Ice skating is an absolute blast! While I do enjoy the indoor rink from time to time, there’s nothing quite like being outside and enjoying nature while ice skating. My husband also loves to play a game of pick-up ice hockey with his friends.
But a lot of folks are surprised to see someone big hit the ice- at least they sure look surprised when they first see me skate by!
So can fat people ice skate?
Yes, fat people can ice skate. There is no weight limit to ice skating, it’s all about finding balance and going at the speed that works for you. There have been plenty of fat hockey players and even some fat figure skaters so there’s no reason you can’t be fat and ice skate.
Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about fat folks and fun ice skating! We’re also going to look at skating not only from the perspective of someone who wants to get out and have some fun but also for folks that want to play hockey.
Is There A Weight Limit To Ice Skating?
Nope! Unless you’re literally skating on thin ice, there’s no official weight limit for ice skating and fat folks of all sizes can enjoy it.
But let’s take a closer look at some of the more specific concerns that fat folks sometimes have when it comes to hitting the ice.
Will I Fall Through The Ice?
Any indoor rink will have plenty of ice to keep people safe. Typically, the ice is sitting on a base of gravel, sand, or concrete, with dozens of safety features to keep everyone safe.
Modern indoor ice rinks have several monitors that will alert the right people to weakness in the ice way before there’s a problem. The rinks were also made to support dozens of people (or more) and your weight isn’t going to push it over the limit.
When it comes to outdoor ice skating, the risk for fat people is the same as for anyone else, and skating on thin ice is dangerous for anyone.
But as the thickness of ice increases, the amount of weight it supports rapidly increases. For example, 10 inches of ice can support about 3.5 tons but 20 inches of ice can support 25 tons. It’s going to take a lot more than you, fat or not, to break through 20 inches of ice!
Do Ice Skates Have A Weight Limit?
Then there’s the issue of ice skates and whether or not they can support a heavy person.
While you’re not likely to find a weight limit listed on any ice skates, it’s worth considering that there dozens of NHL players weighing well over 200 pounds. And that’s just their listed weight! Consider all the gear that professionals are required to wear and it’s easy to see that ice hockey skates are more than ready for 300+ pounds.
Finally, there’s the fact that ice hockey is a contact sport. That means the skates not only need to support the weight of the person wearing them but also the combined weight during impact!
So while ice skates will have a weight limit, like anything else, most folks aren’t ever going to have a problem with it.
How To Figure Out Which Ice Skates Support More Weight?
Even though most fat folks aren’t going to have a problem with ice skates not supporting their weight, it’s still worth understanding the basics of an ice skate so you know which options make sense for heavy folks. We’ve actually got an entire guide decided on the best skates for big guys which you can see here. So we’ll just go over the basics.
What You Don’t Need To Worry About
Skates are really just shoes with a blade on the bottom.
Okay, that might be a bit of an oversimplification but not by much so when it comes to the actual shoe portion there’s not a lot to worry about. Just find a skate that’s snug but comfortable.
What You Do Need To Worry About
The biggest concern is going to come down to the holder of the skate. This is the component that keeps the blade in place.
If you’re heavy and pick up a skate with a weak holder then you could end up with problems as low-quality holders can break, bend or crack. You’ll also want to look out for weak or loose rivets (the metal things that keep the holder in place) as these could suffer a little more and wear tear if you’re heavy.
How To Pick The Best Ones?
If you’re just looking to enjoy yourself on the ice, you can pick out a pair of ice skates just like anyone else would even if you’re big, fat, or heavy. Realize that ice skates are made to handle a lot of impact! Whether that’s playing hockey or landing a jump as a figure skater, most ice skates are more than ready for the fat recreational skater.
If you’re a bigger guy that wants to play ice hockey, make sure you get a sport-specific skate that’s ready for the wear and tear of the sport.
But in general, if you’re not too big to move on the ice then you’re not too big for a regular ice skate. Just make sure you size appropriately and most ice skates are sized down by about 1 to 1.5 sizes!
How To Ice Skate If You’re Fat
Ice skating will use muscles that you didn’t even know you had before you got started! It doesn’t matter if you’re fat or skinny, you should expect to be sore! But let’s look at some tips that will help out fat folks if you’re just learning to skate.
Start With An Indoor Ice Skating Rink
While it might be intimidating to start your ice skating adventure on a public rink for all the world to see, don’t let being fat ever stop you from doing what you want to do! Ice skating is no different!
But what really makes indoor rinks a good option is that they have plenty of handrails for you to grab onto. These can not only help you learn at your pace but can be extremely helpful if you need help getting up from a fall. You’re not likely to get that at an outdoor or natural rink.
Indoor rinks also have specific times for specific types of skaters. Look for rinks that offer learn to skate or beginners sessions where you’ll be able to join several other ice skating newbies while avoiding the pros. Not every ice skating rink will offer this but most do so make sure to check around.
Consider Using A Skate Helper
Never heard of a skate helper before? Check it out:
Instead of having to clutch onto your friend or just sticking to the wall, using a skate helper can allow you to get out on the ice with way less stress. While it can look a little stiff, you can absolutely progress with one of these and it will slide pretty well along the ice once you get moving.
That means you can use the skate helper from complete beginner all the way up to intermediate levels.
Even better, is that these are becoming more popular at rinks around the world. While you can pick up a product similar to the ice skate helper from Amazon, they typically just aren’t sturdy enough for a person of size to use. So before you hit the rink, give them a call or check their website to see if they’ve got skate helpers available for customers.
Don’t Be Afraid To Walk…Like A Penguin!
I worked for a large corporation in Colorado for few years and every winter they’d send out an email reminding everyone to walk like a penguin on the ice. Not only does this strategy help keep people safe on their walk from the car to the office but it also works great even when you’re wearing ice skates!
Don’t expect to zoom around right away and one of the first things you need to get used to is how ice skates even feel on your feet! As a fat person, you’ve often got a lower center of gravity to begin with which means the ice skates can take some getting used to, and walking like a penguin is a great way to get a feel for the ice.
Expect To Fall
There’s a good chance, that at some point you might fall…and it’s not a big deal!
But us fat folks have more weight which can mean more impact when you land. That’s why it’s extra important to not try and catch yourself with your hands!
Okay, you don’t want to fall on your face either but you can cause more harm than good if you try to support the impact of your entire body with just your wrists! Instead, try to fall on your side.
Luckily, I’ve got plenty of cushion all over so when I did fall it wasn’t that big of a deal. I also wore a helmet while I was learning and I’d highly recommend that every person, of any size, do the same. That will give you some peace of mind as you attempt to practice your falling technique.
Stay Near The Rails
Until you’ve got your confidence and skills built up, make sure you stay near the rails. Most fat folks, myself included, can’t get up as easy and the railings can really help. I also found that the wall was extremely helpful for getting myself up and off my butt!
Consider Hiring A Coach or Signing Up For Lessons
Yes, fat people can hire a coach! Not every coach will be fat positive so just make sure you talk to them about your weight ahead of time. Coaches should be supportive and make sure that they cater their training program to your abilities.
Group lessons can make a great option as well and they can also be a lot cheaper. Don’t be afraid to sign up alone but you can also get some of your fat friends to sign up with you!
Do Fat People Have Any Advantages When It Comes To Ice Skating?
Yes! While most of the world will tell you that fat people can’t possibly have an advantage in any athletic endeavor…that couldn’t be further from the truth. Michelle Allison, also known as the Fat Nutritionist, puts it perfectly in her piece for Self.com:
As it turns out, my body has some surprising advantages on ice. I’m short and bottom-heavy, giving me a low center of gravity. I gain speed quickly, thanks to my strong, thick legs, and I maintain momentum for a long time, thanks to my weight. My big feet require long blades, adding stability and glide to my skating. If I fall, my bones are well protected. (I do wear knee and head protection. Stay safe, kids.)
I will say, that the momentum benefits of being fat can be a double-edged sword! You can really pick up speed much faster than smaller people so make sure you’re careful!
What Parts Of Ice Skating Are Harder For Fat Folks?
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though!
The biggest challenge fat folks will have on the ice is controlling your fall and getting back up. This could make the learning curve a little steeper for some fat folks but once you get the hang of it and stop falling then there’s nothing slowing you down…literally!
You’ll also want to be extra careful about falling and make sure to wear appropriate protective gear. That means a helmet and pads which will help you safely fall no matter how heavy you are.
Are There Any Fat Ice Skaters In Sports?
Let’s look at a few of the most popular ice skating sports!
Fat Hockey Players
There have been plenty of fat hockey players over the years! Any sport that requires full contact physicality can usually benefit from having some heavyweights on the team and ice hockey is no different.
Seeing players over 200 pounds is commonplace and you’ll also find plenty of NHL pros that are over 250 pounds.
Fat Figure Skaters
Yep, they’re out there! While figure skaters are typically known as being very small, you can still be a beautiful plus-sized figure skater including performing all the jumps, spins, and twists! Just check out this YouTube video to see a plus-sized figure skater showing us all how it’s done!
Fat Speed Skaters
While you can certainly go fast as a fat person (like really fast), you aren’t going to find any fat speed skaters at the professional level. That’s because the need to stay lightweight and nimble is just too great in this particular sport!
The world of ice skating is absolutely open to fat folks of all shapes and sizes!
You certainly don’t need to worry about falling through the ice and if you can move on land then you’re ready to move on ice skates!
So get out there and live life big!