Anyone who has not been living under a rock for the past 10 years has a good understanding what a skinny fat physique entails. Popularly known as the “dad bod”, skinny fat people are commonly characterized by a medium to high body fat percentage, paired with a substantial lack of lean muscle mass.

Not to confuse this condition with obesity or individuals who are clearly overweight, though, as skinny fat usually reveals itself on a person who has skinny arms, pencil legs and neck, but boasts a protruding tummy and cellulite deposits throughout their body.

The condition is further characterized by sagginess in the midsection, thighs, and gluteus and it can commonly prompt those affected to further pursue their unhealthy fat loss goals in hopes of banishing the symptoms and attaining a toned physique.

While this condition is detrimental to both sexes in terms of long-term mental and physical health, you should know that it could be easily treated and permanently fixed by adhering to a few straightforward, proven lifestyle changes. Here is what causes you to become skinny fat and how you can fix it in 3 easy steps!

Nutrition is key

The most common cause that leads to a skinny fat physique lies in improper nutrition. Rather than trying to find the solution in the foods you eat, you should pay more attention to the amount of food you consume. It might seem counterintuitive, but eating little will actually result in a skinny fat appearance because your body is burning muscle for fuel and storing fat as energy reserves.

Rather than starving yourself, you should have a rich, complex, and calculated diet that will allow you to banish body fat, but also build muscle at the same time. Remember, body fat percentage is just one piece of the killer physique puzzle.

You can easily calculate your daily caloric requirements via an online calorie calculator and tailor you macronutrient intake for optimal muscle gain and fat loss. You should focus on a protein-rich diet, consisting of at least 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat – you can tailor these variables according to your body composition, upping the protein intake as needed and decreasing carbs or fats to maintain a healthy and attractive body fat percentage.

Lifting weights is crucial

The other crucial element of attaining a toned physique is weightlifting, as skinny fat is a harmonic symbiosis of too much fat and too little muscle mass. You see, most people who are toned, have a six-pack, and a derriere to die for are the same body weight and even heavier than those who carry excess fat around those areas.

Sounds sketchy? Think about it, wouldn’t fat have to distribute itself more evenly on a larger surface area? Wouldn’t added muscle mass aid in stretching and burning fat supplies? Yes, it would. This is why focusing on getting stronger and building muscle is a crucial element that will help you banish fat and replace it with sexy, tight curves.

Muscle is far denser than fat, consuming more energy, and burning fat stores via heat accumulation in the body. Alongside proper nutrition and heavy training, you should supply yourself with quality bodybuilding clothes and accessories that will help your body stay warm and in a continuous fat-burning state throughout your workouts. If you are unsure what to pack, take a look at what the pros are packing in their gym bags, and tailor it to your own needs.

So, ditch the light weights, focus on heavy compound movements, and build those guns!

Cardio is not your friend

Last but not least, the subject of more media controversy than CrossFit itself, cardio training. Contrary to popular belief, fat loss is 99% nutrition, and cardio training, although boasting numerous health benefits, only plays a measly 1%, if that. Mild cardio sessions lasting no more than 20 minutes, up to two times a week, can aid you in your conditioning goals, but anything more than that can have a severe negative impact on your muscle mass and hormonal behavior, if you are in a strict caloric deficit.

Moreover, heavy weight training has been found to be more beneficial for cardiovascular endurance, fat loss, and general physical preparation than cardio. Therefore, combining weightlifting with moderate to low cardio exercise, such as HIIT training, would present the best option for quickly attaining a strong, toned physique.

Skinny fat is a serious condition afflicting millions of people around the world, and while it is popularly referred to as the “dad bod”, most people who suffer from it are young, healthy individuals who simply have the wrong understanding of how metabolic processes and nutrition work. Follow these 3 easy steps and you will be well on your way to turning your skinny fat appearance into a beach-ready physique!