Are Runners Skinny Fat? (Top 8 Causes AND Solutions!)

It’s no secret that runners put tons of work into their fitness, and it would be best to have a physique that reflects that hard work. However, many runners complain that they are skinny fat instead having a slim and trim physique. 

Many runners are skinny fat due to their diet, low amounts of core muscle development, and too much aerobic training. To tone your overall physique, you’ll need to specifically work out core muscle groups, focus on weight training, cut back on aerobic training (aka run less), curb your carb intake, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Continue reading to learn everything you need about the causes and solutions of the skinny fat physique that some runners face.

Why do runners look skinny fat?

Many people start running to lose weight and tone their bodies. However, it is possible to become skinny fat instead of losing the fat around your waistline. Several things could contribute to this problem and methods you can employ to change your physique as a runner.

Even though you have skinny arms and legs from running, you may still be carrying weight around your midsection because of:

  • Low amounts of muscle
  • Lots of aerobic training
  • High carb diet
  • Not enough weight training 
  • Inconsistent diet
  • Inconsistent sleep schedule
  • Inconsistent training schedule
  • Hormone imbalance 

Even if you exercise often, when there’s something off about your daily routine, you may struggle to get the physique you desire.

Low amounts of muscle

When you have underdeveloped and soft muscle tissue around your abdomen, it’s hard to shed your belly fat. 

You can develop low amounts of muscle around this area if you don’t challenge your body regularly to keep the fat off.

If you don’t have enough muscle tissue around your core, you’ll have difficulty shedding the weight around this area. 

How to fix it

You need to work to develop the muscle and your abdomen to shed your belly fat.

You should regularly do sit-ups, yoga, and other ab exercises to develop your muscle tissue.

Squeezing in an ab day once or twice a week is a fantastic way to improve your physique and feel confident.

Lots of aerobic training

Doing too much aerobic exercise could increase your cortisol level, creating more fat storage in your body.

Aerobic exercise is typically seen as a great way to lose weight, but if you overdo it, you will adjust the hormone levels in your body which could lead to looking skinny fat.

How to fix it

Cut back on your aerobic training to see if your physique improves.

It may take over a month to notice a difference in the fat around your waist. You don’t need to give up your aerobic training altogether, but you should cut back to see if that is the problem. 

For instance, if you’re doing aerobic training five times a week, you may want to cut it down to two or three times a week instead. 

High-carb diet

Carbs can be a very enticing food for runners because they burn so many calories during their aerobic training, but it’s not great for weight loss goals.

Eating too much bread daily could cause you to gain weight in your midsection and have difficulty getting rid of it. 

How to fix it

You may emotionally have a difficult time cutting back on carbs, but physically this is one of the easiest fixes on our list. 

Either cut back or eliminate your carb intake for a couple of weeks to see if you notice any improvement. Eating too much bread could cause bloating and create a skinny fat look amongst runners. 

However, bread isn’t the only culprit to a high-carb diet. To reduce your carb intake, you’ll want to avoid foods like beans, milk, potatoes, pasta, and corn.

Keep track of your calorie count to ensure you’re giving your body enough energy as a runner. Cutting back on carbs doesn’t mean you should cut back on calories. 

Not enough weight training

Weight training is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your muscle development.

If you run often but don’t use the weights enough, you could notice yourself becoming skinny fat. 

Runners shouldn’t only focus on completing aerobic exercises to train their bodies and improve their physique.

How to fix it

Add weights to your workout routine a few times a week.

Building your core strength and training your muscle tissue will help keep the weight off your midsection. Adding weight training to your weekly exercise routine is also a fantastic way to reduce your injury risk.

You could either do this on days that you don’t run or add this exercise to days that you do run.

Inconsistent diet

Even if you’re consuming the right amount of calories for your exercise routine, an inconsistent diet could mess up how you metabolize your food. 

It’s best to consume food on a routine schedule to ensure your body can metabolize it properly.

For instance, if you only eat one big meal a day, you may become skinny fat.

How to fix it

The best way to fix your inconsistent diet is to track how often you eat.

You should strive to eat around three times a day, so your metabolism can work hard to store your fat properly.

If possible, you could set an alarm throughout the day to remind yourself to have a snack or a meal. Once you start a schedule for yourself, it’ll be easy to maintain your food schedule. 

Inconsistent sleep schedule

Oversleeping or undersleeping could greatly impact your metabolism.

When you get your body working on a consistent sleep schedule, your metabolism has time to catch up with your daily routine. 

Not sleeping around the same time every day can also be detrimental to your health.

How to fix it

Some people have trouble sleeping at night because they spend too much time on their phones. Some people have trouble sleeping at night because they are overthinkers. 

Identify why you’re not sleeping properly and work to eliminate that problem to get your metabolism back on track.

For example, you need to identify why you’re not going to bed at the same time every day and eliminate that factor. 

Inconsistent training schedule

Not having consistent training schedules could cause confusion within your body and fat around the midsection.

Are you the type of person that finds yourself running often in one week and not so often another week? This could be why you feel like you’re becoming skinny fat instead of trimming and toning throughout your body.

How to fix it

Giving yourself a consistent schedule for your training routine is the best way to improve your physique. 

Find days of the week when you can train and days of the week when you can rest.  

For example, you could designate Mondays to run, Tuesdays to weight training, make Wednesday a rest day, etc. 

Hormone imbalance

Another reason why you might become skinny fat is that you experience a hormone imbalance within your body.

These imbalances are more common than expected, with 80% of women experiencing hormone imbalances. You can get a hormonal imbalance when you have life stressors, a bad environment, significant age changes, or because of your diet. 

How to fix it

If you’re experiencing a hormone imbalance that makes it hard for you to obtain your ideal physique, you should speak with your primary care doctor. 

Your remaining balance could be something small like daily stressors or a bigger medical issue. Speaking with your doctor is the best way to get to the root of your problem so you can feel confident.

Similar Posts