We’ve all been there. After multiple diet attempts and new workout routines there still no movement on the scale. It can be really easy to throw your hands up in the air and give up, BUT before you do that give this a read.
Your body is unique to you. It might sound like an obvious statement but the reality is, every person’s body type is different and what might work for one body type is the absolute worst thing you can do for another.
Honing in on your body type can help you shape your diet and workout routine perfectly to meet your body’s needs while skipping the trial and error process (which, let’s be honest, is super time-consuming).
There are three main body types to keep in mind – 1) Ectomorph, 2) Mesomorph, and 3) Endomorph.
Thin and slender (think model)
Super high metabolism
Trouble gaining muscle and fat
Appear to have some muscle, even if don’t, because of the low body fat percentage
Don’t gain weight even if overeat
50% or more of calories should come from carbs, protein 2nd, fat 3rd
Able to process carbs very efficiently and turn into energy without storing excess body fat.
Be sure to eat multiple times throughout the day, your energy is highly dependent on your carb intake which means your meals should be 5-6 times a day.
Make sure you reach your minimum protein intake or your muscles won’t recover from exercise and all progress will be lost.
DON’T do fasting. This body type needs to have a good eating schedule.
This body type will not gain weight easily if they get lazy with exercise and diet (lucky you!).
Keep workouts under 1 hour, this body types usually run out of energy around the 45-minute mark during weight training. Try drinking BCAAs during your workout for mid-workout fuel and ensure you get a good, carb-heavy meal before working out as well.
Do exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once rather than isolation exercises (exercises that focus on one muscle at a time). Think squats instead of hamstring curls.
These are energy taxing, so be sure to do these first during your gym routine when you’re most energized.
Ease into weight training
This body doesn’t enjoy working out so in order to retrain it take it slow. Start with bodyweight exercises if you’re new to fitness.
Form will need to be good since this body type is more prone to injuries than the other body types.
Pay close attention to rest
Rest a minimum of 2-3 minutes during each set to ensure your muscles recover fully before starting the next set.
Take at least 1-2 days off during the week for a full recovery day. This body type is sensitive to recovery so ensuring you get the proper sleep and rest will make all the difference.
HIIT (high-intensity interval training)
You will eat away at your progress and speed up your metabolism too much, undoing all your hard work. Stick to low effort cardio such as walking.
Overexert yourself with weight lifting
This body type goes through carbs like nothing which can result in extreme fatigue, “hangry” feelings, etc. Keep a snack on you at the gym just in case.
Monday “Push Day” – Bench press, push-ups, dips, overhead triceps
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday “Pull Day” – Deadlifts, lat pull-down, pull-ups, rows
Thursday – rest
Friday “Leg Day” – Squats, leg press, lunges, + optional hip thrusts & calf raises
Saturday – rest
Sunday “Abs + Shoulders” – Overhead press, lateral raises, hanging crunches, ab rollout OR rest day if you’re too tired
Relatively easy to gain muscle and lose fat
Muscular, well-built, decent metabolism
Balanced macro diet, e.g. mostly equal across protein, fat, and carbs
For example, 40% carbs, 30-40% protein, 20-30% fat
Maintenance easy for this body type, especially with a close eye on protein. As long as you stay within your macros/calories you’ll be ok, however your body is accustomed to being active so an inactive lifestyle will still lead to weight gain.
Great for weightlifting and high intensity
Well adjusted for high-frequency training
Gains immediately – see results very quickly
Naturally strong – able to start any training program and do well
Supersets, drop sets, burn out sets, etc. all okay for this body type
Push to failure on nearly every set.
Failure means that you are unable to complete the last rep, e.g. hitting failure on rep 7 of bicep curls means you are unable to complete the curl on the 7th rep.
Change up your routine
Because your body adjusts easily to physical activity, you’ll need to switch up your routine every 6-8 weeks to keep seeing steady results.
Train 5+ days
This body type can handle the stress of working out and needs little rest to recover fully.
This body type was made to move. Try to stay active at least 5 times a week, even if that means light bodyweight and walking.
Monday “Chest” –> bench press, incline bench, cable fly, pec fly
Tuesday “Back” –> deadlifts, bent over row, lat pull down, pull-ups, cable rows + optional shrugs
Wednesday “Legs” –> squats, leg extension, leg curl, leg press, lunges
Thursday “Shoulders” –> upright row, side raises, overhead press, rear delt row
Friday “Abs + Calves” –> calf raises, hanging crunches, decline crunches, cable crunches
Saturday “Arms” –> close grip bench, tricep extension, bicep curls, chin-ups, preacher curls
Sunday –> rest
High body fat percentage + tendency to store body fat easily
Wide bone structure
Muscles are hidden under fat
Bigger on the bottom (women) or bigger in chest and arms (men), both men and women gain stomach weight equally
Weight gain occurs even after short breaks from exercising (lose slowly, gain easily)
Slow metabolism/ digestion
Aim for protein at around 40-50% of your calories, with the lowest being around 30%. Carbs should be very limited at around 25-30%, try not to exceed 40% at least. Healthy fats are generally limited to 20% with most diets but this body type is able to process fats easily so upping that percentage to around 30-40% is okay (think Keto diet).
Excellent tolerance to fasting
Great at processing fat and protein.
Make sure your fat intake is healthy fats such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, etc.
Your protein and fats can be combined, e.g. steak has both fat and protein. However, these are heavy in saturated fat (unhealthy fat) so try to eat more meats with limited fat (chicken breast) or meats with healthy fats (salmon).
Sensitive to carbs
This body has poor insulin sensitivity and will store carbs instead of using it for energy.
Try to have the bulk of your carbs before working out so your body can get rid of any excess and retrain to use it for energy.
Avoid high glycemic carbs (especially before bed!)- try to get your carbs from veggies. The more processed a carb is (e.g. white bread/pasta/rice) the more it will spike insulin.
Avoid alcohol because of high carbs and sugar. Stick to straight alcohol like vodka if you must.
Guaranteed to gain weight if you go over in your calories for the day/week. A close eye on macros (protein, carbs, fat) is incredibly important with this body type.
Gains muscle relatively easy
Good muscle endurance but cardio endurance isn’t great
Great at explosivity (e.g. football for men, volleyball for women)
This body can handle isolation exercises well, but compound exercises are effective too depending on your goals
HIIT (high-intensity interval training)
Train your shoulders
this might seem counterproductive since the lower half of the body typically gains the most weight, however working your shoulders is the best way to even out your look + the HIIT will sculpt your leg and butt muscles.
Weights – higher reps (15-20) are okay with this body type but the 6-10 range is also okay
If you’re looking to add muscle definition do lower reps
If you’re looking to keep lean without noticeable muscle do high reps
Skip the gym (you’ll lose muscle and gain fat quickly)
Monday “Legs” –> squats, lunges, leg press, hip thrust
Tuesday –> rest
Wednesday “Push + HIIT” –> chest press, flys, push-ups, tricep extensions + 20 mins HIIT
Thursday “Pull + HIIT” –> deadlifts, bicep, curls, seated row, lat pull-down
Friday –> rest
Saturday “Shoulders, Abs, HIIT” –> front, side, rear delt raises, bench v-ups (or floor abs if too hard)
Sunday “HIIT” –> 20-30 minutes
So there ya have it! Keep in mind that it’s possible to be a mix of body types, though usually your eating and exercising habits will tell you what category you are most represented in. For example, my body type is mostly Endomorphic. I tend to gain weight after only a week off of my exercise routine and if I go over in my calories for the week I definitely notice, especially if I eat excess carbs. However, I do have some athletic tendencies in my workout routine such as energy that lasts for hours without needing replenishment and I see my gains very quickly if I stick to a strict diet and exercise routine, which is slightly Mesomorphic. Overall I put myself at around 80% Endomorphic and 20% Mesomorphic.
I hope this was helpful to you and your fitness journey. Let me know in the comments if it works for you!