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  1. #1
    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT supporting member
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    How Jacked is a Fat Dude?

    Everyone intuitively understands that fat people are carrying additional muscle to compensate for the heavy load of adipose tissue they have to lug around everywhere they go. Exactly how much muscle is that? Since I don't have an obese person and a pair of calipers handy, I decided to estimate this using averages for height, weight, BMI and body fat percentage.

    Obesity is defined as both 25+% body fat, and 30+ BMI. If an adult male (at 68 inches tall) has a BMI just north of 30, then he weighs around 198 pounds (obese by BMI); If the same dude really is obese by body fat percent then at least 25% of that 198 is fat, ie: 49.5 pounds of adipose, and a lean tissue weight of 148.5 pounds. If this same man were of "normal" BMI (around 21) he'd weigh 140, and with a "normal" body fat % he'd be carrying around 29.5 pounds of fat, with a lean weight of only 140-29.5=110.5. If this fellow were to drop from his 198 state to his 140 state he'd be losing 20 pounds of fat and 38 pounds of muscle. Put another way, if the guy managed to lose only fat weight, he'd be a strong 187 pounds instead of a teeny little 140 pound geek.

    I've been going through a similar process myself, but I've been doing everything possible to minimize the muscle loss. Even so I've dropped about 12 pounds of muscle losing about the same 20 pounds of fat. It's a shame we can't keep all our "big fella" strength when we cut. Still, I think a lot of dudes drop way more muscle than necessary when they make a big cut like that. Liposuction anyone?
    Last edited by Matt Phillips; 8/02/2011 12:12pm at .
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    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

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  2. #2
    WhiteShark's Avatar
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    This is too general to be useful. Training with lots of guys bigger than me I can tell you right now it depends on the fat guy. Fat guys that used to be in shape like former powerlifters or football players are downright scary. Fat guys that got fat playing xbox are pretty average in terms of strength.

  3. #3
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    I'm talking about the xbox guy; just trying to estimate how much extra muscle is developed just to retain mobility. It seems like it's a lot.
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    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

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  4. #4
    WhiteShark's Avatar
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    muscle mass isn't always directly proportional to strength I guess is my point.

  5. #5
    CNagy's Avatar
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    As a fat guy who used to be really strong (wrestling, weight-lifting, soccer and basketball) and then become X-box guy fat (PC, but same thing) due to a mobility injury that kept me from doing much more than walking and light jogging for several years, I can say that the places where I retained a greater degree of strength were my legs and back. Because I got a lot weaker everywhere else, I assume I was using these areas more extensively just to stay mobile.

    Legs and back are huge muscle groups, it's not surprising that even a fairly inactive fat guy is going to be carrying a lot of muscle weight there. And while I'm not any sort of expert in this, I imagine that's also the source of a lot of muscle loss when fat guys slim down; unless you work to keep it, the muscle that you gained to stay mobile no longer becomes necessary for movement as you drop weight, and the body is really good at getting rid of muscle you don't use. Again though, not an expert by any stretch, just a fat guy working to lose weight and keep as much muscle as possible.

  6. #6
    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT supporting member
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteShark View Post
    muscle mass isn't always directly proportional to strength I guess is my point.
    This is absolutely correct in general. In this particular case I think it's clear that the muscle the dude had when he was tubby was there for a reason (ie: to allow him to be able to walk around with the weight), and not added artificially by an hypertrophy centered body building program. I think CNagy nails the legs and back as the main location of the muscle. Ever look at the legs and back of a girl that's getting heavy?

    The only method I can think of so far to retain the strength and/or muscle is to do my cardio with large amounts of body weights, although I'm wide open to suggestions.
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    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Phillips View Post
    I'm talking about the xbox guy; just trying to estimate how much extra muscle is developed just to retain mobility. It seems like it's a lot.
    Wouldn't it be mostly in their legs?

  8. #8
    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT supporting member
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    Legs and back most likely. OTH imagine living 24/7 in a 60-70 pound weighted suit. My guess is you'd build some muscle everywhere
    Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

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  9. #9
    TaeBo_Master's Avatar
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    You're also making the assumption that the person isn't changing their percentages at all. In the example from the OP, it's entirely possible for the 198 lb. guy to drop 50 lbs. by losing 40 of fat and 10 of muscle, or for that matter, 10 of fat and 40 of muscle.
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  10. #10
    money's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Phillips View Post
    The only method I can think of so far to retain the strength and/or muscle is to do my cardio with large amounts of body weights, although I'm wide open to suggestions.
    Interesting concept - you could keep adding external weight as you slim down in order to keep working out with the same total weight.

    Anecdotally, I used to work with a girl who had recently lost a ton of weight. Her calves and ass were phenomenal - I assumed it was from hauling around all the weight.

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