Metabolic Types: The Best Workout For Your Physique

Have you already dealt with your metabolic type? It provides important information on how you should optimally nourish yourself and train best. Find out whether you are ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph – and what that means for you!

You work out regularly and pay attention to your diet, but losing weight or building muscle just won’t work.

Maybe you are ignoring your metabolic type!

The three metabolic types according to Sheldon

In the 1950s, the psychologist and physician Dr. William Sheldon developed his theory of the three body types: According to this, all people can be assigned to one of the three categories “ectomorph”, “mesomorph” or “endomorph”.

Basis of his model: Sheldon analyzed the development of the cotyledons in embryos and compared them with their later physique.

Cotyledons and body structure

In the earliest growth phase in the womb, three cell layers – ectoderm (outer layer), mesoderm (middle layer), and endoderm (inner layer) – are formed, from which the various structures, tissues, and organs eventually emerge.

According to Sheldon, the development of these same cotyledons affects each person’s physique and metabolism.

What do the metabolic types tell me?

The division into the three body types is not entirely undisputed today and is outdated from a medical point of view.

Nevertheless, the model is used in the fitness environment: It can help you to optimize your training and nutrition plan.

Perhaps the knowledge of your individual metabolic type is the missing piece of the puzzle to finally achieve the desired progress.

Determine your body type

Read the descriptions below carefully and determine your body type based on the characteristics. Our related recommendations can give you important clues for your training and nutrition.

Of course, there are also mixed types. Just see which type corresponds most closely to you or where you have the most overlap.


The ectomorph type is characterized by a fast metabolism and lean physique. He is slow to put on muscle or fat and has difficulty gaining weight.

These characteristics make you:

  • narrow chest, shoulders, and hips
  • short torso
  • long, thin limbs
  • narrow feet and hands
  • low body fat percentage
  • fast metabolism

Diet plan for the ectomorph type

For the ectomorph type, the following applies more carbohydrates and proteins, and fewer fats. Increase your calorie intake to build mass in the long run.

Pay attention to high-quality foods, i.e. complex carbohydrates such as whole grain products, sweet potatoes, or rice.

Proteins also belong in your diet plan. Important sources of protein are animal products such as eggs, curd cheese, or cottage cheese as well as plant foods such as legumes, nuts, or pseudo cereals (e.g. quinoa).

Protein shakes after training could also be useful for you.

Training plan for the ectomorph type

Your focus should clearly be on strength training: Super sets (approx. 6 to 8 repetitions of 5 sets per exercise) with heavy weights can help you build muscle mass. Concentrate on the large muscle groups and train three to four times a week.

Between training sessions, you should give your body enough time to regenerate. This is the only way for your muscles to grow.

Endurance sports tend to be counterproductive. Reduce cardio sessions to one or two times per week at the most and then focus on low-intensity workouts instead of HIIT.


The mesomorphic type has an athletic build, tends to build muscle easily, and has little difficulty maintaining weight. Males typically have strong hair growth.

These characteristics make you stand out:

  • broad chest and shoulders
  • long torso
  • pronounced V-shape in men, X-shape in women
  • large hands and feet
  • distinctive facial features
  • defined, strong muscles
  • low body fat percentage (mostly on the lower abdomen and hips)

Diet plan for the mesomorphic type

A balanced diet with sufficient carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is the best way for you – the golden mean.

Control your calorie intake according to your goal: if you want to lose weight, reduce the intake, if you want to gain weight, increase the number of carbohydrates. To build muscle, you should increase your protein intake.

If you want to maintain your weight but still change your diet a little, you could try interval fasting. In general, find a healthy balance and provide your body with all the important nutrients.

Training plan for the mesomorphic type

When it comes to exercise, you’re also right in the golden mean: a combination of strength and cardio training will benefit your figure in every way. You build muscles and increase your endurance.

In addition to a varied workout in the gym, HIIT is ideal for you. Just like boxing, kickboxing, or martial arts.

Train three to four times a week and focus on your personal goals (toning, building muscle, or losing weight).


The endomorphic type has a broad build and slow metabolism. It is easy for him to build up muscles. In return, he also gains fat mass quickly.

These characteristics make you:

  • broad chest, shoulders, and hips
  • strong limbs
  • large hands and feet
  • round face
  • hardly any muscle definition
  • high body fat percentage
  • slow metabolism

Diet plan for the endomorphic type

For the endomorphic type: more proteins and fats, and fewer carbohydrates.

The goal should be to balance your hormones and boost your fat burning. To lose weight, you can first build up a calorie deficit.

In the long run, you should consciously focus on a balanced diet with high-quality foods – lots of fresh, especially green vegetables from the region, good sources of fat (e.g. avocado, nuts, linseed oil, cold-pressed olive oil), and complex carbohydrates.

You could give vegan cuisine a try, and you should generally avoid refined sugars.

Training plan for the endomorphic type

If you have the goal of losing weight, you should focus on strength endurance training. The endomorphic type is made for bodyweight training, which strengthens and boosts the metabolism.

Have you ever tried HIIT? Otherwise, combine two to three cardio sessions a week with strength training at the gym. Work with moderate weights and high repetitions (15 to 20 per exercise, 2 to 4 sets).

Strength training helps you increase your basal metabolic rate and burn energy even at rest.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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