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Skinny Fat Body Type – Main Causes And Effective Treatment

A lot of slim people live in the illusion that if they are not fat then they have nothing in common with overweight people. They stand on the scales, see an adequate weight and feel free to enjoy any food they crave. Such people rarely do sports since they are already slim. They hesitate to build healthy meal plans because they are completely sure that if they gain weight they will be ok, as they are healthy themselves. Nevertheless, everything is far more different than anyone can imagine. A normal weight does not necessarily mean a healthy body.  Here the interesting term skinny fat body type enters the stage; it breaks all the misconceptions concerning the notion of a healthy body. In this article, you will find out a lot about the skinny fat physique and how to get rid of it.


How Do I Get Rid Of My Skinny Fat Body Type?

The concept of the skinny fat body type became popular not long ago. It is connected to people’s appearances. When a male or a female is slim, they will not likely face diabetes or a high level of cholesterol, for example. But here is the tricky thing. The term “skinny fat” means someone who looks lean but has a higher percentage of fat. If such a person wants to get rid of it and look athletic, they need to understand how it works. 

There are two types of fat: 

  1. Subcutaneous fat is stored under the skin. You can see this fat on the outside: on the stomach, legs, arms, etc. 
  2. Visceral fat is stored in the stomach and it wraps your essential internal organs. We can’t see it (7).

The latter is more dangerous because it can provoke serious medical conditions, like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and high cholesterol (8). This visceral fat creates certain proteins that can raise our blood pressure and cause other troubles. 

Luckily, there are healthy ways to eliminate the skinny fat look and have a lean, sportive body. 

There is no need to stick to exhilarating diets that squeeze money, time, and a happy mood. Just follow simple steps regularly and you will not recognize your shapes. 

  • No stress – no unnecessary fats.  People always underestimate stress thinking that it affects our emotional and mental health only. However, there are a lot of negative things that stress can cause: emotional breakdown (sadness, fear, frustration), changes in appetite, and energy; body pains, and stomach problems (2). When we are stressed our body produces a high level of cortisol that promotes fat in different areas, especially on the belly.  Do not allow stress to continue because it is going to ruin your balanced routine and affect your body outside and inside. Try some stress-relieving activities and you will see good results in your body and emotional state. 
  • Sleep well. If you sleep at least 7 hours per day your body will be energetic enough to exercise and build strong muscles. It is advisable to go to bed at the same time at night and wake up at the same time in the morning (2). Also, don’t eat before going to bed and avoid the usage of electronic devices. This will help you sleep better. 
  • Move as much as you can. In order to look healthy and sportive, you need to exercise at least two times per week. Go for strolls in the park, use stairs instead of the elevator, ride a bicycle – do anything that makes you move. If you combine aerobic and resistance training it will not only help you gain more muscle strength but also reverse such risks as obesity, blood pressure, and insulin resistance (6). 
  • Lift weights. Add dumbbells or barbells into your training routine. This is vital to muscle growth. Make sure you add the number of reps once you get stronger. 
  • Stick to healthier meals. Create a balanced diet for yourself. Remember to get calories from non-processed foods. Stick to the simple rules of healthy eating with fresh produce, whole grains (oatmeal, nuts), lean protein, like dairies and chicken breasts, carbs (dark bread, rice), eggs, fish, and beans (8). Eliminate trans fats, alcohol, and other sweetened carbonated beverages.
See also
How To Increase Your Calorie Intake To Gain Weight

Read More: How To Get Skinny Fast: A Bulletproof Answer On How To Make Those Pounds Fly Off


What Causes Skinny Fat Physique?

Our actions affect our bodies constantly. Whether it’s a glass of fresh coca-cola instead of still water or playing a video game instead of ambling in the park. Things that cause skinny fat physique have become part of the routine of thousands of people. Let’s take a closer look at them. 

  • You don’t train enough or forget about training at all. As was mentioned above, slim people get skinny physiques because they simply forget to do workouts. They are more relaxed because they don’t look overweight. Skinny fat body type females are especially common because ladies feel like it is enough to have a normal weight. Still, not having enough muscle is the reason for a skinny fat body. The less you workout the more fat you gain. Therefore, strength training including weightlifting is an excellent option for getting lean. 
  • You eat too little protein. Protein is an important source of building strong muscles. Protein keeps us full for a longer period of time, so if we consume it in small amounts we become hungry and crave more food. It leads to overeating and hence, weight gain. 
  • Sedentary lifestyle. So many of us work in the offices or at home on our laptops. It makes us sit in one spot for almost all day. After work, we watch movies or simply rest on the couch. These “inactive actions” are associated with the risk of prediabetes, even for healthy-weight people. Such people can have unhealthy “normal weight”, or skinny fat (5). If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, make sure you get up from your chair after work and move for a while. 
  • You stick to a severe calorie restriction. Yes, the more calories you burn the better, but you need to cut calories in a smart way. If you stick to crash diets and do not work out then you are more likely to lose muscle mass. Being in calorie deficit for too long can provoke your body to store any excess energy as fat which leads to a skinny physique. Ideally, reduce the calorie intake and train your body. Therefore, you will get rid of skinny fat.  
  • Alcohol and junk food are your enemies. Large consumption of alcohol and junk food will never benefit your body. Moreover, they are a source of unnecessary “stupid” calories. Substitute them with whole-grain food and carbonated water.
See also
How To Calculate Percentage Of Weight Loss: Staying On Top Of You Weight Loss Progress

skinny fat body type

Should I Do Cardio If I’m Skinny Fat?

Now you know that resistance training and healthy nutritious food are the keys to fixing a skinny fat physique. If your goal is to become lean and muscular then you should not focus on cardio training but switch to heavy lifting instead. 

Skinny arms and fat stomach body type people should reduce cardio workouts because once you implement only cardio to your workout routine you might end up fatter than before the training.

There are several reasons why cardio is adverse to fat loss and muscle growth:

  1. Running, for example, takes a lot of time and effort. A 50-minute run at a normal pace burns 500-600 calories. It equals 2 snickers candy bars. Running provokes appetite which means you might end up eating more calories after a run. 
  2. It is time-consuming. Cardio workouts take a lot of time and not everyone can do them on a daily basis.  
  3. It is not only hard to lose fat with cardio workouts but also to grow muscles. It is especially true for skinny fat men. Cardio makes it harder to build muscles because while doing cardio the level of our stress rises and it leads to consuming more calories and fat storage in our body, especially around the midsection. 

It doesn’t mean you should eliminate cardio workouts from your routine because cardio is still important for your health. There is a so-called “lifestyle” cardio training which does not necessarily need to be done in gyms. Lifestyle cardio includes:

  • Cycling or walking. This is a safe low intensity cardio training that can help you burn calories and stay fit. Research indicates that you should walk at least 10 000 steps per day to stay healthy (3). 
  • HIIT. You can do from 1 to 2 sessions of HIIT per week. They are similar to pump weight training and provide muscle growth. 
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Hormonal Belly Woman: How To Fight Stubborn Fat In Your Midsection

So, you might wonder what kind of training is beneficial to muscle growth? The point is that a special skinny fat workout includes full-body weightlifting training. Beginners should start with a hypertrophy training program that includes 3 full-body workout sessions per week. They include bench presses, squats, planks, etc. You can do cardio between days (20-30 minutes of walk). 

If you stick to this skinny workout plan and eat healthy food you will fix your skinny fat body within the first 2 months.

Lean and toned up body isn’t just a far-fetched fantasy. Check out the BetterMe app and watch it propel your weight loss journey into high gear!

skinny fat body type

Skinny Fat Workout Plan

  • Bench Press

  1. Lie on your back and hold a barbell wider than shoulder-width over the shoulders.
  2. Keep your feet firm on the ground and engage your core muscles.
  3. Lift the bar slowly and lower it to your chest. Bend elbows to the side about 45 degrees from the body. 
  4. Push the bar back to the starting position. 

Do 3 sets of bench presses with 8 reps each.

  • Squat

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart firmly on the ground.
  2. Keep your back straight and tighten your stomach muscles.
  3. Lower yourself as if sitting on a chair.
  4. Lift back up and repeat.

Do 3 sets of squats with 8 reps each.

  • Overhead Press

  1. Stand straight and hold a bar on your chest. 
  2. Press the bar overhead and hold for a couple of seconds. 
  3. Keep your elbows slightly bent.
  4. Lower the bar to the chest again. 

Do 3 sets of Overhead Presses with 8 reps each.

skinny fat body type

  • Pull-Ups

  1. Put your hands on a bar at shoulder width with your palms facing forward.
  2. Stick out your chest and slightly curve your back.
  3. Pull yourself up at chest level and come back to the starting position. 

Do 2 sets of Pullups with 8 reps each.

  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise

  1. Grab dumbbells in each hand and hold them at your sides. 
  2. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. 
  3. Slowly lift dumbbells out to the side, so that your arms are parallel with the floor. 
  4. Keep the elbows slightly bent and turn to the starting position. 

Do 2 sets of Dumbbell Lateral Raises with 10-12 reps each.

  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls

  1. Hold dumbbells in each hand with your arms hanging by your sides. 
  2. Your palms should be facing forward. 
  3. Keep your elbows close to the torso.
  4. Curl the weights up to the shoulder level, keeping your upper arms stationary. 
  5. Curl the weights down to the starting position. 

Do 2 sets of Dumbbell Bicep Curls with 10-12 reps each. 

  • Plank

  1. Lie on the floor with your hands under the shoulders. 
  2. Keep your core engaged. 
  3. Slowly raise yourself until your body creates a straight line from your knees to your head. 
  4. Hold in this position for as long as you can. 
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Do 3 sets of Planks for the longest time possible. 

In case you feel any pain stop doing a workout. 

If this skinny fat workout plan is too complicated for you then you can switch to low-intensity aerobic activities, for example:

  • Jogging 
  • Dancing  
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Hiking
  • Strolling 
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Swimming

These activities invigorate your body and help you lose some amount of calories.

Read More: Skinny Legs Big Upper Body: Here’s The Fix You’ve Been Looking For

skinny fat body type

What Is A Skinny Fat Body Diet?

Doing the right things in the gym and consuming any food you want won’t fix your skinny fat body shape. However, there is no need to rush out to expensive organic shops and purchase products there. In order to lose weight, you should maintain a calorie deficit and train your body. In order to build strong muscle, you should maintain a small calorie surplus. 

The key to strong muscles is protein and carbs. Since strength workouts are an energy-intensive process it is essential to fill your body with nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial to your body mass. 

Here is the guideline for your skinny fat diet plan:

  • Breakfast: Complex Carbs and Protein
  • Snack: Protein and Healthy Fats
  • Lunch: Carbs and Protein
  • Snack: Protein
  • Dinner: Fats and Protein
  • Snack: Protein

Here is 2-day elaborative skinny-fat diet plan (4):

Breakfast Regular oatmeal Calories - 100 Carbs - 69% Fat -16% Protein - 15%
Snack Protein Shake with low-fat milk or water Calories - 100 Carbs - 12% Fat -16% Protein - 72%
Lunch Turkey Chili with brown rice and kidney beans Calories - 243 Carbs - 50% Fat -7% Protein - 43%
Snack Protein Shake Calories - 100 Carbs - 12% Fat -16% Protein - 72%
Dinner Avocado salad Calories - 130 Carbs - 63% Fat -34% Protein - 3%
Snack Protein shake Calories - 100 Carbs - 12% Fat -16% Protein - 72%.
Breakfast Omelette legumes Calories - 110 Carbs - 4% Fat -26% Protein - 70%
Snack Protein Shake with low-fat milk or water Calories - 100 Carbs - 12% Fat -16% Protein - 72%
Lunch Baked salmon with sweet potato salad Calories - 404 Carbs - 23% Fat - 47% Protein - 30%
Snack Protein Shake Calories - 100 Carbs - 12% Fat -16% Protein - 72%
Dinner Veggie Burger Calories - 100 Carbs - 38% Fat -17% Protein - 45%
Snack Protein shake Calories - 100 Carbs - 12% Fat -16% Protein - 72%.

You need to mix regular sport and healthy food if you desire to transform your body. There are a lot of nutritious recipes you can find online. Make sure you track your calorie intake. Remember the products you must eliminate from your everyday meals:

  • Sweet carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Processed food, like pastries, and candy bars
  • Deep-fried meat

Supply your body with enough protein so that you could get rid of skinny fat and build stronger muscles. You need to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight

It is recommended to consult a specialist before starting any diet.

Looking for a way to break the vicious cycle of weight loss and tone up all the jiggly parts? Watch the extra pounds fly off and your muscles firm up with the BetterMe app!


Why Am I Skinny But Have A Belly?

A lot of slim people start working out for one reason – they notice fat in their belly and run to the gyms to get rid of it. No one likes belly fat because it is an indicator of a lazy lifestyle but, most importantly, belly fat makes you more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke (6).

However, how does it happen that thin people have a belly? There are a couple of reasons:

  1. You are now aware that visceral fat surrounds important organs in our body: the stomach, the intestines, and the liver. Being so close to the liver it can turn it into cholesterol (6). This fat then moves to the bloodstream and arteries by making them narrow and hard. Visceral fat is situated within a cavity in the belly and it makes our belly look a tad bigger.
  2. You can get a belly from your parents. Genes play a crucial role here. However, it is possible to cope with the help of training and healthy food. 
  3. Another reason for skinny fat males and females having a belly is their food intake. People who constantly consume trans fats and carbonated sweet drinks gain bigger bellies. It is suggested to keep fat to 20/30 percent of total calories, consume saturated fat no less than 7 percent and eliminate the consumption of trans fats (6).
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So, for example, if your diet involves 2000 calories, then you can consume 700 calories of fat and 140 calories of saturated fat. 

You can find saturated fat in such products: 

  • Animal food (meats and dairies)
  • Solid fats (palm and coconut oil)
  • Desserts and packaged snacks
  • Baked goods (donuts, cakes)

skinny fat body type

How To Lose Belly Fat?

It isn’t easy to lose belly fat but it is possible. All you need to do is to follow these simple and effective steps:

  • Try a low-carbohydrate diet instead of a low-fat diet. John Hopkins specialists did research where one group of people stuck to a low-carb diet and the other one to low-fat for six months. The first group lost on average 10 pounds more than the second group (1). 
  • Move every day. Physical activity is beneficial to burning abdominal fat. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a stroll around the lake, or a bicycle tour in your city, keep moving. This will help you keep fit and energetic. Simple aerobics like 30 minutes of walking 6 days per week is enough to prevent more belly fat (6).
  •  Do strength training. Everyday aerobics is great but when you add heavy lifting three times per week to this you will have greater chances to lose belly fat. 

As you see, belly fat can be a consequence of genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, and a poor diet. 

The Bottom Line

The term “skinny fat body type” means a person who looks lean but has a high percentage of fat and a low level of muscle mass. Skinny fat people usually have a high level of vascular fat that can’t be seen outside but exists inside. It surrounds essential organs and causes unhealthy conditions. 

The main causes of a skinny fat physique are an inactive lifestyle, genetics, and a poor diet. Exercising and healthy meals help you fight a skinny fat body. Use weight training and high-protein meals instead of cardio workouts and trans fats. There are various skinny fat workout plans that are vital in burning fats and building muscle mass. 

It is advisable to consult a professional before starting any skinny fat workout and diet plan.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 8 Ways to Lose Belly Fat and Live a Healthier Life (n.d.,
  2. Coping with Stress (2022,
  3. Effects of supervised and unsupervised physical activity programmes for weight loss (2017,
  4. Myfitnesspal (2022,
  5. Slim But Sedentary: Prediabetes Risk May Rise (2017,
  6. The Skinny on Visceral Fat (n.d.,
  7. What Causes Type 2 Diabetes (2021,
  8. What is Viscelar fat? (2021,