Metabolism, 3 Body Types and How it Affects Muscle Building

09:38 Fitness 2021 0 Comments

In the fitness world you find that metabolism and metabolic rate are always spoken about but not too many people understand what this means and how it affects their nutrition and muscle building plans. Today I thought I would share a few things about metabolism starting from describing what it is? How it affects us? How it affects muscle building and cutting in men? How it affects women? How to measure our metabolic rate? How to increase our metabolic rate?

the 3 bodytypes ectomorph mesomorph and endomorph
The 3 Body Types: Ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism describes all the chemical reactions that happen in the body to maintain living cells, it’s a process which keeps us alive whereby our body converts food into energy and that energy is used for us(our bodies) to function . It can be broken down into two different categories, Catabolism which is the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy in the body and anabolism describes the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells in our body. Nutrition is a very important factor when it comes to metabolism because metabolic pathways are dependent on nutrients that we consume to produce energy by breaking down those nutrients. We need all types of nutrients to be able to function and repair damage in the body, these nutrients are classed as micronutrients and macronutrients which are all metabolised to serve different functions in the body. To read more about how different nutrients are metabolised go here.

What is metabolic rate?

Metabolic rate is the speed of your metabolism, in other words it’s the amount of energy used up in a certain period of time. So our metabolic rate is how fast or slow our body burns up calories. Our metabolic rate determines how easy or difficult it is for us to lose weight, gain weight or maintain a certain weight.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)

BMR is the amount of energy (calories) you need to keep your body functioning when it’s resting. This energy is used by the body for functions like breathing, the functioning of your nervous system, blood circulation, cell growth and so on. Your BMR is responsible for most of the calories you use up per day. It also controls your weight, because if it’s a fast rate you are more likely to burn more calories and lose weight, or find difficulty gaining weight, if its slow you do not use up a lot of calories so your body stores them as fat and you will most likely gain weight especially if you do not exercise.

Your BMR is affected by many things for example:

  • Your age, the older you get the slower it gets.

  • Your gender, women generally have a slower metabolic rates than men because they have less muscle which takes me to the next point.

  • Amount of muscle in your body affects metabolic rate, the more muscular you are the higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn in a state of rest.

  • Your size/weight affects your metabolic rate or should I say the calories your need for maintenance, the bigger and taller you are the more calories you need to eat and vice versa.  

  • Your endocrine glands also play a part in regulating your metabolic rate, your thyroid hormones play a major part in regulating metabolism, people with thyroid problems either hyper or hypo secretion of certain hormones can lead to drastic increase or decrease of metabolic rate which can be problematic.

  • There are other factors which affect metabolic rate like sleep or lack of sleep, stress, sickness and so on.

It is great to know your BMR/RMR (which is resting metabolic rate) so that you know how much you need to eat to sustain your body and your bodily functions each day. BMR is calculated when you are in a state of complete rest usually taken in a dark room after about 8 hours of sleep and 12 hours in a fasted state when you are still in bed and RMR is measured under less strict conditions meaning if you are just not doing any activity. You can use a metabolism calculator to measure how many calories you need to consume per day with varying levels of activity. Very active people must eat more to account for the extra calories they burn during sporting activities or exercise etc.  If you decrease the number of calories you consume to less than your RMR than you will lose weight, and if you do the opposite and increase the amount of calories you consume to more than your RMR you gain weight. It is as simple as that, but be aware that not all foods are made equal some like junk food contain a lot of calories but they are mostly empty calories which are no good for you, whereas healthier foods contain less calories but a better quality of nutrients within them.

The Different Body Types  

There are 3 different body types; they are ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.

  • Ectomorphs – Are usually skinny, fragile, thin, delicate build, flat chest, stoop-shouldered,  lightly muscled, large brain, muscle growth takes longer, have a small frame, trouble gaining weight and have very fast metabolisms.

Ectomorphs should focus on gaining lean muscle mass; they should also eat a lot of food to get a lot of calories to build muscle. Ectomorphs should not weight lift too often they should opt for shorter workouts using relatively heavy weights. Avoid doing any cardio, or keep it at a minimal until you are happy with the weight you have gained.

  • Mesomorphs – are usually naturally athletic and fit, hard muscular body (hour glass shape in women), rectangular in shape with broad shoulders, upright posture, grows muscle quickly. They are muscular and naturally strong.

Mesomorphs can train with weights for longer periods than ectomorphs but be careful not to over train. Mesomorphs respond best to weight training compared to the other two groups. They find it easy to gain muscle. Mesomorph gains fat easier than ectomorph but can lose it easily with a bit of cardio, so do cardio that you enjoy like riding a bicycle or playing soccer or running if that’s your thing.

  • Endomorphs – have it the hardest, they are soft and round in shape, under developed muscles,usually short and storky, they gain muscle easily but they also get fat really easily. They have a slow metabolism and find it hard to lose weight.

Endomorphs should use fast paced training using challenging weights with very short intervals to help them to burn fat. Training with weight will help the endomorph lose weight by getting a better muscle to fat ratio, the more muscle they have the higher their metabolic rate. Diet is very very important when you are an endomorph, junk foods, processed foods, simple carbs should be eliminated from your diet. Also an endomorph needs to do more cardio then the other two body types; it needs to be often, 3 or more times per week.


Females can also use these 3 body types above to see what kind of workout plan to get, just click on the body type test link in the next section after I finish discussing female body types and you will know what body type you are. Also with females you generally get the pear shape, straight, curvy (hour glass) and athletic body types.

  • The pear shape shape has a big lower body and a smaller upper body so they should focus on tightening that lower body and building their shoulder and arms.

  • The straight female body type is as the name describes without any curves so they should do workouts that that promote curves like squats and lunges to build a perfectly shaped gym booty and arm and shoulder exercises to promote growth in that region which will give the straight woman some shape.

  • The curvy woman has wide hips and wide upper body with a small waist, so they should engage in workouts that tighten up the entire body so they develop smooth curves, a firm gym booty and tight arms.

  • The athletic female body type has wide shoulder and a narrow waist so the best way to go is to train towards having a small waist and toned midsection, increase the size of your lower body this region includes your buttocks and legs to form some shape in that lower region.

My Body Type

I used the body type test on to check what body type I am. It turns out I am somewhere between an ectomorph and a mesomorph which I find pretty cool, it sort of makes sense, I was skinny but muscular and sort of strong before I started working out, I was always good at sports. I found it easy to gain muscle, had a fast metabolism and ate a lot of food but did not gain weight until I started lifting weights. If you see my development I am not tall and narrow I am more rectangular shape now even though my shoulders (and v taper) needs work in order to be considered broad.

How to Increase Metabolic Rate

Besides working out to build more muscle to increase metabolic rate there is another way to do it. Rusty Moore of fitness blackbook recently shared a way to boost and fix metabolism in his 3 part series on Eating to Increase Your Metabolism.

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