An Introduction to the Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph
The three main body types are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
- An ectomorph is a hard gainer. They have trouble gaining fat and muscle because they have a fast metabolism. Ectomorphs are skinny, light, weak, and have small shoulders.
- A mesomorph gains or loses muscle and fat easily. They are lean and muscular, heavy for their size, strong, hard, and have large shoulders.
- An endomorph gains fat and muscle easily. They have trouble losing fat because they have a slow metabolism. Endomorphs are thick, heavy, strong, and soft as well because they have a lot of fat.
You might have one of these body types or a combination of any two types. Your body type is determined by genetics and by your behavior. However, because it's not all genetics, it is possible to change your body type by changing some of your traits. Changing your body type takes time but you can do it. You may not be able to completely change your body type but you can change it enough to look and feel like you did. Learn how in this article by focusing on your calorie count, diet, and exercise. Good luck!
Changing Body Types: Where to Start
If you want to change body types, start by deciding if you first want to lose or gain weight.
- To gain weight, do more weightlifting and less cardio. If your appetite increases, then eat more food. Eating less often also helps.
- To lose weight, do more cardio and less weight lifting. Also, try to cut down on the junk foods and high calorie drinks.
The main difference between the body types is how efficient they are at burning calories.
- When you are burning a lot of calories, then it is hard to gain fat or muscle.
- When you are not burning very many calories, then it is easy to put on fat and muscle.
So, if you want to change your body type then you need to focus on burning calories either faster or slower. How can you affect the rate at which your body burns calories? By focusing on diet and exercise, as discussed below.
Cardio and Weight Lifting
To shift your build towards the body type you desire, you should start doing the exercises that people with that body type normally find most comfortable.
- Skinny people tend to mostly do cardio exercises that increase your heart rate and burn a lot of calories, like running, biking, and jumping rope.
- Lean, muscular people tend to do a mix of cardio and weight lifting.
- Thick people with a lot of body fat tend to lift weights.
Ectomorphs are more likely to do exercises that burn a lot of calories, endomorphs are more likely to do exercises that don't burn many calories, and mesomorphs are more likely to do a combination of the two.
Focusing on Your Diet
Your diet and eating habits are key when it comes to changing body types. Keep these things in mind during the process:
- Skinny people and lean muscular people tend to eat frequently. Your body does not need to store as much fat when your body does not go for long periods of time without food. People that have trouble keeping the fat off tend to eat a few big meals or don't eat enough food to feel satisfied when they eat. As a result, their body tries to store more fat and they are less likely to exercise regularly.
- How much time you spend being hungry affects how good you are at burning calories. Endomorphs are also more likely to overeat and to eat a lot of junk food. Overeating does not mean eating more than someone else or eating a lot. It means eating more food than your body needs.
I Changed My Body Type From an Ectomorph to a Mesomorph
My personal story and notes about mesomorphs and ectomorphs:
I went from an ectomorph to a mesomorph by adding weight lifting to my cardio regime—mesomorphs have athletic bodies because they do both types of exercise. They are athletic and they maintain a healthy diet to help keep the fat off. As I did more weight lifting, my appetite increased and so did the size of my muscles. Now I have an easier time gaining muscle and fat, like most mesomorphs. The downside to being a mesomorph is that mesomorphs have more trouble getting rid of fat than ectomorphs do. Mesomorphs need to work at keeping the fat off and the muscle on.
Since I need to eat a lot, I am not a pure mesomorph, more of a combination of mesomorph and ectomorph. However I still do more cardio than weight lifting. If I reduce the cardio then I need less food. So I become more of a mesomorph. If I wanted to look more like an endomorph, I might eat less often and consume more junk food and high-calorie food.
No matter what your body type is, fat comes from consuming more calories than you burn and muscle comes from regular exercise. You need to strain your muscles to make them bigger and stronger and if you don't continue to work them hard enough then you lose muscle.
Body Type Is Influenced By Exercise, Not Just Genes
People often assume that a person who has a lean body was just lucky enough to be born that way. They assume athletes have athletic-looking bodies because of their genes, not because of their diet and exercise routine. They assume a person doing yoga was just lucky to be born with that flexibility. But the truth is that what you do changes your body.
People who do a lot of biking, for example, usually look like they do a lot of biking. They are usually lean and have large calf muscles. I myself have large, hard calf muscles from biking long distances.
A person with large broad shoulders wasn’t necessarily born that way; my exercise routine, for example, made my shoulders, chest, and back muscles significantly bigger.
You may think body traits run in a family because of genetics, but often a family shares these traits because family members have similar habits.
People you see may have have worked hard to look the way they look, or they may look that way because they did not make an effort to maintain their bodies. Take some responsibility for the way you look by focusing on your diet and exercise.
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.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is it possible for a mesomorph to become an ectomorph?
Answer: It is possible for a mesomorph to become a muscular ectomorph. You can find out by exercising like a lean athlete. Currently, I am doing one difficult cardio exercise a week to build muscle and lose fat. That is how I get ready for the beach season. I run, bike, hike, and swim. The only way to find out how much you can change your body is to try.
It is not possible for most people to be lean without being muscular and ectomorphs have their own problems. My advice is to focus on getting better at an exercise that lean people do. Improve over and over again. Long-distance running and biking work for me.
Question: How can I become skinny?
Answer: To be skinny I need to have an active lifestyle and I need muscle. If you want to become skinny then start behaving like a lean healthy person. Do things that skinny people do. For example I started going for long distance bike rides as a hobby. Most cyclists are skinny. I also go for daily walks and workout almost every day. Exercise can be fun and it can make you feel good. Remember that your habits matter. Most lean people are skinny because of their habits. Change your habits to change your body.
Pay attention to what other people are doing and try not to assume that skinny people are just lucky.
Question: Will it be easy to change a 12 year old child's body to a ectomorph from a mesomorph?
Answer: Going from a mesomorph to an ectomorph means losing weight and becoming skinnier. Some of the weight loss would be from losing muscle. It can be as easy as changing your habits. Do relaxing low intensity cardio workouts and focus on being active. Relax, stay active and avoid exercises that are good for gaining a lot of muscle. The problem with losing weight and being skinny is that muscle makes it easier to keep the fat off. You could end up being skinny with a fat belly or the lack of muscle could make you feel fat.
When I go to the beach most of the people I hear complaining about being fat are female ectomorphs with very little muscle. Changing a 12 year old child's body from an mesomorph to an ectomorph could be easy but it can cause problems later. Skinny children often become adults that have big bellies. If a child wants to be lean they should try to be lean and muscular. They should be athletic.
Question: Can I change from endomorph to mesomorph?
Answer: You can probably change from an endomorph to an mesomorph with regular exercise. Focus on improving. I recommend biking, push-ups, and weight lifting. For your diet just try to eat healthy food. If you exercise regularly then you will probably crave healthy food and want to drink more water. Having a more active lifestyle is a good way to reduce junk food cravings. You may need to eat more food to lose fat.
Taking a day or two off a week can help you lose fat and build muscle. Your muscles need to recover. I gained a lot of leg muscle by biking one day a week. You don't need to work out every day and you should not be on a strict diet. Focus on doing things that are good for you. Don't just workout to build muscle. Start some new hobbies like cycling and kayaking.
© 2013 Michael H
Michael H (author) from Canada on February 03, 2020:
Lots of adults want to go back to being ectomorphs but ectomorphs do not have enough muscle. Going back to being an ectomorph is a wish. Meaning it is probably impossible. I could not go back to being an ectomorph but I was able to become a skinny mesomorph.
If you want to be a skinny adult then be athletic. Do a weekly cardio workout and build some muscle. It worked for me. Gaining 20 pounds of muscle made me look skinnier. When I want to be skinny like I was 20 years ago I bike or run once a week. My body weight increases but I lose the belly fat.
Being lean and musclular can be a lot easier and more enjoyable than becoming an ectomorph. Try to improve over and over again so you gain muscle. I struggled to keep the belly fat off at 110 pounds. At 135 pounds it is easier to be lean because I have more muscle.
Prabhash on February 21, 2019:
Hello! Thanks for your motivation. I am prabhash from india. I am so skinny now, but today i am so motivated. So i well try to do some cardio every day . And eat more food every day . But i belive the one day i change myself into ectomorph to mesomorph. Thank you so much .
Michael H (author) from Canada on February 13, 2019:
There is not an easy way to gain 35 pounds of muscle. Instead of trying to find easy ways to change your body type, find fun ways. Difficult is not always bad. Most people don't like to play easy games. Exercise can be more enjoyable when it is difficult.
Easy is boring and it does not provide you with a sense of accomplishment. It is winter now and I miss my difficult long distance bike rides.
Marcus on February 12, 2019:
Hey, im a teenager, i'm an ectomoprh, very very underweight (180cm-51kg). Is there any way to change my body type easily?
Jaypee on October 28, 2018:
Want to change from endomorph to mesomorph I have much lower body fat as well
Michael H (author) from Canada on October 17, 2018:
The best way to find out is to try. I was skinny fat and had trouble building muscle until I focused on improving. Get better at a strength training exercise and a cardio exercise. The key is to improve every week for months.
Da Jayson on October 17, 2018:
Im a skinny fat im only 14 years old can i transformed my body type to a mesomorph? I am strong but i run slow.
Michael H (author) from Canada on April 05, 2018:
Some skinny people are fat because they do not have enough muscle. Being big boned or having smaller bones does not have much of an impact on the amount of fat or muscle a person has. It has more to do with their behavior.
The best way to find out if you can or can not change your body type is to change your behavior. Change your eating and exercise habits. You could do it as an experiment.
Cheyenne on March 26, 2018:
I am a mesomorph. A lot of people want this body type so I feel bad for saying this but it doesn't always satisfy me. I want to be an ectomorph. I gain fat so easily but I can also lose it easily with a few extra workouts and slight change in my diet. That seems like a positive thing but I think it'd be awesome to not have to worry about fat gain at all.
Also, this article said that it all has to do with the type of exercise someone does. That may be true to an extent but I believe it really has to do more with bone structure. There are still some fat ectomorphs but their small bones are what make them that body type. I may be wrong but I was pretty sure that these have more to do with bone structure instead of metabolism efficiency.
hella on March 06, 2018:
Ectomorphs are strongest cause they make good martial artists like the great Bruce Lee.
A Guy Named B on December 29, 2017:
I really hate being an endormorph.
There is nothing good about it. To me anyways. Here I am eating lean, light, healthy, and perfect while so many others stuff their faces with junk. I can't for the life of me ever enjoy anything bad. My body will just have a fit, and bloat out.
Don't get me wrong, eating healthy is a good thing, but I feel so cornered by my sluggish metabolism that I can't enjoy life's luxuries.
When you work at it for 7 years and your body refuses to lose the last 20lbs, it is very very frustrating.
Anonymous on August 28, 2017:
I hate being an endomorph.
hi bros on April 05, 2017:
Bruce Lee looks mostly like an ectomorph, so don't think that ectomorphs are weak.
Marsha on January 29, 2017:
Wow.....I cannot get over those photos, I am amazed at that body, I wish you could have showed some before photos as well. Could you do a post solely on your workout regime? This was very informative thanks a million!!
Konh on August 11, 2016:
Endomorphs rule the world!
rafl on September 27, 2015:
ectomorphs , weak? Now thats going a bit too far. Maybe some are , Im an ectomorph myself and I'm pretty strong .