Being skinny-fat is oh-so common among women and men alike! What skinny-fat means is that while you have a thin, lean appearance and look fit in clothes, you actually have low muscle mass and a high body fat percentage. So, a normal BMI but high body fat percentage. Often times skinny fat people don't have to lose a ton of fat but they need to gain quite a bit of muscle to compensate for their body fat percentage. This could mean actually gaining weight from a scale perspective. Keep reading if you are interested in getting rid of your own skinny-fatness! *It should be noted that I am not a fitness professional-I have consulted professional trainers and have done my research because I personally am a skinny-fat person!*
In our culture it's tempting to simply embrace being skinny fat because, based on appearances alone, you look great. But appearances are not everything. Just as being obese comes with an array of health risks, having too much body fat and too little muscle poses similar risks. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar are all risk factors for many diseases. Overall the amount of fat might not be high, but it could be tucked away as visceral fat, which means it's dangerously surrounding your internal organs. Just remember that looks can be deceiving and a crappy diet composed of processed sugar may not be showing up on your waistline but instead could be wrecking your health overall.
One of the causes of being skinny-fat comes from too much cardio. It may seem counter-intuitive but burning too many calories while endurance training will burn fat as well as muscle. Muscle is an extremely efficient source of energy and if you're burning too many calories, not eating sufficient calories and neglecting resistance training, you're not going to see gains in body composition. A lot of cardio is a great if you need to lose a lot of fat but not good if you want to reverse your body composition.
Instead of focusing on endurance training, turn your energy to resistance training. This includes lifting free weights, using weight machines, and classes that involve strength training and isolated muscle movements. It's important to first know proper technique so seek guidance from a professional before beginning a workout routine.
Many women are afraid to lift heavy weights because of the "bulk" factor or possible injury. But with proper guidance, there's no reason to neglect lifting. Women will not gain bulk without extreme dedication and diet supplements (including steroids). Lifting heavy builds muscle, not just strength. Building lean muscle will amp up your metabolism and your body will be much more efficient at burning fat. So if you're interested in gaining muscle, lifting is the way to go.
Diet is extremely important when changing your body composition. You need healthy carbs for energy, protein to keep and gain muscle, and fat for proper nutrient absorption. Don't stress too much but make sure you're getting an appropriate amount of each macro nutrient at meal time for your own specific needs! Also remember that calories are important and too little means your body will burn muscle for energy, reversing all your hard work!
When you're on a fitness journey, specifically one that's focused on gaining lean muscle mass to be healthy and toned, don't worry about the scale so much. Focus more about how your clothes fit and the changes you see in your body. You can lose 2 inches around your waist and thighs yet weigh the same on the scale!
It's easy for women to forget to tone and strengthen certain muscle groups. Particularly the arms, shoulders and back. The traps are the massive muscle group along your shoulders and upper back, which help keep you upright and effect the range of motion in your shoulders and neck. Don't neglect any muscle group as they are all important in how your body moves and performs basic functions!
Vitamin D, a good multivitamin, and Fish Oil help boost your metabolism as well as burn calories and regulate blood sugar which will get your body on track to no longer being skinny fat.
Sleep is always on the list when it comes to losing weight and being skinny fat is no different. To stop cravings, boost metabolism, and keep your body functioning at its prime, you need to maintain 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
By increasing your fiber and cutting out sugary drinks where all you're doing is drinking your calories, you can drastically change your body composition.
There you have it! Some important ways in which you can change your body composition from skinny-fat to lean and strong! Do you have any fitness tips to add?
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