Did you know that there are different body types in the human body? The three main ones include ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. Determined by genetics, your body type has different hormonal and physical characteristics. Knowing which category you fall in will help determine how you will respond to food and training techniques.

What is your body type?

Ectomorph

Ectomorphs have speedy metabolisms and difficulty building muscle.

Shape Characteristics:

  • Long Limbs
  • Small Frame
  • Low Muscle Mass
  • Naturally Skinny

Think of an ultramarathon runner or high fashion model!

The nutrient distribution should be higher carbohydrates and lower fat to gain muscle and shape. When weight is put on through muscle, it is necessary to keep training to retain the weight. For example, I have an ectomorph friend who once got injured and could not work out. You would think they would have gained weight, but their muscle mass rapidly declined. Their metabolism ate through the hard-earned muscle as fuel because they were unable to keep up. This is the challenge of being an ectomorph.  Eat 500 calories above maintenance intake, to keep your hard-earned shape. Limited cardio is best, and for strength training, simple routines with heavy compound movements are recommended. Eating the bulk of carbohydrates around weight training will assist in muscle retention.

Mesomorph

Mid-range metabolism and can gain muscle quickly with limited fat gain. Mesomorphs still need to eat a high-calorie diet to gain muscle and can bounce back quickly with weight gain.

Shape Characteristics:

  • “X” shape with a small waist
  • Visible muscle
  • Naturally Fit

Think bodybuilder, crossfitter, or gymnast!

The one difference is Mesomorphs have to pay attention to how high above maintenance calories they go. A recommended mixed diet of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% protein is best. Mesomorph body types should pay attention to insulin levels when dieting through limiting carbohydrate intake. This allows the mesomorph to develop lean muscle gains. Also, mesomorphs should stick to low glycemic carbohydrates, especially post-workout, to limit fat increases. Mesomorphs excel in power and strength activities that mix cardio and weight training. Strength workouts should be moderate to heavyweight with limited rest between sets.

Endomorphs

Quickly gain weight and have a hard time losing it.

Characteristics:

  • Wide bone structure
  • High Fat Mass
  • Short Limbs
  • Less active

Think Rugby Players or Powerlifters!

Endomorphs have reduced insulin sensitivity, so limit total carbohydrate intake to control fat gain. Carbohydrates signal the release of insulin, which blocks the body’s ability to breakdown fat. As a result, time carbohydrate intake when your body needs it with frequent small meals.  A high fat and protein diet is an ideal diet ratio. High glycemic carbohydrates are not great for an endomorph, especially after a workout, since this will spike insulin. With low insulin sensitivity, your body will not utilize carbs as well as the other body types.

In contrast, on rest days, calories and carbohydrates should be lowered. Exercise should be part of your daily routine, and cardio should always be incorporated to reduce fat gain. Finally, it is vital to get to the gym as much as possible without overtraining, and at least four days of weight training will help maintain your metabolism.

Bottom Line

Although these are the three main body types, not everyone will find they fit into one description completely.  In contrast, it is possible to take characteristics from more than one to make up your unique body type. Besides, your body type can change over some time through consistency. If your curious about your body type, take this assessment from everyday health.

References:

https://blog.nasm.org/does-the-glycemic-index-work-for-fat-loss

https://www.healthline.com/health/mesomorph-body-type-diet#other-body-types

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-body-type-eating

https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5102/how-to-eat-and-train-for-an-ectomorph-body-type

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