How I Went From SKINNY FAT to SHREDDED
Skinny fat sucks. I have been there, and it was absolutely brutal. When I graduated HS at 18 years old I was 5'10" and 130 LBS. Despite being so light, I had no visible ab definition or anything. I was "skinny fat."
Skinny fat is when you look normal in clothes or thin and fit, but underneath, there is a high percentage of body-fat. I struggled with my look and body image for quite some time, but never knew the way out of it.
Through high school I was a distance cross country runner. With an insane focus on copious amounts of carbohydrates and cardio, it was a recipe for disaster. Low hormone levels for building muscle, high insulin levels, (fat storing hormone) and high cortisol levels, (stress related fat storing hormone) so I was a mess. I had virtually no lean muscle mass, no strength, and no energy to do anything. As soon as I graduated, I realized that the life of pounding mileage week after week had to change.
Soooo here is how the story went. I realized early on that I HAD to change my diet. Before I started monitoring my nutrition, my body was so used to sugar/carbs/glucose for constant energy. My body never had a change to burn body fat for fuel. On top of that, I was constantly in a calorie surplus. Each day I was consuming more calories than my body was burning. This cause lots of fat accumulation and cardio came to a total halt.
I started weight training. Heavy. I focused on heavy compound lifts that are key dictators in changing a physique. These are lifts that are multi-joint movements, meaning that multiple muscle groups are involved. This means I was getting more bang for my buck, and strength was being gained my first year at a rapid rate. This is the "noob gains" phase. I could go into great detail about my training, but I would rather link the video below where I explain my whole workout split each week.
The next step was my nutrition. I 100% had to lower my carbohydrate intake. Looking back, I'm estimating that I was taking in around 300 grams of carbs per day which comes to 1200 calories of carbs per day. At the time I was running 50-60 miles per week for 49/52 week a year but it was still too much. You can not out work a bad diet, and no matter how much activity a person does, 300 grams of carbs is way too high.
I changed the backbone of my nutrition to protein and fat based. Fat regulates hormone production (aka testosterone) and protein builds new muscle. A recipe to build an anabolic machine. I dialed in my calorie intake to around 2200 per day, and made sure I took in between 150-170 grams of protein per day. Men need between .8-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
If you would like to see what a couple full days of eating looks like from me, the links are below.
The next step was fasting. I use a tool called intermittent fasting every single day. I push my first meal back 4-6 hours upon waking. This allows me to mobilize fat for fuel in the morning instead of the calories that I was eating for breakfast.
Fasting has hormonal benefits, fat loss benefits, muscle building benefits, and digestive reset benefits.
To see my fasting videos explained in great detail, see the videos below.
This was a day in and day out process for years repeated over and over. It wasn't something that a person can do for a week or two and see results. The groceries had to always be there. Lean meats, adequate protein, and documented training sessions.
Day to day, play the long game, and have faith that what you are doing is working, will keep working, and will grow better. Can’t be too quick to just give up. No one gets good at anything in a day, a week, or even a year for that matter. Doing more, not less, and most importantly doing more when you don't want to do any. This is the key to changing your physique long term.
If you are skinny fat, and need out. There is lots of hope to finding a new you! Work ethic and a great long term game plan is key to figuring out what works for you.