The "Skinny Fat" Body Type: Should You Bulk Or Cut First?

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Video Summary:

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.

42 COMMENTS

  1. guys just bulk up. stay with a static calorie count.

    im skinny got natrual belly fat and wigh 200 lbs highest i have ever wighed. my lowest is 160lb. and im 6'3" sooo in short.

    say your body burn 1500 a day natrually,
    say you want to body build. should you cut or bulk.
    bulk man bulk that shit up
    eat 3000 caliores a day,
    eventually your 1500 natrual burn will go from that to 2000 burn due to increased cells.
    but herees a trick do not increse or decrese from your caloire count goal. so always maintatin 3000- 4000 caliors+

    in short your body will plato the burn and then the shredding comes. think of it this way. your fat = free energy to use till the time you start actually buring more the 3k .

  2. My problem is when I did straight cardio and got really skinny I had no muscle and it’s hard to gain muscle when your super skinny now I’m back to normal and got some muscle and also some fat but don’t want to go back down cause I still could gain way more muscle but don’t want to get more body fat

  3. Forgot to mention that as you initially cut you can still put on some decent muscle, especially as a beginner. This is a big factor makes cutting initially better in some trainees

  4. I’m skinny fat and I’ve been trying to cut while weight training to gain muscle at the same time. I’ve also been doing a lot of ab exercises as well. I’m 5’6 and weigh around 170. I’ve been doing 30mins-hour of cardio for about 2 months and I can’t really see any results it really sucks. My diet isn’t bad I rarely eat sugary food and drinks I mainly drink water. However I’ve been stuck at 170 and still stuck with a skinny fat body type. I run 2 miles 3-4 times a week, play basketball 2-3 times a week, ab workouts 3-4 times a week and lift 1-2 times a week. Nothing seems to be paying off. What do I do?

  5. Hey Sean! I see you have a bit of vertebrae alignment issue. I see one side of your neck is bigger and visible than the other. Your head sits on your shoulder a bit sided. I have this problem and every time i take a photo my head is always towards one side. I am interested in knowing what you have done about it or it can just be ignored?

  6. I suppose to some extent, a lot of skinny fat probably have low to no gym experience and low to no nutrition, I guess if you get into the gym, get used to the movements the programme etc, start to sort out your nutrition, eating better etc then perhaps in that month or few weeks of figuring ** out you may have awoken your muscles to some extent, toned what you have slightly and lost a small amount of fat, then you can make a choice about which avenue to go down…

  7. Can someone please help me? I’m at 20% body weight percentage. I’ve been working out for a while, whole body muscle and some decent arm muscle. I’m pretty strong for my age, 14, I’m at about 145. Do i continue working out with muscle workouts? Or do i start doing HIIT a ton? Or do i cut? Or all ? I do all three at the moment, but my cutting isn’t major because of my strength training.

  8. Just wonderful, I've been looking for "skinny fat ties" for a while now, and I think this has helped. You ever tried – Monamilla Zoylena Smasher – (just google it ) ? Ive heard some pretty good things about it and my brother in law got amazing results with it.

  9. This guy is always on point. His channel needs to be the fitness go to. Pretty sad how it not as huge as some of the fitness YouTubers bc he doesn't put girls with yoga pants in his videos and isn't on gear.

  10. Neither. You don't know enough to make informed decisions on how you should treat your body. Since you just started working out, you can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Enjoy those 6 or so months and do as much research as possible. After that you'll have to do bulk/cut like the rest of us, because you'll be out of the noob gains territory.

    As for what I'd choose, depends on the month. I cut starting in February, so I get lean when April comes around and I have the cut look for summer. Then I start bulking for 6 months in August, so I lose the complete shred in about October, just in time for the sweaters to come out.

    Overall, doesn't matter what you pick first, just pick one

  11. Simple: Always cut first.
    Fat is bad. Fat cell created never go away.
    Fat messes with your hormones.
    Visceral is inflammatory and can causes many diseases.
    So do yourself a favor, learn to diet and lose that fat. And prevent it from ever coming back again.

  12. An hour to an hour and a half of strength training with compound lifts 3 days a week and an hour or more of LISS cardio the other 3-4 days a week, do this for a year to two years.

  13. Cut first I think. If you try to add muscle over the fat that you already have you will be demotivated. Get to 8-10 percent and then bulk slowly till 15 percent. Repeat this cycle for atleast 3 to 4 times until you see your dream
    Physique.

  14. Lift heavy. Fuck everything else took me a year of bullshittin around to find that lifting heavy wieghts work the best. And incline treadmill fast walk or light jog to finish off.

  15. I know this is a old video BUT damn it's what I needed to hear!! For months I have been struggling with this issue, try to bulk but I hatebeing fat as it is but don't like cutting because I hate not progressing in strenght! But fuck it I am committing to a full cut to finally get lean then I can then concentrate 100% on building muscle in a few months. Thanks so much.

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