Article last updated: December 2017 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
In this quick 2 minute post I will list the 3 most important lessons I’ve learned during my 5 year skinny-fat transformation.
If you follow the 3 lessons below, I’m 100% certain that you will save years of wasted effort.
Let’s get started:
(1) Strength Gains = Muscle Gains? Nope.
Most beginner training programs out there are based on lifting heavy to increase strength.
The logic behind this is that strength gains lead to muscle gains.
Strength can lead to muscle gains, but there are much better ways to gain muscle mass than maxing out your bench press, squat and deadlift.
Besides that, the muscle gains you do get from doing these heavy lifts are often in places you don’t want them:
- Bench press >> Lower chest. (Most skinny-fat men lack upper chest).
- Squat >> Glutes and thighs. (Most skinny-fat men have wide hips already).
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the best weightlifters and powerlifters in the world, and then compare them with bodybuilders.
Weightlifters and powerlifters can lift much more weight than bodybuilders, but they don’t carry as much muscle mass.
The reasoning is that training for strength is different than training to gain muscle mass.
Training for strength is done in the lower rep-ranges (4-6 reps).
Training for muscle size is done in the medium rep-ranges (8-12 reps).
By training in the 8-12 rep range, you maximize muscular hypertrophy.
(2) You Must Get Lean Before Focusing On Muscle Gains
Another misconception that guys have is related to choosing between 2 goals:
- Losing fat / cutting.
- Building muscle mass / bulking.
If you’re skinny-fat or fat, you should always choose to lose fat first and now I will explain why…
Your nutrient partitioning is better when you’re lean.
This means that your body is much better at using food for muscle gains when it’s lean and healthy compared to when you carry a lot of body-fat.
In other words, by getting lean first you will be able to gain a greater amount of muscle mass in the long run!
Furthermore, the muscle mass that you gain will be more visible since it’s not hidden under a layer of fat.
(3) Accept That It Will Take A Long Time
If you believe that you can build a great physique in 12 weeks, then I’m here to shatter your belief.
Here’s how the first 12 weeks of a body-transformation usually look like:
- You spend the first 4 weeks figuring out the practical stuff such as cooking your meals, getting to the gym regularly and experimenting with your training and diet to find out what works for you.
- After you get into it all you will see some changes each month, but they won’t be huge.
- After 12 weeks you will look slightly different, but you won’t be transformed.
There are some exceptions though…
The photo below shows a 12 week progression from one of my private coaching clients Logan Rando from the US:
As you can see in the photo, Logan has made tremendous progress in just 12 weeks, but he’s pretty much a “best-case scenario”.
Logan is extremely hard working in the gym, he sticks to his diet throughout the whole week and he didn’t waste time following advice that doesn’t work.
Be proud but stay hungry,
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
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