Body Types – Work Out Your Body Type

Body Types - Six PackIf you’re having trouble building muscle, or find that it’s hidden behind a stubborn layer of body fat that hides an otherwise impressive six pack, figuring out what body type you are could help. Only then can you adjust your diet and workout correctly.

The original theory of body types came from Dr. William H Sheldon, which he called somatypes, is that all of us fall into 3 main categories: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. Each of these responds differently to exercise and diet and can be characterised in the following ways, so you can decide which applies to you.

Ectomorph Body Type
Ectomorphs are the classic skinny, hard-gainer. They have narrow shoulders and hips, very little muscle mass or fat, and very little appetite despite a fast metabolism. Their appearance is best described as skinny.

Ectomorphs should concentrate on gaining size and weight in the form of lean muscle mass, with workouts kept short and intense with a slower pace. Any form of cardio is best avoided until weight and muscle mass has increased sufficiently. Diet should be high in quality calories, which can be assisted with protein shakes that are around 100 calories each, as well as healthy oils which contain the same amount in a single tablespoon. Before bed a meal containing protein and low GI ingredients is beneficial as it provides a slow release of calories throughout the night, which helps to prevent muscle breakdown.

Mesomorph Body Type
Mesomorphs have a naturally athletic physique and find it easy to gain or lose fat and muscle. They have a hard body with a lot of well defined muscle, and while even a relatively poor diet can produce good results, this is no excuse not to cut out the junk food for long-term health.

As mesomorphs are naturally athletic they can quickly and easily bulk up with heavy weights at a moderate pace, then reduce any body fat that has built up by cutting carbs and increasing cardio with interval training. Diet should be high in protein with the majority of carbs eaten before and after workouts. If your goal isn’t to gain more muscle, exercise is still important for health and fitness purposes, but have your last meal a couple of hours before going to bed.

Endomorph Body Type
Endomorphs gain fat very easily but also some muscle. They are strong, especially in the legs, but have a soft body with a slow metabolism. Endomorphs find it as hard to lose body fat as an ectomorph does to gain it.

Endomorphs have no trouble putting on weight, but they have to be careful that this is muscle and not fat. Strength training at a fast pace will help to speed up metabolism, as will eating at least six small meals throughout the day. Cardio is essential and best done before breakfast, ideally using 30-second work / recovery phases. Diet should include only low GI carbs and eating real protein, such as lean chicken, will provide the necessary calories and give a feeling of fullness for longer.

Although there are 3 main body types, few people will fit nicely into just one of them. Instead see it as more of a continuum, with ectomorph at one end, endomorph at the other, and mesomorph in the middle. If you think you are halfway between ectomorph and mesomorph, experiment with the 2 suggestions until you find what works best.

Whatever your body type it’s possible to build muscle, have a ripped six pack and look as good as any mesomorph. You’ll just have to work a little harder to achieve it than they do.

As always, any question or feedback leave a comment below.

5 Replies to “Body Types – Work Out Your Body Type”

  1. Thanks for this post.

    I’m pretty sure I fall into the endomorph category, and it’s good to have another source backing up the strength training, and attempts to have high intensity lifting to kick the metabolism up.

  2. Hi I am en ectomorph body type. I am skinny but with time have developed a pronounced belly. It does not look good specially with my flat chest.

    Lately I went on a diet accompanied with lots of physical activities such as swimming, tennis and jogging. I cut about 80% sugar, started havning semi skimmed milk, cut all fried food, fatty fast food and white rice, bread and switched to brown everything.

    My idea is getting rid of all fat around the belly area and eventually build up my six pack muscles, chest, shoulder and all other muscles by going to the gym. Can you please advise if for you an ectomorph my approach is correct. Thank you

    1. First of all well done with the changes you’ve already made.

      As an ectomorph, what Vince Delmonte calls the Skinny Fat Guy Syndrome is down to just a couple of things:

      1. Eating more calories than you require. Sounds obvious, but an ectomorph who doesn’t have much of an appetite might disagree. What they don’t realise is that it only takes a few calories more than necessary over a sustained period to gain fat. Sometimes years. This usually comes with eating the wrong kind of foods at the wrong times. In other words, fried or sugary food, pizza, or anything else that is high in carbs and fat, eaten in only 2 or 3 meals a day.

      2. Little or no weight training or cardio, which equals a slow, fat-storing metabolism.

      The solution is cut out all the “bad” stuff, as you’ve already done, and aim for 5 or 6 equally spaced, equally sized meals per day. When it comes to exercise, which you’ve also started, aim for high intensity to boost your metabolism further. Jogging obviously isn’t high intensity, swimming can be but I suspect your treating your swimming like your jogging and sticking to the same speed for many laps. Instead try interval training, which is basically sprinting and then walking for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, or a lap of swimming crawl as fast as you can and then a lap of breast stroke to recover. The tennis depends on your opposition and your competitiveness – if you’re playing to win like a pro against a good opponent this can be great interval training, but if it’s a friendly match it’s going to be more like the jogging.

      When it comes to building muscle, this also boosts your metabolism and your required calorie intake, and of course bigger legs and shoulders automatically makes your waist appear smaller even without the other great work you’re doing.

      Have a good look around this website for articles explaining it all in more detail or use the search box at the top right. Or if you want to get all the information you’ll need in one program, for you I recommend Vince Delmonte’s No Nonsense Muscle Building. Read my review by clicking here.

      Hope this helps and let me know how you get on!


  3. I dont know if im an endmorph or an mesomorph because I seem to loose and gain fat quick but I dont really succeed in loosing my lower body fat(thats where all my fat goes when I eat consistently) my chest isnt really cut but I think I have an athletic body because im not fat but more I guess alil fit slightly chubby someone please help so I can do the right exercise and know more on my body type trying to get a well lean six pack!

    1. Well the ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph is a sliding scale. So you’re most likely an ectomesomorph or a endomesamorph as very few people fit into just one. In you’re case you sound like an endomesomorph. An athletic body that loses and gains weight quickly. Cutting for you should involve lowering your carb intake, replacing it with protein and doing some high intensity interval training for cardio.

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