Body Types: Mesomorph, Ectomorph, & Endomorph Explained

If you walk down the street on any given day, you will likely notice that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. This allure with appearance and shape eventually led to scientific research to classify the three body types we know today (endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph), to determine the reason that we have that body type, and whether it can be altered by our lifestyle and health choices.


A body type, or a somatotype, refers to the idea that there are three generalized body compositions, or body shapes, that people generally fall into. The concept was theorized by Dr. W.H. Sheldon back in the early 1940s, naming the three body types: endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. Dr. Sheldon believed that these body types were predetermined, unchangeable, and that they also directly influenced a person’s personality traits. The body type link to personality traits eventually fell out of favor within the science community, but the three body types are still used today to develop personalized health and fitness plans for people.


The three body types are endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. While body types are often discussed in relation to women and fashion, a body type is not gender specific. Both men and women will fall into one of the three body type categories. Here’s a breakdown of each body type and some of their most common characteristics:

Endomorph: More round or soft physique, gains, and stores fat more easily, loses fat slowly, naturally slow metabolism.

Mesomorph: Naturally muscular and athletic with shoulders wider than the hips; efficient metabolism making it easy to gain muscle and lose fat.

Ectomorph: Slender with less muscle mass, narrow shoulders, and hips with respect to height, naturally fast metabolism making it difficult to gain mass.


Women come in all shapes and sizes and even have their list of body type descriptors, used especially in the fashion industry. Some recognizable examples of these body types are:

Pear-shaped: Narrow shoulders, wider hips.

Apple-shaped: Round throughout the torso, lean legs.

Carrot: Broad shoulders, narrow hips.

Celery: Rectangular in appearance.

Hourglass: Equal size across the bust and hips with a narrow waist.

This list doesn’t negate the three main body types used for men and women. The female-specific body type descriptors are more often used in the fashion industry to help women select the styles that will best complement their shape. 

Although it is more common now to see most of these body types represented in fashion magazines and the media, that wasn’t always the case. Starting before the 1900s, the fashion industry has served as a visual example of the most acceptable body type for culture. Many women have felt pressured by these images to fit into a certain body type to be considered beautiful or successful. Thankfully, over time, we’ve begun to realize that beauty and health aren’t found only in one single body type.


A body type doesn’t define or limit my clients based on their appearance, rather it can be used as a powerful tool for me to help my clients reach their current goals. When you know the assets and challenges that are associated with each body type, this information becomes an aid as I put together your fitness plan, taking out the guesswork. 

When identifying body types, consider the characteristics of the three body types listed above for endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs. Many of these characteristics can be identified visually, like bone structure and the amount of muscle mass or fat the client carries. With 2B Imperium’s new technology, it only solidifies and carries our discussion further. For some of the other qualities, I consult with my clients and ask them the following questions:

  • Do you find it easy or hard to gain muscle mass when you try?
  • Do you have any metabolic or chronic conditions? (these may indicate a slow metabolism)
  • How easy or hard is it for you to gain weight? To lose weight?


A person’s observable body type represents the current sum of their physical, dietary, and lifestyle choices up to that point in time, combined with a variety of uncontrollable factors, like genetics and surrounding environment (i.e. access to healthy food and a safe place to exercise). The fitness industry, at its core, is all about helping people learn to use the tools they can control (i.e., improved lifestyle, diet, and exercise techniques) to overcome challenges presented by genetics and environmental factors that they have less control. By making intentional and consistent changes to your lifestyle, physical activity, and nutrition, you can change your body type over time. 

It’s important to remember that even if your physique isn’t where you want it to be, it’s okay to have a positive self-image of where you are today. Focus on all the wonderful things that your body can do right now! Avoid comparing yourself to others and spend time with supportive people. By maintaining a healthy self-image, you’re more likely to enjoy the process should you decide to act and change your body composition in some way. 

In my next article, I will go into detail on how to train these three body types and give you pointers on how to make that happen for yourself. Thank you for your time, and as always, DARE 2B GREAT

By Cody Rininger

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