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Body Fat Distributions - A Beginner's Guide

What are body fat distributions and what might they mean for you?

Fit and lean women with different body fat distributions

You might've heard some people complaining about it before.

Maybe you've been told yourself by a friend that you have good or bad body fat distributions.

Or maybe you're simply curious to find out what body fat distributions are and what they mean for you as an athlete.

If you are, you're in the right place.

In this post I'm going to go over what body fat distributions are, how they might differ between men and women and what they might mean for you as an athlete wanting to build muscle and be proud of the way you look.

Let's get started.

What Is Body Fat Distribution?

The term refers to the way that your visible fat is stored around your body, and where most of it is located.

For example, some people might notice that they store most of their body fat in their lower stomachs, whereas others might notice that they store more fat in their arms.

Body fat distribution is also known as 'adipose tissue accumulation', and also comes in a couple of different types.

The first type is Android fat distribution, which is when the majority of your body fat is stored around the abdominal area, around the midsection and the waist.

This is the most common type of body fat distribution.

If you went around your gym asking people where they store most of their fat (obviously don't go out and do this), it would be pretty likely for you to hear the majority of them tell you that they store most of their fat in their stomach areas.

This type of fat distribution is more common in males, however you might also see a lot of females storing much of their fat in their abdominal areas as well.

Many people also think that this is the least favorable type of body fat distribution, since fat on the stomach seems to be a lot more noticeable and sticks out more than fat in other areas.

However, if you notice that you have this type of body fat distribution, remember that it's incredibly common and that you're not unlucky; you're the same as the majority of others around you in that regard.

The second type of body fat distribution is going to be the Gynoid body fat distribution, which means storing the majority of your fat around the top of your thighs and towards the bottom of your glutes.

This type is a little bit less common, but isn't rare to see either.

This type of fat is generally more common in females, but (although not that common) some males might find that this type of distribution applies to them as well.

There are also some other types that don't really have names, but do apply to some people and are worth mentioning.

Some people will find that they store the majority of their fat in their arms, and can maintain relatively lean looking stomachs and bodies, even at higher body fat percentages.

We'd say that that is quite a favorable type of body fat distribution for most people, as the appearance of fatter arms is a little bit less noticeable than the appearance of having a slightly larger stomach or abdomen.

Some other people might find that they store the majority of their fat in lower backs, just above their tailbone area.

This is also quite a favorable place to store your fat, as it certainly is not as noticeable if compared to the stomach or the chest.

Some lucky people will also notice that their store their body fat pretty evenly across the entire body.

Very fit and athletic man doing sprint workout on stairs

This is going to allow you to look leaner overall, even if you're at higher body fat levels or percentages than others around you.

If you notice that this applies to you, you're extremely lucky.

It's all completely individual, and what applies to you could be completely different to what applies to your friends and the people around you.

Can You Change Your Body Fat Distribution?

Body fat distributions aren't really something that you can change.

They're determined by your genetics, and therefore cannot be altered, no matter what you do.

Don't get me wrong, you definitely can reduce the amount of fat you have on your body and work towards a leaner appearance if you want to.

However, if you find that you store the majority of your fat in your abdomen area and wished more of it would go on your arms of your chest, there's nothing you can do about that.

So How Can You Look Leaner?

Strong and lean man doing workout with kettlebell

Looking leaner is all about burning more energy throughout the day than you consume.

When we consumer food and drinks, we consume the energy stored inside of them and store that energy in our bodies.

In order to cause our bodies to burn fat, we need to burn more energy throughout the day than we eat from our food.

You can learn more about all of this in the following articles:

The best thing that you can do, regardless of your genetics is to get yourself in a sustainable calorie deficit, and then let that do its work on you.

If you would like some help with this, remember that there are lots of sources you can get it from. Both online and in-person.

So What Does This Mean For You?

Aside from impacting the way you look, your body fat distributions can also impact your health and cause some other complications.

Complications for Android Fat

According to this study conducted by Carolina Ika Sari, insulin resistance levels and glucose tolerance was impaired in groups of people that had higher (>9.5%) android fat on their bodies as opposed to those that had lower (<9.5%) android fat.

Man in business clothes holding his stomach fat

They concluded that: "Preferential fat accumulation in the android compartment is associated with increased cardiovascular and metabolic risk via alteration of endothelial function."

They also stated that; "elevated android fat may confer heightened CV risk and interventions to slow down the development of CV disease should specifically target android fat."

What About Gynoid Fat?

Some studies suggest that gynoid fat may be a little bit more protective of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases than android fat.

According to ScienceDirect, having too much android fat and not enough gynoid fat can lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and other health concerns.

However it should be noted that storing too much body fat isn't going to be healthy for anyone.

To Conclude

Body fat distribution refers to the way that fat is stored on your body, and where the majority of it goes if it's not burned off.

Remember that you can't change your body fat distributions, no matter how good or bad you think they are. That's up to genetics.

All that you can do, regardless of your genetics, is to get yourself into a sustainable calorie deficit and let your body do the work for you.

With the right work and commitments, almost anybody can look lean and fit.

Are you happy with your body fat distributions? Why or why not?

Let us know down in the comments section below!


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