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What is a Mesomorph Diet: Food Lists, Sample Menus, Benefits & Beyond

Kinsey Mahaffey
Kinsey Mahaffey
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Mesomorphs might seem to have it easy, with their naturally athletic build, but they, too, require an intentional approach to nutrition and fitness in order to maintain or build upon this physique. By following a mesomorph diet and a tailored workout plan, mesomorphs can work with their body type tendencies to achieve their fitness goals, whether that means maintaining their athletic physique, building more muscle mass, or lowering their body fat percentage for an even leaner look.

This article will give an insider look into the benefits of following a mesomorph diet, what foods to eat, and a sample 7-day diet and workout plan for mesomorph males and females. 

Table of Contents 

  • What is a Mesomorph Diet?
  • Determining Your Body Type
  • What Should Mesomorphs Eat?
  • Mesomorph Workout: Which Exercises Are Best?
  • Sample 7-Day Diet and Workout Plans

What is a mesomorph diet?

Mesomorphs tend to have an athletic, lean build, and they have an easier time gaining and maintaining muscle mass. In order to maintain this physique, a mesomorph diet will be tailored toward the goals and activity levels of the individual. Even though there may be slight variances from person to person based on their goals, most mesomorph diets will consist of whole, unprocessed foods with the goal of helping the individual maintain or increase muscle mass.

Mesomorph diets will be high in protein (1.2 to 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight), with the remaining calories coming from healthy carbohydrates and fats. Mesomorphs can adjust their caloric intake based on their goals: aiming for a neutral calorie balance to maintain, a surplus calorie balance to build muscle, or a negative calorie balance to lose body fat.

determining your body type 

Body types can be identified by the physical attributes and metabolic characteristics of an individual, namely the ease or difficulty with which they can put on and lose body fat. Someone with a mesomorph body type will have a naturally muscular and well-defined build, with a broader shoulder-to-hip ratio. Mesomorphs typically have a higher metabolism, making it easy for them to both put on muscle mass and lose body fat when desired.

It’s important to understand that no one is locked into a specific body type for life. Your current body type is the result of years of lifestyle choices, like your diet and exercise habits. As these habits change, your body type can also change.

It can be helpful to know your body type for several reasons:

  • You’ll have better understanding of why you currently tend to gain/lose/maintain weight
  • You can tailor your nutrition and exercise plan according to your current body type to help you reach your goals efficiently

a look at other Body Types

Even though this article largely centers around the mesomorph body type, there are 2 other body types that an individual may identify with:

  • Endomorph: Characterized by a rounder or softer physique with a tendency to store body fat, especially in the waist and thighs. They also tend to have a slower metabolism than the other body types, making it easy to gain weight and more difficult to lose body fat.
  • Ectomorph: Characterized by a lean and slender build with a fast metabolism. Ectomorphs have narrow shoulders and hips and they have a hard time gaining muscle and fat.

hybrid mesomoprh Body Types 

As with most physical characteristics, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to body types. Instead of strictly falling into one body type perfectly, many people fall somewhere on a spectrum, possibly portraying characteristics of one or more body types at the same time. For example, an ecto-mesomorph might have a very lean frame that is characteristic of an ectomorph, but with an ability to gain muscle mass easily like a mesomorph.

If an ecto-mesomorph wanted to put on more muscle mass, they could tweak a general mesomorph diet by increasing caloric intake and consuming higher protein in order to reach their goals. With a hybrid body type, it’s important to consider the characteristics you portray from each body type, and to tweak your diet and exercise according to those characteristics as you work toward your health and/or physique goals.

Want to unpack more info about body types? Read our blog about all things body type including a look at mesomorphs, endomorphs, and ectomorphs.

what should mesomorphs eat?

It’s important for everyone to eat a diet filled with nutrient-dense, whole foods, and the same goes for mesomorphs. To support muscle development and fuel exercise, mesomorphs should eat a diet that is rich in lean protein (30-35% of total calories), focuses on non-processed carbohydrate sources (40-50% of total calories), with the remaining calories coming from healthy fat sources.

Mesomorphs will want to try to time their meals around their workouts to ensure sufficient fueling and replenishing to help them meet their goals. Each individual will want to find the right calorie balance to allow them to fuel their activity while also helping them to reach their goals.

pros and cons of a mesomorph diet

Mesomorph diets promote muscle development and fuel athletic performance, which can be a huge plus for anyone with this body type. With a focus on nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, a mesomorph diet can ensure that the individual is getting all of the vitamins and minerals that they need to support good health. It is possible, however, for someone following a mesomorph diet to consume a surplus of calories, leading to unwanted weight gain.

Mesomorphs should monitor how their body is responding to the mesomorph diet and adjust macros and/or calorie intake as needed to see their desired results. It’s important to remember that each mesomorph is still an individual, and seeking the help of a health professional (like a registered dietician) can help the individual find the specific plan that suits their needs. 

mesomorph workout: which exercises are best?

Mesomorphs have the most “wiggle room” out of all the body types when it comes to exercise programming. In general, a mesomorph will want to participate in at least 2-4 days of resistance training to maintain or build muscle mass, and regular cardio training for cardiovascular health. The type of resistance training and cardio that the mesomorph chooses can vary based on personal preference and/or athletic goals. The best exercises for mesomorphs are the ones that they find enjoyable, sustainable, and that help them to reach their goals.

sample 7-day diet and workout plans for mesomorphs

Mesomorphs, whether male or female, can successfully follow a mesomorph diet that is rich in nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods. Mesomorphs will want to consume the number of calories that will help them meet their goals, but male mesomorphs might need more calories than female mesomorphs, and possibly higher protein to build more muscle. Female mesomorphs might be concerned that they will become “bulky”, but this can easily be avoided by keeping caloric intake moderate and adjusting macros as needed.

Here is a list of types of foods a mesomorph could include in their meal plan:

  • Proteins: Lean meats (chicken turkey, lean beef), fish, eggs, dairy products, tofu, and legumes
  • Carbohydrates: Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats), fruits, vegetables, and starchy vegetables
  • Healthy fats: Avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish

For Women:


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3


Scrambled eggs with spinach and whole-grain toast

Protein smoothie with kale, banana, flax seeds, and almond milk

Overnight oats with chia seeds, almond butter, and raspberries


Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette

Quinoa bowl with black beans, grilled vegetables, avocado, and salsa

Turkey and vegetable wrap with whole-grain tortilla


Baked salmon, quinoa, and roasted Brussels sprouts

Stir-fried tofu with brown rice and broccoli

Grilled chicken breast, sweet potato, and roasted green beans


Full-body Resistance Training,

6-12 Reps, 3-6 sets


Circuit 1: Cable chest press,

Dumbbell step up to reverse lunge, Dumbbell RDL

Circuit 2: Lat pulldown, Dumbbell reverse fly, Barbell hip thrust

Circuit 3: Medicine ball wood chop, side planks


30-minute HIIT class (spin, kickboxing, etc.)

Full-body Resistance Training,

12-20 Reps, 1-3 sets

Bodyweight Circuit


-Multi-directional lunges

-Inverted rows

-Prisoner squats

-Plank walks




Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7


Whole-grain pancakes with Greek yogurt and blueberries

Veggie omelet with whole-grain toast

Whey protein smoothie bowl with mixed berries and granola

Whole-grain waffles with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey


Lentil vegetable soup and a side salad with olive oil dressing

Chickpea salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and feta cheese

Grilled chicken Caesar salad with whole-grain croutons

Tuna salad with mixed greens and a whole-grain roll


Shrimp and vegetable stir-fry with quinoa

Baked cod, quinoa, and asparagus

Turkey chili with beans and a side of mixed greens

Baked chicken thighs, quinoa, and roasted asparagus


Active Rest Day (light activities such as walking or stretching)

45-minute cardio class or a steady-state run

Full-body resistance training,

6-12 Reps, 3-6 sets


-Squat to biceps curl and overhead press

-Curtsy lunge

-Chest press

-Renegade row


-Bench reverse crunches

Rest Day


For Men:


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3


Scrambled eggs + extra egg whites with spinach and whole-grain toast

Protein smoothie with whey protein, banana, and almond milk

Oatmeal mixed with whey protein topped with sliced strawberries and almond butter


Grilled chicken breast, quinoa, and roasted vegetables

Turkey and avocado wrap with whole-grain tortilla

Turkey and kale soup and a side salad with olive oil dressing


Baked salmon, sweet potato, and steamed broccoli

Stir-fried tofu with brown rice and mixed vegetables

Grilled steak, quinoa, and asparagus


Full-body Strength Training:

6-12 reps, 3-5 sets, circuit-style


-Bench press



-Incline chest press

30 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Upper body Strength Training:

8-12 reps, 3-4 sets, Giant Sets

Set 1: Bench press, push-ups, chest fly

Set 2: Lat pulldown, seated row, reverse fly

Set 3: Lateral raise, biceps curls, triceps extension




Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7


Whole-grain pancakes with Greek yogurt and berries

Veggie omelet with whole-grain toast

Protein overnight oats with chia seeds and berries

Whole-grain waffles with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey


Chickpea salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and feta cheese

Shrimp and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice

Grilled salmon salad with mixed greens and balsamic vinaigrette

Tuna salad with whole-grain crackers


Baked chicken thighs, sweet potato wedges, and green beans

Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers with lean ground turkey and avocado

Turkey chili with beans and a side of whole-grain bread

Baked cod, quinoa, and roasted brussels sprouts


Active rest day (light activities like walking, easy swimming, or stretching)

45 minutes of cycling or steady-state running

Lower body Strength Training:

8-12 reps, 3-4 sets, Supersets

1: Machine leg press and RDL

2: Back squat and trap bar deadlifts

3: Lunges and hamstring curls

Rest Day

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frequently asked questions (faqs) 

Do mesomorphs gain fat easily?

While it’s true that mesomorphs don’t gain fat as easily as endomorphs, mesomorphs can gain fat in a calorie surplus, just like any other human being. They also have more of a tendency to distribute and store any excess fat more evenly throughout their bodies. How mesomorphs gain and store fat will largely depend upon their individual genetics and other lifestyle factors, such as exercise.

What does a female mesomorph look like?

A female mesomorph will have a lean, athletic build and may have a more naturally muscular appearance than females with other body types. This does not mean that she will naturally look like a body-builder, however. It’s more likely that a female mesomorph will have lean muscle tone and a lower bodyfat percentage when compared to women with other body types.

Are mesomorphs naturally lean?

Mesomorphs certainly have a more athletic appearance than other body types, but they may not be naturally lean like an ectomorph. A mesomorph can, however, make simple adjustments to their nutrition and exercise protocol in order to shift their body composition and lower their body fat percentage.

Transform lives, starting with your own. Become a sports nutrition coach with NASM's Certified Sports Nutrition Coach course today!

become a certified nutrition coach

If you like to geek out over nutrition and you have a passion for helping others, you might consider becoming an NASM Nutrition Coach. A nutrition coach can provide guidance on a healthy, effective diet for their clients using evidence-based information. As a Certified Nutrition Coach, you’ll learn evidence-based nutrition science and behavior change strategies to help your clients create a sustainable nutrition plan to help them reach their goals.

Final Thoughts… 

A mesomorph’s naturally athletic build and healthy metabolism set them up well to achieve any health and fitness goal that they desire. As with any body type, mesomorphs should follow a diet that focuses on nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods that will fuel their activity. Mesomorphs can tailor their diet and exercise to meet their health and fitness goals, while mixing up their fitness routines to keep things interesting.

What to Read Next 


THE 3 SOMATOTYPES. (n.d.). https://www.uh.edu/fitness/comm_educators/3_somatotypesNEW.htm


The Author

Kinsey Mahaffey

Kinsey Mahaffey

Kinsey Mahaffey, MPH, is a Houston-based fitness educator, personal trainer and health coach who developed her commitment to lifelong fitness while playing Division I volleyball. She’s passionate about helping others cultivate a healthy lifestyle and enjoys educating other fitness professionals who share this vision. She’s a Master Instructor and Master Trainer for NASM. You can follow her on LinkedIn here.


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