I believe there is increased strain on your heart if you are overweight due to body fat. However I am overweight due to my muscle mass. Since I started training my BMI has gone from the middle of normal to overweight.
I know the BMI should be ignored for adults with high muscle to fat percentage, but I still am overweight, I weigh 81kgs and I am 5ft 11".

Since muscle needs a lot of blood, is there still extra strain damaging my heart? And if not, why not?

  • What kind of exercise do you do and how intensive is it?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 24, 2011 at 15:13
  • starting strength, plus a few other sets of freeweights and cables, not much cardio while I am trying to bulk up
    – Moz
    Mar 24, 2011 at 15:15

2 Answers 2


Unless you've been using steroids and/or have a history of heart conditions in your family, I don't believe that having a lot of muscles is a risk factor for heart problems.

You gain muscles by working out, so while you were building up your muscles, you also built up your heart!

Simply put, unless you notice any limiting factors during working out (like an abnormally high heart rate) or the opposite: feel faint during the day (which might be due to low blood pressure), I don't think there's anything to worry about.

I suggest you read some more about the relation between power output and your maximal oxygen uptake + heart rate. These factors are all heavily linked and if you have a feeling there's anything wrong with them in your case, you can always ask another question

  • that may have solved where I was getting confused, I was forgetting that the heart is a muscle, and working out will help increase its strength also, while getting fat won't!
    – Moz
    Mar 24, 2011 at 15:19
  • I'm looking for a nice graph to show how much you improve due to training, which can be quite spectacular!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 24, 2011 at 15:26

Overweight is generally defined as having more body fat than is optimally healthy. - Wikipedia

Being over recommended weight is not equivalent with being obese. It is important that you maintain some body fat (the U.S. military requires 3% to the best of my knowledge) in order to be healthy.

The bad news is that just a few extra pounds of fat can lead to endothelial dysfunction. - ShedYourWeight.com

The extra weight in muscle, unless artificially generated through steroids or other unhealthy means will have nothing but possible positive effects on your health, including your heart.

Extra weight in fat, on the other hand, is very damaging to your health, including your heart. It also causes a myriad of other health problems, including the storage of toxins in your body which muscle would readily flush out.

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