I always go to my local gym every Tuesdays and Fridays, doing weight-lifting and cardio. Every time the gym is packed, I always see a lot of fat guys lifting enormous amounts of weight. This can be in the form of deadlifts or bench presses.
So, why are fat people strong? Is it true? The answer may surprise you because it’s simple. However, there’s a lot of science going on as well. Read on to find out more about this intriguing question!
Going back to my story, you can actually see a correlation between strength and the amount of fat a person has. I’m pretty sure that my experiences in the gym are not only exclusive to me.
I’ve lifted and did many workouts in other gyms, from the Philippines, Europe, and to the United States. I’m an active traveler and I always make it a point to try and hit a gym at least once or twice a week.
The more you go to gyms, the more kinds of people you’ll see. There’s that beginner who’s still clumsy and conscious about how he uses gym equipment. Then, there’s the savvy veteran that’s always hanging out near a cage. Finally, there’s also the toned women doing squats.
The more rare people that you’d get to see are fat people. Now, the word “fat” here may seem a little controversial. After all, fatness and leanness can be still vague and arbitrary. So for all of us being on the same page, we’ll define “fat” people as obese-looking. Surely, anyone will easily notice if a person is obese or extremely out of shape.
But here’s the interesting part, if ever you do see a fat person in the gym, they’re doing nothing but lift weights. That might sound normal, but remember, a well-rounded gym rat also uses treadmills, ab machines, and power cages.
As for these people, they usually only do bench presses, deadlifts, and squats. However, they do these in incredible fashion. When we mean “lifting” we’re talking about people lifting weights that reach above 300 pounds!
In Professional Sports
That’s backed up even more when you shift your focus from your local gym to the Olympics. Every Olympics, you’d always notice that fatter men are winning weightlifting competitions as opposed to the lean ones.
Good examples here are the recent winners of the super heavyweight division in the recent 2016 Rio de Janerio Olympics. Irakli Turmanidze, Gor Misasyan, and Lasha Talakhadze won bronze, silver, and gold respectively.
Moreover, iconic wrestlers like “Andre the Giant” and “The Big Show” in World Wrestling Entertainment are other concrete examples. In the NBA, the iconic Shaquille O’neal was regarded as the strongest basketball player of all time.
Oh, and who can forget about Sumo wrestlers wrangling each other out of the ring in Japan?
Why Are Fat People Strong? The Answer
The answer to why fat people are strong can be divided into three different categories. These tackle the connection between mass, the muscle recovery, and the help of large calorie intakes.
Mass Means Strength
To further explain this, let’s use the Sumo wrestlers as an example. Sumo wrestlers gain massive fat by eating a ton of noodles and rice. Chanko Nabe is a famous dish of these heavyweights that gives them a lot of protein, calories, and carbohydrates.
However, these wrestlers don’t just eat. Rather, they also exercise and do muscle-building training. When you incorporate these two, you’ll get fat and muscle at the same time.
That layer of muscle hides under the fat which is why on the outside, they don’t seem any different. You can really say that looks are deceiving here.
Not to mention, since their body is carrying all that fat, it will need to strengthen itself naturally in order to carry it everyday.
With that said, fat people who do strength-training are stronger. It’s not just “fat people”. There is always a second condition when we make this claim.
This here is really simple. Basically, the more you eat, the more nutrients (and unhealthy substances) you store. When you start shredding your muscles in the gym, and you eat a lot right after, your recovery will be faster.
So why does this make it fast? Well, imagine a fat person hitting the gym and going to a burger joint right after. He eats a basket of fries, onion rings, and a ½ pound burger with melted cheese. All of what he eats will have protein, calories, and other muscle-building elements to help him recover more.
Of course, there’s the healthy diet that’s high in protein for those who are looking to shed body fat. Protein is the number one nutrient that feeds your muscles. However, eating only protein-packed food can be challenging. Not to mention, this kind of diet is more directed to those who are looking for body aesthetics, not strength.
The last category is somehow connected to the recovery of your muscles. Since eating lots of food means you’re getting more calories, this also means you have more energy to spend.
When you have more energy stored in your body, you’re more likely to lift heavier and lift more frequently. Hence, you’re more likely to last in the endurance battle. Moreover, lifting more frequently adjusts your body to the pressure it receives.
If you burn a lot of calories and you don’t replace them, you’ll have a harder time lifting weight. This is why a lot of professional trainers don’t recommend intense cardio exercises before lifting since this can hinder your strength.
Overweight individuals, on the other hand, have a lot of extra calories to spend.
Wrapping It Up
Being fat doesn’t necessarily translate to being strong. Remember, all those gold medalists in weightlifting competitions didn’t achieve that just by eating. To be exceptionally strong, they go through heavy training and immense strength-conditioning.
However, keep in mind that you don’t have to be fat to be as strong as they are. Just because fatter people can be stronger doesn’t mean that you’re not. At the end of the day, you’d want to be a well-rounded person that’s healthy in all categories.