Monday, November 28, 2016

Heavy History

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Any young athlete who doesn't know who Norbert Schemansky was is missing something important.

A great video segment I found on the history of weight lifting. We know that our fascination with lifting and throwing heavy objects is deeply rooted and has been part of all cultures from the earliest times. This segment does a real nice job of explaining that. The only glaring error I found was stating that Serge Reding was Bulgarian. Maybe he meant to say Belgian. Otherwise, well done. dI have always thought it was important that young athletes should know something of the history of the athletic events they are participating in. This short segment is a nice quick overview to kick start the process of learning more.

weightlifting, women in weightlifting, history of women in weightlifting
Karyn Marshall was a pioneer in women's weightlifting.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Meet the Teenage Weightlifting Phenom


A nice article and video of CJ Cummings, one of the best American prospects in many years.

Most 16-year old guys spend their time outside of high school playing “Call of Duty,” eating French fries, and just vegging out with their friends. CJ Cummings is no exception, quick to list all three of these things among his everyday activities

Also among his everyday activities: weightlifting. And lifting insane amounts of weight at that.

The Beaufort, South Carolina, native already holds a slew of American Records, Pan-American Records, and World Records for Olympic Lifting, and made his way into media outlets like The Wall Street Journal for his talents.

This made him the natural choice for design inspiration and the ultimate consultant when Reebok set out to create the Legacy Lifter, the brand’s new premiere weightlifting shoe set to launch on December 1.

The Legacy Lifter has a stable lifting platform – a high and wide base for ultimate control – and an anatomical shape that hugs the foot for added comfort. The lifter’s overlapping straps and interlocking laces lock the athlete down, helping his or her feet stay firmly planted even when a barbell is fully loaded. 

“This was the first time for me seeing how they make a shoe. It’s pretty amazing,” he says of its creation. “When I went to Boston, they showed me the process and the layout of the shoe.”

This was the first time for me seeing how they make a shoe. It’s pretty amazing.

Cummings, who has been training in the shoe since its early prototype was ready back in December 2015, says he likes the Legacy Lifter because it's more comfortable than lifters he's worn in the past.

And at only 16 years old, his weightlifting career is just getting started.

“I started weightlifting when I was 10,” says Cummings. “Me and my brother had nothing to do because we used to play football and basketball and it was the offseason so she [my sister] got us out of our rooms and took us to the gym. At first, I thought it was just to get me and my brother stronger for football, but then it was like a whole other sport.”

About a year and a half in, Cummings says his coach, Rayford Jones, started to take note that he was lifting weight well above what was to be expected for someone his size and age. Cummings put his other extracurricular sports to the side and made Olympic lifting his focus.

“I train Monday through Friday for about an hour and thirty minutes to two hours,” he says.

And while in the gym he’s known as a World Record holder, outside of gym, he insists, “I’m really just your average kid.”

I’m really just your average kid.

“There’s a fine line between my professional life and my teenage life,” adds Cummings, who does have a full-blown professional life, complete with a sponsorships with companies like Reebok and an international travel schedule.

Cummings is quick to attest that this travel is his favorite byproduct of his weightlifting successes.

 “Getting to travel and see the world for lifting, it’s just so cool,” he says, noting Poland as his favorite destination thus far.

When it comes to competition Cummings says sometimes he gets nervous but that he tries to treat it just like training.

“He [Coach Ray] always tells me ‘Go have fun. At the end of the day, the sun will still shine, people will still love you so just go out and have fun with it.’”

In between designing state of the art lifters with Reebok and traveling the globe, he's still attending high school, still spending too much time on his cell phone (according to his mom), and still joining his friends for cheat meals at McDonald’s.

As for his peers, Cummings vouches that they’re still treating him like the same CJ.

“They’re always asking me when I have my next competition but that’s about it,” says Cummings, who doesn’t plan to stop lifting anytime soon.

“I’m pretty sure I can do more with this sport. I just have to keep pushing and then hopefully I’ll keep breaking records. Hopefully I’ll medal and get a gold for the US at the Olympics one day.”

I’m pretty sure I can do more with this sport. I just have to keep pushing and then hopefully I’ll keep breaking records. Hopefully I’ll medal and get a gold for the US at the Olympics one day.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lindsey Vonn has a broken arm but she’s still working out

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Skier Lindsey Vonn trains Wednesday at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail with trainer Martin Hager.
Lindsey has always been a diligent trainee.

It was nice to see this short article. It has always been my policy to have students/athletes work out even when injured if at all possible. Just because one joint, muscle, or whatever is injured, why should the rest of the body not continue to work and improve? It is also helpful for the promotion of healing when the rest of the body continues to train. Lndsey Vonn has had more than her share of injuries, yet she continues to come back and excel.

Lindsey Vonn has a broken arm but she’s still working out 

Last week, Olympic skier revealed on her official Facebook page that she had broken her arm following a hard crash during training.

"I am beyond frustrated," she said.

This week? She's back in the gym, of course, undeterred by her recent injury and already working hard on her recovery. It's further evidence for why she's such an inspiration to so many people. #nevergiveup, she wrote.

So what's your excuse?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Reflections on “Not Following the Program”

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Being strong is always a good thing.

A very  interesting article. In my own experience I have found much of this to be true. There are very few medical professionals who really understand how the body responds to physical stress. It is very frustrating trying to find help when you are an injured lifter. The only hope is to find that relatively rare doctor who also lifts. Most importantly we have to know our own bodies and bank on the fact that strength can overcome almost anything.

Reflections on “Not Following the Program”
by Rebekah Cygan, PTA, SSC         | November 16, 2016

Like many people on their journey to becoming a generally fitter and better person, CrossFit sounded like the best option, and that was the origin of our gym. But after getting only so far on that program – and finding I lacked the strength to perform some of their “stupid human tricks,” I found myself chronically sore and wondering how to fix it. When my business partner said, “I've been reading this book by a guy named Mark Rippetoe,” I listened.

I work in the adjunct medical field of physical therapy, and I see the effects of atrophy every day. It is my job to get people stronger. But I could also see that the treatments we were providing were woefully inadequate. When I read “Strength is the most important human adaptation,” I knew it was true, and I happily learned how to use a barbell.

We were hooked. We got stronger. Everyone commented on how much we had changed. However, we quickly found it was not as easy to convince our other gym members that they needed to get strong. They wanted to do chin ups and get better at WODs. They wanted their backs and shoulders to hurt less. But when we pitched the idea of taking time off to do a linear strength progression, they were very hesitant and not at all fond of the idea.

I come across the same frustrations in my occupation as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Physical Therapists talk a lot about decreasing pain, increasing range of motion and muscle balance – and oh yes, they throw stronger in there too, because that sounds healthy! Stronger seems like a good idea to people; it just doesn’t sound like the most important thing to most people. Their ears like the sound of “functional fitness” better. And I find myself thinking, “If I could get you under a barbell, I could change your life.”

Here are some of my reflections:

Why are people unwilling to begin the program?
Perhaps it's too simple. When you begin to explain the program, there is always an element of surprise.

“That’s it? Only 5 exercises?”


“But which exercise works my core?”

“All of them.”

Stunned look.

I find this to be an even harder sell to my healthcare professional friends, who have books and books of exercises they can prescribe for various orthopedic ailments. I get it. They spent lots of money to become an expert in prescribing lots and lots of exercises. But I'm afraid the field of rehabilitation has become as unnecessarily complicated as the IRS tax code. And I guess you don’t seem as smart and professional if your prescription for helping someone heal is not as long and wordy.

Most people cannot believe productive strength training is that simple. They feel better about their shoulder, back, chest, arm, and leg days in the gym when they can check off each muscle group. Or they think single-leg bosu ball squats and other exercises that look something like an imaginary sport will give them a competitive edge. So they shell out their fitness instruction dollars to the “functional fitness” guy down the street. Compound barbell lifts are beautifully simple and effective, though maybe not so flashy. People like flashy.

PTs have no understanding of the Stress/Adaptation/Recovery Cycle.
I was talking with a “functional fitness” guy about deadlifts. He does not do deadlifts with his athletes because of “the high rate of injury.” I asked him if he thought high school students had a “high rate of injury” with deadlifts because they were using improper form with weights that were too heavy for the athlete. He said that he would never use the exercise because it loads the spine.

I then asked him if he thought his athletes should have strong backs. “Of course,” he said. I asked him how any tissue in the human body got stronger. He paused and said, “Well, I guess you have to load it.”

Most physical therapy for older populations seems to assume that their bodies have died and can no longer adapt to stress. Therapists know their patients have to get stronger – most therapists just do an inefficient job of making them stronger because they operate in the absence of an understanding of the basic premise of strength training. In therapy gyms across the country, hundreds of thousands of 3-pound leg extension reps happen every day. This does not replicate the systemic action of a person lifting himself out of a chair or walking across the room, or the process of improving this systemic ability.

If you ask most therapists, they cannot explain this concept. If you do not understand the Stress/Adaptation/Recovery Cycle it is very difficult to progress someone from one level of strength to another in a systematic, programmable, predictable, effective way.

People assume they are strong enough.
Weak people assume their health problems are not strength problems – and they are wrong. Here are some examples:

The guy who thinks his back problem is because of tight hamstrings or because he just has a “bad back.” You suggest he should get stronger, and he says, “Well okay, but I am a pretty active guy. I have an active job.” When you teach him to deadlift, he doesn’t have the strength to hold his back in extension against the load. You ask him to squat, and he thinks he can’t because he has a “bad back,” and he is afraid to try for fear of injuring himself again.

Or the lady who had her knees replaced and is surprised that she still has knee pain when going up and down stairs. You suggest it might be because her legs aren’t strong enough. She asks, “How can my leg strength make my knees hurt?”

Or the high school girl with “patello-femoral pain syndrome.”

Or the 40-year-old woman with an aching shoulder who just “has a bad rotator cup” (as they say in Lock Haven, PA).

I get this too: if you have never take the time to get strong, you have never felt the benefit of being stronger. Most people have never experienced what living as a strong person feels like. Strong people don’t hurt everyday.

So why don’t people stick to the program? Human Nature can be a problem, and good coaches have learned to deal with it.

Productive strength training can be boring.
Some people begin the program, but are quickly bored and distracted by the swing burpees on Facebook. You begin a client on a LP and three weeks into the program their squats start looking like crap. When you ask about the change, they report that training 3 days a week didn’t feel like enough, so they started  running for a 10k. “There just wasn’t enough cardio. I miss my long runs after work.” This is a case study in not understanding the Stress/Recovery/Adaptation Cycle.

As the coach, you must explain: If you want real results, you can’t go to gym for just the feeling you get from that day's workout. People workout on this basis all the time, and this is why most people don’t look the way they want to look or perform the way they want to. Productive training can be boring. So is balancing your checkbook, and following a diet. Sorry. Life gives you what you put into it.

Humans hate to do things that are difficult.
“Lifting heavy is stressful, and I worry about it all day! Lifting weights doesn’t reduce my stress level – it increases it!” This is really the best argument I have heard. Training is stressful – intentionally so. Stress applied correctly and recovered from correctly produces the adaptation you train for.

How many people “love barbell training” the first 3 weeks of their LP, but change their tune when the lifting gets hard? You cannot half-ass your way through a hard work set. And when you are done with one set of 5, you have 2 more. People aren’t good at hard. Most have never trained hard enough or long enough to make any real or lasting change in their physical capacity.

So instead, when it gets hard they reset to lighter weights. Or change exercises: they may decide they need to high-bar squat, which of course requires a deload. People like comfort. Deadlifts and Squats aren’t comfortable. Which is why they get you strong. As the coach, you must explain.

Humans are impatient.
It takes time to get strong. It is an investment of focus and energy and lots of time. We, of course, want it done yesterday. Sometimes, despite very significant measurable progress, people are quick to abandon the program. This often occurs just as real change was starting to happen. “Where is my instant gratification? Where are my huge biceps? Where is my squat booty? Why don’t I feel sore? Then I would feel like I did something…”

“Well,” you explain, “you did do something. And then you quit, because you didn't appreciate what was happening, and you didn't understand the timeline. You didn't learn from your childhood, your education, and your adult life that it takes time to accomplish any worthwhile goal. You were impatient.”

Humans are fearful.
People are afraid to lift heavy. Men are afraid of hernias. Women are afraid of “bulk.” There are a million cultural stigmas that make noise in peoples ears:

“Strong is the new skinny.”  I personally hate this one, because it seems to me that the girls who say it really mean, “It's trendy to lift weights, as long as they're not too heavy.” Girls can be afraid of heavy weights. More like: “Kind of strong is better than emaciated.”

“You are going to hurt yourself!”

“Yeah dude, you might bust a nut!”

“What if my jeans don’t fit?”

“What if I lose my abs?”

“What if my swim coach finds out?”

We like to stay in the world of the familiar, of what we already know. Most people are just reluctant to let go of their preconceived ideas of health and fitness. But what if they did? What if people began to decide to apply themselves to learn about being strong? What if they invested time and attention to learning? What if they stopped listening to the fitness hype?

“Our strength, more than any other thing we possess, determines the quality and quantity of time here in our bodies.” You are not strong enough. Simple works. Accept that it might be boring and hard, at first, but that getting stronger is not boring. Be Patient. Face your fears. Learn about how to get strong. Find a coach. Follow the program. Change your life.
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You would feel so much better if you weren't so darn strong.... I never heard anyone say.....ever!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hate Working Out? Blame Genes For Your Lack Of Motivation; How To Overcome It

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What a great feeling!

I'll admit that his is something that I have long wondered about. In my own case, I have always loved the feeling of working hard and the "high" that follows a great workout. I always assumed that it does was the same for everyone and those who avoided work were just not disciplined enough to stick it out and enjoy the benefits. While the article below is certainly not the definitive answer, it does give me something to think about. Just maybe, some people don't get the same feelings from working out that I do. Anyway, if there is truth to this, I'm grateful that I was blessed with genes that allow me to enjoy and get satisfaction from exercise.

At one point or another, we've all wondered:  What makes some of us gym rats and some of us couch potatoes? Fitness enthusiasts are more likely to stick to diet plans and exercise routines, while their lazy counterparts are more likely to watch Netflix and binge eat junk food.  New research presented at an exercise research meeting of the American Physiological Society held in Phoenix, Ariz., suggests our genes may influence how much we enjoy exercise.

Working out can boost dopamine levels in the brain, improving mood and long-term memory. It stimulates pleasurable feelings in the brain, which contribute to the phenomenon known as "runner's high."  Animal studies have shown an increase in dopamine levels from intense cardio exercise, suggesting humans could also experience increased dopamine release from exercise when done at a high intensity.

However, many people do not get this pleasurable sensation because their genes interfere with the release of dopamine.

"Variation in genes for dopamine receptors, as well as some other neural signaling genes, help explain why about 25 percent of the participants drop out of exercise or don't exercise at the recommended amount," said Rodney Dishman, study lead researcher, and a professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia,  in a statement.

Dishman and his colleagues began by studying lab rats that were selectively bred to be either fit and active, or unfit and inactive. The researchers found these two types of rats differed in genetics linked with dopamine activity. Then, they proceeded to a clinical trial of more than 3,000 adults, which replicated similar results.

Currently, only about half of adults in the U.S. get enough aerobic exercise; only 20 percent get the recommended amount of aerobic exercise combined with strength training, according to Dishman. Meanwhile, about a third spend no leisure time exercising.

The researchers suggest it’s a combination of genes and personality that help explain why people have a natural urge to be active, while others never do.

Genetics may determine whether we're gym rats or couch potatoes.

Previous research provides evidence there are some genetic traits that predispose people to being less motivated to exercise. In a 2013  animal study, researchers at the University of Missouri tested rats’ willingness to run on their wheels for six days as they spun around and around. Then, they bred rats who ran more often with one another, and proceeded to do the same with the “couch potato” rats. This process was repeated 10 times. The researchers found all ten generations of the “super fit runner” rats chose to run ten times more than the couch potato rats due to genetic differences between the two types of rats.

This doesn’t mean we’re doomed if we’re genetically predisposed to hate exercise. We can choose to be active; in other words, we can rewire our brain to make exercise a pleasurable and fulfilling experience. For example, we can find an exercise that we really enjoy, and even have other people work out with us. If the exercise is not enjoyable, then it’ll be harder to get motivated to do it.

"When people start viewing exercise as a duty or obligation, then that's not a formula for sustained activity. That just puts people in a constant state of dissatisfaction," said Dishman.

We can decide to exercise despite our DNA. After all, nothing is etched in stone, even our disdain for working out at the gym.

Source: Dishman R et al. Genetics of Exercise Avoidance. APS Intersociety Meeting: The Integrative Biology of Exercise VII. 2016.

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It feels great to complete a great lift!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Interesting View on Steroids

Image result for usa weightlifting
Are American lifters clean in 2016? I really believe they are.

Here is an article that was posted on the Supertraining Forum that was started by the late Mel Siff. The pendulum swings back and forth. My modest athletic career began quite a while before AAS were illegal. In the early days the claims from the medical field and athletic administrators about the dangers were exagerrated. Then there have been those who purport that there are no risks at all. Over the years a more balanced perspective developed. As with anything, time filters out the truth. Now many decades later we can get a better look at actual long term results. I am sure there are those who would dispute or disregard the research presented, but on the other hand, I'm glad I didn't get involved in the chemical side of athletic preparation. Getting older is tough enough without added complications. Train hard,train smart, live a balanced life. We really have no control over the length of our time here, but we have a lot to do with the quality of our life. Enjoy the journey and Happy Thanksgiving!

A common refrain amongst apologists for anabolic steroids is : Where are the
bodies? The bodies are in the cemetary ony the death certificated does not
state they died from steroids. The most likely cause of death heart disease.
It might be cardiac arrhythmia or acute MI.

There is an excellent article in the American Journal of Cardiology which
reviews A total of 49 studies describing 1,467 athletes were reviewed to
investigate the cardiovascular effects of the abuse of AAS.
It cites 99 articles covering this topic. If you are interested in this topic
go to your local hospital Library and check out :

Cardiac and Metabolic Effects of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Abuse on Lipids,
Blood Pressure, Left Ventricular Dimensions, and Rhythm
The American Journal of Cardiology - Volume 106, Issue 6 (September 2010) -
Copyright © 2010 The American College of Cardiology -

Because of copyright and space I cannot put the article here but I have taken
the time to excerpt some of the information I thought might be pertinent along
with the articles or journals cited.

You are not likely to find these studies in your typical muscle magazine or
website. Some of these studies date back to the mid 80s and 90s. The
information is not new just conveniently ignored.

************ ********* **

Cardiac and Metabolic Effects of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Abuse on Lipids,
Blood Pressure, Left Ventricular Dimensions, and Rhythm
The American Journal of Cardiology - Volume 106, Issue 6 (September 2010) -
Copyright © 2010 The American College of Cardiology -

AAS and abnormal plasma lipoproteins
AAS abuse has been linked with abnormal plasma lipoproteins (Table 1). Several
studies suggest that AAS abuse in athletes increase low-density lipoprotein
(LDL) levels by >20% [14] , [36] , [37] , [38] and decrease high-density lipoprotein
(HDL) levels by 20% to 70%. [13] , [14] , [37] , [39] , [40] , [41] , [42] ,
[43] , [44]

By some estimates, these lipoprotein abnormalities increase
the risk for coronary artery disease by three- to sixfold. [14] , [45]

13 Sader M.A., Griffiths K.A., McCredie R.J., Handelsman D.J., Celermajer
D.S.: Androgenic anabolic steroids and arterial structure and function in male
bodybuilders. J Am Coll Cardiol 37. 224-230.2001; Abstract

14 Lenders J.W., Demacker P.N., Vos J.A., Jansen P.L., Hoitsma A.J., Van't Laar
A., Thien T.: Deleterious effects of anabolic steroids on serum lipoproteins,
blood pressure, and liver function in amateur bodybuilders. Int J Sports Med 9.
19-23.1988; Abstrac
36 Lajarin F., Zaragoza R., Tovar I., Martinez-Hernandez P.: Evolution of
serum lipids in two male bodybuilders using anabolic steroids. Clin Chem 42.
970- 972.1996; Abstract
37 McKillop G., Ballantyne D.: Lipoprotein analysis in bodybuilders. Int J
Cardiol 17. 281-288.1987; Abstract

38 Palatini P., Giada F., Garavelli G., Sinisi F., Mario L., Michieletto M.,
Baldo-Enzi G.: Cardiovascular effects of anabolic steroids in weight-trained
subjects. J Clin Pharmacol 36. 1132-1140.1996; Abstract
39 Baldo-Enzi G., Giada F., Zuliani G., Baroni L., Vitale E., Enzi G.,
Magnanini P., Fellin R.: Lipid and apoprotein modifications in body builders
during and after self- administration of anabolic steroids. Metabolism 39. 203-208.1990; Abstract
40 Fröhlich J., Kullmer T., Urhausen A., Bergmann R., Kindermann W.: Lipid
profile of body builders with and without self-administration of anabolic
steroids. Eur J Appl Physiol 59. 98-103.1989; 41 Hartgens F., Rietjens G., K
41 Hartgens F., Rietjens G., Keizer H.A., Kuipers H., Wolffenbuttel B.:
Effects of androgenic-anabolic steroids on apolipoproteins and lipoprotein (a).
Br J Sport Med 38. 253-259.2004;

42 Lane H., Grace F., Smith J.C., Morris K., Cockcroft J., Scanlon M.F., Davies
J.S.: Impaired vasoreactivity in bodybuilders using androgenic anabolic
steroids. Eur J Clin Invest 36. 483-488.2006; Abstract

43 Urhausen A., Albers T., Kindermann W.: Are the cardiac effects of anabolic
steroid abuse in strength athletes reversible?. Heart 90. 496-501.2004;

44 Zuliani U., Bernardini B., Catapano A., Campana M., Cerioli G., Spattini
M.: Effects of anabolic steroids, testosterone, and HGH on blood lipids and
echocardiographic parameteres in body builders. Int J Sports Med 10.
62-66.1989; Abstract

45 Glazer G.: Atherogenic effects of anabolic steroids on serum lipid levels.
A literature reviewArch Intern Med 151. 1925-1933.1991; Abstract

AAS, acute MI, and sudden death
Alarming data have linked AAS with fatal events, although these are mostly
case-control studies and case reports of acute coronary syndromes, MIs, and
ventricular arrhythmias. [24] , [46] , [83] , [84] , [85] , [86] , [87] , [88]

88 Fineschi V., Riezzo I., Centini F., Silingardi E., Licata M., Beduschi G.,
Karch S.B.: Sudden cardiac death during anabolic steroid abuse: morphologic and
toxicologic findings in two fatal cases of bodybuilders. Int J Legal Med 121.
48-53.2007; Abstract

89 Sullivan M.L., Martinez C.M., Gennis P., Gallagher E.J.: The cardiac
toxicity of anabolic steroids. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 41. 1-15.1998; Abstract

90 Ferenchick G.: Anabolic/androgenic steroid abuse and thrombosis: is there a
connection?. Med Hypotheses 35. 27-31.1991; Abstract

91 Roeggia M., Heinz G., Werba E., Roeggla G.: Cardiac tamponade in a
21-year-old body builder with anabolica abuse. Br J Clin Pract 50.
411-412.1996; Citation

92 Ferenchick G., Adelman S.: Myocardial infarction associated with anabolic
steroid use in a previously healthy 37-year-old weight lifter. Am Heart J 124.
507- 508.1992; Citation

93 Huie M.: An acute myocardial infarction occurring in an anabolic steroid
user. Med Sci Sport Exer 26. 408-413.1994;

94 Fisher M., Appleby M., Rittoo D., Cotter L.: Myocardial infarction with
extensive intracoronary thrombus induced by anabolic steroids. Br J Clin Pract
50. 222- 223.1996; Abstract

a postmortem study of male Caucasian AAS abusers (aged 20 to 45 years) suggested
primary cardiac pathology in 1/3, [23]

23 Thiblin I., Lindquist O., Rajs J.: Cause and manner of death among users of
anabolic androgenic steroids. J Forensic Sci 45. 16-23.2000; Abstract

recent case-control study [24] , [25] suggested cardiac causes in 2/3 of deaths,
with others being attributed to suicide, hepatic coma, and malignancy.

24 Parssinen M., Kujala U., Vartiainen E., Sarna S., Seppala T.: Increased
premature mortality of competitive powerlifters suspected to have used anabolic
agents. Int J Sports Med 21. 225-227.2000; Abstract

25 Parssinen M., Seppala T.: Steroid use and long-term health risks in former
athletes. Sports Med 2002. 83-84.2002; 2
Hausmann et al [84] describe a 23-year-old male bodybuilder who abused AAS and
experienced sudden cardiac arrest. Postmortem examination revealed ventricular
hypertrophy, myocardial fibrosis, and acute MI, and the cause of death was
attributed to arrhythmic sudden death secondary to AAS abuse.

84 Hausmann R., Hammer S., Betz P.: Performance enhancing drugs (doping agents)
and sudden death—a case report and review of the literature. Int J Legal Med
111. 261-264.1998; Abstrac

McNutt et al[46] reported an acute MI in a 22-year-old bodybuilder who admitted
to AAS abuse but lacked cardiac risk factors. The patient presented with
markedly elevated LDL (596 mg/dl) and depressed HDL (14 mg/dl) yet had no family
history of premature atherosclerosis or cardiac events. Within a month of
discontinuing AAS, his LDL decreased to 220 mg/dl and his HDL increased to 35

46 McNutt R.A., Ferenchick G.S., Kirlin P.C., Hamlin N.J.: Acute myocardial
infarction in a 22-year-old world class weight lifter using anabolic steroids.
Am J Cardiol62.164. 1988; Citation

49 Bowman S.: Anabolic steroids and infarction. BMJ 300. 750.1990; Citation

Figure 1 shows the presenting electrocardiogram of a 25-year-old male athlete
who abused nandrolone and presented with an acute MI without traditional cardiac
risk factors. Acute angiography revealed extensive left anterior descending
coronary artery thrombosis, which was managed by thrombolysis. Angiography in
the subacute phase confirmed very mild luminal irregularity at the site of
previous thrombosis.

69 Kennedy C.: Myocardial infarction in association with misuse of anabolic
steroids. Ulster Med J 62. 174-176.1993; Citation

The most commonly observed arrhythmias, typically occurring during physical
exertion, include atrial fibrillation, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular
tachycardia, and supraventricular and ventricular ectopic beats. [95]
95 Furlanello F., Serdoz L.V., Cappato R., De Ambroggi L.: Illicit drugs and
cardiac arrhythmias in athletes. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil 14. 487-494.2007;

Dickerman et al [96] reported a 20-year-old male bodybuilder who
self-administered AAS 700 mg/week and had sudden cardiac arrest. Autopsy
indicated LVH with a cardiac mass >2 times the upper limit of normal.

96 Dickerman R.D., Schaller F., Prather I., McConathy W.J.: Sudden cardiac death
in a 20-year-old bodybuilder using anabolic steroids. Cardiology 86.
172-173.1995; Abstract

************ ******
Ralph Giarnella MD
Southington Ct. USA

I can't say the same for "bodybuilding" clowns though.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

An 80-Year-Old Model Reshapes China’s Views on Aging

Fun article. Why think old?

BEIJING — Before cranking up the techno music at his 80th birthday party, the man known as “China’s hottest grandpa” paused from his D.J. duties to poke fun at the country’s staid traditional celebrations for the elderly.

“I should wear a long robe, with the word ‘longevity’ embroidered on the front,” the birthday boy, Wang Deshun, said at his party in September.

Far from looking frail, the silver-haired actor, model and artist wore a crisp white shirt and black jeans, his back straight and his eyes glittering with humor.

“Two young maidens should help me into an old-style wooden chair,” he added, pretending to hobble.

Determined to avoid mental and physical stagnation, Mr. Wang has explored new skills and ideas while devoting ample time to daily exercise. Last year, he walked the runway for the first time, his physique causing a national sensation. He takes obvious joy in subverting China’s image of what it means to be old.

Wang Deshun explains how he became a runway model last year. Video by Redstart Media
And old age in China begins relatively early. The legal retirement age for women is 50 for workers and 55 for civil servants, and 60 for most men.

Being older in China typically means being respected, but also, often, sentimentalized. Someone as young as 50 may be addressed as “yeye” or “nainai” — grandpa or grandma — regardless of whether they have offspring.

Mr. Wang is having none of that.

“One way to tell if you’re old or not is to ask yourself, ‘Do you dare try something you’ve never done before?’ ” he said in a recent interview at a hotel in Beijing.

“Nature determines age, but you determine your state of mind,” he said.

Mr. Wang has not escaped being called grandpa — he has two children and a 2-year-old granddaughter — but the honorific is accompanied by accolades for his vigor and his embrace of the new.

“Grandpa, you’re my idol!” one admirer wrote on Mr. Wang’s Weibo social media account, one of thousands of similar comments.

Sex appeal is part of the mix.

“Grandpa, your stomach is so gorgeous! Incredibly handsome!” another person wrote next to a photo of Mr. Wang, topless in a gym, his skin smooth and pectorals buff.

Mr. Wang said he was always athletic. An avid swimmer as a child, he still swims more than half a mile each day. “Morning is my learning time,” he said. “I read books and news. From 3 to 6 p.m. is my exercise time, in a gym near my home.”

He also drinks less alcohol now, he said, but that is about as far as his dietary restrictions go. “I am not picky at all about what I eat. I eat whatever I want.”

Mr. Wang was born in the northeastern city of Shenyang in 1936, one of nine children of a cook and a stay-at-home mother. At 14, a year after the Communist Party came to power in 1949, he began working as a streetcar conductor.

 “I liked acting, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments so much that I joined my work unit’s band,” he said. At the Workers’ Cultural Palace in Shenyang, he took free lessons in singing, acting and dancing. He later took a job at a military factory and joined its art troupe. Sometimes they entertained soldiers.

“Even if there was just one sentry, say, at the top of a hill, like once in Dalian, we’d surround him and perform,” Mr. Wang said.

Later he worked in radio, film and theater. In the early 1980s, Mr. Wang, who would teach runway modeling at a Beijing fashion school, staged what he believes was the first modeling show in the northeastern city of Changchun.

“In 1982, the clothes Chinese wore were so out of date,” he said. “I went to the city’s biggest department store and told the sales clerks, ‘Give me your nicest clothes, and I’ll organize a show.’ They agreed. The best clothes they had were fur coats, and for men, woolen Sun Yat-sen suits” — also known as Mao suits.

Back then, he said, “Chinese had no sense of color or style. People wore black, white, gray or blue. Some people wore army uniforms. I wanted to start a sense for fashion among ordinary people. We did a swimming-suit show. The girls refused at first, thinking it was indecent. But I insisted.”

By 49, Mr. Wang was eager to move to Beijing, China’s cultural capital. He wanted to be a “living sculpture.” He also needed money.

He began working out, determined to have a lithe body that would allow him to interact, almost naked and covered in metallic paint, with copies of Auguste Rodin’s and Camille Claudel’s sculptures of women. The idea, he said, came from his wife of 48 years, Zhao Aijuan.

After the first show in Beijing, in 1993, the authorities, disturbed by its sensuality, barred Mr. Wang from performing in public. He continued to perform privately.

“I really admire him very much,” said Xiao Lu, 54, a performance artist. “I do body art, and you know, after a certain age. a person’s abilities decline. But he has this amazing sculpted body and spirit. Such power for life really comes from the inside. He makes the feeling that’s in the Rodin sculptures come alive.”

Last year, he appeared bare-chested in a fashion show in Beijing’s 798 arts district, featuring designs by Hu Sheguang.

His appearance on the runway earned him a cultlike following. Some fans call him laoxianrou, or “old fresh meat,” making a play on the word for teen idol: xiaoxianrou, or “young fresh meat.’’

So has old fresh meat replaced young fresh meat?

Perhaps not. But Mr. Wang’s physicality, notable in a society where men rarely highlight their attractiveness, also sets an example in a nation that is growing older fast.

“People can change their life as many times as they wish,” he said. Having a goal is important, he said.

 “Being mentally healthy means you know what you’re going to do,” he said. “For example, a vegetable vendor, when he wakes up, he has a goal, he works hard. And when he finishes, he feels fulfilled.”

For Mr. Wang, fulfillment comes in many forms: acting, modeling, exercising and creating art.

And one day soon, he said, parachuting. That is the plan.