Are You Skinny Fat?

Skinny fat body type - causes and how to get rid of it.

Too many people unhappy with their body focus on size. However, smaller size and less weight does not necessarily equal a healthier body. What matters is body composition.  People who are skinny-fat, or “normal-weight obesity” look healthy, but actually have high levels of body fat and at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

The body build most likely to look “healthy” or skinny but have hidden high levels of body fat are small boned, slender individuals, also known as ectomorphs.

Skinny does not equal healthy. For example, the effects of body weight and exercise on longevity and premature death are separate and additive. In other words, being skinny does not cancel out the increased mortality associated with inactivity and poor diet. You can be skinny and have a completely deranged blood lipid profile and have all the risk factors for heart disease, except obesity. Therefore, you should exercise and eat healthily not just for appearance sake, but also to the benefit of your health.


If you can, before you do anything, get body composition analysis. You should be able to get this done with skinfold calipers or by other methods at any gym and fitness club. Also, try your local college campus, which should also be cheaper. Alternatively, you can buy body fat analysis scales or use this body fat calculator, though they are less precise.

Weight training should be part of your program to eliminate skinny fat, as well as cardio. Use cardio to burn calories, while helping you gain muscle by exercising at high resistance or incline. For example, if you are running outdoors or on treadmill run at a higher incline (compensate by going slower) to build muscle or even better try incline sprint training. Endurance training on the flat is unlikely to increase muscle mass and may counteract the muscle building effects of weight training. If you are using the cross-trainer or elliptical trainer set it at a higher resistance and go slower than you would normally. You can still burn the same amount of calories at high resistance/ incline as you would with low resistance. However, importantly you are exerting a different effect on muscle. If you have had your body composition analyzed and to your shock found that you have unhealthy levels of body fat (common amongst skinny people), cardio is particularly important.

Step away from the burgers and junk foods! Just because you look skinny and have a fast metabolism, doesn’t mean you should eat high calorie junk foods. Instead opt for a balanced diet of veggies, fruit, healthy fats, and lean meat.


  • Body composition analysis.
  • Resistance training 3x per week.
  • High resistance cardio workouts 3x or more per week.
  • Avoid endurance exercise and go for interval and sprint training instead, to boost muscle mass.
  • Try weight training followed by a shorter cardio session for muscle building and fat burning.
  • Correct poor dietary habits.
  • Eat protein with every meal. Protein is the building block of muscle and is vital for tissue repair.
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