Are you skinny fat, and looking to build muscle and lose fat? If so, you’re in luck because I’ll be sharing a skinny fat gym workout plan you can start applying right away.
More importantly, we’ll dive into the importance of weight training, the nuances of long-term progression, and what it all means for you.
Let’s dive in.
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What Is The Skinny Fat Body Type (And What Does It Take to Fix It)?
‘Skinny fat’ sounds made up because how can someone be skinny and fat simultaneously? It simply doesn’t make sense. Despite it sounding like something impossible, the skinny fat body type exists, and it is far more common than most people imagine.
To be skinny fat, a person has to have low muscular development and a high body fat percentage. These folks appear ‘thin’ or even fit while wearing clothes but often have a lot of fat covering different areas of the body, including the chest, stomach, lower back, buttocks, and thighs.
Here is a photo of a skinny fat man:
And here is what a skinny fat woman might look like:
Despite the challenging position skinny fat people are in, fixing the look is easier than most imagine. You must lose some fat and gain muscle, which will change how your physique looks. We will go over how to train to fix the skinny fat look, but know that weight training plays a huge role. The good news is that your weight training can come in many forms, including dumbbell-only training, kettlebell workouts, and more.
What Makes Gym Training So Beneficial For The Skinny Fat Person?
Often, skinny fat individuals resort to cardio to get in shape. While beneficial on many fronts, a significant flaw with cardio is that it doesn’t cause a considerable muscle stimulus, which means you cannot expect to build much muscle with it. In the case of dieting, cardio doesn’t contribute to muscle maintenance, leading to lean mass loss alongside the fat.
Lifting weights at the gym is one of the best ways for skinny fat people to lose fat and build muscle. First, weights provide the necessary stimulus our muscles need to grow. Second, the stimulus allows us to maintain our muscle mass during periods of caloric restriction for fat loss. Most skinny fat people are in the unique position to build muscle while losing fat, provided they utilize the correct tactics:
- A small calorie deficit for gradual fat loss
- Enough protein to support muscle tissue
- Regular weight training for the necessary stimulus
- At least seven hours of sleep per night
Training at a gym is ideal because you can pick from various machines and free weights to put together workout programs you enjoy following.
What Are The Best Exercises For Skinny Fat People?
I published “The Six Best Skinny Fat Exercises (+Training Program Included)” a while back. In that article, I reviewed what I believe are six of the best movements for muscle gain and fat loss. I strongly recommend checking it out to understand my reasons for each choice, what alternatives you can use to the main movements, and how these activities fit inside a skinny fat gym workout plan.
A Skinny Fat Gym Workout Plan to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
The skinny fat gym workout plan consists of three weekly workouts that train specific muscle groups. A good fitness app can also provide you with a training plan, based on goals, available equipment, fitness level, and more.
Workout A (Push)
The first workout revolves around pushing exercises that train your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
Flat barbell bench press - 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Standing dumbbell shoulder press - 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
Incline dumbbell press - 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
EZ-bar lying skullcrushers - 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Lateral dumbbell raise - 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
For trainees who cannot do any of the above exercises for some reason or struggle to activate the correct muscles, you can try the following alternatives:
- Flat barbell bench press - dumbbell bench press or machine chest press
- Standing dumbbell shoulder press - seated machine, dumbbell, or barbell press
- Incline dumbbell press - incline barbell press, incline fly, or decline push-up
- EZ-bar lying skullcrushers - dumbbell skullcrusher, rope tricep extension, or dumbbell kickback
- Lateral dumbbell raise - lateral cable raise or upright row
Workout B (Pull)
Workout two of the skinny fat gym workout plan revolves around pulling motions that train your back, biceps, and forearms.
Bent-over barbell row - 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Lat pulldown - 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Seated cable row - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Standing dumbbell shrug - 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Standing dumbbell bicep curl - 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
As with Workout A, here are some alternatives:
- Bent-over barbell row - Pendlay row, dumbbell row, or T-bar row
- Lat pulldown - band-assisted pull-up, negative pull-up, or band lat pulldown
- Seated cable row - dumbbell row, seated band row, or Hammer strength row
- Standing dumbbell shrug - seated dumbbell shrug, machine shrug, or barbell shrug
- Standing dumbbell bicep curl - seated bicep curl, EZ-bar curl, preacher curl, or cable curl
Workout C (Legs)
The final workout in this skinny fat gym workout plan revolves around lower body training and is designed to strengthen and develop your legs.
Barbell back squat - 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Romanian deadlift - 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
Glute bridge - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Lying hamstring curl - 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Standing machine calf raise - 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Here are alternatives to the above movements:
- Barbell back squat - front squat, goblet squat, or leg press
- Romanian deadlift - hamstring curl, single-leg Romanian deadlift, or glute-ham raise
- Glute bridge - hip thrusts or glute kicks
- Lying hamstring curl - seated hamstring curl or Nordic curl
- Standing machine calf raise - seated machine calf raise, donkey calf raise, or single-leg standing calf raise
The above gym routine is simple and fantastic for skinny fat individuals looking to build muscle and shed fat. Still, it’s important to note that your nutritional habits will also play a big part in your long-term results, so pay careful attention to your calorie intake and overall composition. An important reason vegans become skinny fat isn’t that their nutrition is inherently unhealthy but because they don’t consume enough protein—details matter.
How to Progress With Your Training (And Why You Should)
Progressing refers to doing more work as time passes. For instance, if you can bench press 30 kilograms in May and 60 kilograms in October, you’re making progress. Similarly, if you could only bench press 30 kilograms for a single before, but you can now do ten reps in a row, you’re moving forward.
A significant mistake skinny fat people make is doing the same workout month after month, wondering why they don’t see improvements. It all comes down to the principle of overload, which roughly states:
“To gain muscle, improve your strength, or develop any other athletic characteristic, you must place increasingly larger amounts of stress on your body.”
In other words, you must do more as time passes. That is the only way to keep moving forward in the long run. Here are a few options for that:
- Lift more weight
- Do more reps or sets with the same load
- Do the same workout with shorter rest periods
- Do the exercises through a longer range of motion
- Do the same number of reps with the same load but with more explosiveness
Progress will rarely occur linearly. You’re more likely to experience dips and jumps with your performance, which is entirely normal. What matters most is that, when looking at your training from months back, you can see significant improvements.