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Are you slim and have difficulties to put on weight?

If you answered yes to both questions, apparently you belong to the category of ectomorph. For clarification of certain terms, it must be borne in mind that each person belongs to a certain body type according to specific differences in the areas of metabolism and body composition. These body types create three basic groups - ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.  Each one needs to observe specific diet and training program in order to achieve progress and success. Firstly we will discuss ectomorph. If you think that these people are not suitable types for bodybuilding, you are wrong. Several famous bodybuilders belonged to this somatotype and despite an unfavourable starting position reached the peak, one of them was Frank Zane.


An ectomorph is easily identifiable at first sight. Most often he/she has a slim figure with slender arms, longer legs and a significantly thin figure. These are men and women who are slim all their life, even though they do not limit themselves in their diet. Their metabolism works extremely quickly and mostly, even with great efforts, they are not successful in gaining muscle mass. It is necessary to adapt their training, but especially dietary regime, to meet these requirements.

Typical signs of an ectomorph:

  • Slim body
  • Thin, long bones (narrow wrists, ankles)
  • Fastidiousness in eating, lack of appetite
  • Low muscle strength
  • Extremely fast metabolism
  • Low muscle mass and fat

If you notice any or all of these characteristics on yourself - you are an ectomorph.


Nutrition of an ectomorph:

As mentioned above, it is especially the diet which is the most important thing to find the key for gaining muscle mass. A lot of ectomorphs have problems with eating large portions because they simply "cannot". So they resort to consumption of inefficient and empty calories that unfortunately do not have any positive effect on the body. It is therefore important to start with quality food based on a high intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, it means to eat a large amount of quality calories! Believe us, if you even think that you eat a lot, and still cannot achieve muscle growth, the problem is very basic, it is the lack of calories. The process of gaining weight, as well as its reduction, is pure mathematics. If we want to gain weight, we have to take in more energy than we produce. And if you still have the same weight, it is recommended to watch your food intake, you can feel free to write it down and systematically add until it works. It is good to realize that diet and its individual components should be divided as follows:

The graph shows that the greatest emphasis is put on the supply of high-quality complex carbohydrates (60%), the rest consists of quality proteins and fats. The general rule for the consumption of carbohydrates is that the quantity should be at the level of 6-8 g per 1 kg of body weight, or even higher. The dishes are divided into several small portions throughout the day (5-6). The available literature also indicates that your daily calorie intake can be easily calculated by multiplying your body weight by 42 and you get the starting position. So if you weigh 70 kg, multiply that number by 42 and you can begin to set up your menu.

70 x 42 = 2940 kcal

After finding this information, it is good to start with its practical application on the menu and carefully monitor your weight. If you manage to gain 0.5-1 kg per week, it is absolutely amazing! In case you start gaining fat, it is necessary to reduce the amount of calories by 150-200 kcal, and if your weight stagnates, increase the calories by the same amount.

In principle, the following rule is applied:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods in every meal
  • 2 fists of vegetables in every meal
  • 3 cupped handfuls of complex carbohydrates in every meal
  • 1 thumb of healthy fats in every meal (or one larger portion in a single meal) 

Example of a menu for a bodybuilder weighing 70 kg:


Immediately after waking up:                       30 g of a weight gainer (15% proteins)

Breakfast:                                           100 g of oat flakes, 30 g of a 70% protein, banana

Snack:                                             200 g of cottage cheese, 20 g of t.v.s, 100 g of wholemeal bread

Lunch:                                                 150 g of chicken breast, 150 g of rice

Afternoon snack:                                          130 g of tuna, 100 g of rice crackers

Diner:                                             150 g of chicken breast, 1 baked potato (200 g)

Before going to bed:                                    250 g of cottage cheese, 20 g of peanuts


In total we have: 2943 kcal/12358 kJ, 168 g of quality proteins, 420 g of carbohydrates, 51 g of fat.

If we had to name the menu, we could have used the adjective - basic. It represents a certain starting position at the beginning and everything is up to you - to observe signals and reactions of your body and to modify individual components of the diet according to the recommendations which are mentioned above. 


Since supplementation is a part of every athlete's diet, it is no exception for an ectomorph. Supplementation constitutes a kind of a support system. It includes quality gainers, proteins, creatine, pre-workout pumps, or nutritional supplements from the category of prohormones, which combined with good food can literally make magic. And how should it ideally look like?

Scheme of a monthly supplementation for muscle gain:

Name of supplement Daily dose quantity
Creatine monohydrate 10 g (2 doses of 5 g)
Weight gainer 30-100 g (as needed)
Proteins 70% 30-60 g (as needed)
N.O. xplode 3.0 BSN 20 – 40 g
Alpha-1 MAX Blackstone labs 2 capsules


Training of an ectomorph:

As well as the diet, you should pay close attention to the training too, and in particular its modification, in order to make it work effectively. Firstly, you must stick to the principle that too much training does not bring the desired benefits. Basically, the most optimal choice for an ectomorph is to train in the system 1 + 1, i.e. one day training, one day off, that is 3-4 training units per week. An ectomorph is characterised by a relatively low strength and a rapid tiredness caused by training. Therefore, if you feel that you are not fully regenerated, give yourself an additional day off to completely regenerate muscles. For best stimulation, charge your muscles by basic exercises such as squats, presses, rows, deadlifts and perform a lower number of repetitions (between 5-8) with fairly heavy weights. Do not exaggerate it with the number of series either, 10 series for large and 6-7 series for small muscle groups is sufficient. Due to the high consumption of energy it is also not recommended to apply too much aerobic activity and other supporting activities. Avoid cardio immediately after strength training.

Example of a training:

1st day: Chest + forearms + biceps

Bench press 4 x 8, 8, 6, 6
Dumbbell Press 3 x 8, 8, 6
Pullower 3 x 8, 8, 6
Seated barbell shoulder press 4 x 8, 8, 6, 6
Sideway raise small dumbbells standing 3 x 8, 8, 6
Barbell curls standing 4 x 8, 6, 6
Curls small dumbbells seated 3 x 8, 6, 6 

2nd day: Thighs + calves + abdo

Squats with a barbell 4 x 8, 8, 6, 6
Leg – press 3 x 8, 8, 6
Deadlift with legs outstretched 3 x 8, 6, 6
Standing calf raises 4 x 21*
Sit-ups on an inclined bench 3 x 12-15
Short crunches     3 x 12-15
Hanging leg raise 3 x 12-15

* exception, because the calf muscles are fairly resistant and for maximum stimulation need more weight and higher number of repetitions, beyond pain. 

3rd day: Back + shoulders + triceps

Pull-ups on a horizontal bar 4 x 8, 8, 6, 6
Bent over barbell row 3 x 8, 8, 6
Pulldown behind the neck 3 x 8, 6, 6
Side lateral raise bent 4 x 8, 8, 6, 6
Narrow grip bench press 3 x 8, 8, 6
French press EZ dumbbells lying position 3 x 8, 8, 6
Parallel bar dips 3 x 8, 6, 6