Article last updated: November 2018 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
Most men including myself, build muscle mass in an attempt to make ourselves look more attractive.
The truth is that people judge you before they talk to you, therefore looking athletic and muscular is always going to benefit you in a social setting.
A large percentage of women are attracted to big muscles and an even larger percentage of women are attracted to the ripped and defined hollywood look. (Whether they admit it or not).
So you can be a guy who isn’t getting that much attention from girls but once you build a muscular body you will start getting looks from attractive girls that would previously never look at you.
And the same goes for meeting new interesting people.
I’ve made friends with a lot of interesting people because they came up to me and asked about fitness stuff.
When you pack on 20-30 pounds of muscle mass in the right places, you will stand out in almost any social setting.
I emphasise stand out because this is where a lot of skinny-fat guys go wrong.
Most skinny-fat guys look at a picture of a fitness model and all they see is a toned physique with a bit of muscle mass.
As a result, they mistakenly believe that they can gain a bit of muscle mass and look the same.
The truth is that you will need to add a lot more mass than you except and now I’ll explain why.
Most guys who are fitness models have a great bone-structure for bodybuilding.
They have naturally wide shoulder bones or narrow hip bones or both.
Those who have the combination of wide shoulder bones and narrow hips are genetically blessed for bodybuilding.
They have a natural V-taper before they even start training.
This is why you will see a lot of fitness models who don’t weigh that much yet look amazing.
They already have the right body proportions to start with so they don’t need to add a lot of mass to look good.
The same isn’t the case for the skinny-fat guy.
Most skinny-fat guys start training with feminine body-structures and bone-structure can’t be changed.
We either have narrow shoulders or wide hip bones and some have both. (I personally have both).
In other words, our genetic bone-structure is terrible for building an aesthetic physique.
The reason is most likely because of hormonal imbalances during puberty.
We go through our teenage years with low testosterone and high estrogen.
Testosterone is the male hormone of vitality and high levels of testosterone result during puberty result in wider shoulders and narrow hips.
Estrogen is the female hormone and high levels of estrogen create a softer looking physique.
When skinny-fat guys go through puberty with low testosterone and high estrogen, the result is a bone-structure that looks more feminine (narrow shoulders, wide hips and high body-fat levels).
The only way you can transform those proportions is by adding a lot more muscle mass than the average guy.
So an average fit guy might need to add 15 pounds of muscle mass to look good, but you probably need 30 pounds.
In addition, you have to focus on adding muscle mass in the right places.
The average fit guy with wide shoulders and narrow hips can focus on gaining muscle mass all over his body because he already has good proportions to start with.
When he adds mass everywhere, he will build on his existing proportions that are great already.
In contrast, when a skinny-fat guy with narrow shoulders and wide hip bones gains mass all over, he just becomes a bigger version of his current self.
So you may go from a lean 180 pounds to a lean 195 pounds but your proportions barely change.
In other words, to build a muscular looking physique you need to add a lot more muscle mass and you need to add it in the right places.
This by default requires that you switch away from the whole toning and circuit training mentality to the bodybuilding mentality.
Bodybuilding training is the tool used by the most muscular people on earth.
Bodybuilders have used it to build ripped +300 pound physiques so there’s no reason YOU can’t get a muscular physique with it.
Now I’m not saying that you will get to a ripped 300 pounds.
That requires the right genetics and a massive amount of drugs and hormones.
No one wakes up at a ripped 300 pounds after a few years of training and it will never happen if you train without performance enhancing drugs.
Skinny-fat guys with naturally low testosterone levels will never have the problem of getting too big and muscular.
You simply don’t have the hormonal output and body-structure to become too big.
You can use bodybuilding training to gain 30-40 pounds of muscle mass in the right places and get an aesthetic physique.
This will make you stand out and look impressive almost anywhere you go, but you won’t become too big.
I often get compliments from women about my physique when I go out and other men call me big guy or ask for fitness advice.
The last time I went for a massage the young girl working at the counter said: “You have the perfect body.”
My physique looks good to the average person, however if I stepped on a bodybuilding stage I would look bad and place last.
I’m no-where lean enough to complete in bodybuilding and if I decided to fully lean out, I would lose a lot of my hard-earned muscle mass and end up looking small.
The point I’m trying to make is two-fold:
- Bodybuilding training is a requirement for skinny-fat guys that want to build a physique that stands out.
- If you’re naturally skinny-fat, bodybuilding training will give you a muscular physique that looks great to the average person you will meet on the street but it won’t ever make you look too big.
The only way you will achieve the stereotypical bodybuilder look with overdeveloped veiny muscles is by injecting massive amounts of hormones, steroids an drugs into your body.
Every single guy who has that unnatural look is on performance enhancing drugs.
It doesn’t look natural for a reason: It’s not natural.
If you train without drugs, steroids and hormones there’s no reason to worry about getting too big because it will never happen.
Natural bodybuilding will give you the classic V-tapered physique that stands out and looks aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
In the worst case, you may end up overdeveloping 1 or 2 muscle groups (in my case the lats).
However, that will take YEARS of hard and consistent training.
I personally overdeveloped my lats from years of hard back training.
They got big to the point where they pushed my arms out and I couldn’t keep my arms straight.
I felt slightly uncomfortable walking and when I wore a jacket people probably thought I pushed them out to the sides on purpose.
Then I stopped maxing out on my back exercises for a few weeks and the problem disappeared.
My lats shrunk to a good size and I haven’t had the problem since.
I guess that’s the only good thing about being skinny-fat: If your muscles become overdeveloped, you can lose muscle mass easily.
Therefore, don’t ditch the idea of bodybuilding training because you’re afraid of getting too big and bulky.
Bodybuilding training is the best way a skinny-fat guy can train to build an aesthetic physique.
In addition to building the right type of physique, there are two hidden benefits that I personally appreciate a lot:
(1) Muscle mass makes it easy to stay lean long-term
The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism becomes and the harder you can train.
When you develop a large amount of muscle mass you burn a lot more Calories throughout the day.
As a result, you will be able to get in an extra 1 or 2 meals per day while staying lean.
For a guy with a high appetite like me, it’s a god-send to be able to eat 1-2 extra meals per day.
(2) Muscle memory makes it easy to re-gain your muscle mass
Once you build your muscle mass naturally, it’s easy to re-gain it because your body has muscle memory.
In practice, here’s how that looks: Imagine a skinny-fat guy who trains for 5 years and builds up 30 pounds of muscle mass. Then life get’s in the way and he takes 3 months off training.
During these 3 months he loses a lot of muscle mass and definition and his friends and family notice.
Now, after 3 months he decides that he wants to start training again.
Each training session, he get’s amazing pumps and it looks like his muscles are getting bigger each time he hits the gym.
Over the next 3 weeks, he regains pretty much all the size he lost and in 4-6 weeks he’s back in his top shape.
This is how muscle memory and natural bodybuilding work.
If you build up your muscles without drugs, steroids and hormones, you will be able to maintain a good physique for life.
To learn the exact steps you need to take to build a muscular physique that truly stands out, be sure to apply for my Online Transformation Program where I guide you through every step of the way.
Be proud but stay hungry!
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer