Ectomorph: Definition, Diet, Nutrition And Best Workout Guides
If the term "ectomorph" sounds like a prehistoric creature to you, we have good news. Ectomorphs are people with a specific body type, which are known for their classically long, lean bodies and vigorous metabolism and thyroid function to match. This body type often has a hard time building muscle mass, which is why the ectomorph diet tips online are endless.
In today's guide, we are reviewing everything about the ectomorph body type and showing you how to optimize nutrition, training, and supplementation to build your best physique yet.
What Is An Ectomorph?
We all have varying physical structures and genetics. Our body's react differently to nutrition, training, and overall activity. Now, there are three standard body types out there, including:
The best way to describe the ectomorph body type is as having longer limbs, and a slender build structurally. Ectomorphs, typically, have low body-fat percentages and are not predisposed to building muscle.
In addition to being tall and having a leaner build, the ectomorph physique boasts a higher metabolism compared to other body types. Often known as ecto's, individuals with this body-type often need to consume vast amounts of calories to gain weight and accurately tailor workouts to maximize muscle growth.
Nutrition & Metabolism
When it comes to nutrition, the fast metabolism of ectomorphs is both a blessing and a curse. This metabolism type helps ectomorphs achieve a lean physique in an easy, optimal way. It seems like the standard ectomorph can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.
However, with age, ectomorphs tend to lose their fast metabolism, mainly due to low muscle mass, which often results in unhealthy weight gain.
So, the optimal diet for an ectomorph is one with a higher dosage of calories, mainly from quality carbohydrates. Around 50% to 60% of the calories should come from carbs, 25% from protein, and 25% from fat.
Ectomorphs should eat, on average, every two to four hours to gain lean muscle. If one is unable to gain weight, add roughly 500 calories, from quality nutrition sources to the current diet protocol. Also, warmer foods suit the body type better for digestion.
- Complex Carbohydrates: oats, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and potatoes.
- Fruits: bananas, pineapple, papaya, peaches, avocados, and mangoes.
- Vegetables: carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts
- Snacks: nuts and seeds, as well as nut butter (ex. peanut butter)
As you can see, ectomorphs can benefit from a healthy, balanced diet rich in micronutrients. If you have an ectomorph body, it does not mean you should use it as an excuse to eat everything. Instead, bypass low-quality foods and focus on consuming the right portions of macronutrients to suit the body type.
Pre-Workout & Post-Workout Nutrition
In general, ectomorphs should eat or drink around 30 to 60 minutes before a workout with foods featuring fast-digesting carbohydrates (ex. fruits) and protein. These nutrients will aid in physical performance and is an easy way to sneak in quality calories during the day. The post-workout meal should be consumed 30 to 60 minutes after training. It needs to include either a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs/protein to replenish glycogen stores (the stored form of carbohydrates in the body) and repair damaged muscle fibers.
Training For Ectomorphs
It can be a bit of a challenge to build muscle mass. Sculpting the ideal physique is best achieved through a simple weight-training routine, utilizing progressive-overload. The focus should always be incorporating higher volume in your programming. The pyramid rep scheme is a great way to accomplish this.
- Day 1: Chest And Triceps: Series of 4 exercises per muscle with 12,10,10,8 rep variations
- Day 2: Back And Biceps: Series of 4 exercises per muscle with 12,10,10,8 rep variations
- Day 3: Legs And Shoulders: Series of 4-6 exercises per muscle group with 12,10,10,8 or 3x12 rep variations
- Day 4: Rest And Steady-State Cardio
- Day 5: Total Body Supersets: For Ex. Pushups, skull crushers, Arnolds and other variations (up to 5 exercises) with 3x12 rep schemes.
- Day 6: Rest/Steady-State Cardio
- Day 7: Rest/Steady-State Cardio
To maintain heart health and function, low-intensity cardio at 20-30 minutes 2-3/x week is optimal.
How To Train If You Are An Ectomorph
The foundation of training should be improving testosterone production within the body. It is testosterone that can help you maximize your gains made from each workout.
Research proves periodizing compound, multi-joint exercises in an intense, hour-long workout is the best strategy for maximizing testosterone, and with it, the muscle-building process. You want to keep rest between 2-3 minutes per set. So, the goal is to perform between 3 and 5 workouts per week.
For adding lean size, the best combination of supplements includes nutrient-dense mass gainers, creatine monohydrate, and pre-workout supplements.
Mass Gainer Supplements
High-calorie intake can lead to impressive gains for ectomorphs. However, fueling the body with poor-quality food is not the answer. Instead, you would want to get a solid weight-gainer supplement, which includes clean sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The goal is to balance and hit your macros without feeling bloated or gassy after consuming a shake.
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Creatine monohydrate is the most studied supplement in the world, and for ectomorphs, it can certainly produce a lot of benefits such as increased strength, and muscular endurance.
As you probably know, creatine is an organic compound that supports energy production within your muscles. The faster ATP is replenished, the more sets and reps in the gym you knock out in the gym. Since it is beneficial for strength-building, it is also an excellent supplement for ectomorphs.
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For pre-workout, focus on products containing fully-transparent ingredient labels. Knowing that there are tons of pre-workout supplements available, the idea is to find one which contains clinically-dosed ingredients and isn't just loaded with proprietary blends or stimulants.
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In the end, being an ectomorph has its ups and downs. And just like all the other body types, it is not a curse once you know how to optimize your nutrition, supplementation, and workouts around it. Consume nutrient-dense foods and fine-tune your squat and bench technique, then don't be afraid to sport a tank-top poolside to show off your impressive gains.