Most of the informations found in this article have been taken from Lyle McDonald’s “The Stubborn Fat Solution” book. Super worth the read & highly recommended.

But yeah, today I wanna talk about what bodyfat is, its different forms, why it sucks, what it does and what it’s needed for… So yeah, without further-ado, let’s get started!

What is body fat?

If we wanna be nerdy, the right term to use to describe bodyfat is “adipose tissue”.It is made up of an enormous amount of cells called adipocytes (where adipo means fat & cyte means cell).

Actually it should be defined as an organ since it’s not just “dead” weight as it’s typically defined, because it serves multiple functions in the body. Things such as hormones & metabolism regulation, which are very important stuff.

..While basically “all” of the bodyfat is lost the same way, there are still different types of bodyfat that vary on their composition, color and site (where they’re localized), and because of these things, some fat is lost more easily in some areas than the others. And no I’m not talking about spot reduction. Here they are:

brown adipose tissue (BAT):

In humans, the primary type of fat cell is called white adipose tissue, or WAT, and of course it is called like this because of its color. It is one of the two types of adipose tissue found in mammals, together with the brown one, and it is used primarily as a store of energy.

The classification of brown fat refers to two distrinct cell populations with similar functions. The first shares a common embryological origin with muscle cells, found in larger “classic” deposits. The second develops from white adipocytes that are stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system. These adipocytes are found interspersed in white adipose tissue and are also named ‘beige’ or brite.

Brown fat is mostly found “in highly vascularized deposits” such as between shoulder blades, surrounding the kidneys, the neck, in the supraclavicular area and along the spinal cord, and yeah, BAT is specialized for being burned off as heat for that non-shivering thermogenesis, in order to regulate the body’s temperature.

Quite infact, in newborns for example, BAT makes up around 5% of the total body MASS, and it’s located around the back/shoulder/spine area (which is then lost with growth).

Just think about how great our body is: it guarantees protection in the early stages for our bodies to avoid hypotermia. How cool is that?

Visceral Fat:

Also known as INTRA-abdominal fat), located INSIDE the abdominal cavity, the visceral fat is packed between the organs (stomach, liver, intestines, kidneys, etc.) and because of this reason, it can be very dangerous.

Quite infact, excess visceral fat is linked to coronary heart disease[1,2] , type 2 diabetes [3, 4], inflammatory diseases [5] and other obesity related diseases. As opposed to the other types of fat, Visceral fat is more metabolically active, meaning that it responds more effectively to fat mobilizing/burning than the other ones. It also has a better blood flow, which means it’s easier to get that fat out of the fat cell and get it oxydized.
Plus, it doesn’t really respond to insulin – meaning that even when insulin is high and fat loss is “inhibited” – Visceral fat still releases fatty acids to be oxydized.

It could be  because of your body wanting to get rid of it ASAP for safety purposes but don’t quote me on that.

Intramuscular Trygliceride (IMTG):

is the fat contained inside the skeletal muscle fibers, which actually contributes to the overall muscle volume, and it serves as an energy store that can be used during exercise. Yep, your muscle is made of fat aswell. Unfortunately it’s also the very first type of fat that “goes off” when starting the diet, and that’s one of the reasons why you end up looking skinny fat when dieting after a good Bulk.

….Did you know there’s actually essential bodyfat aswell?

Yep, it’s the least amount of bodyfat you can carry, and it varies for both men and women: The percentage of essential fat is 2–5% in men, and 10–13% in women (due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions). Going lower would make you die.

Quite infact Andreas Münzer, (a famous bodybuilder) died because of his extremely low levels of bodyfat. So, next time you see somebody claiming lower than essential bodyfat, know that they’re either texting you from heaven or they’re just f’ing with you….

Lastly, we've got the "Subcutaneous fat"..

which is the fat under the skin. It’s exactly the fat that jiggles, the one you don’t like and it’s the fat that makes up most of the total fat mass of your body. It is your lower belly fat and your love handles (typically for men) and it is your thighs & glutes (typically for women).

Luckily it is not that harmful other than being jiggly and soft and fun to pinch, but it is also the most difficult to burn off, especially in the areas YOU want to lose it the most.

This takes me to an ulterior dinstinction to make: The Stubborn Bodyfat. This is basically the last bit of bodyfat that becomes one hell of a hard task to burn off, and it has its own spot in the article because it needs a detailed approach to target it. It’s stubborn, and it’s stubborn because of its composition, but I will make a complete separate article on it. Probably the one after this.

Subcutaneous fat can then be divided because of sex differences arise during puberty[6, 7]: infact, men and women have typically different bodyfat patterns that we can recognize.

Men for example tend to accumulate more bodyfat in their midsection, aka belly fat and lower back fat with pretty much skinny legs. Not all of them but most of them.

Women on the other side tend to accumulate more bodyfat in their lower body & breasts (if lucky) while having a flat belly or actually abs showing up. Not all of them but most of them. These two different patterns are called:

– “Android bodyfat pattern” (typical men fat distribution)

– “Gynoid bodyfat pattern” (typical women bodyfat distribution)

And here's why!

The main differences between the two types happen because of sex hormones: Estrogen and Testosterone.

In women, estrogen is predominant and its circulation inhibits fat placement in the abdominal region of the body, leading to fat deposition around areas such as thighs, breasts and buttocks.

Men, on the other hand, with a higher Testosterone to estrogen ratio display an “android bodyfat pattern”, which stores body fat  in their mid section.

Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, (characterised by low estrogen) display more male type fat distributions such as a higher waist-to-hip ratio. [8, 9]. Quite infact measuring a person’s estrogen to testosterone ratio can reveal their predicted gynoid to android fat distribution. [10]

…But that’s not all!

Sex differences on fat distribution are closely associated with whole body metabolism and long-term health aswell. Gluteal-femoral/Gynoid fat has a “more protective effect” to the body in contrast to the Android one, which is related to higher risk of CVD, diabetes, mortality, and all that jazz as previously mentioned. [11, 12, 13]  

On the other hand, Android fat has apparently “more of a survival role” and is utilised by the body as an energy source when energy supplies are low, meaning that it is also more easily oxydized, in contrast to the reproductive functions of gynoid fat.

If you remember, in the article where I talked about Fats, I mentioned the importance of fish oils or omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and how they are kind of a big deal when it comes to overall health and well being because of the zillion of benefits they provide when consumed. I also talked about their importance on the healthy formation and function of neurons and brain development of the newborns [14] , and… guess what!

Breast fat is mainly composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids AKA Omega 3 Omega 6 essential fatty acids, (specifically Docosahexaenoic acid and Arachidonic acid), which have been shown to play crucial roles in the healthy formation and functions of neurons. It basically contains all of that good stuff in order to guarantee the infant the greatest physical gains he can make in his/her early stages of development.

So yeah, your body is also smart enough to supply itself with stored energy for the upcoming children. It don’t give an F about you wanting to get shredded, girl. As a female’s capacity for reproduction comes to an end, the fat distribution within the female body begins a transition from the gynoid type to more of an android type distribution. This is evidenced by the percentages of android fat being far higher in post-menopausal than pre-menopausal women. [15,16]

(This also mean that all the risk mentioned above increase for menopausal women due to the change in bodyfat distribution!) [17]

If you thought you were just fat, you can atleast differentiate the types of fat you’re made of. This article was aimed to be just a summary, or a “first bite” of the things you gotta know about bodyfat, before diving into more interesting stuff.

Thanks for reading and happy Easter 2018!

See you on the next one,


Eugen Loki

Author Eugen Loki

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