Page last updated: November 2018 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
I’ve been skinny-fat my whole life. Can I transform my body?
Yes. Me and a lot of other SFT-readers have done it, so why can’t YOU?
How long time will it take to transform my body?
Following my advice, it will take you 3-9 months to get lean with a bit of muscle definition and 1-2 years to build a good beach body. To build a physique that REALLY stands out, you will need 2.5-5 years.
I’m skinny-fat. Should I bulk or cut first?
You should cut (lose fat) first. You want to cut until you get a flat waist (not necessarily abs). The sweet spot is about 12% body-fat.
Why should I cut before I bulk?
When your body is at a healthy body-fat percentage it has better nutrient partitioning. This means that it’s better at using food for building lean muscle mass. Also, your estrogen levels (the female hormone) will be lower at the lean base. This frees up your testosterone which is the male muscle building hormone.
Should I do bodyweight training or lift weights?
If you’re a complete beginner and you can’t do 15 chin ups with good form, do basic bodyweight training. If you’re already at 15 chin ups, you can use both.
I just started bodyweight training but I can’t do a single chin-up. What do I do?
You can do inverted rows or negative pull ups to build sufficient strength.
How many chin ups should I be able to do before I advance to a bodybuilding program?
15 chin ups on your first set.
I have very wide hips and narrow shoulders. Can I transform?
Yes. I still have 41 inch hips (very wide), but my shoulders are 53 inches. If you have wide hips the solution is to get lean and then create the illusion of wide shoulders by building wide lats.
Is there a link between being skinny-fat and having poor mental and physical health?
I have consulted with +1000 skinny-fat men since 2013 and I can say without a doubt that there’s a link between being skinny-fat and overall health. Most skinny-fat guys have one or more of the following conditions:
- Lack of self-confidence.
- Low testosterone levels.
- High estrogen levels.
- Poor digestion (constipation and bloating).
- Get stressed easily.
Nutrition and Diet FAQ
Do I need to take any supplements and protein shakes?
No. Supplements are just SUPPLEMENTS to a solid training program and diet plan. They can give you that 2% boost, but that’s about it.
How much protein do I need per day?
About 80-130 grams a day depending on your level of muscularity and overall size. Don’t obsess too much about it.
Should I follow a low carb diet?
No. Just eat a balanced diet with a bit of everything. Your body needs protein, carbs and fat. Instead of focusing on going low-carb, focus on eating good carb sources such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice, brown rice, fruit and vegetables. Cut out the bad carbs such as white bread, pasta and pizza.
Gynecomastia and Low Testosterone FAQ
How do I know if I have gynecomastia (permanent man boobs)?
First, you lose all your fat through diet and build a basic amount of muscle mass on your chest through my basic bodyweight training program. If you still have man boobs after getting lean and mastering basic bodyweight exercises, it means that you most likely have permanent gynecomastia. A plastic surgeon or chest scan can confirm whether you have gynecomastia or not.
How can I get rid of gynecomastia, man boobs and puffy nipples?
Permanent gynecomastia is glandular tissue and not fat. This means that it can’t be removed through exercise and diet. However, there’s a chance that it will go away if you’ve had it for less than 3 years, you’re a teenager and follow these tips starting from today. If you’ve had it for more than 3 years, you have two options: (1) Plastic surgery (the expensive option which removes the gynecomastia) and (2) Reduce the puffiness in your chest while building up your upper chest (the cheap option which reduces the size of your gynecomastia).
Why should I care about my hormonal balance? (Testosterone levels, estrogen levels and cortisol levels).
Hormones control everything in your body. They control the way you talk, the way you move, your ability to put on muscle mass and your ability to stay lean. Hormones are what make men different from women. Women have low testosterone levels and high estrogen levels. Men (should) have high testosterone levels and low estrogen levels. Most skinny-fat guys have low testosterone levels and high estrogen levels. This makes it VERY hard to build a great body. High testosterone makes it easier to build muscle mass, stay lean, boosts your sex drive and confidence. It makes you a man!
How do I know if I have low testosterone levels?
The number one sign of low testosterone levels is lack of morning wood. Do you wake up with an erection most mornings of the week? If not, you most likely have low testosterone levels. To confirm that you have low testosterone levels, simply go to your doctor and list the symptoms in the article mentioned above, and then ask to get a hormonal panel done. Depending on your country, that might cost you a bit, but this is YOUR HEALTH we are talking about. Don’t go cheap on your health. If you’re living in the US, you can also order a hormonal panel through PrivateMD labs. Make sure that you do at least 3 tests at different times before you conclude that you have low testosterone.
What is the minimum testosterone level I should aim for?
650 ng/dl is the minimum level you should aim for, but the more, the better (as long as you’re boosting testosterone levels naturally, there’s no danger of getting too high testosterone).
I have low testosterone levels. How do I boost them?
First, follow my natural testosterone boosting guide.
While doing this, get a hormonal panel done once every 2 months.
If you don’t reach a testosterone level of 650 ng/dl within 6 months, you most likely need to get on Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
How big can I get naturally?
Take your height in centimeters and say minus 100. That’s the maximum weight you can be at a shredded body-fat level. In my case, I’m 188.5 centimeters. This means that I can max out my body at 88.5 KG at 5-6% body-fat with shredded abs. However, your genetics and starting point can be a limiting factor and reaching numbers that are anywhere near your potential will take 8-10 years of consistent work.
How did you build your back so wide?
Chin ups are the number one exercise I used to build my lats. The same goes for SFT-reader Mike Joplin who has a wide back at age 70. Besides chin ups, I also used wide grip lat pulldowns to the front and to the back and pullovers.
Did your social life and ability to get hot women improve after transforming your body?
Yes, a lot. I never had girlfriends when I was skinny-fat and I had no social life. Building a great body enabled me to live life the way I want to live it.
How big are you?
About 200 pounds (91 KG) at 6’2″ (188.5 CM). My arms are about 16″ and shoulders about 53″.
When did you start training seriously?
February 2010 after stumbling upon a body transformation on bodybuilding.com. I didn’t even know what bodybuilding was before then.
How long time did it take you to build a body you’re proud of?
3 years and 2 months. April 2013 was the first time in my life I could really say I was proud of the body I had.
How often do you train to maintain your current body?
4 days a week for about 90 minutes. Some weeks I will miss a training session, and then make up for it the next week.
Do you still train hard with a structured training program and diet plan?
No. Training is just a small part of my life now. I eat healthy most of the time, but I do drink with my friends almost every night and I do miss some workouts here and there. I also don’t track anything anymore, and just do whatever I like in the gym. My focus is on helping YOU building your body so you can enjoy your life like I’m doing now.
Do you have a degree in medicine?
No. My degree is “BSc in International Business and Politics”. It was the second most competitive degree in Denmark when I started it.
How do you know so much about hormones, fitness and psychology?
For almost 5 years, I spent minimum 4 hours a day studying the top resources on hormonal optimization, nutrition, training and self-development (and then I was taking massive action on what I learnt while writing about it and teaching other people what I learnt).