HomeBody typeEctomorphEctomorph Body Type

Ectomorph Body Type

Ectomorph body typeAn ectomorph has the body type that is most often seen in the pages of fashion magazines. They are slim boned, long limbed, lithe and have very little body fat and little muscle.

Ectomorphs tend to have fragile, delicately built bodies and find it difficult to gain weight or add muscle. Supermodels, ballerinas and basketball players most commonly fall into this group.


  • Skinny
  • Small joints/ boned
  • Long arms and legs
  • Linear physique – “ruler body shape
  • Small shoulders
  • Lightly muscled
  • Small chest and buttocks
  • Low body fat (without exercising or following low calorie diets)
  • Can eat anything they like without weight gain
  • Fast and efficient metabolism
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Hyperactive
  • Difficulty in gaining muscle mass



MALE examples include:

  • Brad Pitt
  • Bruce Lee
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Chris Rock
  • Toby Maguire
  • Edward Norton

FEMALE examples with ectomorphic characteristics, include:

  • Kate Moss
  • Gisele Bündchen
  • Nadja Auermann
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Thandie Newton
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Whitney Houston
  • Calista Flockhardt

Click here for images of some famous ectomorphs.


Although ectomorphs tend to be highly regarded, one must remember that they have problems of their own. Ectomorphs tend to lack shape because of their low muscle mass. Female ectomorphs are likely to be flat chested and may complain of looking boyish, wishing they had more womanly curves. Male ectomorphs struggle to increase their muscle mass and may look wiry. As you see, they too, have to work hard to achieve their goals. As ectomorphs lack muscle mass, thus they need to keep their weight lower than endomorphs or mesomorphs. Furthermore, some ectomorph want and struggle to gain weight – muscle and some fat.

With age, even the super-fast metabolism of the ectomorph slows down and as a result, they often gain weight, since they are not used to exercising or watching their calorie intake. However, this is an opportunity for male ectomorphs to gain muscle and female ectomorphs who want more curves to get them. Brad Pitt for example, has become much less ectomorphic over the last few years, as has Kate Moss.


Ectomorphs may be underweight, but over-fat and thus be carrying too much body fat and not enough lean mass (muscle). Hence, the skinny people who look wobbly naked and the term skinny fat. Ectomorphs can benefit, as much as the other two body groups, from body fat (composition) measurements. Even ectomorphs can’t get away without exercise if it is a super sleek toned body they are after.

If it is shape you want, you need to increase your muscle mass. The ectomorph diet should choose nutrient and calorie dense foods for their snacks and meals, such as nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruits, and starchy vegetables. Also, try a weight gain diet for ectomorphs, if you want to put on weight.

If you are struggling to gain weight, it may be a good idea to visit your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. People suffering with hyperthyroidism for example, experience weight loss, are unable to gain weight and tend to be hyperactive and fidgety.


  1. The article is about loosing weight, but you do not help with this, you only discuss weight gain with this body type while acknowledging that weight can be gained quickly with age .

  2. I found this article on Pinterest and as I’m not familiar with the site aside from that, I don’t know if this is a place for questions…so sorry if it isn’t.

    As a child and teen, I was skinny and could eat whatever I wanted without more than moderate exercise to stay that way. Now that I’m almost 33, have birthed three babies, and have in recent months gotten into a bad habit of stress-eating (we’ve had major changes in our lives recently, but I am working on changing that habit to healthier ones, like jogging with my kids after school and drinking green tea instead of snacking), I look more like the fat-retaining body type. Was I just always that body type, but my youth helped me out, or am I this ectomorph type? I will add that just before my husband and I got pregnant with our third, I’d started jogging and doing light weight/resistance training and was seeing some good rsesults without really having to change my diet, aside from refraining from snacks.

    Thanks! This article was rally interesting and helpful, if only I could figure out what type of body I have, so that I can follow the correct plan, 😉

  3. @April — This article is about the ectomorph body type, aka hardgainers, who struggle to gain weight let alone avoid weight loss, not about how to lose weight.

    @Sarah — You are probably a mesomorph or endo-mesomorph; although you could be a balance, that is, that you have pretty close to balanced characteristics of the three body types. However, based on what you have said, you are most likely a mesomorph. Endomorphs generally are fat their entire lives including childhood; ectomorphs generally aren’t prone to stress eating. Being very close to pure ectomorph (if not completely pure ectomorph) myself, I know how seemingly impossible stress-eating or emotional eating seems to me, and if anything, I’d be more likely to stress-starve or emotional starve. Eating for any other reason than forcing myself to eat as much as I need seems inconceivable to me as an ectomorph. Of course, on the somatotype scale where 711 is pure endomorphy, 171 is pure mesomorphy, and 117 is pure ectomorphy, I have estimated that I may be a 126, but more likely a 127 or 117, so I am an extreme example of an ectomorph.

    To find out for sure what body type you fit best into, you can evaluate yourself on the following characteristics of each body type:

    A 711 endomorph is short and round, with wide hips, short arms and legs, large bones, naturally large forearms, and naturally high levels of body fat. A 711 endomorph has trouble losing weight and keeping weight off even with a very high activity level due to a slower than average metabolism (for given body stats) and a large appetite with constant cravings. Endomorphs are generally overweight most of their lives including childhood. Pure endomorphs are generally sociable, tolerant, even-tempered, good humored, relaxed, loving of fun, comfort, and food, and have a need for affection.

    A 171 mesomorph is of average height, with wide shoulders, narrow hips, neither short nor long arms and legs, medium bones, naturally average forearm size, and naturally lean and muscular. A 171 mesomorph can easily gain or lose weight just by changing his/her activity level because of an average metabolism and appetite, and only being hungry at meal times. Mesomorphs are the most likely to go from being thin as children and teens to overweight as adults due to increasing age and/or decreasing activity level. Pure mesomorphs are generally adventurous, courageous, assertive, bold, competitive, and indifferent to what others think or want, with a desire for power and dominance.

    A 117 ectomorph is tall and linear, with narrow shoulders and hips, long arms and legs, small bones, and naturally small forearms, and is naturally skinny, naturally lacking both fat and muscle. A 117 ectomorph has a hard time gaining weight and keeping weight on even when sedentary due to a faster than average metabolism, a low appetite, and the ability to ignore hunger in the rare cases that it occurs. Aging and decreasing activity levels are not enough to shift the equation to gaining weight for a typical ectomorph, so ectomorphs are generally thin their entire lives unless they make a major commitment to change that through a high calorie diet. Pure ectomorphs are generally self-conscious, private, introverted, socially anxious, intense, emotionally restrained, artistic, and thoughtful.

    A 444 balance possesses half of the characteristics from each body type. Generally, if all of the numbers in a somatotype sequence are 3, 4, or 5, that is considered a balanced body type. If the first number is a 6 or 7, the body type is endomorph; if the second number is 6 or 7, the body type is mesomorph, and if the third number is 6 or 7, the body type is ectomorph. If none of these apply, consider yourself an endo-mesomorph if mesomorphy>endomorphy>ectomorphy, a meso-endomorph if endomorphy>mesomorphy>ectomorphy, an ecto-mesomorph if mesomorphy>ectomorphy>endomorphy, a meso-ectomorph if ectomorphy>mesomorphy>endomorphy, an ecto-endomorph if endomorphy>ectomorphy>mesomorphy, or an endo-ectomorph if ectomorphy>endomorphy>mesomorphy (endomorphy is the first number, mesomorphy is the second number, and ectomorphy is the third number). If you are a 551 or 442, you can consider yourself either a balanced endo-mesomorph or a balanced meso-endomorph, if you are a 155 or 244, you can consider yourself either a balanced ecto-mesomorph or a balanced meso-ectomorph, and if you are a 515 or 424, you can consider yourself either a balanced ecto-endomorph or a balanced endo-ectomorph. If you’d like to view these visually, you can go to https://fitnesswithnicholas.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/july-revised-chart.jpg . Keep in mind that while you can change your physique (e.g. go from fat to lean, fat to thin, thin to muscular, thin to fat, etc.), your body type never changes, as body types simply reflect tendencies toward physical characteristics, rather than current physical characteristics that may be achieved through hard efforts or resulting from poor lifestyle. In other words, this is a case of nature vs nurture, where somatotypes=nature and physiques=nurture.

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