T Nation

Is Being HUGE Healthy?

I have been training lightly for some time now and just recently got serious (read: stop lifting pussy weights and started dead lifting and squatting).

I will be the first to admit I want to look good, who doesn’t? But I also have my concerns about my health that go along with lifting. That is to say, how much lifting is beneficial, and how much is actually making you less healthy?

I’m serious about lifting and want to pack on another 20 pounds or so, but started wondering when does being big become a problem. I have heard stories of body builders (granted, they weigh like 450 pounds more than I do) barely able to walk a mile. I would no consider that being in good shape.

So basically my main question is:

When, if ever, does it become unhealthy to body build?

Secondary Questions :

Who would be considered in better health… Ronnie Coleman or Napoleon Dynamite? I relaize those are two extremes and the answer is somewhere in the middle I’m sure… but I’m not curious about the middle.

From what i’ve read, Napolean Dynamite is probably healthier. don’t worry about getting too big. most of the bodybuilders like that are in such pitiful shape because they don’t train properly and they ridiculously overuse steroids and growth hormore. just use the training programs on this site and John Berardi’s nutrition stuff and you’ll gain what you want and be healthier at the same time.

Ohhh man. This might just blow up…

Sort of takes the “I don’t wanna get too big…” approach to a new level eh?

Anyway, how big are you right now?

Also, Pro BBs aren’t in great health because of the chemicals they put in their bodies, not their size. If you’re not using drugs, you don’t need to worry about becoming so big as to be unhealthy. I think this would be very very difficult and take a long long time (if it’s possible at all).


JMB

Do not take this to hard, but you sound like a woman. Trust me, unless you have some “help” you will not get unhealthy big from lifting weights. In fact you will only improve your health and most likely every other faucet of your life.

Great question! I am not even close to being HUGE, but my blood pressure is starting to get on the higher side so I’ve been wondering this same thing. The advice I’ve been given is to lose 10 pounds which of course I don’t want to do. Anyhow… great question, I look forward to hearing what other people think about this

Well there are studies about starved worms who live many times longer than there overfed counterparts. These or this study has led many “experts” to deduce that low kcal diets have the potential of increasing lifespan. So using there theories the more weight you gain whether muscle or fat the shorter your lifespan will be.

There’s no absolute…well except the fact that there aren’t too many 80-100 year old obese people. I haven’t met any but I’m not at nursing homes looking for them either.

The “unhealthiest” of working out with weights becomes a problem when you reach abnormal levels. Ala Ronnie Coleman…“dead man walking”. Since there is no way to tell what Napo’s blood work looks like not sure a guess is anything more than a guess. I would say Napo is healthier simply because of the massive amount of drugs that Ronnie is on. 300lbs is 300lbs. Your heart doesn’t know the difference and neither do any of the other organs.

Your looking at 20lbs so what’s the big deal? Start to lift big, eat clean and do some form of energy systems work and you’ll be fine. Everyone’s “heard” stories of bodybuilders who can’t do this and the other. You’re talking about 20lbs and since you only recently changed to an alledgely productive routine of compound exercises what do you have to worry about??? Take care of your joints and lower back and you’ll be fine.

I know it has been said here before, but you are probably not going to have to worry about getting too big. You have to make some severe lifestyle manipulations to get so big that it is detrimental to your health.

The dude in Napolean is so much healthier.

Maybe a better comparision would be a crack addict and Ronnie.

He appears in the dead pool every year and outweighed most of the Denver Bronco linemen when he stepped on stage last year. The ratio of his hormones from natural to injected is basically none to all.

Add to that he’s proabbly trashed his thyroid. Well… Gee.

And the other dude is just geeky and dorky.

[quote]Croooz wrote:
300lbs is 300lbs. Your heart doesn’t know the difference and neither do any of the other organs.[/quote]

I just wanted to focus in on this because if I actually get into this discussion, I doubt the MOD’s will post what I type. 250lbs is not simply 250lbs. Your heart does know the difference if cardio and the rest of your lifestyle make it the difference. 250lbs as a bodybuilder does not make you unhealthy. That means, the only way to know if Ronnie Coleman is unhealthy at 300lbs is to run tests on him…not sit and make assumptions. He is one of the few who actually carries himself pretty well at anywhere near that heavy. Your statement is why some athletes and bodybuilders have trouble getting health insurance because the BMI is used…because they do not take into consideration muscle against body fat. Being smaller does not make you healthier. Body composition and cardio training are the main factors.

As far as a study on worms, there have been more extensive studies on monkeys and while those with lower daily food intakes seem to live longer, your deduction that this means anyone who gains weight is at risk is also wrong. Gaining weight is not the issue. It is believed that food oxidation is the problem, thus, the more meals you eat, the more food oxidation occurs. This is only a theory, however. That means, if your goal is to out live everyone else, perhaps you need to find a really large - yet comfortable - bubble to live in and restrict meals to possibly once a day, or better yet, once every two days. Of course, you won’t actually be “living” very much, but if anyone is more likely to hit the age of 115…

Being big and strong will provide you with some health benefits. It may also have some adveres ones even without being Ronnie Coleman big.

At 6’2" and 240lbs I have non-pathological left ventricular hypertrophy. Keyword being non-pathalogical. However, while this is not considered a problem due to my fitness level, left ventricular hypertrophy is something that occurs with hypertension as well as intense weightlifting. You can have adverse side effects form being huge, however, it is generally healthier to be strong than to be sedentary. As long as your blood pressure isn’t excessively high, your EKG is normal (non-path. hypertrophy is considered normal for weightlifters) and your blood work-up is fine then you have nothing to worry aobut.

Basically, keep track of the things you would keep track of even if you weren’t huge and were jsut a normal healthy dude.

ProfX:

I think folks start threads like this just to read your rants.

Keep 'em coming. I love it.

[quote]myersje wrote:
At 6’2" and 240lbs I have non-pathological left ventricular hypertrophy. Keyword being non-pathalogical. However, while this is not considered a problem due to my fitness level, left ventricular hypertrophy is something that occurs with hypertension as well as intense weightlifting. [/quote]

You are referring to “athletic heart syndrome” and it is not considered unhealthy. That is the difference between someone who is larger because of heavy training, and someone who is larger because of extreme obesity.

I am sure there will be plenty of observation points available from this site to find the answer to this question. Problem is it will take about 30 years.

Personally I think that even if you are in good condition, increasing your body weight past a certain point probably does stress your body.

My personal focus is on the number of quality years not necessarily the exact number. Who cares if you live to be 100 but are bed ridden and can’t think clearly.

I suppose when you get right down to it, no one knows how healthy anyone is. Unless you follow them around all day every day for a very long period of time.

However, you can look at someone and make an educated guess. For example the fat lady with green stretch pants that I see in the grocery store every week with a cigarette dangling from her mouth, and a Pepsi in her hand, swearing and slapping her kids. I bet she isn’t healthy!

It’s not the green stretch pants or slapping her kids, although I find them both offensive. It’s that huge stomach and butt, that Cigarette and the Pepsi that that tell me she’s not up for Ms. America.

When I look at Ronnie Coleman, believe it or not, I feel almost the same way. I don’t know for sure, but I bet he can’t run down the block without an oxygen tank (and someone else carrying it). And I sure as heck have no idea how much juice he’s on, or what types (and I don’t care), but I just have a hunch it’s quite a lot and it’s not very healthy in the long run. Does anyone take massive amounts of muscle building steroids for long term health?

No, we can’t be sure who is healthier, but we can make some good educated guesses. However, a more important question is what’s the difference? If he is doing what he wants to be doing and he knows all of the risks then he is living his life the way he wants. If you don’t want that sort of lifestyle, don’t do what he does. I have a feeling he knows which end is up and the risks of his trade.

Oh and the short answer is that Napoleon dude…but then again who wants to look like him?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Your statement is why some athletes and bodybuilders have trouble getting health insurance because the BMI is used…because they do not take into consideration muscle against body fat. Being smaller does not make you healthier. Body composition and cardio training are the main factors.
[/quote]

Excellent point. I remember reading that Steve Young during his playing days in the NFL was defined as obese based on the BMI calculation!

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I just wanted to focus in on this because if I actually get into this discussion, I doubt the MOD’s will post what I type. [/quote]

Dammit man, that’s a tease!

This is my take. Everyone here pretty much agrees that we all have a genetic potential in terms of how much we can carry “naturally”. For example my father is about 210 12-14% bdyft and up until recently never lifted any weights. Soo that in mind he could probably get up to 230-240 without drugs and his heart would still be able to comfortabley circulate blood through his system. Now lets say he puts on 70 lbs of mass with a few wicked cycles. Do you think his heart that was originally only supposed to circulate blood through a 210-240 lbs man is going to work the same? I’d think it’d be ALOT more stressful. Is this oversimplifying things?

But, my lips hurt real bad!!

Lonnie123 wrote:
So basically my main question is:

When, if ever, does it become unhealthy to body build?

Bodybuilding is an extremely healthy activity. Whether being huge is healthy or not is dependent upon age (biological age, not training age). There is a point at which additonal mass increases your blood pressure (yes, even with natural training) and it makes certain activities more awkward to perform as one gets older. The additional weight can also exacerbate problems such as arthritis particularly if you have it in your knees or ankles.

The actual activity of bodybuilding is in itself a healthy endeavour and can improve your quality of life at all ages. But, is being huge healthy? From my perspective - not when you get older.

This is a strange question. What do you mean by too big? Using drugs to get big is unhealthy, but how can extra muscle be unhealthy? If you workout like a bodybuilder(natural), you might move funny and not be very athletic, but what else(negetive) if all other training is done properlly. More weight puts more stress on your skeletal system, but lifting weights increases bone density. If you are a tweener right now and are worried about getting too big, I promise you will never have to worry about this. Do me a favor, when you see a big sun of a bitch and get intimidated, dont use, “thats not healthy” as a way of making yourself feel better. One thing that can be unhealthy with bodybuilding is loosing and gaining lots of weight around competitions, but being big and lean naturally, is a damn good thing if you ask me. Look at the Patriots linebacking core as an example, they are fucking monsters, big as hell and agile. I would go out on a limb here and say they are healthier(internally) than most readers on this board. On a side note, Im a Cowboys fan, but those guys are all the fucking man.