Does fat or muscle absorb punches?

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So let’s say you have a guy with a normal build, a person with more belly fat and a person with large abs. They all get punched in the stomach. Who is worse off, and why so?

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Fat is absolutely a protective barrier. That’s literally one of it’s major functions in living things and in more subtle ways than you might think. Fat, in it’s various forms, works as an insulator, a protective barrier, and an energy store. I’m sure there are many more functions one could point to, but it definitely works to absorb physical trauma.

Think of it as a much simpler machine like a car. A car has various components that vary in durability and function. The higher the function, the less the durability and vice versa. For instance, cars have bumpers. Their function is to absorb energy, and they are really good at it. They can aford to be because they don’t do much else. That’s fat. Limited in function. High in durability. Now move on to the engine. It’s responsible for a much higher level of functionality. Is it durable? Sure, within it’s intended function. But metal or not, if it takes a direct hit in an accident, you’re going to have major problems. That’s your muscles. Now consider all the hoses that move fluids around your car. Those are pretty susceptible to damage. That’s why they are hidden deep in areas of the vehicle where they are protected by more durable parts of the car. That’s your organs. Last, think about the electrical system. It’s the most complex system and also the least durable. Pull the right fuse and the car will never start. Cut the right cable and nothing works. Damage the computer and things may never work the same again. That’s your brain and neurological system. Can any of those systems take a hit and survive? Sure. But the ramifications of a bad hit are drastically different.