Not overweight, but need to lose fat?

Do you feel “skinny fat” and want to replace some of that mush with lean firm muscle?

A person may not need to lose weight (is not overweight) as far as what the scale says.

However, they can plainly see (and feel) an excess of fat in their body. A woman may fit into a size 8 jeans, but have excess fat.

When I was a personal trainer I saw this all the time with people whose body composition I measured.

It isn’t an issue of losing weight, then. It’s an issue of changing body composition. This can be achieved with strength training.

Your weight may end up staying the same, but your body composition will change, creating a slimmer, sleeker, firmer appearance.

Shutterstock/OSTILL is Franck Camhi

This is because strength training, particularly “compound” routines, will cause bodyfat loss, yet at the same time, gain in lean muscle.

If you’re a size 8, for instance, you might stay a size 8, but look firmer; or, you may drop to a size 6, because muscle weighs more than fat.

In fact, your new, leaner, tighter body may end up fitting into a size 6, yet weighing a little bit more on the scale! You’ve lost bodyfat, but gained more weight in muscle.

Best strength training exercises for losing bodyfat, even if you’re not overweight:

Squats with a barbell.

With patience and development of proper form, you can use this exercise to shift your body composition to more lean muscle and less useless fat.


Deadlifts with a barbell.

Some gyms have barbells as light as 20 pounds. You can also use dumbbells. Master your form before you move up into heavy weights.

Shutterstock/LightField Studios

Leg press.


Seated row or corner row.


Bench press, lat pull-downs, rows.

These are the top strength training routines for losing bodyfat, even if you’re not technically overweight.

How about if you’ve been wondering if you’re skinny fat?

Is there a way to tell if you’re skinny fat?

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Look in the mirror naked. Is your waist size, pant size or dress size in the normal or trim range (e.g., size 8 dress for a woman), but you have a puffy, soft or flabby look?

You’re skinny fat, and your body composition needs to be shifted to less bodyfat and more muscle.

Not only does this look more attractive (firmer, more tone), but it’s also a lot healthier.

With strength training comes stronger bones and stronger joints, plus a boosted immune system, healthier libido and improved sleep.

Skinny fat is never as healthy as “skinny toned.”

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Piotr Marcinski