Ectomorph Mesomorph Endomorph

How To Eat and Workout Considering Your Body Type


Understanding your body type can be very helpful from an exercise and nutritional stand point. Depending on which “body type” category you fall into you may need to eat more than someone else to achieve the same muscular gains. Alternatively, someone of a different body type may need to focus more on cardio vascular exercise to achieve the same results. 

These body types, or soma types, are split up into three groups:

  1. Ectomorph
  2. Mesomorph
  3. Endomorph

Each body type has a different physical structure, and can be more genetically inclined to build muscle, or gain fat. Understanding which category you fall into will help give you insight into how your body will respond to nutrition and training. 


Who Invented the Soma types?


In the 1940s an American Psychologist called William Herbert Sheldon came up with a theory. He observed three different classes of people. Each of them has different physical features, as well as distinctive characteristics. He called them the "soma types". The “soma types” can be classified as one of the following three. 

  • The Ectomorph

Imagine Betty. She is quite thin, with very little body fat. Her shoulders are less wide than her hips, and she loves to run. Whatever she eats, it doesn’t seem to show in any way.

  • The Mesomorph

Imagine Kate. She loves to play sports and hit the gym. Whatever sport she plays comes quite naturally to her and as long as she exercises regularly, she is able to gain muscle quite easily. Her figure is athletic. 

  • The Endomorph

Imagine Jake, he is shorter with a burly build. Jake is quite strong but also has an above average body fat percentage. He has wide hips and wide shoulders. His metabolism is slower than that of an ectomorph or mesomorph.

Each body type has a natural tendency to be more conveniently athletic. If you look at the world’s top athletes you will notice the extremes. Power lifters tend to be an endomorphic type, whereas marathon runners are ectomorphs, and mesomorphs, because of their natural strength and endurance ability typically excel in soccer, hockey, or weightlifting. This doesn’t mean that endomorphs don’t run and that ectomorphs don’t do strong lifts. You can train your body to be more efficient at any sport you desire, but genetics can certainly help. 

Nutritional Considerations Per Body Type


Ectomorphs tend to have a very efficient digestive system, and in order to gain weight they need to eat far above their metabolic base rate. This means a diet high in carbohydrates (around 50% of their daily macronutrient intake). 

Mesomorphs gain muscle easily and also need to eat above their metabolic base rate. Since their bodies respond quite quickly to change, they sometimes only require a minimal surplus or decrease in calories to see changes in body composition. A good baseline for this body type is around 40% carbohydrates of their daily recommended intake. 

Endomorphs nevertheless can gain both muscle and fat easily, so monitoring energy intake and expenditure is crucial in maintaining a lower body fat percentage. Endomorphs tend to have a lower tolerance to carbohydrates, and therefore respond well to a lower ratio such as 25% of their daily intake. 

If you want to lose weight, it is pretty simple. You need to eat less, or expend more calories in a day then you eat. However, depending on your body type this can look different for each person. Ectomorphs should not reduce their caloric intake too much. Mesomorphs fall somewhere in the middle, and endomorphs typically need a more drastic decrease. 


Training Considerations Per Body Type

Considering food intake is important but also equally important is training intensity, as this will factor the amount of energy you expend in a day. 

  • Ectomorph: since this body type is highly efficient at burning calories, in order to grow lean muscle mass an ectomorph should pay close attention to not over doing cardio, focusing the majority of their workout on heavy compound lifts.
  • Mesomorph: this type will see muscular gains quite quickly. A mix of high intensity interval training and weights each week will result in hypertrophy, and a lean body fat percentage. 
  • Endomorph: are naturally strong and gain muscle easily. They should focus on incorporating both steady state and high intensity interval training with weight lifting most days of the week. 


Take Home Message

Ectomorph: eat a lot (don’t skip dessert), lift weights most days of the week times a week with minimal cardio. 

Mesomorph: eat above your base caloric rate, train smart and with a moderate amount of cardio. 

Endomorph: eat around your metabolic base rate, lift weights around three times a week and do a lot of cardio


Bree Hunter

Bree Hunter is a Calgary fitness model and personal training professional. Since entering the world of fitness modelling, Bree has achieved an extraordinary and unparalleled year-round physique and she is excited to help her clients reach the same levels of success. Bree's drive and determination saw her achieve high levels of success on the. . .

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