Nutrition and Workouts for Ectomorphs

Updated on September 11, 2017

So You're an Ectomorph

In this article we will be discussing:

  • The Challenges of Being an Ectomorph

We will discuss why having a fast metabolism can be a problem when trying to gain muscle or weight.

  • Nutrition for Skinny People

It's all about what you eat, and here we will talk about how many calories as well as what types of foods are good for ectomorphs trying to gain muscle.

  • Types of Workouts for Ectomorphs

With such a high metabolism you can't expect to gain muscle through what should you do?

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The Challenges of Being an Ectomorph

So you're a skinny person and probably have a hard time gaining weight, right? It's not your fault. it's just the way it's always been for you, it's genetic. Being an ectomorph can be tough, especially when you're trying to gain weight and muscle. No matter how many hours you spend in the gym or eating, your body just doesn't change.

To get your body to change, you have to put pressure on it to change. Many people who claim to be ectomorphs are skinny people who don't do enough to cause their body to want to change. Sometimes they work out in the wrong way or eat the wrong types of foods.

Is this you?

Well let's try to fix that.

Grab your bib and loosen that belt
Grab your bib and loosen that belt

Nutritional Guidelines for Ectomorphs

Here's a summary:

  1. Consider, when choosing food, that carbohydrates and fats have the most calories per portion; protein has the least.
  2. Don't be afraid to try weight-gaining formulas.
  3. Don't be afraid to gain weight.

With a high metabolism it can hard to gain the excess calories necessary to build muscle and weight. It's important for you to take a look at what you're currently eating in terms of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Protein has the fewest calories per portion, fats have the most, and carbohydrates are in between. Why is that important? If you're eating a lot of foods high in protein then it can be hard to consume many foods that are high in carbohydrates or fats. This can equal fewer calories in your overall diet even though you're eating a ton of food.

Just because a food has a lot of carbohydrates or fats doesn't necessarily mean that its bad for your overall health. Of course eating candy and cheese pizza all the time isn't a good idea; although these foods have calories, they don't have the other nutrients you need to have a good workout and gain muscle.

But there are healthy sources of fats and carbohydrates that can give you the calories you need to overcome your high metabolism. Generally unsaturated fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated) are healthy fats, and can be found in such foods as olive oil, nuts, peanut butter, guacamole, and many more. Saturated fat is often found in dairy products; it isn't unhealthy but your body doesn't digest it as easily and it can add to bad cholesterol.

Weight-Gaining Supplements

Ectomorphs often times will turn to weight gaining supplements for excess calories, and although you should choose wisely, they can be beneficial for muscle growth in a high-metabolic body. I have personally tried some of the weight gaining protein powders with some good results (including the product below).

What makes these supplements weight gainers are the carbohydrates and creatine they contain. I find that the best factor when deciding which weight gainer supplement to take is to know how it tastes. If a powder tastes good, you may take it more regularly.

Three Body Types: Brief Info

Fast Metabolism
Normal Metabolism
Slow Metabolism
Need less cardio
Need balance of cardio
Need more cardio in routine
Harder to gain muscle
Average at gaining muscle
Easier to gain muscle

Choosing a Workout or Training Routine

When deciding on a workout schedule or training routine you should always keep in mind your body type. If you're an ectomorph, then you likely don't need much cardio if your goal is to build physique; you should focus on heavy lifting.

Generally when you're trying to bulk up, you lift heavier weights with more rest in between. For optimal strength results you should aim for around 10 repetitions for exercises; however, if you're just after muscle mass then going between 5-8 repetitions per exercise is preferable.

Of course you have to make sure you're lifting heavy weights. An easy way to not gain any muscle is to not keep track of how much you've lifted in previous sessions. Keep a small journal or at least a good memory as to how much you curl, bench, squat, etc. Try to lift more and more each week. The more you can lift, the more muscle your body needs.

As an ectomorph you need less cardio than other body types, so while you shouldn't necessarily ignore cardio you shouldn't be doing it that long or that often if your goal is to add weight. Schedule a 30-minute aerobic activity no more than three times a week.

Attitude Is Important

This might sound ridiculous but sometimes ectomorphs and mesomorphs have a problem gaining weight because they simply become complacent with their workout and diet routine.

When is the last time you were impressed with your performance during a workout? When is the last time you thought to yourself, "I am eating exactly what I need to gain muscle."

Sometimes it's easy to get into a routine and forget the fire and motivation that fuels our desire to become better and stronger people. I encourage you to take a few minutes and ask if you're doing everything you can for yourself in the gym and the kitchen.

Did I Answer Your Question?

If not please feel free to comment below and I'll be sure to respond.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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    • profile image

      skara manga 

      2 years ago

      Very informative

    • bodyathletics profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Very good point. I tried to allude to that with the candy example. What type of carbs do you prefer eating?

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Nice hub bodyathletics, However being a true ectomorph myself, simply adding calories is not the answer, you burn right through them and spend more time in the bathroom. Its the type of calories you you, slow burning carbs (low glycemic index) that will slow down your metabolism will help you gain and maintain.


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