Did you ever notice that some people are just naturally skinny, naturally fat or naturally lean and muscular? It’s not your imagination. There are definitely different body types and genetics out there and they definitely play a role in how our bodies look.
More importantly, these different body types play a role in how easy or hard it is to change how our bodies look. Think about it…
Some people (ectomorphs) seem to eat whatever they want and never gain weight. Some people (endomorphs) seem to get fat no matter how much they workout or how little they eat. Some people (mesomorphs) look like they workout, even when they don’t.
This is all very real, and these genetic factors are something we all have to live with whether we like it or not. Fortunately though, we aren’t stuck being what our natural body types make us out to be. We can ALL improve the way we want as long as we do what we need to do.
So, let’s start with the basics. There are 3 different body types…
Figuring out which category you fit into will help you understand why certain aspects of your diet and workout are harder and slower (or easier and quicker) for you than they are for other people. And from there, you’ll be able to figure out how to adjust your diet and workout to fix it.
What Is An Ectomorph?
Let’s start with the body type I personally know the most about… ectomorphs. As a guy who started working out at 5’11 120lbs, this is definitely the category that I fit into.
Ectomorphs are the naturally skinny body type. These are the men and women who were likely skinny their entire lives without actually having to put much (if any) effort into their diet or workout. These are the people who seem to be able to eat as much as they want and never gain weight.
This isn’t true of course (anyone who eats too much will always gain weight), it’s just the genetics of an ectomorph make it a whole lot harder to reach that point for weight gain to occur, especially when compared to the other different body types.
Common Genetic Traits of Ectomorphs:
- Lightning fast metabolism.
- Tiny bone structure (skinny wrists, skinny ankles, etc.).
- Sometimes a little hyper, and often times overly frigidity (which increases their NEAT – non exercise activity thermogenesis – which is part of what causes that super fast metabolism).
- Often picky eaters who don’t always possess a huge appetite.
- Naturally lacking muscle and strength.
- Naturally skinny, although not naturally lean (there’s a difference).
So if your goal is to just be skinny or to excel at a sport primarily based on endurance, you definitely want to be an ectomorph rather than an endomorph and possibly even a mesomorph.
But if your goal is to build muscle, be strong, get big, or be fast and explosive, then the last thing you want to be is an ectomorph. Trust me, I know.
Like I said, I started off super skinny and my only real goal was to build muscle and gain weight. I know first hand exactly how much harder it is to reach these goals if you aren’t born with one of the body types that are much more ideal for reaching them.
Those same genetic factors that make us naturally skinny are the same factors that make gaining weight and building muscle as hard as it can possibly be. It also puts a lower limit on the amount of muscle we are genetically capable of building and how big we are capable of getting.
So, while it was nice to grow up never caring about my diet or what I was eating or ever needing to “watch my weight,” us ectomorphs definitely got screwed when it comes to building muscle. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t. We most definitely can completely transform our bodies for the better… it’s just going to be a bit harder than it is for a mesomorph or an endomorph. (More about that here: Ectomorph Workout & Diet)
Speaking of these other different body types…
What Is An Endomorph?
The next body type is basically the complete opposite of the previously mentioned ectomorph… the endomorph.
Endomorphs are the naturally fat body type. These are the men and women who were likely always at least a little bit bigger, thicker and often fatter than everyone else most of their lives. These are the people who, despite their diet or workout, seem to gain weight just thinking about food and find it nearly impossible to lose it and keep it off.
This isn’t true of course (anyone who eats fewer calories than they burn will always lose weight), it’s just the genetics of an endomorph make it a whole lot harder to reach that point for weight loss to occur, especially when compared to the other body types.
For example, I’ve seen endomorphs who gain weight eating significantly less than ectomorphs (who weigh 20-50lbs less than them) will actually lose weight eating.
Common Genetic Traits of Endomorphs:
- Super slow metabolism.
- Thick bone structure (thick wrists, thick ankles, etc.).
- Often people who love to eat and have huge appetites.
- Naturally big and strong.
- Naturally lacking tone, definition and any real form of leanness.
So if your goal is to just be really big and strong or excel at sports and activities based around these physical characteristics, then you definitely want to be an endomorph rather than an ectomorph and possibly even a mesomorph.
But if your goal is to be skinny, lean, ripped, toned or anything similar, then you endomorphs definitely have your work cut out for you. People with this body type will definitely have a harder time losing fat (or just losing weight in general).
So, while this is the body type that can typically gain the most muscle and be the strongest of the group, endomorphs definitely got screwed when it comes to fat loss. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t lose as much fat as you need to. You most definitely can… it’s just going to be a bit harder than it is for a mesomorph or an ectomorph.
What Is A Mesomorph?
And last but certainly not least, we have the mesomorph. Now looking at the 2 different body types we covered so far, it seems like ectomorphs and endomorphs are basically jealous of each other and often wish they could trade places.
However, that’s not entirely true. Instead, if there is anyone that people in those previous 2 categories are truly jealous of, it’s mesomorphs. This is the body type we ALL wish we could have.
Mesomorphs are considered the genetic elite. These are the people who we consider to have won the genetic lottery, so to speak. This is the prototypical athlete, fitness model and bodybuilder. Where the ectomorph and the endomorph both have a positive and negative side, the mesomorph has pretty much the best of both worlds.
Common Genetic Traits of Mesomorphs:
- Ideal metabolic rate (not too fast, not too slow).
- Ideal bone structure (not too thick, not too thin).
- Naturally lean (instead of naturally “skinny” like an ectomorph).
- Naturally muscular (instead of naturally “big” like an endomorph).
- Naturally athletic.
Mesomorphs gain muscle almost as well as an endomorph, and lose fat almost as well as an ectomorph. In fact, mesomorphs are the people who are often just naturally muscular and lean without putting any time or effort into a diet or workout. And when they do? Their rate and degree of improvement blows the rest of us away.
So, if your goal is to have pretty much anything anyone would consider the “perfect body” or excel at a sport or activity based around having the perfect combination of speed, explosiveness, strength and endurance, you definitely want to be a mesomorph.
Like I said before, most of the top athletes on the planet fit into this category of body types. Whenever you hear someone referred to as having “above average genetics,” they are talking about mesomorphs. They are pretty much the best at doing anything related to improving how their body looks or performs.
Don’t Let Your Body Type Hold You Back!
So, what’s the point of all of this body type stuff (besides making everyone wish their parents had mesomorph genetics)? Well, there’s actually two points…
- Different body types DO exist, and they DO play a role.
If you’ve ever felt like your body just was or wasn’t built for losing fat or gaining weight or building muscle or getting lean, you’re probably right. Our genetics are definitely a huge factor in our ability to reach these goals. But, whether we like it or not, we’re stuck with them.
- Regardless of our body types, we can still get the results we want.
Yes, our genetics will make certain things harder for us (unless you’re lucky enough to be a mesomorph). However, that doesn’t mean they prevent us from doing those things. They don’t. Ectomorphs are gaining weight and building plenty of muscle every single day (hell, I’m living proof of that). Endomorphs are losing fat and getting lean every single day, too. And mesomorphs… ahhh, screw you guys. 🙂
So, while these different body types are real and they will make certain things easier or harder for those of us who didn’t end up with the body type we wish we had, we can ALL still set up our diet and workout in a way that will allow us to get the body we want.
How do you do that? Well, my articles about workout routines, losing weight, gaining weight, and building muscle are the perfect places to start.
And if you still have questions after that, or just want help putting together the diet and workout that will work best for your body and goals, then I’m happy to announce that a new solution has arrived.
I call it The Ultimate Fat Loss & Muscle Building Guide, and in it I provide all of the answers, details, and proven sample workouts and diets that make up the system I’ve used to help myself and countless other men and women completely transform their bodies.
You can learn all about it right here: The Ultimate Fat Loss & Muscle Building Guide