Everybody has heard of it but not everyone knows what it is, what it means or how you end up that way. Skinny fat is where you have a high percentage of body fat but you still look skinny or small based on your dress size and weight.
These people tend to look good in clothes but as soon as the clothes come off you notice that they have very little or no muscle tone, that means no firm muscles, no definition and every thing looks a bit soft, they could have wobbly bits or even cellulite. Skinny fat happens to men and women it does not discriminate. However you got skinny fat you can change it, most of the time the process is going to involve increasing lean muscle mass (not necessarily an easy task especially for women) and getting your fat percentage down, it may take a bit more time than just getting fit but it is worth the effort to be fit, healthy and to look good not only whilst wearing clothes but also whilst naked.
It is not just about looks though, having a high body fat percentage can lead to a range of health issues including type II diabetes.
Lets look at some of the possible causes for skinny fat:
If you just diet (restricting calories) in order to lose weight and do no exercise you could end up being skinny fat as you are not doing anything to ensure you keep your muscle mass or firming up what you do have. Use it or lose it.
Don’t prioritize this element of your fitness routine all the time, “but cardio is good for losing fat…” I hear you say – yes this is a mantra that almost anyone who wants to lose weight has probably heard, yes it is good for fat burning but it is important to include strength training in your workout routine. People who start off being overweight can end up being skinny fat if all they do is cardio. If you are reducing calories but doing high intensity cardio you could start to lose muscle mass and strength. Resistance training will help to prevent this.
A lot of people who start exercising also increase their food as you need more fuel to keep the body going, plus you get ravenous after a workout, the key here is trying to get rid of that extra fat by using it as fuel so that your body will burn it off. If you are eating more then there is a chance you may not be optimising your fat loss. It is important to make sure you are eating the right types of food… stay away from processed foods – I give this advice to everyone regardless of their goals.
So how can you fix the skinny-fat:
If you are not using weights then now is the time to start, wait…hold it… don’t head over to those machines, nope the best way is to use free weights. By using weights your body will keep the lean muscle it has instead of thinking it can be used as fuel, your body will realise it needs to keep the muscle to complete the tasks it is being asked to do. Now if you don’t lift weights then you can go ahead and start with bodyweight exercises, the best thing abut these is you don’t isolate muscle groups, you need no equipment, very little space and can do the exercises anywhere you please, so in the comfort of your own home, in the park, in a huge filed of flowers if it takes your fancy. So what I am saying here is there should be no excuse for not doing bodyweight exercises, once you have learnt the basic move (there are many, many videos on youtube that can help you but it is important to learn the right way so if you are a member at a gym ask an instructor to show you). Once you know how to do the exercise with good form you are good to go. The benefit here is that by doing strength training your body will actually burn calories and help you lose that fat, so as you start to lose fat you will start to unveil the firm lean limbs that you have been working towards whilst strength training.
Step off the scales
Because you are trying to lose fat and not weight when you are skinny fat there is no reason to check your weight, it isn’t going to help as you wont know if you are losing lean muscle or fat. Have your body fat percentage measured by a professional this is a good way for you to know what you are aiming for in terms of goals. Once you know what your body fat is you can then set a goal of what percentage you want to lose. A good judge is also using a mirror using your own eyes, I know when I have gained fat or lost fat – I can see it and I can feel it (by being able to grab it!). Photos are an excellent way to keep track of progress as you can compare them as time goes by, take a photo now and then every 4 weeks or so – you don’t ever have to show them to anyone either. Seeing the difference in photos is a great motivation to keep going.
A healthy diet is key, what you eat is going to make a big difference. Your body is essentially a machine and needs fuel to keep it going but it needs good quality and the right type of fuel otherwise it’s not going to work as efficiently as it should and could tart to break down. A good place to start is by eating clean.
Now you know the basics you can prevent getting the skinny fat look or alternatively if you find that you are skinny fat you can start to reduce that fat and gain some muscle and be on your way to a fitter and healthier you.
The ins and outs of the body using fat or muscle is quite a complicated process and we will be covering it in the future so keep an eye out.