Skinny fat? Is that like jumbo shrimp?


I was recently meeting with a new client (I’ll call her Mary) to discuss her goals and objectives for our training program. Mary knew, at some level, she wanted to be “more fit.” “But,” she said, “I’m at a normal weight for my height, so what will our
training really accomplish?” Mary was, as it turned out, “skinny fat.” She looked thin, but her body fat percentage was higher than the normal range. She had a high fat mass and a low muscle mass. Metabolically, she had the same health risks as an overweight person might.

So, how does one change their body composition?

1) Develop a healthy lifestyle over time. That means take a look at your nutritional habits and make smart GRADUAL changes. It means if you’re not already doing so begin to exercise!

2) Start slowly. Maybe you need to start with short, daily walks and progress over time to cardio and strength training. Take it slow, be patient but consistent, and the body will develop more muscle while shedding the hidden fat.

3) Don’t skip the strength training. Cardio alone will burn both fat AND muscle. Mary was “skinny fat” precisely because she did extensive, high intensity cardio (running and biking), but did not do any strength training.

So to repeat, whether you’re skinny fat or overweight you can increase your body’s ability to burn fat by building lean muscle tissue. You do that by balancing any cardio exercise with strength training and proper nutrition. The more lean muscle tissue you add, the higher your metabolic rate, which determines your expenditure of caloric energy. Make sense?

If this is an issue for you, I can help. Have questions? Drop me a note.