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The 5 Ultimate Strategies To Help Skinny Fat People

skinny fat people

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If you’re one of the many skinny fat people reading this, frustrated from not knowing what to do with your diet or training… Great news! There is a skinny fat solution.

Skinny fat people probably have a terrible experience of bulking up and seemingly just gaining fat, or trying to lose that extra fat, and just winding up even skinnier…but still with a nice round belly.

It’s a complete blow to your self-confidence and can result in a lot of confusion on what to do with your workout or diet.

There are two major reasons I personally think that causes people to become skinny fat.

The first being, you’re a naturally skinny guy. And you’re doing things that will turn you into a skinny fat guy, like being sedentary and not hitting the weights for example. Which leads into the second reason. And that’s from following poor weight loss advice from the mainstream media.

Skinny Fat Solution Video Summary

Make sure to check out the Youtube Video I did on a skinny fat solution as well. This article builds on that and offers some deeper insights. Enjoy!


Most skinny fat people are doing excessive amounts of cardio or something along the lines of p90x style programs when trying to lose fat.

We won’t dive into why those typical programs (which are designed for your average person looking to lose weight) are ineffective in this post. But what ends up happening to the innocent skinny fat guy is that they lose some fat, along with some muscle. Yep, “weight” loss is exactly what they got.

If you follow these 3 things listed below, chances are, you’ll wind up among the frustrated skinny fat people:

  • Minimal weightlifting but high rep training focus
  • Severe calorie deficits
  • Extreme amounts of cardio

See this is really what gets to me when it comes to weight loss and the media.

Instead of properly teaching people the fundamentals of weight loss, they come up with a new fad or crash diets that restrict types or amounts of foods you can eat.

This typically results in severe calorie deficits, which not only contributes to becoming skinny fat, but many other problems like hormonal imbalances, excessive fat storage, and much more.


Well first, let’s dive into what it actually means to be skinny fat.

Essentially, you’re not overweight and typically have very low body fat levels, but lack muscle definition:

skinny fat people

Here’s the real skinny fat solution – you must improve your body fat composition. Meaning, you must increase your lean mass ratio to your fat mass ratio.

Which brings me to my next point. Usually, an improvement in body composition results in an increase in body weight. Many skinny fat people obsess about scale weight and fear their weight going up.

You Will Probably Weigh More At Your Goal

If we are talking about visuals here, it does not matter how much you weigh versus how many pounds of fat are on your body.

An effective skinny fat workout should have you building muscle and strength. This is going to give your body the definition you’re after.

Nutrition Also Plays A Crucial Role Here

Most likely due to the workout routine you’re currently following that resulted in you being skinny fat, your fat cells have become more insulin sensitive than your muscle cells. So if you try to bulk up, it’s much easier to gain fat instead of muscle.

You may indeed be gaining some muscle, but you wouldn’t know because it’s hidden by fat gain.

And if you try to diet down, you’re losing both muscle and fat, so you never seem to get leaner, just smaller. Since our stomachs are the last place men lose fat from, this leaves you with a belly instead of a shredded six pack.


skinny fat solution

As I briefly mentioned above, the proper skinny fat workout should be honed in on building muscle and strength as much as possible.

The picture above clearly shows that an increase in muscle mass (even though the scale weight most likely increased) looks a million times better.

The proper skinny fat diet should be a moderate calorie deficit (we’ll get to why severe calorie deficits are bad in a moment).

A moderate calorie deficit and a well-designed muscle building program will work very well for you. In fact, skinny fat guys are very likely to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

Why Severe Calorie Deficits For Skinny Fat People Are Bad

If your calories are very restricted, not only will you lose fat but you will also lose muscle. You can also do a lot of damage to your metabolism with very low calorie diets.

You then may fall down a dark dark path of thinking you need to work harder and diet harder. This also results in more muscle loss. You may see results on the scale, but when you gaze in the mirror, you are devastated in how you look.

Why Too Much Cardio Is Bad

What I explained above also ties in with excessive amounts of cardio.

Research shows that endurance training can interfere with your ability to gain strength and muscle. When you are dieting, it is very easy to lose muscle as well. Doing hours of cardio will only accelerate muscle loss. You NEED to add more muscle and strength!

Why High Reps Are Bad

Normally, people think high reps will “tone” your muscles. This is wrong. Bringing out muscle definition requires you lowering your body fat percentage.

Not to mention, high reps tend to contribute to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (increase in fluid around the muscle fibers) and deplete glycogen stores in the muscles. If you mix high reps while in a calorie deficit, this is a perfect storm for muscle loss. Your body simply does not have the energy to recover from that kind of volume.

Your goal with fat loss should be to hold onto the muscle you have and possibly build some more. This is accomplished by lower reps and lower overall volume (while making consistent strength gains).


skinny fat workout routine

Your New Mindset

Being in the right state of mind throughout your fitness journey is huge.

Chances are if you’ve been a frustrated skinny fat guy for some time now, you need a mental break.

My advice to you is simple but truly effective. Relax and accept where you are right now. I know that is easier said than done, but if you cannot accept yourself now, how will you when you make your transformation?

“I’ll look better Trent, DUH?!”

You are always going to want more or to look better. By learning self-acceptance now, you will hopefully (with practice) fix that mindset.

Not to mention all the additional stress you have been going through will make this process less efficient. Once you release yourself of that, your new training and dieting will go very smoothly.

You can start by writing down your goals. Along with positive affirmations such as “I have complete and total confidence within myself and I love the way I look.”

Recite those to yourself every morning upon waking.

You’ll Always Want More

I recently tested my one rep max on bench press – an easy 260 lbs. I was stoked! A former skinny fat guy lifting that kind of weight? It’s a huge accomplishment. I tried to be as present in the moment as I could, but do you know what ended up happening?

I then wanted a 275 lb one rep max. And that moment of glory was gone. Although I’m able to give you this advice, even I need more practice with it as well.

By realizing that the present moment is all you truly have, you’ll be able to move forward with your fitness goals with much less resistance and conquer your skinny fat body with ease.

Remember, getting to your goals is literally going to be 80% of you getting over the mental battle and 20% of you actually putting in the work.

The Skinny Fat Workout Routine

The 4-6 rep range with no more than 5-6 exercises per workout, with 2-3 sets per each, is a good guideline to follow.

Skinny fat people need to add more muscle to fix this problem. Adding strength to a handful of key exercises will result in great muscle development. I know you have probably been working your ass off with little to show.

This is why I base all my training around a 3 day workout routine and keep things simple.

Here’s what I mean – make sure you’re only focusing on a few compound exercises and consistently getting stronger:

  • Incline Dumbbell Presses
  • Barbell Rows
  • Standing Overhead Presses
  • Barbell Curls
  • Weighted Dips
  • Bulgarian Split Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Hanging Leg Raises

Why those exercises?

The fact of the matter is, there are tons of exercises to choose from. Tons. But the ones I just listed are a good place to start. Also, make sure you have some structure behind your training.

In other words, adding muscle to your body where it’s going to make the most visual impact. It’s not just about adding muscle, it’s WHERE you build the muscle that’s going to make you look the best.

The Skinny Fat Diet Protocol

Typically, if you have been trying to diet very hard, you need to fix your metabolic rate.

This is a good thing though. With the increase in calories, this will make it easier to build some muscle and get your metabolism running optimally again.

If you multiply your body weight by 15, this will give you a good estimate on your maintenance calories (you can then begin to test a 100 to 200 calorie surplus).

If you are around normal range regarding your calorie intake, but your body fat is too high. Then you can begin to diet and lose a bit of excess body fat (test a 200-400 calorie deficit first).

You will probably experience a body recomp (building muscle and losing fat). Which is pretty damn cool!

If you are around normal range regarding your calorie intake, but your body fat is fairly low. Then you can focus on building muscle without gaining fat.

Cut Back On The Cardio If You’re Skinny Fat

A huge goal is to be adding strength and muscle. To do so, you must cut back on the cardio.

I would suggest doing HIIT cardio and keeping your sessions to no longer than 30 minutes. Or you could even do a quick sprint workout (my favorite).

You can perform 1-2 sessions per week if you are lean bulking. And 2-3 sessions per week if you are cutting.

But the reality is – if you can dial in your nutrition, you can resort to only having your forms of cardio being 30-45 minute walks on your rest days or different sorts of fun activities with friends and family. No need to kill yourself on the treadmill…it may be what got you in this skinny fat mess in the first place.

Start Tracking Everything

Once you begin tracking your daily calories, weight and reps lifted in the gym, body measurements, even sleep -you can begin to find out what’s truly working or not. If you find yourself still stuck in a rut, you can make the smallest adjustment possible and re-test things.

If you’re seeing great results, you now have a log of everything that works, so that you can replicate it over and over again.

Take for example my client Joseph:

skinny fat

As soon as we got him on a step by step workout plan, improved his foods choices to optimize his fat loss (and testosterone) his progress went through the roof! This was accomplished in just 3 months of working together.

Click here to learn more about my Train Eat Live Transformation Coaching Program.


If you stop and think for a second, skinny fat people (same with everyone for that matter) only need an actually routine and nutrition plan to follow. On top of the desire and drive to actually make this lifestyle change (which I know you have).

Simply narrow down your training to what really matters.

And in your case, you’re going to want to focus on building muscle and strength. Understand your weight on the scale will go up from the increase in muscle mass (if that’s something you’re worried about).

Diet properly to support strength and muscle gains, while stripping away excess body fat. No more crash or fad diets.

Have some patience. And learn to accept where you currently are. This will make the process and results so much more enjoyable.

Think of this as a 6th freebie strategy – make sure you watch my FREE MaterClass on getting the body you want, where I teach you how to use these principles we just talked about and apply them to you OWN lifestyle and preference. It’s a must-watch – click the button below to reserve your seat.

Was this article a good skinny fat solution? Did I miss anything? Let me know what you think in the comments!


– Trent

Watch My FREE Masterclass On Getting The Body You Want

Watch My FREE Masterclass On Getting The Body You Want

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About Trent McCloskey

I'm Trent, the creator of Train Eat Live. My mission is to reform the health & fitness industry and help you build your best body ever.

Interested in working with me? Click here.

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