The three male body types are the endomorph, the mesomorph, and the ectomorph. Endomorphs are stockier and chubbier, mesomorphs are broader and more muscular, and ectomorphs are thinner and leaner.

Or that’s what people say, anyway. Men do have varying heights and bone structures. But do these traits combine together to form the three male body types?

And do different body types benefit from different diets and workouts? For example, is there such a thing as an ectomorph workout or an ectomorph diet? Or do all body types benefit from the same types of exercise and diets?

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Sometimes you’ll find an article about how to gain weight that doesn’t quite make sense. It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just that it’s clearly written by someone who isn’t skinny and who’s never struggled to gain weight. They just don’t get how tough it is for us skinny guys to gain weight.

It’s like an obese person taking weight-loss advice from someone who’s naturally skinny. The skinny guy would confidently say, “Well, yeah, just stop eating. It’s easy. I do it all the time.”

It took me years to realize how much fitness information is really weight-loss information in disguise. It took me even longer to figure out how to convert all of it into information that skinny guys can use. And longer still to break it down into five simple concepts.

This article is written by a skinny guy who has spent the past eight years helping other skinny guys bulk up. If you put this information into action, it will help you gain weight, just like it did for the thousands of members in our bulking program.

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How big should your legs be in order to have attractive upper body and lower body proportions? Can big legs make you look disproportionate? Can your legs look too big?

What’s the ideal leg size? Most guys have a subconscious instinct to squat a little less, bench a little more. Most lifting programs tell us that we should suppress that instinct. But what if those lifting programs are wrong?

What if this whole “don’t skip leg day” thing is making us think that we should be training our legs far more than we actually should be?

If you’re trying to build a strong, healthy, and attractive physique, how big should your legs be?

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A few weeks ago we got an email from a Beastly member, Nick, saying that he had referenced our Ectomorph Aesthetics article on his site. He thought that it perfectly described the physique that women find the most attractive. That got me curious about what his site was all about, so I checked it out.

It turns out that Nick has started up a business teaching guys how to improve their confidence so that they can meet women in an honest, authentic way. This confidence extends to success in business and with friends.

His approach hit home with me.

As a skinny guy, building muscle was so important to me because I thought my skinniness would prevent me from attracting the amazing woman who I wanted to raise a family with, or that it would prevent me from defending her. My confidence suffered as a result, and I approached muscle-building with a sense of desperation.

By the time I met the woman of my dreams, I had gained over fifty pounds of muscle. We spent our first date drinking beer, chatting, and doing handstands in the park.

A couple of days ago my friend asked her what she first noticed about me. I was surprised by her answer. It wasn’t my long hair or tattoos; it was how strong I looked. She even told her roommate about it after our date.

As someone who runs a fitness website for skinny dudes, I wish I could tell you that she fell in love with me because of that strength. It sure made a strong first impression, but I think she fell in love with me because of something else.

Being a strong guy has value. So does being a confident guy. But being someone who can turn a weakness into a strength is the real ticket.

I think it’s amazing how Nick now makes his living teaching other guys how to do the thing he was known for being awful at. He turned his greatest weakness into his greatest strength.

This article might help you do the same thing, and if you’re a single guy looking for love, this could even be the article that changes your life.

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Most of us ectomorphs describe ourselves as being naturally skinny and we tend to have a hard time gaining weight. More specifically, though, ectomorphs are usually defined by having narrower shoulders, lankier longer limbs, thinner bones, and a lower body-fat percentage. Being an ectomorph is also associated with having a higher metabolism and a smaller stomach.

If you’re curious about whether you’re an ectomorph or not, there are a few simple tests that you can do. All you need to do is measure the width of your frame, the thickness of your wrists, and the length of your muscle bellies. You can do it at home in just a couple of minutes.

We’ll also cover how the various ectomorph traits affect our ability to build muscle, what our genetic muscular potential is, and how we should approach bulking up.

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Why do some skinny guys with a low body-fat percentage not have visible abs? After all, for the average guy, getting abs simply requires getting lean. But what if you’re already lean and you still don’t have abs?

If you try to search for information about how to get abs, there are two types of advice that you’ll probably come across, neither of which apply to skinny guys:

  1. Abs are built in the kitchen, not the gym. Yes, most men get abs by dieting down to a lower body-fat percentage. That’s because most men are overweight, and most overweight men already have large ab muscles. After all, when someone gains weight, at least 33% of that weight is going to be muscle. Plus, the heavier someone is, the bigger their ab muscles will need to grow in order to support that extra weight. Overweight guys already have big abs. Skinny guys do not.
  2. Abs are built with high-rep ab routines—crunches, sit-ups, and so on. The most popular ab routines are high-rep circuits that are brutally painful but aren’t effective at stimulating muscle growth. Doing high rep crunches to build bigger abs is like running a marathon to build bigger legs. High-rep circuits are designed for improving endurance and blood flow, not for gaining muscle size. Yes, you’ll see guys with great abs doing these routines. However, that’s not how they built their abs, it’s just something they do because they like their abs.

Neither of these pieces of advice work for skinny guys. After all, our problem is that our abs are too small. We need to build bigger ab muscles.

We need a bulking routine for our abs.

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Seven years ago, we published an article titled Ectomorph Aesthetics: The Science of Building an Attractive, Aesthetic Physique, covering everything you should know about why women find certain physiques more attractive than others.

However, although we covered what was attractive, we didn’t go into how to become attractive. To help remedy that, I made an infographic explaining the four steps you’ll want to follow in order to build a more attractive physique.

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I spent almost 10 years of my life trying and failing to gain weight. In fact, when I tried to bulk up, I would often lose weight. And whenever I did gain a few pounds, I’d get a cold or take a break, and the weight would melt right off. I’d wind up right back where I started.

I didn’t understand why it was so damn hard for me to gain weight. Was it because I had an ectomorph body type? Could it really be that simple? But if that were the case, how come so many ectomorphs are able to bulk up? How was I different? Was I a hardgainer? Was I non-responder to weightlifting?

Other people would see me struggling to gain weight and they’d figure I just I wasn’t eating enough calories. They’d tell me to “just eat more.” Then they’d look at me like they’d just solved all of my problems, totally confident they’d given me the information I’d been missing all my life.

I had been skinny all of my life, though. “Just eat more” wasn’t new advice. I mean, it’s not like I hadn’t tried to eat more. Of course I had. I’d been trying to gain weight my entire life.

I get it. That advice would work fine for most people. After all, gaining weight is second nature for most people. If you tell the average dude to eat more, he’d be able to. Hell, he’d probably even like it.

So the assumption is that no matter how fast our metabolisms are, and no matter how small our stomachs are, we’re just supposed to tough it. We’re supposed to force-feed ourselves. But after grinding out a brutal bulking diet for a few weeks, feeling bloated and tired the whole way through, we’ll inevitably give up. It’s just not a sustainable diet.

So at that point, most of us blame our ectomorph genetics, thinking that we’re doomed to stay skinny forever. But some ectomorphs do it. Some skinny guys are able to bulk up. What’s their secret?

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why is it so hard for ectomorphs to gain weight?
  • What’s the best ectomorph bulking diet?
  • What type of exercise should ectomorphs do to bulk up?
  • How quickly can skinny guys build muscle?

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Illustration of a man on vacation with a woman in a bikini

Imagine being in the midst of a bulking routine, and things are going super well—you’re gaining weight on the scale each week, steadily building muscle. But then, lo and behold, disaster strikes. And not just a run of the mill muscle disaster, like running out of trail mix, but the worst kind of disaster imaginable: a vacation.

And I’m not talking about one of those cushy vacations at a resort that includes a gym, I’m talking about one of those vacations where we’re forced to stop lifting weights entirely. 

For many of us, even just the thought of taking a break from our workout routines gets our hearts racing, our minds spiralling down into the depths of pure terror. Unfortunately, I’ve been there too. I know what you’re thinking:

In desperation, you might start googling around to learn more, but since only 3% of the population is trying to gain weight, good luck trying to find an article for people who are worried about losing weight when they stop working out.

So what do you do? Cancel your vacation? Do bodyweight workouts? Or take a break from lifting?

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One of the most common questions we get asked is, “What exercise is best to grow my small chest (or arms, shoulders, abs, etc)?” It’s a surprisingly large question. Yes, some exercises tend to be better for activating certain muscle groups, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg:

  • Effectiveness: how well they build the target muscle groups
  • Efficiency: how many different muscles they bulk up at once
  • Learning curve: How easy they are to learn and master
  • Risk-to-reward ratio: How likely they are to strengthen versus injure us

So we’ve put together a guide showing you the best exercises for each muscle group. These exercises represent your best chance of safely building muscle as rapidly as possible for your experience level.

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