Body 2 min read

The Ectomorphic Body Type – Everything You Need To Know

by Mindvalley February 1, 2019

Training for your body type can help you break free from your genetic predispositions.

Ectomorphs know this better than most. If you can describe your body as lean and willowy, there’s a high chance you possess an ectomorphic body type.

Before we get into the specifics of being an ectomorph, let’s take a look at why body type classification matters.

What Are The Different Body Types?

You are what you consistently do. Your habits shape your character.

In the 1940s, American psychologist William Sheldon developed the body type theory. This theory suggested that all people fall under three body types. Each type comes with a set of genetic predispositions.

Sheldon claimed that it’s not just physique that matters. He believed that your body types determines your personality.

Today, experts frown on this claim, but the fitness world has definitely benefited from the classification system.

So, how do these types differ from each other?

three somatotypes

What Are The Three Somatotypes?


Sheldon suggested there are three somatotypes: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Here’s a brief overview of their characteristics:

1. Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs have a slim, sleek body shape with small shoulders, hips, and small-sized bones. They often encounter difficulty gaining weight and benefit from a quick metabolism.

Psychologically, Sheldon associated ectomorphs with the cerebrotonic personality: they’re very intelligent, shy, creative, and tend to stay away from the crowd.

2. Mesomorphs

Mesomorphs are naturally muscular and have broad chests, narrow waists, and a powerful posture. They’re seen as natural athletes, and putting even the slightest effort into getting fit yields sizeable results for this body type.

Their temperament is considered somatotonic: they’re true go-getters, adventurous, but can be aggressive and pushy. They’re comfortable with taking risks and don’t always think before they act.

3. Endomorphs

Endomorphs have a naturally stocky shape and are able to gain weight and muscle easily. A little weight training goes a long way with endomorphs, as they acquire muscle more readily than the other two types.

Their personality is viscerotonic: they’re generally comfortable with themselves, have a good sense of humor, enjoying being with others, and like to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

How Can You Tell Your Body Type?


The best way to determine your body type? Just take a look in the mirror.

Even though there are some variations, it’s pretty easy to put yourself in one of the three categories.

Take a look at your overall build and pay special attention to your shoulders, hips, and posture. Once you do this, there’s a good change you’ll know your body type immediately.

ectomorphic workout routine

What Is Ectomorph Body Type?


Ectomorphs are considered energy factories. Their fast metabolism is incredibly effective at transforming carbs into fuel. This is what gives them a leaner look when compared to the other two body types. Ectomorphs generally do well at endurance sports.

On the other hand, their bodies aren’t adept at building muscle mass. They generally need to put more effort into creating an effective ectomorph workout routine to build muscle.

So, what does an ideal ectomorph workout look like? A good balance of weight training with low-intensity cardio.

Ectomorphs also need good quality calories, which is why their diet should mostly revolve around healthy carbs. Lean proteins are also essential for building muscle.

With the right strategy, you can work with your natural body type to achieve the state of health and fitness you desire.

Learn more about your specific somatotype and explore the best food and exercise routines for your body type.

Do you have an ectomorphic body type? Share your fitness and lifestyle tips in the comments below.


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by Mindvalley
Mindvalley is creating a global school that delivers transformational education for all ages. Powered by community. Fueled by fun. We are dedicated to ensuring that humans live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives by plugging in the gaps that conventional education failed to teach us. We do this by organising real-world events around the world and producing world-class quality programmes in several areas of transformation, including mind, body, and performance.

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