Skinny Fat, Sickly Skinny, Lean, Muscular, Bulky or Fat? Confused?
The confusion a good majority of people have is that skinny means the same thing as lean, muscular means the same thing as bulky and fat is politely “chubby” or just simply fat. The problem with that is everybody is different and there are many body types in the world today. No two people have the same body structure and understanding what category they fall into is not addressed enough.
When I was a child, the only category I fell under was chubby or fat. I knew nothing more and was under the impression I’d be that way forever. Little did I know or learn at the time that I could change that with the decision to change my eating, start working out and become aware of how to keep it up. It takes work but anyone can do it. It first starts with breaking misconceptions!
What size of clothing do you think these women wear?
Would you believe they are both a size 2?! The female on the left is what you would deem “Skinny Fat”. The female on the right is what you deem Lean. So how is that possible? Well in most people’s minds, they wouldn’t have any problems looking like the woman on the left. The misconception is that she is skinny and that is it, but in reality, if you were to give her a body fat test, her results would deem her fat. That simply means for her body type, she has more fat than muscle. The woman on the right is lean. Women the same size as her are usually treading away on the cardio machines every single day trying to unveil the muscle she’s toting. The problem with that is unless they add weights and a clean meal plan to the equation, nothing is going to change. Mass amounts of cardio with no weights keeps you skinny fat because all the cardio does is eat the muscle and revert it to fat.
Does this look familiar?
This is in gyms everywhere. The picture of ALL women running and cycling their way into what they believe will reveal the muscle tone they are looking for. Don’t get me wrong, some do cardio everyday for endurance because everyone has different goals. But even so, those people should pick up weight training at least 2-3 days a week to maintain the very important energy source, muscle, in their body. Muscles need fuel by way of glycogen. If you’re depleted of glycogen, the body will resort to the muscle and begin to consume it just to stay functioning. Carbohydrates aid in giving us the glycogen we need so the body doesn’t eat the muscle, however, many are consuming the wrong kind and wrong amounts of carbohydrates. Endurance athletes, after a long drawn out cardio session, generally fuel up on carbohydrates because they notice and feel depletion of glycogen which carbohydrates provide.
Have a hard time digesting Carbs? Digestive enzymes are the key! Learn More!
Weights are important to any training routine. The misconception here is that first, a lot of women believe that only men are to lift weights and second, weights will make you bulky. FAR FROM TRUE! Every person in the world has muscle. Every person in the world should fight to maintain it. Fat is bulky and muscle can look bulky too, but women who lift heavy weights DO NOT get bulky without a meal plan that will get them to that point. Which would mean consuming more calories than you burn on a daily basis and following a very intense weight routine. You WILL NOT look like this body builder unless you of course, choose to. I lift heavy weights. I love them but I am not bulky because my meal plan is created to keep me leaned out. For those of you who wonder what it is to lean out, it’s simply shredding fat on the body to unveil the muscle tone being built underneath.
This woman pictured here is a competitor in Bodybuilding. Her meal and workout routine is extreme and she must consume thousands of calories just to keep building this muscle mass and look like this. You don’t see an ounce of fat on her, but she has built a ton of lean mass by following her plan to a T for years. This will NOT happen to you women when you lift weights. What will happen (granted you follow a clean meal plan with fewer calories than you burn) if you lift weights, is a lean, sculpted body.
This woman is what you call LEAN. She is not “Bulky” she is not “Skinny”. She is LEAN. There is a huge difference. You can tell she doesn’t have a lot of body fat, she is still small but her muscle structure is beautifully crafted and visible- not extreme like the woman above where you can see almost EVERY muscle fiber in the body. This woman is more than likely correcting society on a daily basis when they call her “skinny”. Skinny is small, yes, but skinny implies no muscle tone. I’m told a lot that I am skinny and I am constantly correcting it because I know I’m not. I am lean.
Lifting appropriate weights and following a good eating/supplementing protocol will allow you to go from skinny fat to lean machine!
Shred Fat on A Whole New Level
The truth of the matter is you can bust your butt at the gym and gain muscle, shed water weight but never really lose the fat. Why? Because fat cannot be burned until it is first digested. Have you ever heard of that? Well, it’s the KEY to transforming your figure from skinny fat to lean machine. See, being skinny fat not only means you’re thin with no definition on the outside but it also could mean, your holding fat on the inside in places like your arteries or around organs. This “white fat”, visceral fat, is the predominant fat in the body and around the body protruding in areas like the belly, thighs and hips. It’s not just sitting there aggravating you but instead, it’s a major endocrine organ, producing one form of estrogen as well as leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite and hunger. It’s also has receptors for insulin, growth hormone, adrenaline, and cortisol (stress hormone). White fat is also a protector or insulator for our organs and is accumulated by the body when the tissues are flooded with too much acidity from our diets.
How do we rid the body of the excess fat to expose the muscle beneath? It all comes down to digestion. Lipase, the fat digesting enzyme, breaks down lipids and fats. The more efficiently it can do this, the more fat you can burn as opposed to storing. Lipase works with your body to break down these substances so that you can utilize the fat as energy. This enzyme increases your metabolic rate and helps to transform your metabolism into a fat-burning machine instead of a fat-storage machine.
Heard of Co-enzyme Q10? It’s not necessarily a fat digesting enzyme but rather a co-enzyme and helper to Lipase. CoQ10 assists and boosts Lipase to increase the fat-burning results. It also helps to boost your body’s overall immune system and metabolism, thus aiding you in burning body fat.
I personally take 2 Heart Health prior to working out so fat metabolism is increased and my stamina as well! I advise individuals on a weight loss plan to consume 4-6 capsules daily for the best results.
“Thanks to incorporating the Digestive Health with my protein shakes and the Heart Health for fat loss I have lost 15lbs. I love it!!”- Andrea B.
So where do you begin? Start with a meal plan. Everyone has a different body type and each individual requires different macro-nutrient ratios (i.e. protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats) so each person can reach their personal goal. For instance, let’s use myself as an example. I’m a mesomorph. Which means I gain and lose weight easily, I need to lift weights, I do not need endless amounts of running, artificial sugars nor fattening sugars which do not help me lose fat weight. I vary my workouts between L.I.S.S. (Low Intensity Steady State cardio) or interval training whether it’s H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) or Tabata…see my previous blog Slash the Fat with This Regime for more info. The shorter the interval session, the better it is to keep lean muscle and burn fat. You have to be sure you eat 45-90 minutes before any high intensity training whether it’s weight training or interval training. It is important because your body uses glycogen (energy for the body provided by whole foods such as sweet potatoes, oats, fruit, etc.) to make it through a workout so you reap the benefits.
Eat clean to be lean! Leaning out requires you to change your calories and macro-nutrient intake every 5-6 weeks. It also requires you to eat every 2-3 hours making sure to get 5-6 meals in a day depending on what your schedule suits best. For me, 5 meals a day is great! All of my meals leave me satisfied and I have the fuel I need to workout, have energy, lose fat and build beautiful muscle tone. I focus on eating organic, whole foods as fresh as possible. Complex carbohydrates like rice, beans and potatoes are the perfect fuel. Skip the middle aisle in the supermarket and try to get all your nutrition from the outer perimeter which means less boxes, processed, junk- dead food! This will not get you to your goal.
Alkalize and hydrate the tissues of the body properly. Not only will dehydrationon leave you with zero energy but your body will hold onto more of the “white fat”. Consume half your body weight in ounces daily of 9.5pH alkaline water. No need for sport drinks as they are more acidic than soda- yikes! Proper hydration allows the body to get rid of toxins and acids that cause you to quickly tire and become sore after a workout. Drink up!
Change is always good. I change my eating routine and my workout routine every 6-8 weeks. I work the same body parts with the same workout routine so I build the muscles up then I can switch gears and train different body parts together so I can see changes elsewhere. My body type needs heavy weights most of the time but it is important for everyone to switch it up and use lighter weights making sure you do more reps than if you were lifting heavy weights, doing 8-12 reps then resting before your next set. 30 pound lying hamstring curls is light for me so I would do 21 repetitions. That works different muscle fibers so you can develop that shapely lean physique and see muscles you’ve never seen before! You work your whole body and create what is strong, lean, healthy and balanced!
Whether you’re male or female, we all fall under one of these categories that define our bodies. We cannot correct society for good, but what we can do is correct ourselves and be acutely aware of our body’s health, and how healthy or unhealthy we are and work hard to get to where we want to be. It’s a personal choice to make. Do not let society guide you into believing you NEED to look a certain way to be accepted. I choose happy and healthy. Whether I’m building lean mass and putting some healthy fat on or depleting fat and getting lean, I will always choose to be healthy in my approach to health and fitness making sure I add all aspects of it to my daily life.
Ashley Dawn Tellstrom
AFPA Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritional Consultant
As a reminder: Always be sure you consult with your physician then seek professionals in the health and fitness industry before beginning any type of new meal plan or workout routine. It’s baby steps; you are brand new to this so you will definitely want clearance from your physician and guidance from a professional personal trainer and nutritionist.