The Best Diet for an Ectomorph to Gain Muscle

Are you an ectomorph looking to put on muscle and strength? You’re not alone. With the right diet and exercise plan, you can achieve your desired fitness goals. Read on to learn the best diet for an ectomorph.

Quick facts: Best Diet For Ectomorph To Gain Muscle

  • ✅ High-protein diets are the most successful for ectomorphs for gaining muscle; a ratio of 1.5 to 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is recommended – American College of Sports Medicine.
  • ✅ Carbohydrates should comprise 45 to 65 percent of calories in an ectomorph’s diet – Harvard Medical School.
  • ✅ Healthy fats should constitute 15 to 30 percent of an ectomorph’s total caloric intake – University of Michigan Health System.
  • ✅ Ectomorphs should focus on nutrient-dense foods, instead of foods high in empty calories – University of Arizona.
  • ✅ A meal schedule of frequent small meals throughout the day is recommended for ectomorphs to ensure they get enough calories and nutrients – International Society of Sports Nutrition.
  • Introduction

    Ectomorphs, or “hard-gainers”, are individuals who have a naturally fast metabolism and lean muscle mass. While they often have difficulty gaining weight or muscle, they do not require extreme diets or intense training routines to reach their goals. An ectomorph’s goal should be to create a dietary program that will provide them with the necessary calories and nutrients to put on weight and increase their muscle size.

    By following a few simple guidelines, you can develop an effective diet plan to help you gain muscle as an ectomorph. These guidelines include:

    • Understanding your caloric needs
    • Selecting nutrient-dense foods
    • Eating consistently throughout the day
    • Tracking your progress

    With the right nutrition plan in place, you will be able to maximize your gains in no time!


    Macronutrients play a key role in helping ectomorphs gain muscle mass. Protein is essential for muscle growth, and the amount of protein an ectomorph should consume will depend on their individual goals and needs. Carbohydrates and fats are also important, as they help provide the energy needed to perform resistance training.

    Let’s look at the types of macronutrients you should include in your diet as an ectomorph:


    Protein is an incredibly important macronutrient for ectomorphs looking to build muscle. Protein helps facilitate the growth and repair of muscle tissue, making it key for anyone looking to improve their physique. For ectomorphs specifically, protein can help to improve weight gain by providing a significant source of energy throughout the day and fueling workouts.

    It’s suggested that ectomorphs consume around 1.2-2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day (e.g., 120-170g of protein per day for a 70kg person). This should be made up from both animal and plant-based sources such as:

    • Red meat
    • Poultry
    • Fish
    • Legumes
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Dairy products

    Aim to spread your daily intake out evenly throughout the day by having at least 20-30g in each meal/snack.


    Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for the body, and for ectomorphs trying to gain muscle, carbohydrates are especially important. Consuming enough carbohydrates each day is essential to provide your muscles with the energy they need to grow.

    When it comes to building muscle, it’s important that you get your carbs from quality whole sources such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, brown rice and fruit. These complex carbs provide a slow release of energy throughout the day helping you maintain more consistent energy levels for longer periods of time. Additionally, whole grains and legumes contain beneficial vitamins and minerals that assist in muscle growth and recovery.

    When trying to gain muscle it’s important to include a combination of both simple and complex carbohydrates in each meal or snack throughout the day:

    • Simple carbohydrates: fruits, white rice, white bread, etc.
    • Complex carbohydrates: sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, brown rice, etc.


    Fats are a necessary macronutrient for ectomorphs. They provide essential fatty acids, promote healthy cholesterol levels, and support hormone levels which are important for muscle gain. Fats also provide energy to fuel day-to-day activities, promote fat loss, and confer numerous health benefits such as supporting cognitive function and a healthy heart.

    Ectomorphs trying to gain muscle should focus on including fats from quality sources such as whole eggs, nuts, seeds, avocados, fish oil supplements and olive oil into their diets. It’s important to consume these types of fats in moderate amounts as excessive intakes can lead to weight gain.

    Calorie Intake

    Achieving a muscular physique can be a challenge for ectomorphs due to their fast metabolism and difficulty in gaining weight. A significant factor in gaining muscle is calorie intake – making sure you are getting the right amount of calories each day to fuel your muscle-building goals.

    Let’s talk about how you can make sure your diet is providing you with the right amount of calories:

    Calculating Your Calorie Intake

    Calculating your calorie intake is the first step to determine what type of diet you need to achieve your muscle-building goals. To calculate your calorie intake, you will need to determine your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This is the amount of calories your body needs in order to maintain its current weight. You can calculate this number by multiplying your resting metabolic rate (RMR) by an activity factor. Your RMR is how many calories you expend at rest and can be calculated using various online calculators or apps.

    Once you know your TDEE, you can then calculate how many extra calories you’ll need in order to gain muscle mass. Generally, ectomorphs should aim for a calorie surplus of 200-450 calories per day, depending on their individual goals and preferences.

    Calorie Cycling

    Calorie cycling is a diet where an individual varies their caloric intake on a daily basis to promote muscle growth and fat loss. This approach allows you to eat larger amounts of food on certain days, while restricting your calorie intake on other days. As a result, you’ll have more energy to perform strenuous activities like weightlifting or HIIT on your “bulk days” and improved diet adherence on your “cut days”.

    The main benefit of this approach for ectomorphs is the ability to consume adequate calories for muscle growth without gaining too much body fat. Calorie cycling also ensures that ectomorphs don’t remain in a surplus for too long, helping minimize the amount of fat gain from overeating.

    While this approach can be beneficial, it requires careful planning and tracking as one miscalculated day can lead to either not getting enough nutrients or gaining excessive body fat.

    Meal Timing

    Meal timing is an important consideration when it comes to gaining muscle for ectomorphs. It is important to eat regularly throughout the day to ensure you are getting enough nutrients to support muscle growth. Eating small, frequent meals can also help with digestion and absorption of nutrients.

    Let’s look at how meal timing can help ectomorphs gain muscle:

    Number of Meals

    The number of meals an ectomorph should eat each day largely depends on their body weight and caloric needs. Generally, ectomorphs looking to gain muscle mass should aim to eat around three to five meals per day, spaced evenly throughout the day. Each meal should include a combination of healthy proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as plenty of vegetables, in order to provide enough calories for muscle growth.

    Additionally, it would be beneficial for ectomorphs to time their meals with the activity they perform. For example, those who do resistance training should have a meal or snack before and after exercising in order to have enough energy and provide the body with adequate nutrients for muscle recovery and growth.

    Timing of Meals

    Meal timing is an important factor to consider when developing a diet designed for an ectomorph to gain muscle. Eating the right foods at the right times can help promote muscle growth and optimize hormone production.

    At a minimum, one should strive for three main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) spaced evenly throughout the day. For ectomorphs looking to build muscle mass, snacking between meals should be encouraged. This will help keep up energy levels and promote regular nutrient absorption throughout the day. It is also recommended to eat carbs within 30 minutes post-workout in order to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles and stimulate muscle growth.

    It is also recommended to include fiber-rich foods such as high-fiber cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes regularly in your meal plan for overall health and well-being.


    If you’re an ectomorph looking to gain muscle, you may want to consider adding some supplements to your diet. Supplements can help provide additional nutrition and calories that are needed to support muscle growth. But, before you decide what supplements to use, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each.

    Let’s take a look:


    Creatine is an amino acid found naturally in meats and fish, and used by bodybuilders to help increase muscle mass and strength. It is considered one of the most popular weightlifting supplements on the market.

    Creatine helps provide energy to muscle cells by increasing the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). It also helps reduce fatigue and increase endurance during physical activity. For ectomorphs specifically, this can be beneficial when trying to gain muscle weight, as well as improve lean body mass.

    Creatine has been extensively studied for its safety and effectiveness, with numerous studies showing that it can increase performance when added to a regular exercise routine. Most of these studies have concluded that creatine supplementation is safe for healthy adults who are training regularly and not taking other supplements or medications at the same time.

    Protein Powders

    Protein powders are a convenient and effective way for ectomorphs to make sure they’re getting the right amount of protein intake needed to build muscle mass. Protein powder is a dietary supplement that is usually made from casein, egg, soy, or whey protein. Whey is one of the most popular types of protein powder used by ectomorphs because it contains all the essential amino acids that are necessary for muscle growth and repair.

    Ectomorphs should look for whey proteins with at least 25 grams of protein per serving, along with added ingredients such as creatine monohydrate or BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids). A typical dosage recommendation for an ectomorph who wants to gain muscle mass is 1-2 scoops of whey protein powder per day; however, this can vary depending on individual factors such as caloric intake and activity level.

    Pre-Workout Supplements

    Pre-workout supplements are a type of dietary supplement designed to provide additional energy, endurance, and focus during workouts. These supplements typically contain caffeine, amino acids (particularly branch chain amino acids or BCAAs), and herbal extracts. Pre-workout supplements can work alone or in combination with other muscle-building nutrients such as protein and carbohydrates.

    Common ingredients include creatine monohydrate, beta alanine, and caffeine; however, there are many varieties available on the market today with different ingredients tailored for various needs. When used properly in conjunction with a balanced diet and consistent exercise program, pre-workout supplements can help give an ectomorph the extra energy and focus needed to build muscle mass.


    When an ectomorph is looking to gain muscle, the best diet for them should have the proper macronutrient balance and adequate amount of calories. Eating enough protein is essential, as well as making sure to get some healthy fats and complex carbohydrates in their diet. Supplementing with essential vitamins and minerals can also help in order to reach optimal health.

    It is also important to focus on eating regularly throughout the day, and maintaining proper portion sizes in order to get the right amount of calories. With a combination of balanced nutrition along with regular exercise, an ectomorph can achieve their goal of building healthy muscles.

    FAQs about: Best Diet For Ectomorph To Gain Muscle

    Q1:What is an ectomorph body type?

    A1:Ectomorphs have a light build with small joints and lean muscle. They have a fast metabolism and find it hard to gain weight.

    Q2:What is the best diet to gain muscle as an ectomorph?

    A2:Ectomorphs should focus on eating a calorie-dense diet that contains plenty of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Eating several small meals throughout the day can also help to increase calorie intake.

    Q3:Are supplements necessary for ectomorphs trying to gain muscle?

    A3:Supplements are not necessary for ectomorphs trying to gain muscle, but they can be beneficial. Protein powder, creatine, and BCAAs are all good options for ectomorphs looking to build muscle.

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