I am skinny (178 cm, 63 kg) but have a lot of visceral fat around the belly.

Should I bulk up first then worry about my belly fat? Or should I burn the fat first?

Ideally, I would like to achieve both simultaneously, but a bit of scavenging around the Internet revealed that losing fat and gaining muscles at the same time is impossible.

  • Most folks who start lifting weights for the first time get a couple weeks of fat-loss and muscle-growth (often called hypertrophy in literature) - this period is short-lived, and depends greatly on how hard you lift, and what your individual hormone levels are.
    – john3103
    Sep 17, 2015 at 15:00
  • @john3103 I think I'm through with that phase. I've been lightly working out for around 6 months now and packed on some muscles during the first couple of months. I don't really see any visible muscle gains nowadays. Sep 18, 2015 at 2:35

3 Answers 3


I'm going to wildly disagree with Mårten and forbid you from cutting. You are already extremely skinny and it's going to be near to impossible for you to get rid of that last little bit of belly fat without having any muscle in your body.

Start eating +3000 kcal every day, lift heavy every other day. Until you've gained about 15 kg (which will take a while) don't even worry about cutting. You'll feel and look much better before that, though.

  • I agree with you but I would put a reasonable timeframe for the 15kg. It should take at least a good year otherwise it will be mostly fat. Sep 17, 2015 at 17:46
  • A year to gain 15 kg? Isn't that a little bit overboard? Many transformation videos and images that are flooding online forums last from 30 to 100 days. Sep 18, 2015 at 2:47
  • @Error 404 Gaining 15 kg is really easy if you just eat cake and pizza. Gaining 15 kg of mainly muscle will probably take closer to a couple of years. I wouldn't trust anyone that told you anything much different, especially if they're trying to sell you their magical program in the process.
    – erictrigo
    Sep 18, 2015 at 7:47
  • Beginners with body fat percentage > 15 (like the OP) should just recomp. They don't need any caloric surplus to gain muscle. 2500cal/day would be fine in his case. Jan 15, 2019 at 21:34

If you start lifting, progressive overloading, and eating at maintenance your body composition will change and that visceral fat most likely will go away.


The best way to lose visceral fat is to do high intensity exercise, running intervals is a good way. In fact, the amount of exercise you get might have an effect on wether fat is stored viscerally or subcutaneously. Sumo wrestlers are known for being very fat, but they are also highly active and very strong, and they don't have much visceral fat or metabolic problems.

So if you plan to do high intensity exercise, bulking up is fine, otherwise you might want to cut down first.

  • I appreciate your reply, but may I trouble you with one more question? Do I need a calorie surplus or a deficit? Sep 17, 2015 at 6:26
  • If you're bulking, surplus, otherwise, deficit, but as I said, it seems to be possible to reduce visceral fat even on a surplus.
    – Mårten
    Sep 17, 2015 at 6:29

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