T Nation

High Bodyweight Health: Muscle vs Fat

There been some talk around in the last year or so about additional bodyweight in the form of muscle is more dangerous that the additional weight from fat due to the heart having to work harder to pump blood through the additional muscle mass.

I can see what they’re saying as far as carrying more weight around but my way of thinking is that if you gained 30 lbs of lean muscle over thirty years of hard training , wouldn’t the heart have become stronger and adapted to the additional weight due to the training ?

If the weight gain came too quickly from various drug cycles and forced feeding … like 60-80 lbs or more in a year or two I could understand that the heart not being able to keep up , but not something like gaining a pound or two a year over a long time.

Thoughts on this ?

IMO, if you are staying natural, and not getting overly fat, I wouldn’t worry much about impact from muscle to the heart. You are exercising, which helps the heart even if it is lifting. I think it is rational to worry if you are fat and muscular (think higher weight class powerlifting or strongman).

If lean, we just can’t get that heavy if natural (unless very tall, which also isn’t good for longevity).

I knew someday these huge slabs of muscle I’ve packed on over the years would come to haunt me!! If only I hadn’t pushed those lats so much! Ha ha!!


You’d be a lucky guy if you could get your muscles too big, too quickly.


The danger in this case isn’t that weight gain happens too much too fast - steroids directly cause cardiac hypertrophy. The heart is a muscle just like any other and steroids can induce growth.

If you check the treatments tab on this page, you’ll notice this condition usually disappears after 6 weeks of detraining. It is also distinguished from cardiac hypertrophy, i.e. the cardiac problems that might arise without steroid use.

I did. :+1:

I didn’t want to get into the causes of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to avoid confusion, and because I’m just not that well versed.

I find it hard to believe, even with good genetics, that one could naturally build too much muscle (assuming he is reasonably lean) for it to be a potential heart issue. Muscle is also an ‘active’ tissue.

I have known some heavy bodybuilders that were winded after walking up a flight of stairs…therefore, I believe there is a correlation to how much one weighs and how much work the heart has to perform