Nutrition and Exercise Tips to Walk Away From Death
Recently yet another super-heavyweight Iron Immortal died from a heart attack at age forty-five or thereabouts. Typically, when I read of these tragedies I search my memory banks and then write some sort of tribute. Rather than eulogize yet another fallen warrior, for whom it's too late, and at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I thought a slightly different approach might be appropriate and perhaps even helpful in preventing a future tragedy. It is my contention that a shockingly large percentage of retired national and international-level powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters eat too much, do nothing insofar as cardiovascular training and as a direct result unnecessarily risk premature death.
Retired super heavyweight lifters are particularly susceptible to this fatal phenomenon. Typically, the 'at risk' big-man lifter reduces or quits weight training - but doesn't quit the enormous eating habits that got him big enough and dense enough to handle world record poundage. Super-heavyweight powerlifters consume too many calories and in particular they eat way too much saturated fat.
Food is broken down for energy within the body. A gram of fat contains nine calories. A gram of protein or carbohydrate contains four calories per gram. For a man intent on bulking-up as large as possible as fast as possible, fat calories, dense and compact, are the ticket. Fat calories pack twice the caloric bounce-per-ounce as protein or carb calories and boy do they ever taste good! Allowing taste to dictate our diet can be fatal. High fat food is delicious and it gives food a wonderful, seductive flavor. The bulking lifter can eat twice as many calories when they choose fat over protein or carbohydrates.
The problem is that dietary fat is easily converted to body fat. To use an automobile analogy, the big lifter develops a body akin to that of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado - but the heart muscle of the lifter does not enlarge to accommodate the increased bulk. Metaphorically, the lifter has a heart designed to power a 1967 VW Beetle but his 65-horsepower heart motor now motivates a 5000-pound Cadillac body: what an incredible strain on his little blood-pump. For a few short years, hugeness is okay: the human body is incredibly resilient, but if the lifter doesn't pare the pounds eventually the little heart muscle can suffer a blowout. Or will wear out from overuse.
The miraculous heart muscle pulsates 60-90 times a minute, sending blood coursing through the veins and capillaries to receptive muscles and organs with the precision and regularity of a fine Swiss watch. A hundred pounds (or more) of extra bodyweight will stress the tiny heart to the breaking point. It's a hell-of-a dilemma; to reach the top of the powerlifting game the lifter needs density in relation to their height.
Ever notice how few tall Powerlifters reach the international level? To achieve the requisite density a tall lifter (over six-foot) would need weigh 400-pounds to match the density-per-inch the typical under-six foot super heavyweight achieves. Most people who meet top powerlifter are amazed at how short they are in relation to their weight. To maximize leverage, lifters need density-per-inch-of-height and super heavyweights, unencumbered by weight divisions, always have an effective avenue available to increase their density-per-inch: eat more food and get bigger.
Big men feel they need dietary fat, 'dirty' calories, in order to gain the sheer bulk necessary to compete at the national and international level. As my old coach Hugh Cassidy used to preach, a serious super-heavyweight lifter can always "eat his way through a sticking point". Of course when Hugh retired he dropped from 300-pounds to 190-pounds bodyweight inside a year. Cassidy was no dummy (a powerlifting genius) and had the sense to reduce his caloric intake when the whistle sounded and the game was over. A lot don't and the consequences are apparently disastrous.
That giant lifter who happily scarfs down saturated fat, motivating that Eldorado body around with that VW engine, eventually has a second deadly complication rear its ugly head. Saturated fat produces plaque and as it floats through the bloodstream plaque adheres to the arterial walls leading to and from the heart. Over time the tube diameter becomes constricted with plaque buildup and when it clogs completely (assuming you don't die from heart spasms) a roto-rooter (angeoplastsy) balloon procedure or by-pass surgery is required to open constricted passageways.
It's a dastardly double whammy: the lifter's diet adds bodyweight - creating a stress-load on the over-taxed heart pump and the fat in the lifter's diet reduces the efficiency of the already taxed heart by constricting the blood flow. It's a deadly one-two combination. Often the whole situation is further complicated when the lifter ceases hard training. Now sedentary, his high caloric intake accelerates body fat accumulation at an astonishingly fast rate. If left unchecked this scenario will lead to health problems as surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
I once helped a 350-pound super heavyweight take second place at the USPF Nationals and thereby secure a slot on the IPF world championship team. He was elated and afterwards we decided to have room service send up victory pizza. I was staying on the second floor and the elevators were acting up so we decided to walk the four mini-flights to the second floor. It was an easy climb but our IPF-destined lifter was gassed like he'd just climbed Mount Everest without using an oxygen tank. He was far more blasted from the 22-step walk-up than his 881-squat or 750-deadlift. He heaved and gasped like a coal miner with black lung after smoking a Camel and took a full thirty minutes before he recovered.
I remember how when the Pizzas came he knelt down on the floor at the foot of the bed. He took his Pizza Hut extra-large, set it on the bed, opened the box, still kneeing, placed his elbows on the bed and commenced to chow-down. His huge distended stomach hung all the way to the floor and there was no daylight showing between his gut and the sunlight shining in the open window behind him. Looking like a pregnant rhino, his face hovered a scant six-inches above the pizza box as he devoured the entire thing in 10-minutes flat, steam shovel style, like he was strip mining a hill for coal. He gobbled his pepperoni and sausage and then went scavenging for leftovers from the other three boxes. Feeling better he took a nap.
I once asked George Hector how it felt to be able to squat 975 and deadlift 840 weighing 360. "For two days a year, at the National and World championships, it's great ? the other 363 days a year it sucks!" George ran into health problems (phlebitis) reduced down to 242 and set a slew of world records. But wise men like George and Hugh and John Kuc are the exceptions, not the rule. Too many huge guys are attached to their 'sea food' diet and it comes back to bite 'em at some point. And it needn't be that way. Incorporating two lifestyle changes, substitution dieting and light cardiovascular training, can spell the difference, literally, between life and death.
DIET: Rather than try and get a red-blooded powerlifter on a fancy-dan bodybuilder diet ? one which they won't adhere to anyway ? we offer the substitution diet for your consideration. All of us have bad foods we naturally gravitate towards (those high in fat and sugar) and we all have some good foods (high in protein) that we like. The idea is to identify the 'good' foods and substitute them for the 'bad foods' you currently consume in quantity. The beauty of this approach is that you never feel hungry because anytime you have a craving for bad food you eat a substantial amount of good food in its place. You smother the hunger and satiate the desire.
Plus, every time you replace a fat food with a protein or carb food, you can eat the same volume of food while cutting your calories in half (9 calories per gram of fat versus only 4 calories per gram for protein). A gram is a gram and if you previously ate a quart of Ben & Jerry's or a sixteen-ounce pizza, you now may eat an equal volume of protein or carbohydrates and eliminate artery-clogging saturated fat while simultaneously cutting your calories in half. It is a good deal: you reduce the deadly saturated fat with muscle-building protein or natural carbohydrates and still reduce overall calories. Don't eat flour carbs like cakes, bread or pastry. Stick to grains, rice, vegetables and potatoes.
Clean protein actually stimulates the basal metabolic rate, causing the body to burn more calories as it gears up to meet the challenge of digesting protein. Dietary fat, on the other hand, is easily compartmentalized into fat storage. A note of caution: avoid protein foods that are loaded with saturated fat. Fish, chicken (minus the skin), lean beef, goat, turkey, organ meats, egg whites, skim milk and protein powder are great sources of clean protein.
Man-made carbohydrates like bread, pasta and pastries will cause the body to secrete insulin. Insulin spikes cause carb calories to be converted and compartmentalized into fat storage instead of being used for energy. Avoid them. Natural carbohydrates have a far lesser impact on insulin and are recommended as the preferred carb sources. Fiber carbs actually dampen insulin spikes and a diet high in clean protein and fiber, low in refined carbs and moderate in starchy carbs, is the fastest way to lose lard.
CARDIO CONDITIONING FOR POWERLIFTERS: Powerlifters take a dim view of cardio training ? aerobics ? and contemptuously consider cardiovascular training effete, irrelevant and at odds to their stated purpose: maximizing size and strength. And there is a good case to support that viewpoint. But we are talking aerobics for health, not strength.
Aerobics, it is widely felt, weakens a competitive powerlifter and any benefits are offset with negatives. Few hard core lifters would be caught dead riding an exer-cycle, walking a treadmill or jumping up and down on a stair-stepper. The broad consensus among the power elite is that cardio is counterproductive to the stated goal. Yet, it has been scientifically and medically proven that three to five, twenty-minute sessions at 60% (or more) of age-related heart rate maximum per week will perform miracles for the heart, lungs, internal organs and glands.
Cardiovascular training flushes the human plumbing system: capillaries, veins, tubes, heart and lungs all benefit from regular aerobic exercise. Internal organs strengthen and improve function when subjected to regular, systematic doses of aerobic exercise. There is a compromise solution for the lifter intent on losing lard. There is a type of aerobic exercise that provides great cardio stimulation without being so intense as to interfere with strength building - walking.
LOW STRESS AEROBIC ACTIVITY: A big man with little or no background in cardio training can hit 70% of their age-related heart rate maximum with a brisk walk around the block. And that's all that's needed. No need to join a health spa, no need to purchase an expensive exercise bike or treadmill, forget all that stuff and get outdoors and take a brisk walk. Walk outside for ten minutes as quick as you can then put a forefinger on your carotid artery or wrist pulse and count the beats for six seconds. Multiply this number by 10 to determine how fast your heart is beating. Then compare this to your age-related heart rate maximum to determine your aerobic intensity. What's the formula? Simple: 220 minus your age are your 100% heart rate maximum. Then determine 70% of this number.
AGE 30 40 50 100% 190 180 170 70% 133 126 119 60% 114 108 102
Start with a ten-minute walk at 60%. Put on a WalkMan, get outside and take a good fast walk. Do this three of four times a week on days that you don't lift. If you no longer lift, get back in the saddle. Add a few minutes per walking session until you are hitting twenty minutes per session. When you can walk for twenty minutes at 60% try to bump that up to 65% and eventually 70% or more. Increase the intensity by walking faster and swinging your arms a little more. Suck in that good outdoor oxygen and push a little. 3-4 sessions a week at 60-70% of age related heart rate maximum would do wonders for the internal plumbing of a cardio-challenged lifter. Walking avoids the bone-jarring pain of jogging or running - no rips or tears from walking. Don't po-pah walking - I have had occasion to interview bodybuilding dominator Dorian Yates for Muscle & Fitness and one thing struck me : Yates' aerobic program often consisted of a brisk walk around his posh neighborhood with his dogs. In the off-season Yates would walk for thirty minutes three or four times a week. Weighing 300, he had no problem hitting 70% of age related heart rate maximum using a brisk walking pace. Unlike his American competitors, many of whom spent two hours a day on bikes and stair-steppers, the bull-strong Yates felt that too much cardio affected his weight training and he preferred to confine his aerobics to off-day walks. Wise advice that is applicable to the massive powerlifter who wants to incorporate some health-preserving cardio into their training.
Lifters who walk in conjunction with powerlifting report improved recovery and better digestion along with a nice increase in appetite. The metabolism kicks up when you undertake a brisk walk as this stimulates the digestive process. Food is processed better and when saturated fat is cutback the athlete sees an almost over-night improvement in the way they look and feel. If fat calories are replaced with 'clean' calories muscle is retained while the life threatening effects of body fat and artery constriction are improved. Confine cardio training to low-impact walking done on off-days and no strength loss should occur: on the contrary, the lifter will be able to train harder and longer as a result of their new-found endurance and improved nutrient assimilation. All around it's a good deal ? particularly when the alternative is so dire and bleak. So take a chance and take a walk. Hell, no one even need know you're doing 'aerobics' or going on a diet: as far as anyone is concerned, you're just taking a walk. You can literally walk away from death if you just get off the strata-lounger, exchange that cheeseburger with Mayo on Wonder bread for a lean steak and a salad and then go outside and take a walk!
Marty Gallagher is a former fitness columnist for washingtonpost.com. He is also a former world champion powerlifting coach. Marty's work has been featured in magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Muscle Media, and Powerlifting USA. His website, http://www.martygallagher.com, assimilates years of accumulated knowledge from the athletic elite and makes them accessible to the common person. The "Purposeful Primitive" methodology has been proven effective time after time after time for complete physical transformation, losing fat, building muscle, and getting stronger.
Are Your Cells Talking To Each Other?
Are Your Cells Talking To Each Other?
WLS Patients Feeling Gassy & Bloated? Sugar Alcohol May Be To Blame
Sugar intake is a real concern for people who've had gastric bypass, in fact most patients fear sugar. The foremost fear isn't weight gain, it's dumping. Foods containing sugar pass too quickly through the small pouch, they are rapidly absorbed and cause insulin levels to drop resulting in dumping.
Cranberry Juice To The Rescue
Cranberry juice was first made by American settlers in 1683. It is a love it or hate it beverage. For those who like it, it has a number of health benefits. Let me share some of those.
How Can I Uncover Hidden Sugar And Prevent Carb Creep?
Many low carb dieters fall victim to "carb creep," which is triggered carb binges, caused by creeping intakes of carbs. This is particularly a problem after finishing the stricter early phases of their plans. For instance, low carb dieters who use Dr. Atkins' prescription often fail to follow his plan after the induction phase of the diet. Instead, they go on an unplanned, generic "low carb" diet.
Healthy Eating Myths Shattered
Salt does Not Cause High Blood Pressure. Some things you need to know first to fully understand blood pressure, as well as helping you to understand about many other things in your body: The difference between average and normal.
The coq10 Benefit
Coq10 is also known as Coenzyme Q10.This co q10 is produced naturally in the human body, and is a source of various coq10 benefit. Co q10 is also found in meat and fish. Once co q10 is synthesized by commercial pharmacies, co q10 is produced as a dietary supplement. One can then enjoy the full coq10 benefit without prescription.
Simple Easy Health and Home Fixes From The Days Gone By
How did we cure ourselves of many aches pains and illnesses in the past?
Nutrition - Its Whats Eating You That Counts
"It's not what you eat, it's what's eating you that counts."
Beauty Foods That Will Keep You Young and Healthy
You've heard that old saying: True beauty comes from within. Well, now nutritional experts have confirmed that you really are what you eat.
Its Not That Bad - The Biggest Lie We Tell Ourselves
Some people say to themselves, junk food is not that bad. If you want to believe this than good luck. Remember how important your beliefs are and especially the ones that are faulty that you still believe. It goes back to what I said earlier. If you want to build a slim, toned and healthy body you need the right building blocks. Those building blocks are not found in junk food of any kind. I do not care how fat free or enriched it is, how many added vitamins and minerals there are, how low carb or "healthy" the manufactures try to make you believe it is. Junk food is junk.
Meal Planning: Your Ticket to Freedom
It's 5:30 p.m. and you're heading home after a long, full day. All of a sudden your mind turns to the daily question, "What's for dinner?"
How Essential Fatty Acids Improve Your Brain Power and Mental Health
What is your brain made of
Enjoy The Holidays Healthfully
How To Have A Healthy Thanksgiving
Improve Your Health With Fiber!
Your fiber intake is a critical factor in weight loss and general well-being. Health professionals advise that adults should eat at least 25-35 grams of fiber each day. The current average in western countries such as Australia and the United States is well below the recommended levels. For many people, increasing your fiber intake would very likely lead to improved health outcomes.
I start from the premise that eating instinctively means eating healthily. I strongly believe that the body can transmit to the brain accurate information about its nutritional necessities: a moderate amount of food, and only foods that are beneficial for health.
Do You Eat Breakfast?
It is not a myth. Eating breakfast is an important part of attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The morning meal enables your body to refuel itself after enduring a nightlong fast or 10 hours or more. It assists in re-energising your body's metabolism and providing sufficient amounts of energy and nutrients for you to survive the earliest part of the day. Remember breakfast is the first opportunity for you to replenish your body's exhausted energy reserves. Whatever you do don't waste this opportunity. While breaking the nocturnal fast is important, eating appropriately is just as essential. Eating a good breakfast, low in fat, and rich in dietary fibre and micronutrients will mentally and physically set you up for anything the day may throw at you.
Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil -- Why Is It Different?
A flood of scientific evidence about fish oil points to a startling conclusion that taking high-dose fish oils, which are very rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, helps support a healthy heart, a healthy brain, a healthy immune system, healthy joint movement, healthy kidneys and much more.
Surprise! Many Fats, Even Some Saturated Fats Can Actually Be Good for You
I'll preface this article by saying that it will help if you have an open mind and accept that some of these facts are a slap in the face to politically correct nutrition in this day and age where fats are admonished by nutritionists, doctors, etc. To start, eating an adequate supply of healthy dietary fats is vitally important to your overall health. Fats are one of the main components in all of the cell membranes throughout your entire body. If you eat enough healthy natural fats, your cellular processes will proceed normally. On the other hand, if you eat man-made, heavily processed, chemically altered fats (damaged fats) that are found in most processed foods, your cellular function will be impaired as these damaged fats become part of your cell membranes, the body will have to work harder to operate correctly, and degenerative diseases can develop. In addition, healthy dietary fats are essential for optimal hormone production and balance within the body and are therefore essential for the muscle building and fat burning processes. Other important functions that dietary fats play in a healthy body are aiding vitamin and mineral utilization, enzyme regulation, energy, etc.
Why Digestive Enzymes Are Vital To Good Health!
Most digestive disorders develop because of the bodys inability to produce sufficient enzymes for health-enhancing digestion and proper nutrient absorption. Enzyme depletion results in improper digestion and absorption, leading to chronic disorders Malabsorption is the inability of the cells of the body to obtain nutrients from the foods consumed. This inaction causes loss of vitamins, minerals, fiber and the caloric value (energy) of foods, resulting in cellular deprivation. Digestive malabsorption can occur as a result of the following condition:
Nutritional Myths that Just Wont Die: Protein!
When it comes to the topic of sports nutrition there are many myths and fallacies that float around like some specter in the shadows. They pop up when you least expect them and throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans of the hard training athlete trying to make some headway.
|home | site map|