Why are weight lifters so fat?


Don’t get me wrong, I understand they’re athletes and work tremendously hard, but they all have their bellies hanging over their belts. Wouldn’t be less fat make it easier to lift a weight since you’re also not lifting your own fat?

In: Biology

Because they eat a lot to build muscle and probably don’t think much about body fat % so they don’t look as chiselled as a body builder would. They just need to eat high intake of calories given the sheer amount of weight they wish to lift will take a lot of energy.

They are not as fat as they look. There is a lot of muscle under the fat layer. They train for strength, not looks and thus do not do aerobics to lose the extra fat.

The calorie control necessary to shed fat is actually prohibitive to their goals. They consume as much fuel as possible, to gain as much muscle and strength as possible. Hence why they can lift significantly more than body builders who focus on appearance rather than capability.

when you build muscle, you also gain fat. that’s unavoidable. most “bodybuilders” go through two stages, the bulking phase (gaining muscle and fat) then the cutting phase to reach their ideal weight and keeping as much muscle mass as possible. men and women are different. men are able to reach 2-4% body fat, while women are generally unable to go less than 10-12%. so men may look way more ripped/lean compared to women. bodybuilding also cuts down to super low bodyfat percentages for aesthics, since that’s the main focus of competition.

however, for power lifting, it’s a bit different, you need to stay functional and having some fat is actually beneficially as it prevents injury. the 87+kg category, and competition like the worlds strongest man/woman, has no upper limit on weight, so you want to build as much muscle as possible and not worry about cutting the fat to meet the weight class. so most competitors there look huge. but if you look at all the other weight classes where there are upper limits on the weight, then those competitors will cut down to a lower body fat percentage.

Low body fat % does not equal strong, it equals low body fat percentage. This is a reason why the strongest men in the world do NOT have visible abs.

Sure, and if they didn’t have all that muscle they’d have even less body weight to lift. And yet, they go to quite a lot of effort to build muscle.

It’s just that the human body really wants to stay alive. If you starve it, it’s not going to waste precious energy building muscle that may or may not be needed.

So if you want to build a lot of muscle, you need to eat food. And when you do that, the body, again wanting to stay alive, goes “actually, there’s enough here that we can save some of it for a rainy day”, and so it is converted to fat.

The human body is not a machine. It can’t be programmed or ordered around, and fat isn’t such a bad thing.