Fixing skinny fat can be a serious challenge, because you must lose fat while simultaneously gaining muscle. How to fix skinny fat in 3 steps.
Skinny fat refers to a health issue that’s gained interest over the last decade thanks to exposure in prominent news publications like Time Magazine. Today we’ll discuss what skinny fat is, why it can be serious, and how to fix it!
What is Skinny Fat?
Skinny fat is simply someone who appears “skinny” or outwardly thin and healthy but carries excess fat, putting them at risk for many health issues. Typically people who are skinny fat are at a normal weight but lack physical fitness. Regardless of your weight, lack of exercise and poor eating and drinking habits lead to the same health conditions that affect overweight people most.
How Do I know if I’m Skinny Fat?
The best way to determine if you’re skinny fat is to measure and analyze your body composition. Many resources can help you calculate these metrics for yourself, like fitness trackers, body fat scales, and using waist and caliper measurements. Also, health professionals can measure and evaluate your body composition, even looking at how much fat, protein, minerals, and water are in your body.
Most experts recommend that healthy men have a body fat percentage between 10–20 percent, and women need around 18–28 percent. Also, look at your lifestyle. Do you exercise regularly, or have you not run a mile since 8th-grade gym class? Do you eat veggies and lean protein or swing by a drive-through when you get a craving? Many non-physical and non-weight-related markers of good health can be useful in determining whether you fall into the skinny fat range.
Why is it Bad to be Skinny Fat?
While it may not seem problematic on the outside, skinny fat presents real health risks that get worse with age. The danger of skinny fat is known as sarcopenic obesity. This person is at an average, seemingly healthy weight but metabolically shares many of the same risks and probabilities for conditions like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
How to Fix Skinny Fat in 3 Steps
Skinny fat is NOT a body type! You can absolutely change being skinny fat, and we will walk you through the delicate balance between eating to increase muscle while cutting fat. Also, there are so many fundamentals about how to maintain healthy muscle mass and stay lean year round, and I highly recommend you check out the ONLY 10 things that matter for weight loss if you need more guidance.
We say this repeatedly–you cannot train your way out of a bad diet!
If you eat junk, your body can’t build muscle, recover, shed fat, or get the valuable nutrients it needs to transform. You have to fuel your body like your life depends on it (because it does!)
So the first step is nutrition. We won’t go into depth and discuss recipes or food specifics here. We have a free Nutrition Playlist on YouTube if you want more in-depth nutrition info, and you can check out our Nutrition System 2.0 for help with meal planning.
The simple formula is: eat in a slight calorie deficit, around -200–300 calories daily. The reason is that if you were to do a traditional shred or cut diet (large calorie deficit), you would get really skinny and not fuel muscle growth. A bulk diet (calorie surplus) will work against you also because you can’t lose extra fat if you’re not in a calorie deficit.
JRD’s Free Nutrition Calculator
Our amazing free fitness calculator breaks down your macros based on your body type to easily determine how many calories: protein, carbs, and fat you need to meet your fitness goals! Try it here and bookmark the page!
2. Increase Protein & Decrease Carbs
Yup, nutrition is essential if you want to fix skinny fat. Most of the time, skinny fat people eat a diet high in carbohydrates and processed foods lacking adequate protein and nutrients their muscles need for growth. So even if you eat in a slight calorie deficit, as we recommend, you must eat high-quality, nutrient-dense foods to get results.
Amino Acids & Muscle
Another way you could nutritionally boost your muscle growth is with amino acids, specifically BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids. Aminos are the only supplement we take or recommend, as do millions of athletes and bodybuilders who use aminos to boost their growth and delay the onset of muscle fatigue.
The tricky part with increasing muscle is that if you don’t get enough protein, your body can’t repair and build mass. A way to safeguard yourself from this is with an amino acid supplement. It helps you build muscle and hold onto your gains, which also revs up your metabolism and fat loss.
Studies show that BCAAs activate certain enzymes following a workout that can improve muscle development. Research also indicates that aminos help you maintain muscle mass even while on a restrictive diet.
This study on the side effects of amino acid supplements indicates that people who consume amino acids report a stronger immune system, better memory, fewer symptoms of depression, fewer headaches, and better sleep!
3. Resistance Training
Our method to fix skinny fat: compound lift exercises + isolation exercises + jump rope cardio
You need resistance training, specifically bodyweight exercises and weight lifting, to build muscle and remedy the skinny fat issue. Resistance training is fundamental strength training, and you need to start with compound lifts–movements that target the major muscle groups at once. Great exercises to start with—squats, deadlifts, bench press, push ups, pull ups, and bicep curls.
Finally, jump rope cardio provides heart and lung health benefits while shredding excess fat.
Hard truth: changing your body composition is super simple, but it’s NOT easy.
This means it won’t feel awesome and cool right away, your motivation is going to disappear pretty quickly, and you’ll have to keep showing up anyway. Consistency isn’t sexy, but it gets results. Think about the long game.
Want More Workouts?
You can access all our intense, best-selling HIIT Jump Rope Workout Programs like JRD Max, Shredded Ninja, and the 7-Day Beginner Challenge, as well as our Nutrition System and the Community in the JRD App! Try it for two weeks free to see if it vibes with your fitness lifestyle.
Until next time, JRD family! Keep setting goals and crushing them, and thanks for having us on your fitness journey!
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