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Knowing Your Body Type

September 1, 2012 –

Body Type is an important piece of information to know about yourself. And it isn’t so that you let it define you. Rather it is so you know what your natural strengths and weaknesses are. It may answer other questions for you as well?

  1. Why is it so hard for me to lose weight?
  2. Why is it so hard for me to gain weight?
  3. Why do I have to watch what I eat some carefully, but it doesn’t matter for  him/her?
  4. What is it so hard for me to gain muscle mass?
  5. Why is it so hard for me to get flat abs?

So what is your body type? There is a 12 question test on that will tell you. (Just Click HERE for the tes.) However, if you read the descriptions and traits of the 3 Main Body Types below, you can probably figure it out on your own.

Here is a man and woman visual of the “natural” state of your body type. So if you want to change your body, know that it wants to constantly go back to its “natural” state. This will help you know where to focus on achieving your fitness goals.


An ectomorph is typically skinny with narrow shoulders. Ectos’ have a lighter build with long thin limbs and stringy muscles. What are some typical traits of an Ecto?

  • Small “delicate” frame and bone structure
  • Classic “hardgainer”
  • Flat chest
  • Small shoulders
  • Thin
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Finds it hard to gain weight
  • Fast metabolism

Ecto’s have  metabolism in overdrive and hence find it very hard to gain weight. In order to gain weight, they need to consume a significant calorie surplus. Supplements are highly recommended for this body type. Ecto’s can lose fat very easily so cutting back to lean muscle is easy.

Believe it or not Tony Horton has said he is an Ectomorph. He is a pretty big dude! Are there any pure body builders who are Ectos? To the right is a picture of Frank Zane. He is an Ectomorph as well.

Not surprisingly, I am a classic Ectomorph. And knowing this and realizing that I am a hard gainer lead me to a different strategy for Body Beast, which is a mass building program. Under the calorie calculations in the nutritional guide that came with the program, I was at what I would call my “maintenance”t. So I cranked it up….alot. Like an additional 1,000 calories alot.

If I was an Endomorph, in my before picture, I probably would have been 250+lbs. My hyper metabolism saved me from ballooning up and I only topped out at 200 lbs.

On the flip side, if you are an Ecto and your goal is to gain muscle mass, it is going to be much harder for you than the other body types. Your results are going to lie in your nutrition. You have to eat….ALOT. But good calories. If you want to see my diet on Body Beast, check out my post HERE.


A mesomorph has a large bone structure with large muscle. These are the kind of people who were just born with an athletic physique. This body type is the best for body building because they can lose and gain weight fairly easily. What are some traits of a Meso?

  • Athletic
  • Hard body with well defined muscles
  • Rectangular shaped body
  • Strong
  • Gains muscle easily
  • Gains fat more easily than ectomorphs
Since they can gain and lose weight fairly easily, they can see the biggest changes in the smallest amount of time. A combination of strength training and cardio is a perfect combination for them (Can anyone say P90X?)
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Mesomorph. Not surprising given he is the most famous body builder of all time!


An endomorph is solid and typically soft. Endo’s can gain fat very easily. They are typically shorter with thick arms and legs. Endo’s typically have very strong upper legs. What are some traits of an Endo?

  • Soft and round body
  • Gains muscle and fat very easily
  • Is generally short and “stocky”
  • Round physique
  • Finds it hard to lose fat
  • Slow metabolism

Endo’s find it very easy to gain weight, but unfortunately, it is not all muscle. Hence, Endo’s find that they need to have a strong cardio routine to keep their body fat down. Supplements are less of a requirement, assuming they are getting enough protein in their diet.

Jay Cutler (the body builder, not the Bears quarterback) is an Endomorph. You can actually see the difference between his picture and Arnold’s above.

Hybrid Body Type

Many people have a combination of body types. Naturally, it is usually Ecto / Meso or Meso / Endo. But after looking at the traits above, you should know which side describes you best.

Knowledge is Power

Knowing your Body Type gives you the knowledge to know what your strengths and weaknesses are on meeting your health and fitness goals. If you are so frustrated that your friends seem to lose weight so easy or they can eat like crap and not gain weight, there is a good chance you are a different body type. (And just as an aside, just because you don’t gain weight from eating like crap, doesn’t mean it is not effecting your overall health!)

And if you are frustrated that you can’t seem to gain muscle like your friends, chances are you are a different body type.

So now that you know that, adjust your plan accordingly! I have a fellow coach who says, “My body hates carbs”. He can tell almost instantly when he goes over his calorie limit or he isn’t at the right macros. But the guy has an upper body like the hulk. Conversely, I can eat 4,000 calories and just start eeking up on the scale. But it is so hard for me to be able to make visible changes to my physique.

But here is the most important point! Whatever your body type is, be proud of it! We are all different and we all have things that come easy to us and things that are more challenging. EMBRACE IT! For this is your story! This is your Life Balance Journey. Be thankful for what you have, not what you don’t have.  God made only one YOU and He is so proud!

I appreciate all your comments. The dialogue is why I write. So please leave a message below!

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