Are you skinny fat? If you're reading this, then you probably are. It's perhaps the most frustrating fitness problem to have when it comes to reaching your goals. There you are with a skinny body, but you have a protruding stomach that won't go down. You're stuck between losing weight and gaining weight. You believe you should lose weight because of your stomach, and on the other hand, you want to gain weight because you are too thin. Talk about going insane and trying not to pull my hair out.
You eat food day and night trying to gain weight because you want to add on a few pounds of muscle. When you workout, you try to lift heavy, but that doesn't end well because you can't get the weight up and don't have the motivation to continue. Heavy lifting is challenging to do alone when you are used to it. Eating all day to gain weight isn't as fun as you thought before you started. You'll hit a wall where you'll get so full that you can hardly move. It's a lifestyle that consumes you if you let it, and having a game plan is necessary.
The problem with people who are skinny fat is that they usually hold many fat cells in and around their stomachs. The food that is consumed isn't helping, and because of their metabolism, the whole body doesn't gain weight, but their abdomen is back up with junk. Many times these people are bloated a lot and tend to never really see how flat their stomachs can be. The fact that most may not go to the restroom a lot isn't' good because the food doesn't leave their system for a while, but they are still eating. The problem also lies in their digestive systems. Most of the time, it's gas that creates this issue.
The gaining weight part comes from a lack of calories. The human body needs calories to grow and not just any type. Most skinny fat people have an ectomorphs body type, which is long and thin. The pros are the eating with minimal weight gain, but that's also the con because many feel like they need too.
So what should you do? What's the solution to this problem? Well, I've experienced all of this and more before my time as a personal trainer, and with the right plan, you can get rid of your fat stomach and add on some muscle.
First, your diet needs to change if you are eating mediocre quality food than that's something to start on. Many times they are filled with empty calories, meaning they do nothing for you. Calories matter but not from anywhere. I sometimes convert back to this randomly high amount of eating junk food calorie eating. I know my body, so I use what I can and avoid what I know I should. You must know yours as well. Here's what you should include in your diet. I recommend targetting your stomach first because that's more the problem than you being thin.
These are just a short list of foods to include, and with smaller portions, your stomach will start to go down. The goal is to have about three meals per day. The meals should all have a source of protein—carbs in the earlier time of the day and fat in the end. The vegetables should be during lunch and dinner. The fruits can be a snack, 1-2 snacks per day, depending on how you feel. Remember, you don't want to get bloated. So be mindful of how you feel and if you're going to the restroom regularly.
Squats - jump squats - leg press (quads, hamstrings, and glutes)
Lunges - single leg squats (quads, hamstrings, and glutes)
Deadlifts (hamstrings, quads)
Pull-ups - Lat pulldowns (mid to lower back)
Dips - (chest and triceps)
These are the exercises that should be a focus during your workout. It would be best if you tried to get every muscle engaged. Guys who are skinny fat make this mistake all the time because I did, and I still see it until this day. Another mistake is doing hundreds of crunches, believing that their stomaches will become flat or that it will go from fat to a six-pack. This belief is a myth, and it needs to remove forgotten. As I stated earlier, the body fat anywhere on your body needs to be removed first, and then after progress lifting, you'll see the muscle growth. When it comes to building muscle, you need to have patience because it can be a slow process.
Lastly, the skinny fat issue is just years of poor eating and lack of exercise. It's best not to think something is wrong with your body or beat yourself up about it. You can't expect results from work you didn't put in. Once you get through the mental aspect and have a plan, you'll be fine. Lift with intensity, heavy but controlled weight. Eat-in a calorie surplus, so that means you'll have a lot of food during the day. The eating aspect will be tough because your body will refuse it. Carbs and protein will be your two best friends, and you should have different choices, so you don't get bored. Compound lifts follow by isolations exercises. Try your best to hit the gym 3-4 times a week, and stay consistent. If you fall off track, don't make it a big deal, get back on track because you can't expect always to have a straight path to fitness. The fact that there's a bump along the way makes the journey so much better, so stay focus, be resilient, and trust the process.
NASM CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER
NASM FITNESS NUTRITION SPECIALIST
NASM FAT LOSS SPECIALIST
Christopher Gilbert is a Personal Trainer based in New York City and is known for his effective nutrition and workout programs along with his intense training sessions.