By The FIRM Master Instructor Kelsie Daniels
When I lived in New York City and worked as a personal trainer, I worked with a lot of models, and I have to say … they were some of the fattest “skinny” people I ever met. We often talked about this during our training sessions: how they were thin, but had such a high percentage of body fat. The fat that was on their bodies was not on their hips, butts, or thighs — it was surrounding their vital organs. Couple that with smoking many cigarettes a day, and you have a recipe for disaster!
Some doctors now think that the internal fat surrounding vital organs, like the heart, liver and pancreas — and not visible on the outside of the body — could be more dangerous than the fat we can see.
Studies have found that “skinny fat” people maintain their body weight through diet alone, without exercise! Not only does exercise reduce body fat, both internally and externally, but it also:
- improves insulin resistance
- reduces stress
- provides for more effecient heart and lungs
- assists with weight loss and muscle gain
- increases bone density
- allows for better sleep
- increases energy
Since my comfortable weight is 140–145, I completely understand that a skinny appearance and low numbers on the scale do not automatically equal healthy. When I am within this 5-pound range, I am at my leanest, feel the best and am the most energetic. I firmly believe that it is more important to be fit than just thin!
According to a University of South Carolina study — the only one of its kind — it’s better to be a little heavier and fit than skinny and not fit. And in a different, 12-year study, researchers found that Americans over age 60 who worked out regularly lived longer than those who exercised less even if they had the same amount of body fat!
So, while being overweight is never the goal, it is better to work out regularly than to strive just to be “thin” or “skinny.” Please keep this in mind before you start beating yourself up over those LAST FIVE POUNDS!
The FIRM Master Instructor Team blog is shared courtesy of The FIRM Believers Club, an online community that helps you reach your fitness goals. With maximum-efficiency home workouts, support and motivation from The FIRM Master Instructors, daily tips, personalized workout rotation calendars, and access to other members through discussion boards, The FIRM Believers Club provides all the tools you need to get in the shape you want.