Why Do Fat People Have Big Calves?

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Why Do Fat People Have Big Calves

Fat people’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes. That being said, one feature that you will notice about most fat people is the size of their calves.

Generally, people who are overweight (like me) have calves that almost look muscular. We achieve this without working out, or at least, without training or hitting the gym.

So, why do fat people have big calves?

Fat people have big calves because they have big calf muscles from supporting their own weight. Regardless of your weight, when you stand, it’s antigravity muscles including your spine, neck, quadriceps, and calves that keep you upright. This means as a person’s weight increases, their muscles in areas like the calves grow, too. 

Below, I’ll go a little more into detail answering this question and talk about why many fat people have larger calves.

Why Do Fat People Have Big Calves?

When you’re overweight, your body has to work harder. For example, your heart works harder to pump blood through your body, which is one of the reasons that people who are overweight are at a greater risk of hypertension and heart disease.

In addition to your organs working harder, the muscles in your legs have to work harder to support the total weight of your body. This is the reason that fat people are often strong, especially in their thigh and calf muscles.

Your calves belong to a group of muscles called antigravity muscles. This includes muscle groups in your spine, neck, thighs, and calves that are most affected by the earth’s gravitational pull. Basically, being an antigravity muscle means that your calves support a lot of your body’s weight.

In fact people who are active, the constant weight of gravity on these muscles makes them stronger. Not using these muscles also makes them weaker, which is the astronauts are at risk for muscle atrophy when they aren’t using these antigravity muscles in space.

Do All Fat People Have Big Calves?

Most fat people have big calves. The exception is fat people who leave sedentary lifestyles or who are not really active on a daily basis.

In people who aren’t up moving around, these muscles aren’t being used so they actually get weaker with time. In people who are severely obese, it’s even possible to lose the ability to walk for this reason. Over time, the bones in the lower legs and ankles lose the ability to support the body’s weight.

Do Fat People Have Stronger Calves?

While fat people do have bigger calf muscles than someone of average weight, they are not necessarily stronger. Research has shown that people who are overweight have greater muscle size and strength and as long as they are active, that muscle strength increases steadily with increased weight gain.

However, the same research compared the proportional body weight and calf muscle strength of overweight people to people of average weight. Proportionally, people of average weight have stronger calf muscles.

That being said, there are a number of factors that affect how strong a person’s calf muscle is. The research did show a correlation between a person’s total weight and muscle strength, but it would make sense that level of activity and how much the muscle is being worked matters, too.

Additionally, people who are at a “healthy” weight, aren’t always actually healthy. Some people are thin or have an underweight BMI, but still look fat because they don’t have a lot of muscle development.

What’s the Difference Between Having Big Calves and Being Big Boned?

It’s not uncommon for people to think that fat people are big boned, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Anyone can be big boned, regardless of their body weight. However, it’s believed only about 15% of people are big boned in the United States population.

The difference is that while overweight people aren’t necessarily big boned, most fat people do have bigger calf muscles. This happens from their bodies supporting their own weight.

That being said, there are slight variations in an overweight person’s bones, particularly those that support a lot of the body’s weight.

It only makes sense that when a person gained weight for a long period of time, their bones would get stronger and reinforce themselves to better support the body’s new weight.

This is most commonly seen in a person’s femur, which is the big bone running through your thigh. Scientists are generally able to tell a person’s weight just by looking at skeletal remains because an overweight person’s femur is significantly bigger.

Even then, however, bone size isn’t really significant enough that it would change the size of the calves. The size of a person’s calves is more visibly affected by the amount of muscle on the back of the leg.

Final Word

So, why do fat people have big calves? With the exception of people who are overweight and lead really sedentary lifestyles, fat people have big calves because their calf muscles need to be strong to support their weight.

Calf muscles are part of a group of muscles called antigravity muscles that support most of your weight. Even though the calf muscles of fat people are bigger, though, they aren’t always proportionally stronger.

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