With a global population of 7.8 billion, human bodies show a beautiful range of natural variation.
Some people are naturally very lean. These people tend to require (and sustain) lower levels of body fat, regardless of whether they focus on diet and training. Others may experience the opposite effect, finding themselves more prone toward storing body fat. Similarly, some people add muscle mass more easily, while others have to work harder to pack it on.
Of course, there’s also a population of people who fall in-between these two groups. The “Goldilocks” types tend to have more moderate characteristics, experiencing neither the advantages or disadvantages of either extreme.
So, what would explain these physiological differences? Simple. Humans tend to present with one of three different body types known as ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs.
Why Use Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph Body Types?
Knowing which body type you have can be helpful for several reasons. First, it will explain your skeletal structural and overall build.
Second, it will help you to understand how readily you will add muscle and how easy (or challenging) it will be for you to drop body fat.
Third, it will help you to predict your body fat storage characteristics and how you might want to modify your diet to achieve your physique and training goals.
Fourth, it can be useful for predicting which types of activities and sports you will excel at.
Ectomorph vs. Mesomorph vs. Endomorph
Below, I describe each of these body types in detail. As you read about them, think to yourself, which one of these describes me best?
These individuals are naturally very lean, but typically have difficulty with building and sustaining muscle mass. That is, while ectomorphs don’t readily add body fat, they also don’t readily add muscle.
Endomorphs tend to present with a narrow skeletal structure and a “long and lean” appearance.
Naturally, people with this body type tend to excel in sports such as long-distance running, rock climbing, Nordic skiing, distance cycling, and other types of endurance endeavors.
Mesomorphs presents with a medium frame and a strong and solid appearance.
These individuals have a balanced tendency to add both muscle and store fat. This is the most common build within the general population.
While mesomorphs have the potential to diet down to a lean state, they won’t get there as quickly or easily as the ectomorphs. Similarly, while mesomorphs have the potential to add plenty of muscle mass, they won’t get there as readily as the endomorphs (described next).
These balanced people tend to excel in sports that require a combination of endurance and strength, such as rugby, wrestling, boxing, hockey, and soccer, for example.
Personally, I’m a mesomorph, which you can see here.
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These individuals tend to add muscle mass quite easily, but unfortunately, also have a greater tendency to store body fat.
Their skeletal structure tends to be wider than the ectomorphs or mesomorphs, with a thick ribcage, broad hips, and shorter limbs.
Endomorphs are naturally strong and muscled, which is why they excel in sports that are strength and power-based.
Examples of such sports include power lifting, Olympic lifting, Strongman, football, and more.
Which Body Type Are You?
While different bodies have different starting points, everyone has the potential to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. This means that everyone can sculpt their body over time.
However, as described above, your body type will affect your starting point and the rate at which you observe physiological changes over time.
Now that you have learned about the differences between ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs, which one are you? Share your answer in the comments below.