Train for your body type: The three Somatotypes explained

Somatotypes: Training is more than what the mirror reveals.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, an athlete or just simply wanting to lose weight,  in order to train effectively, it’s important to know what your body type is. W.H. Sheldon was an American psychologist that developed the concept of three main body shapes or somatotypes. The somatotypes are EndomorphMesomorph, and Ectomorph. Many individuals have a combination of two or sometimes all three of the somatotypes but most of our physiques favor one body type more than  another. As for myself, I’m a classic mesomorph and once I realized  the type of training my body responds the BEST to (through trial and error), I was amazed at how much and how quickly my physique transformed!  I now know exactly what to do in my training sessions to get the results that I desire.  Once you know how you are genetically predisposed to perform and what your physique is capable of doing and looking like… with proper diet and training, you’ll accomplish the many goals that you have set for yourself in no time! The three somatotypes are explained below.



  • Small bone structure
  • Thinner and lean physique
  • Hard to gain muscle
  • Longer limbs (elongated muscle bellies)
  • Narrow build (shoulders, chest and hips)
  • Very fast metabolism

Athletics: Basketball players (Kevin Durant is a great example)  and long distance runners are classic ecto’s.

Celebrity Ectomorphs: Naomi Campbell, Uma Thurman, Brad Pitt, Chris Brown

Work out & Diet tips:

Since Ectomorphs have such a fast metabolism, it makes gaining weight difficult.  Eating frequently and eating ENOUGH with the goal of gaining is key. The frequently recommended 5-6 meals a day & eating at least every three hours definitely applies to this body type… they have to stay fueled up.  Meals and snacks can have more substance or bulk. Adding supplements can be beneficial as well such as protein powder that contains a moderate to higher amount of carbohydrates. Weight training needs to be strategic and specific.  With hypertrophy likely as the goal, intense, quick  and frequent sessions are favored.  Lower sets(3-5) and pyramid reps can be beneficial for an ecto.  Overall for gains, a consistent nutrition and training regimen are imperative.


  • Medium sized bone structure
  • Athletic build/physique (V-shaped)
  • Broad shoulders
  • Naturally muscular and lean (short and full muscle bellies)
  • Tend to gain muscle easily
  • Lose fat easily
  • Strong

Athletics: weight lifting, bodybuilding , Track short-distance (sprinters), soccer players, gymnasts

Celebrity Ectomorphs:  Angela Bassett,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna, Tina Turner,  Mark Wahlberg, Laila Ali

Work out & Diet tips:

Mesomorphs respond great to weight training.  H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training)  allows for muscle gain, conditioning and staying lean.  An individual with a mesomorph physique is often predisposed to power, strength, speed and agility, so their physiques will respond well to full body explosive and strength exercises such as power lifting, Olympic lifting, as well as plyometric training, andinterval sprints.  Although mesomorphs can gain muscle and lose fat easily, if not cautious with their diet, they can gain fat just as easily.  A balanced diet still needs to be followed  to maintain a healthy lifestyle and meet the demands of training to prevent loss of lean tissue.  A solid pre and post workout nutrition and supplement regimen should be followed.  The meso typically has a lower metabolism than the ecto but it’s still is higher than an endomorph’s.  Overall if diet and training are sound and consistent, unwanted weight gain or loss of lean mass are of little concern.


  • Larger bone structure
  • Gain weight easily
  • Pear-shaped physique
  • Harder to lose fat
  • Slower metabolism
  • Underdeveloped muscles
  • Soft build

Athletics:  Shot Put & Discus, rugby, rowing, power lifting, wrestling. Other sports in which size and bulk and large lung capacity is of benefit.

Endomorph Celebrities: Jennifer Hudson, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Black, Oprah, John Goodman

Work out & Diet tips:

As mentioned above endomorphs naturally have higher body fat percentages, find it more difficult to lose weight yet can gain it easily so diet is of extreme importance.  Consuming a combination of clean  complex carbs with a low G.I. (glycemic index), fibrous carbs, lean protein and healthy fats will allow the endomorph to be successful with their diet.  Lower carbohydrate intakes than ecto and mesomorph can be beneficial for endormorphs to lose weight and decrease fat mass.  A combination of both cardio and strength training is recommended for the endomorph build with cardio sessions an average 3-4 times per week. Endomorphs can gain muscle easily as well so if diet & training are prescribed and followed appropriately, an amazing physique and powerful athlete will be the result!


As I always say, no matter what your body type is, your diet is 80% of the outcome when it comes to your physique. The above information is just something additional to consider when beginning a nutrition and fitness plan to reach your goals. To get a meal plan and training regimen created specifically for you, contact 180Physique today!