Picture this. The weather’s heating up and the annual pilgrimage to the local swimming spot is in full swing. Immaculate looking bodies are strewn across the sand like beached whales sporting six packs, massive quads and cheap bronzer. And then you take off your shirt.
No man should ever be subjected to the embarrassing effects of the skinny-fat. It’s that terrible space in body shape limbo where you’re not exactly fat, but not muscular enough to feign brawniness either. Think man-boobs, male muffin tops and jelly arms.
Thankfully there is a way to rid the dreaded skinny-fat look just in time for shirts-off season. Listen up and sweat it out.
What Causes Skinny-Fat?
Part of any good solution is knowing a problem’s origins. The skinny-fat phenomenon comes down to diet according to Jordan Ponder, fitness expert and founder of Paramount Recreation Club.
He says that skinny-fat people are those that often have massive weekends, work hard and then stress, leaving little time or energy for regular exercise and a stable diet.
“Skinny-fat is a result of high output during the week. So doing the opposite of that is key. That is, consistent during the week and then on the weekend some kind of moderation.”
In other words, skinny-fat will arise if you pair an absence of physical activity without gaining substantial weight. Ponder simply deems this as being unfit.
“Skinny-fat people who may look fine under clothes have no upper body strength and can’t do a chin up,” says Ponder.
“A slightly bigger person that’s hitting the gym at least has the strength and co-ordination. Skinny fat is an absence of lean muscle mass.”
How To Rid The Skinny-Fat
There are specific ways to target the effects of skinny-fat and that all starts with shifting your mindset whilst replacing some cardio with lifting weights.
Forget About Your Weight
What skinny-fat men should be focusing on is their body-fat percentage as this attributes to the appearance of skinny-fat. Skinny-fat bodies carry around 16-25% body fat and the ideal is to get those figures down between 9-12%. Doing this will add definition to your body including your chest and abs.
Run Less, Lift More
Cardio is great for the heart and overall fitness but it will do no you no favours in filling out that XS T-shirt if it’s all the exercise you’re doing. Lifting weights is the quickest way to replace fat with muscles in skinny-fat guys.
Ponder says that doing push/pull leg exercises such as twenty push ups from the ground is a good place to start. From there it’s core strength exercises such pull ups, dead lifts, burpees and other hybrid movements which will help you look cut in the fastest time possible.
“Getting a foundational base established is the goal whether it be extensions or sit ups,” says Ponder.
Once the strength training is in full swing, make sure to change up the exercises constantly or increase the weights and reps so that the muscles continue to grow. It’s as easy as changing up the barbell to dumbbells. If you feel sore afterwards, you’re doing it right.
Kick Your Eating Habits
Ridding the skinny-fat is a combination of exercise, consistency and diet. In other words, cut down the drinking, smoking and food binging. Ponder notes that avoiding skinny-fat involves having small portion feeds of three to five meals a day – ideally five.
“That’s breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Skinny-fat people are skipping breakfast, having coffee, might have a piece of fruit then have a massive lunch like Thai takeaway.”
“After that they don’t really eat much, get home, have a drink and then kick onto dinner.”
Bad idea. Being skinny-fat is a time bomb according to the experts. As Ponder explains, you’ll rarely see many skinny-fat people of middle age – they’re either going downhill or getting better.
Stop Being Lazy
Skinny-fat is extremely easy to rid in a relatively short amount of time (10 weeks) but the issue comes from the fact that skinny-fat men are lazy to begin with. This is what prolongs the duration of skinny-fat bodies well into the months and years.
As such, eating badly and eating very little is the underlying culprit whilst drinking and smoking will compound this.
“If they’re consistent then the results will be super quick,” says Ponder.
“They don’t have weight shift so foundation strength gain can come pretty easy in those four to six weeks of discipline.”
So get moving, you magnificent skinny-fat bastard. See these simple exercises that will get you bigger, faster.