skinny fat

3 Ways to Transform a Skinny Fat Body – Mind Pump

Check out the Mind Pump Episode Page

Key Takeaways

  • Skinny fat people have little muscle and a high (ish) percentage of body fat, but maintain a normal body weight
  • Skinny fat people generally eat a diet that doesn’t provide adequate micronutrient levels
    • Thus, they’re malnourished and much more prone to sickness, long-term disease states, and continuously low energy levels
  • Skinny fat remedies:
    • Lift weights (focus on the compound exercises – squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead presses, and rows)
      • The biggest reason: Strength is an indicator of overall health; if you’re weak, your health is suffering
    • Eat more protein: 0.5-1 grams per pound of body weight
    • Optimize sleep and stress management


  • Mind Pump consists of Sal Di Stefano (IG: @mindpumpsal), Adam Schafer (IG: @mindpumpadam) and Justin Andrews (IG: @mindpumpjustin)
    • The trio have 50 years of combined fitness experience as personal trainers

You Might Be Skinny Fat If…

  • You have little muscle and a high (ish) percentage of body fat, but you maintain a normal body weight
  • If you can’t do a push-up or struggle lifting grocery bags… you might be skinny fat
  • If you store body fat in abnormal amounts around your belly… you might be skinny fat
    • Visceral body fat (AKA fat around the organs) is another name for belly fat – it’s generally more inflammatory and, on average, worse than subcutaneous fat (fat elsewhere on the body)
  • If you have blood sugar problems, but maintain an average body weight… you might be skinny fat

Being Overweight > Being Skinny Fat

  • “They’re finding that people who have low body weight but high percentages of body fat have some of the worst health of all” Sal Di Stefano
    • “Skinny fat people, people who have a low body mass index but high body fat, have some of the worst life expectancy numbers”
  • If you’re overweight, you may have enough muscle to help offset the adverse effects of high body fat
    • But if you’re skinny fat… not a chance
  • 🎧 In terms of overall health, being skinny fat becomes worse with age
    • Why? – “Muscle has a very protective effect on the body… If you’re a 30- or 40-year old, underweight, and don’t have a lot of muscle, you’re going to be a frail, weak, and sick older person if you don’t start to remedy that” Sal Di Stefano

A Skinny Fat Lifestyle

  • Skinny fat people tend to live a lifestyle that encourages low body weight, but also low muscle growth
    • They tend to eat minimal amounts of protein, and generally a small number of calories
  • Skinny fat people tend to consume tons of empty calories (such as those from alcohol)
  • 🎧 “As people who are skinny start to age, they start to get that apple shape. They might gain a little weight, but it’s all in the mid-section. Their arms and legs stay really, really skinny. This shape, in particular for women, tends to be associated with really poor health.” – Sal Di Stefano
  • Skinny fat people, when they do exercise, tend to do light cardio and steer clear of the weight room
  • Skinny fat people generally eat a diet that doesn’t provide adequate micronutrient levels
    • Thus, they’re malnourished and much more prone to sickness, long-term disease states, and continuously low energy levels

Skinny Fat Remedy #1 – Left Weights

  • There are several studies that show that a simple grip test is the better indicator of your overall health and longevity
    • There’s no way around it: “If you’re weak, your health is suffering”Sal Di Stefano
  • What types of exercises should you do?
    • Focus on the compound lifts (these help build the most strength) – squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, rows, and bench press
      • Assuming you’re focusing on these, you only need to lift 2-3 days a week
  • What rep ranges should you work in?
    • Stick to 1-12 reps
    • As the reps get easier, add weight
  • To add – STOP looking at the scale
    • When you start lifting, you may add body weight (which is actually a good thing – muscle is more dense than fat)
  • Podcast Notes Recommendation: Alexander Cortes’ Achilles Program is perfect if you’re looking for a workout plan to follow

Skinny Fat Remedy #2 – Eat More Protein

  • Especially when you’re lifting weights, a higher protein diet promotes muscle growth
  • Just how much protein should you be eating?
    • Anywhere between 0.5-1 grams per pound of body weight (which is quite hard to hit!)
      • So, if you weigh 130 lbs., you should be eating 75-130 grams of protein per day
      • Generally, 4 oz. of meat = 18 grams of protein
  • Protein powders can help, for sure
    • That said, try to meet your protein needs from whole foods first. If you can’t, throw in some protein powder.
  • What about fats and carbs?
    • These aren’t as important to muscle growth as protein, but if your fats/carbs are too low, this can inhibit your body’s ability to build muscle

Skinny Fat Remedy #3 – Optimize Sleep and Stress Management

  • 🎧 “Lack of sleep and poor stress management is a wonderful recipe for muscle loss and fat gain”Sal Di Stefano
    • A lack of sleep and added stress raises your cortisol/stress hormone levels and limits muscle-building hormones (this is an evolutionary signal that you’re not in a “good situation”)
      • Because of this, the body ramps up its ability to store body fat (a safety mechanism)
      • The body also tries to reduce muscle mass to limit the amount of energy needed to keep you alive
  • Stress/sleep-deprivation also leads to more cravings (which you’re likely to give in to)
  • Building off the above, train on the days you’re well-rested

How to Improve Your Sleep

  • Limit caffeine during the day
    • Caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours (6 hours after drinking a cup of coffee, half of its caffeine is still in your system) – best to avoid it after 12 PM
  • Allot 9+ hours of time for being in bed
    • 8 hours of time in bed does NOT equal 8 hours of sleep
  • Sleep in a cold/dark environment
  • Incorporate a wind-down routine – you can’t hop into bed after staring at your computer all night and expect to get solid sleep
    • “Ironically, you’ll benefit more from having an evening routine than you probably ever will from having a morning routine” – Adam Schafer
    • 1-2 hours before bed, turn off the lights in your house (and instead, use candles), step away from your electronics, and wear a pair blue light blocking glasses at night (use the code “PodcastNotes10” for 10% off at checkout)
      • Why? – Blue light inhibits melatonin production (and thus wrecks your sleep)
MInd Pump : , , , , ,
Notes By MMiller

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