Body shape word cloudThere are three basic body types: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. This system of physique classification was established by W.H. Sheldon, an American psychologist. Each type responds to diet and exercise differently. Read on for a brief primer on how to implement the best diet and exercise for your body type.



This body type looks long and lean. Ectomorphs have small bone structure and comparatively fast metabolism. Their lithe looks are owed to slow weight gain and muscle development as well as low body fat. Because ectomorphs have such a high metabolism they may be able to get away with less cardio. More weight training may help with muscle development as this is a challenge for most ectomorphs.  Ectomorphs should go for more carbs with moderate proteins and low fat in their diet.


This body type is round with high body fat. Endomorphs have a larger bone structure and a comparatively slow metabolism. They tend to gain weight easily and do not tolerate high carbs well.  Because endomorphs have a slower metabolism, cardio is key for managing weight. Weight training is essential for muscle development and metabolism efficiency. Endomorphs should go for more healthy fats, moderate proteins and low carbs in their diet.


This body type has medium bone structure and an athletic build. Mesomorphs, when active, easily build lean muscle mass. This type typically has lower body fat and a comparatively easy time both gaining and losing weight or bulking up. Cardio is a good way to go if weight loss is the goal.  Mesomorphs should go for a balanced diet of carbs, fats and proteins.

photodune-8758816-dietinggrungehuman-xsMost people have body shapes that combine categories with one physique type that is more dominant. Metabolism is one way to determine your dominant physique type. For example, if you take in high calories and gain little or no weight you are probably an ectomorph, if after your binge period you gain weight but lose it easily with diet and exercise, you are probably a mesomorph. If you gain weight after your binge and have a tough time shedding the pounds even with diet and exercise adjustments you are probably an endomorph.  You can also take the wrist test. According to ectomorphs have an overlap of middle finger over thumb when one hand encircles the opposite wrist. Endomorphs have no contact between the fingers and for mesomorphs the two fingers may just barely touch. Take the test for yourself and use what you learn to make a diet and exercise plan that works for your unique body type and metabolism.