There’s a common consensus in our modern world that being fat, or overweight, is unhealthy, socially irresponsible, and the result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
If a person is overweight, there is usually a certain stigma attached to them, many would believe them to be lazy and complacent. However, weight is actually a spectrum.
A person who is slightly heavier than the average person can still lead a long and happy lifestyle. So why does this stigma still exist?
Gyms are highly popular facilities worldwide that allow everyone to keep on top of their physical fitness and health. However, within these spaces, there is commonly a heavy stigma associated with excess body fat.
So why is it that so many weightlifters, bodybuilders, or otherwise strong men are so fat? This can come down to a number of factors, and if you’ve ever asked this question yourself, prepare to have it answered as we explore why strongmen are commonly fat.
What Is A Strongman?
Before we begin, it is well worth discussing what a strongman really is, as there are many common misconceptions of them. Unlike their weightlifting counterparts, Strongmen instead focus on showing off their strength in a varying number of events.
These events can include weightlifting, or pulling heavy objects over their shoulders. Their performance in each of these events is recorded and then tallied up to a total. The winner is decided on who racks up the highest score based on their performance.
This is unlike other strength-based sports, such as bodybuilding or weightlifting, which are entirely focused on the athlete’s performance in that one event.
It is common that people incorrectly refer to bodybuilders and weightlifters as strongmen, due to the similarities inherent in their events.
Why Are Strongmen Fat?
This is attributed to a few factors. First is the purpose for which strongmen build their strength. Strongmen seek to show off their strength in events that test their mettle, and show how much weight they can tackle in different ways.
Because of this, their focus during training is on building up strength. When some people join the gym, they might do so in order to lose weight or to gain muscle, in order to improve their body shape and their overall image.
To a strongman, this focus on aesthetics is totally unnecessary and it may eat up into valuable time that could be spent building up strength.
The Connection Between Fat and Muscle
It is worth considering the important role that fat plays in body strength. Many people who seek to sculpt their bodies and build muscle mass erroneously believe that fat is counteractive towards building muscle and that the two are complete opposites.
This is far from the truth. In reality, fat and muscle are closely intertwined. It is very difficult to build strong muscles without any existing body mass. Fat works as an energy deposit in the body that can be drawn on in moments of intense activity.
Fat is able to provide vital energy to muscles to allow strongmen to push themselves past their limits and consistently increase their strength day by day.
Body mass also helps to protect your body during intense weight training, as it keeps your joints protected from the risks of overstraining, as well as your organs from being damaged.
Competition Categories Can Differ
Many strongmen also choose to compete in competitions that have open categories. These kinds of competitions allow athletes of any weight or size to compete to show off their strength.
Because of this, many strongmen don’t ever have to concern themselves with meeting a certain weight limit.
Strongmen who don’t have much body fat can also compete in these competitions, or even in their own specially-designed competitions that are made for strongmen with a lower weight.
The Role Of Genetics
Genetics can also play a crucial role in the weight of a strongman competitor. Our genetics can impact the ways in which we are built as well as how our bodies retain fat for later use.
Some people have stronger legs than others, while others might have stronger arms than the average person. The differences from person to person can number into the millions, and thus each person requires a very different diet and muscle-building regimen.
Some strongmen benefit from a larger and heavier build for their comfort when lifting weights. Some people also have shorter statures and are thus more likely to weigh less than other competitors, despite maybe having more body fat.
What Kinds Of Events Do Strongmen Compete In?
In order to better understand strongmen, and why they may have larger physiques than other sportspeople, it is worth looking into the kinds of events that they engage in, and the role that their larger size may, or may not, play in them.
One event that strongmen commonly engage in is the deadlift. This is where many people’s misconceptions of strongmen come into play. Because of the deadlift event, strongmen are commonly misattributed with weightlifters.
As well as this, deadlifts are common exercises at gyms, where many people’s goals tend to lean towards losing weight. The deadlift involves lifting heavy barbells from the ground, by using a squatting motion.
Weight can be beneficial here due to the protection it can provide to joints and muscles, which will undergo significant strain during the lift.
An exciting event that many strongmen enjoy competing in is the car flip. This event is exciting for both the competitor and the audience. However, it is worth noting that this event is not always officially recognized, and is often hosted on a local level.
The event involves taking a car from a neutral position and flipping it onto its roof. The event can vary in the number of flips, and races have even been held, to see who can flip a car over a finish line first! Again, weight is good here for the protection it provides against strain injuries.
One of the most well-known strongman events is the vehicle pull. In this event, the athlete pulls a vehicle that trails behind them, through the use of ropes.
These ropes are usually held in front of the athlete, to allow them to strain their muscles, and reach their full strength. Athletes have pulled vehicles as varied as trucks, vans, tractors, and even airplanes!
These are just a small few of the events that strongmen compete in.
As you can now probably see, having a large body weight can actually have a number of benefits for strongmen.
From increased energy for muscle building to protection against strain, it’s clear that having a larger body mass does not always signify a lazy lifestyle. For many strongmen, maintaining a perfect body image is important, and eats away at their valuable training time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Powerlift And Be Lean?
It is definitely possible to engage in the sport of powerlifting and have a more lean body type. However, those with lean physiques are most often focused on bodybuilding events that are centered around creating a perfect body image.
Powerlifting while lean might be more difficult because you may not have the requisite strength or body mass to safely lift extreme weights. If you are lean but want to engage in powerlifting, do not push yourself out of your comfort zone, or you may risk injury.
Will Powerlifting Destroy Your Body?
No. While powerlifting may create a large degree of strain on the body, and the risk of injury for missteps is high, powerlifters are fully trained to lift safely.
Powerlifters know how to position their bodies, and where to create tension before they attempt to lift heavy weights, so as to avoid injuries that can occur from improper practice.