You're skinny & under-weight but you also have belly fat or man boobs. You're skinny-fat. Skinny-fatness strikes women most since they're often afraid to lift weights. But men can be skinny-fat too.
Why You're Skinny-Fat. Skinny-fat means you have skinny legs & arms and a skinny frame. But you've got some fat, usually belly fat & man boobs. Causes:
- Bad Food Choice. Anything that doesn't look like the 8 nutrition rules. Especially excess carbs, low protein intake, junk food and alcohol
- Undereating. Fat is emergency storage for your body. Your body will burn muscle first if you get on low calorie diets.
- Excess Cardio. To try to get rid of the fat. Excess cardio will cause muscle loss if you don't mix it with strength training.
Gain Weight or Lose Fat First? Gaining weight without gaining fat usually leads nowhere. While it can be done, it's complicate and slow. Better is to focus on 1 goal at a time: weight gain or fat loss.
If you're skinny-fat, best is to gain weight first. It's a lot easier to lose fat with the added muscle mass and strength that comes with the weight gain. So gain weight first, then lose fat.
How to Lose The Skinny-Fat Look. Ignore the excess fat for now. Gain weight by eating massive amounts of food and training hard. Then lose fat.
- Get Stronger. Prevents muscle loss, increases muscle mass and makes you stick to your diet better. Check StrongLifts 5x5.
- Gain Weight First. Set a goal weight and do GOMAD. Ignore the 2-3% fat gain: GOMAD is the fastest & easiest way to gain weight naturally.
- Then Lose Fat. Once you got your goal weight, focus on fat loss. Apply the 8 nutrition rules and keep getting stronger. You'll lose fat fast.
- Track Progress. Take pictures front/back/side, track body fat using a fat caliper and weigh yourself every 2 weeks. Keep a training log.
Here are some example goal weights you can set. Note that these aren’t ideal weights but minima. If you want to weigh more, go for it.
- 1m70/5′7″ at least 70kg/154lbs
- 1m75/5′9″ at least 75kg/165lbs
- 1m80/5′11″ at least 80kg/176lbs
- 1m85/6′1″ at least 85kg/187lbs
- 1m90/6′3″ at least 90kg/200lbs
What About Cardio? Cardio without strength training & diet is useless. Excess cardio will burn muscle, not fat. Lift weights to prevent muscle loss & increase muscle mass. Eat a lot to gain weight & build muscle.
Cardio is fine during your fat loss phase if you got your training & diet right. During the weight gain phase: only add cardio if you can eat +5000kcal/day consistently. Otherwise you'll make the weight gain harder.
- Moderate Intensity. 60-70% of your max heart rate (which is 220 – your age). So if you’re 20 years old, that’s between 120-140bpm.
- 3×45mins. Start with 15mins straight post workout without eating in between. Add 1min each workout until you can do 45mins.
- Elliptical trainer. Most people enjoy the elliptical trainer most. But anything works: rower, stationary bike, outdoor runs, …
Do not waste your time trying to gain weight without gaining fat. It's too slow & complicate. Gain weight first, then lose fat.