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The Mesomorph Body Type: How To Train + Eat Right For Mesomorphs

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A mesomorph is one of the three body types, or somatotypes, used to describe the physical build of a person, the other two being ectomorphs and endomorphs.

But, what does the mesomorph body type look like? What is the best diet for people with a mesomorph body type? How should mesomorphs work out for optimum results?

Keep reading to find out!

In this guide, we will cover: 

  • What Is a Mesomorph?
  • What Is the Best Mesomorph Diet?
  • The Best Mesomorph Workout Plan

Let’s get started!

A group of people at the gym flexing their biceps.

What Is a Mesomorph?

Someone with a mesomorph physique is described as having a higher percentage of muscle mass than body fat but overall having a rather solid, sturdy build.

The mesomorph body type can be seen as sort of the middle of the road among the continuum of the three body types. It is stockier and more muscular than an ectomorph and more muscular and lean than an endomorph.

In general, the female mesomorph body is not all that different from the general mesomorph physique.

Women do tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men, regardless of body type, so a mesomorph body type female will still be relatively muscular compared to endomorph females or ectomorph females but may have more body fat than a mesomorph body type male.

People with a mesomorph body type typically do not have much trouble gaining or losing weight, particularly in terms of building muscle or bulking up.

A strong man with a mesomorph body type.

Again, compared to the other body types, a mesomorph can usually build muscle and put on size much easier than an ectomorph and can lose fat and achieve better muscle definition and sculpting than an endomorph.

Due to the high relative percentage of muscle mass, mesomorphs are usually quite strong and solid but not necessarily overweight or underweight.

The body shape is sometimes described as rectangular with even weight distribution. Mesomorphs are said to have a square-shaped head, muscular shoulders and chest, muscular arms and legs, and a large heart muscle.

As mentioned, in addition to having what can be described as a medium build, mesomorphs have a “medium“ ability to gain and lose weight.

Unlike ectomorphs who struggle to put on weight, mesomorphs can build muscle fairly easily. However, because mesomorphs do gain weight fairly easily, if you tend to be an overeater, you might find that you bulk up too quickly and have trouble keeping your weight where you want it to be.

A strong woman with a mesomorph body type.

What Is the Best Mesomorph Diet?

Due to the higher percentage of muscle mass and the propensity to gain and lose weight fairly easily, the best diet for mesomorphs tends to be a little higher in calories to support muscle mass.

However, mesomorphs still need to be mindful of their caloric intake, especially if they are trying to lose weight.

It is generally recommended to follow a high-protein diet and to ease up on carbohydrate intake.

According to ACE Fitness, it is usually recommended that mesomorphs divide up their plate or portions for each meal into equal thirds.

One-third of the plate should consist of lean proteins such as fish, chicken, turkey, egg whites, high-protein dairy foods such as Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, tofu or other soy products, or lean meat.

A variety of protein-rich foods such as meat, fish chicken and dairy products filling out the outline of a flexed bicep.

One-third of the plate should be vegetables and fruit. Choose whole, unprocessed vegetables and fruits rather than processed fruit products like applesauce.

When possible, emphasize vegetables over fruits and choose low-sugar vegetables and fruits over high-sugar counterparts or starchy vegetables.

Examples of good vegetables for mesomorphs include dark leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, bell peppers, summer squash, artichokes, mushrooms, and onions.

Try to choose fresh or frozen vegetables rather than canned vegetables or those with added salt or sugar.

Fruits should include the skin so that you get fiber and antioxidants.

Examples of healthy fruits to eat for mesomorphs include berries such as raspberries and blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit, oranges, whole apples with the skin, pears, kiwi fruit, and tomatoes.

A variety of green vegetables.

The final third of the plate should be composed of a combination of whole grains or healthy starches as well as healthy fats.

Examples of healthy whole grains to eat for mesomorphs include quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, teff, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, and amaranth.

It is important to emphasize that these should be whole grains rather than refined grains such as white flour, white pasta, white rice, refined breakfast cereals, quick oats, or couscous.

As an alternative to whole grains, the diet for mesomorphs can also include starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams, and turnips or higher-sugar vegetables such as peas, corn, carrots, beets, and parsnips.

Additionally, mesomorphs who are vegan, vegetarian, or otherwise following a plant-based diet can combine the one-third of the plate that is intended to be “proteins” with the third of the plate that is allocated for whole grains and healthy fats with carbohydrate-rich plant-based proteins sources such as lentils, black beans, and garbanzo beans. 

In these cases, having about half of the plate composed of your nutritious legume, one-third of the plate filled with vegetables or fruit, and the remaining 17% divided up between healthy fats and a little bit of whole grains or starchy vegetables often works well.

A protein shake with scoops of protein powder around it

Healthy fats to emphasize in the diet of mesomorphs include olive oil, avocado, flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and coconut.

Make sure to choose healthy fats that are natural and unprocessed; stay away from trans fats and industrial oils as much as possible.

In general, because mesomorphs have a higher percentage of lean muscle mass, the average mesomorph metabolic rate tends to be higher pound for pound than for an endomorph, who has a relatively higher body fat percentage.

Particularly for mesomorphs who are working out consistently, total caloric intake may need to be higher than estimated by an online calculator that does not take into consideration body composition.

Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than adipose (fat tissue), so your caloric needs are going to be higher.

Oftentimes, the best diet for mesomorphs is to consume three meals per day with a couple of snacks throughout the day in order to keep energy levels high, fuel your muscles, and support an active lifestyle.

Aim to consume 20 to 25 grams of protein per meal or snack, spread out throughout the day in roughly 4-hour intervals to optimize absorption.

A person grabbing a kettlebell.

Related: Ideal Body Weight Calculator

The Best Mesomorph Workout Plan

The ideal mesomorph workout plan depends largely on your primary training goals.

If you are interested in bodybuilding, strength training, and overall putting on muscle mass, you will find that your body responds quite well to your resistance training workouts.

On the other hand, the mesomorph body type doesn’t typically lend itself as well naturally to endurance-based exercises like marathon running, wherein a very lean physique is ideal.

This is not to say that someone with a mesomorph physique cannot be a good runner or cyclist, but your skeletal frame and muscular physique will not be “out trainable“ through exercise, so you will never be a wisp of a runner. 

However, mesomorphs who engage in endurance-based training can still become successful and are often rather injury-resilient. Additionally, with a larger relative heart size, many mesomorphs can become great athletes with more natural athletic ability than people of other body types.

A person with a personal trainer getting ready to do a deadlift.

The best mesomorph workout plan for building muscle is to engage in hypertrophy-based strength training, aiming to use 65 to 85% of your 1RM load for exercise for three sets of 8 to 12 reps. Train all of your major muscle groups a minimum of 2 to 3 times per week.

Doing body part splits can also be a very successful approach for bodybuilding for mesomorphs, with the ability to train 5 to 6 days per week in total.

Cardio workouts for mesomorphs can be especially helpful for those looking to lean out. And for exercising at least 3 to 4 days per week for 30 to 45 minutes.

The mesomorph body type responds particularly well to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts rather than long, steady-state endurance efforts.

If you have a particularly lean mesomorph physique and you are looking to bulk up, you can drop your cardio workout frequency to 2 to 3 times per week for 20 to 25 minutes, again focusing on high-intensity interval training during these workouts.

Keep in mind it is still ideal for mesomorphs to try to meet the guidelines for physical activity for adults set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the British Heart Foundation, which are to accumulate either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio exercise per week.

Are you still unsure of your specific body type, whether it be ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph? To try and nail down your specific body type and learn how to feed and train it properly, check out our guide: Do You Know Your Body Type? How To Train Effectively For Your Somatotype for more information.

A person at the gym with a weight plate, smiling.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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