So, I was talking to a good friend the other day on the much debated topic of “big” vs “skinny”.
If you’re in any way, shape or form interested in fitness, you’ve likely heard this one.
The “big guys” can’t do this conundrum/debate, in other words, and from then of course it turns into a discussion about what exactly “big” entails – along with personal “views” on the same.
Views wasn’t the word I’m looking for. It’s on the tip of my tongue, but we’ll let it slide for now …
Anyway, the reason I’m bringing this up today is this – the words “big” and “fat” are amongst the most misused / misunderstood in the fitness industry today.
Lots of “fat” folks console themselves by saying they’re “big” – while lots of big folks are erroneously sometimes termed as being “fat”.
And as if this wasn’t enough – yes – big people can often be actually fat – and fat people – well – they’re usually “big” – at least in terms of the look!
But the words mean what they’re supposed to mean. To me, big doesn’t mean fat – and fat doesn’t necessarily mean big either.
Anyway, so my friend was talking about how a big cyclist like himself (for example) could easily outsprint a smaller cyclist on flat ground – but on hills? No way, Jose!
“Why not”, I asked, curious to know his reasoning.
“Well, I’m a much bigger guy”, he told me. “I’ve got a lot more mass, and …”
“But that hardly matters. Mass isn’t what is important, it is …”
“Of course it is! The more mass you carry – whether it is muscle or fat – the more you have to “pump” up the hill. It’s just normal physics – a skinnier or smaller person could probably easily sprint up the hill a lot faster!”
Now, it was late at night so we went on to bed after that – but this, my friend is one of the MOST commonly misunderstood things when it comes to fitness.
And I’m here to clear this B.S. up once – and for all!
First off, if I’ve got it right, force equals MASS times acceleration. I’m no Newton – not even close to it – and was pretty terrible at Physics in school, but that is what I remember, and I believe it’s right.
And ALL things being equal (which by the way in my buddy’s example were not – he was comparing himself to his girlfriend – completely different body type, mass , shape etc) – – it stands to good reason that force generated will be MORE if the mass and acceleration are more as well.
With me so far?
Good – but the only caveat is this – if that mass is MUSCLE mass – as opposed to fat around the midsection – and THIS is the point most people don’t get.
More muscle naturally means more acceleration – – meaning more overall power – – and all other things being same, that “bigger” person will naturally sprint up a hill – or on flat ground a lot faster than someone that can generate less overall force.
It’s common sense – and yet it’s amazing how many people buy into the “I’m big, so I can’t do this” fallacy.
When you look at people like Herschel Walker – or Walter Peyton – or Mike Tyson – what words naturally come to mind?
Big, strong and muscular – but not FAT – and these guys all ran hill sprints – and pool sprints and did plenty of other HIIT training all day long.
I’ve personally seen stronger and bigger guys outrun skinnier dudes on the hill – as well as while doing pull-ups – or even while cycling (which admittedly is something I’m not personally into, but which is a great overall exercise if done right).
It’s the same thing with pull-ups – or handstand pushups – or tougher bodyweight exercises by the way.
A lot of folks claim that “bigger” folks can’t do them because of more body mass – and again – this view is WRONG.
Look at Vince Gironda, for one – the “father” of the Gironda pull-up. He wasn’t skinny – or overly “small” – but the fact is that he had no fat around the midsection – and THAT is the entire point, my friend.
It’s not about how big you are. It’s about how much FAT you’re carrying – especially around the midsection – and that is really the bottom line here.
Now, last, but not least, a lot of “big and fat” guys revert back to the “well, but I could outlift you in terms of a one-time lift”.
Well, perhaps – and then again, maybe not. I’ve seen skinny dudes that are amazingly strong, but even if you could, so what?
Let’s assume you could pick up the functionally fit person and toss him through a window.
Well, good on you – but what if you had to climb out of that window – and down a drainpipe – out of a burning building – to save your life?
Sig Klein, old time strongman had to do just that – and he didn’t just do it himself. He rescued a person stuck in that building – carrying her down in one hand – while himself descending the pipe with the other!
I don’t know about you, my friend – but that is the sort of strength I’ll take – ANY day of the week, hehe.
So, key point to take away from all this?
Make sure your workouts focus on overall body strength and conditioning – but most importantly, building tons of muscle WHILE reducing – and preferably entirely eliminating FAT around the core and midsection.
That last bit really is the most important part, my friend. Get a jump start on it today by engaging in the very workouts that will melt the fat off you quicker than grease on a George Foreman burner if I might say so.
Those workouts are right here, my friend.
As for me, it’s time for some Yunnan black tea – and I’ll be back again tomorrow!
If you workout today – make it a super one – and let me know how it went!
P.S. – If you’re interested in building the sort of grip strength Sig Klein and other old time strongmen had, then the Gorilla Grip compilation is a great, great start.
P.S #2 – And don’t forget to pick up a copy of the 0 Excuses Fitness System while you’re at it. Folks all over the world have been RAVING about the results they’re getting – find out for yourself right here – – https://0excusesfitness.com/0excusesfitnessystem/