From Skinny-Fat to Ripped In 1 Year – Is It Possible?

Download my bodyweight program for skinny-fat guys (63-page PDF, free edition)

This month marks 5 years of training for me.

Below you can see a picture of my worst physical condition in February 2011 vs. me achieving my own definition of an ideal physique in December 2014:

YouTube improved

Those 5 years of training have consisted of mixed feelings, mixed results and countless times where I was about to give up.

Just like most of you reading this, I started out very hopeful.

I thought that as long as I work hard I will build the body of my dreams in 1-2 years.

I wanted a great physique more than anything else and made fitness the number 1 goal in my life.

I wanted to attract the respect of other men and the desire of women.

And, I worked hard to achieve these very “superficial” goals.

Despite my hard work things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped for.

After 2 years of hard training, dieting and missing no more than a handful of workouts I had barely made any progress:

Oskar 2 years no progress

Unfortunately, this lack of results is common in skinny-fat men:

  • I’ve gotten emails from 16 year old teenage boys who are getting bullied about their physiques despite working hard and eating healthy.
  • I’ve gotten emails from 40 year old family men who have worked out for years with no results.
  • I’ve gotten emails from 60 year old men who have been skinny-fat most of their life… Until they started training and eating the right way.

The reasoning to why these men lacked results lies in the fact that they followed the advice made by people who have no business advising skinny-fat men.

Half of the advice you find online for skinny-fat guys is written by guys who have never been skinny-fat and the other half is written by skinny-fat guys who have no physique to show for it.

In this article, I will show that by following the right advice, you can go from skinny-fat to ripped in just 365 days or 1 YEAR.

My 1 Year Skinny-Fat Transformation

Each year I analyse the progress I’ve made that year.

2014 has by far been the most successful year for me in GENERAL.

I’ve completed my bachelors degree, grown this website to 1 million views (no paid traffic) and gained a solid amount of muscle.

However, I had to be honest with myself and admit that the most successful year in my training was the period from April 2012 to April 2013.

In that 1 year, I completely transformed my physique from a skinny-fat 200 pounds to a ripped 190 pounds at 6’2:

1 huge year progress

The reasoning to why I made such immense progress in this one year lies in me applying the right training and eating strategy at the right time.

So, what is the right training and eating strategy for you RIGHT NOW?

That question is difficult to answer since it depends on so many things…

  • A short, light and flexible skinny-fat guy should train differently than a tall, heavy and inflexible skinny-fat guy.
  • The busy college kid studying law and working a student job should train differently than the financially independent entrepreneur who works 2 hours a day.
  • The skinny-fat guy who can squat 300 pounds should follow a different training routine compared to the skinny-fat guy who struggled squatting an empty bar.
  • The SKINNY-fat guy should follow a different diet compared to the skinny-FAT guy.
  • The diet you follow determines the type of training you should do. More calories = harder and more frequent training. Less calories = easier and less frequent training.
  • Etc.

In other words, all skinny-fat guys are different, and depending on where you are at in your transformation, you will need a different approach to training and eating.

To get optimal results, you need to follow a diet and training plan that is customized to your situation, goals and current lifestyle.

When I did that, I achieved +80% of my fitness goals in 12 months, compared to achieving almost nothing in the previous 26!

Can YOU Transform In 1 Year?

Previously, I never put my 1 year skinny-fat transformation picture on my blog before because I don’t want to give you unrealistic expectations.

The truth is that while it’s possible to transform in ONE YEAR, I don’t know if I could have done it without professional guidance.

During this year of my training I had the opportunity to be coached by the world champion in partner stunts and I regularly went to some of the best endocrinologists in my country to discuss the endocrine system (testosterone, estrogen, stress and the thyroid).

The world champion in partner stunts didn’t tell me exactly how to eat and train, but he changed my definition of HARD TRAINING.

Some of the workouts we did with him were brutal.

The endocrinologists didn’t teach me how to increase my testosterone naturally since most of them rely on outdated books they studied back in the 80s, but they did make me do a ton of bloodwork, and discussed the basics of endocrinology with me.

I later applied this knowledge about the endocrine system to my own training and eating, and eventually managed to increase my testosterone levels with 120%.

I believe that most skinny-fat men have a messed up endocrine system with low testosterone levels, high estrogen levels and elevated cortisol levels – much of my advice is indirectly geared towards fixing these issues.

Here’s an example of my Italian fan Maledetto who almost cut his body-fat percentage in half in 3 months and improved his endocrine system:

Maledetto

3 months progress:

  • 25% body-fat (overfat) to 14% (healthy)
  • 531 ng/dl testosterone (below average) to 704 ng/dl (optimal value)
  • 33% reduction in E2/estradiol (female hormone)

I believe Maledetto is the type of person who will go far in his transformation since he achieved massive results in just 3 months.

As much as I want to say that you can transform alone, I have to admit that even I used professional  guidance during my transformation to get to where I am today.

This doesn’t mean you can’t transform without guidance.

It just means that guidance increases your chances of transforming a lot and speeds up the process.

Furthermore, it removes a lot of doubts, headaches and clears up a lot of time you would have spent studying fitness.

Fitness was pretty much a full time job for me when I transformed and I never had someone tell me: “Hey Oskar, I’ve been skinny-fat before. I know exactly what you need to do: Eat this and that at this time and train 5 days a week, performing the exercises listed below with exactly 30 seconds rest between sets.”

Be proud but stay hungry,

Oskar Faarkrog

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Comments

  1. hi,
    im 18 years old, im skinny fat too, my body fat is about 25-26% and im 198cm tall, i have low muscle mass and im weak at these compound movements like bench, squat and deadlift. i lift since 1 year and i dont see much progress.
    my weight is 87kg @ 25% body fat. i dont know what to do seriously.
    if i cut i lose fat, but i look skinny as shit and at that tallness with 198cm it wont look good, but i wanna get rid of these fat on my chest, stomache and hips.
    if i bulk i can get stronger, maybe build some muscle mass but i can get fat you know… i dont want to get bigger man boobs through training and i dont want to look like a skinny guy then after 2 years of training.

    like again im 87kg’s with 25% of body fat with 198cm now i dont know what to do, i already training 1 year without any nutrition knowledge and stuff but i was always on a deficit but nothing changed, just the thing that i was going 1×3-4 days to shit and fucked up my “shit” (idk how to explain it better sorry for my bad english” …. now im really frusttrated, because i really have no clue if i sholuld cut or bulk, like i said = low weight but high body fat and tall body…. i really wanna get rid of that stomache, chest and hip fat.
    you have any advice?

    What kind of Plan would you recommend me?
    right now im cutting, my maintence calories are 2700 and im going with 2300 and im getting stronger in gym and my body is changing a little bit but not much, should i just continue that diet till i get to 15% bodyfat?

    My gym plan looks like this:
    Monday Upper body (focus chest):

    Benchpress 4×6
    Lat Machine Pulldown (and after im trying a few pull ups) 4×8
    Incline Bench 3×8-10
    One arm dumbbell row 3×10
    Biceps Bar Curls 3×10
    Triceps Extentions 3×10
    Facepulls 3×10-12

    Thuestay:
    Lower Body:
    Legpress 4×8-10
    Legextentions 3×10
    Legflexor 3×10
    Calveextentions 4×20
    Sit ups 2×25
    Leg raises 3×15
    Hyperextentions 3×10

    Wednesday Upper Body (Shoulders):
    Overheadpress with Dumbbells 4×8
    Incline Bench 3×8-10
    Latpulldown or Pull ups 3×8
    Lateral raises 3×10
    Facepulls 3×10-12
    some biceps and triceps work as on monday

    Thursday:
    Lower Body:
    Legpress 4×8-10
    Legextentions 3×10
    Legflexor 3×10
    Calveextentions 4×20
    Sit ups 2×25
    Leg raises 3×15
    Hyperextentions 3×10

    Friday Upper Body (Focus Back):
    Latpulldown like on the Latmachine and i try a few Pull ups 4×8
    Benchpress 4×6
    One arm dumbbell row 3×10
    Cable Flys/Butterfly 3×12
    Lat Pullsovers 2×10
    some biceps and triceps workout

    Thats my plan with an good combinated diet like 260g carbs, 160g protein, 65g fat and im doing this right now, what do you think about this? I dont cheat in that diet like no pizza, junk, sweets and stuff and im trying to stay clean and get on my proteins all the time, do you think its a good idea to cut? i ve been training for a year now and i see some results but my hip and my stomache and chestfat are making me mad and frustrated af and the big problem is that im not even overweighted im just 86kg with that high bodyfat of 25%…

    what do you think about this? i would be really happy if you would answer me, because i didnt got the money to afford some online coach or something and this would be nice…

    • Well you just gotta cut all that fat bro. Getting to around 15% is a decent starting point because you can build muscle easier when your body fat percentage is low. And you are doing too much variations in exercises and low volume in compound lifts. You better focus on bench, squat, deadlift, pullup and overhead press with low rep and design a program around those compound lifts. You could add a bit of cardio at the end of every sessions or you could do HIIT every time you have a time off. Best of luck!

  2. dorgonfreeson says:

    Hey Oskaar!
    I have been following your guides and went from 166lbs (5′ 7″), 0 Pushups, 0 Chinups to 126lbs, 20 pushups,8 chinups and I can feel my size and muscle mass increasing every day. It is not an exaggeration when I say I am a changes person.

    I am in a tight spot now…I am approaching Phase 2 (5 Phases of Skinny Fat transformation), but my gym only offers standard machines, so no barbells :( . I know machines are not as effective as barbells, but can you suggest an alternative to Phase 2 using machines (with results as close to barbells as possible)? I am sure there are countless other people who are in a similar situation who could benefit from this information.

  3. But is it possible to lose all the fat in one year?

  4. Adam M. says:

    Hey Oskar!

    Could you share your thoughts on Crossfit? Do you know any skinny-fat guy who transformed through it? I tried it once and it was quite ok, but I’m a little bit sceptical about going to failure and some movements (swinging pull ups).

    Would be nice to hear from you —
    cheers

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      Hi Adam,

      I don’t recommend crossfit because 1) It’s bad for beginners who need to build foundational strength and 2) A lot of the movements such as kipping pull ups, kipping handstand push ups and high rep olympic weight lifting are just plain stupid and will get you injured sooner or later.

      With that said, I do believe that there are some specific crossfit workouts which CAN work for people who are at the right level in their training to use them (usually not beginner level), but I don’t know the specific workouts since I don’t follow crossfit.

  5. gokoool says:

    hey sir.. nice article.. i have a small problem hope you can help me….. i am working out for 6 months… i am a skinny fat guy now… because in my childhood i was a skinny guy… then put on some pounds and became a fat guy by 10th grade and lost weight by crash dieting … by 12th grade and became a very skinny guy… i am doing my college…right now i am looking like crap by eating too much to bulk up and meesed up my body.. i dont have too much muscle but my love handles and lower abdomen loose fat freaks me out… i think you can help me out with workout and diet plans… i want to bulk and also have a decent abdomen…

  6. Hey Oskar,

    Firstly, congratulations for your website ;) I decided to make you’re website as my top guide. There’s so much contradictory information online is very easy to get confused.

    I have been training for about 5 months with some minor success.
    I have 17% body fat, and decided (as you advise), to get to the 10-12% range. My calculations estimate I need to lose about 9 pounds of fat to reach this goal. My two main goals are keep the body fat at 12% and get a V-Shape torso, especially broaden shoulders. For that I’ll apply your chin up routine ;)

    I have some questions if you may:
    – How many weeks to lose 9 pounds of fat without losing muscle (or at least keep the muscle loss to a minimum)? I thinking about 1 pound a week, what do you think?
    – I’m confused about nutrition, 3 meals per day wouldn’t slow my metabolism?
    – Without counting calories, how to know if you’re eating the right amount? Is feeling some hunger a good indicator? Especially after dinner? Cut the carbs at dinner?
    – I usually train at 7 pm, should I eat more at training days, and eat less at rest days?
    – What are your thoughts about pre-workout meals?

    Cheers

  7. Hi Oskar!
    You are currently the beast that I look up to.
    Anyway, I’ve been following your page since about four months now.
    I’ve been doing Diamond Push-ups (2 sets in three days), Sit-ups(Alternate days) and have learned to do a single Chin-up.
    I do 8 Chin-ups(1 at a time,then a minute’s break) alternate days with perfect form.
    I’m noticing some growth on my upper body. Few friends complimented me on a improved shoulders.

    I cycle for about 10-15kms in week, in two sessions.

    However I have one doubt: I’m not losing lower belly fat and Love Handles. Also I’m not seeing any cuts of muscles either.
    My body is exactly like yours when you started. Just a little skinnier.
    I’m from India, and I have cut out on Junk. I do not Diet.

    Anyway how did you gain the cuts like a normal non-skinny fat person in just one year.
    Your body certainly appears to me like someone who has taken protein supplements.

    Please help.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thank you, I appreciate the compliment a lot :)

      Also, congrats on your progress. If you have gotten compliments on bigger shoulders after just 4 months you’re headed in the right direction. I got no compliments for a very long time when I started.

      You lose the lower waist fat just like any other area: a good diet plan followed for enough time. Eventually the lower waist shreds.

      Once you get lean enough, you can switch your focus to lean muscle gains and over time your physique will look more and more defined. It’s all a slow process that takes time.

      I didn’t take any protein powder at that time in my training and I currently don’t take it. Protein powder doesn’t make any significant difference in your progress unless your diet is very low on protein (less than 80-100 g). The two keys are diet plan and training routine.

  8. And last,how much body fat were you at april and november 2011?

  9. Kev1212 says:

    Hi, I’ve been filling your program for about a month and a half now and I have a few questions. I’m currently using a website to calculate my body fat but I was wondering how you tested yours? I’ve calculated that I’m around 11% bf now but I still can’t do a diamond pushup but I can do 30+ squats, 10 chin-ups, and 10 push-ups. Should I move on to phase to when I reach 10% bf or when I reach the suggested amount of reps? Thanks in advance

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Kev,

      I got it tested by a professional.

      It’s unnecessary though.

      Just estimate based on pics.

      Yes, your plan sounds good.

  10. Holaa oskar,
    how did you determine whether your body exactly burn fat or muscle fiber during leaning phase?

    i was doing IF for 2 months already with your guideline to to burn fat 1st,and i managed to drop 12 lb of fat and unintentionally gain 8 lb of muscle.

    And now i hit plateau,so i just continue deficit diet and weekly my weight went down 1lb. I did body split routine with 6 days IF and 1 day re-feed. I gain strength every week with those workout. Sometimes i did workout in fasted state.I felt amazing. Am i on the right track?

    Best regard
    Loko from Malaysia

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You’re definitely on the right track, keep up the good work and don’t worry about the details. Those are some amazing results for 2 months.

      I never tracked my body-fat consistently, but I do track my measurements, so I can see if my shoulder and arm measurement goes up that I gain muscle and when my waist goes down I lose fat.

  11. I have seen your website’s link in B&D comments section. 99 percent of them were “bad copy” of Vİctor, but your website is very unique. Great posts. All of them superb.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thank you efe, I got inspired by Victor years ago and also wrote an article for his site “how to create the illusion of wide shoulders”. The reason to why you see a lot of copycats is that they rewrite what has already been written 1000 times rather than writing their own original story and creating their own audience..

  12. Damn inspiring what you’ve been doing man. I still have your gynecomastia post stickied and read it now and again.

    I’m not particularly in your demographic (i wish i was skinny fat, at the moment i’m just strong fat. strong and fat) but i do love reading your work and seeing how far you’ve come

    your progress is utterly phenomenal.

    I only have one question though i suspect you might not be able to give much advice on it, seeing as its more of a fat-fat issue, which is loose skin.

    Regarding loose skin, At around what body fat percentage do you see it tightening up?

    I’m kinda worried if i go full keto/paleo that i’ll drop weight fast but then get horribly loose skin, and no way in hell am i going to get vanity surgery for any reason.

    I take your point from a previous post about how you can’t simultaneously get muscular, and lose weight at the same time, but i dont have a clue really how to lose weight slow and consistently. mine has always been fast over a short period of time.

    Any advice would always be welcomed and appreciated.

    Keep doing what you do,

    Best

    Anon1

  13. Hey Oskar,

    I wanted to ask you if and how would you join the frequency routine (training with one light set many times a day) with the http://skinnyfattransformation.com/bodyweight-training-skinny-fat/ (2-4 tough sets of chin-ups, push-ups and squats)?

    I work on-line from home, where I do have a chin-up bar and I really enjoy doing a single not-to-failure set of chins/push-ups every couple hours. I wonder is it enough, and if not, how should I add the heavy workouts to it: Do it 4+ times a week as in the original description or less often? Give up the frequency method on the heavy workout days or not? Etc.

    As always thanks for your great work with this website.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      I would just do one of them. Both approaches work well, so my suggestion is that you use the one you like best until it stops working, then move onto the other one.

  14. I was wondering do if you consider your april 2012 pic skinny fat? I feel as though my appearance is somewhat similar to that pic maybe alittle less muscle tone. I just feel like I have plataued and am considering moving toward your ” phase 2″. Thanks again for the website!

  15. I’ve been working out 3,4 times a week since August. I’ve been taking selfies since I started. I can tell you that without a doubt, there’s a noticeable difference between when I started. I can tell the difference when I was working out in November, December and now. I know it will take years to get a great physique so I’m willing to work hard and wait it out. 3 years down the road I’d like to be proud of my progress instead of shaking my head and saying “if I had only stuck with it.”

  16. Oskar – this is the first time I have see your after two years of training April 2012 image. I think you look a lot better than the after one year image. What did you do in that year (between 1-2?)

    I’ve dropped from 82-74 kg in 4 months and can’t even tell in pictures. I still look the same. Like your original image. I am thinking of doing grey skull when I reach 70 (my target) and then see what happens. Is this a mistake? Between year 1-2 you went from looking skinny fat to actually looking ok. I’d take that…

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Do you mean what I did between February 2011 and April 2012 or between April 2012 and November 2012?

      The strategy was similar: eat less meals and train more. I did a variety of training and mixed it up a lot. Partner stunt acrobatics, barbells, bodyweight and ate 3 solid meals a day with very few snacks. I trained 4-6 days a week.

      • I mean the 1 year of training image to the 2 year of training picture. Where you don’t say wow I made so much progress but the image shows you began the transformation well – you do look a lot better.

        I am at the after 1 year stage. What did you do to get to the 2 year stage – even though you still weren’t happy with what you looked like?
        Basically in July it will have been 9 months cutting and I plan to move onto the next stage regardless – I think I will have lost 12kg in that time. I don’t want to carry on forever cutting (bit of impatience showing here)

  17. I am 6 feet and 200 lbs and want to start bodybuilding. I have already started losing some weight, but do I need to lose more weight before I start with the program? Thank you.

  18. You can get A LOT better in only one year if you make drastic changes to your diet. I think the muscle building part will take a little bit longer, but you can definitely get leaner.

    At least where I live and work (NYC) the number one problem I see with beginning and intermediate lifters is that they don’t make the necessary dietary changes.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      I agree John, and dietary changes are something I myself struggled with for a long time (and still do to some extent). It can be very difficult to change a life-time of poor eating habits in just a few weeks, especially if you don’t follow the right strategy and don’t have the right support/environment to do it in.

      • Seamus Wall says:

        Agreed as regards Diet you need to work out what is/can sabotage your training and is deleterious to your hormone balance. For me it is unquestionably BEER – I stopped drinking it four weeks ago; now I’m finding it much easier to cut and I am making steady progress on my lifts. Btw I’m 40 years old.

  19. Hey great articles as always! I was hoping you could maybe write a article on plateauing or what to do when you are not progressing. I have been trying your system since august and I feel as though I am at a point that I cant progress from. Ive gone from 3 chin ups to 10 in that time but besides a slight bit of muscle on my arms I don’t really look any different. I have tried eating alittle less (500 cal under maintenance) and have noticed that I am losing strength during workouts. Do you recommend increasing calories to continue gains if you are still skinny fat? I am not talking trying to bulk I am only doing body weight exercises but I seem to feel weak when I diet. Although I am definitely skinny fat I have always done some weight training throughout my life and am a normal weight for my size (170lbs 5’9) so I am not sure if this is different then other beginners .Thanks again for the great website!!!

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thank you Mark and congrats on your progress.

      It’s very difficult to tell you how to get out of your plateau since that is different for each person and would require a big amount of work to give you the best strategy possible.

      Generally speaking though, you have the following problem:

      – When you cut, strength gains stop and you don’t gain muscle.
      – When you bulk, you will get fat since you’re already skinny-fat.

      If I was in your shoes, I would just accept the fact that you won’t gain strength/muscle, and finish up the cut to get lean.

      Once you’re lean, start adding more calories gradually while making your training harder, and build muscle mass from a lean base. The trick here is to only bulk until you have gained about 2 inches around your waist. After you’ve gained 2 inches, cut back to your “lean base”, and repeat the process.

  20. Nice article…fortunately im not skinny fat.im more on skinny side..im just undermuscled..i want to ask you that what could be my bodyfat%..my upper 4 abs are slightly visible in good lightening when i flex them..no abs while relaxed.

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