Strength is a complex interplay of various factors, and body fat alone is not a reliable indicator of strength or overall physical fitness. Muscle is denser and stronger than fat. Muscle tissue comprises contractile fibers that enable it to generate force and perform physical work. On the other hand, fat tissue is less dense and not contractile like muscle.
When comparing muscle and fat in terms of strength, muscle is significantly stronger. Muscle tissue has a higher tensile strength, meaning it can withstand greater force without breaking or tearing. Additionally, muscles have the ability to generate power and force through a contraction, allowing for movements such as lifting heavy objects or performing physically demanding tasks.
In contrast, fat tissue primarily serves as an energy storage mechanism and insulation for the body. It does not possess the same contractile properties as muscle and is not designed to generate force or perform physical work. While fat provides cushioning and insulation, it does not contribute directly to strength. So, a person with a higher percentage of muscle mass will generally be stronger than someone with a higher percentage of body fat, assuming other factors such as training, conditioning, and genetics are relatively equal.
Fat peoples are not inherently stronger solely because of their higher body fat percentage. The real fact is fat people with high muscle mass are strong compared to less muscle mass. Also, people with higher body fat percentages might have larger leg muscles due to carrying extra weight. This does not necessarily translate to increased strength. Muscle strength is determined by the muscle fibers’ size, quality, and efficiency rather than the amount of fat surrounding them.
Body fat is not metabolically active tissue, meaning it doesn’t contribute directly to strength. When excess body fat is present, it can decrease a person’s relative strength. Relative strength is the strength-to-weight ratio, which compares an individual’s strength to body weight. Higher body fat levels can increase overall weight without necessarily contributing to increased muscle mass or strength, resulting in a lower relative strength.
Why are fat people strong?
Not all fat people are strong, just as not all thin people are weak. Various factors determine strength, including muscle mass, conditioning, genetics, and training. That being said, there are a few reasons why some people with higher body fat percentages might exhibit strength:
Increased muscle mass: Fat people may have a higher proportion of muscle mass than people with lower body fat percentages. This can be due to physical activity, occupation, or genetics. Muscle is a primary determinant of strength, so having more muscle can contribute to being stronger.
Mechanical advantage: In some cases, excess body fat can provide a mechanical advantage in certain activities. For example, the additional weight can generate more force in activities that require pushing or lifting heavy objects. However, it’s worth noting that excessive body fat can also limit mobility and hinder performance in certain movements.
Adaptation to carrying extra weight: Over time, people with higher body fat percentages may adapt to carrying and moving their weight, increasing strength in certain muscle groups. This adaptation can be particularly noticeable in activities that involve supporting or moving the body’s weight, such as climbing, lifting, or pushing.
Energy source: During exercise, the primary source of immediate energy comes from carbohydrates stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. These glycogen stores are quickly accessed to provide the energy needed for short bursts of intense activity.
However, during longer-duration activities or lower-intensity exercises, the body relies more on fat as an energy source. Fat is a dense energy storage molecule, and the body can break down fat cells to release fatty acids that can be used as fuel. The process of breaking down fat and converting it into usable energy is known as lipolysis.
So people with higher body fat percentages have a larger reservoir of fat that can be utilized as a fuel source during prolonged or lower-intensity activities. This means they have a relatively higher capacity to use fat as an energy source than lower body fat percentages.
Fat can add weight, providing a mechanical advantage, especially in exercises that involve pushing or lifting heavy objects. This can make generating force easier and lifting heavier weights like high-weight deadlifts, benchpress, or squats. So lean muscle mass is not only enough. Therefore, people like Eddie Hall, Julius Maddox, and Daniel Bell, who performed the heaviest lift in the world, have high body fat percentages and body weights. These people also have high muscle mass.
Body weight alone is not a reliable indicator of strength or overall health. Strength is a complex combination of muscle mass, endurance, and neuromuscular coordination.
Excess body fat can limit mobility and range of motion, making it more challenging to perform certain movements. This can restrict the ability to generate force and negatively impact strength performance efficiently. Carrying excess body fat can require more energy to perform physical activities compared to lower body fat percentages. This increased energy expenditure can affect overall endurance and limit strength performance during prolonged or intense activities.