Learn About Somatotypes and How To Determine Your Body Type


I can remember back 20 years ago asking this very question. As a personal trainer, I still hear these concerns today and I have people come to me and ask, “Can you tell me what body type I am?”

First of all, very few people (men and women alike) actually fall into just one of these areas or categories of body types, which are also called somatotypes. You might be surprised to learn you can be a little of all three. Regardless of your body type, with a solid training program and nutrition plan in place, you can actually change your health status as well as your body composition. Body composition is used to describe the percentage of fat, bone and muscle that you carry inside your body.

Here are some things to consider when determining which category you fit into. Remember, you might discover that you actually fit into more than just one category. Once you determine your body type, this will help you put in place a good nutrition and exercise plan that is suited for you and your specific needs. This will help you set realistic goals and help get you started on the road to a successful body transformation so you can achieve a better, fitter, healthier you. Knowledge is power and once you educate yourself on where you fit in with your body type and which category you are in, you can reach your goals, dreams and visions of your perfect physique much faster. Try to always work toward a healthier you, today, tomorrow and always.


Endomorphs (Endo’s) tend to have a larger bone structure. Endo’s also have higher amounts of both body fat and body mass. This body type gains fat quite easily. Endomorphs are short in stature with thick limbs (legs and arms). Endo’s are usually great with strength sports such as powerlifting or strongman competitions. With this body type you must make a conscious effort to do the things your body should automatically do like bending, running, pushing and pulling. Exercise alone is not enough for endomorphs. You need a strict nutrition plan in place to help with a slow metabolism. You must train hard and eat healthy. Remember, for an endomorph, your diet alone is not enough to lose weight. You must move and stay active on a daily basis. You need to keep moving to burn calories. Endomorphs need more cardio to lose body fat and keep it off.

Traits for Endomorphs:

  • Usually short in height or stature
  • Difficult to lose body fat
  • Bulky physique, round body
  • Can gain both fat and muscle easily

The breakdown of your calories should come from the following macronutrient ratios:

  • Carbohydrates: 30%
  • Protein: 45%
  • Fat: 25%

Your workout routine should include both cardio and resistance training with weights. You need to try to get some form of cardio and weight training in daily. A minimum of 30 minutes of daily cardio, preferably done first thing in the morning before eating, will help burn up stored body fat and help to increase your metabolism. Moderate intensity activities like brisk walking, bike riding, and cardio machines at the gym are ideal. Endomorph’s should train at a fast training pace (very little rest between sets and exercises) to help burn up more calories during their workouts.


Mesomorphs generally have a medium build. They tend to carry more lean muscle mass and a lower percentage of body fat. Meso’s can gain muscle quickly and do well in the sport of bodybuilding.

Traits for Mesomorphs:

  • Medium build, rectangular body shape
  • Fairly lean with a hard body
  • Can gain muscle easily
  • Are usually strong

The breakdown of your calories should come from the following macronutrient ratios:

  • Carbohydrates: 45%
  • Protein: 35%
  • Fat: 20%


Meso’s are naturally strong and adapt quickly to exercise. They can tolerate heavy weight training several times a week. Staying in the 8-12 repetition range with 30 to 90 seconds of rest after each set.

Ectomorphs are what I refer to as “hardgainers”. They are lean with a small frame. Ecto’s carry lean muscle mass with very little body fat. Ectomorphs have long and lean extremities (legs and arms). Their metabolism is known to be extremely fast which makes gaining muscle and building size very difficult.

The good news is they can eat a lot and still maintain a lean physique. However, the bad news is they need to eat a large amount of calories to gain weight. They may have to sometimes supplement with “a hardgainer’s protein powder” to assist with weight gain like a whey protein powder or other type of mass gainer supplement. If you fall into this category you must keep your workouts short and focus on hitting the weights very hard while limiting cardio exercise to a minimal amount at best. The main focus should be on strength training and building size.

Traits of Ectomorphs:

  • Hard to gain muscle
  • Slender frame
  • Known as a “hardgainer”
  • Small bone structure
  • Very fast metabolism


The breakdown of your calories should come from the following macronutrient ratios:

  • Carbohydrates: 55%
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 15%

Nutrition is very important for ectomorphs. Ecto’s can handle a lot of calories coming from carbohydrates. The majority of the carb intake should be post-workout. This body type should focus on eating lots of starchy, unprocessed carbohydrates (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, quinoa). High calorie protein shakes which include whey protein and blended protein powders during the day while focusing on casein protein powder before bed for a slow release form of protein to nourish your muscles while you’re sleeping. Weight gainer powders with extra calories will help for putting on size. Ectomorphs can eat 6-8 high calorie meals spread out evenly through the day (every 2.5 to 3 hours).

Workouts should be centered on heavy compound movements while limiting cardiovascular training. Do not spend your time on high repetition sets of single-joint isolation exercises (concentration curls, etc.). Ectomorphs will benefit greatly from “The BIG” multi-joint compound exercises listed below:

  • Bench Press
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Pull-Ups
  • Rows
  • Shoulder Press

These are the key exercises that are going to add the most amount of muscle mass to your body in the shortest amount of time possible. Make sure you’re doing some variation of all of them at least once per week, and focus on lifting heavy enough to stimulate growth (ideally within the 5-8 repetition range for most of your training).

Some people have to work harder than others to gain muscle or lose body fat. It can be very discouraging and it’s a slow process. It doesn’t matter what your body type is because with enough determination, drive and hard work, both in the gym and through proper nutrition, you can overcome limitations and genetics to achieve your ideal physique!

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About Author

Eleanora Reeves

My name is Eleanora and I'm a personal trainer and the owner of Reeves Fitness Center in Urbana, Illinois. I'm able to reach others through my healthy lifestyle and help them reach their fitness goals. I live the life in which I talk about with confidence and with passion! See my profile page for more information.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Thirty percent carbs for an endomorph is a bit high to get fat loss results, especially for a woman.

    If the ectomorph is a hard-gainer, shouldn’t the protein be higher to support muscle gains?

    I think the numbers are off.

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