The Best Exercise and Eating Advice for Your Body Type

group of millennials working out together
Stop fighting against your body and start working with it! (Image: Stocksy/Studio Firma)

Ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph might sound like alien races straight out of a sci-fi series, but knowing which of these three body types you are can help you customize your workout plan.

While there are numerous training programs to choose from, tailoring your training to your body type (somatotype) and goals will help you start seeing results faster, which means you’re more likely to stick with your new workout.

Typically, people gravitate toward what they’re good at and shy away from more difficult activities. But if your goals are to change your body, doing more of what’s challenging is key. But don’t think that means you have to do endless burpees until you reach your dream body. It’s not so much which exercises you do, it’s how you structure your workouts, taking into account exercise order, reps performed and rest periods taken.

The first step to the body you want is finding out which body type you are.
The first step to the body you want is finding out which body type you are. (Image: Adobe Stock/nd3000)

Which Body Type Are You?

As mentioned above, there are three main body types: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. But how do you know which one you are?

  1. Endomorphs have trouble losing weight and seem to gain weight even thinking about food (OK, not really, but sometimes it feels that way). They are typically shorter, have shorter limbs and are “curvier.” For a celebrity comparison, look to Jessica Simpson, Hilary Duff, Chris Pratt or Seth Rogen.
  2. Ectomorphs the opposite of endomorphs. They're the people who seem to eat whatever they want and never gain any weight (think Natalie Portman, Bradley Cooper and Taylor Swift). They are typically taller, longer-limbed and thinner individuals.
  3. Mesomorphs are a combination of endomorphs and ectomorphs. They seem to gain muscle and shed fat with little effort (relative to the other two body types). They are usually average in height (but can be taller or shorter) and sport an athletic frame defined by more lean muscle mass.

Once you find which category you fall in (or which types you’re a blend of), it’s easier to design a program that best suits your goals, needs and challenges when it comes to training. And don’t forget: Workouts are only one part of changing your body. You also need to focus on the right nutrition for your body type. So keep reading to get your tailor-made workout and nutrition plan.

Cardio trumps pretty much everything else for endomorphs.
Cardio trumps pretty much everything else for endomorphs. (Image: Adobe Stock/nickshot)

Workouts for Endomorphs

Good news and bad news for endomorphs: While it’s easier to gain size and strength, it’s also more difficult to lose weight. So you want your workout to be balanced. Focusing on resistance training is still key, but performing more endurance training will help increase metabolic rate and shed fat.

Endomorphs should focus on completing more work in less time (using shorter rest periods), performing more sets of moderate to high reps (eight to 15) and keeping an elevated heart rate through the majority of a session. They should also be performing additional endurance conditioning (yes, that means cardio) on the off days from the resistance training.

Nutrition for Endomorphs

If fat loss is your goal, as an endomorph you need to be aware of the amount of calories you’re consuming daily. If you're sedentary, you'll multiply your weight in kilograms (weight in pounds divided by 2.2) by 31 calories. If you're more active, you'll need between 33 to 38 calories/kg. And if you're extremely active, you'll need 35 to 60 calories/kg. If you want to lose weight, subtract 500 from that final number.

Aim for an even macronutrient distribution: 30-percent carbs, 35-percent protein and 35-percent fat. Focus on high amounts of protein and veggies with a sufficient amount of healthy fats. Carbohydrates should come from mainly fruits and veggies (try to avoid high-carb foods, which are converted to sugar and usually stored as fat) and can be a little higher on training days. On the conditioning days, decrease your carbohydrates, which should mainly come from veggies.

Focus on strength training to compensate for your ectomorph genetics.
Focus on strength training to compensate for your ectomorph genetics. (Image: Adobe Stock/Monkey Business)

Workouts for Ectomorphs

Being naturally leaner and finding it harder to gain weight, ectomorphs are encouraged to focus on resistance training and limit endurance-type training. So the name of the game is strength and hypertrophy (building muscle).

In order to gain strength and size, ectomorphs should focus on slowing down training (rest longer between sets), using heavier weights for fewer reps (four to eight) and not targeting the endurance energy systems during training (you’re not running a marathon here, so you don’t want to feel as if you are).

Nutrition for Ectomorphs

Since ectomorphs have such a naturally fast metabolism, they must make sure to consume an adequate amount of calories and carbs. If you're sedentary, you'll multiply your weight in kilograms (weight in pounds divided by 2.2) by 31 calories.

If you're more active, you'll need between 33 to 38 calories/kg. And if you're extremely active, you'll need 35 to 60 calories/kg. If you want to lose weight, subtract 500 from that final number (add 500 if you’re looking to gain weight). Divide your macros between 50- to 60-percent carbs, 25- to 15-percent fat and 25-percent protein.

Ectomorphs typically handle carbohydrates much better and should consume a sufficient amount of high-quality carbohydrates each day in order to support intense training sessions. Ectomorphs should also aim to eat every two to four hours, meaning you'll have smaller meals more frequently.

Mesomophs have the best of both worlds.
Mesomophs have the best of both worlds. (Image: Adobe Stock/Jacob Lund)

Workouts for Mesomorphs

Many consider mesomorphs “genetically blessed” because they usually gain muscle faster than the ectomorphs and are able to get (and stay) lean easier than endomorphs.

For this reason, mesomorphs will want to train along the whole performance spectrum, focusing on strength, size and endurance. Training for mesomorphs should be based around resistance training through a broader rep scheme (three to 12 reps) and can be supplemented with high-intensity intervals as the primary focus for cardio.

In most cases, dedicating a block of exercises to strength, a block to hypertrophy and a block to endurance works best. Mesomorphs have to be careful not to gravitate to far to one end of the spectrum: They’ll lose muscle mass if they’re too focused on endurance conditioning and will gain excess fat if they’re only performing heavy resistance training.

Nutrition for Mesomorphs

Once again, mesomorphs fall somewhere in the middle, so your macros should be split pretty evenly between carbs, protein and fat (getting a third of your calories from each of those groups). If you’re noticing more fat accumulation than you’d like, cut down on the carbs a little.

Like endomorphs, decrease carbs on conditioning days. But if you’re doing high-intensity intervals, you’ll still want a few extra carbs around training time to ensure that excessive muscle degradation doesn’t occur (because no one wants that).

Regardless of your body type, be sure to find a workout you enjoy
Regardless of your body type, be sure to find a workout you enjoy (Image: Adobe Stock/Syda Productions)

What Do YOU Think?

What body type do you most closely match? What are your current fitness goals? Are you looking to build muscle, lose fat or maintain your bodyweight and improve your fitness level? What do you think of the workouts and nutrition for your body type? Will you give this plan a shot? Or if you’ve already done something similar, did it work for you? Share your thoughts, stories and questions in the comments section below!

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.