T Nation

Advice for Unusual Fat Distribution


#1

I was hoping I could get some opinions or advice from someone. I'm a male who has always had what looks like female fat distribution, I have skinny arms, flat chest, and a small waist and back that goes inwards, yet my thighs and backside are considerably large. Basically I have a pencil thin upper body yet when it gets to my lower body it looks as though it belongs to another person. It's unsightly and the source of my depression and frustration, but before anyone dismisses me as lazy or inactive I have tried to do something about it.

At the beginning of 2010 I decided to try and lose the weight, and was hitting the gym constantly and walking everywhere else. I was able to lose 12 kilos in only a short period of time and keep it off, but my legs were still huge. At the time I weight 55 kg which I know is unhealthy as I am also pretty tall, but I still had much bigger legs than friends of mine who weighed up to 15 kg more.

Then about five months ago I decided that approach was getting me nowhere andtried to build upper body mass to proportion things out. I've put on 20 kilos since then, though only a miniscule amount seems to have gone to my upper body (my ribcage and spine are still visible), while my legs have gotten noticeably bigger than they already were.

I've been to doctors, though none seem to be sympathetic. I've had my testosterone checked by a doctor and an endocrinologist and apparently it was normal, though neither gave me any advice about what my next course of action should be, but obviously I want to solve this problem. Another doctor who I went specifically to ask this brushed me off and told me it was genetics, despite all the men of my family being very lean/muscular. I asked about getting oestrogen checked, but he didn't think that had anything to do with it.

If anyone has any advice it would be appreciated. I don't eat junk/fast food, I would say I'm more active than most people (even before I began setting time to working out) and I'm certainly not the type to be sitting at the computer all day so this doesn't really make sense to me. Am I doing something wrong? Should I go to a dietician? Are there supplements for this kind of thing? Is there another possible problem?


#2

what's your diet like? list exactly what you eat on training and non-training days.

what are you doing in the gym? are you following any specific routine?

list the weights you use for bench press, squat, overhead press, deadlift and pullup (can be number of reps for pullups).

how tall are you?


#3

A while ago I was only focusing on upper body, doing stuff like push-ups, dumbbell pullovers, bench presses, barbell curls. Though I did make some gains on my chest doing that, I didn't exactly know if I was doing the right things. Right now I'm only 8 weeks into the All Pro Beginner routine. My heavy sets right now are probably embarrassing but here goes:

Squats: 33kg / 72.6lbs
Bench press: 33kg / 72.6lbs
Bent-over rows: 33kg / 72.6lbs
Overhead press: 27kg / 59.4lbs
Stiff leg deadlift: 40kg / 88lbs
Barbell curls: 28kg / 61.6lbs
Calf raises: 28kg / 61.6lbs

Not to say I'm not prepared to do anything to improve, but what I'm concerned with is that -by default- shouldn't men be storing fat in the upper body. Though if anything that I'm currently doing is one of my shortcomings, I'll work on it. That's what I'm here for I suppose.

Also I am 6"3


#4

put up a pic.


#5

This is a funny troll job!


#6

Well, most men store fat in their upper body, but obviously not all. It's kind of odd, but I'd imagine the only thing to do (short of surgery) is to make drastic changes to your diet and workout regimen. Do a lot of squats, lunges and deadlifts and turn those fat legs into muscular legs. Watch your diet and throw some cardio into the mix.

You can't change where you store fat, so just.... get rid of the fat all together and things should be normal, right?


#7

dont be embarresed about your current strength, we all start somewhere


#8

True!


#9

Post a pic.

Stop worrying how you look and cherish your strengths. If you are made to have massive quads/glutes/hams/calves then by god build up legs that are a sight to behold. Image search a guy called Tom Platz and see what good legs can look like.

And just so you know, here were my starting weights in 2006. Bench and squat have more than tripled, and this was even with 2 years dedicated to fat loss and one year of shitty workouts not knowing how to do anything. Deadlift is nearing 400 lbs... As a beginner, consistency is the key, not intensity or quality (though they help a ton at any level)

Bench: 70 lbs
Squat: 90 lbs
Deadlift : 135 lbs
Pull-ups: Could not do 1.

Pathetic? Only if you settle for it.


#10

I appreciate the responses, but I'm not exactly comfortable posting a pic, here are my measurements though:

Chest (while puffed out): 95cm / 37.4in
Waist: 80cm / 31.5in
Bicep: 32cm / 12.6in
Forearm: 28cm / 11in
Thigh: 56cm / 22in
Hips: 95cm / 37.4in

I understand that my hips and thighs might not be considered big here, but they're really disproportionate to the rest of my body which is as skinny as they come. My silouette or if I pull my clothes tight up against the body really highlight it, and finding clothes that don't make me look strange is a huge hassle.
It's hard to be happy with what I look like. I'd be happy if I was just skinny and I'd be happy even if I was a bit overweight, as long as it's not centralised to one part of my body as it is now. So I'm not looking for a bodybuilder physique, just a physique that I'm comfortable with.

That's the thing though, I tried to lose the weight and was able to lose alot through cardio and watching my diet, but it seems that my legs are the last place I lose fat from (and the first place I gain fat). If at that point I lost anymore I'd probably be considered anorexic based on how little I weighed.


#11

Cardio... hmm... have you tried much resistance leg training? Like... do a day of leg for each day of upper body. Cardio is all fine and good but you might need to just beat the hell out of your legs with squats, lunges, etc. Like I said, turn the fat into muscle. Don't do it by running, do it by squatting. That's the only thing I can think of.

Are you sure this isn't in your head? I don't mean to say that your legs aren't bigger than they should be, but that anyone notices it besides you. Although you may see it as really awkward looking, someone else might not be able to tell. A pic would certainly help.

Also - being a lifter and having big legs and butt has made buying pants a pain for me too. It's just part of the deal. Learn what brands fit best and stock up on pants. lol


#12

So are you saying I should continue with the weight training?

Right now I'm doing the All-Pro routine which seems to focus on legs alot, which sort of has me worried. Should I be looking at a more personalised routine, or stick with the proven stuff? I am doing squats, but my goal is to get a bigger upper body to even things out, and I don't seem to be getting anywhere with that while my legs on the other hand are looking bigger/muscular.

I wouldn't say it's in my head as I've had other people point it out (mostly through ridicule). This whole thing is extremely emasculating for me.


#13

I've been there, and still sorta am lol my one friend used to call me "log legs" haha.
I am also 6'3 and started out at 185, cut to 165, then bulked back up to almost 200 while maintaining a better BF level.
Seeing as how little you weigh at the same height, id say forget about focusing on fat loss. Train upper body, but train lower body equally or more often. Even throw in 2-4 sets of light squats on non-leg days.
I found doing squats with rep ranges between 8-12 or higher, 3x week really help slim out lower portion.
I ride my bicycle to the gym too, which also really helped.
Eat clean, train hard and get your 8hrs sleep.


#14

Thanks for the advice, what was your work out routine if you don't mind me asking? Were you lifting heavy for the squats? As doing the 8-12 reps 3 times a week is what I'm doing now


#15

my measurements when I started lifting were very similar to yours. my legs have always been over 20" ever since I was a teenager.

because of that, my training priority has always been to gain size with my upper body. however, all that means is that I train chest or shoulders first in the week. even though I don't care to put more size on my legs (yet), I still train them twice a week. I train deadlift/hams earlier in the week, then squat/quads/calves last in the week.

I'm finally getting to the point where I feel like my perception of my upper body size is nearly on par with how I view my lower body. I am actually starting to think now that my legs are becoming my weakness, though I expect them to get bigger as I put more weight on the bar every week or so.

anyway, my point is that you can focus on bringing up whatever bodypart is lagging... but don't do that at the expense of everything else. also, realize that what you think might be a weakness is exactly that... it's what you think, and your perception may or may not be accurate, hence the importance of having your physique evaluated by those who are experienced in doing so.

additionally, the amount of body fat you carry in certain places will become less significant as you fill the rest of your frame out with more muscle.


#16

Those measurements don't look that disproportionate. I had very similar measurements at one point, except legs were maybe 20 instead of 22. (although I am 5'8. Which makes me even more surprised that people are calling out 22 inch legs as fat on a 6'3 man??) I think the problem is just the upper body is so small, that even the frame of the hips (which aren't particularly big) make it seem proportionately big compared to the chest.

I think you will look a lot better just from lifting weights for awhile and gaining size. At this point, there's no reason to 'specialize' per se, just work everything evenly and see how things develop.


#17

Just mark out your face. None of us here know you or are here to judge you bud.


#18

I'm always switching up my routine, but when i first started out I did full body workouts with push, pull and squat dominant days. For example on my pull days I would focus more on moves like rowing and pullups, but still do a few sets of maybe bench and squats. On my squat days, I would do some chest and back, but do like 8 sets of heavier squats, working up to 6 reps of like 215, along with other leg moves. (Calve work, hamstring curls etc)
Always warm up on the treadmill with a light jog for 5 minutes to break a nice sweat lol
You could follow a pre-made beginner program which is proven to work. But for me personally I like basing my workouts on how my body feels that day, with a general plan for the week.
And without proper eating and sleep, something like that ^ will burn you out fast.


#19

This ^ x 1000

The problem is not a big lower body, it's moreso lack of size all over and fat distribution.

Fat is just fat. Don't mean to sound harsh, but work with what you've got (when you cut in the future, even if you do have a big lower body muscle-wise, which will be much smaller than when bulked, is a blessing/advantage)

Quite trying to do two things at once - you cannot be losing fat around the lower boy, while expecting the upper body to grow. Once again, not to be harsh, but you seriously need to add pounds to that bar.

Muscle growth requires over-eating, fat loss requires under-eating.

At best, all you're doing here is making the upper body grow at a snails pace (in essence, your body is simply redistributing muscle proteins), while losing a tiny amount of fat. That method will get you no-where at this stage.

You are skinny. Bring your bodyweight up (EAT), while giving good attention to all bodyparts (so yeah, that includes not just doing basic lifts where lower body gets more attention that upper).

Make your whole body BIG (just as much focus all over), then when you lean out, you may find that you're not as "imbalanced" as you thought you were.


#20

I was thinking ...:

Take a risk (not a risk really) and post up a couple of pics, might seem a bit scary but don't stress overmuch, i posted some quite bad 'before' and 'during' pics over on my own thread in the over 35s.

now--defintely not pretty, especially before and i was pretty embarrassed about them but all i got was positive feedback about how well i had done to go from fat/fat to 'a lot leaner'.

Self perception is a weird thing, the way we see ourselves if often way skewed compared against a much more objective view from others.

i think you would really surprise yourself if you just did what everyone is saying ie go at the training with seriousness and hard graft, eat well, sleep well...rinse and repeat.

Just some thoughts from a previously fat bastard..now skinny intermediately not so fat skinny bastard..or whatever !!