Community Discussion Post – Policy
Posted In: Nutrition – 04/30/2019
Posted By User: 4FR Mike
My Post #16 – Why don’t some people get fat when they eat lots? – Online Question
Why don’t some people get fat when they eat lots? All of the time people will tell me that I’m “lucky” because I don’t get fat when I eat a lot of food. I have also heard others talk about how they can eat and eat and never gain weight. Why? I want this knowledge to empower others. Keep in mind that this is a community, off the cuff post and not an edited article.
This topic can be made very complex by talking about all kinds of reasons for weight gain like hormones and body types. Yes, a lot of people will have a body type like an “ectomorph” that allows them to eat like crazy, “hard gainers”. Body types do very from person to person but sometimes people can have the same body type, eat the same foods and look very different. Why?
I don’t think that a lean build of muscle and low body fat is a natural gift, I think it is made. I’m 5 foot 11 inches and 177 lbs at the moment. I can eat a healthy 2750 calories and not gain fat. This is amazing to some people and figure this is a genetic gift. However, when I use an online calculator to predict my calories intake to maintain my weight it is right around this same target area so I don’t think it is all that unusually high.
I think the big reason some people like me can seemingly eat a lot of food and not gain fat is because of our starting point and muscle mass. Someone else 5 foot 11 inches with a big belly, body fat and little muscle is eating a similar amount of calories to sustain the big belly and body fat. It isn’t that this person is constantly getting larger when we eat the same foods, it is that they are maintaining their current shape and I maintain mine. This person may feel like we are doing the same things at that point but leading up to that point we probably did things very differently so my calories sustain muscle while theirs sustains fat.
Look if I eat 2950 calories or a surplus of 200 calories per day I will gain weight just like the person struggling with their weight. The difference is that I am already very lean and muscular so an extra pound of fat is going to look fairly trivial. Also, I lift weights and built extra muscle and those muscles demand those calories to exist. Someone struggling with their body fat levels also has a demand for calories but those calories are going to sustain the extra body fat.
So how can this knowledge empower others? The key in all of this is muscle mass and eating calories to feed the muscle instead of the fat. Someone with extra body fat needs to create a demand for the calories with more muscle. I have done this very well for nearly 27 years by lifting weights to gain muscle and then eating fewer calories than my body needs to burn off some fat. This concept is very simple and effective but it takes time and a strong grasp of the 4 Fitness Rules.
Now if I need to burn fat, I can not eat 2750 calories per day as per my maintenance requirement. In this case I need to eat fewer calories so that my body is forced to burn fat. Over time my body weight will fluctuate up and down in sharp daily movements but the trend will be lower. When my body fat is low enough I will then eat a little over my maintenance and put weight back on. Because I consistently lift weights and focus on eating sufficient protein, I try to add more muscle than fat. It isn’t that I have a special genetic gift to be lean, it has more to do with what I did get to get lean which creates the demand for calories based on muscle, not fat.
Now if speed is an issue, adding HIIT cardio to help out may not be a bad idea. I just don’t want to over complicate this with too many concepts. There are always exceptions and people need to be healthy enough for exercise but in general this concept should work for most people. I try to control my muscle with weights and body fat through proper nutrition. Pretty simple…. so are the 4 Fitness Rules… I hope this helps. Good luck!
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