Overcoming The Skinny Fat Syndrome

Have you ever seen some one who has lost lots of weight by just dieting and no exercise?  Most of us have ran across individuals who were by some freak of nature able to accomplish weight loss just through lowering their calorie intake.


Think Jared from the Subway commercials.  The guy was able to lose lots of his weight simply by changing his eating habits and walking everyday.  While this may seem to most to be the ideal situation, it has a tremendous amount of drawbacks.

Jared is what we call Skinny Fat.  Skinny Fat is a condition that occurs when a person drops a lot of weight but has done little or no strength training or conditioning.  The person looks better because of the weight loss but when you look at their muscle tone they are completely lacking.  Why is this a problem you are asking.  Simply because while you have lost all the weight, without lean muscle mass you have also lowered metabolism.  Lowered metabolism leads to the body storing fat instead of using it as fuel.  All the weight that was lost will come back and will be harder to lose.

In order to lose the weight and keep the weight off you have to raise metabolism.  And raising metabolism means building lots of lean muscle mass and eating the right kinds of food at the right time.

Building muscle to destroy the Skinny Fat Syndrome

Optimal muscularity requires, well, muscle.  The more muscle you have, the better you’ll look.

The system I typically use to add muscle as quickly as possible starts with the following:

1. Perform three total body workouts per week with at least 48 hours rest between each session.

2. Perform an upper-body pull and push along with a squat or deadlift in each session.

3. Use different variations of each movement throughout the week, with single-limb exercises being employed at least half of the time.

4. Change up the sets and reps with each training.  Typically I have trainees do 3 x 12 on Monday, 4 x 6 on Wednesday, and 2 x 20 on Friday.

Those four parts comprise the base of the system. What you add, and where you add it, is specific to the person. Curls, side raises, calf raises, etc. only come into play if time and energy allow for it.

Eating The Right Foods At The Right Time

You should provide your body with the energy that it needs and can use at that particular time, but no more. As you do with your vehicle, fuel your body based on what you are about to do or what you’ve just done.

Because carbs and fat both provide energy, it’s important to manage the amounts of each that you consume.

For example, your first meal, along with your pre- and post-workout meals, should have more carbs. Your fat intake should be low in these meals to avoid providing your body with too much available energy at one time, which would cause some energy to be stored as body fat.

You should consume ample carbs post-workout to maximize recovery from that workout. It only makes sense to fill the tank up after you just emptied it, right?

Another meal that warrants higher carb intake is your pre-workout meal. Remember, carbs are training fuel. You need more fuel when you have just trained and when you’re about to train. So adjust your carb intake accordingly.

Consume More Carbs…

• Upon awakening
• Pre-workout
• Post-workout
• First half of the day in general

Each meal, and this means six meals per day, should contain a lean protein such as chicken breast, turkey, fish or extra lean beef.  If you have access to grass fed beef and/or bison, these are excellent choices.  Protein is essential to muscle growth.

Virtually all of the protein you eat will be used as building blocks. Very, very little will be available to produce our body’s energy currency, glucose. Even less would be available to create fat, largely due to the inefficiency of this process.

When you consider that protein is very unlikely to cause fat gain along with the fact that protein consumption boosts metabolic rate by about 25%, you can see why it’s a important in the building and maintenance of lean muscle.

Vegetables are free and can be eaten at each meal.  It’s going to be important to get as much fiber in you diet as you can.

Developing lean muscle mass will not only raise your metabolism and stop you from adding body fat the moment you stop dieting, it will also make you look and feel great.  The name is the game is not what the scale says.  It’s all about total body fat and lean muscle mass.

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