I am going to introduce you to a new term: skinny fat. Yes, that is the group of people who have attained a fine look in clothes because they are tiny, but have no muscle, so they are actually over-fat. Skinny and Fat!

Have you ever sat down to have a nice steak and with the hopes that it has just the right amount of “intra-muscular” fat or marbling to make it just melt in your mouth? Well, this type of fat in our beef, though tasty, being seen as healthy is very controversial, but having a high amount of intra-muscular and visceral fat as a human is not; you don’t want your muscle to be marbled nor do you want fat surrounding your internal organs!

In my business, one thing you see a lot of are different body types. There has always been one body type that has been somewhat of an enigma in the fitness industry, and that body type is what I would call; skinny fat. Skinny fat may look great to you and your friends as you just might say, “hey, isn’t Jane looking thin?” or “look, John is really looking skinny!” but the truth of the matter is, this new look for your friends may not be healthy at all.

It actually may be dangerous!

I have always known that people who lose the majority of their weight through dieting were destroying their metabolism, but there is new evidence out that actually not only backs this perception up but takes it one step further. This skinny-fat look and body type is now being linked to degenerative disease. Skinny-fat, to me, is where a person may look skinny, thin, and even “good” in street clothes, but actually has a small amount of muscle on their frame and an extremely high amount of body-fat. You see, skinny and lean, are not, I repeat, not the same thing. The skinny-fat look is obtained through extreme dieting without the addition of a resistance training program. This leaves the person lacking muscle, energy, and a good overall well-being.

Most people don’t know this, but it really should be no secret that experts have long known that overly fat but active people can be healthier than their skinny but inactive counterparts. If you base your health on your waist size, or even your weight alone, you will want to continue reading on because there is a link of the skinny fat condition with diabetes and heart risks. I recently came across an article from the Associated Press entitled, “Thin People Might Be Fat on the Inside”, that more than points this out:

“Normal-weight persons who are sedentary and unfit are at much higher risk for mortality than obese persons who are active and fit,” said Dr. Steven Blair, an obesity expert at the University of South Carolina. “Being thin doesn’t automatically mean you’re not fat,” said Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London. Since 1994, Bell and his team have scanned nearly 800 people with MRI machines to create “fat maps” showing where people store fat. According to the data, people who maintain their weight through diet rather than exercise are likely to have major deposits of internal fat, even if they are otherwise slim. “The whole concept of being fat needs to be redefined,” said Bell, whose research is funded by Britain’s Medical Research Council. Even people with normal Body Mass Index scores — a standard obesity measure that divides your weight by the square of your height — can have surprising levels of fat deposits inside. Of the women scanned by Bell and his colleagues, as many as 45 percent of those with normal BMI scores (20 to 25) actually had excessive levels of internal fat. Among men, the percentage was nearly 60 percent.”

Important points from this study as well as what you have read in on this site numerous times before: 1) Skinny is not synonymous with lean, fit or healthy, 2) The Body Mass Index is an inaccurate and an unbelievably atrocious indicator in identifying if a person’s health is at risk in this country, and 3) Dieting without proper exercise DOES accelerate the aging process.

If in doubt... go for muscled with fat over skinny fat every time!