Body Types: Are you an Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph?

Updated in July 2023

A body type describes a human body composition, which is influenced by bone structure, metabolism, muscle mass and fat mass. Keeping these characteristics in mind, the body can be classified into 3 types: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph.

Each body type has different needs and lifestyle habits that are more conducive to being healthy, and things like diet, exercise and activity level working out can range among these body types. Generally speaking, endomorph body types are curvier due to increase fat accumulation, mesomorphs have a more muscular body, while ectomorphs have a lean body type with low fat composition. 

Physical activity and a balanced diet can help to modify physical appearance, which is your somatotype, but it does not change your genetics or biotype. Therefore, if you stop exercising and eating healthy, you may return to your original body type. 

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The main body types

Body types can be classified in accordance with their characteristics: 

1. Ectomorph

People with an ectomorph body are thinner and leaner. They tend to have narrow shoulders and long extremities. Women may have a narrow thigh and smaller breasts. 

These people tend to have a faster metabolism and can lose weight easier as a result. They also have more difficulty gaining muscle. Learn more about ectomorph body types. 

Recommended diet: Because it is harder to gain muscle, you should increase your daily protein intake, as well increase foods with healthy fats, lean meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole wheat grains. Check out the foods to eat to gain muscle

Recommended workout: Ectomorph body types should include some aerobic exercise, but should prioritize heavy lifting, like strength training and pilates to promote muscle mass gain. Read these tips on gaining muscle from our personal trainer. 

2. Endomorph

People with an endomorph body type are usually shorter in stature and have a curvier, wider frame. Women with this body type tend to have a larger thighs and associated with a pear shape due to a large amount of accumulated fat. Learn about other characteristics of an endomorph body type. 

People with this body type generally have a slower metabolism, higher fat composition and have difficulty with losing weight, although they easily gain muscle mass. 

Recommended diet: Endomorph diets will need to be more restrictive to help with weight loss. A low carb diet may be a good approach, as it helps to keep you fuller for longer and promotes weight loss. It is important for people with endomorph body types to avoid eating sweets, processed food and fatty foods if they are looking to lose weight. This calorie calculator may be helpful to determine how many calories are recommended per day.  

Recommended workout: It is important to include strength training in your workout routine to promote muscle gain. Aerobic exercise, like the elliptical machine or stairmaster, can also help to burn fat and become leaner. 

3. Mesomorph

People with a mesomorph body type are lean and muscular, even without engaging in physical activity. People with this body type tend to have a longer torso, low amounts of abdominal fat, a smaller waist, a fast metabolism and tend to gain muscle easily. Read more about the characteristics associated with a mesomorph body type. 

Recommended diet: People with a mesomorph body type easily gain muscle mass and therefore do not need to consume as much protein. Strict diets are not necessary, but you should maintain a balanced diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat grains, lean protein and legumes to maintain ideal body fat and muscle mass percentages. 

People with mesomorph characteristics can also gain body fat. Therefore, you should avoid refined sugars (found in cakes, ice cream and cookies), processed foods (ready-made sauces, fast food, instant pasta) and fatty foods (like fried foods, crackers or fatty meats). 

Mesomorphs should alternate aerobic exercise (e.g. cycling or running) with strength training to maintain ideal body fat and muscle mass percentages.