Beginners and Beyond

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"I'm Big but it's All Muscle"... You'll still die young (Read 599 times)

    I have long wondered about this.  We know from dozens, if not hundreds, of studies demonstrating rather conclusively that being obese is detrimental to your life expectancy and overall health.  Still, I routinely see people claim that BMI is nonsense because it doesn't account for the fact that, "I'm not really fat, I just have lots of muscle."  Well, you don't have more muscle than NFL players.  Guess what?  The heaviest players are twice as likely to be dead by age 50 than their lighter counterparts.  So, it's turning out that a bunch of extra weight is bad for you regardless of whether that weight is muscle or fat.  I'm willing to bet that they have more arthritis, diabetes, and other weight related issues as well.  

     

    To be fair, there is also some pretty good evidence that 5-10 extra pounds is beneficial when you are over age 70.  However, there is more than a little bit of difference between 5-10 extra pounds and 100 extra pounds.

     

    Be Fat, Die Young

    Short term goal: 17:59 5K

    Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

    Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

    FlippyNoodle


    Not a dude

      Well, I guess I can see this from a basic science perspective. The heart has to work harder to supply blood to a larger mass. I just don't see the need to over-analyze who is going to die when. We can all take steps toward being more healthy, but obsessing over it is unlikely to lead to a happy life. What is the point of living longer if you have made yourself crazy in the process?

        I don't see any problem with people using BMI as long as it's treated like what it is - a big general guideline.  I mean the difference between the lowest BMI and the highest is pretty huge, and even THAT isn't perfect for every individual.  And the heaviest NFL players aren't all muscle either.  

         

        If we're gonna talk football I think they should all be lighter, and then maybe technology would be able to keep up in making protective gear that can actually continue to protect against the force of the hits they're taking, so we don't have people dropping dead for other reasons.  I mean the life of a heavy NFL player means they are hitting people hard - a LOT.  That's pretty much their job.  So they're kinda  a skewed demographic to talk about BMI...


        Muddling through

          Considering the abuse NFL player give their bodies and the heaviest ones are probably not fit aerobically, especially after their playing days are over, I think isolating BMI and drawing conclusions based on that is highly questionable.

          2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race


          Jane

            I agree the NFL is not the best group to use as your base.  Offensive and Defensive linemen are taught from HS that big is better and no it's not all muscle.  I had a friend in college who choose not to play D1AA football because he felt like a fat slug as an offensive lineman.  He lost 100 pounds after his senior year of HS and most of that wasn't his muscle.  (FWIW we never got into the BMI thing I'm sure he was still pretty high on the scale as he actually was naturally bigger to begin with.)

             Never run, if you want to never run, don't start because you'll never stop.

            paulski66


            miscreant

              Considering the abuse NFL player give their bodies and the heaviest ones are probably not fit aerobically, especially after their playing days are over, I think isolating BMI and drawing conclusions based on that is highly questionable.

               

              +1

               

              And a lot of the heaviest NFL players are very fat. Take a look at the guts of the offensive linemen when you watch the games today.

               

               

              I'm happy, hope you're happy too...

              FlippyNoodle


              Not a dude

                +1

                 

                And a lot of the heaviest NFL players are very fat. Take a look at the guts of the offensive linemen when you watch the games today.

                 

                +1


                Bad Ass

                  I agree with Jane.  Most of the NFL players are more fat than muscle, so of course they would have a higher risk than a person that is of similar weight but more muscle.  I know their diets are also not that healthy either.

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                  Puker

                    This thread reminds me of the 'Marathoners vs. Sprinters' thread.

                     

                    Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive.


                    The Chairman

                      This thread reminds me of the 'Marathoners vs. Sprinters' thread.

                       

                       

                      Guy on the left looks like Goo about 50 years ago. 


                      Mmmmm...beer

                        I used to think I was just a "big" guy, turns out I was just a fat guy.  I think way to many men use the "big guy" excuse to justify being overweight.  Unless your bodyfat is under probably 15% or so, you shouldn't get to claim all that extra weight as muscle, cause a lot more of it than you think is fat. 

                        -Dave

                         

                        2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-1:26 HM | BQ done!

                        Awood_Runner


                        Smaller By The Day

                          LTH - My doctor used to tell me this all of the time.  He supported my powerlifting, because he used to do the same thing.  He was always tracking my blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. though.  His explanation was that my heart doesn't care if it's supplying blood to fat or muscle, it was still supplying blood to 315 pounds of body.  Now, he's just as supportive of my running, and we've taken some precautionary measures to ensure that I don't have other issues. 

                          Improvements

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                          tracilynn


                          On shin transplant list

                            Or maybe they're just "big boned"

                            ~~~~~~~

                            Traci

                             

                            happylily


                              I quickly took a look at the article. We're talking huge weight numbers with those NFL players... What about ordinary people? Does it mean that a man (or woman) who is at, say, 26 BMI, so a bit over the limit, but claims he/she is "big boned" or all muscles, is fooling him/herself?

                              PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

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                              3 years, 13 marathons, 13 BQs     

                                LTH - My doctor used to tell me this all of the time.  He supported my powerlifting, because he used to do the same thing.  He was always tracking my blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. though.  His explanation was that my heart doesn't care if it's supplying blood to fat or muscle, it was still supplying blood to 315 pounds of body.  Now, he's just as supportive of my running, and we've taken some precautionary measures to ensure that I don't have other issues. 

                                 

                                That has been my suspicion as well.  Don't get me wrong.  A 315 pound person with at least decent aerobic conditioning is going to be at less risk for adverse cardiac events than a 315 pound couch potato.  Most studies I have read about focus strictly on weight or BMI and don't make any correction for actual body fat content.  I'd love to see a large study looking at people and focusing not just on BMI but on body fat content as well.  Here's the thing.

                                 

                                Exercise can counteract the negative effects of a lot of things.  If you run 25 miles per week, you will essentially cancel the effect of a pack of cigarettes per day in terms of cardiac risk.  In other words, the pack a day smoker who runs 25 miles per week has the same risk as a sedentary non-smoker - assuming all other factors are equal.  As you put on weight, your risks increase but exercise can cancel some of those risks.  So, if you are 50 pounds overweight but have low body fat, what are your risks compared to a sedentary normal weight person?  If you are 100 pounds overweight, with lowish body fat, what are your risks compared to a sedentary normal weight person?  What about your risks compared to a normal weight person with low body fat?  

                                 

                                I haven't seen any studies looking at it from that perspective.  My guess is that there are very, very few people who are significantly overweight who also have low body fat.  People think they are "all muscle" but the reality is that they likely have a bunch of fat along with that muscle.  Still, I'd be interested in the results of anything like that.  

                                Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                                Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                                Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

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