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For those with a “skinny fat” body type who are looking to carve out a lean and muscular body, knowing where to start can be tough. Should you bulk or cut?
On the one hand, bulking will cause an increase in the excess fat you’re already carrying, but cutting may cause you to look overly thin since you aren’t carrying much muscle to begin with.
Search other YouTube channels for their recommended “skinny fat workout” or “skinny fat diet” and the advice is usually split down the middle. Some will tell you to bulk while others will say to cut.
In my opinion, there is no single answer and it just comes down to your individual situation.
“Skinny fat” doesn’t represent one exact body; all it means is that you’re carrying excess fat with a lack of muscle development. That can come in many different forms, and depending on the person, bulking or cutting may be appropriate.
The main thing I tend to look at when deciding whether a skinny fat guy should bulk or cut is their overall body fat percentage.
f you’re carrying a fairly high amount of fat to begin with (I.E. saggy chest and quite a bit of fat around the midsection/love handles) then you’d usually be best to cut first. Try to bulk from this position and you’ll likely end up quite unhappy with how you look due to the excess fat gain, and this could easily de-motivate you, throw you off track and cause you to “yo yo” back and forth like so many guys do. In this case, get down to a good lean base and then clean bulk from there.
On the other hand, if you have the classic “skinny guy” body (I.E. the “skinny fat ectomorph”) but only with a bit of excess fat , then bulking would usually best in order to add some muscle and fill out first.
Just keep in mind that if you do have a skinny fat body type, the physique you achieve after your first phase of training (whether it’s a bulk or cut) is just a temporary stepping stone to your ideal body.
No matter what, you’re going to have to either lose some fat and temporarily be a bit on the “thin” side, or gain muscle and temporarily be on the “flabbier” side. It’s just part of the process and skinny fat guys need to think longer term.
Ultimately, both bulking and cutting can work and will still move you in the direction of your goal physique (neither one is “wrong”) so just base your decision on your current body (how much fat you have or how little muscle you have) and also on your personal preference.
Some skinny fat guys are okay with being on the thinner side if it means being lean, while others are okay with the excess fat if it means having more muscle. This is ultimately an issue of preference and you should choose the path that you believe will keep you most motivated.