If you’re skinny fat and want to change how you look, how you feel, & how healthy you are, this article may help.
In it I lay out a simple skinny fat workout, diet, & mindset plan for women & men that’s easy to understand, along with instructional videos for each of the exercises.
I designed the workout so you can easily do it at home, in an apartment, wherever.
Follow it consistently and let your before & after pics showcase your skinny fat to fit transformation.
How to fix skinny fat
The skinny fat body can be transformed into a healthier, fit & toned body by consistently following three lifestyle choices that are easy to understand:
* doing regular strength training
* eating & drinking a clean diet
* having a strong enough desire to change so that you don’t quit on yourself.
Later in the article we’ll get into what the schedule & exercises for the skinny fat workout are, what the right foods & drinks are for your “See ya later skinny fat” diet, and how to keep yourself on track during this body transformation adventure.
Again, we’re keeping everything simple here so that it’s always easy for you to know what to do, along the way to a better you.
Up next I want to briefly get into why you need to do each of those three things I’m suggesting you do – strength train, eat clean food & drinks, and possess a strong desire to be a better version of you.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
Skinny fat transformation strategy
Here’s a little overview of how just those 3 simple things together are the key to going from skinny fat to fit.
One way to get it is to ask yourself: “Why am I skinny fat?”
Answer: No consistent resistance training exercise & a poor diet are considered the two main reasons a person has a skinny fat body.
The other way to get it is to understand how lifting weights, good food, and an inner fire of desire create an environment in your body (& mind) that is built to succeed:
Strength training builds muscle —> More muscle boosts metabolism
Higher metabolism burns more fat —> Less fat & more muscle gives a body a toned look
Strength training makes you hungry —> The right food gives you the energy to train successfully
The right food helps you burn calories —> Muscle burns more calories than fat
Muscles need the right food to grow —> Eating the right food is choosing to be successful
A strong desire to be successful is needed so you can train hard and stay on track with what you eat & drink
A strong enough desire to change will keep you from quitting
“Why am I skinny fat?”
I believe our choices in life are a big reason why we’re exactly where we are at any moment.
And when I say where we are, I also mean where we’re at up in our head too.
No doubt, there are many things we’ve gone through that’ve blown us away that we had NO control over.
Natural disasters, corporate layoffs, random violence, being born with a serious birth defect — I’ve been through all of those — and now we have an epidemic to deal with too.
I get it.
Luckily, being skinny fat isn’t like those gnarly things.
Being skinny fat is something you have control over, because your choices are the reason you’re skinny fat.
You choose what you eat & drink, and you choose whatever amount & type of exercise you do.
Or don’t do.
Simply change your choices with those two things, and you will change your body’s appearance & health for the way better.
Speaking of health…
What is skinny fat
Many people (most?) are unaware that being skinny fat puts you at risk for several harsh medical problems.
This lack of awareness is understandable because:
1) this medical fact is not common knowledge, and
2) a skinny fat person doesn’t look really unhealthy (especially when dressed).
The dark side of skinny fat
Let’s spend a sec on the health issues associated with being skinny fat.
It’s important to realize that the (naked) skinny fat look could be evidence of potential health risks.
This is the skinny fat look:
- normal weight
- no muscle tone, flabby
- excess belly fat
These are a few skinny fat health risks:
- heart disease
- abnormal cholesterol
- high blood pressure
This is because being skinny fat shares the same health risks as being obese.
Higher mortality rate for skinny fat people
In fact, medical research has shown that skinny fat’s normal weight obesity actually leads to a higher rate of death than regular overweight obesity (3).
This unpleasant information was discovered during a massive study of over 15,000 patients involving several physicians and medical institutions, including the Mayo Clinic.
It was sponsored by two of our nation’s top health organizations, the American Heart Assn. & the National Institute of Health (NIH).
One of their other findings was that BMI (Body Mass Index) is not a reliable indicator of obesity-related death.
This is obviously because the research doctors found that normal weight + central obesity (what they call skinny fat people with belly fat) have that higher death rate I mentioned.
In the Results section of their research study, the physicians wrote these sobering words about the skinny fat population:
“Expected survival estimates were consistently lower for those with central obesity…”
Skinny fat, brain decline, & dementia
Not that anyone needs any more bad news, but skinny fat has been linked to deteriorating brain function too.
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Brain Health showed that a lack of muscle mass and cognitive impairment* are connected as we age (4).
*Cognitive impairment – trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions (5)
Alzheimer’s disease & dementia are severe forms of cognitive impairment.
That scientific study called skinny fat sarcopenic obesity, meaning that the person is experiencing age-related muscle loss while also having excess belly fat & the metabolic problems that go with it.
They said that these skinny fat symptoms
“can be used in clinical practice as indicators of probable cognitive impairment”.
Skinny fat health summary
The health risks associated with being skinny fat are powerful reasons for change that don’t have a thing to do with your looks.
The medical evidence is pretty clear: there’s nothing good health-wise that comes from being skinny fat.
OK, no more bummer news.
Time to move to the sunny side of the street and get to the workout plan.
Skinny fat workout plan
First off, just a gentle reminder that all of this workout material is meant for women & men alike.
And lest I forget to mention it later:
Take pics before you start and as you progress.
Use the same bathroom mirror or wherever you take them each time.
Being able to see your body transformation is inspirational & motivational; it’ll keep you stoked to work hard.
It’s all about building muscle
My suggestions here are based on the American College of Sports Medicine position stand on resistance training. (ACSM)
When you add muscle, you will boost your metabolism so you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not working out (6).
By adding muscle you’ll start reducing your fat, you’ll start looking better, and you’ll get stronger.
When you get stronger, your workouts will get better.
Then you’ll add more muscle, and you’ll boost your metabolism even more.
This will reduce more fat, you’ll look even better, and so on.
Rinse & repeat.
Round & round this very simple but very effective process goes.
We build muscle with compound exercises
Our goal here is to train hard with mostly compound exercises.
Weightlifting exercises are classified as either isolation exercises or compound exercises.
Compound exercises are called that because they involve the use of more than one muscle group during their movement, and often more than one body joint.
This extra effort means more of your body is involved, which increases your cardiovascular benefits in addition to the compound exercise working more of your muscles (7).
A quick word about your equipment
Any of those will work great for the workouts I designed.
If so, please skip ahead to the next section, Training Frequency.
(I use a fleet of ancient dumbbells & a weight bench.)
If not, no worries…you’ll be able to track down equipment suitable for your situation, and I’ll share some ideas about that in a bit.
But first I have some important info you may want to consider before you go & plunk down your money on anything.
Buyer beware at Amazon & Walmart
Due to our shutdown, home fitness equipment demand has never been higher in my nearly 40 years of fitness training, and many good quality items are sold out.
Or worse, the asking price has been skyrocketed because much of Amazon & Walmart’s stock has been bought up by 3rd-party resellers.
A lot of equipment is now being sold on Amazon & Walmart at outrageous prices – do not overpay.
So watch out for sketchy resellers on those “Available From These Sellers” pages.
High demand, almost no supply
The fitness equipment companies I know do not have definite time tables as to when their sold-out inventories will be fully restocked.
And demand is higher than its ever been due to gym closures, though maybe it’ll ease up a bit since some gyms have begun reopening.
So seeing “out of stock” signs (& higher prices) might be the new norm for awhile, who knows.
Training frequency – up to you
I put together a couple of workouts & training schedules; take your pick of which one appeals to you more.
The 3-day full body workout
If you want to start at the very beginning level either because you’ve never lifted weights before or you want to ease back into it again, I recommend you do 3 full-body workouts per week at first.
The 4-day split workout
If you have some lifting experience or you want to get going 110% right off the bat, I recommend a 4-day split workout.
You’ll split the full body workout over 2 days and complete that twice per week, for a total of 4 workout days per week.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, training volume refers to how many sets & reps you do, either per week, per workout, or as in this case, per exercise.
For both workouts, my volume suggestions exclude the warm up set for each exercise – which I encourage you to do.
I’ll talk about warming up & warm up sets in a bit.
For the 3-day full body workout
* The plan is to do a full-body workout 3 times a week, with 4 off days.
* Pick a schedule like Mon-Wed-Fri where there’s always a day or two of recovery in between workouts.
Tue-Thu-Sat & Wed-Fri-Sun work just as well of course, so choose what’s best for your schedule.
* There’ll be 1 exercise for each of the 7 major muscle groups:
* Beginners start with 1 set of 8-12 reps.
* After 4 weeks add a second set to each exercise.
* The 8th rep should always be a lot harder than the 1st one was.
* On strong days you’ll get past 12 reps. Go to failure. Then make a note in your workout log to increase the weight a little next time.
* On weak days you may struggle to get to 8. No worries, that’s how it goes.
* The goal is pick the right weight so that anything from the 8th rep on is tough.
* It takes time to figure out the right weights to use, so don’t sweat it. Just keep track of your weights & reps in your workout diary to help you out with this.
* After a couple of months at the 2-sets per exercise volume, you can either add a 3rd set or bump up your program a notch by switching to the 4-day split workout below.
The approach is to continually but VERY gradually increase the intensity over time, by increasing the weight when it becomes too easy, or by increasing the number of sets.
This is called progressive resistance training, and this is how you create results for yourself.
For the 4-day split workout
* The plan is to do half of your muscle groups one day, then the other half the day after that.
* Then do the same thing later in the week.
* This means 4 days of working out per week, with 3 off days.
* The most common schedule for this I’ve seen over the decades is Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri, where Mon/Thu work group 1 and Tue/Fri work group 2.
* Adjust this to fit your schedule if need be, just honor the daily pattern of: Group 1, Group 2, OFF, Group 1, Group 2, OFF, OFF.
* Here’s a muscle group combination that’s been very popular forever:
* Note that there’s more recovery time for each muscle group in this workout split, either 2 or 3 days’ worth of rest at a time.
This is because you’re doing more sets per muscle group compared to the 3-day beginner’s schedule.
* Do 1 exercise per muscle group for the first 2 months or so.
* Start with 4 sets of each exercise per muscle group, with reps in the 6-9 range.
* This means rep #6 should be a lot harder than #1.
* On strong days you’ll get past 9.
Go to failure, then make a note in your workout diary to use a slightly heavier weight next time, just for the first set.
The following week try it for the first two sets, the third week for three sets, and so on.
Again, the increase in load should be very gradual.
* After a couple of months, add 2 more sets to each muscle group and consider adding another exercise as well.
You could give the new exercise the 2 extra sets, or split the 6 sets up equally 3-3 between the two exercises.
Or you can bang out all 6 sets with just one exercise, it’s up to you & how you’re feeling that day.
Progressive resistance training principles apply here as well.
Continually look to bump up the intensity very slowly whenever you get stronger and start blowing past your previous weights.
Skinny fat workout exercises
As mentioned earlier, we’ll be focusing the majority of the workout on compound exercises.
Since I don’t know what everyone reading this has access to equipment-wise, I’ll try & provide a couple of alternatives for each muscle group.
Basically, know that any exercise that uses a barbell has an acceptable alternative using dumbbells, and that versions of all of these exercises can be done on an all-in-one gym machine too.
The 7 major muscle groups
These are the muscles I’ll be assigning the exercises to:
- Triceps (back of your upper arm)
- Legs (including glutes & calves)
- Biceps (front of your upper arm)
(For the Legs, I threw in an add-on exercise you can do if you feel like it. Always do it after you do your squats. It’s a standing calf raise to work your lower leg muscles.)
Incline Dumbbell Press
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Seated Barbell Shoulder Press
Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Close Grip Bench Press
Barbell Full Squat
Standing Calf Raise (optional add-on exercise)
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
One-Arm Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
Standing Dumbbell Curls
Q: Should I do cardio if I’m skinny fat?
A: I definitely wouldn’t say should, but instead say you could if you want to.
Just don’t do too much, and never do it before your strength training workouts.
(The 10 minutes of cardio warmup I recommend you do before each workout isn’t a problem at all. It’s too short to do anything but warm you up a little.)
The reason for those cautionary words is that sports science research has shown that cardio can disrupt strength training programs.
Studies have shown that too much cardio or cardio at the wrong time can interfere with your weightlifting workout goals and worsen your results (8).
A few workout tips
Strict rest periods of 60 seconds max
To get the most out of your workout, the rest between sets is a strict 60 seconds. Use a stopwatch on your phone or whatever.
This is important.
60 seconds of rest means the clock starts right when you finish a set.
Start getting in position for the next set around the 45 second mark, so that you’re starting the next set on the 61st second at the latest.
Keep a workout diary
Keep track of all your sets, reps, & weights for every workout.
Don’t trust your memory for recalling the right weights to use from workout to workout.
With a workout diary, you always know when you need to increase the weight as you get stronger.
Always breathe properly
Correct breathing while lifting is critical.
Always exhale on exertion, which means during the hard part.
Then inhale gradually as the weight heads in the opposite direction back to the starting position.
Every rep has an inhale before exertion, and then an exhale on exertion.
For example when doing chest or shoulder presses, exhaling on the exertion is when you’re pushing the weight up.
Inhale as the weight returns down.
When squatting, exhaling on exertion is when you’re pushing yourself up to standing. Inhale as you return down to the squatted position.
Always warm up & also do warm up sets
Get your system flowing before lifting by riding a bike or an elliptical machine for 10 minutes.
Start slowly but by the 6 minute mark or so increase your effort.
Either move faster or add resistance via the machine for the last 4-5 minutes.
The goal is to be warm & a little bit winded when you’re done and moving on to your lifting.
Then for every lifting exercise you’re doing that day, do 1 warm up set using a very light weight that you can easily perform 15-20 reps with.
This warms up & lubricates the muscle group & joints that will be used when you do your real set(s).
(These warm up sets don’t count towards your workout volume.)
Stick to the same exercise for at least 2 sets
Once you’ve graduated up to where you’re doing 2 or more sets per muscle group, always do at least 2 sets with the same exercise.
So if you’re doing the beginner’s 3-day program and you’ve bumped up to 2 sets per muscle group, don’t do one of the exercises for 1 set then a different exercise for the 2nd set.
And if you’re doing the 4-day split with 4 sets per muscle group, during your first month refrain from doing any “3+1s”.
For your results at this stage it’s better to stick with the same exercise for all four of that day’s sets during your first month on the 4-day split.
But you can switch exercises from workout to workout if you want.
And when you bump up to 6 sets in your second month on the 4-day split, feel free to program your two exercises’ sets as 3+3s, 4+2s, or even all six sets with the same exercise.
Skinny fat diet
You’re definitely not going to starve with this food & drink program I’m suggesting: there’s no severe calorie restriction.
But you have to make sure that what you’re eating & drinking is the right stuff that your body needs.
You just need to clean up your inputs and also to prioritize feeding your muscles the right way.
Eating & drinking the wrong stuff will kill your skinny fat transformation plan, plain & simple.
Skinny fat diet highlights
- No junk food, fast food, fried food
- No sugary or sweetened foods or condiments
- Protein 5x a day, 20-30g every 3 hrs. or so
- No processed food – whole foods & whole grains only
- Lean protein only, no high fat meat or high fat dairy
- Eat as much organic vegetables as you can afford
- Eat organic fruit every day
- Drink at least a half gallon of water every day (64 oz. minimum)
- No sweetened or sugary drinks
- No diet soda
- No fruit juice
- No energy drinks
- Keep alcohol light: a few drinks per week max
- Coffee & tea are good
- 1-2 of your daily protein meals can come from a shake or smoothie
Skinny fat diet food & drink strategy
Looking at that list of what to eat & drink versus what not to eat & drink, you’ll notice the dominant theme:
Throw out the garbage & eat clean.
It’s simple: to look better, eat & drink better.
To avoid dealing with those medical problems we looked at earlier, eat & drink better.
Also, and I’ll probably mention it more often than is necessary:
The skinny fat workout will not work out for you – meaning no body transformation – unless what you choose to eat & drink is the right stuff.
(If you’d like an extensive list of healthy foods appropriate for your skinny fat diet, this link here will open an article I wrote on weight loss in another tab.
Use its Table of Contents to locate Your Diet Choices.
There I provide several high-quality food choices sorted by macronutrient: protein, carbs, & fats.)
Eating to go from skinny fat to toned
Remember the simple strategy back in the Skinny Fat Transformation section earlier?
Your body transforms both inside & out as you build muscle.
Your body needs the right fuel & muscle-building nutrients in order to give you results from your workouts.
That’s why all crappy food & drinks have to go.
Your body hates those things anyways, and it needs real food to create the change from skinny fat to fit.
Should you count calories & macros?
In the spirit of keeping things as simple as possible regarding the skinny fat diet, I’ll say you might be able to get away with not having to individually count calories or macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) at all.
If you’re good at being organized & remembering things, you might be able to avoid tracking everything you eat but still be able to hit your ideal numbers.**
(Hint: Don’t worry about tracking every single morsel anyways. It’s a waste of time, as I’ll demonstrate below).
**Ideal numbers – “Ideal” just means that every day you’re eating & drinking in the right ‘numbers’ range for your calories, as well as being in the right ranges for your protein, carbs, & fat amounts too.
Understand that health experts in medicine & weight loss, as well those involved in athletic performance, recommend that you “self-monitor” your fitness progress.
Luckily, it’s not an exact science
Understand that this whole business of knowing how much you eat (since that’s what these numbers provide) is not an exact science.
You can use the calories & macros numbers as general guides to help you target, but definitely don’t sweat getting every gram of this or that just right.
There’s leeway and there are broad ranges you can land in & still be on point.
Actually, the whole process of nutrient tracking is kinda loose, since there are so many variables:
* food numbers (calories, macros) you’re provided on a food’s Nutrition Facts label are not 100% accurate
* The amount you think you’re eating or drinking – whether you weigh it or not – isn’t going to be 100% accurate either
* Calorie calculators, whether online or in an app, are NOT 100% accurate
* Nutrition Facts pages online are not entirely accurate. Heck, they’re not even the same from one website to the next. (Look at three different ones for a tomato or something online and you’ll probably get three different sets of numbers.)
So don’t look at it like some meticulous “fine tooth comb” “counting grains of sand” kind of daily
But… you do need to make sure you’re close to getting the right amounts of a couple of things.
Because there are important numbers
You want to have a ballpark idea of how many calories & macronutrients you’re getting.
Otherwise, how do you even know if you’re on your body transformation track or not?
Let’s look at the bare necessities here for a minute, just the essential nutrient numbers of what you eat & drink that you should have at least a clue about.
Key numbers you need
These are the numbers you’re going to need to help you stay on track with your diet:
- Your current weight
- Your daily calorie target
- Your daily protein need
- A rough idea of your carbs & fats targets
So you see that besides your starting weight, you’ll need your daily calorie target and daily targets for your macros (your macronutrients – protein, carbs, & fats).
You get the first one and I’ll show you how to figure out the other three next.
1. Your current weight
This is only needed to help you get your BMR/TDEE* number and your protein grams per day number.
You do not have to weigh yourself all the time with this skinny fat transformation plan. Your progress will be based on how you look and feel.
2. Your daily calorie target (BMR/TDEE*)
This is the number of calories you burn per day based on how active you are. Its official title is your Basal Metabolic Rate or your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Head to an online BMR/TDEE calculator like one of these:
You bang in your personal stats including your current weight, and then take a guess at your daily activity level by picking one of their categories.
Your Activity Level
Go ahead & pick their “moderately active” category, as if you were already working out consistently.
That way, the number the calculator gives you is your rough calories per day target when you’re up & running in your strength training program.
Then click on the <Calculate> button or whatever it says, and it’ll spit out your daily calorie target.
These calculators are just guess-timators
Keep in mind these calculators aren’t 100% accurate, they’re only making an educated guess.
We’re just looking for a rough estimate of how many calories we need to eat each day while strength training 3-4 times a week.
If you use both of those BMR/TDEE calculator websites you’ll see how they don’t come up with the same number for you.
You can use them to get your daily calorie range.
3. Your daily protein need (in grams)
Ask anyone who trains hard as an athlete, recreational bodybuilder, or fitness buff, and they’ll tell you: getting your daily protein is a must.
And their sage advice applies to you too, because your skinny fat workout is all strength training.
And strength training makes your muscles want protein.
Protein + strength training is what causes your muscles to grow, and when your muscles grow your body burns more fat and becomes stronger & toned at the same time.
Don’t follow the RDA
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for protein, as issued by the U.S. Dept. of Health, is 0.36 – 0.54 grams of protein per lb. of bodyweight (11).
“Hear ye, hear ye…..to heck with that”
That protein RDA amount is downright skimpy and totally insufficient for anyone who is on a consistent strength training program.
I’m not hangry either, ‘though I would be if I was forced to follow the Health Dept.’s daily protein allowance.
Harvard Medical agrees with me and describes this RDA for protein as
“the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick — not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.” (12)
And that’s for people who don’t even do any exercise.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) goes further by saying
“athletes involved in moderate and high-volume training need greater amounts of carbohydrate and protein in their diet to meet macronutrient needs.” (13)
Now, you’re not going to be working out anywhere near as intensely as the people the ISSN is describing.
But you’ll definitely be on the low end of what they consider moderate training.
That means you need more protein (& healthy carbs) than the average sedentary citizen.
How much protein do strength trainees need?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), those engaged in strength training need nearly double the protein recommended by the government’s Health Dept.:
0.7 – 1 gram of protein per lb. of bodyweight (14)
(Me, I usually eat between 1 & 1.1 grams of protein per lb. of bodyweight every day when I’m working out hard, like I have been lately. I weigh a little over 180, so that means my daily protein range is from 180 to about 200 grams.)
4. Your carbs & fats numbers, roughly
We only need a rough idea of how many carbs & fats to hit.
And we can figure out our ranges of those using our other numbers plus the recommended daily requirement percentages for carbs & fats from the ISSN.
I’ll show you how using myself as an example.
- My weight: 180
- My daily calorie burn / BMR / TDEE range: 2600 – 2800
- My daily protein requirement: 180-200 grams
- My daily carbs range ___ ; my daily fat range ___
- First, know that 1 gram of either protein or carbs = 4 calories
- But 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
Let’s say I’m training hard, so I’m going for 200 grams of protein a day. And since I’m training hard, I want 2800 calories a day, not 2600…I need energy.
- My protein = 800 calories (200 x 4 calories/gram)
- That leaves me with (2800 – 800) = 2000 calories for my carbs & fat.
Daily carb range for our moderate training, per the ISSN = 45-55% (13)
45% x 2800 = 1260 calories = (÷ 4) 315 grams of carbs/day
55% x 2800 = 1540 calories = (÷ 4) 385 grams of carbs/day
My daily carb range in grams is 315-385. So now that leaves the rest for fats.
Here’s how we get the fat range:
2800 total calories
800 protein calories
1260 carb (low end) calories
1540 carb (high end) calories
2800 – (800 + 1260) = 740 calories for fat (high end)
2800 – (800 + 1540) = 460 calories for fat (low end)
Fat low end = 460 calories (÷ 9) = 51 grams
Fat high end = 740 calories (÷ 9) = 82 grams
My daily macros summary
- Calories per day target: 2800
- Protein per day target: 200 grams
- Carbs per day range: 315 – 385 grams
- Fats per day range: 51 – 82 grams
Using your weight & your BMR/TDEE calorie numbers, you can easily figure out your macronutrients.
This in turn makes it easy to manage your eating & drinking so that it is in perfect alignment with your workout program.
Some may ask, why hassle with these numbers?
1) It is a highly recommended strategy by medical professionals, dieticians, weight loss management specialists, nutritionists, & fitness experts (15).
2) Studies have shown many times over that people who take the time to keep track of their diet & fitness program achieve greater success with their body transformation than those who don’t, plain & simple (16).
Whether that be by:
- counting macros & calories
- keeping a workout diary
- doing body measurements
- taking progress pics
- weighing themselves
Skinny fat FAQs
Here are answers to a few more of the common questions asked about skinny fat, how to get rid of it, etc.
I’m skinny fat. Should I cut or bulk?
Let me ‘cut’ to the chase. Your workout goal is very simple: build muscle. That’s all.
Successfully doing that will put into motion a whole host of body transformation goodies with long medical names that will cause you to look better & feel better.
More muscle = better metabolism
Better metabolism = more fat burned
More muscle = less skinny
Boom. That’s it. No cutting or bulking. Mic drop. Roll credits.
The origins of cutting & bulking
“Cutting” & “bulking” are terms that have their decades-old roots in the world of serious bodybuilding.
I’ve been weightlifting for almost 40 years so I know firsthand they’ve been around that long at least (I was a member at the original Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA in the early 80s).
Serious bodybuilding training is a heck of a lot more intense than anything you’re going to be doing here (unless you decide to become a serious bodybuilder yourself).
Those words get tossed around these days in the gym by people who are definitely not on the same level as the competitive bodybuilders who coined those terms, or on the competitive bodybuilding level period.
Plus, think about it: you’re someone who isn’t even intensely working out yet.
Cutting & bulking are the least of your training concerns at this point.
Keep it real. Keep it simple. The goal is to add muscle.
How to lose the skinny fat belly?
By building muscle throughout your entire body.
This will promote an overall increase in your metabolism, which will fire up your fat-burning machine (17).
You see, you can’t target your fat covering your ab muscles by doing lots of crunches or other ab exercises; a well-known study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research clearly showed that (18).
Another study had overweight women do ab exercises for 4 weeks along with dieting, and compared them to overweight women who only dieted.
The ab exercises didn’t increase their belly fat loss more than the diet-only group (19).
The Legend of Belly Fat Targeting
The concept of specifically targeting belly fat is a myth created by people selling you something, whether it be the latest piece of ab equipment, a supplement, or a workout program they say is “guaranteed to burn belly fat”.
On the other hand, strength training’s been proven many times over to burn fat wherever it is on your body (20).
So if fat’s in your belly your training program will go after it, even though most of your workout is not focused on the muscles under your belly fat.
To lose the skinny fat belly, you need to:
- strength train regularly
- be a lot more physically active in general
- eat a clean diet.
Will cardio get rid of skinny fat?
Cardio will not get rid of your body’s skinny fat state.
While cardio, whether it’s HIIT or steady-state, is always an excellent alternative to sitting around, it will not build muscle.
Refer to the section in this article where we looked at skinny fat’s medical risks.
You’ll see that one of the main causes of health problems with being skinny fat is a lack of muscle.
Muscle boosts metabolism which helps your body burn the “fat” part of your skinny fat.
Strength training is a fitness activity that builds muscle and burns fat calories while it’s doing it.
Cardio burns calories, some of which are fat, and that’s a very good thing.
But too much cardio &/or the wrong kind of cardio can interfere & limit your ability to grow muscle, as shown in this analysis of over 20 research studies (21).
That’s the exact opposite of what you want to happen if you want to get rid of skinny fat.
I hope this article providing a skinny fat workout for you to consider is useful, and that the skinny fat diet guide is helpful too.
I wish you well on your fitness journey; let’s go.