Three Different Types of Body Fat

There are several types of fat that can accumulate in different places within our bodies. In fact, the areas of your body that store more or less fat, will depend on your gender and of course, on your daily habits. 
Three Different Types of Body Fat

Last update: 06 September, 2018

Maybe you’ve experienced fat loss in some areas of your body, while other areas stay the same. This is usually because your body fat is different throughout your entire body. That’s why exercises to lose fat in your belly may be different than those to lose fat in your thighs. Keep reading to learn more about this.

Fat isn’t the enemy

We’ve made fat the culprit of either our obesity, or when we don’t feel confident in a swimsuit. However, we must keep in mind that we do actually need it!

obesity overweight differences

As long as you have a healthy body fat percentage (3 percent in men and 8-12 percent in women), fat actually helps you to survive , given that it protects your  vital organs. Your body converts the remainder into energy, for when you exercise or make any physical effort.

Therefore, beyond the weight we see on the scale, it’s important to know how much fat we store in our bodies. Because even after weeks of constant exercise, we might weigh the same as before – or even more – as fat can also be “replaced” with muscle mass.

Not everyone’s fat accumulates in the same way; it’s more likely that women will store more fat in their hips, while men store it in their belly. Although of course, it is possible for a woman to have a bigger belly and for men to have thicker legs.

 Tell me where your fat is and I’ll tell you how to reduce it!

belly fat

On the assumption that small amounts of fat are not harmful to the body, it’s essential to know the different areas in which fat tends to accumulate. Fat accumulation often brings health issues and problems with self-esteem.

Basically, there are three different types of body fat, this depends on: where in the body it is located, the function of the fat and at what age body fat appears:

1. Visceral fat

Also known as organ fat, it’s located in the abdominal cavity. Besides being the hardest fat to lose, it’s also the most dangerous one. It’s related to obesity, diabetes and heart attacks.

It’s found more frequently in men than in women, and to reduce it you must do high-intensity workouts, such as: HIIT, Crossfit or boxing. In these types of workouts you speed up your metabolism and burn fat (not only belly fat, but also in other areas).

2. Subcutaneous fat

This accumulates in arms and legs, and it’s located below the skin. Although it’s not inside or between the organs, it covers a wider area of the body. It’s more common in women, and especially in the glutes and hips.

In order to reduce this type of fat (which isn’t easy to do, by the way), you should do strength exercises. But pay attention and do not just do localized exercises; your workout should tackle all muscles, since it’s not possible for this fat to disappear in only one part of your body. By doing a total body workout, subcutaneous fat will slowly and evenly melt away.

3. Intramuscular fat

Located inside the skeletal muscle fibers, when we compare intramuscular fat with the other types, this one is stored in a lesser amount. It can be found in both men and women and is progressive with age. It’s not really necessary to reduce it unless it represents a problem to your health. Healthy habits and a healthy diet will have this fat under control.

It’s also important to know that fat in your body will change as you age. As a child you accumulate the fat that will give you energy and speed up your metabolism; in early adulthood you store some of the fat that you need, in case you spend days without eating. By the time you’re older, you store a mixture of the two.

Lastly, keep in mind that fat can be stored in different areas depending on your habits and your diet. For example, if you eat an excess of sugar, you’ll notice a bigger belly; if you spend too much time sitting, you will see bigger glutes, and if you notice flabby arms and a double chin, then you might be overeating.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.