"Skiny Fat" an excerpt

This is an excerpt from a post on CrossFit South Bay and it answers a question I have struggled to answer very well.  So here it is:

First, I want to establish that having muscle doesn’t mean being bulky…

The first thing you need to do is compare these two women:

For reference, the girl on the left is a runway model and the girl on the right is an elite CrossFit athlete.  Both have approximately 12-15% body fat.  Both are doing something they love, and the bodies they have created help them do that.  This isn’t about judging either girl, just that they have very different levels of muscular development.

On the left, we have a runway model who has almost zero muscular development while also having almost zero fat deposits.  She has enough essential muscle to not fall over walking, but not much more than that.  If you want to look like the woman on the left, sorry, but we cannot help you get there.  Although, if you have an apple and a cigarette a day for about a year, you could get close.  It supposedly worked for Christian Bale in the Machinist.  However, CrossFit South Bay will not help you create that type of body.

The female on the right has spent years developing her strength and muscle.  She has battled heavy weights and pushed herself to the limit to squat, deadlift, and lunge heavier weights every time she comes into the gym.  She weighs approximately 35-40 lbs more than the runway model due to the large amount of muscle that she has acquired.  She is likely approaching her genetic limits in the amount of muscle she can develop without going on a bodybuilding routine.  Between her and the runway model, there is likely very little difference genetically, yet there is a huge difference in training and diet (more on this shortly).

Same elite CrossFitter, now dressed up, still bulky??

Thus, you can have a large amount of muscle without ever looking “bulky”.  Don’t you agree??

Now that we know that muscle doesn’t make you “bulky”, what does??

Well, the answer is fat.  Excess adipose tissue will result in less than satisfactory aesthetics.  This is regardless of the amount of muscle you have.  This is easily seen in the image below:

The image at left shows a female figure that has a large amount of fat, while having a very small amount of muscle.  This is described in the fitness community as “skinny fat”.  While not overly “bulky” she  doesn’t have the aesthetics that most of us work so hard to attain.  The woman in this image is likely at a level close to 30% body fat and likely has a similar amount of muscle as the runway model.  So even though she may look fine wearing a sweater, it is a different story at the beach.

The trick is how to fix this.  Well, option 1 is to eat less and do tons of cardio, surviving on a diet heavy with running and light on food, and you will end up looking more like the runway model above.  Option 2 is to develop muscle to burn away the excess fat while doing cardio, resulting in looking more like the elite CrossFitter above.

Ok, so we have started to establish that building muscle isn’t a bad thing, right??  Yet, you are afraid that by squatting and deadlifting, you are making your legs and butt bigger, thus getting more “bulky”, correct??

 

Read the whole thing here:  

"Skinny Fat" from CrossFit South Bay (CA).

Thursday
 
Volume work
 
WOD:  Ben's Belated Bday
 
200 walking Lunges with ruck sack (50/25)