The idea that weight is an accurate indicator of one’s health is outdated. More important than the Body Mass Index (BMI) is the study of body fat percentage concerning muscle mass. Someone belonging to the “normal” range in BMI can have a higher fat percentage and low muscle mass. The skinny fat body fat percentage makes all the difference. Working with this body type at a gym is more challenging than a bigger person with more muscle mass since the changes are not apparent.
In medical terms, skinny fat meaning can be translated to metabolically obese normal-weight individuals. Even though body mass index is still much relied on, the ratio of fat to muscle makes all the difference. “Skinny Fat” is generally used to indicate an individual with a fat percentage that is way higher than the muscle mass.
Since the term sounds a bit contradictory, you may be wondering – “what does skinny fat look like?” Individuals might look thin or in shape as they will not hold too much fat or too little of it. They are characterized by the presence of excessive fat, particularly around the abdomen or waist. They lack the definition that comes with the presence of lean muscle.
Multiple factors can cause skinny fat. Some types of bodies are genetically inclined to hold on to more fat than muscle. However, numerous internal and external factors can also worsen the situation.
The mass of stored fat depends on the levels of multiple hormones. For instance, insulin is a hormone produced to regulate carbohydrate metabolism. Excessively prolonged periods of stress produce excess cortisol, a hormone that makes the body insulin resistant. Another instance is when estrogen steadily falls after menopause. Such hormonal imbalances lead to the accumulation of harmful visceral fat.
In general, a lower percentage of muscle leads to skinny fat. Having higher muscle mass ensures more energy is used to burn fat, even at rest.
Skinny fat is characterized by low muscle volume. Lack of strength training using weights or resistance training using bands and body weight, which helps muscle tear and ultimate growth in volume, results in low muscle mass.
Less protein and a high percentage of simple carbohydrates lead to more accumulated fat and low muscle volume.
Usually done in an attempt to lose weight, an extremity of caloric deficit also causes skinny fat. When the body is deprived of energy, it uses muscle mass to compensate for the lack of energy and stores fat for emergencies.
The general notion is that someone with weight within the normal range of BMI index is healthier than a skinny or obese person. But the scales and the mirrors can be deceiving. Several signs can indicate an individual being skinny fat. Following are some of the skinny fat examples:
Medical conditions prevalent in the family history make one naturally predisposed to being skinny fat. Hereditary issues, such as high blood sugar, blood pressure, and higher cholesterol levels, are mainly associated with skinny fat. Losing weight and increasing lean muscles should help when done healthily.
A tell-tale symptom of being skinny fat would be visible higher proportion to fat than lean, toned muscle. Even if the person’s frame is small, a disproportionate amount of fat around the abdomen than the rest of the body hints at skinny fat.
The level of triglycerides is an essential determiner of heart health. They are a type of lipid/fat found in the blood, and an intake of excess calories and processed food increases triglyceride levels. An excessively high level of triglyceride will be stored as unused fat around the organs.
Another kind of lipid in the blood, like triglycerides, indicates a high cholesterol level, is also associated with skinny fat. Cholesterol is of two types – high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is the “good” type needed for various hormones to function, whereas LDL is the harmful or “bad” kind. When there is an excess of LDL, it may cause serious health problems, like atherosclerosis and cardiovascular issues.
When occurring due to type II diabetics, stress, and a high caloric diet, elevation of blood sugar levels is usually the cause. These factors lead to the skinny fat condition as the body starts malfunctioning and stores excess fat and not enough muscle. Testing the hemoglobin A1C also helps determine the blood sugar levels of around the last three months.
Outrunning a bad diet is impossible. Aesthetics matter, but health is even more critical. A diet full of simple, processed carbohydrates and the wrong kind of fat and insufficient quantities of protein accumulates mostly visceral fat.
Some populations tend to have more skinny fat than others since genetics and external factors can make significant differences. Due to this, more South Asians are skinny fat than Caucasians.
Health concern, such as high blood pressure, is another good indicator of someone being skinny fat. Higher blood pressure indicates a poor condition of blood vessels and a high level of stress.
The health implications of having a skinny fat body type are dangerous. The normal BMI does not protect the individual because of the imbalance between fat and muscle. Being skinny fat is the doorway to many kinds of health conditions. Having poor metabolic health will reduce the overall immunity of the body.
Our diet plays an important role in how our bodies look and our overall internal health. While being skinny fat may be due to hormonal imbalance and hereditary reasons, diet plays a role too. Some diet-based scenarios include:
There are s few suggestions that will let one reverse being skinny fat when the diet is concerned. Some of them are as follows –
The dangers of having skinny fat are evident. Certain tips can help control or reverse the situation.
In an attempt to lose weight people, tend to focus only on cardio. While cardio is good for cardiovascular health, too much of it can affect gaining muscle. Without muscle mass, the fat percent goes up. The aim should be to do a healthy amount of cardio.
Lack of strength training of muscles does not give them enough break and tear to repair and increase volume. Any form of strength training or resistance training, like free weights, resistance bands, or weightlifting, will help. Do the one you enjoy the most!
Proteins are the building blocks of our body, and consuming the required amount of them will ensure that while you tear the muscle, you are providing enough nutrition for it to grow. Also, the consumption of enough protein will fill you up and prevent hunger cravings.
If building muscle volume is the goal, lifting heavy and getting better at movements like squats, deadlifts, and the military press should be the goal. Progressive loading should work where the weights are added slowly and steadily.
Eating extremely less might help to see the number go down on a scale but will harm your health and stamina in the long term. Visceral fat surrounding different organs accumulates as the body enters starvation mode, preserving energy. So, avoid extreme levels of caloric restrictions.
As a rule of thumb, you must spend only half the time on cardio that you spend on weight training. This will allow you to boost calorie output while taking care of cardiovascular health. The kind of cardio you engage in will depend on whatever you prefer, whether you choose to go for low-intensity workouts or high-intensity interval training.
The word dieting is often misused to represent a restrictive form of eating habit adopted to reduce weight. Finding a diet that is more of a lifestyle change that you can maintain through the long term. A diet sustainable and inclusive of all nutritional needs is ideal.
Along with diet, exercising is also important to gain lean muscles that will help eliminate skinny fat. Remember to hit all the muscle groups and give rest between training sessions. The different muscle groups to train and the various exercises to perform are –
The condition of having skinny fat might be more or less harmful to an individual’s physical health than that of an obese. The health risks involved are dangerous. However, with a little work, the condition can be controlled and even reversed. Nutrition and working out go hand in hand to fix the situation.
This post was last modified on September 9, 2021 11:43 pm