The Best Diet and Exercise Plan for the Mesomorph Body Type

Eating protein, veggies and nutritious carbs or fats at every meal is ideal for the mesomorph body type.
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People come in all different shapes and sizes, so there's no one-size-fits-all solution to diet and exercise. You can, however, follow generalized health practices based on your body composition. Someone with a mesomorph body type, for example, may want to try mesomorph diet and exercise guidelines.


Here's everything you need to know about the body type, including the optimal eating plan, the best diet for mesomorphs to lose weight and a mesomorph workout plan.

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Talk to your doctor or dietitian to determine the best mesomorph diet and exercise plan for you and your health needs.

What Are Mesomorphs?

William H. Sheldon, PhD, MD, first introduced the concept of somatotypes, or body types, in the 1940s to classify people based on skeletal shape and body composition, per the University of Houston.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the three primary body types are endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Here's an overview of each:

  • Endomorph body types usually have larger bone structure, tend to store fat and may have difficulty losing weight.
  • Ectomorphs are typically long and lean; they have a fast metabolism which can make gaining weight difficult for them.
  • Mesomorphs tend to be naturally muscular and can gain and lose weight easily.


Not everyone falls squarely into one somatotype — many of us have a mixture of each, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). For instance, some have a meso-endomorph body type, while others may follow an endo-ectomorph diet and workout plan.

And that's completely normal — in fact, your somatotype can shift over time depending on factors like your age, environment and lifestyle, according to the NASM. You can also influence your body type by incorporating new methods of diet and exercise.



Some say that more people assigned male at birth (AMAB) are mesomorphs than people assigned female at birth (AFAB), as people AMAB tend to have more muscle and less fat, per the Mayo Clinic. But anyone can have this body type, because body composition is determined by other factors like genetics and lifestyle habits, per the NASM.

Mesomorph Diet

The ideal diet for mesomorphs tends to be higher in calories than the other common body types due to their greater muscle mass (though the actual amount of calories you'll need per day will vary based on factors like your weight, height and activity level), according to the ACE.

The ACE recommends the average mesomorph individual portion out their meals into thirds: One-third protein, one-third vegetables or fruits and one-third nutritious carbs or fats.



With those mesomorph macros in mind, here are some specific foods to incorporate into your mesomorph diet plan:


Not sure how many calories you need to eat per day? Here's a guide for how to calculate your daily caloric intake.

1. Protein-Rich Foods

Eating plenty of protein can help support muscle maintenance, growth and repair for mesomorph people, per the ACE.

But that doesn't mean overloading on meat — a November 2019 study in the journal ​JAMA Internal Medicine​ showed that eating more protein from plants can better support long-term wellbeing and longevity.


Here are some high-protein foods from plants and animals to include in your mesomorph body type diet:

  • Lean meat like chicken and turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Legumes like lentils and beans
  • Nuts and seeds

2. Vegetables and Fruits

Any diet plan for mesomorphs should include a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, according to the ACE. Some good options include:


  • Berries like blueberries and blackberries
  • Watermelon
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Kale

3. Certain Carbs

Per the ACE, carbs are an important addition to your mesomorph diet because they provide the fuel necessary to maintain, build and repair muscle. Good sources of carbohydrates include:


  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains like quinoa, oatmeal and brown rice
  • High-fiber starches like beans and lentils

4. Beneficial Fats

It's also key to include nutritious sources of fat in your mesomorph diet menu to provide fuel and help promote satiety, according to the ACE. Eat healthy fats such as:


  • Avocados
  • Tofu
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Fish like salmon
  • Oil like olive and flaxseed oil
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Olives


Try this delicious recipe for Asian Chicken Stir-Fry Salad, which provides all the staples of a mesomorph diet. Or if you are looking for a plant-based option, try our Veggie Tofu Scramble recipe.

Mesomorph Workouts

Mesomorph calisthenics may include weight training exercises.
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Regular physical activity is important for your overall wellbeing regardless of body type, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That said, a mesomorph workout plan typically emphasizes weight training, along with supplemental cardio activity, per the ACE.

An ideal mesomorph workout schedule could look something like the following:

  • Weight training:​ Lift moderate to heavy weights, five days a week. The ACE recommends choosing three to four exercises for each muscle group and performing at least three sets of eight to 12 reps.
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT):​ 30 to 45 minutes, two or three times a week
  • Steady-state cardio:​ 30 to 45 minutes, one or two times a week (think: walking, jogging or cycling)

When it comes to strength training, you can train one muscle group per day or do full-body circuits, depending on your preferences. Another option is to split your routine into upper- and lower-body workouts. A five-day split routine may look like this:

  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Legs and abs
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Back
  • Friday: Shoulders and abs
  • Saturday: Biceps and triceps
  • Sunday: Rest

According to the ACE, super sets involve training opposing muscle groups with little or no rest between exercises. If, say, you want to work your chest and back, you can do chest presses followed by barbell rows.


Drop sets, on the other hand, involve gradually reducing the weight used for a given exercise and doing as many sets as possible without rest until you reach muscle failure. A mesomorph workout may also include pyramid sets, partial reps, forced reps and other lifting techniques.

Mesomorph exercise can also combine cardio and strength training at once. Take HIIT, for instance — here's a Tabata-inspired mesomorph body type workout that doesn't require equipment:

  • Push-ups (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • High knees (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Mountain climbers (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Push-ups (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Jump squats (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Plank jacks (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Burpees (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Push-ups (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)


HIIT can be taxing and may lead to overtraining, according to the ACE. Make sure to give your body adequate fuel and rest to avoid injury or fatigue.

Mesomorphs and Weight Loss

Not all people follow a mesomorph diet and exercise plan to lose weight. But if you're specifically trying a mesomorph diet for weight loss, here's what you should know.

First of all, people with this body type can typically gain or lose weight without much difficulty, according to the ACE. As a result, it's important to be on top of your mesomorph diet and workout plan to find and/or maintain the right weight for you.

If your goal is to shed pounds, creating a daily calorie deficit is key to weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. This typically involves reducing your intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day.

Cutting back on sugary or processed foods — like baked goods, fried foods and candy — while prioritizing lower-calorie, nutrient-dense meals is one way to build this daily deficit, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Burning calories through regular exercise can further add to that deficit. Strength training, for instance, doesn't only burn calories while you're doing it — it can increase your mesomorph metabolism so you burn more calories at rest, too, per the Mayo Clinic.

HIIT can have a similar effect: The training style alternates short, intense bursts of exercise with periods of active recovery or rest. What makes it so effective is the after-burn effect, or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which allows your body to continue to burn more calories after the workout ends, per the ACE.

What's more, a November 2017 meta-analysis in ​Sports Medicine​ assessed the effects of HIIT on body composition, and found that this training method can be an effective way to reduce body fat and visceral fat, a type of fat that wraps around your internal organs.