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.

Ben Greenfield
Episode #128

In the second case, an endurance athlete or cardio enthusiast who is beating up their body with long aerobic sessions (while eating every calorie in sight) experiences high levels of cortisol, which can cause fluid retention in the waist, hips, and butt. In addition, if there isn’t any weight training happening, all that endurance training can literally cannibalize lean muscle and result in a lack of muscle tone and ligament support, which accelerates the formation of the skinny-fat look.

How to Get Rid of the Skinny Fat Look

So now that you know what the skinny-fat look is and how you get there in the first place, what are some quick and dirty tips to get rid of it? Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Lift weights. When you weight train, especially if you lift heavier loads of 6, 8 or 10 repetitions, your body adapts by growing new muscle fibers that tone and support body parts that can tend to sag, especially in naturally skinny people. To avoid a skinny-fat look, you should do a full body weight training session two to three times per week, using multi-joint moves. Here are 10 tips to build lean muscle fast by lifting weights.

  2. Adjust your diet. All those carbohydrates that naturally skinny and lean people are able to get away with can catch up with them later in life as metabolism slows and the liver begins to convert sugars into storage fats. You will find that higher amounts of healthy fats and proteins not only satiate your appetite better than pasta, bread, scones, bagels, and biscotti, but will also help you to eat less and control your appetite better.

  3. De-stress. As we saw earlier, when lean people exercise too much, they can easily create excessive levels of cortisol, the body’s stress-release hormone. When this happens, fluid retention can occur – which only makes that skinny-fat look even more pronounced. So get adequate sleep, don’t overtrain, and try stress relief techniques such as breathing and yoga.

For even more tips on getting rid of the skinny-fat look and getting an exercise and diet plan for your unique shape, check out my book, Get-Fit Guy’s Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body at GetFitGuy.com. It will help you figure out whether you’re at higher risk for being skinny-fat and what you can do about it.

If you have more questions about how to avoid being skinny-fat, then post them in the comments section of the Get-Fit Guy web site or join the conversation at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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