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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation

Fire and Ice

2001 may be gone, but it's not forgotten, a powerful year in the lives of all of us. Who will ever forget it; the tragedy and the unity, the awareness of division and a world made small; the fear, hate and love? Since it has been, so it is the way it is meant to be. I'm sorry, yet I believe we've grown.

There are, too, the marriages and the sweet babies born, the graduations, promotions and awards; the successes and wins, the winnings, the new careers, cars and homes; the sunrises and promise of more -- The muscle gained and the fat lost and don't forget the encouragement and profound advice.

I toss out advice like baseballs on opening day. I throw fastballs, curves, a sloppy change of pace and the infamous looptyloop. About once a year I tell everyone to eat tuna and drink water -- only -- in an attempt to get their attention. Seems this pre-contest hardening technique is the latest craze of the IronOnline hardballs. That is, it's driving them crazy. They have crazy questions, doubts and vacant stares.

What exactly is it you don't understand about tuna and water, anyway… fire and ice? Here at the Draper Research Clinic, our multi-level facility spread over three acres of verdant central California (rickety shed with a loft built on a hillside threatened by mudslides with a latrine twenty yards downwind), the studies go on. "Tuna and water" is a training technique practiced to break bad habits and force the trainee into new controls, like short-stepping a boxer with cords to his ankles to prevent him from flat footing in the ring.

"Tuna and water" also serves to clean the dietary slate, pause the irregularity of
eating-gone-sloppy, provide the internal system with healthful, uncomplicated ingredients, drop the carb and fat calories while maintaining the protein, allow the hormones and enzymes to settle down and generally rid the mind and body of the noise, clutter and clatter -- the kaleidoscope of food, food and food. Very scientific. The intrigue, the challenge and the hope the diet technique provides are perhaps the most substantial advantages. It's simplicity and absurdities are attractive.

For those in the dark, the rather entertaining and fulfilling scheme goes like this: You are going to eat tuna and water for three straight days. Choose your starting day. Psyche up. You'll be consuming water by the jugs -- at least two quarts a day -- and one to one-and-a-half grams of protein per pound of bodyweight in six equal servings throughout the day. Back this with your vitamins and minerals morning and night, eight capsules of branch-chain amino acids (key muscle building protein) before and after your workouts and a nightly portion of Metamucil for fiber. Sitting in a lotus position and inhaling through the nostrils and exhaling through the mouth is optional.

Later in the week, as the pop-top cans pile up in the kitchen corner, bring in chicken, low-fat cottage cheese, salad and your favorite steamed vegetable to fortify your menu without expanding it significantly. Add slowly to your food intake seeking the food balance that works for you. I push the 40-30-30 ratio (protein, carbohydrate, fat) to accommodate most systems and needs. You're fueling the body and feeding the muscle.

Weighing 220 pounds my protein goal is 220 to 330 grams (7 to 10 3.5-ounce cans… Oh boy), which provides approximately 900 to 1320 calories… way low on the energy scale. Someone (the researcher, the intellect, the conformist) will declare that this starving tactic causes hoarding of calories and muscle will be sought as fuel. I counter.

Remembering and considering your source of information -- me -- you can expect that I excuse my rather broad application of science, numbers, details as minutia, justifying, rationalizing, confusing and assuring the reader their system will adapt and provide the missing calories from stored fat while sparing the muscle. I believe this is so if the body is upright and conditioned, in deference to upside-down and unconditioned. A body reasonably well introduced to the anabolic state (trained) can endure and prosper from this aggressive diet-training approach for a limited term. The unconditioned new trainer, under-muscled and fat, can no doubt use the novel protein influx and appreciate the blast of discipline. There's tons of room for the scientist to argue and turn me inside-out, but there is something in application that rubs gallantly against science on special occasions.

Work and exercise lightly to accommodate a temporary low-calorie strength loss. Press on as the body adapts and as you become familiar and confident. This is a rigid practice to test your resolve. Follow the frequent meal placement practice, adding fresh-squeezed lemon, balsamic vinegar, Tabasco sauce or salsa to the main curse… er… I mean, main course… for culinary delight.

Here's a delightful bedtime snack: tuna from the can, scoop of cottage cheese and cool, clear water. Combine this with some of the body's naturally released growth hormone during your deep sleep and presto: a pile of shapely muscle.

If you must (for any one of a thousand reasons), substitute a small water and protein powder drink as your pre-workout and post-workout meals. And, here's a dandy secret you'll really be thankful for; at your favorite market, pick up Lighthouse Fish Steaks in three-ounce pop-top sardine cans. These little treats expand the diet giving it an adventurous dimension.

I note as I generously broaden the margins of the "tuna and water diet" that I may be getting old.

Here's to 2002 and all that we make it by the grace of God.


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