Transporting Training, Behavior and Diet
into the Medical Sphere

Paul Skinner

In “High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way”, authored by Mike Mentzer with John Little, Mike devotes four chapters concerning motivation and psychology for the purpose of firing up the mind for each workout. Your attitude must be in lock step with the amount of weight you are lifting. Each time you step into that gym, you must demand that your body engage in progressively stronger muscular contractions. The mind and body must have the energy to achieve this feat.

After reading Mike’s masterpiece - “Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body” - I was fascinated by the fact that he had put together a theory based on the principles of intensity, volume, and frequency. After reading it, I had wondered to myself, whether I was really training with 100% intensity. Do I stop short 1 rep because I am simply too unprepared, allowing for only a couple extra reps with a few extra pounds above my personal best to stimulate a modicum of growth? Could I have done better? This got me to thinking that not only a strong mind is necessary to lift progressively heavier weights, but also nutrition that supplies a steady flow of energy to the muscles and mind. An improper pre-workout meal can be a stumbling block to a successful workout.

I would occasionally succumb to a particular canned or powered supplement drink as a neophyte nutritionist. Many of these drinks are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup that can cause one’s blood sugars to spike temporarily and insulin, performing its function, removes sugar (or glucose) from the blood stream. Because of the lack of glucose required for the mind and muscles to perform at 100 percent, it is most likely that one would fail to reach that point of failure in a set of leg presses or any other exercise (I hope this not a failure to communicate).

I have always been concerned with the increased intake of processed carbohydrates, in particular wheat, barley and oats. The reason for this is an increase among our population in something known as gluten intolerance. A fragment of gluten called gliadin is the problem in celiac disease. Gliadin is resistant to digestion and is responsible for the intestine-damaging inflammatory response experienced by celiac patients.

The lining of the small intestine is normally carpet-like, covered with small protrusions called villi. Celiac disease, however, results in a smooth, pipe-like intestine. The reduced surface area keeps the body from absorbing nutrients. Often diagnosed in childhood, the disease can lead to the distended stomach and stunted growth typical of starvation. The only effective therapy for most people is a lifelong gluten-free diet. The diet is essential over the long term, both to restore normal intestinal function and to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, lymphoma or cancer of the small intestine.

When choosing foods or ingredients the following are highly questionable or should be avoided: Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), cereal or flour fillers, textured vegetable protein (TVP), starch (cornstarch), modified starches, malt/malt flavoring, vegetable gums, soy sauce/soy sauce solids, vinegar, brown rice syrup, caramel coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG), vanilla and other extracts, and vegetable broths. Grains and flours to avoid include: Wheat (semolina, bulgur, couscous, farina, einkorn, durum, wheat germ, wheat bran, and graham), rye, barley, triticale, kamut, oats and spelt.

The allowed flours and starches include: rice, wild rice, corn flour/meal, amaranth, quinoa, tef, buckwheat, millet, montina, potato flour/starch, arrowroot, soy flour, tapioca starch, bean flours, sorghum, and nut flours. My purpose of bringing up the gluten-free issue is because intestinal upset is not something that is desirable before, during or after your workouts. As a bodybuilder you want to be able to concentrate fully during your workout without any gastrointestinal interruptions.

The pre-workout meal could include chicken or eggs as a good source of protein eaten about two hours prior in order to sustain an appropriate energy level. The best carbohydrate selections would include a low glycemic starch (from the allowed list), and a low glycemic vegetable. Make sure you are well hydrated before your workout. I typically drink 16 ounces of water before, during, and after my workouts. A sign you are not well hydrated (at least for me) is post-workout headache.

A lot of bodybuilders choose coffee or espressos to stimulate them before their workouts. This can sometimes back fire, especially if you are a habitual coffee drinker. It can mess with your blood sugars much like simple carbohydrates. There is no additive effect if you drink more than 2-3 cups of coffee and greater than 6 can cause anxiety, jitters, and overall inhibition that may decrease your intensity and overall workout performance. Caffeine in the coffee also acts as a diuretic that causes you to lose water and this also can be counter productive (dehydration, remember?).

If you read my last posted article, “Behavior: A Volitional Choice that Requires Strategy,” you’ll recall that I went into a detailed formula as to staying with a diet that meets your goals, whether it be fat loss, weight maintenance or muscle hypertrophy. Proper nutritional intake before you work out can affect your attitude. Your energy and attitude must be in sync in order to contract your muscles as hard as possible.

I receive many questions from my co-workers and friends as to what protein shake is best or what type of protein builds bigger muscles. As Mike did, I try to use varying analogies to make the complex simple. In my case, it is like listening to Barney Fife (from the popular Andy Griffith show) lecture about a complex ordinance to some of Opie’s friends. At any rate, I try persuade my friends and co-workers that the growth stimulation process must occur first. In other words, you can sprinkle seed on the ground all day long, but if the soil has not been properly plowed then nothing substantial will grow.

Furthermore, I am puzzled by the questions I receive in regard to protein requirements or “how much protein do I need daily?” Unfortunately, this information is being handed out by some individuals in the fitness industry who’s vested interest, in my view, is to keep the client coming back to the gym as much as possible ergo putting the client through non-productive workouts (the volume approach) and to peddle supplements with some unfounded sales pitch.

I had a discussion with a physical therapist, and he discussed his insights of bringing a registered dietitian on board. He had read Mike Mentzer’s articles and was very impressed how Mike had talked about not letting momentum creep into the workout. This gentleman’s purpose is to primarily to rehabilitate clients using MedX machines. He showed some of the articles written by Mike that he obtained, and then explained how he uses some these principles in rehabilitating his clients.

This gentleman also has started strength-training clients as part of his practice. He conveyed to me, however, that he does not want to get into the supplement business. I had begun to see that perhaps the future of bodybuilding and weight training, in general, could be transported into the physical therapy clinics. This would diminish the influence of snake oil salespersons and prevent them from having control over people’s health, or the simple act of milking clients of their assets. Medical professionals can apply sound medical science analogous to Mike’s “Heavy Duty ™ high-intensity training.”

Based on the most current science, I truly think, there are some supplements that do have utility, however, some individuals are recommending many of them based on advertisement hype and of course the placebo experience that they work. So if you are determined to use supplements, then I suggest you ensure that you use them for their efficacy and your particular need and not just blindly follow someone’s advice that recommends supplements based upon their own anecdotal experience.

In my next article, I want to discuss how cutting edge science is being used to determine an individual’s genetics regarding nutrition. This would lead to customized diets based on one’s DNA. It is crucial that we, as a country, become proactive on the preventative end of health. Our health system can no longer bear the cost of treating major health problems. In other words, damage control is no longer an option due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Stay tuned.

Master of Science Degree - Registered Dietitian,
Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist,
Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA)*

This article is written exclusively for and Joanne Sharkey. It cannot be used as a download for another website or used in any form of publication in part or in whole, unless written permission is granted by the above copyright owners. Article Copyright © 2005 by Paul Skinner. All rights reserved worldwide. Mike Mentzer quotations used with permission from Joanne Sharkey, President of Mentzer-Sharkey Enterprises, Inc. © 2002-2005.

* This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is written with the understanding that neither the Website owner nor the Copyright owner(s) are engaged in rendering medical advice or services. Before starting this or any exercise and nutritional program, you should always consult with your doctor and obtain a thorough check up. Mention of the NSCA does not mean this Website owner endorses or recommends that organization or any other certification organization.

Home Welcome Articles Tips Books Catalog

© 2005 Mentzer-Sharkey Enterprises, Inc. Site by FX Media, Inc.