Are You Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph?

Introduction

In the 1940s, American Psychologist William Herbert Sheldon developed a theory that there are three body types, or somatotypes: Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph.

The names were named after the three germ layers of embryonic development: the endoderm (develops into the digestive tract), the mesoderm (becomes muscle, heart and blood vessels), and the ectoderm (forms the skin and nervous system).

Each somatotype has its own distinct physical characteristics and supposedly personality as well. Modern scientists have dismissed his claims on somatotypes-personality as outdated/inaccurate. However, the unique physical characteristics of each body type is still widely used as an important factor when designing workout routines for the individual.

This is because the three body types each require different workout methods and diet plans. I have listed the body types below along with their respective traits and training methods.

Ectomorph

Characteristics:

  • High metabolism
  • Low body fat
  • Difficulty in building muscles
  • Young appearance
  • Lightly muscled
  • Narrow face with high forehead
  • Thin limbs
  • Narrow shoulders and flat chest
  • Narrow hips

Diet:

  • EAT MORE
  • Huge amount of calories needed to gain weight due to high metabolism.
  • Create caloric surplus
  • Eat 5-7 small meals per day every 2.5 to 3 hrs
  • Daily protein intake of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight
  • Use protein shakes to supplement diet

Workout Intensity:

  • GO HEAVY
  • 6-8 reps per set
  • Aim to lift heavier weights progressively every week
  • Rest 90 seconds between sets (ensure sufficient rest due to heavy load)

Workout Frequency/ Split

  • Train each muscle group twice per week
  • Best not to train each muscle group three times per week due to heavy load and thin body frame. Unless you are a beginner who’s starting out with light weights

Workout Volume

  • Bigger muscle groups: 30-60 reps per workout session
  • Smaller muscle groups: 20-30 reps per workout session
  • Number of Sets: 3-4 sets

Cardio:

  • Perform low intensity cardio (brisk walking, jogging, swimming) once or twice a week for general and cardiac health
  • Do NOT perform intense cardio as this will burn away precious muscle mass

Endomorph

Characteristics:

  • Slow metabolism
  • High fat storage
  • Finds it hard to lose fat
  • Round shaped with large bone structure
  • Soft body
  • “Stocky” build
  • Underdeveloped Muscles
  • Wide waist

Diet:

  • Eat less
  • Keep food intake low due to slow metabolism
  • Create caloric deficit
  • Eat slowly; eating fast stokes your metabolism and makes you feel hungry
  • Keep fat intake low and only eat lean meat
  • Avoid eating late at night (suppers, etc)
  • Avoid soft drinks and alcohol

Workout Frequency/ Split:

  • Train each muscle group twice or thrice per week

Workout Intensity:

  • Train at high intensity
  • 9-12 reps / 12-15 reps per set
  • Rest 30-60 seconds between sets

Volume:

  • Bigger muscle groups: 30-60 reps per workout session
  • Smaller muscle groups: 20-30 reps per workout session
  • Number of Sets: 2-3 sets

Cardio:

  • Perform high intensity cardio (running, swimming, cycling, etc) at least 3 times a week.
  • Incorporate HIIT (High-intensity interval training) into your cardio routine.

Mesomorph

Characteristics:

  • Genetically gifted
  • Muscular build
  • Gains muscle easily
  • Low body fat
  • Mature appearance
  • Upright posture
  • Medium bone structure
  • Large head with broad shoulders and narrow waist (v-shaped)
  • Long torso
  • Muscular limbs

Diet:

  • Create caloric surplus/deficit depending on workout goal
  • Daily protein intake of 0.8 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight
  • Keep fat intake low and cut down on fatty meat
  • Avoid eating late at night (suppers, etc)
  • Avoid soft drinks and alcohol

Workout Frequency/ Split:

  • Train each muscle group twice per week
  • For beginners, train three times per week

Workout Intensity:

  • 6-8 reps / 9-12 reps per set
  • Aim to lift heavier weights progressively every week
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Workout Volume

  • Bigger muscle groups: 30-60 reps per workout session
  • Smaller muscle groups: 20-30 reps per workout session
  • If performing 6-8 reps: 3-4 sets
  • If performing 9-12 reps: 2-3 sets

Cardio

  • Perform medium-intensity cardio (running, swimming, etc) 2/3 times a week to keep fat-burning channels active (mesomorphs can gain fat too if you do not have a proper diet/workout!)

Conclusion

Now that you know which body type you are, you can optimize your diet and workout to fit your body type.

Ectomorphs and endomorphs are not naturally muscular and well-built like mesomorphs. However, you can train hard to look as close as possible to a mesomorph. Do not feel upset that you have to work so hard; just focus to reach your maximumgenetic potential and you will still look great!

On the other hand, mesomorphs are lucky because they can gain muscle/ lose fat easily. However, if you are a mesomorph, you should still watch your diet and exercise regularly to keep in shape. I know of many mesomorphs who are underweight or overweight due to a lack of discipline. I’m sure you know of several examples yourself!

No matter what your body type, you CAN build a ripped muscular body if you believe in yourself!