Types of Metabolism: Understanding Your Metabolic Type

What are the different types of metabolism? Which type does your body identify with? When it comes to understanding metabolism, you might have a rough idea of what it is, but do you know the role it plays in your overall health? People come in all shapes and sizes, depending on both your genetics and lifestyle choices. Did you know that there are three different metabolic types that people typically fall under?

Understanding your own metabolism and body type will help you better identify your personal health goals. Let’s break down the topic of metabolism and body types!

types of metabolism

What is Metabolism?

Your metabolism is the internal process by which your body expends energy and burns calories. A good way to think of it is, how efficiently your body turns fuel into action, like how a car turns gas into forward motion. It runs 24/7 to keep your body moving, even when you’re resting or sleeping, by converting the food and nutrients you consume into the energy your body needs to breathe, grow and repair cells, and everything else it does to survive.

What are the 3 types of metabolism

Every person experiences this process differently, with three different metabolic types categorizing the broad differences in metabolism. These three distinct types (somatotypes) impact how people convert, use, and store their energy from food.

The Three Types of Metabolism:

  • Endomorph
  • Mesomorph
  • Ectomorph

While each of these metabolism types have specific characteristics, most people can identify with one of these types. You may also see yourself reflected as a combination of types. Let’s break down each, starting with Endomorph.

What is Endomorph?

Endomorph is the most common body type, with 70% of the population having some endomorph characteristics. This describes a body type that is characterized by having larger bone structure and a higher percentage body fat. They often carry most of their weight in their lower body and can typically develop muscle tissue quite quickly, so they will have an easier time building strength.  They tend to be efficient in nutrient storage and store fat easily. Metabolically, the endomorph metabolism is generally slower than the other two types. This makes it more difficult to lose weight, as their bodies are more biologically prone to holding on to excess fat. Also, these people may be more prone to sedentarism and fatigue easily because of excess weight.

Nutrition Advice:

It’s not to say that all individuals with endomorphic body types are overweight. They’re just most likely to have challenges maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. Generally, people with an endomorphic bodies tend to be more sensitive to carbohydrates and insulin. Foods rich in carbohydrates release sugars rapidly into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar spikes and dips. The body is also more likely to turn these sugars into fat than burn them as energy. People following an endomorph diet may benefit most from foods that provide steady fuel without spiking blood sugar. This means choosing complex carbs from vegetables and high fiber grains, rather than simple or refined carbs like sugar and starches.

They should aim to consume a diet rich in nutrient dense foods- including lean quality protein, healthy fats – think fish, nuts, avocado, and healthy oils – that will help hunger and energy levels without increasing blood sugar. There are a few specific diet plans that meet these nutritional guidelines, including paleo and keto diet, both which focus on low carbohydrate and high protein foods.

Exercise Tips:

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends that people with an endomorph body type follow “well rounded” exercise routines  that focus on both cardiovascular and strength training workouts.

An endomorph body is well-primed to build and gain muscle quality. If you’re looking to build strength, moderate-to-heavy lifting that incorporates large muscle groups, and as many groups as possible will give you the best results (deadlifts, squats, pushups).

Cardiovascular exercises can help create a calorie deficit and potentially burn excess fat. Endomorphic body types respond well to a mix of high intensity interval training (HITT) and steady state training (SST) workouts. In HIIT, you will alternate between periods of very high intensity exercise and low intensity exercises. Try doing HIIT sessions 2-3 times per week.  People with an endomorph body type can try doing 30-60 minutes SST 2-3 times per week. These are longer sessions of consistent moderate to low intensity exercise. (Walking, jogging and swimming)


This body type is often described as a naturally athletic physique. Mesomorphs typically have an athletic, medium build with higher-than-average muscular development and relatively low body fat. Unfortunately, they also can gain fat easily, particularly in the lower body. Mesomorphs are strong, respond well to exercise (they can see quick changes and results when starting a new workout routine) and typically can eat a moderate amount of food relative to their activity level without gaining a lot of weight.

Nutrition Advice:

The best diet for a mesomorph will depend on an individual’s health or fitness goals. To maintain muscle mass and prevent body fat gain, the mesomorph diet should be a well-balanced diet. Since this body type tends to put on muscle quite easily, including a source of protein at each meal can help support the body’s natural inclination. Generally, they should focus on getting a healthy mix of complex carbs, lean proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables, and healthy fats. Make sure your carb intake is heavy on plants and high fiber. If weight loss if your goal, cut back processed foods, reduce portion sizes and calorie intake.

Exercise Tips:

Mesomorphs respond favorably to just about any kind of exercise. To achieve a lean and muscle physique, it’s important to incorporate a relatively even mix of cardiovascular endurance and strength training into their workout routines. While mesomorph body types can see the most progress after weight and strength training workouts, it’s valuable to not forgo other types of exercise. Mesomorphs can also afford to do more functional and conditioning work. HITT training is a great option and might be particularly prevalent for a mesomorph trying to lose unwanted body fat. It’s encouraged to also get in flexibility or mobility training. Flexibility is all about recovery and making sure your body can perform at their optimum level.


The ectomorph’s body frame is the smallest of the three body types and is characterized as thin and lean. Ectomorphs tend to have slender waists, narrow hips and shoulders, small joints, and long legs and arms.  They typically have a low body fat percentage and low muscle mass. Metabolically, they have a faster metabolism, which means they tend to not gain weight or muscle easily. Since they burn calories quickly, ectomorphs might feel hungrier frequently, despite what, how much or how often they eat.

Nutrition Advice:

The key diet for an ectomorph body type is to still focus on eating a healthy, well balanced diet rich in nutrients to provide the best fuel for the body. Because of the ectomorph’s fast metabolism, it may seem like they can eat whatever foods they want, but that doesn’t mean that they should eat everything. It can be beneficial for them to consume 5-6 small meals every few hours to help them stay feeling full and satisfied. Ectomorphs are often advised to increase their calorie and carbohydrate intake. Eating great amount of complex carbohydrates from healthy whole grains and high fiber foods can provided quick hits of energy that keep the body running well.

If one is looking to build muscle mass, additional protein sources would be encouraged. They should also incorporate vegetables, fruits, and healthy fat sources like nuts and seeds. All of these food sources will help with weight gain and muscle building.

Exercise Tips:

Ectomorphs are at a disadvantage when it comes to building muscle and toning the body with a thin frame, but it can be achieved by a dedicated training and nutrition plan. To build muscle mass, increase strength and sculpt the body, a simple and consistent weight training routine should be their focus. Strength will happen most efficiently with slow, heavy weights and completing five sets of approximately 8-12 reps for each muscle group. Ectomorphs tend to excel in endurance-type activities, so It’s not surprised they may prefer cardio training instead of weightlifting. The key is to balance out the strength training with a couple of days of cardio to keep your heart in good shape.


What Should You Take Away From This?

Did you see yourself in one of these body types- or perhaps a combination of two? Knowing the types of metabolism can help you understand your unique body type. Of course, body type is just one small factor in our health and fitness goals. It’s important to remember that we are all born beautiful in our individual shape and size; listen to your body and use the advice that resonates best with you!

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