Three years ago, I took it upon myself to radically change my diet—and, in turn, to see if I could make any muscular gains. A relative of mine told me that no matter what I did, it would probably be hard for me to do because I am, in his words, a “hard gainer.” In other words, I’m an ectomorph: lanky and lean, with a high metabolism, little body fat, and not a lot of muscle.

Ectomorph is a common term at the gym, along with mesomorph and endomorph. Taken together, they represent three generalized body types, or somatotypes

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