The Types of Body Fat and How They Are Stored



Let’s talk body fat...it is important to note that fat is called adipose tissue when stored in the body but for ease, we will use the two words interchangeably.

Contrary to popular belief adipose isn't inherently bad.

In fact, adipose is needed for many functions in our body–from the cellular level all the way up to macro level functions such as helping with insulation, storing energy for future use, and protecting vital organs. In fact, there are only a handful of places in your body that you can’t find the adipose tissue.

But there are differences in the type of body fat, where it is located on the body, and even differences between men and women. Let’s dive in.

The Types of Body Fat: Adipose

You may think that adipose is just simply adipose, but like many things in the human body, it can be a bit more detailed than that. Here is a quick rundown of the differences.

White Adipose: This is the stuff that you think of when you think about body fat. It is used for functions such as energy storage, insulation, and protection (think of this type of fat like airbags that pad important areas).

Brown Adipose: This type is much less known than its counterpart above but still important. Brown adipose is very metabolically active and plays an important role in regulating body temperature and metabolic rate. We won’t be focusing on it too much, but just know there is another type besides white adipose to explore in more detail if you wish.

How Body Fat Is Stored: "Good" and "Bad" Adipose

Location, location, location... This is where we start to see the differences between “good” adipose and “bad” fat.

Subcutaneous adipose is white adipose that is located closer to the skin and accounts for the majority of the body fat found in the body.

Visceral fat is where we can run into big problems if this particular area is very high. Visceral fat is the white adipose tissue that can be found deeper in the abdomen area, surrounding our organs. This particular type is very metabolically active and can affect hormone levels greatly. In fact, visceral obesity has been shown to increase the risk for all kinds of nasty consequences; cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, some cancers, and even complications due to infection during hospital stays.

To put it simply, if you have an “apple” shape, where more body fat is stored in the abdomen, you may have higher visceral fat levels. While if you have more of a “pear” shape, where more body fat is stored in the hips and thighs, you may have lower visceral fat levels. Now, this isn’t certain or definite without an actual test, but it is a rather accurate generalization.

To learn your visceral fat levels you will need a more in-depth body fat testing method than calipers or a handheld device. You will need a DEXA scan, CT scan, Ultrasound, or a test called an ADP test. Usually, you would find these tests in a clinical setting like a hospital. However, check with local public universities near you, as DEXA and ADP testing equipment may be available for the general public upon request.

Body Fat Differences Between Men & Women

As I’m sure you are aware, body fat tends to store differently in men and women.

Of course, women have to store body fat in certain areas in relation to childbearing. Generally, women have higher amounts of total body fat but are more likely to store excess adipose in the “pear” shape we discussed above, in the hips and thighs.

Men, on the other hand, tend to have less amount of total body fat overall but they store excess adipose in the mid-section with the “apple” shape.

So What Does All the Science Mean to Me?

As a coach and trainer that works with clients to decrease their visceral fat levels, I think it is important that you understand the basics. Try to prevent or decrease the amount of body fat around the abdomen area and understand that by doing so you may be able to decrease the risk of all kinds of bad side effects happening down the road. Of course, nothing is promised but why not try to control what you can control?

The great thing is you already know what can help you! Having a healthy and consistent diet, exercising regularly (using both regular strength training and cardiovascular exercise), getting adequate sleep, trying to control stress, and using proper supplementation when needed can all go a long way in your journey! 

References

Fox, C. S., Massaro, J. M., Hoffmann, U., Pou, K. M., Maurovich-Horvat, P., Liu, C. Y., . . . O'Donnell, C. J. (2007, July 03). Abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue compartments: Association with metabolic risk factors in the Framingham Heart Study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17576866

Gray, H. F., & D., H. D. (2003). Grays anatomy (16th ed.). East Molesey.: Merchant Book.

Karastergiou, K., Smith, S. R., Greenberg, A. S., & Fried, S. K. (2012, May 31). Sex differences in human adipose tissues – the biology of pear shape. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3411490/

Shuster, A., Patlas, M., Pinthus, J. H., & Mourtzakis, M. (2012, January). The clinical importance of visceral adiposity: A critical review of methods for visceral adipose tissue analysis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3473928/

Trayhurn, P., & Beattie, J. H. (2001, August). Physiological role of adipose tissue: White adipose tissue as an endocrine and secretory organ. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11681807

 



The world’s most personalized pre-workout.
What is your stimulant tolerance?
zero
no stims for me thanks
low
a standard energy drink or cup of coffee is enough for me
medium
I drink multiple energy drinks or cups of coffee a day and/or I take pre-workout before the gym
high
I drink pre-workouts or energy drinks all day long
What is your goal?

Enhanced Performance
start a fitness program and/or take it to the next level

Weight Loss
fat loss and cutting

Muscle Growth
gain strength and size
Do you play collegiate or competitive sports?
yes
no
Alpha Amino BCAA

Alpha Amino is the ultimate performance, hydration and recovery sports drink powder. Its premium formula is built on the power of amino acids and formulated with ingredients that promote healthy fluid balance. Alpha Amino has 14 Amino Acids including a well-studied 2:1:1 BCAA ratio. These Amino Acids support the body’s ability to fuel skeletal muscles, preserve muscle glycogen stores and reduce protein breakdown.

  • Performance BCAA’s with 0g Sugar
  • 14 Amino Acids
  • 5g BCAA’s in the clinically studied 2:1:1 ratio
  • Electrolytes for hydration
  • Zero Stimulants & Zero Sugar
C4 Sport

C4 Sport! If you are a collegiate athlete or play sports competitively, C4 Sport is the perfect pre-workout for you because it is NSF Certified for Sport. C4 will help you tackle your training in the gym and on the field.

  • Boosts energy + focus
  • Enhances muscular endurance
  • 135mg of caffeine
  • Contains CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine, an amino acid, patented and clinically studied form of beta-alanine that has been shown to support muscular endurance
  • NSF certification is trusted by the MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAA, and everyday athletes alike
C4 Original

C4 Original! This is our best-selling pre-workout with more than 1.3 billion servings sold! C4 Original is perfect for you if you are new to the pre-workout game or you are seeking a lower stimulant C4.

  • Perfect for energy, focus and pumps
  • Good if you’re at the start your fitness journey/want to step up your workouts
  • 150mg of caffeine

Pro tip: If you are just starting out on a pre-workout, take half a scoop to assess tolerance level.*

Also available in convenient, bottled, ON THE GO formula!

C4 Ripped

C4 Ripped! If your goal is to lose weight, C4 Ripped is the perfect pre-workout for you.

  • Helps you train harder while supporting your body’s ability to burn fat
  • Creatine-free
  • Includes ingredients like Green Coffee Bean Extract to support weight loss
  • 150mg of caffeine
  • L-Carnitine Tartrate

Also available in convenient, bottled, ON THE GO formula!

C4 Extreme Energy

C4 Extreme! If you love energy drinks and are always on the hunt for higher caffeine levels, C4 Extreme is for you.

  • C4 Extreme is the most stimulating C4 pre-workout
  • 2x as much caffeine than C4 Original
  • 2x as much CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine (tingles) than C4 Original
  • 300mg of caffeine
C4 Ultimate

C4 Ultimate! If you’re a seasoned gym goer who loves pre-workouts and you’re looking for a fully-loaded, high-impact pre-workout, C4 Ultimate has what you need.

  • The most powerful C4 created
  • Per scoop: 300mg caffeine, 6g Citrulline Malate, 3.2g of CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine, 1.5g Nitrosigine®, 1.5g Creatine Nitrate, plus a powerful blend of nootropics
  • Fully-loaded formula packs a heavy punch of ingredients for focus, endurance, and pumps to help push you to your ultimate limit
  • Formulated for the ultimate – not entry level

Also available in convenient, bottled, ON THE GO formula!

BCAA Sport

BCAA Sport! If you are a collegiate athlete – or play sports competitively, BCAA Sport is a perfect stimulant-free option for you, because it is NSF® Certified for Sport®! BCAA Sport supports all day hydration & recovery, to maximize your workout results

  • All Day Hydration & Recovery
  • Supports All Day Hydration & Recovery
  • Zero Stimulants & Zero Sugar
  • 4G BCAA’s, 2.25G Added Amino Acids, 2G Added Glutamine, and Added Electrolytes
  • NSF® Certified for Sport®
CN3

CN3&trad; combines 3 forms of Creatine into a stimulant-free 3-in-1 Creatine complex! Providing 6.25 total grams consisting of micronized Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Nitrate, and Creatine Hydrochloride. CN3&trad; is an amazing product to be taken before, during, or after a workout. Looking to amplify Strength & Pumps? CN3&trad; has got you covered!

  • Strength & Pump Amplifier
  • Stimulant free
  • Includes Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Nitrate, and Creatine HCL
  • Unflavored or flavored
CLK

Cellucor CLK® is a stimulant free toning and sculpting supplement built on the power of four all-star weight loss ingredients: CLA, Raspberry Ketones, Carnitine, and the latest in diet support; Slimpro®.

  • Stimulant Free Fat Loss
  • Stimulant free toning and sculpting formula
  • Powered by four ingredients to support weight loss
  • Can be taken standalone, or paired with C4 Ripped (C4 Ripped contains stimulants)
  • Raspberry flavored softgels

Share & Contribute

Do you have a story or would you like to be a contributor? We'd love to hear from you.

Learn How