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by Adeline Gonzales August 06, 2018 3 min read

There are 3 basic body type classifications referred to as somatotypes. The 3 classifications are Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. And no, the Fashion Nova models don’t fall into any of them! I kid, I kid.

All of us are born with a certain skeletal frame and body composition. While some of us are naturally more muscular, others are slimmer finding it hard to gain weight no matter what they do.

Then there are those of us who can’t even look at a cookie without gaining 5 lbs. It’s nice to know which body type you most identify with because it helps when trying to reach your fitness goals by allowing you to tailor your workouts depending on how your body will respond.

tone woman lifting dumbbell in gym

In this 2 part blog, we are going to first discuss what the body types are and how to determine your own.  Then, based on which type you identify with the most (most of us will identify with more than one type), discuss tips for eating and maximizing the benefits from your workout sessions.

healthy bowl of food

1. Ectomorph

Normally long and lean with very little body fat and not a lot of muscle.  They are known as “hard gainers” because they can eat until the cows come home but see very little weight gain.  They also have a harder time putting on muscle mass.

Now, if you identify with this body type, it’s important to note that as you get older, your metabolism slows down so you won’t always be able to eat until your heart's content without the scale moving. There are plenty of ectomorphs that now battle obesity.

 "They are known as “hard gainers” because they can eat until the cows come home but see very little weight gain.”

Other common characteristics:
  • Small joints
  • Long arms and legs (even if you are normal height like myself)
  • Body shape more similar to a ruler
  • Smaller shoulders
  • Fast metabolism
  • Difficulty gaining fat and muscle
  • Hyperactive

    thin female dancer monochrome

    2. Mesomorphs

    The seemingly most gifted of the 3 body types! Naturally has an athletic, muscular frame and don’t tend to have issues controlling their weight. They can both gain and lose weight with an average amount of effort.

    Many of the world’s leading athletes fit primarily into this category so I guess you could say mesomorphs naturally have an athletic advantage. If you identify with this body type you know that although your weight can fluctuate, you can easily gain control by engaging in regular physical exercise and eating well.

    Because mesomorphs know they are… "blessed", some of them can get a little lax when it comes to exercising and eating right because they feel invincible but as a word of caution, that weight will creep up on you like a 24 hour stomach bug!

    "Many of the world’s leading athletes fit primarily into this category."

    Other common characteristics:
    • Naturally strong
    • Medium size bones and joints
    • Shoulders wider than hips
    • Broad/square shoulders
    • Body responds quickly to exercise
    • Losing fat and gaining muscle pretty easy to do
    • Pretty fast metabolism
    • Female mesomorphs tend to have hourglass figure
    • Naturally athletic

    ripped man behind the neck pull up


    3. Endomorphs

    Tends to gain weight more easily than the other body types and find it hard to get and keep it off. Their bodies are generally soft, round and for the women, curvaceous. Endomorphs tend to be known as big boned or husky.

    Even though this body type typically finds it a little more difficult to keep the weight off, physically fit endomorphs resemble shapely or solid, strong mesomorphs. They also tend to have good endurance and can gain muscle with little problem allowing them to be athletic and typically good at sports requiring power and the use of their body weight.

    However, they can’t take long breaks from exercise without experiencing weight gain and/or muscle loss. If you identify with this body type, you can use your stronger frame to your advantage but you’ll need to stay active and you may not have the best relationship with carbs.

    "Their bodies are generally soft, round and for the women, curvaceous."

    Other common characteristics:
    • Slower metabolism
    • Slower digestion
    • Absorb nutrients easier
    • Shapely
    • Short/tapered limbs
    • Longer trunk
    • Strong bones
    • Prominent thighs/upper arms
    • Good endurance

    bodybuilder deadlifting


    Of course, many of us will be able to identify with more than just one of these. Ecto-endomorphs have thin upper bodies and larger hips and thighs while endo-ectomorphs hold more fat in their upper bodies with smaller legs. And then ecto-mesomorphs have long, lean limbs, but are shapely and find it easy to gain muscle and lose fat.

    While knowing which body type you most identify with can help you fine-tune your eating and training habits, body typing is not the end all be all and it should not cause you to limit yourself to what’s possible with proper diet and training, which is what we’ll get into next time!

    Adeline Gonzales
    Adeline Gonzales

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