By Jamie Millar
Photographs Oliver Burston

That most deceptive of body types, the beanpole-fatty boasts a naturally slender frame, but like an iceberg, most of his bulk is hidden.

It’s this visceral fat around the midriff that makes him critically unfit, with worrying long-term health implications. It’s time to stop hiding and redress the balance.

Often found hiding in plain sight, the Skinny Fat man is unlikely to ’fess up – mainly because he’s unaware of it. Sure, he looks okay in a T-shirt, but underneath he’s a not-so-hot mess, with visceral fat suffocating his internal organs, drastically increasing his risk of type 2 diabetes. In short, his long-term prospects are slimmer than his arms – and he has fat chance of reaching a ripe old age.

“As well as poor training habits, stress and overeating can cause your body to stockpile fat,” says PT Tim Walker of Evolution of Man Training. “As a result, it’s likely that your testosterone levels have plummeted in inverse proportion to oestrogen, leading you to pack on lard in ‘female’ places.” Think triceps (bingo wings), chest (man boobs) and hips (they don’t lie).

So, while you may feel in fine fettle, if you’re carrying a little extra heft, ask yourself: are you burning the candle at both ends by getting to work early then staying up late? Does training actually mean the occasional jaunt round the park? If the answer to either is yes, it’s time to act.

“The immediate reaction when we gain weight is to hit the cardio hard, but steady-state runs actually raise the stress hormone cortisol, cannibalising what muscle you do have,” says Walker. Cue severe iron deficiency, leading to lethargy, heart palpitations and headaches – none of which will put you in an optimum training mindset.

“The key issue at the heart of the Skinny Fat physique is an imbalance between lean muscle and fat,” he says. “The solution is to reverse this ratio in favour of muscle by shocking your system into action.” Joining the gym might be a good start. Here’s what you should do once you get there.

The Everyman Strongman Plan

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1. Farmer’s Walk
3 sets of 30sec with 10sec rests
Holding two heavy things – dumbbells, water bottles, hay bales – walk forwards, taking short, quick steps while keeping your posture upright, shoulders back (A & B). Keep going until your grip gives out.

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2. Single-Arm
Kettlebell Swing
3 sets of 20 reps with 10sec rests
Feet shoulder-width apart and knees soft, take a 12kg kettlebell in one hand then swing it through your legs (A). Engage your core, hips and shoulders to drive it up to chin height (B). Do 10 reps per side to complete one set.

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3. Medicine Ball Lunge with Overhead Press
3 sets of 20 reps with 10sec rests
Grab a medicine ball (A) and step forward with your right foot, lowering your left knee to the ground. Both legs should form right angles. Simultaneously push the ball overhead (B) and hold for three seconds. Drive back up and repeat 10 times per leg.