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How to Avoid Being Skinny-Fat

Learn how to tone your body the right way, get curves and lean muscle, and avoid being skinny-fat with thin arms, low muscle tone, and excess weight on the waistline and hips.

By
Ben Greenfield,
March 5, 2013
Episode #128

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In  my book, Get-Fit Guy’s Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body, I describe what happens when a naturally skinny or lean person gets out of shape or doesn’t exercise the right way. Generally, they tend to accumulate fat on the stomach and upper hips, while maintaining skinny arms and legs. This is often referred to as the “skinny-fat” look.

Today, you’re going to learn how to tone your body the right way, get curves and lean muscle, and avoid that skinny-fat look with thin arms, low muscle tone, and excess weight on the waistline and hips.

How Do You Get Skinny Fat?

As I describe in the episode What Body Type Are You?, everybody tends to store fat in different places. People who are apple-shaped, or endomorphs, store fat on their bottom, belly, arms, and legs. Pear shapes, or ---morphs, store fat on their hips. Hourglass shapes, or ---morphs, tend to store fat evenly throughout the body. And ruler shapes, also known as ectomorphs, store fat on the belly if male, and both the belly and butt, if female.

This skinny-fat look doesn’t only happen to people who are naturally skinny, but don’t exercise and eat anything they want. This is a look that you can see in marathoners and endurance athletes who are naturally skinny, but never step into a gym for any kind of weight training, or who eat a diet very high in starches and sugars. In other words, there’s more than one way to get skinny-fat.

In the first case, the lucky person who stayed lean through childhood, high school, and college no matter what they ate or how little they exercised, can find themselves in a conundrum later in life as their hormones naturally decline and their metabolism begins to decrease. Suddenly, rather than quickly and naturally burning up the calories from a plate of spaghetti, they slowly build up a layer of fat around the bellybutton, and sometimes around the hip and butt area too, resulting in a less-than-attractive appearance that begins to make it embarrassing to wear tight t-shirts and fitted jeans.

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