Body fat isn’t always noticeable. A person can have a high level of body fat but still appear thin or “skinny.” This is why health shouldn’t be determined by how someone looks under their clothes. They can appear thin but still have a high body fat percentage.
This is called having a skinny fat body type, and it can be deceiving. The good news is that it can be fixed, and that’s what we’ll talk about today.
What Is the Skinny Fat Body Type?
Being skinny fat means that you look thin, but you actually have a high percentage of body fat that may not be noticeable when taking your standard BMI.
A body composition scale will tell you more about your body than a standard bathroom scale. A body fat scale will calculate everything you need to know about your body composition, including your bone mass, muscle mass, and body fat percentage.
When you have a high percentage of body fat, you can be doing more harm than good to your body than you realize. Body fat is dangerous because it can wrap around the organs and arteries in your body with no warning. You can still look thin from the outside, while on the inside of your body, your organs and arteries are dangerously covered in body fat.
People who are skinny fat will likely hold most of their fat in their stomach and torso area. They can appear lean in their arms and legs while storing fat in their stomachs. This is why being skinny fat is dangerously deceiving.
Why is Excess Body Fat Dangerous?
We need body fat to keep us warm and protect our organs, but too much of it can be dangerous.
Body fat that has attached itself to our organs and arteries is known as visceral body fat. It is deep within our bodies, wrapped around the organs, so it’s not as visible or noticeable as excess body fat. You can have visceral body fat without having noticeable excess body fat.
Excess visceral fat is dangerous because it can lead to serious health issues such as stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. This is why it’s important to understand the skinny fat body type and how to fix it.
The Main Causes of the Skinny Fat Body Type
- Too much cardio
- Not lifting enough weights or building enough muscle mass
- Depriving your body of protein
- Not eating enough calories
- Having too much stress
Doing any of these will contribute to your skinny fat body type. That’s why it’s so important to eat the right types of food and do the right workouts for your body as a whole and not just a number on a scale.
How to Fix the Skinny Fat Body Type
First, you must know your body composition, including your body fat percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass. This will help you better understand how to fix your skinny fat body type.
Get a body composition scale to accurately measure your body as a whole, not just how much you weigh. You need to know your body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone mass, and body weight to understand your body as a whole. This will give you an accurate reading of your body fat percentage and not just your body mass index.
Once you have calculated your body fat percentage and body weight, you need to choose the right food to eat and workouts to do.
1. Clean Up Your Diet
The skinny fat body type comes from not eating the right food and not doing the right workouts. You must change your diet and workouts to fix the skinny fat body type.
You have likely deprived your body of the nutrients it needs to be healthy. You may not be eating enough protein, complex carbohydrates, and clean food.
Fix your skinny fat body type by following these recommendations:
- Eat more protein (lean meats, eggs, and nuts)
- Reduce the amount of sugar and processed foods you eat; these become stored in the belly and will surround your organs and arteries
- Eat complex carbohydrates, including leafy greens and brown rice
- Add more fiber to your diet to help with digestion
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
2. Increase Your Muscle Mass
You are skinny fat because you don’t have much muscle mass in your body. The body's nutrients are stored as visceral fat or burned off during cardio. You need to take the fuel you’re putting into your body and turn it into muscle gain. Don’t stop doing cardio but don’t make it your only source of exercise or physical activity.
How to increase your muscle mass:
- Lifting weights
- Reduce cardio
- Include high-intensity interval training in your workouts
- Go for more walks
Lifting more weights and focusing on strength training while reducing the amount of cardio you do each day will help you increase your muscle mass to eliminate the skinny fat body type.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep
The third way to help fix the skinny fat body type is to get plenty of sleep. When you’re asleep, your body repairs itself, but that’s not the only reason it’s important to get plenty of sleep.
When you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep (at least 7 hours a night), the hormones in your body will change. Hormone changes are a leading factor in weight gain and body fat.
When your hormones are imbalanced, many different body areas are affected. One of the biggest effects of a hormonal imbalance appears in appetite and weight gain. You eat more and have severe cravings when your hormones are imbalanced. This can quickly lead to weight gain and an increase in body fat.
As we mentioned earlier, your body repairs itself during sleep. Sleep is vital when building muscle mass because it will repair the muscles after being torn down during strength training. Without proper sleep, your muscles can’t repair themselves as they need to, resulting in poor muscle mass growth.
Don’t Forget to Drink Plenty of Water!
The last thing you need to remember when fixing the skinny fat body type is to drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb for how much water you should consume each day is to take your body weight and divide it in half. This number is how many ounces of water you should drink per day.
Drinking water will keep you full, and it will also help your body function at an optimal level. Without water, your body will become dehydrated, leading to poor performance of all your body systems.
Purchase a body composition scale to calculate your body fat percentage and muscle mass accurately. This will help you better understand how much body fat you have and what you need to change it from fat to muscle.