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Does Fat Make Powerlifters Stronger?

By Trisha McNary

For maximum muscle strength, powerlifters consume huge amounts of protein, which often contains fat and calories that add up to excess body fat, especially with a workout that doesn’t include cardio. Although some fat is necessary for health and strength -- for men, about 10 to 23 percent is healthy -- a 2009 University of Maryland study, published in "The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," found that high amounts of body fat were associated with loss of strength. Abdominal fat leads to heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack, according to Harvard Health. Heart weakness increases health risks when lifting heavy weights.

Strong at Heart

A healthy heart needs 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio each week, according to the American Heart Association. Many powerlifters swear by a meat diet, but very large amounts of meat -- even lean meat and chicken -- deliver large amounts of fat and calories that get stored as fat. You can get more the same amounts of protein or more from low-calorie, non-fat or low-fat foods, resulting in a higher percentage of body muscle compared to fat. Replace some of the fat-containing foods in your diet with eggs, fish, non-fat dairy and whey protein supplements to lower your daily fat intake. Whey protein is a very digestible and usable source of protein and contains high amounts of the amino acids and BCAAs -- necessary nutrients for muscle for performance, recovery and repair.

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