Skinny fat goal confusion- Gain muscles or lose fat?

 The common knowledge is that if you are overweight you are unhealthy and obese, and if you are thin, you are healthy and fit. However, being skinny can also be dangerous especially if you are a “skinny fat” person.

“Skinny fat” – you might have heard a lot about this term or maybe you are also living with the agony of skinny fat issues. Let’s see what skinny fat is and how to beat it.

What is “Skinny fat”?

The term itself is so confusing, how can someone be both “skinny” and “fat”!

Well, the “skinny” means having low levels of lean mass and the “fat” means having too much body fat (not a healthy fat level).

Now, when you put together these two things- low levels of lean mass and too much body fat- you get to see the “skinny fat” look. The medical term for skinny fat is “MONW” or “Metabolically Obese Normal Weight”. As the name, itself conveys, individuals are of normal weight but have many or sometimes all the characteristics of an obese which includes the physical and metabolic abnormalities

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In the picture, both the before and after have more or less the same body fat percentage.

The major difference between before and after is the amount of muscle. The before picture has little and the after picture has quite a bit.

Now, you see the less muscle you have the skinnier you look even at the lower percentage of body fat, where a musclebound guy with the same body fat percentage can look a lot better and muscular.

But the thing here is not to focus on getting bulky and muscular. Based on the current body fat percentage, skinny fat person should focus on losing fat and maintaining muscle at the same time or focus on gaining muscle

Skinny fat goal confusion- Should I lose fat or build muscle?

This is what skinny fat people are confused about, they know and dream about the physique they want but they are confused and want to know how to get there?

Some skinny fat people focus on building muscle and some focus on fat loss, especially men think that they should build muscle and tend to bulk up to get a good physique, women think that they should just lose fat to look fit and have a great physique. And with this kind of approach both tend towards failure, because they need to do both (gain muscle and lose fat) at the same time.

That is, a skinny fat person needs to come up with a structured diet and proper training in order to lose fat and gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

The concept of losing fat and maintaining or gaining muscle at the same time is referred as body re-composition and it is the best way to get out of the skinny fat zone.

Now let’s see the solution:

Learn to diet in a proper way:

You can do hours and hours of workout at the gym but if you don’t eat proper food then all the hard work you put at the gym is not going to show you any results.

If you think your metabolism has been crashed or if you want to start with a calorie deficit fat loss then, start with reverse dieting.

If body fat percentage is over 15% for men and 25% for women, then the best way is start focusing on fat loss first, get it down to around 10% for men and 20% for women before starting to focus on muscle growth, because when you are over fat and try to build muscle, you often tend to gain more fat and also when you try to build muscle with more fat then it’s tough to identify the muscle which is covered under the fat.

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If body fat percentage is around 10% for men and 20% for women, you can start focusing on muscle growth with a proper diet and workout plan. When you start building muscle, you often tend to gain little fat, so be conscious while putting on muscle. You can put on some muscle and if you think you gained fat then you can go for cutting till you see some good definition.

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Focus on high intensity volume training and compound movements:

Along with the isolation exercises, include the following big compound movements in your workout schedule:

  1. Barbell Bench press
  2. Military press
  3. Barbell Squat
  4. Barbell Deadlift

Plan your workouts well – If your workout is only for 2-3 days in a week then try to incorporate more compound movements. If your workout is for 4-5 days in a week then you can just spread the compound movements over the week, by having one compound movement per day.

Keep the cardio workouts as minimal as possible:

If you want to be lean, muscular and healthy, it’s good to cut back on cardio

Follow these things if you are inclined towards cardio

  1. Limit your cardio sessions as much as possible and focus on lifting weights.
  2. Do high-intensity interval training, its better compared to the steady state cardio.
  3. Keep your cardio sessions short, you can do some cardio for 5-10 minutes to warm up before weight training.

All you need is a structured diet to drive you towards your fat loss goal and a good workout plan to drive towards muscle growth or at least maintain the muscle.

Long story short, the lesser muscle you have, the more you tend to look skinny fat, weak or someone with a very bad body composition. Fortunately, now you know how to add muscle and lose body fat to get a better body composition.

  • Nikhil Kassetty

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23006411

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3337037

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19729520

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23524363

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25353081