For bodybuilders, a layer of unnecessary body fat hides a proper visual representation of their consistency and dedication to training, nutrition and a general muscle-building lifestyle. Furthermore, excess body fat can lead to metabolic disruptions and improper calorie partitioning. A modest fat gain is a tolerable condition after a period of overeating to support heavy weightlifting for maximum gains in muscle mass. However, before a soft physique turns obese, it’s time to apply a calorie-cutting diet with a fat-loss training routine. It’s important to remain consistent enough to reveal off season muscle-building efforts. Many bodybuilders reverse a soft-body trend before the summer – a season where more favorable outdoor temperatures can increase social relations. But can increasing social ties cause a disruption in a fat-burning period?
The Farmingham Heart Study examined how obesity spreads in large social networks – suggesting unhealthy levels of body fat can be a contagious condition. The 32-year study was published on July 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers evaluated a densely interconnected social network of 12,067 people from 1971 to 2003. According to the study, a person is 57 percent more likely to become obese if he or she has friends who become overweight. If one sibling becomes obese, the other’s likelihood increases by 40 percent. If a spouse becomes obese, the probability the other will follow increases 37 percent.
Contact with obese people can change a person’s definition of acceptable body composition. Frequent interactions can influence food choices and activity levels. The Farmingham Heart Study demonstrated that persons in closer, mutual friendships have a powerful influence on each other. Persons of the same sex have relatively greater influence than those of opposite sex. This passing of body fat may rely less on behavioral imitation but a change in general perception of acceptable body fat levels. Behavioral effects may rely more on the frequency of contact.
Successful fat-loss routines must remain focused, especially under social pressures to graze on unhealthy and subsequently unproductive foods. These societal pressures are high; in the United States over 60 percent of adults are already overweight.
“The Obesity Epidemic: Looking in the Mirror,” an editorial published on Aug.1 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggest an obesity epidemic is on the rise in the United States. According to the article, researchers project that 75 percent of adults will be overweight or obese by 2015. Apparently cutting out obese friends isn’t feasible – if one wants friends at all.
Unfortunately, social gatherings are consistently attached to food and alcohol consumption. What do you want to do tonight? Go grab a pizza or drinks at the club (food as entertainment)? Should we get some of Joe’s birthday cake (food as celebration)? Do you want some chocolates my boss sent me for staying late last night (food as a reward)? Daily events are often linked to eating and frequently void of any physical activity. Overweight people are easily led to feel self-conscious about their physical condition and will sometimes act offended when you turn down an alcoholic drink or a piece of cake.
When a bodybuilder chooses to change to a fat-loss routine, it’s important to be aware of the potential influences society can have on motivation and perception. Stay goal driven and ignore destructive influences. If a social contact is becoming extremely negative and progressively persistent, it may be time to cut the relationship short. Let them enjoy themselves as they rise to obesity’s grasp on today’s society – while you ascend to an enjoyment that comes only after physically demanding work and personal restraint.
The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years. Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D. NEJM, Volume 357:370-379, July 26, 2007.
The Obesity Epidemic: Looking in the Mirror. S. K. Kumanyika, Am. J. Epidemiol., August 1, 2007; 166(3): 243-245.