3

votes

Easiest, simplest way to lower body fat for the 'skinny fat'?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 21, 2011 at 11:59 PM

I'm 5'9", 122 lbs and my body fat is 24%. I want to get it down to 20%.

I don't want to/need to lose weight.

How do convert fat to muscle with the minimum amount of time per day, without having to join a gym or invest in equipment?

I've started doing HIIT sprints. Does that make sense? What else has worked for people?

EDIT: I started Crossfit a few months after asking this question, on average three times a week. My not totally reliable scale says my bodyfat is now 21% or 22% but I look and feel a lot stronger than before. I tried doing exercises at home but found that I just can't push myself the way a group environment/coach will.

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on November 23, 2011
at 06:52 AM

You cannot convert fat to muscle (or vice versa). What you want to do is simultaneously 1) Lose fat and 2) gain muscle. This would be very easy for you to do--what you would need to do is 1) Go on a simple, basic strength training program (roughly 1 hour/week of exercise time) 2) Eat enough protein (in your case, about 100-150 grams in 3-6 servings day) 3) Create a slight caloric deficit (If you are relative sedentary 1200-1500kcals/day is a good place to start if you want a number; adjust as needed). Sprints/interval training are good, but vastly inferior to weight training for body recomp.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 23, 2011
at 01:00 AM

I've researched and ya'll alright, sorry!

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on November 22, 2011
at 11:53 PM

My basic regimen is pull-ups, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, bench presses, and weighted squats. These cover the major muscle groups quite nicely.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on November 22, 2011
at 10:21 PM

Nope Phazo, that's not high at all for a girl! Our bodies will maintain a significant percentage of fat mass even when we're very underweight

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on November 22, 2011
at 07:45 PM

If it's someone new or returning to exercise recently, then yes, I agree with you that planks have their place. :)

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:19 PM

I agree Brad, but like Daz said I'm coming from my experience as a middle-aged woman who is trying to recover core body strength after a C-section three years ago and a stressful life/school/parenting situation that left me little time to work out. When I started doing push-ups again I reached failure after 9 push-ups on my knees--not nearly enough time to build core strength. I also could only hold a modified plank for 25 seconds. Doing planks in addition to push-ups has allowed me to build my core strength faster than doing push-ups alone. This is common for people with low muscle tone.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 08:00 AM

true Brad, but the reality is, not everyone can do good pushups (for various reasons), especially to the point where the abs get fully fatigued. even beginners can start with a basic plank to start building core strength (which will then help with their pushup form). I've seen beginners at the gym unable to hold a plank for 30 secs & usually with their bum stuck up in the air. & don't get me started on their pushups....if that is indeed what they are attempting to do?

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on November 22, 2011
at 06:23 AM

I disagree. If you are doing pushups with good form, you don't really need the planks.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 05:11 AM

i should add that i put more emphasis on the weight/resistance training. & the HiiT training is kinda an adjuct to it which fits my schedule. Then every time i do the HiiT it is always a shock to the system & therefore produces a response (hopefully a beneficial one)

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 05:10 AM

i should add that i put more emphasis on the weight/resistance training. & the HiiT training is kinda an adjuct to it with fits my schedule. Then every time i do the HiiT it is always a shock to the system & therefore produces a response (hopefully a beneficial one).

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:44 AM

That is a normal fat level for a woman. Especially if she doesn't have much lean muscle mass.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:18 AM

edit:...i found that i need to have a minimum of 3 days off between HiiT to FULLY recover/repair & reap the rewards,...

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:16 AM

This is all i could dig up on HiiT or Tabata style training for now: "However, due to the intense nature of these workouts, I don't think you can do a lot of this stuff. They are as much psychologically demanding as they are physically demanding. 2 or 3 of these per week is plenty, and, again, I think they should be combined with other forms of training if fat loss is what you are after. Trying to do 4-5 HIIT workouts, and trying to do them for 20-30 minutes is a bad idea." http://www.personaltrainerscincinnati.com/2010/10/my-opinion-of-tabata-protocol-hiit-in.html

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:06 AM

on HiiT: that's why i said "if you are doing it properly". i found that i need to have a minimum of 3 days off between HiiT to recover/repair & reap the rewards, otherwise it probably does me more harm than good (body becomes chronically stressed). & have found i probably get better results by only doing every 7 to 10 days, i listen to my body to determine when i'm ready for another session. i'll see if i can dig up a link with more info. 'body by science' take a similar approach, but in the strength training area http://www.bodybyscience.net/home.html/?page_id=18

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:57 AM

Hm... that still sounds quite high for those figures but then again I'm not very well-versed in interpreting body fat figures. What are you measuring yourself with?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:53 AM

from memory i seem to recall a better O3/06 is the other way around (ie. 3:1) or at least even. & achieved via reducing O6 not increasing O3. i tried to find a reference for this, i'm sure it was talked about on the PHD site a few times. i found this link http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=42 but there's probably some more recent info.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:18 AM

Thanks! HiiT only every 7 to 10 days - wow. I was expecting to do it every day. As far as weight strength is concerned I was thinking push-ups. 1900 calories a day, 1:3 ratio O3/O6, walk 6 miles a day, no dairy except butter, full-on paleo with no cheats

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:10 AM

You have a point - I was hoping to pick those up on the way

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:54 AM

+1 on the planks. great for the core. once you can hold a plank with good form for 2 mins, you will be well on the way to good core strength. then you can start adding some more advanced plank variations.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 22, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Sorry, I should have mentioned. Female.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:28 AM

OP might be female. 24% isn't really a shockingly high body fat for a woman.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:27 AM

OP is probably female. 24% isn't really a shockingly high body fat for a woman.

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9 Answers

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4
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:53 AM

I would add some push-ups, planks and squats, 2 X 3 times a week. Also, pull-ups or chin-ups --maybe at a neighboring park if you don't have a bar at home. I'm assuming from your stats that you are a woman who might not have much strength, so don't hesitate to start push-ups with your knees on the ground. Try for short-duration, intense efforts. Try to push, pull and lift heavy things at home . . . I've got two handy forty pound three-year-olds at home so I drag them around the house on a blanket and do all kinds of fun lifts. We have lots of fun just playing and giving mom a good strength workout. I don't use any fancy equipment.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 08:00 AM

true Brad, but the reality is, not everyone can do good pushups (for various reasons), especially to the point where the abs get fully fatigued. even beginners can start with a basic plank to start building core strength (which will then help with their pushup form). I've seen beginners at the gym unable to hold a plank for 30 secs & usually with their bum stuck up in the air. & don't get me started on their pushups....if that is indeed what they are attempting to do?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:54 AM

+1 on the planks. great for the core. once you can hold a plank with good form for 2 mins, you will be well on the way to good core strength. then you can start adding some more advanced plank variations.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on November 22, 2011
at 06:23 AM

I disagree. If you are doing pushups with good form, you don't really need the planks.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on November 22, 2011
at 07:45 PM

If it's someone new or returning to exercise recently, then yes, I agree with you that planks have their place. :)

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on November 22, 2011
at 11:53 PM

My basic regimen is pull-ups, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, bench presses, and weighted squats. These cover the major muscle groups quite nicely.

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:19 PM

I agree Brad, but like Daz said I'm coming from my experience as a middle-aged woman who is trying to recover core body strength after a C-section three years ago and a stressful life/school/parenting situation that left me little time to work out. When I started doing push-ups again I reached failure after 9 push-ups on my knees--not nearly enough time to build core strength. I also could only hold a modified plank for 25 seconds. Doing planks in addition to push-ups has allowed me to build my core strength faster than doing push-ups alone. This is common for people with low muscle tone.

3
4aea637def16d0b25b17fb69fd651a0b

on November 22, 2011
at 11:36 AM

If you want to build muscle, you have to lift heavy things until you can't anymore. You want to push and pull with both arms and legs and you want to strengthen your core (abs and back), so five or six exercises can cover you.

This won't burn any fat directly, but it will increase your basal metabolism, so you might get the effect you want over time. You'll be healthier either way.

For minimum investment, an hour once a week works wonders. For a simple program you could try something like Fred Hahn's "Slow Burn Fitness Revolution".

David

2
0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512

(1960)

on November 22, 2011
at 01:37 AM

I'm curious -- what is the point or benefit of reducing your bodyfat by 4 percentage points? Instead of limiting your objective, why not shoot for broader goals -- such as gaining muscle, increasing strength, speed, mobility and performance?

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:10 AM

You have a point - I was hoping to pick those up on the way

1
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:33 AM

"simplest way to lower body fat for the ???skinny fat????" very tricky question & no simple answer.
the 'simplest way' will differ between people depending all sorts of variables.

How long have you been (stuck?) at 24%?

Anyway, i'll give it a stab; HiiT is good, tho if you are doing it properly you will only need to do HiiT once every 7 to 10 days, because that's how long you should give you body full time to recover. otherwise you will over stress your body (read chronic high cortisol).
You also need to add some sort of weight/strength training in there twice (or maybe 3 times) per week, to build some muscle. listen to your body & give it time to recover, stress=raised cortisol.
Do not do cardio sessions. just easy walking is fine.

Health; ideally you want: Healthy thyroid, low cortisol, and low estrogen.
What's your diet like: calories, macronutrient ratios, omega 3 & 6 intake, limit/avoid estrogenic foods (milk may be an issue, avoid soy,...). You will almost certainly need to play around here as well.

Edit: & i'm assuming you are already eating paleo-ish, ie. no grains etc
Edit 2: to clarify, i should add that (obviously) HiiT (& Tabata) style training can be completed more often than i say above. But i myself prefer to do it once every 7 to 10 days & go to the max. i put more emphasis on the weight/resistance training. & the HiiT training is kinda an adjuct to it which fits my schedule. Then every time i do the HiiT it is always a shock to the system & therefore produces a response (hopefully a beneficial one). more comments below.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:16 AM

This is all i could dig up on HiiT or Tabata style training for now: "However, due to the intense nature of these workouts, I don't think you can do a lot of this stuff. They are as much psychologically demanding as they are physically demanding. 2 or 3 of these per week is plenty, and, again, I think they should be combined with other forms of training if fat loss is what you are after. Trying to do 4-5 HIIT workouts, and trying to do them for 20-30 minutes is a bad idea." http://www.personaltrainerscincinnati.com/2010/10/my-opinion-of-tabata-protocol-hiit-in.html

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:18 AM

edit:...i found that i need to have a minimum of 3 days off between HiiT to FULLY recover/repair & reap the rewards,...

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 05:11 AM

i should add that i put more emphasis on the weight/resistance training. & the HiiT training is kinda an adjuct to it which fits my schedule. Then every time i do the HiiT it is always a shock to the system & therefore produces a response (hopefully a beneficial one)

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:18 AM

Thanks! HiiT only every 7 to 10 days - wow. I was expecting to do it every day. As far as weight strength is concerned I was thinking push-ups. 1900 calories a day, 1:3 ratio O3/O6, walk 6 miles a day, no dairy except butter, full-on paleo with no cheats

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:53 AM

from memory i seem to recall a better O3/06 is the other way around (ie. 3:1) or at least even. & achieved via reducing O6 not increasing O3. i tried to find a reference for this, i'm sure it was talked about on the PHD site a few times. i found this link http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=42 but there's probably some more recent info.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 05:10 AM

i should add that i put more emphasis on the weight/resistance training. & the HiiT training is kinda an adjuct to it with fits my schedule. Then every time i do the HiiT it is always a shock to the system & therefore produces a response (hopefully a beneficial one).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:06 AM

on HiiT: that's why i said "if you are doing it properly". i found that i need to have a minimum of 3 days off between HiiT to recover/repair & reap the rewards, otherwise it probably does me more harm than good (body becomes chronically stressed). & have found i probably get better results by only doing every 7 to 10 days, i listen to my body to determine when i'm ready for another session. i'll see if i can dig up a link with more info. 'body by science' take a similar approach, but in the strength training area http://www.bodybyscience.net/home.html/?page_id=18

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:47 AM

Continuing with a healthy diet and being active are the only ways I know to "replace" fat pounds with muscle.

First, make sure to do as many of your household chores as possible with elbow grease rather than convenient appliances. Second, walk instead of drive short distances. Carry your own bags of stuff, etc.

Then, to build muscle you will have to lift a lot of heavy things or do some work with weights (that can involve full cans and bottles as well as purchased weights) and hills/steps to build nice muscle tone.

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

24% is not 'skinny fat'. Healthy, normal, etc.

Rather than focusing on losing or 'converting' bodyfat, just put on significant poundage of lean muscle through strength training. Voila, your fat percentage will then be lower, you'll probably be able to see some muscle tone, and you'll be healthier and stronger too! Of course you will also gain weight from putting on muscle mass and might increase in size a bit, but for a girl as skinny as you that might even be more flattering.

I like free weights and 'used' barbells and plates can be found for cheap, but if you have nothing to spend right now bodyweight exercises work great. Squats, push-ups, planks, handstands, more vigorous types of yoga, etc.

0
0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512

(1960)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Look for a CrossFit gym near you, Sigfrid. Good for what ails you. ;)

0
Ba20b502cf02b5513ea8c4bb2740d8cb

on November 22, 2011
at 12:50 AM

Male or female?

0
D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:24 AM

24%?! you sure? I've got the same exact stats but I'm nowhere near 24%...

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:57 AM

Hm... that still sounds quite high for those figures but then again I'm not very well-versed in interpreting body fat figures. What are you measuring yourself with?

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:28 AM

OP might be female. 24% isn't really a shockingly high body fat for a woman.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:44 AM

That is a normal fat level for a woman. Especially if she doesn't have much lean muscle mass.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:27 AM

OP is probably female. 24% isn't really a shockingly high body fat for a woman.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 22, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Sorry, I should have mentioned. Female.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 23, 2011
at 01:00 AM

I've researched and ya'll alright, sorry!

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on November 22, 2011
at 10:21 PM

Nope Phazo, that's not high at all for a girl! Our bodies will maintain a significant percentage of fat mass even when we're very underweight

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