builders nd lifters ADD LOGIN/SIGN UP Untitled-1

Dietary Supplements

    By Jim Ganley

 

Admittedly this may be an optimistic assessment. Health food and specialty nutrition isn't a recent development. In fact, the idea of preventing illness via dietary intervention goes back centuries. Two examples immediately come to mind.

The first involved the use of vitamin C in the prevention of scurvy among British Naval personnel in the 18th Century. At that time scurvy, a deficiency disease in which the body literally falls apart at the seams from a lack of collagen, had been decimating the crews of transoceanic voyages. It was found that a daily ration of a lime per day per seaman could prevent or even cure this occupational malady. This was before vitamin C had even been discovered, but it was hypothesized at that time that limes contained an antiscorbutic factor. Thus people of British ancestry soon came to be known pejoratively as 'Limies'.

 

 

 

 

Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, after having established Spain's first settlement on the American mainland, spent an inordinate amount of time trekking throughout what today has become known as Florida in search of The Fountain Of Youth, a mythical spring that would supposedly restore youth to the elderly who bathed in or drank its waters. While Ponce de Leon failed in his quest to restore youth, the search continues to the present day via so-called anti-aging nutrition.

What I have described in the preceding two paragraphs summarizes the genesis of the two primary branches of today's supplement industry.

The first is widely accepted by mainstream medicine.....the prevention of deficiency disease via the administration of prophylactic quantities of essential nutrients.

The second, turning back the clock for the elderly via unproven, isolated dietary factors or miraculous enhancement of one's sexuality and/or athletic performance is on much more shaky ground. As entertainer Maurice Chevalier once remarked on the subject of growing older, "Consider the alternative."

My first experience with food supplements took place at the age of two or three when my mother, having read an article on how to prevent rickets, regularly gave me a teaspoon of cod liver oil before breakfast. To cajole me into cooperating, she allowed me to follow the cod liver oil with aBolster Bar 'chaser' and a bowl of frosted flakes, not the best breakfast for a growing child, but at least she meant well.

Words cannot describe the taste of fish oil mixed with chocolate, peanuts, and corn flakes. To this day I become nauseous just thinking about it.

By elementary school my friends and I were all taking One-A-Day Vitamins, not because they enabled us to run our fastest and jump our highest (PF Flyer Sneakers were supposed to have done that.), but because Jimmie Dodd, head Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club TVshow, told us to.

We also drank Ovaltine because it was the only way to obtain membership in Captain Midnight's Secret Squadron, and ate bowl after bowl ofKellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes becauseSuperman urged us to. The power of celebrity endorsement may be mind boggling, but has nothing to do with the product's quality or nutritional claims.

Then one day as a teenager, after I had begun lifting weights, I picked up a copy of Strength & Health Magazine and read Bob Hoffman's Editorial which had always been featured so prominently at the front of his publication. Hoffman, former coach of the American Olympic Weightlifting Team, was the owner of York Barbell and his writings always had an ultra patriotic, jingoistic tone to them. I read what he had to say with amazement as he railed against the evils of the contemporary American diet of what he termed 'foodless foods' and 'foods of little value'. Reading on, I saw a complete listing of Hoffman nutritional supplements endorsed by the likes of John Grimek and Steve Stanko. The not so subtle message here was that Grimek and Stanko had achieved their muscles and strength via these exotic concoctions. There was Energol, a blend of wheat germ oil, rice germ oil, and soy oil that was supposed to give the energy of a controlled themonuclear detonation. Featured more prominently still were Hoffman's Hi-Proteen, Special Gain-Weight Hi-Proteen, Super Hi-Proteen, and Protein From The Sea. Protein From The Sea smelled like a combination of putrifying fish with rotten eggs and tasted even worse, but we considered this a minor inconvenience if it did what it claimed to do. It didn't.

It was so obvious to us at the time. If we wanted to be champions, training like the champions was not enough. We also had to eat like the champions. And who would know more about this than a former Olympic coach? The only problem was access. There were no health food stores where we lived, and Hoffman products weren't carried by the Supermarket chains. It wasn't long before one of my friends came into the 'Y' weight room and revealed that a place had just opened in Bedford, on the outskirts of Manchester, New Hampshire that carried all of the Hoffman products we had been reading about.

Richardson's Food Service was a tiny health food business set up in the breezway of a residential home. In addition to Hoffman's supplements, Richardson's carried whole grain, organic foods as well as Joe Weider products, most popular of which was Weider's Crash-Weightgain Formula #7 promising pound a day weight gains for 14 days. It was an all too frequent occurrence, usually in the middle of a heavy set of squats, that my friends and I were overcome by the rotting stench of intestinal gas from one of our crew who had ingested this stuff. It was that bad. Weider was far better than Hoffman at marketing his products. Joe Weider knew that sex sold. His advertisements featured top bodybuilders like Dave Draper, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Frank Zaneon the beach getting pawed by scores of beautiful, scantily clad girls. It was only natural for us to assume that Weider's supplements would do far more than give us strength and muscles.......They would also turn us into chick magnets. This is what we had been seeking all along.

 

The power of charisma cannot be overstated. In February of 1974 I had just moved to Ocean Beach inSan Diego. I was strolling along Newport St. not far from the fishing pier when I noticed a health food store and restaurant. From appearances this was a unique establishment. The front of the building sold food supplements and had a lunch counter; out in back was a gym. It was called The Nutrition Shoppe and Vic's Ocean Beach Gym. New in town and seeking employment, I decided to check it out and perhaps see about getting hired as an instructor there.

The food supplement section was pretty conventional. There were aisles stocked with the usual vitamin/mineral preparations and protein/weight gain powders. But it was the lunch counter that drew my attention, though not because of the menu. The waitresses and cooks were women in their early twenties all having one thing in common; they were beautiful in the extreme. So beautiful in fact that I sat down at the counter and ordered a tuna and sprouts sandwich on organic, multi-grain bread even though I wasn't hungry.

 

There was a portrait on the wall of the owner. Vic Girardi was his name, and as I looked around the store I saw posters and plaques extolling his accomplishments. Supposedly a font of fitness and nutrition knowledge, Vic taught a nutrition course at San Diego State College, was a consultant to the San Diego Chargers, and also marketed his own line of food supplements. Vic had come from New York State where he had gone to college at Seton Hall and competed as an Olympic weight lifter back in the early 1950s.

 

Vic was a class act. Only average height and weight, he was probably in his late forties or early fifties, and sported a thick head of mahogany brown hair combed straight down over his forehead. His face was darkly tanned and deeply furrowed. He was wearing a red, white, yellow, and green Hawaiian flower print shirt. It was opened to mid torso to show off the medallion suspended from his neck on a gold chain. White chinos and sandals completed the package.

 

 

 

Before I had finished my sandwich I became aware of a conversation taking place over near the cash register. It was Vic Girardi himself talking to an elderly woman. His presentation was spell binding, though from my perspective pretty fragmented and bordering on unintelligible. He was nose to nose with the woman, speaking rapidly, and wildly gesturing with his arms as he did so.

 

"Calcium necessary.......bony matrix.....balance out phosphorous......vitamin C with citrus bioflavonoids.....enhances iron

absorption.......phosphatidyl choline......memory loss...."

 

With the completion of this blistering monologue, Vic filled two grocery bags for the woman and then rang up a bill close to two hundred dollars. The woman paid in cash and then Vic, with what appeared to have been a forced smile, motioned for one of his gorgeous female assistants to carry the woman's groceries out to her car.

 

What's most notable here is the fact that it was Vic Girardi's personality that sold his product, not the quality and efficacy of his supplements or lack there of.

In the intervening years, as health & fitness became more mainstream, we have witnessed an endless cavalcade of questionable nutritional products parade across our television screens, newspapers, and magazines. The most popular are the formulas promising to build muscle, burn fat, or both. In this venue we have seen raw glandulars such as freeze dried orchic tissue (bull testicles), so-called growth hormone releasing amino acids, chromium picolinate, dimethyl glycine, melatonin, colostrum, pycnogenol, conjugated linoleic acid, alpha lipoic acid, eicosapentanoic acid, hydroxymethylbutyrate, methyl-sulfonyl-methane, glutathione, orhithine-alpha-keto-glutarate, medium chain triglycerides, and inosine, as well as herbal products such gotu cola, yohimbe bark, cyclofenel, St John's wort, ginkgo biloba, valerian root, horny goat weed, Tribulus terrestris, ginseng, guarana root, ma huang, and caffeine.

 

More recently we have seen the hormone precursors such as isoflavones, DHEA, androstendione, 19-nor-androstendiol, ecysdystene, etc., most of which the average person cannot even pronounce much less understand. Their claims are outrageous, promising to build pounds of solid muscle and burn off pounds of fat in a couple of weeks. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The most flagrant false marketing ploy I have observed arose as part of the anti steroid mania in the mid 1980's under the trade name Cybergenics. The full program cost about one hundred dollars for several weeks and featured a variety of pills in what appeared to have been prescription vials. Each type of pill bore a psuedoscientific moniker such as 'cellular membrane stabilizer' and 'osmotic equalizer'. The effect of these pills was supposed to have been better at building muscle and burning fat than anabolic steroids, but with absolutely no adverse side effects. The recommended workouts could have killed an adult bull gorilla. Some of the workouts were to have been undertaken in a fasting state. Raw fish was a mainstay of the nutrition plan. There has to be a better way and there is.

First, someone looking to build muscle and lose fat needs to train intelligently on a well plannned program of cardiovascular and progressive resistance exercise. We also need to stretch and obtain sufficient sleep. Next, we need to follow a well balanced nutrition plan stressing whole, unprocessed food. Supplements, if you choose to take them, are merely insurance to plug any nutritional gaps that may exist in your diet.

 

Best supplements to take are the ones that really work.....a balanced multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamin C, and perhaps some whey protein when restricting calories or whenever unable to obtain a regular meal. Creatine monohydrate and glutamine may work for those individuals training at a very high level of intensity.

 

Most however are not, so they will be better off putting that money into real food.

______________

Jim Ganley is director of Gym Ganley Athletic Shapes, a, fitness consulting and private training business, located in Bow, New Hampshire where he resides with his son and daughter. Jim, a former Mr. New Hampshire, has an extensive background in education, public health and sports medicine combined with 44 years in the field of exercise, which enables him to train people of any fitness level. He is available for telephone consultations as well as private training, and may be reached via e-mail atMrNH77@earthlink.net.

 

The more interesting things about Jim will not be found in his bio, however; they are to be discovered in his writing. Take some time and read through all his writings and you will find him to be witty, clever and, above all, smart. He seems to have nearly an encyclopedic memory for events and an uncanny knack to place them in the context of the time. Simply put: He is smart as hell! There is a full list of his writings on the Contents Page.

________________

Click for More By Jim Ganley

 

Admittedly this may be an optimistic assessment. Health food and specialty nutrition isn't a recent development. In fact, the idea of preventing illness via dietary intervention goes back centuries. Two examples immediately come to mind.

The first involved the use of vitamin C in the prevention of scurvy among British Naval personnel in the 18th Century. At that time scurvy, a deficiency disease in which the body literally falls apart at the seams from a lack of collagen, had been decimating the crews of transoceanic voyages. It was found that a daily ration of a lime per day per seaman could prevent or even cure this occupational malady. This was before vitamin C had even been discovered, but it was hypothesized at that time that limes contained an antiscorbutic factor. Thus people of British ancestry soon came to be known pejoratively as 'Limies'.

 

Next, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, after having established Spain's first settlement on the American mainland, spent an inordinate amount of time trekking throughout what today has become known as Florida in search of The Fountain Of Youth, a mythical spring that would supposedly restore youth to the elderly who bathed in or drank its waters. While Ponce de Leon failed in his quest to restore youth, the search continues to the present day via so-called anti-aging nutrition.

What I have described in the preceding two paragraphs summarizes the genesis of the two primary branches of today's supplement industry.

The first is widely accepted by mainstream medicine.....the prevention of deficiency disease via the administration of prophylactic quantities of essential nutrients.

The second, turning back the clock for the elderly via unproven, isolated dietary factors or miraculous enhancement of one's sexuality and/or athletic performance is on much more shaky ground. As entertainer Maurice Chevalier once remarked on the subject of growing older, "Consider the alternative."

My first experience with food supplements took place at the age of two or three when my mother, having read an article on how to prevent rickets, regularly gave me a teaspoon of cod liver oil before breakfast. To cajole me into cooperating, she allowed me to follow the cod liver oil with aBolster Bar 'chaser' and a bowl of frosted flakes, not the best breakfast for a growing child, but at least she meant well.

Words cannot describe the taste of fish oil mixed with chocolate, peanuts, and corn flakes. To this day I become nauseous just thinking about it.

By elementary school my friends and I were all taking One-A-Day Vitamins, not because they enabled us to run our fastest and jump our highest (PF Flyer Sneakers were supposed to have done that.), but because Jimmie Dodd, head Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club TVshow, told us to.

We also drank Ovaltine because it was the only way to obtain membership in Captain Midnight's Secret Squadron, and ate bowl after bowl ofKellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes becauseSuperman urged us to. The power of celebrity endorsement may be mind boggling, but has nothing to do with the product's quality or nutritional claims.

Then one day as a teenager, after I had begun lifting weights, I picked up a copy of Strength & Health Magazine and read Bob Hoffman's Editorial which had always been featured so prominently at the front of his publication. Hoffman, former coach of the American Olympic Weightlifting Team, was the owner of York Barbell and his writings always had an ultra patriotic, jingoistic tone to them. I read what he had to say with amazement as he railed against the evils of the contemporary American diet of what he termed 'foodless foods' and 'foods of little value'. Reading on, I saw a complete listing of Hoffman nutritional supplements endorsed by the likes of John Grimek and Steve Stanko. The not so subtle message here was that Grimek and Stanko had achieved their muscles and strength via these exotic concoctions. There was Energol, a blend of wheat germ oil, rice germ oil, and soy oil that was supposed to give the energy of a controlled themonuclear detonation. Featured more prominently still were Hoffman's Hi-Proteen, Special Gain-Weight Hi-Proteen, Super Hi-Proteen, and Protein From The Sea. Protein From The Sea smelled like a combination of putrifying fish with rotten eggs and tasted even worse, but we considered this a minor inconvenience if it did what it claimed to do. It didn't.

It was so obvious to us at the time. If we wanted to be champions, training like the champions was not enough. We also had to eat like the champions. And who would know more about this than a former Olympic coach? The only problem was access. There were no health food stores where we lived, and Hoffman products weren't carried by the Supermarket chains. It wasn't long before one of my friends came into the 'Y' weight room and revealed that a place had just opened in Bedford, on the outskirts of Manchester, New Hampshire that carried all of the Hoffman products we had been reading about.

Richardson's Food Service was a tiny health food business set up in the breezway of a residential home. In addition to Hoffman's supplements, Richardson's carried whole grain, organic foods as well as Joe Weider products, most popular of which was Weider's Crash-Weightgain Formula #7 promising pound a day weight gains for 14 days. It was an all too frequent occurrence, usually in the middle of a heavy set of squats, that my friends and I were overcome by the rotting stench of intestinal gas from one of our crew who had ingested this stuff. It was that bad. Weider was far better than Hoffman at marketing his products. Joe Weider knew that sex sold. His advertisements featured top bodybuilders like Dave Draper, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Frank Zaneon the beach getting pawed by scores of beautiful, scantily clad girls. It was only natural for us to assume that Weider's supplements would do far more than give us strength and muscles.......They would also turn us into chick magnets. This is what we had been seeking all along.

 

The power of charisma cannot be overstated. In February of 1974 I had just moved to Ocean Beach inSan Diego. I was strolling along Newport St. not far from the fishing pier when I noticed a health food store and restaurant. From appearances this was a unique establishment. The front of the building sold food supplements and had a lunch counter; out in back was a gym. It was called The Nutrition Shoppe and Vic's Ocean Beach Gym. New in town and seeking employment, I decided to check it out and perhaps see about getting hired as an instructor there.

The food supplement section was pretty conventional. There were aisles stocked with the usual vitamin/mineral preparations and protein/weight gain powders. But it was the lunch counter that drew my attention, though not because of the menu. The waitresses and cooks were women in their early twenties all having one thing in common; they were beautiful in the extreme. So beautiful in fact that I sat down at the counter and ordered a tuna and sprouts sandwich on organic, multi-grain bread even though I wasn't hungry.

 

There was a portrait on the wall of the owner. Vic Girardi was his name, and as I looked around the store I saw posters and plaques extolling his accomplishments. Supposedly a font of fitness and nutrition knowledge, Vic taught a nutrition course at San Diego State College, was a consultant to the San Diego Chargers, and also marketed his own line of food supplements. Vic had come from New York State where he had gone to college at Seton Hall and competed as an Olympic weight lifter back in the early 1950s.

 

Vic was a class act. Only average height and weight, he was probably in his late forties or early fifties, and sported a thick head of mahogany brown hair combed straight down over his forehead. His face was darkly tanned and deeply furrowed. He was wearing a red, white, yellow, and green Hawaiian flower print shirt. It was opened to mid torso to show off the medallion suspended from his neck on a gold chain. White chinos and sandals completed the package.

 

 

 

Before I had finished my sandwich I became aware of a conversation taking place over near the cash register. It was Vic Girardi himself talking to an elderly woman. His presentation was spell binding, though from my perspective pretty fragmented and bordering on unintelligible. He was nose to nose with the woman, speaking rapidly, and wildly gesturing with his arms as he did so.

 

"Calcium necessary.......bony matrix.....balance out phosphorous......vitamin C with citrus bioflavonoids.....enhances iron

absorption.......phosphatidyl choline......memory loss...."

 

With the completion of this blistering monologue, Vic filled two grocery bags for the woman and then rang up a bill close to two hundred dollars. The woman paid in cash and then Vic, with what appeared to have been a forced smile, motioned for one of his gorgeous female assistants to carry the woman's groceries out to her car.

 

What's most notable here is the fact that it was Vic Girardi's personality that sold his product, not the quality and efficacy of his supplements or lack there of.

In the intervening years, as health & fitness became more mainstream, we have witnessed an endless cavalcade of questionable nutritional products parade across our television screens, newspapers, and magazines. The most popular are the formulas promising to build muscle, burn fat, or both. In this venue we have seen raw glandulars such as freeze dried orchic tissue (bull testicles), so-called growth hormone releasing amino acids, chromium picolinate, dimethyl glycine, melatonin, colostrum, pycnogenol, conjugated linoleic acid, alpha lipoic acid, eicosapentanoic acid, hydroxymethylbutyrate, methyl-sulfonyl-methane, glutathione, orhithine-alpha-keto-glutarate, medium chain triglycerides, and inosine, as well as herbal products such gotu cola, yohimbe bark, cyclofenel, St John's wort, ginkgo biloba, valerian root, horny goat weed, Tribulus terrestris, ginseng, guarana root, ma huang, and caffeine.

 

More recently we have seen the hormone precursors such as isoflavones, DHEA, androstendione, 19-nor-androstendiol, ecysdystene, etc., most of which the average person cannot even pronounce much less understand. Their claims are outrageous, promising to build pounds of solid muscle and burn off pounds of fat in a couple of weeks. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The most flagrant false marketing ploy I have observed arose as part of the anti steroid mania in the mid 1980's under the trade name Cybergenics. The full program cost about one hundred dollars for several weeks and featured a variety of pills in what appeared to have been prescription vials. Each type of pill bore a psuedoscientific moniker such as 'cellular membrane stabilizer' and 'osmotic equalizer'. The effect of these pills was supposed to have been better at building muscle and burning fat than anabolic steroids, but with absolutely no adverse side effects. The recommended workouts could have killed an adult bull gorilla. Some of the workouts were to have been undertaken in a fasting state. Raw fish was a mainstay of the nutrition plan. There has to be a better way and there is.

First, someone looking to build muscle and lose fat needs to train intelligently on a well plannned program of cardiovascular and progressive resistance exercise. We also need to stretch and obtain sufficient sleep. Next, we need to follow a well balanced nutrition plan stressing whole, unprocessed food. Supplements, if you choose to take them, are merely insurance to plug any nutritional gaps that may exist in your diet.

 

Best supplements to take are the ones that really work.....a balanced multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamin C, and perhaps some whey protein when restricting calories or whenever unable to obtain a regular meal. Creatine monohydrate and glutamine may work for those individuals training at a very high level of intensity.

 

Most however are not, so they will be better off putting that money into real food.

______________

Jim Ganley is director of Gym Ganley Athletic Shapes, a, fitness consulting and private training business, located in Bow, New Hampshire where he resides with his son and daughter. Jim, a former Mr. New Hampshire, has an extensive background in education, public health and sports medicine combined with 44 years in the field of exercise, which enables him to train people of any fitness level. He is available for telephone consultations as well as private training, and may be reached via e-mail atMrNH77@earthlink.net.

 

The more interesting things about Jim will not be found in his bio, however; they are to be discovered in his writing. Take some time and read through all his writings and you will find him to be witty, clever and, above all, smart. He seems to have nearly an encyclopedic memory for events and an uncanny knack to place them in the context of the time. Simply put: He is smart as hell! There is a full list of his writings on the Contents Page.

________________

Click for More By Jim Ganley

.