Male Body Types: How to Build Muscle, Eat, and Supplement

There are three main male body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.

Knowing your body type will help you tailor your workout routine and nutrition regimen to build your physique in the best way possible.

The body type or somatotype theory was developed by Dr. William Sheldon in the 1940s. 

The three main categories are based on the body’s natural tendency to gain weight, be muscular, or stay skinny.

Since it is just a theory, it cannot depict each body type precisely. In fact, most of us might belong to more than one category or be in between.

Different body types have different needs. I’ll show you what the different body types are and how you can use it to your advantage.

But first: Do you know what your body type is? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

  • What Are the Main Male Body Types
  • How to Identify What Is Your Body Type
  • Endomorph
  • Mesomorph
  • Ectomorph
  • Can You Change Your Body Type

What Are the Main Male Body Types

Endomorphs

Endomorphs usually have a soft and round build and have a larger waist size. They tend to have a larger frame, too.

They can easily gain muscles, but most of their mass is often fat. They have to be strict with their diet because of this.

Endomorphs would have to put a little more effort on their training and nutrition because out of the three body types, they have the hardest time to lose weight — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!

Mesomorphs

That jacked guy with a lean body you follow on Instagram? He’s probably a mesomorph.

Mesomorphs are often touted as men’s body goals In the bodybuilding circle, mesomorph men are called “genetically gifted” because they naturally have a good foundation in terms of strength and body composition. 

Mesomorphs have a muscular and athletic build with a medium-sized frame. 

They are naturally lean and muscular, and they gain weight, especially muscle mass, easily. So, it is easier for them to get and stay jacked.

Despite these advantages, mesomorphs aren’t off the hook when it comes to training and nutrition if they want to maintain physique.

Ectomorphs

People under this type have a tall, skinny, and lanky build. They are super lean yet lack muscle mass, so they look bony.

Most ectomorphs struggle to gain weight because of their fast metabolism. They rarely get fat no matter how much they eat or how poor the quality of food is (high-fat, high-sugar).

Out of all the body types, they have the hardest time putting on muscles. But with proper nutrition and a good training program, ectomorph men can achieve their dream physique.

How to Identify What Is Your Body Type

Now that I’ve covered the 3 different body types, do you have an idea which category you belong to?

Let’s see what your body type is and how you should plan your program.

QUIZ

Identify which body type your physique most aligns to, then, read on to know what changes you need to make to your diet and training style.

Knowing what variables to focus on will let you tailor your fitness program and put you on the best path for building your best physique.

Endomorph

Traits

  • Soft and round physique
  • Gain muscle and fat very easily
  • Have a short stocky build
  • Have a hard time losing fat
  • Poorly defined muscles
  • Slow metabolism

How to Train

Endomorph men are often challenged with their metabolism. They seem to have a harder time utilizing nutrients and calories to put them at an optimal body composition aka muscle-to-fat ratio.

Both anaerobic and aerobic training will help endomorphs increase their metabolism and, hence, boost their daily caloric expenditure. 

Simply put, endomorphs need to lift weights and do cardio.

There is no body-type specific way to lift weights. 

The important thing is you follow established muscle-building principles. If you’re looking for a beginner workout plan to help you bulk up, then the How to Bulk Up Fast for Skinny Guys (The Beginner’s Guide) is for you.

Another thing that will greatly help endomorphs is to increase their non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT. 

This involves all the daily activities you do besides exercise.

NEAT plays a huge role for folks under this body type. 

What they need most is a significant increase in the calories they burn throughout the day to help them achieve lower body fat and more muscle.

If you are an endo, better take the stairs instead of the elevator for a two-floor ascentYou can also go for a 15-minute walk during lunch breaks.

Little changes in your habits such as these will do wonders for your metabolism.

Always add cardio in your workout — and I mean a lot. 

Resistance training burns a minimal almost negligible amount of calories to boost fat loss. Cardio, on the other hand, burns more calories during a workout.

If you’re not a fan of long-distance running, you can opt for hill sprints or interval running to make it more exciting. 

Other cardio activities you can go for are boxing, rope-skipping, and cycling.

But, why are we talking about fat loss when you want to get the scoop on building muscle?

Here’s why it matters. 

First, it’s harder to see your muscles when they’re covered by fat. You’ll have poor to no muscle definition and a harder time to track progress.

More importantly, the leaner you are, the easier it is to build muscle.

A study shows that lean people gain 30-40% more lean tissue (or muscle) than those with a stocky body type. [1]

So, for endomorphs, your exercise plan must include both weightlifting and cardio. Lifting weights builds muscle, while doing cardio helps you burn more fat. 

Diet and Supplement

Since endos have a slower metabolism and a surplus of stored energy — which is a fancy way of saying fat — your diet should be focused on maximizing fat loss and muscle gain at the same time.

Hence, your focus would be on body recomposition. This is the process of building muscle and losing fat at the same time.

Sounds difficult? Not really. Here’s how you can do it.

Let’s start with where your calories should be.

You need a calorie surplus to build muscles. On the other hand, burning fat requires a calorie deficit.

How do you combine these two principles then?

Since you are an endomorph, you already have stored energy through fat. This will provide you the calories you need to build muscle. Hence, no need to overeat for a caloric surplus

In doing so, you are already getting rid of the unwanted fat stores. So, there will also be no need to go into a caloric deficit.

For starters, simply maintain your TDEE or baseline caloric intake. You can use a daily caloric intake calculator for this or multiply your body weight in pounds by 13 to get a good estimate.

Maintain that amount of calories for a month and adjust accordingly.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s focus on macronutrient intake.

Your diet should be high in protein, ranging from 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. 

Going on a high protein diet helps you build and preserve muscle mass as well as boost metabolism and fat loss. [2][3]

After adding the right amount of protein in your diet, the remaining number of calories can come from fat and carbs in whatever amount you want.

You can opt for a high-fat “keto” diet or a high-carb diet if you train at high intensities. Regardless of the blend of carbs and fats, what matters is that you count your calories.

Endomorphs are already genetically inclined to put on weight at a faster rate. “Eyeballing” your food portions won’t help you much.

As far as supplementation is concerned, I suggest using a pure protein powder to meet your daily protein needs. Eating chicken breast and eggs day in and day out isn’t fun, especially for endomorphs who will benefit from a higher-than-usual protein intake.

To help you remain anti-catabolic, choose a casein protein powder and add in BCAAs so you have a constant supply of amino acids. These will help prevent your body from using your hard-earned muscle for energy.

TLDR:

  • Besides resistance training, add cardio to your training regimen. Also, try as best as you can to increase NEAT. All these maximize the calories you burn to help you achieve better body composition.
  • Count your calories. Consume a high-protein diet, and get plenty of micronutrients as well.

Mesomorphs

Traits

  • Athletic and jacked
  • Good muscle definition
  • Rectangular shaped body
  • Strong
  • Gains muscle and fat easier
  • Fast fat metabolism

How to Train

Mesomorphs build muscle and burn fat easier than the two other body types. They have very efficient metabolisms that allow them to store minimal fat and possess highly functional, if not athletic, muscle mass.

Thus, they have a very strong foundation for muscle-building, or just about any fitness goal they set their eyes on. 

True mesomorphs are genetic outliers, the exception to the rule. Just take a look at Ronnie Coleman who was ripped and muscular from day 1. He even claimed in an interview that he was only eating pizzas before winning his pro show.

Training-wise, mesomorphs don’t really need additional intervention to help build muscle better.

The important thing is that they follow tried and tested training principles and do them consistently.

If you are a mesomorph, you will still have a ripped body even if you slack off in training. But don’t expect to see significant changes in your physique.

Muscle growth requires adequate stimulus, and ditching the gym won’t let you create enough stimulus to get the best body physique you can have.

Diet and Supplement

Like with all body types, your daily protein intake should be at 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to build muscles.

Needless to say, you should go on a caloric surplus to build more muscle. Adding 300-500 calories is all that you need to build more lean tissue.

Even if you appear healthy from the outside, that doesn’t mean you should forget about your overall health. That’s why I’d recommend doing a clean bulk.

Consume your calories from high-quality food sources. Plus, do not be so focused on the macronutrients, that you forget the equally important vitamins and minerals.

After computing your correct calorie and protein intake, you can consume the rest of your calories from your desired blend of carbs and fats.

Since you have a fairly high metabolism, your body might try to burn your muscles for energy. t I suggest using BCAAs pre-workout for their anti-catabolic effects.

You can also drink a high-carbohydrate mass gainer to further prevent muscle metabolism.

Carbs have a protein-sparing effect wherein your body uses the glycogen from carbs as an energy source instead of breaking down muscles.

You could use a protein supplement after your workout to immediately kickstart recovery.

Since you are relatively lean, your body might burn your muscle for recovery — and you wouldn’t want that to happen. So, BCAAs and protein powder will help avoid that.

TLDR:

  • There’s really no need to incorporate cardio into your training regimen as your body is already metabolically efficient. For cardiovascular health reasons, keep it to a minimum:twice a week for high-intensity and every other day for low-intensity cardio.
  • Eat a high-protein diet and always have carbs in your meals. Consume lots of carbs before a workout.

Ectomorphs

Traits

  • A small frame and bone structure
  • Flat chest, flat butt
  • Small shoulders, narrow hips
  • Thin, skinny
  • Find it very hard to gain weight
  • A very fast metabolism
  • Little muscle mass

How to Train

Ectomorphs are the complete opposite of endomorphs. They have a very fast metabolism and lanky bone structure, making them appear thin and delicate.

Ectomorph men have a hard time putting on mass. Even when they do, maintaining it is challenging.

So, in training, it would be best for them to incorporate more compound movements.

This helps them produce stimulus in an efficient manner, which is ideal for ectos since they’re often low on energy. Thus, the quicker they can finish a workout, the better.

Compound movements also help increase the amount of muscle-building hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF-1 in the bloodstream. And, ectos need as many of these anabolic compounds as they can.

I advise ectomorphs to avoid cardiovascular training. For health reasons, keep it to a maximum of twice a week. Long cardio sessions are no good for your muscle gain efforts.

Opt for high-intensity interval training instead. This pumps the heart and pushes the lungs to their limits while stimulating your muscles at the same time.

Hill sprints, rowing, and medicine ball throws are great examples of HIIT.

Diet and Supplement

Ectomorphs burn calories easily, so your caloric intake will be the biggest factor for your mass gain.

People of this body type also tend to not eat as much. More so, they don’t eat as much as they think they are.

Cue the “But I eat everything I can and I’m always full. I just can’t seem to gain any weight”. Time to wipe that smirk and Cheeto dust off your face. It’s time for you to know what eat-for-function is.

If you want to gain muscle, you have to be prepared to eat like you never have before..

Yes, you do need to overeat to some point. This is because you should be getting most of your calories from real food — rice, potatoes, chicken breast, steaks, eggs, and all food that you need to farm, kill/harvest, and cook.

Again, calculate your daily caloric intake. Go on the higher end of the optimal additional calorie range and shoot for an extra 500 daily.

You can use fat sources that have more than double the calories of protein or fat to help you get your calories in. Go for healthy options like olive oil, high-fat fish, and avocados.

Also, I strongly recommend using mass gainers for ectomorphs.

Choose quality and “clean” gainers, not the ones chock full of sugars and fillers.

To bump the calories up, add chia seeds or Flaxseed to your mass-building drink if you want.

Divide your meals evenly throughout the day. Three hours between is most ideal. This allows your body to have a continuous supply of nutrients and puts you in a continuously anabolic state. That’ll ensure you maximize your growth potential.

And don’t forget about protein, the most important macro! Even if you have to skip a meal because you’re busy, make sure you have your protein powder handy. Better yet, use a mass gainer for added carbohydrates.

Having a constant stream of amino acids makes sure muscle protein synthesis is maximized; hence, you’ll be in a constant state of recovery and muscle growth. 

TLDR:

  • Maximize muscle gain by using compound lifts in your training regimen. This helps you target muscle groups in a more efficient and energy-saving manner. 
  • As an ecto, you need all the extra calories you can get. Make sure you are always in a positive energy balance aka a caloric surplus. For your body type, it is better to go overboard with the calories than under.

Can you change your body type?

It depends. The body type you were born with has its genetic predispositions that you cannot change.

How easy you store fat, how hard it is for you to gain mass, or how easy it is for you to gain muscle are all genetically predetermined.

However, if we are talking about the “look” that is commonly associated with each body type, then you can change your body type.

Let’s be real here: We all want to have a mesomorphic body type — muscular and lean. Otherwise, you would not have bothered reading this blog post.

Endomorphs and ectomorphs can look like mesomorphs. But, if you fall under those two body types, you’ll have to work hard.

And that’s what this fitness journey is about; working harder and being better than yesterday. 

You might not know it yet, but the reason you continue on this path is not because of the end result, but because you love the journey.

Follow the training and nutrition guides above. With consistency and determination, you, too, can be swole and sexy in no time! 😉

FAQs

Do some body types build muscle faster?

Yes, mesomorphic individuals build muscle faster than endomorphs and ectomorphs.

What body type is skinny fat?

Generally, skinny fat individuals fall under the ectomorph body type. They tend to store surplus energy because of their inefficient metabolism.

What is the most athletic body type?

Mesomorphs have the most athletic body type. They have a low body-fat percentage and already have a good foundation of muscle before they even touch a dumbbell.

Can you change your body type?

If we are talking about how your body looks, then yes, you can. If we are talking about metabolic efficiency, then unfortunately you cannot.

Imad Deryan

My name is Imad, and I struggled to gain mass in the past due to my metabolism and being very skinny. In this blog, I share the best reviews and advice when it comes to gaining weight and mass, for all the people that are struggling like I was.

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