How Knowing Your Body Type Can Improve Your Fitness & Nutrition

By Andrew Gutman – January 24, 2023

Are you an ectomorph, endomorph or mesomorph? These aren’t alien names but rather the most common body types that shape our structure – including muscle mass and body fat levels.

In the 1940s, Dr. William H. Sheldon introduced somatotypes, which describe a person’s physique. In his theory, he connected these somatotypes to an individual’s temperament or behavior but it’s highly disputed whether or not somatotypes correlate with personality.

Whatever the case, knowing your body type can help you tailor your workouts better and keep you motivated to stick to your fitness goals.


People legs.

Ectomorphs are slim, usually tall and have longer limbs. These body types can eat what they want and still not gain much weight; they also burn calories easily. However, ectomorphs have difficulty gaining muscle mass. So, regardless of how hard they work out, they tend to stay lean without bulking up.


Your likely goal is to gain weight (precisely, muscle), so you should focus on resistance training, limit endurance and cardio exercises. Your training should be focused on strength and hypertrophy. 

To gain strength and size, you must lift heavy weights. The weight should be heavy enough to lift between 6 to 10 reps with a longer rest time. Go for 3 to 4 sets with 1 to 2 minutes of rest between each set.

Workouts can include squats, bench presses, leg presses, lunges, deadlifts and pullups. Aim to do strength training 3 to 4 times weekly, every other day. Go for short cardio sessions between 10 to 20 minutes twice weekly.


Your body burns energy faster than other body types, so you should eat a mass-gain diet. Aim for high carbs, moderate protein and low fat. Your calorie intake should be 700 to 1,000 times more than your body needs to maintain your current body weight. Since you have a high metabolism rate, you need to eat more frequently (every 2 to 4 hours).


Person with measuring tape around their waist.

Endomorphs are short and stocky and tend to gain weight from any food. People with these body types find it difficult to slim down. However, they’re naturally more powerful than ectomorphs, making them excellent bodybuilders or weightlifters. 


For this body type, resistance training is crucial, but incorporating endurance training into your routine is also helpful for speeding up your metabolism and burning more calories. Increasing your muscle mass will increase your basal metabolic rate, helping you burn more fat.

Aim for 3 to 4 days of strength training. The goal is to complete more work in less time because you need to maintain an elevated heart rate throughout your workout. This means having shorter rest periods. Use moderate weight, completing between 8 to 15 reps per session with only 30 to 60 seconds of rest. Burn more calories by incorporating compound movements. 

For the remaining days, practice lower-intensity conditioning (30 to 60 minutes), such as a light jog, inclined work, swimming or biking. Do a HIIT workout once a week. Lastly, dedicate one day a week to rest and recovery. 


Since you’re more insulin-resistant and have a lower carb resistance, you have to eat a low-carb diet with higher protein. Your calorie intake should be 500 to 700 less than your body needs daily, but don’t exclude calories from your diet because you need them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Women bodies.

These body types have a perfect balance between muscle and fat with the natural ability to change their body to their liking, fast. Mesomorphs can quickly accumulate muscle mass and become fit. However, their bulk decreases as fast as it increases.


As a mesomorph, you have the potential to build muscle fast but lose body fat even quicker. As a result, you need to focus on a broad performance spectrum. Aim for strength, size and endurance.

You can dedicate a block of exercise to strength, endurance and hypertrophy. Mix it up, and avoid focusing on one type of training. You can lose muscle mass if you focus solely on endurance conditioning, and you can gain excess fat if you only perform heavy resistance training. Incorporate moderate-to-heavy strength training 3 to 4 times weekly, along with a HIIT workout 2 to 3 times weekly. 


Typically, your goal is to lean up – maintaining body weight, losing fat and increasing muscle tone. Your diet should include a balance between carbs, protein and fats. Eat enough calories to maintain your current body weight, but if you want to lose a little weight, consume slightly less. 


Knowing your body type gives you an advantage because you can design a specific training program and diet plan to meet your goals. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to our health.

About the Author

Andrew Gutman.

Andrew Gutman from BarBend is a former associate editor at Muscle & Fitness and has contributed to Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol and Spartan Race. 


Related Articles