Endomorph man working out

Training for Your Body Type: What Should You Do?

10 min read

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07 Mar 2024


Hack Beast Mode

  1. What are the three body types?
  2. Training for your somatotype
  3. Nutrition recommendations for your somatotype
  4. Supplementing your workout routine

They say the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen—and that’s true. But there are good workouts. And there are great workouts.

Yes, doing something is better than doing nothing, but your best results happen when you train in the most epic way possible—and part of that involves training specifically for your body type (aka your somatotype).

This might not be something you’ve really considered before, but it’s an important aspect of a good workout program.

Whether you’re looking to bulk, cut, or maintain your current physique, taking your body type into account will make things far easier for you to achieve your fitness goals.

Some people are prone to putting on excess weight easily (whether that be as fat or muscle), others find it incredibly difficult to make any gains at all, and some are right in the middle.

So, let’s look at the three main human body types, how they can impact your results, and how to tweak your diet and exercise program to…you.

What are the three body types?

Different body types

The main principles for muscle growth, fat loss, and muscle maintenance are the same for everyone.

It all boils down to calories consumed versus calories burnt, training hard with heavy weights and cardiovascular exercise as well as the macro and micronutrients you consume.

But we all respond to these things at different rates and in various ways. And it depends on our somatotypes.

As a person’s body type is genetically determined, you’re likely predisposed to a certain way of reacting to exercise and nutrition—but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

When you realize that your body type can impact your workout results, it allows you to work with your body’s natural tendencies, not against them.

So, what are the main body types?

The three main somatotypes are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Let’s take a look at how they are characterized so you can see which one feels most like your own body type.

Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs are generally pretty skinny and find it difficult to accumulate mass, either as more body fat or more muscle. If you’re an ectomorph body type, you’ll likely have…

  • Narrow shoulders and hips
  • Naturally small muscle groups
  • A fast metabolism
  • Low body fat
  • A rectangular frame with long limbs

The important thing to remember here is that a lean and slender build will not necessarily stop you from gaining muscle mass and getting ripped.

It might be harder at first to actually bulk up, but a quick metabolism makes it easier to keep your body fat percentage low for a shredded and leaner physique.

Think Brad Pitt in Fight Club for a good idea of how this can look.

Mesomorphs

Mesomorph working out

People with mesomorphic body types sit somewhere in the middle of ectomorphs and endomorphs. 

They often have pretty darn athletic physiques that lend themselves to gaining and losing weight or muscle relatively quickly. ‘Mesos’ also have…

  • Wide shoulders compared to hips (the tapered V body shape)
  • Athletic musculature and narrow waist
  • An efficient metabolism
  • Low body fat
  • A square-shaped frame

Like the other two body types, this somatotype has its upsides and downsides.

While mesomorphs tend to burn fat and gain muscle definition pretty quickly, they can also put fat on fast if left unchecked.

Chris Hemsworth is a good example of a mesomorph. He doesn’t always have that shredded Thor look, but he’s able to bulk up and get ripped for his movie roles efficiently when needed.

Endomorphs

The final somatotype is the endomorph. People with this body type tend to be fairly broad for their heights, carrying more natural mass than ectomorphs and mesomorphs. Their main characteristics include…

  • Wide shoulders, hips, and midsection
  • High bone density
  • A slower metabolism
  • Higher body fat percentage
  • A stocky or rounder (pear-shaped) frame

Although endomorphs are typically the largest of the three somatotypes and gain weight easily, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re overweight. 

In fact, they can easily add muscle mass (in most cases)—it’s dropping weight that’s the real challenge.

Chris Pratt is a prime example of an endomorph body type. While he originally carried excess body fat during earlier roles, he was able to turn that fat into muscle for his roles in the Marvel films.

Training for your somatotype

People working out

Hopefully, all this has highlighted so far is that no matter what your body type, you can still bulk or cut. You just need to approach training techniques and nutrition in a way that suits your natural disposition. And that’s what we’ll look at now.

Training as an ectomorph

If you’re an ectomorph body type, your fast metabolism means you’ll have more difficulty gaining weight or lean muscle mass than other somatotypes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t.

You just need to base your focus on heavy strength training and muscle hypertrophy training. Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are your bread and butter here. You’re ideally looking at three to five sets of eight to 12 reps for each exercise.

You can then add extra isolation exercises to target specific areas that you want to improve on, like shoulder presses for broader shoulders or bicep curls for more defined arms.

Although ectomorphs are quite well suited to endurance training, you’d be better off cutting down on the cardio workouts if you want to bulk up. 

Long sessions of steady-state cardio aren’t necessary, as you’ll naturally keep fat mass off, and this sort of physical activity will only lead to longer and leaner muscles.

If you do want to maintain some cardiovascular elements but also wish to fill out your muscle mass, then a couple of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions a week will do the trick. In fact, these exercises can build up your fast-twitch muscle fibers for more power and speed.

Training as a mesomorph

If you lean more towards the mesomorph body type, then you’ll probably have a naturally athletic build and ability. So, this makes your ideal fitness program a fairly balanced combination of cardiovascular and strength training.

HIIT is particularly powerful for mesomorphs as it helps maintain muscle mass while burning fat.

Short and intense weight training will also get the job done, as the mesomorphic body composition doesn’t take long to respond to the effects of exercise. So, long hours in the gym aren’t as necessary as it might be for other body types.

Like with ectomorphs, three to five sets in the eight to 12 rep range is ideal, with the addition of regular steady-state cardio or HIIT workouts to round out your gym sessions.

Training as an endomorph

Endomorphs tend to naturally store fat, so they’ll often face challenges when they want to lose weight. 

A combination of cardiovascular exercises and resistance training is crucial if this is your body type and you want to turn fat into muscle.

It’s all about the calorie burn here, so multiple sets with a high rep count (around 12 to 15), along with regular cardio, is the play.

HIIT or Tabata training can also enhance the endomorphic metabolism for increased fat-burning.

Nutrition recommendations for your somatotype

What you eat is just as important as the workouts you do.

If an ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph all ate the same things over a few weeks, they’d all experience completely different results.

So tailoring your diet to suit your body type is just as important as working out for your somatotype. Here’s how you can do just that.

Eating as an ectomorph

As ectomorphs have higher caloric needs, you should focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods. 

Lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats should be staples of your diet so that you can get more calories each day cleanly and healthily.

Eating in a calorie surplus is important if you want to build muscle, especially for a hard-gaining ectomorph.

Top tip: Consuming around 300 to 500 calories more per day than usual will help you tack on mass and bulk up in size.

Whereas general recommendations for protein intake to build muscle are around 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of your body weight, upping that number to 1.8-2.2g per kg of body weight will help to ensure that the weight you put on is muscle mass.

Plenty of carbs is also key—around 50% of your diet should consist of complex carbs like sweet potatoes, oats, whole grains, and starchy vegetables.

If you find yourself struggling to eat enough to hit your daily calorie goals, protein powders or mass gainer powders mixed with whole milk can pump those numbers up without making you feel overly full or bloated.

Eating as a mesomorph

Mesomorph body types have a bit more freedom when it comes to their split of macronutrients.

Aim for a fairly balanced split between carbs, protein, and healthy fats, knowing you are able to be flexible in your approach. 

Try starting out with a 30/40/30 split (with carbs making up the 40%, and protein and fats at 30% each), then monitor your progress and tweak the numbers slightly if necessary.

As with the other somatotypes, it’s lean proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats, and plenty of vegetables all the way.

Portion control is still important, although mesomorphs are able to get away with the odd cheat meal of junk food here and there without hurting your progress too much.

Just don’t take this as an invitation to eat whatever you want all week. Your diet should still be on point 90% of the time.

Eating as an endomorph

Weight management is a big part of an endomorph's eating strategy. People with this body type are usually pretty sensitive and can find it hard to lose weight (and easy to put it on).

Controlling your daily calories is crucial if you are in this bracket. Any sort of calorie surplus is likely to cause quick weight gain. So eating in a caloric deficit is the way to go—especially if you already hold a lot of mass and want to turn the fat into muscle.

The macro split for endomorph body types should be relatively high in fats and protein, but low in carbs. Aim for 35% of your diet to come from lean protein sources, 40% from healthy fats, and just 25% from fibrous carbs.

Time your carb intake around your workouts for the best results (around an hour on either side of your workouts is your window).

Make sure to steer clear of sugar and processed foods and concentrate on eating whole foods that support your resistance training sessions.

Supplementing your workout routine

Man drinking supplement

Each somatotype above has its own special set of physical characteristics and quirks.

Ectomorphs may have trouble gaining muscle, while mesomorphs have an advantage in muscle growth and staying lean. Endomorphs, on the other hand, may find it challenging to lose fat.

But your body type doesn’t have to define you or what you can achieve in the gym. There are plenty of people within each category who have bulked up, trimmed down, and smashed numerous other muscle-building and fitness goals.

It’s all about tailoring your plans and making healthy diet and training decisions to suit your somatotype.

A smart strategy that takes your body type into account is the way to get the most out of your workouts and maximize your fitness results.

Something else that can enhance those results even further is a supplement regime that complements what you’re looking to achieve.

Level up your gains with CrazyBulk…

The supplements in the CrazyBulk range can enhance your progress in the gym, somatotype aside.

If you want to bulk up and pack on some lean yet solid muscle mass, the Bulking Stack has everything you need to do so naturally.

If you’re on a cut, and trimming down so you have less body fat is your target, the Cutting Stack has the supplements to help you shed that fat while retaining muscle.

Or if maintaining your current physique is your aim, try the Ultimate Stack. It has you covered for making strength gains, keeping fat off and muscle on, and aids the recovery process so you’ll be ready to hit the gym again quickly.

Make sure to check out the Product Finder tool as well. It will help you find the perfect supplements to suit your gym routine, based on your individual requirements. You’ve got this.

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