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Fitness Q & A

Men's Body Types | Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph

We all know what type body we have, right? I mean, who doesn’t know if they’re short, tall, over or underweight, muscular or lean? I’m sure we’re all familiar with our physiques and know what they look like… but do you know the actual name of your body type and the typical characteristics that go along with it?

It’s a wise thing to know because understanding your body type, along with its strengths and weaknesses, can help you better manage your life and the many challenges so many of us encounter. Body type influences how we respond to food and exercise, and even dictates which clothing looks best on us. Designing your diet, wardrobe, and workout routine around your body type is instrumental in obtaining the image and life you want. By working with the body genetics gave you, instead of against it, you can achieve your “best” you – it just takes a little knowhow.

There are three basic body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Because we’re human and didn’t pop out of a mold, many guys are a combination of body types and don’t fit into just one classification. If this applies to you, either choose the type or style that is most like you, or identify your particular characteristics within the different types and go from there. Either way, learning about your body type is empowering and can impact your life in many positive ways.


Body Types

Ectomorph: Known as a “Hardgainer”, the ectomorph body type is the leanest of the three types. Other traits include:

  • Fast metabolism
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Very low body fat index
  • Very thin, often lanky
  • A small frame and delicate bone structure
  • Narrow or small shoulders
  • Underdeveloped chest
  • Any height, but is often seen in tall men


The greatest challenge ectomorphs have is gaining weight, hence the term” hardgainer”. Regardless of the reason, most have a fast metabolism that burns calories quicker than normal; making weight and muscle gain difficult. As a result, high caloric intake and customized workouts that focus on large muscle groups are needed, in order for the hardgainer to increase and maintain weight and muscle mass. Success is possible, but the process is often slow. Finding a suitable workout and diet is key. For more detailed information, see my article, Hardgainer.

Mesomorph: The most common male body type, mesomorphs have an advantage at the gym. Other traits include:

  • Athletic build
  • Well defined muscles
  • Big boned with a sturdy frame
  • Rectangular shaped body
  • Typically of average height
  • Gains muscle easily
  • Generally strong
  • Normal metabolism
  • Gains fat fairly easily


Mesomorphs, with their heavier bone and muscle structure, have an easy time of gaining muscle and maintaining an athletic physique. With a healthy metabolism that burns calories at a normal pace, the mesomorph can gain and lose weight easily. Still, attention should be given to his caloric intake, especially as he ages, since fat is no stranger to this body type. Bodybuilding routines are typical and require no special considerations like the Ectomorph’s does. Cardio should always be a part of his workout program, in order to maintain weight.

Endomorph: At the other end of the spectrum is the endomorph, whose body type is opposite the ectomorph. Other traits include:

  • Stocky, solid build
  • Typically shorter than average height
  • Thick arms and legs
  • Strong upper legs
  • Gains muscle easily
  • Slow metabolism
  • Undefined, soft muscles
  • Gains muscle and fat very easily
  • Difficulty losing fat


Endomorphs have the potential to gain muscle quickly with the appropriate bodybuilding workout. Cardio is always recommended for weight control, which is often a challenge when the metabolism is slow. This body type also needs to maintain a balanced caloric intake to avoid excess weight gain.

Knowing your body type and its typical characteristics help explain and give insight to the many unknowns and challenges men often deal with when dieting and bodybuilding. It’s one more tool to use to maximize your greatest assets, while minimizing the rest. There’s tons of information online regarding the various body types and methods to enhance the lives they’re attached to. Take advantage of this knowledge and watch yourself morph into a better you!

by Aaron Marino

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