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Skinny Fat to Fit

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For years I had a goal weight in my head. I wanted muscle definition and to look “fit.” I thought that losing weight would get me to that goal. No matter how thin I got, I still felt that I looked out of shape. I was skinny fat.

me in gym outfit posing in front of mirror

“Skinny Fat” means that you are skinny, but you have a low amount of muscle on your body so you don’t appear fit. If you want to look lean or “toned” then you need to have some muscle on your body.

This is why being thin is not a great indicator of health. You can be thin and unhealthy at the same time.

I look more in shape and toned now at 136 pounds than I did back then at 115.

How do you go from skinny fat to fit?

My mom always used to say, if you want to look like a smaller version of yourself then just do cardio.

And that’s true. Endless cardio can help create a calorie deficit, it can help you lose weight, and is a great form of exercise, but it will not build much muscle.

Of course, if you’re constantly challenging yourself like running at an incline or sprinting, you can build muscle. But the way most of us train, it won’t help with much more than burning calories.

Some fitness gurus will tell you to completely avoid cardio if you want to build muscle because it will reduce your gains. THAT IS NOT TRUE.

The only time that cardio will hinder your gains is if you do it in place of weight training or you are actively training for a marathon.

So you can keep the cardio if you enjoy it, but if you want to change your shape/ have more definition and appear “toned,” lift weights.

me in garage gym with barbell and weights

Weight training 3-4 times per week is plenty to start building muscle.

I have a post on weightlifting for beginners that you can check out if you’re new to it. But basically you want to do more than just go through the motions.

You need to focus on progressive overload to build muscle. This means you should keep a log of how much weight you used for each exercise and how many reps you did, that way next week when you do the same workout, you can see your progress. You need to push yourself to progress in one way or another.

Secondly, if you want more muscle then you need to fuel your body properly.

Don’t be afraid to eat more food. Your body can’t be expected to repair muscle fibers on low fuel. Eat more carbs and be sure to get in plenty of protein.

The scale may go up.

It doesn’t mean anything though. It is just a number. Like I said earlier, I feel more body confident and in shape now at 136 than I did when I was 20 pounds lighter.

I still get in my head about clothing sizes. But do you what makes the difference between a dress or a pair of jeans looking good on you or not? It’s NOT the size printed on the tag that no one can see, it’s whether or not it actually fits you! So grab the bigger size and rock it! Show off those gains!