Fat endurance athlete

This article in the New York Times is about a fat endurance athlete. Fat athletes aren’t rare, but I will admit that there don’t seem to be many fat long distance runners. The article makes a big deal over the fact that the guy sometimes gains weight before a race so he knows that he’ll still be classified as obese afterwards. Seems like he’s making a point that you can be fat and fit, which I certainly agree with.

My favorite quote from the article is by Linda Bacon. My second favorite is this one:

While Pitkanen is obese by most measures, he is not considered morbidly obese, and he may have developed strong muscles over the years, said Dr. Nada Abumrad, an obesity researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “I’m not saying it’s recommended, but there is some evidence that if you are obese, your muscles have to adapt to carrying the extra weight.”

Ya think?


9 thoughts on “Fat endurance athlete

  1. “[…] but there is some evidence that if you are obese, your muscles have to adapt to carrying the extra weight.”
    Wow, I just … wow! Is it really possible to be so fat hating, that you can’t even admit that you need more musclepower to carry heavier weight!?

    • And remember your heart is a muscle too! That is why I always thought it was BS when people go on about how fat people are straining their hearts. Very few people gain a lot of weight in a very short period of time; it’s usually gradual and our muscles, including the heart, strengthen and adapt, especially if we keep active. I have legs that look like linebacker legs even when I’m not working out a lot. Every time I sit down and stand up I’m doing a 300lb leg press. 🙂

  2. I don’t know about deliberately gaining weight so that he would still qualify as obese after the race. Wouldn’t it make more sense to deliberately gain weight so that your body has adequate resources to draw on during the race? I get that he’s making a point, but still.

    I do like that the article was relatively straight reporting, with no “OMG HE’S GONNA DIE OF DA FATZ” commentary by some armchair so-called expert. I think it would be really hard to dredge up someone who would claim this guy is unfit when he can do a race probably 99% of the population (of any weight) would drop in the first day.

    • Gaining weight is his own choice, just like other people choose to go on diets. His choice goes against the grain, and I guess that appeals to me as well. Plus, I have to wonder whether the stated reason to gain weight is the only reason. In any case, thanks for your comment, Jo!

  3. Hi there. I’m a reporter for FITNESS and am reporting a piece that explores the relationship between weight, health, and fitness, with particular focus on overweight and obese athletes. We are hoping to profile 4 or 5 highly accomplished but non professional female athletes who are in excellent health and plus size. We already have several triathletes. Hoping for some variety….mountaineers, rowers, track and field, weight lifters, archers, etc. Would love to hear back from interested parties ASAP. Thanks.

  4. Pingback: Skeptical Inquirer and Fatties, Part 2 | Fatties United!

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