T Nation

Skinny Fat Help


Hey guys,

I'm 20 years old and skinny fat (5'8'' at 132 lb) and was wondering if cutting is the right option?
I'm currently above 15% body fat, but have been lifting for 1.5 years. I used to be over 35% body fat.
I don't think I have the ability, as many noobs do, to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously. Should I cut to 10% and then slow bulk from there?
When i start bulking, should i aim for 1-1.5 lbs of weight gain per month??
here are my lifts:
Est. one rep:
Bench: 170 lb
deadlift: 310 lb
squat: 200 lb
Bent Row: 180 lb

Appreciate the help!!!!


At 132, 15% is about 20lbs of fat. On a guy who is 5'8" that isn't a lot of fat. Just get stronger and focus on building muscle. At your height, you're so far underweight that trying to lose fat will just make you look emaciated. You don't have an inordinate amount of fat for your frame. You just have so little muscle that the fat makes up a bigger percentage of your weight than it should.

Just make sure that you're getting enough protein and get on a solid gym routine. Be consistent and you'll make progress. Unless you think your ideal physique is under 132lbs (you're on the wrong site if it is), don't try to lose weight.


Cutting now would make you look more like The Machinist than you already do, so no, I'd say it's not the right option.

Over 35% is pretty much obese. What did you weigh at that point?

Also, how are you calculating "above 15%" and "over 35%"? Were you actually measured with calipers by a trainer? Most bodyfat readings are inaccurate and/or inconsistent, so it's better to go by general looks, tracking actual measurements (waists, arms, legs, etc.), and photos.

What exactly are your goals?

Anyhow, whatever you've been doing the last year and a half did not promote muscle growth or preservation, so it wasn't a very efficient plan. You lost some serious weight, which is definitely good, but that you ended up "skinny fat" means you lost (or didn't actually build) a lot of muscle along the way. Expect to change how you're eating and how you're training to see even better results.

No. You need to focus on gaining muscular bodyweight now. Absolutely nothing positive will come from trying to "cut" from where you currently are.

You're so underweight right now, you could probably gain 4 or 5 pounds a month for the first few months. As long as your training and nutrition are dialed in, it should be mostly muscular bodyweight.

Estimate, shmestimate. What are you actually lifting?

What does your weekly training plan look like (the days, exercises, sets, and reps)/


I am currently doing Layne Norton's PHAT routine. It's a conflation of hypertrophy and powerlifting rep ranges.

I know, for a fact, that I won't be able to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously.