T Nation

Skinny Fat Beginner


I’m a 24 yr old female and I’m just starting out at the gym kind of. I need a bit of help and I have nobody to ask, I keep researching but I don’t know if what I am reading on the internet is correct. I’m trying to start clean eating and a weight training/ cardio routine. I am currently 47 kg and my body fat percentage is 29.7% at 165 cm height. About a year and a half ago, I went 3 months to the gym for 5 days a week usually to pilates and spinning, and for some strange reason i gained fat… especially on my legs around the knee and got cellulite at my knees. I am scared to start something new because I don’t know what to do to get lean legs and lean arms. Could you please tell me what type of cardio I should do and how often a week? What exercises should I look at to get lean legs and just grow the glutes? How often should I do weight training in balance with cardio? What type of exercises should I do to reduce the size of my arms?

Thank you very much for your help

Where did you come up with the body fat percentage number?

Yo, chocoloco. The name’s Yogi. Howdy.

You get lean legs and arms by getting lean everywhere. It’s not possible to choose specific areas to lean up. Your body burns fat systemically, not in specific areas at a time.

If you are carrying more body fat than you want to, it’s entirely to do with your diet. It’d probably be a good idea if you posted up what a typical day’s eating would be (note the word “typical,” and not the word “ideal.” If you post up a perfect diet plan which is all grilled chicken salads 4x a day we’ll know you’re full of shit so let’s not waste each other’s time).

The thing about cardio is just to pick one and get it done. There isn’t really any kind which is superior to the other. If you like running, then run. If you like cycling, then cycle. If you like the stairmaster… just kidding; no one likes the stairmaster, but you get my point, I’m sure. Just pick one and run with it (pun intended).

You do need to choose the intensity at which you perform your cardio. Generally, the higher the intensity the better, but the harder it’ll be to recover from. The more cardio you are doing, the less intense you need to be (within reason - it still has to be an effort).

Lift weights with your lower body. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc. Still, try not to fixate on a particular muscle group at this stage. You really want to train your whole body, not just your glutes.

Lifting weights 3 or 4 times a week would be ideal. Cardio can be done daily, but remember what I said about intensity. Don’t destroy yourself with HIIT training (google it) 7 days a week or anything insane like that.

Reducing the size of your arms will again come down to losing body fat, which ties in with my earlier point about how you cannot choose from where in your body you burn the fat. If your arms are the first place your body stores fat, they’ll likely be the last place you lose it. Life just sucks that way.

Best of luck with it all! I hope that helps.


With all the good advises above, too much stress (cardio, high endurance weight lifting, work…) you can burn your muscle. It is easy for some to go a bit crazy and end up looking like a marathon runner (light body weight but not much muscle to show even with training)

I did the caliper test

Which is basically useless.

This is a good start…