Ectomorph vs. A Hardgainer: Is There A Difference in Body Types?

You have probably noticed that there are many different body types out there. When you go to the gym, you can see a pretty good cross-section of these body types. The terms that describe these body types are thrown around quite frequently, so let’s try to demystify the whole thing and give you a better idea of what these terms mean.

The Three Basic Body Types

In general, there are three basic body types, although middle-ground cases do exist. These three types are:

  • Ectomorph
  • Endomorph
  • Mesomorph


The ectomorph is the long, lanky body type. Ectomorphs tend to be naturally skinny, which makes them the envy of those who wish to lose weight. These kinds of people can eat a lot more without gaining weight because they tend to have a faster metabolism. At the same time, ectomorphs can have a hard time putting on muscle and maintaining it over time.


The endomorph is the shorter, stubbier body type. People like this tend to be a little more rotund, but not necessarily overweight or obese. Endomorphs will usually have a harder time losing weight, but they tend to have an easier time packing on muscle. These body types will usually have shorter, stubbier limbs and digits and a slower metabolism. On the upside, endomorphs have an easier time retaining muscle than endomorphs.


The mesomorph is the classic bodybuilder type. These individuals can be spotted by the fact that their shoulders are slightly wider than their hips. Some might also describe this as the “superhero build,” and mesomorphs are said to have the best posture. If you were born with this body type, you definitely lucked out. You will have an easier time building muscle and retaining it, while not having a large tendency to gain weight. The only downside is that mesomorphs tend to be a little less flexible than the others.

Who Came Up With This Stuff, Anyway?

These body types were invented by a psychologist named William Sheldon. As a psychologist, he was mainly concerned with the influence of body type on personality. He made many attempts to correlate these three body types with specific personality traits, but the results were never very consistent.

Although Sheldon didn’t really achieve his goal, he did invent a convenient way of classifying the three primary body types. As such, these terms have remained common up to the present day.

What Is A Hardgainer?

This is another term that you might have heard bandied about the gym. As the title of this article implies, there are a lot of people who don’t understand the difference between an ectomorph and a “hardgainer.” If you are one of these people, there is no reason to worry because they are (more or less) the same thing.

A “hardgainer” is just a person who has a harder time putting on muscle. These are the ones who have to lift a little bit more in order to get the same results, so it’s not necessarily a reflection of their effort. In theory, a hardgainer could be an endomorph or an ectomorph, but the vast majority of them are ectomorphs.

If you are a hardgainer, you will need to adjust your diet accordingly. If you are this kind of person, you simply need more calories than the average person. As such, you need to include more carbs in your diet. This will be especially important for the pre-workout meal.

For most people who want to gain muscle and lose weight, it is recommended that you eat a diet consisting of (roughly) 40% carbs, 40% protein, and 20% fats. However, ectomorphs need to get a little more fuel. Carbs are the best short-term fuel for the body, so that’s where you need to add the extra calories. Adjust your diet to 50% carbs, 25% proteins, and 25% fats.

What About Fat?

Fat is indeed a good source of energy, but it tends to be stored rather than being used right away. This can (of course) lead to rapid weight gain. So, how do you get enough fat in your diet without gaining weight? The answer is to stick with good fats.

Good fats, far from being unhealthy, are essential for the proper functioning of the brain. The omega fatty acids have been proven time and time again to have beneficial effects on mental performance. Also, societies that eat a lot of seafood (rich in omega fatty acids) tend to have much lower rates of heart disease.

Advice For Endomorphs

The endomorph will have the opposite problem. With a slower metabolism, they will need to eat fewer calories to avoid gaining weight. They just cannot burn off as many calories as the others, so it’s best to go with a lower-carb diet. We would recommend that you adjust the standard 40/40/20 ratio to 30% carbs, 50% protein, and 20% fats.


It should be noted that these three body types are not absolute examples. As we mentioned earlier, these body types were created as a model for some experiments, and these experiments were focused more on mental well-being than physical fitness. Still, we can clearly see that there are many different body types in the world. It is also true that most people can accurately be classified into one of these three categories.

By knowing where you fall on this spectrum, you can adjust your diet and exercise until you have an optimal routine. If you have enjoyed this article and found it to be helpful, you can show your appreciation by following us on Facebook.

The post Ectomorph vs. A Hardgainer: Is There A Difference? appeared first on Gaspari Nutrition.

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