Body Types: Ecto, Endo, Meso

Written on 03/15/2020
Jamie Gilliam

Do you ever look around and notice different body types?  I am sure you do.  Tall, thin bodies?  Short and stalky bodies?  Medium height, medium-build bodies? While you can accomplish alot with your fitness goals and design a phsyique you desire, growing taller or shrinking your height is never an option. Increasing your shoe size or decreasing the width of your pelvis is also not an option. Some of us will never be a size 2, others are naturally a size 0. But, knowing your body type can allow you to train smart for the body you want and also help you feel your best with your nutritional choices. 

Body types have been cateregorized into three main categories. With that said, very rarely do each of us fall perfectly into one of these categories. We are often a mix. Also, years of training and good nutrition can change the outward appearance of your body. For instance, a bodybuilder might be labeled a “natural” mesomorph when really they are an endomorph who’s trained and dieted hard; or an ectomorph who has focused on specific nutrition and training to build muscle mass. An ectomorph who’s gained weight around the middle from a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition might assume they’re more endomorphic. But we all have a baseline body type we can appreciate and work with vs. against. 

Ectomorphs are thin people usually with smaller bone structures and thinner limbs. Think of a typical endurance athlete. For you nerds, this means that they tend to be thyroid and SNS dominant with either a higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines like epinephrine and norepinephrine. This is linked to a fast metabolic rate and a high carb tolerance. Ecto's can still become overweight, but often ecto's are skinny-fat (if you've ever heard this term).  Or...after pregnancy or with aging, as hormones fluctuate, ecto's can see a significant increase in bodyfat pretty rapidly with certain life events. 

These people generally do best with more carbohydrates in the diet, a moderate protein, and lower fat. A nutrient breakdown for this body type might be around 55% carbs, 25% protein, and 20% fat. (Or instead of overthinking it, just think “higher carbs and lower fat.”)

Mesomorphs have a medium sized bone structure and athletic body, and if they’re active, they usually have a lot of lean mass. Many explosive athletes like wrestlers and gymnasts fit the bill. Mesomorphs tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant. This leads to the ability to gain muscle easily and maintain a lower body fat percentage. Mesomorphs typically do best on a diet consisting of balanced carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A macro split of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat usually works well.

Endomorphs have a larger bone structure with a higher total body mass and fat mass. Think football lineman or powerlifter. They tend to be naturally less active. Usually excess calories are stored as fat. This leads to energy storage, including both lean mass and fat mass. But for the average person reading this, if this is you, it can mean a lower carbohydrate tolerance.

Endomorphs typically do best on a higher protein and moderate fat diet. Carbohydrates need to be controlled and properly timed. A macro breakdown for this body type might be around 25% carbs, 45% protein, and 30% fat. Again, don’t get caught up in the numbers. Just think higher protein and fat, lower carbs.

IN GENERAL, Don't Get Caught Up In This. 

Start with trying to eat as many whole, real,minimally processed, nutrient dense foods as possible. But if you are looking to get more honed in with your nutrition, then identifying your body type and eating accordingly might be a smart place to begin.

Just remember that no changes happen overnight! Set up a plan, stick to it, measure results, and make decisions based on the outcome. If you are training with me, I've already evaluated your body type and nutritonal/training needs. :)