Images by Dallas Olsen | Fitness model: Ebony McLaughlin | Hair and make-up by Lisa Lee 



Part #3 – Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs are naturally lean people with long limbs, narrow waists, hips and shoulders. Due to a fast metabolism, most are slim or skinny and have been that way their whole life. While a small percentage of the population are ectomorphs, many models fall under this category. As an idealised body image, their linear or rectangular body types are often envied by endomorphs and mesomorphs. However, they are petite, have a small frame and joints and struggle to gain weight. If they do put on fat, it tends to go on their stomach and upper hips, leaving their limbs slender. If they want to gain muscle or get curves on their body, it is more difficult for them. A lot more effort is required compared to the other body types, which ultimately makes it more satisfying for the ectomorph when they do gain mass.  


Look for clothing that gives you a little more bulk and shape.

If you wish to draw attention away from your upper half, invest in bright shoes, pants or shorts.

With your straight limbs you can pull off tapered and skinny jeans or tights quite well. The trick is to make sure they are tight around your hips to help you create curves.

Tops with volume on the shoulders and hips are great for creating the illusion of curves between the waist, bust and hips.

Empire-waist dresses, shift dresses and peplum-style dresses and tops can make your silhouette appear fuller.

Volume sleeves and long sleeves can make your arms appear bigger if you are self-conscious about thin arms.

Tucking in shirts can make your hips look wider which will make your legs look better too.

To fill out the bust area, opt for tops that feature heavy prints and colours, as well as details like pleats, ruffles, twists, knots, or ruching at the bodice.

Layering is also a great way to create dimension around the bust area.

Waist belts are a great way to break up your body and make your waist appear smaller – giving you the illusion of curves.



Don’t skip meals. Try to eat three meals a day and three snacks a day.

Because of your high metabolism, carbs should make up 55 per cent of your diet. Eat complex carbohydrates like multigrain bread, rice, pasta and muesli.

Foods such as fish, olive oil, lean protein and complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, veggies and beans are all good options.

Choose nutrient- and calorie-dense foods for snacks, such as nuts, sunflower seeds and dried fruits.

Opt for foods that are energy-dense like homemade fruit smoothies or protein smoothies. Protein shakes are great for ectomorphs after exercise.

Good sources of lean protein are red meat, turkey, chicken, tuna, low fat cheese, green and beans, eggs.

Eat more and eat often if you are looking to add some muscle onto your body.

Avoid junk food. Even though your metabolism is high, large quantities can still make you gain fat rather than muscle or will prevent you from gaining muscle if that’s what you’re trying to do.



Ectomorphs are usually trying to gain weight or muscle due to their super-fast metabolism. In order to get the most out of your workout, you need to be patient and take longer breaks in between exercises. Strength and endurance will need to be developed as muscle mass develops very slowly, but keep at it!

Cardio exercise is necessary to stay healthy, but keep these workouts at 60-80 per cent of your maximum heart rate in order to avoid burning too many calories that could be used to grow muscle mass. Try to work out three to four times a week and make sure to include some stretching and toning exercises like Pilates and yoga.


(1)  Samuels, M 2014, Weight gaining Tips for Ectomorphs, viewed July 7, 2014, < >

(2)  Female For Life 2013, The Ectomorph Body Type, viewed July 7, 2014, <>


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