T Nation

Fat loss.

It is easy for bodybuilders to believe that it is a simple process to rid the body of fat. They use various methods such as combining diets with exercise to burn fat. We all know the routine. It is natural that they believe everyone can do exactly the same thing. The truth is most people fail when it comes to trying to alter their body composition. Even the National Institute for Health admits that diets don’t work. What they mean is that up to 95% of people who try to lose weight through dieting end up, after 3 to 5 years, weighing the same or more! That must be frustrating. Organizations such as NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance exist to help fat people cope with the negative attitudes against fatness prevalent in America today. They are aware of how hard it is to lose fat and do not encourage people to try those methods because of the accumlated consequences of dieting. It seems that some people actually get fatter when they do. This is a fact and not conjecture.

Doctors, dietitians, and fitness professionals all will say that the people who failed to lose fat and keep it off are the ones who didn’t adhere to the regimens. That is what logic tells them. However, it might not be that easy. Once people get obese with say 30% and more bodyfat it might be very difficult to lose.

Now, my point is this, just because bodybuilders get results doesn't mean that fat people can. I caution those self-styled experts, (which includes everyone with arms over 15 inches, and all female bodybuilders!) to be careful about your theories about fat loss. Most of you people are not experts in exercise science so should offer advice with caution. Very fat people are not going to be able to follow those exercise regimens. Period. Most very fat people have dieted until the cows come home. Many also have all sorts of systems problems. Some of those problems caused obesity and obesity caused others. Some people also store fluids and that is not really fat.

Here is my background. I am 59, won the Mr Canada contest in 1970, own a 30,000 sq ft gym in Sydney, design and build my own gym equipment, have a BA from UBC, a DipEd from the UNSW, and a MEd from Sydney University. I have had two articles on training theories published in Ironman in the last two years. So I have just about as wide a background as anyone you are going to meet in bodybuilding.

Please do not go to other sites to cause trouble. If you people do not like fat women that is your business. I do like them. You are not experts in exercise unless you have done at least a Masters degree in that area. True experts do not go around giving advice and blaming and belittling people.

From my experience in gyms I would say that exercise doesn’t seem to impact much on body composition. Not many build muscle and not many fat people lose fat. Most people give up after 3 months of training.

Bodybuilders have great physiques. It is a pity that most of the general public doesn’t agree. How sad is it that drug use has proliferated into every gym in the world. How pathetic is it to see substances like synthol injected into muscles to alter what is there! Is that bodybuilding? How ridiculous that many of the female bodybuilders resort to breast implants to augment what is lost through exercise regimens and dieting.

Bodybuilding should be a magnificent pastime. However, the way it is today really is unhealthy. Oh, sure, it is just fine to train away if you don’t want to compete. It is also okay if you are drug free. But the truth is the public doesn’t respect or even appreciate the physiques that the champion men and women build.

I think you all should consider your own subculture before any of you go elsewhere to stir up trouble and poke fun at people.

though i respect and appreciate your opinion i would just like to say one thing. a lot of people on this board are not professional bodybuilders. we do not all have great genetics. we have trained our asses off to get to where we are today and most of us follow a strict diet. i strongly believe that if you take 80% of these fat people you are talking about and give them the motivation and the dedication that we have, they will succeed in losing weight and eventually not be “fat”. if they stick with it, i don’t see how they could possibly become fatter or regain the fat back. i have been lifting weights for about 6 years now and i am not satisfied with my body. 10 years from now, i still doubt i will be satisfied with my body. do i give up and just quit and say that since i don’t look like a bodybuilder i will just stop working out all together? why should fat people do any differently. if they lose 30 pounds from dieting and still look fat, rather than giving up because they are still fat, they should just keep on trying. i have never been really fat though so i have no clue what it must be like for them. what i do know though is that if they want to lose the weight bad enough at least 80% of them can.

Nic said, i strongly believe that if you take 80% of these fat people you are talking about and give them the motivation and the dedication that we have, they will succeed in losing weight and eventually not be “fat”. if they stick with it, i don’t see how they could possibly become fatter or regain the fat back.

Well, that is what bodybuilding believes. However, why do you assume that fat people have not tried very hard to change their bodies? Most have for decades and it made no difference. Unless you are an exercise scientist you really should be careful about statements you make. Yes, in principle, it is possible for anyone to reduce bodyfat. However, that is easier said than done. For a start, most fat people will not be able to do what you people do in the gym. Also, fat people seem to stay about the same even if they train hard. How do you explain that? Well, you will then have to say that the fat people are eating too much. Do you know how much fat people eat? There have been studies done on fat people and the results from exercise and diet haven’t been encouraging. It really is difficult to reverse obesity. Young people can alter body composition easier than older people.

  • 10 years from now, i still doubt i will be satisfied with my body. do i give up and just quit and say that since i don’t look like a bodybuilder i will just stop working out all together? why should fat people do any differently. if they lose 30 pounds from dieting and still look fat, rather than giving up because they are still fat, they should just keep on trying.*

Fat people do try and have tried. If you do not understand fat bodies do not assume you know how to alter their bodies.

i have never been really fat though so i have no clue what it must be like for them.

Finally you make a true statement!

what i do know though is that if they want to lose the weight bad enough at least 80% of them can.

Do you know this or is that what you assume? Show me the studies that demonstrate what you claim. No one has been able to apply regimens to fat groups and achieved that kind of success. You use words that suggest that fat people aren’t motivated enough. How little you know of fat people. Can you imagine anyone living in America who doesn’t know what most people think about being fat? They know it better than you do! There are lots of complicated reasons behind people becoming fat. Some have to do with lifestyle, some genetics, some other causes. The idea that fat people are lazy and gluttons is widespread. This stereotype reminds me of how the public see bodybuilders. You know, musclebound, egotistical and stupid. We all know that is rubbish even though a few fit that stereotype.

Go to a gym and ask how the manager how many fat people make results. You will be surprised. It is nothing like the 80% you suggest. Oh, you probably believe you can get results with fat people if they followed your advice. Would you bet your house on it? Be very careful about projecting your successes onto other populations. You might discover that there was a lot to learn about fat and fatloss.

I think Mr. Basile has some very valid points to make and that individuals should spend more time concerned about themselves than making fun of other people. I too have never been fat and so I don’t really know how hard it must be to deal with the stigma or to try to lose weight–and lots of it. I have known people who struggle with their weight and it is a constant struggle. Some of us are blessed with a fast metabolism and will never reach a state of obesity. We can’t begin to know what it feels like and have no business criticizing those who do. Sure, in an ideal world it would be wonderful if everyone ate well, exercised properly, was healthy and fit. It isn’t that important to everyone, just like writing the best novel isn’t, or climbing Mt. Everest isn’t, or whatever else people choose to do with their time. And, what works for one person isn’t necessarily what will work for another. And although I appreciate the effort and hard work and perseverence that goes into bodybuilding, I must say that some of the extreme physiques that this lifestyle and supplements produce are really not that attractive–awe-inspiring perhaps, but certainly not attractive.
So, I apologize for the flaming of fat people that has gone on recently. It isn’t fair and it isn’t right. To each his own.

I don’t believe all that bull that some people can’t or ever will be lean. If you put a little effort into it and read up on dieting it can be done. I lost almost 90 pounds of fat 2 years ago, most of it fat. I got down to 8-9% at 5’7 and a 31 inch waist. I had a 42 inch waist before I lost the weight. Now I am no body builder and I did it. Until I read up on correct nutrition I couldn’t lose weight for anything. Right after I learned about eating 6 meals a day, uping protein, limiting carbs; I lost wieght real fast. So I don’t believe that bull that it can’t be done. All it takes is a little effort.

Or maybe fat people are just fat, lazy, and stupid. If they got off their fat ass and exercised and most importantly ate right, 95% of them could get in really good shape. Only a very small minority have serious problems like hypothyroidism that could truly prevent them from getting lean. The rest are just lazy and have no willpower.

Mr. Basile, you are wrong on several grounds. First of all, it is totally ludicrous to say that, just because we don’t have a specific degree in the field of exercise science or nutrition, we should keep our mouths shut. The fact of the matter is, the majority of the people who frequent this site know a whole lot more about “real world” nutrition than any silly Nutrition Science professor I have ever had. Formal education in the area of nutrition has not kept up with current research I’m afraid. I have argued till I was blue in the face with these so called nutriton profs on simple points they don’t seem to get; like protein intake over .6g/ Kg will NOT put undue stress on the kidneys and lead to renal failure eventually. Yes they actually said that. Where are the studies? There are none. They are just taking a hypothesis and declaring it Law. I myself am a Pharm.D./ Ph.D. candidate currently, and although it does not pertain directly to exercise science, I feel I am qualified, due to my independent research on the subjects, to comment on any aspect of nutrition and exercise. And here is my comment; fat people are fat for one reason; they take in more calories than they burn. Whether that boils down to a problem with chronic laziness, or eating too much, or a combination, its a fact. How do they remedy this?Eat less and exercise more. How novel. People are just LAY-Z, period. And I’m not just some armchair theologen sitting on my bodybuilding high horse talking to those " less fortunate" or some such nonsense. I used to weigh 300lbs myself, at 5’10" no less. I looked like a bull walrus with my shirt off. Do you know what I did? January or 98 I decided I was tired of staying home and getting laughed at by the girls. So, I busted my ass on a diet and training regimine till 9/98, when I achieved my goal of 190 lbs. Yes, I lost 110 lbs. And I was a massive, lean 190 too, not some pile of flab. Did I gain it back? Are you nuts?! I went on several short mass cycles sure, but I’m about to enter my first bodybuilding show saturday weighing 188 @ 5.5% bodyfat. Moral of the story, everyone has the power to change, the winners do it, the whiners don’t.

I wouldn’t say the things that are said here to somebody’s face to hurt their feelings. Alot of us are young, and we joke around. It’s all in good fun… if you don’t like it. Don’t participate. I laugh my ass off when I read alot of these posts, and I don’t see anything wrong with it. When I read the post about that lady having to coincide “potty” time with shower time because she couldn’t clean herself. Oh my god… did I laugh so hard. Cruel? Maybe. I don’t really care though.

I don’t know exactly why this post is here except that perhaps you have had some problem with people from this forum trolling on other boards or something. I can tell you this: 5 years ago, I was 6’7" 375, strong as hell and FAT as hell. I’m now 6’7" 260, strong as hell and pretty lean. I maintain about 15% bodyfat. I’m 31. I’m happy. I spent a year or two yo-yo dieting, fucking around working out half-assed, etc. The FACT is that until I became 110% COMPLETELY fed up with my health and body composition, nothing was going to happen. I have a slow metabolism and it didn’t take long for me to figure out that a burger, slice of pie, or beer here or there was just not going to cut it. I had to dedicate myself completely to the lifestyle changes necessary to get my body where I wanted it to be. I don’t make fun of the obese and I completely understand how hard it is to make the changes necessary to become healthy. At the same time, I don’t buy this bullshit about “fat acceptance”. Telling people that they should accept themselves as they are and just live with the myriad of health problems that will inevitably come with the extra weight they are carrying is nonsense. Anyone can change. I don’t care if they need to lose 30 pounds or 300 pounds. It can be done. While I can appreciate the time and effort spent by some individuals to better their heatlth to no avail, I will never tell someone that obviously nothing will work for them and they should just GIVE UP and learn to be happy the way they are. Some of us have to work harder than others and so maybe they just have to do more. Oh, well. That’s life. Do what you have to do. I can accept fat people for who they are and if they are happy with themselves and their bodies, great. More power to them. But if they aren’t, I certainly am not going to take part in pushing them onto the “It’s OK To Be Fat Bandwagon”, beacuse it can be done.

You state that you should are not an expert unless you have masters in that area. what are you giving advice for then, a BA from UBC, a DipEd from the UNSW, and a MEd from Sydney University. A bachelor of arts and a masters in education doesnt give you training knowledge or anything.
You sound like a sad old shit who wants all women to be fat, so you can indulge in your fat fantasies with them.

Thank you to the gent who spoke well about not castigating other people, especially fat people.

I have been bodybuilding since 1959. That is a long time. Over the years I have met many of the stars in our community. Arnold, Joe W, John C G., Bob H., Franco, Larry, Mike and Ray, Joe Gold, Paul D. and so on. Champion bodybuilders to magazine publishers. I have seen thousands of people start training but only a few succeeded in getting the results they wanted. Most bodybuilders at any one time are not growing. That is when they are likely to get frustrated and resort to drugs. Do all bodybuilders use drugs? Heck no. Probably less than 10% might. However, some of the ones that do use drugs win contests and the public assumes you have to use drugs to build large muscles. We all know that is ridiculous.

That bodybuilders can control their bodies is admitted. Then can easily vary their size over several months to be perhaps 50 pounds plus or minus. They do present in competition with very little fat on their bodies. That lean look, of course, is not healthy, and most sensible bodybuilders keep their fat levels at around 10 to 15%.

Now, how come bodybuilders assume they know how fat people got that way? Why then assume that your methods will work on fat people. Hey, we would be disappointed if most of what we do isn’t going to be applicable to everyone. However, reducing fat in many is a very difficult process. Labelling fat people as lazy and having no will power might make the bodybuilders feel superior, but many fat people have more will-power that most bodybuilders. They really have tried all manner of diets and procedures. They seldom get results. Some manage to stop getting any larger or heavier but cannot lose more fat. That is the way it is. Please do not assume that you have the answers. I challenge you all to come up with a full theory of hypertrophy to account for all those workouts that don’t lead to growth. Why don’t most bodybuilders keep growing? A mystery, don’t you think. I believe I explained it in 2000 in an article in Ironman. I am prepared to debate it here with all comers.

I can tell you one thing. Excursions to other discussion boards criticising fat people is seen as the height of bad manners. Those like Jason B who do such things are giving bodybuilders a bad name. I hope that his posts at NAAFA were sincere. I was very disappointed to read what he had to say here about some fat ladies. The ladies weren’t amused.

Please think before you say things. Even this discussion board is a public domain and can be accessed by everyone including the fat people some insult.

I think that there are some good points in the post above. But I have to say that the reason that fat people don’t see results from their exercise/diet efforts is the same reason that the general population doesn’t see results: they have no idea what they’re doing.

Now, I don't have a degree in exercise science. But I have been in the game for a long time (25 years), and I have worked as a personal trainer on and off for several years during that time. I do know enough to give someone - fat or otherwise - advice about how to alter his or her bodycomp, and those people who have made the LFIESTYLE CHANGE that is necessary (admittedly a very small sub-group) have always, I repeat, ALWAYS, seen results. 100%. So I'm not going to believe that fat people are somehow different from the general population, other than that they may have further to go than some others to achieve a "respectable" body.

Let's face it, no matter how you try to change your body, doing it the "usual" (read: ignorant) way isn't going to achieve results for most people. I don't know many fat people who are on a good exercise program. I don't know ANY who is eating smaller portions six times a day. What do they do? Cut out breakfast and/or lunch, thereby slowing their already slow metabolisms down even further. Hell, that's what SUMO WRESTLERS do to GAIN weight!! But most (ignorant) people in America try to lose weight using this method. No wonder they fail. IT'S THE WRONG METHOD! Fat people don't stay in the gym more than three months? Neither do most other people. The reason? Lack of discipline and committment. It's not a "fat" issue, it's a lifestyle issue.

Also, as a recovering ectomorph, I'd just like to say here and now that if you think fat people have trouble losing weight, painfully thin people have just as much trouble gaining it. But wait! Where is the societal sympathy? Where are the support programs? Where are the lawsuits when someone says something like, "Man, last time I saw legs like yours they were sticking out of a nest"? Everyone has body issues. Fat or thin, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you do something about it (if you care to, or stop whining if you don't), and that process starts with education.

I'm outta here.

Oh, and one other thing: Fat people can’t lose weight? Well, let’s just see what happens with the woman who Brock Strasser’s working with. This person has someone who’s actually QUALIFIED to advise her advising her, and she’s taking the advice. Whatta concept! I bet that she loses weight, and keeps it off (the only caveat being that she continues with a healthy lifestyle after she goes off the fat fast diet). Whaddaya say Vince? Care to wager?

(Of course, it's a sucker's bet since she's already lost what, 40 lbs. or so? You go, girl!)

Vince, I have to comment on some of your thoughts in your first post.
“Very fat people are not going to be able to follow those exercise regimens”

Why not? Do you think that fat people are inferior in anyway? What is it that would not let them follow “those” exercise regiments. I’m realistic, a 300+ lbs woman is not going to be hitting the weights and running on the treadmill for her cardio…but if she sticks with it she will. Walk before you run of course but something that is worth is isn’t going to come over night. As I’m sure you know you don’t get that big overnight, so that weight is not going to come off overnight either. Patience and persistence will prove to win out in the end.

“True experts do not go around giving advice and blaming and belittling people. From my experience in gyms I would say that exercise doesn’t seem to impact much on body composition. Not many build muscle and not many fat people lose fat. Most people give up after 3 months of training. Bodybuilders have great physiques. It is a pity that most of the general public doesn’t agree.”

Ok, first of all there are a lot of statements in all those quotations marks and I’m trying to figure out how they fit together. I would have to agree that an expert doesn’t blame or belittle anyone. I was told that an expert is someone who has made every mistake in a narrow field. By no means am I an expert on training or nutrition but I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and are learning from them. I pass on this “knowledge” to those who seek it and I don’t hold a master’s degree. I don’t have to be a fire marshall to tell someone to not smoke in bed, common sense passed on.

With your extensive resume I find it hard to believe that you would say that people that workout in a gym don’t change their body composition. Why are we there then? Not many people build muscle or lose fat? Why kind of gyms are you at? I’m one of the little guys there because there are some dedicated people at my gym busting their butts on the weights and probably from the looks of them, watching their diet as well. About the public not agreeing with bodybuilders having great bodies, I don’t know what you meant by that at all.

To tell you the truth I care very little about what other people do. I live a clean lifestyle and I don’t smoke, I’m not fat, etc. I don’t freak out on smokers, I don’t make fun of fat people, I keep to myself…but I have no pity for fat people. Whereas in some instances there are medical problems, for most being fat is a choice.

I am an amateur so I have to constantly what my weight. I am careful as to what I put in my mouth. When I don’t have to be at a particular I sometimes let myself go for fun. Life is too short to pass up Whoppers, shakes and huge greasy pizzas. I watch myself get larger and it’s fun for a time. I know then when the time comes I can drop those pounds. I am not gentically gifted, my diet is strict, I work my butt off in the gym and I get back to where I need to be. I’m sorry but I had to comment on a post that was defending fat people when I think we here on the forum are good about being excepting of others.

For those of you “experts” who can factually (!!!) state such figures as “80%,” “95%,” etc… of fat people can yada, yada, yada,: 1) What research or published studies have you read or participated in to support your statistics; and 2) Even assuming you are anywhere near correct (ha ha…whadda assumption!), you are conceding that anywhere from 5% to 20% of the overweight population truly can’t lose weight. So how the hell do you distinguish THOSE folks from the other “lazy” folks? I mean, is there some secret mark or signal that a fat person has to wear or give in order for you not to make fun of him or her, or are you just plain mean and bigoted and don’t give a flip whether someone may or may not be affected by a medical disorder?

Despite your reluctant lip service to the concept that there may actually be some segment (albeit small in your opinions!) of the overweight population that is unable to lose weight and keep it off due to whatever reason, it seems to me one cannot simply walk down a street or into a room and automatically distinguish the “lazy” from the medically-afficted. And yeah, even if an overweight person happens to be eating an ice cream cone at the moment you see them, so what? You do not know whether that moment represents a constant thing, or an occasional indulgence which all human beings are entitled.
Just curious…

You seem very short sighted. Most of the people here in this forum do not have “champion” physiques nor wish to acquire what you consider to be champion physique. BTW: Just about anyone who lifts weights is a bodybuilder. The difference is being competitive or non-competitive. I am not a “genetically” gifted individual. I’ve had to work HARD for every ounce of muscle on my body. For every degree of metabolism of my system - there’s a matching degree of commitment in my soul to staying healthy. I’ve been (at 5’4") at 150lbs. Now that ain’t “morbidly obese” - but it wasn’t healthy. I’ve stayed at 11% bodyfat at 120lb for sometime now. And that’s from being nutritionally educated and actively responsible for my health (have no choice: I have asthma and acute dermatitas).

And let's talk numbers: 60% of Americans are obese. I'm saying this, since in your post I get the feeling you don't live in the US. The United States is the fatest industrialized country in the world. Hmmmm. THINK about that. Does every person with a thyroid disorder or physical abnormality that causes obesity LIVE in the United States? I doubt it. Seriously. I don't spend my time laughing or giggling sinisterly at obese people. I don't have the time. I'm just tired - VERY tired - of every obese person saying that EVERY person who lifts weight and does watch their nutritional intake is "genetically gifted" - BULL HOCKEY. Most obese people when talking about their diets are already (according to them) on severely limited diets. But they mock weight lifting. They'll do some form of aerobic exercise - but they mock weight lifting. They wish they could be several pounds lighter with a higher degree of metabolism - but they mock weight lifting. They look at people like me - and marvel at my "genetics" - but they mock weight lifting.

Yes, it is pathetic to see the route that SOME competitive bodybuilders have taken with the drugs. But they are the exception. There are more of us natural bodybuilders who do prefer the joy of staying in shape w/out the aid of drugs. And you know, I don't have a Masters degree in exercise - I just have a HUGE amount of Common Sense. And my common sense tells me that the MAJORITY of them 60% in America can do something about their obesity but prefer to wallow in the short-sighted pity of people like you.

I also wanted to add to my post that I was fat as a kid all the way up till I lost my weight at 21.

A while back I regularly had lunch with a group of overweight women. The constantly discussed the new diet they were trying, or more often were thinking about trying, but whenever I brought up the idea of exercise, they immediately changed the subject. Most people just want results without working for it. Everyone has their own genetics, and the problems that come with them. My brother in law and I started working out together, and did the same workout, and consumed the same amount of calories per day. I put on muscle pretty easily, while he got ripped beyond belief. I still am fighting to get my bf down. I don’t think people need a degree to go on a diet, but they do need proper information.

Well Vince, this is a rather interesting about-face from your posts on the NAAFA board. I haven’t checked there, but did they put you up to this? Or is this an attempt to ingratiate yourself with them? Looks to me like you can’t make up your mind. Look at the lifestyle that’s espoused here: to lose weight, you consume less-than-maintenance calorie levels (usually no more than -500 per day), and continue a healthy exercise regimen. That WILL WORK for virtually every one. The trick is to determine just WHAT maintenance calorie intake is, as it changes over time. The statement that 95% of diets fail is that (1) they are based on a generalized population, (2) they go WAY below maintenance level for most people, (3) they don’t emphasize maintaining or increasing the muscle tissue, so going off the diet produces the “flubber” rebound effect (increasing fat levels at higher and faster rates). BTW, I think Sandie’s (I think it was her) challenge to you was absolutely ludicrous.

What about weight loss surgery? This is surgery that by removing part of the stomach forces a person to eat less right? Seems to me that it is surgery for people with no will power. If people are losing massive amounts of weight by having this surgery, then dieting must work, people just don’t have the will power to do it. Why could someone not achieve the same results without the surgery?