Take our FREE 1 Minute Quiz to find out EXACTLY what Diet & Training is Best for You.


Take our FREE 1 Minute Quiz to find out EXACTLY what Diet & Training is Best for You.

Here’s everything you need if you’re an ectomorph: diet, workout, and cardio recommendations to build muscle!

If you have always been described as lanky, skinny, petite, or you find it hard to put on muscle or gain weight, even though you feel like you’re eating a ton, then chances are you have what is known as an ectomorph body type. 

Ectomorph is one of the three common body types:

It’s not uncommon for people to have characteristics of two or even all three body types, but most people generally fall into one body type more than the others. And you can definitely change some aspects of your body type!

This guide will explain traits of an ectomorph body type, the best ectomorph diet, and how this body type should train to achieve their health and fitness goals. 


Ectomorphs are typically long, lean, and thin with small joints. They also tend to have a hard time gaining weight and putting on muscle – hence the nickname “hard-gainer.”

Many ectomorphs have low levels of body fat, but some do not. These people are often described as “skinny fat” because they appear thin but have more body fat than muscle.

Here are a few other tell-tale signs that you have an ectomorph body type:

To give you a visual example of what this body type looks like, many fashion models, distance runners, and even some basketball players fall into this body type category. 

Being an ectomorph has more to do with your bone structures and proportions, which you can’t change. But you can still pack on muscle and change the shape of your body with a strategic diet and exercise plan that will work with your body type instead of against it!!

What type of diet is best for an ectomorph? 

Since they typically have a fast metabolism, it’s often assumed that ectomorphs can eat whatever they want and not gain weight. To an extent, this is true, but ectomorphs should still be cautious as to what and how they eat.

Ectomorphs often need a higher calorie diet and tend to respond well to carbs. Don’t skip out on them if you’re looking to gain weight! A few to keep in mind include: 

  • White or sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • White or brown rice
  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Fruits

High-calorie nut butters can also be an easy way for ectomorphs to add calories to their diet. They also need plenty of muscle-building protein, and should almost always have a post-workout protein shake. In short, they need quality calories – and plenty of them! . 

A balanced diet, on the higher end of carbs, is probably your best dieting approach if you’re an ectomorph. You can see the best macros for an ectomorph to gain weight by using the macro calculator in the V Shred app for iOS or Android. 

But this doesn’t mean ectomorphs can get away with only eating processed, high-sugar, junk carbs! They still need to primarily choose healthy sources, such as fiber-rich fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

In addition to protein, some of tried-and-true supplements for ectomorphs include: 


Ectomorphs often face a difficult time building muscle and strength. A strategic weight-training routine using heavy weights is critical for the ectomorph.

One of the best styles of training to achieve this is by doing hypertrophy training. The V Shred program Clean Bulk is a great example of this style of training. 

“Hypertrophy” is just the scientific name for muscle growth. There are numerous methods you can use to start making it happen in your body, but these are the big ones: 

  • Work out with weights on a regular basis
  • Take at least one set of each exercise close to the point of muscle failure
  • Train each muscle group at least twice a week 
  • Do the majority of your lifting in moderate rep ranges like 6-12 reps per set
  • Use a mixture of compound and isolation exercises
  • Focus on progressive overload: gradually increase the weight, frequency, or number of reps. 

When it comes to cardio, ectomorphs still need to include some low-intensity sessions each week for cardiovascular health. They just need to be careful to not overdo it, or they risk burning calories that could be better used to build muscle! 

Ectomorphs should perform 20-30 minute cardio sessions 2-3 times a week and try not to let their heart rate get too high — somewhere between 50 – 70% is ideal. 


Even if you carry some excess body fat, if you have always been on the thin side and have a hard time putting on muscle — you are most likely an ectomorph.

If ectomorphs aren’t prioritizing healthy foods and staying active, many can still have excess body fat (mainly belly fat) -which can make it confusing to figure out if this is really your body type. 

That is why we created a FREE BODY TYPE QUIZ that anyone can take that will help you determine what body type you have.

It’s only a few questions; you get your results instantly and will even be given free tips for the ideal workout style and diet for your lifestyle and goals!

After taking the quiz, if you discover that you are an Endomorph or Mesomorph, check out the blogs we did on those body types.

If you are still confused about what your body type may be and the best way to eat and train to see the best results, reach out to our team at coaching@vshred.comWe would be happy to help you create a custom workout and meal plan!