Just Your Type

The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Training Right for Your Body Type


By Phil Catudal

With Stacey Colino

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A comprehensive plan for matching diet and fitness regimens to body types, based on the proven system of somatotypes

According to fitness guru Phil Catudal, 70 percent of people exercise the wrong way. To achieve lasting fitness and health, Catudal explains, you should work with your natural-born body type and do the optimal combination of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises and consume the right proportion of macronutrients for your physique. While fitness trends and fad diets will come and go, your body type (somatotype) is the one constant that’s never going to change. Just Your Type helps anyone create an individualized workout that’s tailored to their body shape and composition. Working harder isn’t always the answer, but working smarter is.


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BE HONEST: AT THIS VERY MOMENT, DO YOU HAVE THE BODY you want? I’m guessing the answer is no since you’ve picked up this book. Well, you’re in good company (and you definitely get props for coming clean about this). Many people discover that even after they’ve been killing it at the gym or sticking with a wholesome, balanced diet, they don’t get the results they were hoping for in terms of changing their body shape or body composition. Maybe they can’t shed the body fat or gain the muscle definition they’ve been striving for. Or maybe they don’t get the energy or stamina they want. Or maybe they don’t achieve the personal record they were working toward. This may be because while they appeared to be doing everything right, they were actually following the optimal protocol for someone else’s body, not their own. In other words, it might have been the ideal approach for their best friend or boss but not for them.

At any given hour during the day, millions of Americans are working out—running, lifting weights, or engaging in some other form of cardiovascular or resistance training. For the first time ever, in 2016 more than half of people in the United States reported that they were getting the minimum amount of exercise recommended by health experts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that’s a major milestone, in my experience approximately 70 percent of people are exercising the wrong way for their bodies’ needs. To put it another way, for every 10 people who are exercising or working out, only about 3 of them are doing what it takes for them to achieve results efficiently.

Confused? Here’s the backstory: every single one of us has a genetic blueprint that dictates our body type (a.k.a. somatotype). Every body type has its advantages so don’t judge. But different body types do respond differently to certain dietary regimens or fitness programs. So, if you haven’t achieved the fitness or weight control results you’ve been aiming for, this may be because you weren’t providing your body with the physical challenges or the nutrients it needed to transform its appearance and physical condition. It’s not your fault since you probably didn’t have the fitness know-how or the right tools to do this. So don’t beat yourself up about what didn’t go right in the past, and stop bemoaning the build you were born with. It’s time to take a different tack.

Whether you have a naturally athletic or curvaceous build or a physique that’s slender, wiry, or willowy, there’s good news: with the right exercise modalities and the right foods, you can turn the body you have into the body you want, losing inches, dropping pounds, and developing a more sculpted look in the process. You can perform better at certain sports, gain energy and stamina, and improve your overall health along the way. The key is to work with your individual body, rather than against it, based on your natural somatotype. There are three basic body types—ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs—that can determine how you respond to certain foods and physical activities, what your hormonal and metabolic characteristics are, and how much lean muscle and body fat you have (and where it’s located). This is something else you can partially thank your parents for: research suggests that a person’s somatotype is 56 to 68 percent inherited (for the record, the mesomorph type has the highest degree of heritability), according to researchers from York University in Canada. Few people are purebreds, though, as far as body types go; instead, most people have a mix of characteristics from different somatotypes.

Once you identify and understand what your body type is, you’ll discover how to work with it to achieve your weight and fitness goals. Adjusting your diet, your objectives, and expectations and adapting your workout approach to suit your DNA-determined reality can help you get to that prize. In other words, you can cultivate what you didn’t get automatically from your genetic makeup. There are limits, of course: eating more healthfully or training more efficiently for your body type won’t make you taller or change your bone structure—but it can change your body composition, as well as the way you feel, for the better. And that’s where this book comes in: you’ll learn how to put together a diet and exercise plan that’s designed for your natural-born body type so that you can fuel it optimally with your food choices and enhance it with the right workout approaches to achieve your goals to get fitter, stronger, sexier, and more self-assured.

Trust me on this because I’m personally and professionally familiar with the importance of working with your body, instead of against it. After winning a five-year battle against childhood leukemia (I was the bald kid in my kindergarten photo because of chemo), I became a fitness freak in my teens and developed a diet and exercise regimen that helped me become super strong and fit; before I knew it, people at the gym were begging me to train them. I thought about becoming a doctor but decided that instead of treating people who were sick, I wanted to help people avoid going down the path to disease or illness. Today, I am a highly successful global health coach and celebrity trainer based in Los Angeles and a father of three.

I have been training celebrities for more than 10 years, and I’m consistently able to give my clients results faster than they ever thought possible—even faster than other top trainers achieve with their clients. Just like our bodies aren’t mirror images of each other, our exercise and dietary regimens shouldn’t be carbon copies, either. That’s why generic weight-loss or shape-up programs often don’t work for the people who try them. To achieve success, you need to work with your natural body type and do the optimal combination of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises and consume the right proportion of carbohydrates, protein, and fats, also known as macronutrients, for your physique.

By the time you finish this book, you will be on your way to becoming your own personal trainer and dietitian. You’ll have put yourself in the driver’s seat, and you’ll be steering yourself toward becoming the strongest, fittest, healthiest version of you yet. The ultimate goal is not to achieve anybody else’s idea of the perfect body or stellar lifestyle; it’s to translate your own get-fit, get-healthy goals and your good intentions into effective actions that will help you feel more powerful, more comfortable, and more vibrant in your own skin. That’s a feel-good type everyone can relate to and achieve.

While fitness trends and fad diets will come and go, your body type is the one constant that’s never going to change. The message behind Just Your Type is simple but powerful—if you want to be healthy, fit, slim, and strong, focus on the physical and dietary moves that will enhance your natural-born body type. This book is based on the successful training protocol that I use with my celebrity clients, and it will give you better results in weeks than you’ve had with months of training or dieting in the past. These impressive outcomes are possible because my program will give your body the fuel and physical challenges it needs, not the ones it doesn’t. The workout that your willowy friend (an ectomorph) swears by isn’t likely to give you the results you crave if you’re strong and muscular (a mesomorph) or softer and more curvaceous (an endomorph). The right training approach and the right calories really do make all the difference. While the goal with my plan is to maximize your health and master your strength, weight loss (or body fat loss) is usually a positive side effect.

Stick with the sensible, targeted program in this book, and you’ll not only get leaner and more energized, but also you’ll emerge stronger, healthier, and looking and feeling the way you’ve been wanting to. There are no gimmicks or catches or torturous moves—I promise. This is the most effective diet and workout routine you’ll ever follow, and you’ll see results faster than you ever thought possible. Whatever body type you have, there is a diet and exercise formula that will provide you with an express ticket to a fabulous physique, improved health, and greater strength. Let’s get started and find the one that’s right for you.



WE LIVE IN A CULTURE THAT LOVES TO CATEGORIZE PEOPLEby marital status, occupation, financial status, religion, recreational interests, personality types, zodiac signs, zip codes… you name it. Our bodies aren’t much different, in this respect. As it happens, there are primary body types (somatotypes)—ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph—that each of us was naturally born with. One isn’t better than the others are so there’s no judgment here, and many of us tend to be a blend (or hybrid) of two different types. You could be a combination of a mesomorph and endomorph or an ectomorph and mesomorph, for example.

It’s important to know your type because there’s no one-size-fits-all diet and exercise regimen that will work for everyone. That’s why many people end up with a history of yo-yo dieting or going on and off various fitness fads—because they fail to get the results they thought they’d signed up for. So what worked for your friend may or may not work for you. By focusing on your somatotype, you can learn how to be more efficient in your training and how to fuel your body with the foods it will thrive on. Long story short: you can get a better body and be healthier faster by choosing the workouts and the right calories from the right sources that will work for your somatotype—and skip the ones that won’t. Don’t get me wrong: my version of sweat equity does take work and discipline. The difference with this plan is that you’ll see and feel changes in your body more quickly than you ever have with other programs because this one is so efficient and effective.

Take a moment to think about this: Why would you take a slow, laborious route that may or may not give you the body of your dreams when there’s a safe, efficient way for you to gain more lean muscle mass, develop a trimmer physique, and shed body fat two or three times faster than your current workout routine might allow, without subjecting yourself to excessive amounts of exercise or food deprivation? Choosing the laborious route would be like taking a three-stop flight from New York to California when a direct flight could get you to your destination in half the time and for the exact same price. It’s a no-brainer and it really is that simple to transform your health and your body if you take the right approach, as I discovered firsthand.

As a teenager, I got into weightlifting, and while I gained significant strength pretty quickly, I couldn’t attain the size or the defined musculature my older brother had, even when we did the same exercise regimen. Meanwhile, I got friends to come to the gym with me, and we soon discovered that even when we followed the same workout schedule, did the same exercises, the same reps and sets, the program produced completely different results for all of us. One friend’s arms blew up into big, chiseled muscles (we were all jealous), while I was the guy with the lean “V taper” (broad, muscular shoulders with a tight waist), and another friend developed insanely strong legs and a six-pack. That’s when I began researching body types and training needs—and found out that I’m a hybrid (an ecto-mesomorph) while my brother is a straight-up mesomorph, which explains a lot about why we responded so differently to the same workouts.


As I learned in my research, the concept of somatotypes was developed in the 1940s when American psychologist and physician William Herbert Sheldon, M.D., Ph.D., sought to correlate body types with physical strengths and weaknesses, personality characteristics, and behavior. Over the years, there has been some controversy about somatotypes, partly because not that many people fit neatly into one of the three primary categories (more on that later) but also because the notion of “constitutional psychology,” or personality attributes being related to specific body types, is pretty hard to swallow. There isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that someone’s body type, composition, or shape determines his or her temperament, psychological makeup, or other personality attributes. So let me just say: IMO, those claims are utter nonsense. I know men and women who happen to be endomorphs or ectomorphs who are assertive and bold (traits traditionally attributed to mesomorphs); similarly, I know endomorphs or mesomorphs who are introverted and self-conscious (qualities linked with ectomorphs). You undoubtedly do, too. Different personalities come in a variety of body shapes and sizes, so let’s agree to throw the personality part of the equation out of the picture without rejecting the whole somatotype concept.

After all, exercise scientists, physicians, and other health experts have seen great merit in studying significant differences in the physiques, hormonal responses, and physical performances between the somatotype profiles that Sheldon outlined. And there is solid science behind using somatotyping for fitness and athletic training to enhance performance. Of course, there are genetic, hormonal, anatomical, metabolic, digestive, and other variables in every individual that make that person’s body different from others who have the same body type. But notwithstanding these differences, certain body types are a lot more alike than they are different.

I love what I do specifically because I like to find the optimal approach for every individual, to tailor a program that will work best for him or her—I consider myself a physique transformation specialist. The fact that I’m delivering consistent results speaks volumes for my approach, which is why I have embraced it both personally and professionally. In my 10-plus years as a professional in the health and fitness industry, I have yet to find a superior or more efficient and effective approach to helping clients, friends, and family members consistently achieve their health and fitness goals.

Consider my client, Ashley, 24, who had suffered from eating disorders and body dysmorphia (a condition involving obsessing over perceived flaws in your appearance) and felt demoralized because she didn’t look like the models she would see on Instagram. At 5’6” and 140 pounds, Ashley was eating healthfully and exercising three hours a day—and she just couldn’t understand how or why she didn’t look like those models. After discussing how the media distorts reality in fashion pics (thanks to the use of filters, lighting, editing techniques, and the like), I explained the importance of setting realistic goals for her body type. I also told her that she was seriously over-exercising, and though her food choices were healthy, she was severely under-eating; as a result, she was spiking her levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which was reducing her metabolic efficiency and promoting fat storage. An almost pure mesomorph, Ashley’s body was naturally strong and muscular, with broad shoulders and a compact torso. Many women would love to look like her! For her, the “problem” was that she wanted a long, lean midsection and to be 15 to 20 pounds lighter, with narrow hips.

Here’s what we did: we took her workouts down from about 15 hours a week to 6, with three weight-training/high-intensity-interval workout days (focused on calisthenics and building strength) and three days of cardio workouts, plus increasing her calorie intake in a controlled but significant manner. Within two weeks, she had lost three pounds and felt so much better. “But I’m eating more!” she said at one point. “I don’t get it!” By 12 weeks in, she had dropped 8 pounds and looked leaner in the ways she wanted, with a slimmer waist and abdomen and shapely muscles. With the right training, she learned how to maximize her body’s natural musculature and fat-burning efficiency—and ended up looking and feeling better than she’d ever felt before.

There are loads of success stories just like Ashley’s. But let’s get down to business with the basic 411 about body types. Here’s a high-altitude look at how the different types compare:

Ectomorphs tend to be lean and slender, with a small to medium frame and relatively long limbs. They typically have a fast metabolism, which is why they sometimes struggle to maintain their weight, and they tolerate a high-carbohydrate intake well. Ectomorphs’ bodies are well suited to endurance sports (like long-distance running or cycling), though they’re somewhat prone to lower back and knee injuries; they have a hard time adding or maintaining muscle mass. (Famous examples: supermodel Gisele, former president Barack Obama, tennis great Roger Federer, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps, and actors Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz.)

Mesomorphs usually have a medium bone structure, with broad shoulders, a relatively small waist, and a naturally muscular, athletic build even without working out. If they’re physically active, they tend to add and maintain strength and lean muscle mass easily (even when they have breaks in training). Their metabolisms are efficient, they tolerate carbohydrates well (thanks to their body’s efficient insulin response), and they can lose body fat relatively easily. (Celebrity examples: actors Jennifer Garner, Angela Bassett, Mark Wahlberg, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; pop superstar Madonna; tennis champ Serena Williams; and actor/former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

Endomorphs generally have a larger bone structure with wider hips, more narrow shoulders, and more pear-shaped bodies with higher amounts of body fat. Compared to the other types, their metabolisms are slower, they tend to gain weight easily, and they’re very sensitive to carbohydrates because they often have insulin resistance challenges. As a result, they often respond better to diets that are high in protein and very low in carbs. Endomorphs tend to lose body fat slowly but they have an easier time building muscle than ectomorphs do. (For examples, visualize pop superstars Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé, actors Sofía Vergara, Chris Pratt, and Russell Crowe, and late-night TV talk show host James Corden.)

As previously mentioned, few people are 100 percent ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph (and btw, you’ll learn much more about these types in the chapters to come). Most people are hybrids with combinations of the various qualities associated with different body types. The most common natural hybrids are ecto-mesomorphs (with long, lean limbs and a broad chest and shoulders and endo-mesomorphs (who have wide, thick, but compact physiques that are muscular, not soft). In addition, there are people who are endo-ectomorphs (with thin legs but substantial fat storage in the midsection). More often than not, these folks have developed this body type as a result of their behavior, not genetics—maybe they started out as ectomorphs but then gained some endomorph qualities, thanks to years of consuming poor-quality diets and sticking with sedentary habits. It’s not an innate body type but it’s fairly common in the modern world.

Somatotypes clearly have a genetic component. If you look at photos of your parents’ physiques when they were between the ages of 15 and 25 then look at your own body, you’ll likely see that your body type resembles one or the other of them or maybe a mix of both. Though it’s possible for individuals to carry a recessive gene, it’s unusual for two endomorphs to spawn an ectomorph or for two ectomorphs to create a mesomorph. Sure, you can be a hybrid body type, but you’ll likely have more dominant body traits from your parents, with fewer variations that are unique to you. But that doesn’t mean that your DNA-determined somatotype is your destiny. A natural-born endomorph can certainly do what it takes to get lean, while ectomorphs can corrupt their bodies (with bad food and no exercise) and become overweight. The human body is an amazingly adaptable organism and it can be transformed in significant ways, good or bad. The key questions are, How well or badly will you treat yours? And, How badly do you want to change your physique?


The truth is, each type (and hybrid) has its inherent perks and pitfalls, but you can take effective steps to work with your natural-born body type and achieve a new personal best. You may not always realize it but your body really is on your side and it can deliver the results you’re seeking—but only if you’re on your body’s side. In other words, you need to consider: Are you giving your body what it needs to achieve the results you’re seeking? Chances are, the answer is (1) No; or (2) I’m not really sure. (Otherwise, you wouldn’t have picked up this book.)

With the right approach, each type and every hybrid can be trained into optimal shape and better health. With the wrong approach, well, not so much. Some people will lose more weight by eating a higher percentage of healthy fats, while others will respond better to high-carb or high-protein plans. For example, while a high-carb diet will work fine for ectomorphs, it won’t help endomorphs who might end up gaining weight even if they have a lower overall calorie intake. By contrast, a low-carb, high-fat approach (like the ketogenic diet) won’t help ectomorphs, who could end up losing muscle mass and feeling intensely tired on the plan. (Spoiler alert: mesomorphs have it easiest when it comes to diet.)

Your body type also can affect the way you respond to exercise. In a study involving men between the ages of 18 and 40 with different dominant body types, researchers from the USDA found that while all the groups had the same peak power output, the ectomorphs had the greatest respiratory exchange ratio (which affects their muscles’ capacity to get energy) during peak aerobic exercise and the greatest blood lactate concentrations after exercise (a sign of greater fatigue). A study from Tunisia found that after participating in a 12-week program consisting of two aerobic-endurance training sessions per week, adults with mesomorph or meso-endomorph body types showed the greatest improvements in their aerobic capacity.

Meanwhile, various studies have tried to establish a link between certain somatotypes and performance in particular sports. For example, in a 2015 study, researchers examined the somatotypes among high-profile Lithuanian athletes in kayaking, basketball, and soccer and found some interesting differences: elite kayakers and basketball players tended to have endomorphic bodies while the high-profile soccer players had ectomorphic types. By contrast, a 2014 study examined the influence of somatotypes on success in sport climbing among men and found that the endomorphic attributes had a significant influence on their success. In another 2014 study, researchers from Spain analyzed the body type characteristics of elite female volleyball players from the highest Spanish league and found that mesomorphs dominated. A 2018 study from Spain found that while female Olympic race walkers tend to be endomorphs, male Olympic race walkers are more likely to be mesomorphs. And a 2017 study found that world and Olympic mountain bike champions typically have ecto-mesomorphic bodies.

All of this goes to show that people with different body types can excel at a variety of sports. But you also have to consider the possibility that “like attracts like”—that because people expect those with very tall, lean frames to be good at basketball, they might naturally gravitate toward playing hoops if they have that kind of physique. That slender people with long, lanky limbs might be natural-born runners. Or, that if you have a naturally muscular, athletic build, you might be good at football or bodybuilding. Similarly, if a girl has a petite, compact body, she might see herself fitting in among gymnasts. The point is, people may think they belong in a certain sport because they look like the other players or athletes, so they pursue it, train for it, and excel in it. In other words, there may be a natural selection process at play here.

While you might indeed excel at certain sports or athletic activities because of your body type or your natural physical prowess, you are certainly not limited by your body characteristics. There doesn’t have to be a sports-oriented destiny for your body type—I promise. Regardless of your somatotype, you can train to get your body into peak shape so you’ll have a fair chance to perform at your best in the activity of your choice—but only if you do the right training for your body type. The key is to optimize your training for your body type and the activity you want to pursue or the goal you want to achieve.

Whether your aim is to shed excess body fat or build muscle, knowing your body type can help you maximize your results. The right training approach and the right calories really do make all the difference. Working harder isn’t always the answer but working smarter is. People are creatures of habit and tend to do things the same way consistently, including the same cardio or strength-building workouts or using the same bad form that compromises their results. It’s a bit like driving a convertible in chilly weather with the top down and the heat on—operating at cross-purposes with your goal. Take my client Steve Howey (who plays Kevin on Shameless) as an example: He’s 6’4”, and when we started working together, he weighed 240 pounds. He had been training and eating like an ectomorph when he’s really an endo-mesomorph hybrid. In short, he was eating too many carbs and doing a classic bodybuilding program for lean, skinny guys who want to pack on muscle. While Steve was doing the right exercises, he wasn’t doing them in the right order or tempo or performing the right combo of reps and sets. With some tweaks to his training and eating regimen, he was able to drop 25 pounds of body fat and add 10 pounds of lean muscle (he now weighs 215 pounds); he also gained a six-pack on his abs and has become one of the fittest, most muscular Hollywood stars today. The kicker: he is now doing triathlons!

The reality is, very few people see themselves accurately, and in my experience, about 50 percent misclassify their body type: endomorphs may think they’re mesomorphs, or ectomorphs may identify themselves as endomorphs, especially if they have a soft midsection. In the next chapter, you’ll learn how to accurately identify your true type with a quiz—it’s the crucial first step in creating an individualized workout and diet plan that’s tailored to your body shape and composition.


  • "This book is your opportunity to learn from the best."—Van Jones, TV commentator, host of CNN's The Van Jones Show and author of Beyond the Messy Truth
  • "I started training with Phil, and within weeks I felt like a new person -- healthier and stronger, physically and emotionally."—Dr. Joy J. Jacobs, clinical psychologist and frequent guest on The Doctors
  • "Phil Catudal will make you a better human and give you a better body."—Sarah Shahi, actress, Person of Interest
  • "Just Your Type will give you insight into Phil's methods, his philosophy, and his expertise to understand YOUR body."—Steve Howey, actor, Shameless

On Sale
May 14, 2019
Page Count
240 pages

Phil Catudal

About the Author

Phil Catudal, MBA, is an NASMCPT-certified celebrity trainer in the greater Los Angeles area who is often referred by top Hollywood managers, agents, and casting directors to their celebrity clients.

Stacey Colino, MSJ, is an award-winning writer, specializing in health and fitness, as well as an ACE-certified health coach and certified group exercise instructor.

Learn more about this author