Your body type can often have a big say in how your body responds to diet and exercise, with some body types finding it easier to achieve certain goals, while other body types find it more difficult.
For example, ectomorphs find it more difficult to gain muscle, whereas mesomorphs may find it a simpler process.
The world of fitness and nutrition can be a minefield of good and bad information and advice. So, you’ve come to the right place to learn the ectomorph body type and how best to build muscle through diet and exercise!
Read on to find out more about:
- Body types
- Nutrition and training strategies for building muscle
- Muscle building for ectomorphs
What Are Body Types?
Firstly, lets identify the 3 body types and their characteristics.
Ectomorph Body Type
Ectomorphs are typically a lighter build with smaller joints and lean muscle, or “skinny”. They normally have long, thin limbs and a slim width.
Traits of an ectomorph:
- Small frame
- Flat chest
- Small shoulders
- Lean muscle mass
- Fast metabolism
- Finds it hard to gain weight
As ectomorphs tend to have faster metabolisms, they find it more difficult to gain weight. More on this later!
Mesomorph Body Type
A mesomorph typically has a large bone structure and a naturally athletic physique. This is by far the best body type you could be blessed with for body building, as they typically find it easier to lose and gain weight and muscle.
Traits of a mesomorph:
- Rectangle shaped body
- Gains weight and muscle easily
Endomorph Body Type
Endomorph body types are generally a shorter build with thick limbs. They are naturally strong but can gain fat easily.
Traits of an endomorph:
- Soft and round body
- Gains muscle and fat easily
- Short, “stocky” build
- Slow metabolism
These body types are not set in stone, and there are no rules to say that just because you may appear to fit into a certain body type, you will also possess the typical traits.
You could even be a combination of two body types, or to find yourself looking like one body type but having traits of another.
Everybody, no matter your body type, can build a big, lean physique, you just may be at a slight disadvantage regarding the time it takes to get results depending on your body type.
Before we move on to ectomorph training and nutrition strategies, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of muscle building.
Muscle Building 101: Nutrition, Training and Lifestyle
When building muscle, there are 3 key principles to consider:
1. Protein intake
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. It’s important to get enough daily protein to support your muscle building needs (1.6-2.2g per kg of bodyweight for muscle building), mostly from good quality sources such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and soy.
Additionally, eating protein at regular intervals (around every 3-4 hours) will also ensure you’re optimizing muscle protein synthesis - the process of repairing and rebuilding muscle.
To build muscle, our body needs adequate energy to do so. You can achieve this by increasing your daily calorie intake and ensuring you are eating in a slight calorie surplus to support your gains.
For example, if your maintenance calories are 2000kcal per day (the number of calories you need daily to maintain your weight), you would ideally need an extra 200-400 calories to meet the energy requirements for building muscle.
A training program that focuses on progressive overload and stimulus is one of the major factors of muscle growth. Follow an effective resistance training program that includes compound lifts and rep ranges that are effective for building muscle mass (hypertrophy).
Muscle Building for the Ectomorph Body Type
When training and eating for your body type, it’s important to remember that there are only marginal differences to consider. However, tweaking a few nutrition and training strategies to better suit your genetics may elicit far better and quicker results!
As ectomorphs find it hard to gain weight and muscle due to a fast metabolism, it goes without saying that eating more food is a must. So, increase your calorie intake until you can see the number slowly increasing on the scale.
To further help this process, it may also be a good idea to reduce any cardio sessions and instead focus on hypertrophy resistance training, with compound lifts being a major part of your program.
Here are some specific strategies an ectomorph could implement to help further:
Consume more calorie-dense foods such as nuts, full-fat dairy, and oily fish
Incorporate liquid calories to help you consume more food, such as homemade weight-gainer shakes
Reduce cardio to something less intense and swap it out for resistance training
Eat a meal before bedtime to help prevent muscle breakdown
Get good quality sleep
Consider a supplement, such as creatine
Whether you feel you fit into a specific body type or not, it’s important to dial in the fundamentals of muscle gain before making further tweaks to your diet and lifestyle.
Following an effective nutrition and training program may be enough, or you may need to eat a lot more and adjust your training to better accommodate your genetics, thus achieve your muscle gain goals.