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  • Darren Baker

Are You Skinny Fat?

A skinny fat person is someone that does not look overweight but is lacking muscle definition.


They may look slim in their regular clothing but in their underwear can look soft and shapeless due to lack of muscle mass. In some cases they could have high levels of body fat; but instead of the fat accumulating in one or two places making it noticeable, it is “hidden” as an even covering over the body and therefore they do not appear overweight.📷

The skinny fat look is more common with woman than men, and this can be to down to poor exercise and diet advice such as excessive amounts of cardio, severe calorie restriction with little to no resistance training.


If a woman is undertaking some form of resistance training the chances are this is performed with tiny little weights and high reps – this does little to enhance muscle mass.  They may be following a fantastic healthy diet and doing hours of cardio but they still cannot achieve the figure they are striving for.


Muscles are what define a healthy shape and training them can increase your basal metabolic rate which in turn can also help to burn fat.

I personally first come across the term skinny fat whilst researching to help my wife. Her goal was to lose weight, “tone up” and gain a more athletic look. She had a healthy diet and was running nearly everyday, she also carried out further cardio training at home. Although she was slim to look at, her body felt loose and she could not understand why her body wasn’t shaping up as she would like. I convinced her to change her exercise routine and join me on the weights.

I calculated her calories and macro’s and ensured she tracked them.

She embraced weight training which included compound moves such as dead lifts and squats.

The change to her body was dramatic. She dropped from 26% to 18% body fat. Her legs and arms felt tighter and she gained muscle definition. She had achieved her goal and achieved the athletic body she wished for.

There was a massive bonus to this and that is my wife had suffered with cellulite on her thighs for many years. She had tried every detox, pill, potion and cream to reduce it, with limited results.

It was now completely gone.


The Solution


Reduce Cardio Training

If you are skinny fat you should do no more than 3 cardio session per week of which I believe HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the best. I prefer HIIT as you are able to burn equivalent calories in a shorter period compared to steady state cardio.


Train with heavy weights

As the skinny fat physique is due to lack of muscle definition you should focus on lifting heavier weights. This means compound moves such as dead lift and squats. This is for the ladies as well as it is the key to gaining a “toned” physique that woman strive for.  A huge mistake a lot of woman make is using 1kg dumbbells for 20 reps, this simply will not build muscle.

I recommend a progressive overload training program with a 6 rep range for the men and 8 for the ladies. And no ladies; you will not get big and muscular, the women you see in magazines with huge muscles are almost definitely on drugs.


Ensure you are eating a nutritionally balanced diet.

Using my previous post (Principles Of Fat Loss) calculate your TDEE and initially place yourself on a fat loss diet until you reach your target weight keeping your protein intake around 1g per pound of bodyweight.

Skinny Fat – do you have any questions? Contact me to find out more.

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PERSONAL TRAINING - DIET & NUTRITION - WEIGHT LOSS - MUSCLE GAIN - WELLNESS AND POSITIVITY     TERMS AND CONDITIONS 

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