Everyone’s body is different.
And that probably goes without saying, right?
I mean, some of us are taller, some of us are shorter.
Some us have of a small frame, whereas others seem to be bigger boned.
But what you may not know is that there are actually 3 distinctive body type classifications, also known as “Somatotypes”.
It can be useful to know your specific somatotype, since it can help you tailor your fat loss or muscle building approach accordingly.
This article will help you better understand these 3 main body types, and allow you to see where you best fit in.
An Overview Of The 3 Different Body Types
As I mentioned before, there are 3 specific body types that pretty much all guys fit into.
These 3 classifications are Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph.
Take a look at this diagram to see what each one looks like:
As you can see, each of these 3 body types is quite visually distinctive.
Ectomorph body types are thinner, smaller-boned, with naturally lower amounts of both body fat and muscle mass.
In contrast, Mesomorph body types are more traditionally ‘athletic’ looking, naturally having more muscle mass and moderate levels of body fat.
Finally, the Endomorph body type is rounder, and softer, naturally having higher levels of body fat.
Can you pick out your body type from the list?
If not, no worries – we’re about to take a closer look at the specific characteristics of each body type, so that you can accurately place which one you are.
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The Ectomorph Body TypeClassically known as ‘hard-gainers’ in fitness parlance, Ectomorphs don’t have to worry as much about getting fat, but often struggle with putting on muscle mass.
Here are the common characteristics of Ectomorphs – the more of these that sound like you, the more likely it is that you fit into this body type classification:
- Your shoulders are narrower than your hips
- Fitted jeans generally feel loose around your butt
- Your forearms are on the smallish side
- Your body tends to stay skinny by default
- Your body looks long and narrow
- If you grip your wrist between your thumb and middle finger, the 2 fingers overlap
- You have trouble gaining weight – both in terms of muscle and fat
- The circumference of your chest is 37 inches or less
If you are an Endomorph, you are likely going to have to eat more calories than either of the other 2 body types if you want to consistently put on muscle.
You should focus primarily on heavy weight lifting, and keep cardio to a bare minimum – especially if you are having trouble gaining muscle.
The Mesomorph Body Type
Mesomorphs are typically thought of as the luckiest of these 3 body types – given their ability to build muscle without putting on too much excess fat.
Let’s take a look at how you can determine if you fit into this body type:
- Your shoulders are roughly the same width as your hips
- Fitted jeans generally feel snug, but not too tight, around your butt
- Your forearms are moderately thick
- Your body tends to stay lean, yet somewhat muscular, by default
- Your body looks rugged and squarish in shape
- If you grip your wrist between your thumb and middle finger, the 2 fingers just barely touch
- You can gain or lose weight without too many issues
- The circumference of your chest is between 37-44 inches
If you are a Mesomorph, you are likely going to find it easier to maintain a lean, muscular body than the other 2 types.
In terms of your training, you should focus on a well-constructed strength training program, along with moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise.
Diet-wise, you likely won’t have to eat too much extra food to gain muscle mass, although you’ll still need to be maintaining an adequate caloric surplus.
However, it is important not to be complacent.
You can still gain fat slowly, but steadily, over the years if you’re not careful!
The Endomorph Body Type
Finally, we come to the Endomorph…
This is the body type that traditionally has the most difficult time losing weight – although they can often put on a decent amount of muscle mass reasonably easily.
Here are some of the traits that are likely to indicate that you’re an Endomorph:
- Your shoulders are wider than your hips
- Fitted jeans generally feel tight around your butt
- Your forearms are on the thicker side
- Your body tends to carry extra fat by default
- Your body looks round and soft
- If you grip your wrist between your thumb and middle finger, the 2 fingers don’t touch
- You can gain weight fairly easily, but find it quite difficult to lose
- The circumference of your chest is over 44 inches
If you fit several of these characteristics, you may indeed be an Endomorph!
This means that your biggest concern will be adopting a lifestyle where you don’t put on excess fat – and, if you’re currently holding onto a few extra pounds, adopting a workout and diet program that will help you lose it.
This will involve adopting a diet where you can eat at the appropriate caloric deficit, until you are able to get to a weight that you’re happy with.
And as with the other 2 body types, I would recommend an effective strength training program, that will help you improve your muscle-to-fat ratio.
You will also likely want to add cardio into your routine, to help you burn additional calories. Specifically, I would recommend a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Is That It?
If you’ve read though this list, you might be feeling slightly discouraged right about now…
I mean, based on these body types, there does indeed seem to be a substantial genetic component to your ability to lose fat and build muscle.
And the reality is that you can’t change the hand that you’ve been dealt, in terms of your actual body type.
However, this is by no means something that can – or should – limit the goals that you have for yourself.
I’ll say this very clearly:
Regardless of your body type, if you follow the right workout and diet protocol you will be able to build muscle and lose fat.
Yes, you may need to tailor your lifestyle to your genetics, but if you do this you can build a body that you’re happy with.
I can promise you that much.
Also, don’t worry if you share characteristics from several of the body types listed above.
People come in all different shapes and sizes, and will often have characteristics from 2 different body types.
So you might be a mix of Ectomorph and Mesomorph.
Or perhaps you have both Mesomorph and Endomorph traits.
The point is not to get too focused on the labels.
Instead, use these body types as a rough guideline for how you should approach your workouts and diet – but always remember that you’ll need to adjust based on how things are specifically progressing for you.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an Ectomorph, Mesomorph, or Endomorph? Let us know in the comments.