Every guy has a different natural build that responds to exercise and diet in different ways. Stockier guys (endomorphs) are often better at lifting and skinny guys (ectomorphs) make the best long distance runners, then there are those athletic guys (mesomorphs) in the middle that seem to be able to do whatever they want. Most people fall somewhere in between two of these body types, but it’s still important to acknowledge what your body might be predisposed to do. Don’t think of these natural traits as limitations – if there’s a will, there’s a way – but, for example, if you’re a classic endomorph, you’re going to need to make a lot of changes if you really want to run a marathon.
Ectomorphs - Skinny
“The guy that inhales doughnuts and doesn’t gain an ounce.” Ectomorphs are your chronically skinny guys – they tend to have a slight frame and have very quick metabolism. In general, they have a tough time gaining any sort of mass, whether it’s muscle or fat.
“If you’re looking to gain mass and size, you don’t have to focus on cardiovascular work, typically,” says trainer Todd Durkin, founder of Fitness Quest 10 and author of The Impact! Body Plan. If packing on weight is a priority, make sure you’re focusing on increasing and improving your strength training while also keeping nutrition in mind. As an ectomorph, if you’re not conscious about what you’re putting in your body, you may gain little to no weight at all, regardless of whether it’s muscle or fat (and you want some of both).
Durkin notes that protein and nutrition are important for guys of every body type, but ectomorphs need to be getting quality nutrients and calories in “every three hours.” He also recommends working the legs more often during your workouts. “It’s kind of the most surefire way of optimizing strength, through your legs.” Hone in on the large muscle groups like the glutes and quads to help you go about gaining size.