Skinny fat. It is an oxymoron but, unfortunately, it is a reality for a lot of people who follow the ‘typical’ weight loss advice that’s plastered around everywhere. When you do a lot of traditional cardio and cut calories, the usual result is a body composition that’s high in fat and low in muscle. Luckily, if you want to avoid being skinny fat, follow these simple tips.
1. Don’t Fear Weights
If you don’t want to look skinny fat, the number one thing you’ll need to do is increase your muscle mass. But, don’t worry! You’ve got a LONG way to go before you start to look ‘bulky’. And, it’s pretty much impossible for women to put on muscle mass like some men do anyway. For more information, read my article here.
Introducing resistance training or increasing the weights you’re using will help you build muscle fibre to give your body a strong and feminine shape. And, because muscle needs energy to move, it’ll also naturally boost your metabolism. This alone will help to transform your body composition, reducing fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
2. Eat Enough
Forget that 1,200 calorie diet that promised to reveal your 6-pack abs in just a few weeks! Most people need to eat more food than this for your body to function properly and look it’s best. Eating too few calories simply tells your body it’s starving which encourages it to store more fat to prepare for hard times.
This is particularly true if you’re active. Exercising without enough calories to fuel your body encourages it to burn that metabolically active muscle for energy. So, hello high body fat and good-bye lean muscle mass and a faster metabolism.
Instead of slashing calories, focus on eating a balanced diet of quality foods. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein to help your body make and retain lean muscle. But, you also need quality carbohydrates, fats and plenty of vitamins and minerals for your body to work efficiently and reward all your hard work in the gym.
3. Up the Healthy Fats
Eating fat doesn’t make you fat! In fact, it helps to do the opposite. Fats are super satisfying and they help to keep you full for longer so you’re less likely to overeat. A diet that includes plenty of the right kinds of fats also encourages your body to burn fat and build more muscle. An all-round win for the fight against the skinny fat.
4. Avoid Doing Too Much Cardio
And lastly, you probably don’t need to do so much cardio if you want to avoid being skinny fat. Traditional types of cardio such as long-distance running and cycling can cause your body to break down existing muscle mass to make more energy. Once your lean muscle has wasted away, you’ll be left with a good layer of skinny fat.
Instead of traditional types of cardio, try high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves performing an exercise at maximum pace for a short period of time, alternated with periods of rest. It’s great for revving up that metabolism, burning more body fat and encouraging muscle growth.
If you want to change your body composition, try using these tips to avoid being skinny fat. Otherwise, come and see me and the team. With personal and group training options in St Kilda, we’re here to help you look and feel your very best.