Ectomorph Diet - What Foods Help Gain Muscle

An ectomorph has difficulty gaining muscle mass. It is not news that diet plays a fundamental role in gaining muscles.

A proper eating plan for ectomorphs must provide a high-quality protein source, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

This article describes how a diet for ectomorphs should be, with an example of a menu to complement the workouts.

Diet for Ectomorphs – Rules

In a diet for ectomorphs, the total caloric intake should be approximately 10-15% more than your body uses for the day, known as the metabolic rate.

If you don’t know how to calculate it, you can use its formula or calculators that you can find on the web. However, approximately, it can be said that an ectomorph that leads an active lifestyle equals 2800-3000 Kcal per day.

The basic rule of thumb for an ectomorph diet is that the ratio of carbohydrates to protein to fat is 50:20:30.

The main component of an ectomorph’s diet to gain muscle should be medium glycemic index complex carbohydrates. Examples of these foods are oatmealbuckwheat, and brown rice.

The amount of protein should be 1.5 to 2.0 g per kilo of body mass. An excess in the amount of protein that an ectomorph consumes per day will not bring better results in increasing muscle mass. (2)

As for fats, the ideal is that they cover 30% of the total energy. Making mistakes in quantity and the quality of the fats is a common mistake in an ectomorph diet. This can lead to the development of the typical paunchy ectomorph over the years. The feeding rules for the ectomorphic body type are:

Ectomorph Diet – Sample Menu Plan

Below is an example menu plan for the ectomorph body type:

  1. Monday
  • BREAKFAST: 3 eggs, 10 g of butter. Whole wheat toast, one banana. 1 Coffee with milk or cappuccino.
  • MID-MORNING: 1 protein shake and one fruit
  • LUNCH: Fish (sole or tuna) with mashed potatoes. Fruit
  • SNACK: Oatmeal cookies with one fruit.
  • DINNER: Chicken (120 g) with rapeseed oil (10 mL) and mustard (10 mL). With brown rice, Parmesan cheese, and tomatoes.
  1. Tuesday
  • BREAKFAST: Oatmeal porridge with fruit and one coffee.
  • MID-MORNING: 1 protein or cereal bar with one fruit.
  • LUNCH: Roast beef (120 g) with pasta salad. 1 fruit
  • SNACK: 1 whole-wheat yogurt with granola.
  • DINNER: Chicken fillet sautéed. Lettuce, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, rice salad with ten ccs of olive oil. Dark chocolate.
  1. Wednesday
  • BREAKFAST: 3 eggs, one slice of cheese, two fruits, and coffee.
  • MID-MORNING: 1 Greek yogurt with granola.
  • LUNCH: Whole wheat pasta with chicken or tofu, soy sauce, sauteed vegetables.
  • SNACK: 2 pieces of dark chocolate, yogurt, and fruit.
  • DINNER: Potato omelets with mushrooms. Tomato, olive, and cheese salad.
  1. Thursday
  • BREAKFAST: Oat pancake with fruits. Coffee
  • MID-MORNING: 1 handful of nuts and protein shake.
  • LUNCH: Chicken breast with buckwheat and vegetables
  • SNACK: Skim milk with fitness cereals and one fruit
  • DINNER: Roast meat with peppers and vegetables
  • FridayBREAKFAST: Whole wheat toast with lean cheese. 1 Fruit Coffee.
  • MID-MORNING: 1 protein shake, one fruit
  • LUNCH: Roast beef steak with mushrooms, brown rice and spinach. One cup of strawberries or watermelon.
  • SNACK: Yogurt with granola and coconut
  • PRICE: Pizza integral
  1. Saturday
  • BREAKFAST: waffles with oatmeal. Fruit shake
  • MID-MORNING: 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • LUNCH: 100 grams of shrimp, with one zucchini, olive oil, cheese, and arugula.
  • SNACK: Sweet allowed
  • DINNER: Baked fish with zucchini, aubergines, and roasted peppers. 1 chamomile tea.
  1. Sunday
  • BREAKFAST: Oatmeal porridge with cocoa and honey
  • MID-MORNING: 2 fruits
  • LUNCH: Chicken tacos sautéed with wok vegetables, mushrooms, and sesame sticks. One handful of blueberries. Green Tea.
  • SNACK: Cinnamon tea and two pieces of dark chocolate.
  • DINNER: Spinach tortillas. (3 eggs half a cup of spinach) and 10 g of butter with whole wheat pasta.

Foods that help an ectomorph gain muscle mass

For an ectomorph to gain powerful muscle mass, you need to limit empty calories from fast food and start to include foods with complex carbohydrates.

The simple carbohydrates (sugars, honey, sweets) must not provide more than 15% of total calories. If possible, always consume them before or after training.

Including at least four fruits per day is essential to provide energy and vitamins and minerals necessary for muscle development.

The carbohydrate source should come from high-quality cereals, pseudo-cereals, and vegetables in a diet for ectomorphs diet.

Finally, an ectomorph must be clear that increasing muscle volume and training performance without sources of healthy fats in the diet is impossible. They are the necessary elements for testosterone synthesis and other hormones related to muscle growth.

Nuts, avocado, and coconut oil are among the best options to achieve this.

Protein is not the most important thing.

An ectomorph should not go overboard with protein consumption. Several studies (1,2) indicate that 1.5 – 2.0 g per kilo of body weight is sufficient protein to increase muscle size.

Contrary to what is often heard, they are not only proteins but also carbohydrates and fats, vital elements for muscle growth. Eating only protein will not bring additional benefits in gaining muscle mass. (4)

Without carbohydrate stores in your muscles, you cannot improve your workout performance. A diet low in carbohydrates does not allow for regenerating muscle glycogen stores; these are responsible for the explosive movement typical of a hypertrophy routine.


Diet is a fundamental component for an ectomorph to gain muscle.

The basic rules of a diet for ectomorphs are to consume a sufficient amount of complex carbohydrates, high-quality protein intake, healthy fats, and fruits as sources of vitamins.

This sample diet menu for ectomorphs is customizable. The base is about 2700 kcal for an ectomorph with moderate physical activity. The correct thing is that the diet is adapted and personalized for each case.


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