It’s the new year, and it seems everyone is on a mission to lose weight or pack on muscle, but then there is you, skinny-fat. If you try to lose weight, let’s face it, you’ll just be skinny. And if you try to bulk, chances are you’ll end up with more body fat. So you’re stuck, right? Nope. You just need to change the way you’re doing things.
Changing your look is going to involve changing your diet and hitting the weight room, hard. You will be focusing on both fat loss and muscle gain at the same time while limiting the cardio.
As with any program, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. But if you know the common mistakes, you can avoid them and reach your goals a lot quicker. If you have any questions after reading this guide, please post them in the comment section below and we will help you out.
You’re only given one body, so you should treat it with the utmost respect. How you take care of your body resonates with the way you live your life in general. I want to help you generate some goals, create a plan, and be more disciplined!
Why Do You Want to Lose Body Fat and Build Muscle?
I assume the reason you came here is to make a change for the better. You are here because you want to take the initiative and live a healthier life. There are multiple reasons to lose weight and build muscle, and everyone has a different motive in mind.
The internet allows you to educate yourself with the vast amount of information available and make a change for the better. However, that starts with you wanting it and taking the initiative. By reading this guide, you are on the right track.
The Harsh Truth About Being Skinny Fat
Being obese has become an epidemic in the last two decades and is now a major health concern for most Americans. The sad thing is that it’s only getting worse. As of 2012, more than one-third of US adults, or 78.6 million people, are obese according to the Journal of American Medicine.
If a person’s body fat is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. That’s not even counting the numbers of people who are considered overweight. So when you combine those considered overweight and obese, that makes up more than 2/3 of the American population!
This is your opportunity to lose fat, build muscle, and start cherishing a healthy lifestyle. The benefits you will reap from losing unwanted body fat will greatly outweigh (pardon the pun) how you felt before you made your transformation. By making the right choice and implementing a plan to overcome skinny-fatness, you will:
- Be healthier
- Be stronger
- Be more confident
- Have more energy
- Look and feel younger
- Have greater self-esteem
So What’s the Solution?
Discipline is the name of the game. My wish is that as you read this guide, you will see there are real solutions to your weight loss roadblocks. In fact, these roadblocks can be nonexistent if you follow the correct tips.
As already stated, this will only work if you know where to start and understand what to focus on. If you’re not dedicated, you won’t make it.
So let’s dive into how we can get you to start losing weight and building muscle so you can overcome the skinny-fat look once and for all.
Make a Plan
To lose fat, build muscle, and begin transitioning to a healthy lifestyle, you need to start by writing out a plan and writing your goals down. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t know where you’re going. Most people fail from the beginning because there is no game plan. They think they can just wing it and it will just happen. Make sure to sit down and put your goals on paper or on your phone so you can actually visualize them.
I recommend you go to this website, that will allow you to calculate your specific calorie needs. The Calorie Calculator can be used to estimate the calories you need to consume each day and can also provide some simple guidelines if you want to lose fat and pack on muscle.
You need to keep yourself accountable for the actions you will be making. Tell a loved one (or loved ones) about your plan so they know what your plan is, and they can also keep you accountable. If you have people rooting for you, you will make an increased effort to not to let them down.
Schedule days and times of when you are going to exercise. If you have them in your calendar, the likelihood of you sticking with your plans will increase. Discipline is imperative when it comes to sticking to your plan.
Set realistic goals
It’s important you set realistic and attainable goals. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you will want to set a few short-term goals along with your long-term goal. For example, a realistic short-term goal may be to lose 5 lbs in 2 weeks or 10 lbs in 5 weeks.
Assign yourself rewards
Setup exciting rewards to keep you motivated throughout your weight loss.
- Set up small rewards for your small goals you reach and a more lucrative reward when you meet your long-term goals.
- DO NOT reward yourself with rewards that are food related. Reward yourself with things like a massage, manicure, new outfit, or round of golf.
Take baby steps
It’s all about baby steps. If you are someone who has never picked up a weight before, do you think it would be a good idea for me to ask you to start bench pressing 225lbs? Of course not! Start out with little goals that are achievable and that you can add upon. So for example, if you don’t run, that’s fine, go for a brisk walk for 20 min. Do that until it becomes easy, then increase either the intensity or increase the time.
Start by walking or jogging 3 times a week for 20 minutes. And like I just said, once it gets easy, either increase your walk to a jog or add time. Then add an extra day to 4 times a week, then 5 times a week, and if you want to get crazy, go 6 times a week! I personally believe in at least one day off from all physical activity to allow your body to recover.
In terms of eating, I want you to do baby steps with changing to a healthy diet. If you are used to eating fatty or sugary foods all the time, I do not want you to go cold turkey and go straight to eating only vegetables. You won’t last, your cravings will kick in, and you will fall off the wagon. Little by little, start cutting unhealthy choices out of your meals. It’s more manageable this way.
It’s Easier Than You Think to Lose Body Fat
Ignorance is no excuse anymore with the advent of the internet. You can instantly find plenty of information on any topic by searching the web. You used the internet to find this guide to losing fat and building muscle, so GOOD JOB!
Unfortunately, though, the internet is full of inaccurate information as well. For every site that delivers valuable information, there are ten times as many others that provide misleading content. So do your due diligence when reading any guide (including this one).
You will see people on one end of the spectrum talking about the “Paleo Diet” and how it is the best diet ever, and then you will see people advocating the “Atkins Diet” saying it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (which is quite ironic if you think about it). So how do you know who to trust? The answer isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem because it’s circumstantial.
You are probably thinking, “What does that mean?”
The answer is this: it comes down to what type of lifestyle you live. If you live a highly sedentary life, then the Ketogenic Diet (extreme carbohydrate restriction) might fit since you won’t be burning as many carbs throughout the day. But if you are a gym rat, then a paleo diet (or diet with more carbohydrates) can work for you.
I personally don’t believe in having a diet. Diets can only last for so long. How many people do you know that started a diet, lost a little weight, and once they stopped, they not only gained the weight back but ended up weighing more than what they did before their diet. I believe in moderation; if you stay stable in your lifestyle, then you will never deal with any extremes.
Lack of time
It’s rather ironic I often hear people say they have no time to exercise and cook, yet the average American watches over 5 hours of TV every day? Let’s come to an agreement: just knock 60-90 minutes off your precious TV time and allocate that toward exercise and cooking healthy meals. That way, you can get the best of both worlds.
A lot of people don’t have the motivation and drive to work out. I get it, not everyone likes going out there and pushing themselves to the limit, especially in a warehouse full of sweaty “meatheads.” People quit because they don’t want to go through the pain of training and the necessary diet restrictions to lose weight.
Like I said before, if you create a plan that is doable and emphasizes moderation, you will be surprised with what you can accomplish. Once you begin to see improvements, you will see a shift in your motivation to try harder.
The right information and plan are essential if you want to succeed with a lifestyle change for the better.
Simple Diet Tips for Skinny-Fat Individuals
Your diet should be your number one priority. To put it bluntly, the type of food you choose is going to make or break your goals. But if you get this part right, everything else will fall into place.
1. Eat until you are just about full and then stop
The fact of the matter is that when you’re trying to lose fat, you will undoubtedly be a bit hungry at times. This is normal, your body is being underfed so it will send the signal that it wants more food. The next tip will help with this.
2. Drink lots of calorie-free liquids
The best way to combat hunger pangs is to drink plenty of calorie-free liquid and try and occupy your mind with other tasks. Examples include water, Crystal Light, and Powerade Zero. Once you get your mind off of food, you’ll become less aware of those hunger signals.
3. Eat lots of vegetables and high water content foods
I know vegetables may not be everybody’s favorite foods, but they will be your savior when hunger pangs creep up since most of them are low in calories, high in fiber, and have high water content. Due to this, you can eat a ton of them and minimize your calorie intake, leaving you full and reducing your craving for calorie-dense foods that could ruin your fat-loss efforts.
4. Opt for lower-carb foods and more protein and fats
Fats and protein are much more filling per gram than most carbohydrate sources, so it is to your benefit to eat more of them. Moreover, by lowering carb intake a bit you will reduce blood-sugar swings and keep insulin levels down, both positive things when you are skinny-fat.
5. Watch Your Sugar Intake
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily intake of sugar is between 25-35 g of sugar a day. What is scary, is that a single can of soda has an average of 44 g. Just imagine how much is in a Big Gulp from 7-11. Sugar, in excess, will wreak havoc on your body and ruin any chance of you losing weight.
Stay away from all sodas. There is very little nutritive value to them. Alcohol consumption should also be cut down to a minimal amount or nothing. Those are just empty calories. If you are going to have drinks on a particular night, make sure you cut your carb intake during the day to compensate.
The only sugars I want you to have are the natural sugars from fruit, and even then you should monitor the amount of sugar you ingest.
6. Watch Your Carbohydrate Intake
Carbs are the main source of energy for our bodies. If you’re consuming more carbs than you’re burning for energy, your body stores the excess glucose in the form of glycogen. The liver and your muscles can only store a small amount of glycogen, so if you continue to consume more carbs than needed, your body will then convert any excess to fat.
So here is my take on how to eat carbs if you’re skinny fat. On days you know you are going to exercise, go ahead and eat some carbs to provide you with the energy you need. When you exercise, you will burn off the glycogen that is stored in your muscles. Hence, you will not store any to cause weight gain.
On days you know you aren’t working out, I recommend a minimal amount of carbs consumed. Potentially even a ketogenic diet.
6. Pick Up Some Weights
I am a big believer in weight training and functional training to lose weight and get stronger. The reason why is because lifting weights breaks down muscle tissue and the body must repair the damage. This causes your body to become a fat-burning machine even while you’re doing nothing.
From dedicated weight training and diet, you increase your muscle mass, and the extra muscle boosts your metabolism and makes your body burn more calories. If you have never lifted weights, I recommend hiring a personal trainer to teach you the basics. You can go on Youtube and find thousands of videos on different workout routines from beginner to advanced, as well.
The best way to mix up your workout schedules is to follow a PowerBuilding Training Split.
7. Get Some Sleep
Sleep is crucial for weight loss. People underestimate the importance of sleeping and how it corresponds with your quality of life. According to a research study, “If you sleep 5 hours a night or less, you may experience a decreased sensitivity to insulin, which can increase your chances of gaining weight and getting diabetes.”
Not only does not sleeping appear to stimulate appetite, but it also stimulates cravings for high-fat and high-carb foods. Just think about it: the longer you are awake, the more of an opportunity to open that refrigerator door. How often do you or someone you know get a case of the “munchies” late at night? Go to bed earlier so you won’t have the temptation of eating.
A study conducted by researchers from Northwestern University demonstrated that there is a link between your body’s natural wake/sleep cycle and your metabolism. Your body is hardwired to gear down at night, which lowers your metabolism. Moral of the story, keep away from carbs at night so they don’t have the chance to convert to fat while you sleep.
Another reason why I am a huge advocate of weight training is that after a hard workout, you will be exhausted by the end of the day, and you will get a good night’s sleep.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
This guide is not meant for a quick-fix solution; instead, it is meant to arm you with the basic knowledge to change your lifestyle for the better. Being healthy is not a fad, but a way of life. This is your one and only body; your one and only life. Treat your body with the attention it deserves.
Changing the way you live takes a lot of discipline and willpower. It will take a lot of perseverance to get through all the temptations that you will face, and it’s important not to revert to your old ways. You must stay strong and keep pushing because you want to reach your goal.
Once you begin seeing results, you will notice your confidence and self-esteem increase. You will notice that your energy levels will rise and you will be able to participate in more activities with your loved ones. Once you start loving your “new self,” you will look back and wonder why you didn’t do make these changes sooner.
However, There Is Still a Problem
Obtaining the knowledge of what to eat and what kind of exercises to do is really time-consuming. I have spent thousands of hours on magazines, research access, and college education to learn everything about nutrition and exercise.
I actually have been skinny-fat at one point in my life, too. The tips in this guide helped me turn that around. The content here on Jacked Factory gives you all kinds of valuable information that you can use for a lifetime. It’s really a goldmine for anyone trying to lose weight and build muscle in the correct, healthy way.
Either way, the opportunity to lose weight by eating smarter, exercising better, and living a healthy lifestyle is closer than you think. I’ve given you plenty of information to start your journey. Now it’s your opportunity to act on it!
Has this article been helpful to you? Let us know in the comment section below.
About the author
Elliot Reimers, CNC, M.S. Candidate