If you’re skinny and want to put on mass, your journey is real simple: lift big, eat big. Most people in this situation have accepted that you’ll gain a little fat; besides, you can always do a little fat shredder plan once you’ve put on some mass.
If you’ve got some fluff and you talk to 7 different people…they are all going to tell you a different way to approach fat loss. I guess one thing that pretty much everyone can agree on is that you have to burn more calories than you take in. Ya you might lose a little mass while your cutting fat, but nothing you can’t gain back after you’ve reached your target fat loss.
But suppose you’re that person who is stuck in between that rock and a hard place called: skinny-fat. You would’t really categorize yourself as someone who is “fat”, but you still have quite a bit of fat to lose. And you also fall into the category of a “skinny”, but not in the sense that if a breeze rolls through the room, you need to find something that is secured to the ground to hold on to.
Conventionally you have two choices…focus on fat loss and a light breeze feels like hurricane Katrina, or focus on building muscle and be constantly explaining to people that you’re just big boned… Cut then bulk or bulk then cut.
But for the skinny-fat guy who’s new to fitness, it’s possible to do both simultaneously. In my experience, its completely possible to lose 3-5lbs of fat per month and gain a 1-2 pounds of muscle in that time as well. There are a few things that you need to focus on for this to happen though.
Step 1: Choosing The Right Program
Since I am a Beachbody Coach and have experienced phenomenal results using their fitness program, I am going to put this in terms of choosing the right Beachbody fitness program. Now you can hit the gym if you like, but I am going to focus on what has worked for me and thousands of others.
What you DONT want to do if you want to change your body composition to lose fat and gain muscle – you dont want to go with a program like Insanity or T25 that primarily focuses on cardiovascular training. This is NOT going to promote the type of muscle growth that you need to climb your way out of skinny-fat status. You need a program that targets large muscle groups with compound movements and is accompanied by some moderate to high intensity cardio work. The programs that would fall into this category in my opinion would be Body Beast, P90X, P90X2, and P90X3 (P90X2 would be something for the more advanced P90X or X3 graduate)
More important, these workouts actually benefit you from the inside out. They strengthen bones and thicken connective tissues as they increase muscle mass. Those structural building blocks are the key to substantial, impressive, and sustainable muscle growth.
Step 2: Eat plenty
It’s tempting to cut calories when you want to lose fat. But food is your ally when you’re skinny-fat, for three good reasons:
Now dont just glance past the power of #3. Digesting the food you eat accounts for 10 percent of your daily metabolism. With a higher-protein diet (like a fat shredder plan), it should be more than 10 percent. In addition, the combination of eating and training like your life depends on it, increases your energy flux, a measure of calories going in and out. The more muscle you have, the harder you train, and the more you eat (to a point), the higher your energy flux. But if you cut calories too much, you don’t just reduce the amount of energy coming in; you reduce the amount you burn through digestion and exercise.
My recommendation for a starting point with your nutrition is the P90X3 nutrition plan. This plan does not sacrifice calories for the sake of weight loss. It keeps your carbs at a reasonable intake to perform at your highest levels during your workouts and you are eating a little more fat than you would on a fat shredder plan which is going to give you sustained energy. These two factors are also going to support muscle growth and minimize any muscle loss while operating at a slight calorie deficit.
A prime example is the P90X3 nutrition plan where I had 10.74lbs of fat loss & 6.82lbs of lean mass gains over the course of 90 days. The number that the X3 nutrition plan calculates for you may be more or less than you’re eating now. Either way, there’s a lot of it, which you’ll need to bump up that metabolism.
Step 3: Track Everything
This is something that so many people overlook. Just like Tony says, “how you supposed to know what to do unless you know what you did?”
Reps & Weights: If you’re not tracking your reps and weights…how are you supposed to know if your progressing? How are you supposed to know if you need to challenge yourself this week and bump up the weight on a certain lift because the weight got too light last week? This information is so valuable! Dont neglect it. The more muscle fiber you can break down, the more muscle you can build (so long as you have good recovery – pre & post workout, sleep, etc)
Nutrition: I dont think I need to talk about the importance of tracking your nutrition…let me just say this again – IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN ON FAILING. I have an abundance of resources here on how to track and plan your nutrition. Do a search for “macros” in the search bar and see what comes up 🙂
Weekly Results: This is essential! You have to be tracking your body fat % at minimum! The reason being is that this is going to tell you if you need to make some sort of change in your nutrition plan. If you’re dropping fat too quickly, maybe you need to bump up the calories or switch around your macros. If you’re not losing fat, maybe you need to stay consistent for two more weeks with your nutrition and drop your calorie intake if your not losing fat. Measuring your body fat is one of the best ways to keep track of your progress. Dont use a scale as your primary progress report…remember, you should be losing fat and gaining muscle – muscle weighs more than fat!
Comment below with what your plan is to emerge from your skinny-fat status. Also, let me know if this article was helpful. Your comments and questions really do have a great impact on the future content of this site!
Also, if this article on choosing to bulk or cut if you’re skinny fat was helpful, be sure to like and share this post so all your skinny-fat friends and family can benefit 🙂 kidding…that sounds pretty derogatory, lol.
Keep BRINGIN IT!