Solutions for the Skinny Fat Ectomorph Part II – My Story

When I was fourteen I cared about three things: Mountain Dew Code Red, Andy Capp's Hot Fries, and Dragonball Z. That was, until I stumbled upon tricking and developed a virtual idolization for a guy known as “Jujimufu.” So when Jujimufu developed an interested in human performance, I developed an interest in human performance. And the rest is history.

This article wasn't in the original plans for the Solutions for the Skinny Fat Ectomorph series. But a lot of skinny-fat information has popped up since I wrote 11 Training Tips for the Skinny Fat Ectomorph. And if there's one thing everyone must know,  it's that you can't really take advice from someone that has never sat in the skinny-fat shoes. My apologies go to those that just want a routine and nutrition plan. But you will be better served in the long run.

The Past and the Future

Everyone neglects the past. I could have just posted my pictures and listed my training program and have been done with it. But the way I train now isn't the same way I trained to get where I am. Training history matters. So I'm adding this piece for two reasons. First, so you can see that I was once a member of the Skinny Fat Ectomorph Brohirrim, which, by the way, is now the official name of the skinny-fat tribe. (Yeah, I just made it up. And it's a super nerdy reference to Lord of the Rings too. Awesome.) Second, so you can see my  evolution alongside what worked and what failed. Now, I don't remember everything from the past six years. But what I do remember follows.

 February 2006

I decided to “get serious” on February 16, 2006. I know the exact date because I so aptly dated the folder for the pictures. (Too bad I didn't follow through with this smart strategy.) As you can see, typical skinny fat ectomorph body type. No arms. Most of the body fat chucked around the waist. Good times. I think I was 200 pounds.

June 2006

Over the next five months, I jacked my physical activity through the roof. I lifted weights, but not seriously. My routine consisted of mostly isolation exercises as I didn't have good equipment — just a cheap bench, barbell, and adjustable dumbbells. So I did what I could, but it wasn't ideal.

To aid fat loss, I downed instant coffee in the morning (even though I hated coffee) and did “cardio” on an empty stomach as that was what cool kids did back then. Exercising on an empty stomach was reported to better utilize fat for energy, and caffeine encouraged the same. So three days per week, rain or shine, I did tabata sprints. The other days I walked on the treadmill for forty five minutes.

I devoutly ate six meals per day. It was clockwork. Breakfast was one serving of oats and two eggs. Lunch was one piece of whole wheat bread, one can of tuna, and one piece of fruit. I can't remember the other meals, but that slice of bread at lunch was the last of the complex carbohydrates. I shot for six meals at 300 kcals, which brought me to 1800 kcals.

October 2006

I dropped the”cardio” and closely monitored my nutrition. Although I put more emphasis on weight training, I wasn't gaining muscle fast enough for my liking. So I listened to conventional wisdom and I “bulked.”

It was a bad decision.

But I did upgrade my equipment. I now had squat stands and Olympic sized plates and barbells.

February 2007

I ate my way to 203lbs, and the results didn't show. My arms remained rails, and body fat crept to my midsection faster than muscle elsewhere. Looking back, I'm sure I did one million things wrong. But as a whole, my first bulk didn't go well. Am I biased? Yes. But only because my greatest gains (as shown below) came when I trained without the “bulk” mentality.

Late 2007

Bulking taught me one thing: I knew how to get lean. And fast. I knew what my body responded to, so it came down to execution. By summer, the extra weight was gone and I was back to training and eating normally. Although I intentionally kept my body fat “low,” I didn't obsess over a “six pack.”

My routine (created by my then mentor Chicanerous) went something like this:

Sunday: Back Squats 6×6, Good Mornings 2×20, Press, Chin-ups

Wednesday: Back Squats 5×3, Romanian Deadlifts 5×5, Press, Dumbbell Row

Friday: Bulgarian Split Squats 3×8, Cleans, …?

Saturday: Ultimate Frisbee games

But after consistently failing to respect recovery, I was bound to break. And one day, during an Ultimate Frisbee match, my groin exploded. It took six months to heal. Upper body lifting became lax, and I lost nearly everything I had built. Before the injury, I squatted 380 for reps and I  romanian deadlifted 315 for reps. But after the injury, my strength was gone.


After healing, I went on Starting Strength. My squat and deadlift strength prospered. My upper body strength, well, not so much. And I was stricken with intensive bouts of chronic knee pain. Idiotically, I ignored the pain. Eventually settling into the Texas Method, I adopted the whole “isolation exercises are garbage” mentality. My lower body got stronger, and I played to what I was good at. It's no wonder I wasn't satisfied with my physique. As a small aside, this was the year I started working with athletes. And as a note, I bulked in 2008 for a month or two. Results were lackluster. But it did reaffirm my ability to lose fat after a “bulk.”


In January 2009, I felt the Texas Method wasn't ideal for hypertrophy. Once again, I decided to bulk. My program was WS4SB, and I ate my way 233. It was the heaviest I had ever weighed and the heaviest I have ever weighed. But my bulk failed again. The hidden benefit of bulking for three straight years and failing for three straight years is that I became a master of losing fat. (Holding true to this day.)

Another bout of chronic knee pain forced me to stop squatting. On top of that, the constant maxing on WS4SB made my bench stall fast. And my joints weren't too happy either. But I was “bulking,” and I thought eating more would solve my problems. It, of course, didn't. I ate clean though. Tons of eggs, oats, brown rice, and the usual fare. But it didn't matter.

My knowledge of health, fitness, and training was at an all time high. I could write programs for anyone except myself. For whatever reason, I thought I followed different rules and tried to follow a “standard” program. Eventually, my injuries forced me to rethink my path. Midway through 2009, I stopped lifting. For the rest of the year, and for first few months of 2010, I dedicated my time to fixing my chronic knee pain.


2010 was a great year. I was healthy and doing better than ever. I was getting strong,  I was tricking regularly, and I finally “got it.” My schedule was a little funky, but I enjoyed it. Wake up was at 5AM-6AM. Breakfast was oats and eggs. I worked from 7AM-3PM. Lunch was a piece of fruit at 12PM. And when I got home at 3PM, I lifted. Two or three meals followed. Of what though, I can't remember.

Early 2011

On January 28th, 2011, I broke my foot in five places. It was frustrating. For the first time in my life I was healthy. Things were perfect. But this, I thought, was the nail. The end.

From February to mid-March, I was on crutches. I began my rehab process early (I'm not a fan of traditional rehabilitation timetables and theories). I was doing supported squats in my cast three weeks post injury. One week before getting my cast off, I was walking with a boot. It didn't matter much though because when I got out of my cast my foot was lifeless. I had a severe limp. Walking on it was more painful than breaking it. But it felt good to be free.

What's ironic is that this what began my intermittent fasting journey. Before breaking my foot, I loved breakfast and never went without it. But after breaking my foot, standing for more than five minutes made my foot would swell inside of my cast. That, and being on crutches, made cooking rather impossible. So I learned how to survive without breakfast, eventually adopting the principles of intermittent fasting.

I've always believed you can learn from negative experiences. So I forced myself to extrapolate the good out of breaking my foot. The injury taught me that health is king. Over strength. Over muscles. Over everything. If you're not healthy, why does it matter? It also taught me patience. Things don't happen over night. Ever. So when I started training again, I didn't care about adding weight to the bar. I didn't obsess over strength. I just enjoyed being able to train.

Eventually, I got some squat strength back. But then it hit me: what the hell was I doing? I broke my foot, yet I was putting a loaded bar on my back and tentatively teetering out of  a rack. It just wasn't worth it anymore. So I stopped doing it. Yes, I stopped squatting.

Then I asked myself: what do I love doing? And when I answered, I acted. For the next few months I lifted everyday. I thought my foot could benefit from a low load and a high frequency. So I did deadlifts, power curls, hip thrusts, unilateral dumbbell floor presses, and waiters walks. Concurrently, I did Chat Waterbury's PLP program.

I felt great every day. I left the gym refreshed. It was perfect. And it was just what I needed.

This taught me a few things. First, recovery doesn't happen in a 48 hours. Recovery depends on the stress imposed on the body in relation to the current state of adaptation. I, of course, already knew this. But I never felt it. I was feeling it. Second, stress is more than strength. While never adding weight to the bar, I was filling out because my volume and frequency — not intensity — were increasing. I can't remember the totality of my food intake but it looked something like six eggs, a pound of turkey meat, and a ton of vegetables.

I sprinted twice a week most weeks. Usually eight to ten sets of fifty yard sprints on a hill. Nothing big. Certainly no cardio fest. I just sprinted up the hill, walked back down the hill, hung out, and then went again when I felt good.

Really, I just stopped obsessing. I didn't care about maximizing muscle growth. I just did what seemed right. And what seemed right was training easy every day, doing a lot of body weight stuff, and sprinting. But it was perfect because I didn't care about aesthetics anymore. Moving without pain became my primary objective.

So for the entire summer I lived stress free, lifted some heavy things, and sprinted. Most importantly, I stopped obsessing. Not once did I come close to failing, busting an adrenal glad, or thinking about changing programs. I lifted every day because I felt great every day. I might have gotten more muscular. I might not have. But I didn't care to take notice. And I truly think this is what allowed me to make progress — the lack of obsession.

Now, I'm reluctant to say this because a lot of people are going to combine the 40 Day Program with PLP and expect huge gains. Not that it doesn't work, but idly following my path is dysfunctional thinking. And if you don't know why, you don't “get it” yet. The actual “program” doesn't matter as long as it suits your goals — an idea that sounds contradictory as the next article will suggest programs. But, in general, most people will be awesomely served doing the following:

  • Lifting weights consistently
  • Mastering body weight exercises
  • Sprinting
  • Eating primarily meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables

And really, has that ever not been the formula? You don't have to kill yourself in the gym. You just don't. You need to stay healthy enough to lift consistently. That's it. And by consistently, I don't mean training daily. I mean training regularly for a few yearsNo one that trains regularly becomes weaker and less muscled. So as long as you're consistent, you're on the right path. Look at my life. I didn't get here with one program. I got here because I found ways to consistently train — through injuries and downturns — for six years. I didn't just hop on an eight week program and ride it to success. And you shouldn't expect to either.



 Other articles in the series:


Accompanying resource: The Skinny-Fat Solution

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

Maybe you’re a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

(These weekly columns don’t get posted to the site.)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ultimatepowah February 7, 2012, 12:15 am

    Damn that hurt me just watching it…

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:56 pm

      It wasn’t the most pleasant experience of my life, that’s for sure.

  • Jesse Ekstrom February 7, 2012, 3:44 am

    Hey Anthony
    Seriously man, this is amazing! Really well written. While some of the blogs I follow(and love) tend to read like articles from Maxim magazine, this is just straight up truth, no bs. Not many people can deliver their own experiences in such a compelling and relate-able way.
    So much of this hit home with me. I was like, “how did he get that pic of me from 2006!”.
    The one that really got me was when you talked about being able to write a successful program for anyone else but yourself. That’s me to a tee. Its a love/hate thing with me, seeing how well my clients do, while I seem to go nowhere doing the same and more.
    I look forward to what you have in store. Really inspiring stuff man.
    Goal #1 stop obsessing and just train consistently, you agree?

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:55 pm

      Jesse, that’s the jist. Focus on the lifts that EVERYONE already knows about (squats, presses, pulls, rows, chins, etc…) and just “practice” them and try to get better at them every day you’re at the gym.

  • Rajat Desikan February 7, 2012, 4:03 am

    Kudos Anthony
    You are a tough person. Great article…:)

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:54 pm

      Well Rajat, when you want something you can’t let anything get in your way.

  • Ray February 7, 2012, 4:17 am

    Great stuff, as usual, Anthony. You’re wise beyond your years. Going through adversity tends to give people a lot more than endless studying or education. Also, the personal touch to this is inspirational.

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:54 pm

      Thanks Ray. You can say, however, that I’m unwise beyond my years for being so ignorant from 2008-2010.

  • Coges February 7, 2012, 6:18 am

    Great article. That vid just looks painful.

    I love your point on your previous training mattering to what you do now. So many people say this is how I train completely forgetting what they have gone through to get to where they are now. It’s the old standing on the shoulders of giants theory. We, as your audience, need to know who/what your giant was to get an appreciation of why you do what you do now.

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:53 pm

      Thanks for appreciating that Coges. It was my intent all along.

  • Tom February 7, 2012, 6:51 am

    Anthony, great article! Regarding the summary points at the end although you might wanna add the important take aways from the first one: keep the overall stress in life down, don’t worry too much and have fun in the gym! Those are very important things for a skinny-fat ecto in my opinion. And as you mentioned consistency is really the key, in the gym and in the kitchen! A question for you: I consider myself a skinny-fat ecto, tried to bulk up often as you described and now have a gut I want to get rid of; what are your main strategies for cutting?? Thanks!

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:53 pm

      If you’re on an all out cut, keep the weight training volume moderate, sprint twice a week (not HIIT, I’m talking sprints with full rest), and do some type of long distance brisk walk the other days. Don’t neglect the weight training stuff either. Carb cycle. Make two weight training days your money days that hit important areas. Make those your high carb days. Other days, low carb. Only having two high carb days will help you lose faster as compared. Three days at max.

  • Zidar February 7, 2012, 7:33 am

    Thank you for this article, Anthony!

    Do you think that the intermittent fasting, with high carbs on resistance training days and without carbs on other days, is a kind of ideal diet for us SF ectomorphs?

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:50 pm

      Absolutely. I’ll touch on that in the fourth article.

  • Alex February 7, 2012, 10:14 am

    Amazing article.I love it because I have gone trough the same training shedules for the last 5 years and of course I don’t have any progress.The problem with us – “skinny fat” is not loosing the wight,it is building muscles.I don’t think taht if i stop think about the whole thing I will get better results.Anthony, you said the key is to be healthi and lift every day.But for the muscle to grow it needs progressive overload.I can’t lift every day easy pounds and expect bigger muscles.I have to lift heav.But if I lift heavy every day I won’t recover.The article is perfect,but i can’t see the solution for skinny fats.

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 12:46 pm

      Alex, no one trains consistently over time and can never add weight to the bar. Progressive overload isn’t always about adding more weight to the bar. It can be about adding volume, decreasing rest periods, increasing TUT, and a host of other things. You’re brainwashed right now. Progress doesn’t happen from session to session, day to day, or even week to week. It’s the long term commitment. And I’m not saying everyone needs to lift easy daily, like I mentioned in the article. Hopefully the last two articles will help you a bit more.

  • Alex February 7, 2012, 4:50 pm

    I think there is nothing more to be said about SF nutrition.It is simply natural food and carbs cycling.But I think the training routine is mistery,at least for me.In your t-nation article you suggest Dan John’s 40 day workout and Chad’s PLP,but later in the comments you said it doesn’t work for building muscles.I train almost 10 years and I still cannot find the SF solution.I read every night different sorts of information,I know I am obsessed,but don’t believe this is the reason my arm to be smaller than my calves.

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 7:55 pm

      There is more to be said. Which is why I’m writing an article about it soon. I recommended the program because it does more than “build muscles.” It gets your work capacity up and primes you for more intensive work. Alex, I keep saying this: program is rather arbitrary. There is no holy grail. None. Stop looking for the perfect program. In fact, your constant search is probably why you’re failing.

  • Brock February 7, 2012, 7:51 pm

    I got out of my cast (ankle-trimalleolar fracture-try saying that with a mouth full of crackers 😉 a month before you did. I got all obsessed with strength and hit the wall when I approached levels I had achieved before the accident. Then I had a second surgery (hardware removal) and this time I decided I needed to get in shape, not just be strong. I’m focusing on cardio and whole body/ high rep exercises. I’m slowly getting results ( I’m way old) but I’m enjoying my workouts more and getting into much better shape.

    I love your blog. Your honesty and ability to keep from preaching are refreshing. Keep up the good work.

    • Anthony February 7, 2012, 7:55 pm

      Thanks Brock. Appreciate it, and I will keep at it.

  • Dave February 8, 2012, 2:38 am

    As soon as my back is rehabbed & my neuropathic pain diminishes from my injury, I’ll be contacting you for a consult. I’m so sick of the lack of skinny-fat coaches out there giving horrible advice to skinny-fat people. They have no idea what it’s like coming from this position (not just physiologically, but the mental aspect as well: extremely type-a/ perfectionist personality type).

    I’m somewhere between your first two sets of pictures. I’ve been applying your recommendations from that T-nation article a few weeks back solely to my upper body due to my injury. I’ve been focused solely on higher frequency, cycling volume, improving work capacity, doing some sort of activity every day (even if it’s walking for ~1hr on my off days), doing some pump work, etc and I’ve been feeling great. Workouts have become a positive & enjoyable experience, and I thank you for that and your words of wisdom.


    • Anthony February 8, 2012, 1:40 pm

      Thanks Dave, I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Traindom February 8, 2012, 2:55 am

    I’ve been following your advice and it’s been going pretty well. I’m just chilling with my weighted dips, chins, and pistols and going for five pound increases every month or so. It’s pretty relieving too. Whenever I wonder if I’m progressing or not, I just think to myself: I don’t see myself NOT training any time soon, so why worry? And five pounds a month is 60 pounds in a year. I’ve heard you say these words, or rather seen your typed words, before, but now that I’ve decided to focus on the long-term, it makes a lot more sense than when I first heard it.

    Looking back, I’ve been on the quest for the Holy Grail for quite a while, almost a year of serious training, and I’ve realized that eight months of “almost got it” and “definitely got it” have added up. My body has changed significantly. I’m not jacked, but I have reasonable musculature for sure. The skinny fat syndrome I had, if any at my height of five foot nine or so, has faded.

    Anyway, I’m diving into some planche, front lever, and l sits positions and having fun. It’s a whole new game too. I can actually feel my abs tense harder when I’m lying down haha. I’ll be sure to update soon with pictures. I have a couple on the tricking forum from before. As a self-proclaimed client of yours, I feel it might help you somehow. I’ll see if I can get it soon, like tomorrow.

    • Anthony February 8, 2012, 1:41 pm

      Appreciate it Traindom. Glad you’re seeing success in a similar way I have.

  • yannick noah February 8, 2012, 10:31 am

    i like it that you write in detail together with your pictures as proof on the journey u have gone through. boy it must have sucked having those injuries. but then again someone can learn alot from it. also i do agree that health should be the priority.alot of people tend to forget that.good emphasis on that.overall i love this post because it highlights how self experience on injuries, recovery, experimentation on different programs and other stuff are vital in assessing our own needs.great post!

    • Anthony February 8, 2012, 1:43 pm

      All about growth. Injuries put so many thing in perspective. I don’t enjoy them, but if you have them, it’s your job to extrapolate all that’s good from the situation.

  • Zidar February 10, 2012, 8:43 pm

    What’s your opinion about cheat days followed by 24-36 hours of fasting?

    • Anthony February 12, 2012, 12:59 pm

      I do it nearly every week. But during my most intensive cuts, I didn’t cheat often. My cheats now are more like food challenges moreso than cheats. So I eat a ton of food. For eating peons, it might work out better. John Romaniello uses this method too.

      24 hour fasts aren’t difficult, and I wouldn’t cheat before them. Longer ones — 40 hours and whatnot — are cheat worthy, in my opinion.

  • Chris February 11, 2012, 4:35 pm

    Skinnyfat brohirrim checking in.I believe that for most of us,a V-taper or at least a blocky upper body is the main target for quite some time.There isn’t any advice on the net on how to do that for us however.I’m training Back-Legs-Chest-Rest-Back-Legs-Chest-Rest and I’m using most of your tips from previous articles,while clean bulking.
    I believe that making a ‘How to get a V-taper’ article would be beneficial to both your site and your readers 🙂
    Thanks for everything!

    • Anthony February 12, 2012, 12:59 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Chris. I’ll look into it. The next article will touch on that slightly (I think?).

  • Alex February 11, 2012, 5:39 pm

    Fasting is effective when combined with low intensity work.Fasting all day sitting on a desk is worthless.

    • Anthony February 12, 2012, 1:00 pm

      I disagree, Alex.

  • Alex February 12, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Ok let’s say it is more effective when moving than when sitting.

    • Anthony February 12, 2012, 2:44 pm

      I’m not very active during my fasts, physically. Still seems to work for me.

  • Benji February 12, 2012, 9:53 pm

    To me the most surprising part of this article is the Feb-June 06 transformation. Even though you mention the strategy wasn’t the best, getting to that degree of leanness with decent muscle structure seems like a perfect starting place for a SF to put on some real muscle. Hopefully your articles dive deeper into the optimal strategy for an initial leaning out because I really think that’s the most challenging part. I feel it’s really hard for us SF’s to get ripped like that. I’ve lost up almost 40lbs eating only meats and veggies, but my composition was the same with fat around the belly and chest.

    • Anthony February 13, 2012, 1:52 pm

      Well Benji, the recipe for that was an extraordinary amount of physical activity of all sorts and an extremely low caloric intake. I wouldn’t say I had a decent muscle structure either. But such is opinion. That’s a good topic to touch on though. Thanks for the idea. It is in queue.

  • kyle butler February 12, 2012, 11:12 pm

    Skinny fat going through a bulking here. I have mixed feelings about this article… from one side, I was happy I was gaining some weight and seeing some results, but on the other, it just makes me feel more anxious about my diet and nutrition… so much for cortisol control.
    Nonetheless, a great article. Its just insecurity from this messed up head.

    • Anthony February 13, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Well if you were seeing results, I’d keep at it as long as they are up to your standards. Sure, I did it wrong, but maybe you didn’t?

  • Daniel February 12, 2012, 11:55 pm

    Good read, sir. You’re a tough guy who learned a lot from the struggles–cheers to that.

    I have had a similar experience with “bulking and cutting.” It grows a little muscle but definitely makes me chubby. I’m started an experiment with intermittent fasting (LeanGains inspired), so I’m curious to see if that is more effective for me.

    • Anthony February 13, 2012, 1:54 pm

      IF has worked for me. I enjoy it on all fronts. Leangains + John Romaniello’s Feast-Fast.

  • Alex February 13, 2012, 6:25 am

    IF is effective fo loosing fat.For building muscle for us skinny fats,it is more important the training routine.

  • Alex February 13, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Are you going to post part 3 of the puzzle and when.I can’t wait to see the solution I am looking for so many years.

  • Domenic May 12, 2012, 7:40 pm

    I like your new blog layout, strange, this is the first time Ive seen this, was it always on the sidebar? Great post nonetheless… great to have the skinny fat pics up

    • Anthony May 14, 2012, 8:27 pm

      It’s always been here. Tucked away in the abyss. Thanks for the kind words.

  • Jason June 24, 2012, 10:49 am

    Wow Anthony, ive just stumbled upon your website and I just wanna say thanks man, Its only been 6months ive first started to consider “bodybuilding” to be fit and feel better. I exactly know what you mean about the obsession to gaining muscle in our arms, chest etc, but simultaneously afraid of gaining weight because of our mid-section. I really just wanna say thanks, for you putting up this website to share your experiences, I thought I had it bad and im no way near close to your journey. Now Ill try my best to just enjoy what I do and thats, lifting, eating right, and playing basketball. Once again thanks and I hope you keep up this great website for us skinny-fat-ectomorphs!!! GREAT JOB MATE

    • Anthony June 25, 2012, 2:10 pm

      Thanks for the reply, Jason. Appreciate it and I will do my best to keep up with good content. Glad you’re finding some worth in it.

  • Ed July 17, 2012, 3:47 pm

    Your 2006 picture might as well be me right now. I freaked out when I saw the picture! You have no idea how happy I am to find there are others out there. I can’t wait to begin my new journey. FINALLY, somebody is addressing Skinny Fat Ectos!! Amen!!!

    • Anthony July 18, 2012, 9:18 pm

      Ha! Well, Ed, I’m glad to be of service to you. I’m working hard day and night to get things out there. Comments like this keep me going. Tell your friends so they can continue to fuel the fire, hah!

      • Ed July 18, 2012, 9:31 pm

        Anthony, please check your email. I sent you a rather lengthy email last night. Thanks!

        • Anthony July 19, 2012, 7:42 pm

          Gotcha’ Ed. Will reply momentarily.

  • Anthony Marcoccia August 21, 2012, 12:28 am

    Wow dude, I’m speechless. I was just in wow the whole time reading this because it is exactly what I’m going through. For 6 years now I’ve been battling with myself over obsessing with achieving that perfect body. I was 14 overweight when I started getting into fitness and dieting. I started off with nothing but cardio and a low calorie diet which has got me looking skinny fat which I have been fighting for 6 years now. I’ve went through injuries and being sick, messing around with my diet, changing my program for too long now looking for that one magical plan. But I think I’m finally coming to realize after reading this that it shouldn’t even be this big of a deal. I fell off the wagon once again for the 10000th time with my diet and fitness plan and now I have laser eye surgery coming up in 2 weeks and I’m telling myself after the surgery I’m just going to lift consistently, stay active, stay positive and try and eat as clean as possible and just take it from there cause i’m getting a little tired of this shit. My whole life has felt like nothing but stress and pain obsessing over this dieting and exercising shit and I’m letting it ruin my life.

    • Anthony August 21, 2012, 3:12 pm

      Well, Anthony (nice name, by the way), if I can be of any help let me know. I know what you’re going through. Just get after it after surgery and take it slowly over time. All is not lost.

  • Mark A August 30, 2012, 1:36 am

    hey nice article Anthony and awsome dedication and work i was hoping to get some advice from you im 5″5 short ;/ and 130lbs i am slighly build and mostly muscle but i have the hardest time gaining weight and muscle i am currently drinking Elite mass by dymatize to help but i do short instense workouts also if i do achieve weigh gain should i cut after or during the process of bulking

    • Anthony September 1, 2012, 12:13 pm

      Mark, thanks for the reply. Your question is a toughie. If you’re mostly muscle, it’s tough to understand why you have trouble building muscle. Seems kind of contradictory. I don’t know what Elite Mass is either. I’d probably need to see your training and regular food intake for clearer picture. Feel free to e-mail me (anthony.mychal -at- with this information.

  • Jim September 19, 2012, 1:16 pm

    Great article man! I loved reading this story of how you got where you are today, with the ups and downs of training and life. I appreciate the honesty and detail. Nicely done.

    • Anthony September 20, 2012, 1:19 am

      Thanks Jim!

  • Mel September 24, 2012, 2:19 am

    Hello Anthony,

    I’ve just recently came across your articles, and I am too a skinny-fat person. However I hold most of my fat in my thighs, behind and waist area. I really would love to be healthy, and at least remove the fat off of the areas I hold them on, but I do not know how to go about that. I have a high amount of body fat and I have came across the Paleo diet and have been following that for a couple of weeks now. I am unsure of what nutritionally and training I should follow because my goals are to just lean down and get an “athletic look”. I am extremely flabby and fat and what tips do you have for leaning down? what is “leaning” anyway?


    • Anthony September 25, 2012, 10:15 pm


      This is such a huge question that I can’t even begin to fathom answering it here! I think for leaning down, you’re on the right track with a paleo diet. Follow that and see how it works. If it works and you enjoy it, stick with it. But don’t overthink yourself. Pick something and ride it out. Paleo is good first choice.

      As for training, pick up some heavy iron.

  • Josh Yong April 26, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Hey Anthony….

    I feel motivated and seeing hope again to become a better me.
    Thanks for having such a great blog to help skinny fat person like me!!!

    • Anthony April 27, 2013, 2:23 pm

      You are the man Josh. Do it to it.

  • Amith Menon May 12, 2013, 6:40 am

    Hey Anthony,

    That’s an inspirational story buddy. At the end of the day, it’s about finding your sweet spot and a whole lot of hard work and dedication isn’t it. I have so much respect for you. Come tomorrow, based on everything I’ve read on your blog over the last few hours, I hope to change my life.

    Right now, I am right where you were in Feb 2006 (6’0, 170 pounds) and I am hoping to achieve your June 2006 body (that’s ideal for me). Maybe I am a bit too slow but to just clarify, to reach your June 2006 state, it’s more cardio than lifting would you say? Because my coming weeks are filled with a 3 day soccer, 2 day squash routine ( I have always been more or less sporty ). Should I incorporate strength training into this routine (2 days)? Or is this overkill as it is.

    I also started eating right today (1800kcal diet) and I am certain, I will hold on. Would you suggest this is the right way forward. Thanks again for the no BS way of taking us forward.

    • Anthony May 12, 2013, 11:16 am

      I would not looked like I did in June 2006 if it wasn’t for strength training.

  • Daniel Owens June 22, 2013, 4:52 pm

    I’m going to do what you did, cutting down till i have visible abs then increase strength slowly. 🙂 thanks.

  • allan July 31, 2013, 4:34 am

    Hi Anthony. Looking at your feb ’06 photo, it reminded me of what my body was before. I also did the super cardio (30-45 mins on the thread mill) followed immediately by weight training. This was an attempt to shrink the midsection. It did nothing except made me more susceptible to colds/flu. And when I got sick, all my gains went down the drain. So I stopped going to the gym then.

    My skinny fat body continued to flourish as I grew older. Finally, I decided to change my life. I did changes with my diet. Started doing push ups, and squats. My gut shrunk but there are still pockets of resistance mainly in the middle and sides(love handles).

    Now, I’m hitting the gym, doing split training combined with iso and compounds. I have applied many of the principles that you have discussed in your articles. I designed my own program that I will stick with. The carb fasting on day offs is impossible for me as I mainly do manual work. But I did reduced my carb intake on those day offs. I also used the muscle gain calculator that you mentioned, I still have a way to go, but getting there.

    Thank you. This has been very helpful!


    • Anthony August 6, 2013, 6:31 pm

      Thanks man. All the best ~

  • mark bennett November 6, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Would you say a good take-away from this article is: train consistently, avoid injury, don’t get obsessed, and lose fat before trying to build muscle?

    • Anthony November 13, 2013, 6:50 pm


      EVERY TRAINING PROGRAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      (I think.)

  • j j January 9, 2014, 10:40 am

    Whoa thanks for the read and inspiration. Ive been in the same boat and body type when you first started i have virtually no muscle strength but i started doing p90x in hopes to improve overall bodystrength as I am a lil reluctdnt and embarass to go join the gym until I have some muscle mass first. Was it hard loding the belly fat and how long did it take to get rid of most of it to the point where you could be comfortable without a shirt. Also did experience any stretchmarks?

    • Anthony January 10, 2014, 4:33 pm

      I have stretchmarks, yes.

      And I wouldn’t do P90X. Better than nothing, but not ideal.

  • Anthony Hani May 15, 2014, 9:52 pm

    Your extremely inspirational to me. I’m 13 going on 14, about 5ft 3in, and weigh about 119 pounds. (I’m so skinny-fat it’s not even funny) I want to get in shape for my wrestling season and you help a TON. I’m weak but have good cardio and even the same thing happened to me with the whole girl boobs thing. Thank you and you helped a lot

    • Anthony May 21, 2014, 3:11 pm

      You’re young. Get someone qualified to teach you how to strength train. Start with bodyweight skills. Eat GOOD foods, like veggies and such. Stay away from processed junk. That’s all you need right now. Do it right and good things will happen.

  • Brad May 22, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Anthony thanks for sharing your story. It’s extremely frustrating being this type of body and most people don’t understand it. It’s also extremely frustrating trying to find the right routine and information. Every time I go out to read about creatine, BCAA, what exercise to do and when, pre-work out drinks, etc. I end up more confused. I would describe my current body between your Feb 2006 and June 2006 photo. I go to the gym at 5:30am so I typically do not eat or take a pre-workout drink. I do chest/back, Abs on Monday, Arms, Shoulders, legs on Tuesday. Rest Wed. then repeat Thursday Friday, and rest Sat and Sun. I was going Monday-Friday but decided to put more days of rest in. I want to bulk but don’t want the fat stomach, so again I’m confused on do cardio, don’t do cardio. Cardio is good, cardio is bad. Right now when I go the gym I do 10 minutes on the treadmill to warm up and that is it. I’m so frustrated and confused I’m not even sure what I’m trying to ask you. So any thoughts would be appreciated. I’m 5’9″ and about 142lbs with a slight but more than I want stomach fat that rolls when I bend over or sit down, lol. We all have dreams of what we want to look like, but the path is much more difficult than the dream. I just feel like I’m wasting my time and it will never change.

    • Anthony May 28, 2014, 10:59 pm

      Stop doing an advanced bodybuilder split. Do a meat and tater strength program to prep for your future while you also tackle some extra fat loss work.

      • Brad May 29, 2014, 12:29 am

        Thanks for the reply. I didn’t know I was doing an advanced bodybuilding split/program, I just thought that was normal. What is a meat and tater program? Not asking for a detailed program just a highlevel example or short explanation/definition. Thanks again.

        • Anthony May 29, 2014, 1:38 am

          Look for my great 8 exercises. Do them. Do 4 in a training session. Train 3-4 days per week. Add weight or reps when you train.

  • Kristin May 23, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Hey! I just found your site and find it incredibly helpful. I found myself incredibly skinny fat last year (as many mid-20s females do after being told for years that starving ourselves and doing nothing but zumba is the best way to health) and really struggle with putting on muscle. The reminder at the end that this is a process that takes years is so important. Sometimes I get frustrated that I can’t see more progress. Remembering to obsess less and be patient are huge. Thank you!

    • Anthony May 28, 2014, 11:00 pm

      Welcome and thanks to you, too.