Body Types

The 3 Body Types, Explained

Learn your somatotypes to better understand your weight loss potential.

Learn your somatotypes for a better understanding of your potential for weight loss.
Most of us can slot our entire build into one of three general categories (recognising that even within these categories there is a wide variety of shapes and sizes).

Naturally, women have more fat than men because we have more essential fat (fat needed for body functions, from reproductive tissue to vitamin absorption in various foods). For optimum health, the body-fat levels are 14 to 30 percent for women and 6 to 25 percent for men. Nevertheless don’t get too hung on trim every little ounce. If you are at the lower end of the body-fat spectrum but are generally fit or athletic, by focusing on fat loss you won’t gain performance benefits. And you might just get sick.

So start with defining your body type first. Here’s how to start:


You appear to be long-limbed and not very muscular. You may be “skinny fat,” which means you are relatively low in weight and/or small in size, but you still have high body fat.

Ectomorphs are the type of body which is the most resistant to weight gain due to a rapid metabolism. In other words, ectomorphs can often over-eat while at the same time gaining little or no weight. People with this type of body have little observable body fat, are muscled only slightly and have a small frame and joints. Your genetic makeup essentially limits your ability to put muscle mass on. Focus on the strength and resistance training to build strength when training.

To maximise the body composition (lean-mass gain, body-fat loss) as an ectomorph, eat good-quality fats with a moderate intake of 25 to 30 grammes of protein per meal (four meals per day if you have a mini-meal pre-training) along with good-quality carbohydrates. Skip the pre-training and morning snack on non-training / training days: breakfast is heavy enough to take you to lunch. If you have afternoon snacks, you may want a little lighter intake of your meal.


You consider building muscle mass super easy, and generally you are built proportionally.

Mesomorphs can easily lose weight and gain weight, build muscle fast, and usually boast upright posture. This type of body tends to have long torso and shorter extremities. Females with a mesomorphic style of body are strong and athletic. Mesomorphs outstand in explosive sports — that is, sports that demand power and speed. The reason for this talent lies in possessing the type of muscle mesomorphs. Mesomorphs have a higher percentage of fast-twitch fibres, and gain muscle mass faster than any other type of body.

Your genetic makeup basically suits strength and power. Concentrate on moderate endurance training, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and plyometrics for training. You may apply energy to lengthen in Pilates or yoga.

To maximise the composition of the body (lean mass gain, loss of body fat) as a mesomorph, eat good-quality fats with moderate carbohydrates and consider timing your intake of protein and branched-chain amino acid (BCAA). Skip the pre-training snack on non-training / exercising days and just have green afternoon tea or coffee. Eat your usual snacks before dinner and in the evening.


You are usually smoother and rounder, and appear to easily store fat.

Endomorphs are the most likely body types to feel like they’ve drew the short straw. Naturally, endomorphs tend to have more curvy, fuller curves and strive to keep their body-fat percentage under control. Perhaps the most difficult challenge for endomorphs is finding out they are actually an endomorph. Why? For what? Once you know you ‘re an endomorph, the realisation that you’re likely to gain weight very easily can be hard to come to terms with.

You have the kind of metabolism that doesn’t forgive. That does not mean, however, that you are destined to be overweight or even obese. As an endomorph, you need to make a deliberate, concentrated effort to naturally do the things that your body can do for you. If your body doesn’t want you to move more naturally, you have to make sure that the workout, like running, is part of your everyday routine.

If your metabolism is sluggish, you must eat the right foods that will set your metabolism on fire. High-intensity activities such as HIIT and CrossFit are great for training-wise, as are weight training and moderate endurance training. Eat high quality fats and protein as an endomorph, and reduce your consumption of carbohydrates to optimise body composition (lean mass gain, loss of body fat) and to regulate insulin and blood sugar. Have breakfast within 45 minutes of waking up on non-training / exercise days and skip the pre- and post-training snacks. Make sure your afternoon snack will balance your appetite.

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