Muscle Building Body Types – Which type are you?

Muscle Building Body Types

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Are you overwhelmed by the number of different training programs, bodybuilding supplements, nutrition plans and additional advice that is out there?

Have you tried and failed to gain any muscle whatsoever after trying these plans? Do you feel that some of the advice is actually ‘dead rubber’ and a waste of time? Well, you are not alone on these training/nutrition issues but don’t throw the towel in, as we may have the missing links for you.

The missing key piece of the jigsaw to you gaining some serious muscle is that you are training, eating and supplementing for the wrong body type. Yes that is right – knowing your body type is absolutely vital for you to have any success in the gym.

Now let’s explain how your body type plays a vital role in the process of packing on some serious muscle mass.

What are the 3 main body types?

The three main basic body types or somatotypes were introduced by William Sheldon in the 1940’s. These are as follows:

  • Ectomorph
  • Mesomorph
  • Endomorph

Not every human being fits exactly into one of these categories and they will have some characteristics of each of the body shapes. However there will be a category that everybody has predominately more characteristics related to them than the others.

So you do want to know what the three body shapes really are and which one applies to you? The next step is to explain in detail each somatotype along with its own strengths and weaknesses.

It is then up to you to use this ‘pocket coach style’ information and apply it to your training regime.

The Ectomorph Body Type

Ectomorphs are typically skinny guys and ‘hard gainers’ in terms of building muscle. They have a light frame with long limbs, small joints and ‘stringy’ muscles.

They also have the following characteristics:

  • Narrow shoulders and hips with thin arms and legs
  • A high forehead with a receding chin
  • A flat chest
  • A low % body fat along with a low lean muscle mass
  • They find it difficult to put on bodyweight and muscle
  • They have a very fast metabolism

Training advice for ectomorphs

  • Use a split training model and target 1-2 body parts each session
  • Train each body part once per week
  • Use heavy compound movements such as deadlifts, presses and squats etc.
  • Work at an intensity of around 85% 1RM
  • Avoid isolated exercise such as curls, flies and extensions etc.
  • Use a rep range of 6-8 and focus on 6-8 sets per muscle group
  • Have at least 3 minutes rest after each set
  • Ensure that you have at 2 proper rest days per week
  • Keep cardio to minimum and use brisk walking intensity for a maximum of 20 minutes-twice a week

Nutritional advice for ectomorphs

  • Eat 6-8 small meals per day and eat every 2 hours if possible
  • Boost your protein intake to 1.2-1.5g per pound of bodyweight
  • In terms of the macros ratios consumed 30% should be from protein, 20% from healthy fats and 30% from carbs
  • In terms of proteins eat foods such as lean grass fed beef and oily fish.
  • Have a casein protein shake 45 minutes before you go to bed and whey protein 45 minutes before you wake up- as this will stop your muscles from cannibalizing itself
  • Increase the amount of slower burning carbs such as brown rice, rolled oats and whole grain foods
  • Don’t fill your stomach with low dense calorie foods as salad but concentrate on eating higher calorie foods that you won’t feel full on when training

The Mesomorph

A mesomorph has a large bone structure, a high muscle mass and a naturally athletic looking physique.

This body type is regarded as ‘genetically gifted’ and it is undoubtedly the best physique for packing on some serious body mass. They find it very easy to put on and/or lose body weight and they share the following characteristics:

  • Triangular shaped torso with wide shoulders and narrow hips
  • They have a high lean body mass with a low % fat mass
  • They are muscular with a square jaw line
  • They have well defined muscles
  • They are strong and gain muscle a lot quicker than ectomorphs
  • They gain fat quicker than ectomorphs

Training advice for mesomorphs

  • Use a combination of heavy compound exercises and isolated exercises
  • Use the heavy weight compound movements before the isolated movements in your regime
  • Use a large variety of training models e.g. split training, pyramid training etc. to stimulate muscle growth
  • Vary the training intensities of the exercise, sets, rep tempos, weights used and rest intervals
  • Mix up your light, moderate and heavy training days
  • Ensure that you have adequate rest days and if you feel that the muscle group trained is not fully recovered then don’t train it. This strategy can help to prevent overtraining
  • Mix in 2-3 cardio HIIT sessions per week as this will keep you lean and shredded

Nutritional advice for mesomorphs

  • Keep your protein intake to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight
  • Eat protein in the form of lean red and white meats along with oily fish
  • 15% of your marcos should be derived from healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil
  • 60% of your macros should come from carbs such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole grains
  • Supplement with both whey and casein proteins to aid muscle growth and recovery


The endomorph’s body shape is the total opposite to ectomorph’s physique. They typically have a round appearance with a high % body fat and a low muscle mass.

Many have tried diets and training plans with limited success and they have the following characteristics:

  • Pear shaped with wide hips and shoulders combined with a round face
  • A higher % body fat combined with a lower lean body mass
  • Poor muscle definition due to high levels of adipose tissue
  • Often fatigue easily
  • They have an insatiable appetite and tend to over eat
  • They find it difficult to lose the body weight

Training advice for endomorphs

  • Perform a higher frequency of work outs per week along with some aerobic conditioning
  • Try to use whole body work outs to recruit more muscle fibres and this strategy will boost your metabolism
  • In terms of resistance training use a higher range of between10-15, with a moderate weight and minimal rest in between sets
  • Try to use 8 sets per body part and try to leave 48 hours between training each body part
  • Use low impact equipment such as the stair climber or exercise bike at a high intensity at least 3 times per week

Nutritional advice for endomorphs

  • Keep fat intake low
  • Reduce the total number of calories to around 1600 per day
  • Increase your protein intake to around 30% and eat foods such as lean white meats and fish
  • Eat smaller and more frequent meals as this stop the dips in your blood sugars
  • Don’t eat late at night
  • Eliminate processed and sugary junks
  • Add some colour to your plate and include salads and green vegetables
  • Cut out the soft fizzy drinks and alcohol

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Hi, my name is Jonathan, a fitness blogger and bodybuilding enthusiast and I am the founder of Skinny2Fit. I want to provide you with easy access to good advice that is both simple and to the point. Helping you gain muscle mass and strength!


  1. awesome advice, any for you guys into the whole bulking and cutting let me say that I think there’s a huge misconception with the whole bulking and cutting stuff, I know these two are totally different things. I say for losing fat you have to decrease your calorie intake while for building muscles you have to increase it. The trick is to manipulate your nutrition so that you can put on muscular mass and burn fat at the same time. This is no easy task. You have to be very particular about your calories and macro nutrients.

    It’s the most important thing while one is trying to lose weight and gain muscles. Protein not only build muscles but also helps in fat loss.

    A person who is doing intense workout needs at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. While trying to lose fat and build muscles, one should aim a little higher, like 1.25 or 1.5 grams per pound of body weight.

    Next important macro nutrient is fat. Fat is necessary to your body. Your body needs some fat to function properly. Moreover, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. You become fat when you burn less calories than you consume.
    When taken in moderation, fat won’t cause any damage. Remember to completely avoid trans-fat. Eat only healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Fat intake should be somewhat about 0.25 grams per pound of body weight.

    This can be a tricky part. While protein and fats intake remain almost same every time. Carbs have to be manipulated in such a way as to trick the body into delving into its fat stores for fuel. This is done by performing carbs cycle. With carbs and calories cycling up and down, our body enters short periods of caloric deficit in which fat is burned to provide energy. Carbohydrate intake will be as small as 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight for low days, 1.5 grams per pound on medium days and 2 grams per pound on high days. However, on low carbohydrate days it would be wise to increase fat intake slightly. This is necessary to ensure your hormone levels stay steady and you have enough energy for your workouts.

    You should workout 5 or 6 days a week. The training sessions should consist of heavy compound movements, like dead lifts and bench press. HIIT must be included in your workout. It’s because it does not kill your hard earned muscles, moreover it is very effective for burning body fat. If you are also trying to lose fat, doing cardio empty stomach early morning is considered good, as your body is in fat burning mode at that time.


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