A man with abs measuring his body fat
How body fat affects your six pack abs

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ven though it’s normally associated with unhealthy living, body fat also has a role. It acts as shock absorber and energy storage site. Getting rid of it completely is just as dangerous as leaving it to take over your body. Find out how body fat affects your six pack abs.

[pull_quote_center]Regardless of your shape, size and fitness level, you are bound to carry some body fat.[/pull_quote_center]

How much and where on your body it appears most, differs from one person to the next. Men tend to store the extra fat around their waistline giving them an “apple shape”. Women, on the other hand, tend to have more fat around the buttocks area and thighs, giving the female body a distinct “pear shape”.

Types of body fat

Even if you are a typical Skinny Muscles reader or in other words – a skinny guy who wants to gain weight, build muscles and look good – you would (at some point) be thinking about your body fat. That’s because regardless of our shape, our bodies contain adipose tissue – the fancy name for body fat.

There are two major types of body fat – visceral and subcutaneous:

VISCERAL BODY FAT

Also referred to as active fat, visceral fat is the fat stored within your abdominal cavity. That’s the type of fat that surrounds a number of important organs such as your liver, pancreas and intestines. It’s called active because it can affect the function of your hormones.

HOW DOES VISCERAL BODY FAT AFFECT YOUR ABS?

We all carry some amount of visceral body fat. High levels of internal fat can have a dangerous effect on your health and increase your risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, some types of cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease.

So, how does it affect your abs? The simple answer is – very little. Because visceral fat is inside your gut, it is unlikely to affect the appearance of your abs. Although, high levels of internal body fat could push your belly out and affect the “flatness” of your stomach. If that’s the case, then you should really address that and consult with your GP.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE HIGH VISCERAL FAT?

The most reliable way to find out how much visceral fat you carry is to undergo an MRI scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan. However, this is an expensive procedure, used for the diagnosis of serious health problems.

Much more practical and relatively accurate way to get an idea about the amount of internal fat you carry is by measuring your waistline. According to scientists from Harvard University, 10% of your total fat is likely to be stored as visceral fat.

SUBCUTANEOUS FAT

That’s the type of fat that’s stored beneath your skin and it makes up about 80% of your total body fat. Subcutaneous fat acts as a shock absorber protecting your body against trauma. It is also a source of energy which your body burns when you workout or do other activities that require a lot of energy.

HOW DOES SUBCUTANEOUS FAT AFFECT YOUR ABS?

This is the type of body fat responsible for the appearance of your abs. Because it lies between the muscle tissue and the skin, subcutaneous fat reduces the definition of your six pack abs. The higher the level of subcutaneous fat, the less defined your abs will look.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE HIGH SUBCUTANEOUS FAT?

If you are reading this, you probably have a reason to think that your subcutaneous fat level is a bit high. There are many ways to measure your body fat and they all vary in accuracy. The easiest way to do that at home is the so called “skin fold” method. All you do is pinch your skin with your fingers to form a double fold and measure its thickness with a body fat calliper. You can purchase a body fat caliper online for less than £10.00 on amazon.co.uk.

If you only want a rough estimate of your body fat percentage, then you can compare your shape against those pictured below. The purpose of that is just to give you a very rough estimate!

Body fat chart
Body fat percentage chart – men and women

[quote_box_center]Please feel free to share your body fat tips by leaving a comment or join the discussion on your favourite social media channel – #bodyfat.[/quote_box_center]

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