Everything to Know About Skinny Fat

Everything to Know About Skinny Fat

The idea that weight is the best indicator of one’s health is increasingly being challenged by more recent research. Belonging to the “normal” range in BMI does not guarantee a healthy body fat percentage or muscle mass. In fact, someone who is skinny can have a high body fat percentage and low muscle mass – which is often referred to as the “skinny fat” body type. This kind of body type is more challenging to work with at a gym, since the changes are not as apparent.

What Is “Skinny-Fat”?

In medical terms, “skinny fat” means metabolically obese normal-weight individuals. Even though body mass index is still much relied on, the ratio of fat to muscle makes all the difference. “Skinny Fat” generally indicates an individual with a fat percentage that is way higher than the muscle mass.

What Does Skinny Fat Look like?

The term skinny fat is a bit contradictory, so you may be wondering – what does skinny fat look like? Individuals who are skinny fat will not hold too much fat or too little of it. They are characterized by the presence of excessive fat, particularly around the abdomen or waist. They lack the definition that comes with the presence of lean muscle.

Causes of Skinny Fat

There are multiple factors that can cause skinny fat. Some types of bodies are genetically inclined to hold onto more fat than muscle. However, many internal and external factors can also exacerbate the problem.

1. Hormone level imbalance

There are multiple hormones that affect the amount of stored fat in the body. For example, insulin is a hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism. If someone experiences prolonged periods of stress, they may produce excess cortisol, which makes the body insulin resistant and can lead to the accumulation of harmful visceral fat. Another example is when estrogen levels steadily fall after menopause. Hormonal imbalances like these can lead to unhealthy accumulations of fat.

2. Lack of mass

Generally speaking, having less muscle mass leads to being skinny fat. Having more muscle mass means that your body will burn more fat, even when you’re resting.

3. Resistance/strength training

Skinny fat is a term used to describe someone who may appear skinny but has very little muscle mass. This type of person likely doesn’t engage in strength training using weights or resistance training, both of which help promote muscle growth. Without these activities, someone may look skinny but lack the definition and strength that come with having more muscle volume.

Signs of Being Skinny Fat

The general notion that someone who falls within the “normal” range of the BMI index is healthier than an obese person is often times deceiving. There are several signs that can indicate an individual is skinny fat. Listed below are some examples:

  • An individual has a high body fat percentage despite having a “normal” BMI
  • An individual’s waist size is large in proportion to their hips and thighs
  • An individual’s bone density is low
  • An individual has very little muscle mass

1. Certain hereditary conditions

There are certain medical conditions that can make a person more likely to be skinny fat. For example, if there are hereditary issues like high blood sugar, blood pressure, or higher cholesterol levels in the family history, a person may be more predisposed to being skinny fat. Losing weight and increasing lean muscle mass can help to improve the situation, but it’s important to do so in a healthy way.

2. Higher level of fat

A tell-tale symptom of being skinny fat would be having a higher proportion of fat to lean, toned muscle. Even if the person’s frame is small, a disproportionate amount of fat around the abdomen than the rest of the body hints at skinny fat.

3. Higher level of triglycerides

The level of triglycerides in your blood is an essential determiner of heart health. Triglycerides are a type of lipid/fat found in the blood, and an intake of excess calories and processed food increases triglyceride levels. An excessively high level of triglycerides will be stored as unused fat around the organs.

Tips to Get Rid of Skinny Fat

The dangers of having skinny fat are evident. If you are not careful, skinny fat can lead to serious health problems. However, there are certain tips you can follow to control or reverse the situation.

1. Cardio

People who are trying to lose weight should focus on a healthy mix of cardio and strength-training. Cardio is good for your cardiovascular health, but too much of it can affect your ability to build muscle. Muscle mass helps you burn fat, so it’s important to maintain a balance between cardio and strength-training in your workout routine.

2. Strength training

Strength training is important for muscles because it gives them the opportunity to break down and repair, which then leads to an increase in volume. Any form of strength training, like free weights, resistance bands, or weightlifting, will help. Do the one you enjoy the most!

3. Consuming proteins

Proteins are essential for our bodies – they help us build muscle and recover from injury. If you want to make sure you’re getting enough protein, focus on eating lean meats, eggs, and dairy. These foods will help you feel full and prevent hunger cravings.


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