Skinny fat is a popular buzz-term used to describe someone who is of normal body weight according to their BMI but has a high level of body fat. If you're outside of your bmi range then you are not skinny fat, you're just fat.
In visual terms, it would describe an individual with low muscularity but relatively high bodyfat. We will define a skinny fat male as having more than 20 percent body fat with low muscularity.
If this label fits you, a bulking approach may be tempting because you would like to look more muscular. However, a bulking phase will most often lead to an even fatter appearance and exacerbate the potential health concerns associated with having a higher body fat percentage.
People who are skinny fat (despite their normal body weight) have an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes. They also tend to have insulin-resistance, excess visceral fat, high blood triglycerides, elevated blood pressure and may be at a greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Risks which are heightened if you are of South Asian descent.
For this reason, we generally advise against a caloric surplus for skinny fat individuals.
Other reasons Skinny Fat is More Dangerous than being Obese
Firstly, you're equally at risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes but you think you're ok, because with your clothes you look okay with your clothes on, it's only when you removes your clothes can you see the fat that's hidden away.
You might even be in the healthy weight range.
As a skinny fat person you're guaranteed to have visceral fat around your organs, the kind that causes the serious health problems.
Your fat mates keep telling you, you're lucky, and you might agree with them until your have your first heart attack.
Here's the case study of Dr Salman a medical doctor and avid runner who had a heart attack at the age of 34.
His only risk factor that being he was holding one to two stones of extra fat. Highlighting the fact that Asian men are at risk even with a BMI as low as 23 if they are holding excess fat a low muscle mass
Society as a whole doesn't understand what a healthy weight looks like any more. 3 stones overweight is seen as normal.
Especially amongst pot bellied desis.
1. Skinny fat guys will have visceral fat around their organs, the fat that gets into your liver and other places and causes all manner of health complications, including diabetes
In 'Life Without Diabetes' Dr Roy Taylor, a Diabetes specialist who's done some ground breaking work in the field of diabetes, writes
"It is important to say that you don’t have to be obese, or even look overweight, to have type 2 diabetes. Every individual has their ‘personal fat threshold’ – the point at which no more can be taken into their regular fat cells. The fat has to go somewhere, and it ends up not only inside the tummy cavity but also inside the main organs of the body. If the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas are susceptible to fat-induced problems, this is the tipping point for diabetes."
2. They think they're safe because they're the slimmest amongst their buddies, so ignore it until one day their doctor tells them out of the blue, you've got diabetes, high cholesterol or fatty liver disease. Which hits them like an atom bomb because they were never expecting that in a million years.
Wait but I'm not fat!!
Usually when it comes to fat gain for most people, the problem comes down to one of two issues:
1. Quantity of food
2. Quality of food
(Notice I didn't mention exercise, because it's almost negligible)
If you're massively overweight (btw 15 stones is massively overweight, I don't care how tall you are, or how long you've been in the gym) the biggest factor will be quantity of food, followed by quality.
Quality of Food
Coming back to skinny fat guys... their issue is the quality of food, they need to ensure a higher protein intake.
Prioritise Resistance Training
Secondly, for this category of people, resistance training becomes a priority because they're lacking muscle mass. Running will make them look even softer. Heck, everyone should prioritise resistance training. Start lifting weights and skew the balance of muscle to fat ratio, build some strength and start feeling like a real man and ward of serious health risks. Here’s what the hierarchy of fat loss really looks like:
So there you have it, start lifting weights and eat enough protein without excess calories
Need help with overcoming skinny fat?
So you feel confident and look sharp even with your top off.
We've helped lots of people get rid of their soft podgy bellies.
Here are a couple check.
Here's a video case study of another client,who got abs for the first time in his life. He didn't even set foot in the gym. This was just at home training with bands. Prior to this he has been heavy into martial arts but still had a podgy belly.
Check out my other two posts, once you're fully problem aware, then you can fix it.