The 3 "Morphs" - Know Your Body Type!

Last Updated: March 18, 2019
3 morphs

You've probably heard the phrase "everyone's body is different" before. This frustrating mantra is most often parroted by those whose gym success you have tirelessly struggled to match or duplicate - and failed miserably. Whether you're training to failure, going for a good pump, attempting to burn fat, or going for explosive gains, your efforts might all be for nothing if you aren't tailoring your workout according to your body type.

While it is true that everyone's body is different, most bodies are different in easily predictable ways. Hence, the "-morph" classification system. This suffix comes from ancient Greek, and it means "shape" or "form." The three main body types that all humans can be divided into are:

  • Ectomorphs
  • Endomorphs
  • Mesomorphs

Below, we'll explore what each of these classifications mean, and how to tell which category you personally fit into. We'll also talk about the unique nutritional, fitness, and weight-training needs of each type, and how training for one type can seriously backfire for another. Once you become intimately familiar with your specific body type, you can more easily tailor a workout and nutritional program that will help you get the large, lean, muscular body you've always dreamed of.

Ectomorphs - The Skinny Guy's Struggle

Marathon runners, soccer players, and field goal kickers all sport the textbook example of what an ectomorph looks like. They are naturally slender, they possess a significantly higher metabolism than most of their peers, and an alarmingly low body fat percentage. They are sometimes referred to as "hardgainers" in the fitness community, due to the fact that their high metabolism, small joints, and long limbs can make it hard for them to gain muscle.

Effective Training Strategies for Ectomorphs

By far, most of the bodybuilding websites on the internet today are catering to the "hardgainer" crowd. Since they don't have to worry about burning fat, they've already won half the bodybuilding battle; all they need now is to figure out how to add muscle to their wiry physique.

For starters, ectomorphs should stay away from HIIT cardio. An ectomorph already has a relatively high RMR (resting metabolic rate), and HIIT cardio sends RMR shooting through the roof, which can eat away muscle. If you're an ectomorph, stick to intense, full-body weight training sessions no more than three times per week, and get plenty of rest in between gym visits.

Dieting Tips for Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs have to consume more calories on average than any other body type if they want to gain muscle or maintain a bulked physique. Unlike the other two types, ectomorphs will ideally have a larger ratio of carbs in their macronutrient profile to slow down their metabolism and encourage muscle growth. And shakes are great for Ectomorphs, because it's an easy way to sneak in the extra calories they need.

Mesomorphs - The Genetic Lottery Winners

Pretty much everyone who isn't a mesomorph hates mesomorphs - although secretly, deep down, all men want to be one (or at least be mistaken for one, based on their appearance). Mesomorphs have no problem putting on pound after pound of large, strong muscle tissue. They have leaner torsos which enhance the look of their well-developed upper and lower bodies. They have the heavy alpha-male cheekbones and square jaw that make most women go weak in the knees. And they can easily burn fat while maintaining muscular gains (as long as they stay physically active).

Effective Training Tips for Mesomorphs

Mesomorphs have it easy in the overall fitness department. Thanks to their gifted genetics, most of the professional advice which is already out there on building muscle and burning fat will work for them. The trick is to experiment with different strategies until they get their desired results.

Dieting Tips for Mesomorphs

Keeping the diet balanced is key for mesomorphs. Since their bodies are already lean, mean, fat-burning-and-muscle-building machines, a clean diet with an adequate macronutrient balance will work just fine. It is less likely that an extreme shift in carbs, proteins, or fats will result in drastic changes for a mesomorph.

Endomorphs - The Curse of the Teddy Bear

Endomorphs are pretty much the opposite of the ectomorphs. They tend to be shorter in height, and also in the length of their limbs. Hands and feet typically run smaller on endomorphs, and their calves & forearms are harder to develop than their upper arms or legs. In extreme cases, the body is soft and round, and they are widest around the waist. They tend to suffer from having a slower metabolism, and their body is more likely to convert ingested calories into fat than lean muscle.

Effective Training Tips for Endomorphs

For the Endomorph, HIIT (high intensity interval training) is your friend. It's a great way to stimulate your RMR so that you're burning calories even when you aren't at the gym. Whether you do a pure cardio HIIT routine, or incorporate HIIT principles into your weight training by taking shorter rests (no more than 30 seconds between sets), keeping your workout intense is key.

Effective Dieting Tips for Endomorphs

The lower and more complex the carbohydrate profile, the better. For an endomorph, carbs are the enemy, while protein is their best friend. Endomorphs need to make sure they drink plenty of water, though, to avoid putting an excessive strain on their kidneys.

If you've been struggling with different training strategies and can't seem to figure out why you aren't getting the results you want, consider looking into a regiment that is designed for your body type. Now that you have some insight on what might be hindering your progress, you can adjust your diet & exercise routine in order to get the results you need.

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