohydrates
  • Drink tons of milk
  • Eat foods you enjoy even if they are a little unhealthy (in moderation)

The Endomorph Body Type

The endomorphic body type is the complete opposite of an ectomorph. This individual will usually be larger in appearance with heavier fat accumulation and little muscle definition. They find it hard to drop the weight even though they try several diets or workout programs.

Common Endomorph Characteristics  Include:

  • Large amount of fat accumulation
  • Often fatigue easily
  • Insatiable appetite
  • Try various diet and exercise programs to failure
  • Cannot seem to drop weight
  • Eat larger meals or several smaller sized meals
  • Low muscle definition due to adipose tissue
  • Larger frame

Notable Endomorphs:

Examples of male endomorphs include:

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • John Goodman
  • Luther Vandross
  • Jack Black
  • Wayne Knight

Examples of female endomorphs include:

  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Queen Latifah
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Beyonce Knowles

Endomorphs Training Tips:

  • Train in the 15+ repetition range
  • Take 30-45 second rest periods between sets
  • Do as much cardio as possible!
  • Do compound lifts to burn more calories

Endomorphs Dieting Tips:

  • Portion your meals appropriately- 1 fist size equals one serving
  • Eat 30-40% carbohydrates
  • Eat non processed foods and get whole grains
  • Eat tons of vegetables to keep you full
  • Drink plenty of water to keep you full
  • Don’t flash diet (cut out things cold turkey)
  • Divide your daily caloric intake by 5-6 meals
  • Take in 200-500 less than your maintance caloric intake

The Mesomorph Body Type

Everyone recognizes the mesomorph. He is the high school jock that seemed to put on muscle just by looking at weights while also maintaining a very lean physique. The mesomorph is somewhat in between the ectomorph and the endomorph and as such, display qualities from both. He has a larger frame (bone structure) as the endomorph does, but a low body fat percentage as the ectomorph has. You could say this is the aspiring body type that everybody wants.

Common Mesomorph Characteristics  Include:

  • Symmetrical build
  • Wide shoulders
  • Small waist
  • Low body fat
  • Large musculature
  • Seems to put on muscle easily
  • Seems to burn fat easily
  • Eats in moderation

Notable Mesomorphs:

Examples of male mesomorphs include:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • George Clooney
  • Bruce Willis
  • Mark Wahlberg

Examples of female mesomorphs include:

  • Jennifer Garner
  • Tina Turner
  • Halle Berry
  • Angela Bassett
  • Anna Kournikova

Mesomorph Training Tips:

  • Training in the 8-12 repetition rep range
  • 30-1 min rest periods between sets
  • Enough cardio to stay lean but not a ton

Mesomorph Dieting Tips:

  • Keep carbohydrates at 40-60%
  • Portion meals by balling up your fist – that’ 1 portion size
  • Break meals into 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day
  • Eat enough calories to maintain muscle mass

Body Type Combinations:

Now it is not only possible that you are a combination of the above three body types, but probable! Think about it, what are the odds taht you fit exactly into one of the three types perfectly? You are most likely able to identify yourself with one over the other two, but you still might have qualities of some of the others.

The 3 Body Types Explained: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph

The three basic body types

In fact, it is rare to be one of the “pure breeds”. Being purely ectomorphic and short will put you at a great advantage to do professional horse racing as a jockey while being a pure endomorph might set you up for sumo wrestling. The negative stigma of body types is only there if you let it. There are many advantages pure breeds have over individuals compromised as a combination.

For instance the diagram below shows a pure ectomorph on the left leading up to a pure mesomorph on the right. The combinations exist in between the two body types.

Ecto-meso morph

You are most likely a combination of the three body types rather than a “pure breed”

Hopefully this quick intro into the three different body types will help you succeed in your fitness goals! Ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs must follow a very different regimen to see success.

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Alex Borja

Hello, my name is Alex Borja and I am one of the authors and the owner of this site, Directlyfitness.com. I also hold a Health Fitness Specialist certification (HFS) through the American College of Sports Medicine. I am currently on my last year of achieving my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree through the University of Michigan. Although running a website takes time and effort, I intend to keep fresh new material and evidenced based bodybuilding and fitness information coming through my studies. Thanks for visiting this site and hope it helps!

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4 Responses to “The 3 Body Types Explained: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph”

  1. Jordan says : Reply

    Very clear cut and easy to read. Thanks for the great read

  2. Heather says : Reply

    Great stuff!! Thanks for the diagrams, and tips to hit those hard to hit areas for each body type yo!

  3. Bootcamp says : Reply

    Nice recommendations for any types of body. I fall under ectomorph since I have skinny body and fast metabolism. I will try the workouts stated here and see for the results.

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