Skinny Fat: A Case for Strength Training

April 6, 2012 at 14:31

Little Miss Sicky Poo


For a lot of women, keeping up with the trends of modern fashion can be a full time job.  The pictures that we see in magazines are what we are programmed to view as beautiful and healthy.  And since most people want to be beautiful and healthy, it is easy to buy into the image that is being sold.  Over the last century the ideal physique of a woman has changed dramatically from the curvy  bodies of women like Marilyn Monroe to the heroine sheik silhouettes of Kate Moss and Nicole Richie.  Women are literally dying to be thin.  Aside from the allure and dangers of anorexia and bulimia there are other risks to one’s health that can arise from trying to obtain this wolfishly thin look.

You often hear women saying “I want to lose weight.”  But if the concern only lies with watching the numbers on the scale drop, there’s a problem.  There’s a misconception that getting that number down is the main goal and if you weigh less, you’re automatically healthier.  This simply isn’t true.   In order to get the number down, many women resort to calorie restriction while maintaining a sedentary lifestyle.  Others may restrict calories and go on “chronic cardio” binges.  There is a fear that certain form of exercise such as strength training will cause them to look bulky and man-like. These misconceptions and fears cause the phenomenon referred to as “skinny fat.”

What does it mean to be skinny fat:
Urban dictionary defines “skinny fat” as:  A person who, while they have very low weight on the scales, and may look reasonably (or even very) skinny with heavy clothes on, still have a large amount of body fat compared to muscle, resulting in a flabby appearance. Hence, a skinny (low mass) person, who still looks fat (flabby and un-toned).

The dangers of being skinny fat:
Generally speaking, the higher a person’s BMI, the higher the risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Being skinny does not equal good health.  You have to take into consideration a person’s muscle to fat ratio.  It is possible to be skinny and still have too much body fat despite your lean appearance.  It can happen at any size.  If you’re fat to muscle ratio is too high, you run all the same risks as someone who is obese, in fact the medical community calls this “normal weight obesity”.

In addition to the health risks associated with being skinny fat, it’s not terribly attractive to have fat hanging off a skeleton like body…yikes!

Women & Strength Training:
One of best ways to improve your health, burn fat, look better and avoid the aforementioned diseases is to embrace strength training.  It will not make you bulky.  If you have images in your head of female bodybuilders with rippling muscles that look slightly less feminine than you are comfortable with, let me assure you that you have to seriously manipulate your body to get to that point.  Those women eat 6 meals a day, with heavy calorie loads, train for hours a day and I would argue that many of them are using steroids.  If you need an image to replace this one, think Gabriella Reece.  She is a perfect example of what strength training does to a woman’s body.

Here are just a few of the benefits of strength training:

  • You lose body fat
  • You will gain strength without bulk
  • Decreases Your Risk Of Osteoporosis
  • Improves Your Athletic Performance
  • You Will Be Physically Stronger
  • Reduces Your Risk Of Injury, Back Pain & Arthritis
  • Reduces Your Risk Of Heart Disease
  • Improves Your Attitude And Fights Depression
  • Your clothes will fit better
  • You will look better in a bathing suit 🙂


  1. Wavatar
    Carmine DePaola April 10, 2012 Reply

    Great blog Leane. Muscle is your friend. Every pound of it is burning 40 calories a day for you. Every pound of muscle you lose is 40 calories less you need just to maintain your current body fat %. Also, one of the biggest components of ageing is the loss of lean body mass. Why help out father time for the sake of a summer of looking good in clothes. Notice I said in clothes because skinny fat does NOT look good out of clothes.

  2. Little Miss Sicky Poo
    Little Miss Sicky Poo April 10, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Carmine! No doubt it does more to keep you feeling and looking young than any anti-aging cream out there and it's a better all around investment.

  3. Wavatar
    facebook status August 22, 2012 Reply

    Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I'll certainly digg it and in my view recommend to my friends. I'm sure they'll be benefited from this site.

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