Fit But Fat?

Fit But Fat?

Is this possible? It seems like a logical question….how can someone who works out so much still be overweight?

Take for example any lineman on a professional football team. While they will not set any records for the 50 yard dash, there is little argument that they can likely bench press the combined weight of my immediate family. Are they not fit? How about triathletes in the ‘Athena’ or ‘Clydesdale’ divisions? These individuals are competing in what is considered a very rigorous cardiovascular event, yet are in a special division due to their size. Have you ever watched the ‘Strongman Competitions’ on ESPN? I am sure at some point you have….who can resist seeing someone pull an airplane or carry boulders up the stairs in a stadium? None of these athletes look like Arnold from the 70’s. Yet, no one doubts their strength and endurance. How about comparing a Heavyweight Boxer to a Welterweight? I would not want to mess with either of them, regardless of their size. The examples can go on and on.

Throughout my athletic career, which has spanned from AAU to Collegiate to Masters level competitions, I have seen people of all shapes and sizes training and competing at high levels…yet they do not have the stereotypical ‘buff’ physique. A recent article in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that even overweight individuals who exercised regularly had significantly better biomarkers than sedentary individuals. Biomarkers are things such as: resting heat rate, blood sugar level, cholesterol, HDL/LDL, various hormones, etc.

I am not condoning using this as an excuse to eat what you want and maintain an unhealthy weight, but rather as a means to encourage you to continue to exercise….even if you don’t achieve the results you like right away. The benefits of regular exercise can have tremendous benefits for the body, even though it may not necessarily be reflected in the mirror.

Citations

  • Zemková E, Kyselovičová O, Jeleň M, Kováčiková Z, Ollé G, Řtefániková G, Vilman T, Baláž M, Kurdiová T, Ukropec J, Ukropcová B. Three months of resistance training in overweight and obese individuals improves reactive balance control under unstable conditions. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017;30(2):353-362. PubMed PMID: 27858700

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