T Nation

Athletes' High Blood Pressure

im having debate with a few sedentary people over blood pressure. Mine slightly evelated according to the electronic home test machines, while theirs are lower!

Now I exercise alot, weight and some cardio - my point is that mine is elevated because athletes have high blood volumes and drink alot of fluid, both of which increase BP, where as many sedentary people have lower BPs because they have low blood volumes (no exercise induced volume and dehydrated). So am I right?

[quote]edvizard wrote:
im having debate with a few sedentary people over blood pressure. Mine slightly evelated according to the electronic home test machines, while theirs are lower!

Now I exercise alot, weight and some cardio - my point is that mine is elevated because athletes have high blood volumes and drink alot of fluid, both of which increase BP, where as many sedentary people have lower BPs because they have low blood volumes (no exercise induced volume and dehydrated). So am I right? [/quote]

No, not exactly. Increased muscle tonicity is the largest culprit for elevated blood pressure in larger athletes. The goal isn’t exactly to see who can have the lowest blood pressure in the room. That is why there are standards and guidelines given for when someone is at risk. Lifestyle is the largest contributor.

The other possible problem with home BPs for larger athletes is that smaller cuffs lead to higher readings. therefore, someone with 17" biceps or larger who is using a cuff made for someone much smaller would get a false reading.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
No, not exactly. Increased muscle tonicity is the largest culprit for elevated blood pressure in larger athletes. The goal isn’t exactly to see who can have the lowest blood pressure in the room. That is why there are standards and guidelines given for when someone is at risk. Lifestyle is the largest contributor.

The other possible problem with home BPs for larger athletes is that smaller cuffs lead to higher readings. therefore, someone with 17" biceps or larger who is using a cuff made for someone much smaller would get a false reading.[/quote]

Plus there is always white coat hypertension if you go to the doctor’s office. My readings would always be lower at home. But the cuff size thing is also true. I have a home kit and can’t fit my arm into and I was getting false readings and my arms aren’t nearly as big as a larger athlete or pro BB. So definitely make sure you have the right cuff size.

My doc tried to tell me my higher protein diet and “excessive muscle mass” was upping my BP and set about to prove it to me thru a series of blood tests, urine tests, etc. Meanwhile, this guy never picked a weight up in his life and is probably a vegan. Yes, I am a raging hulk at about 200 lbs.

Long story short, all my tests came back normal and he couldn’t find one reason why my BP was elevated.

I now do steady state cardio 3-4 times a week which seems to help. Previously, I have never done any cardio whatsoever. Besides doing cardio and maybe leaning up a little bit (I am far from fat) what else can I do? I guess some people just have naturally higher BP.

X, I’m curious to know with your tremendous LBM gain over time if you have had any issues with BP.

[quote]greekdawg wrote:

X, I’m curious to know with your tremendous LBM gain over time if you have had any issues with BP.[/quote]

No, I haven’t and I get mine checked regularly (especially since the machine is in my clinic room). I’ve gained about 100lbs in lean body mass since I first started. One thing to mention, however, is that most of the guys in my family are pretty big dudes on my dad’s side. I took after my mom until college and then put on weight quickly once I finally started eating enough to match my metabolism. That means this isn’t some size that my body can’t handle. I was a very skinny kid but I always had wide shoulders and a large bone structure. My wrists are over 8" around and my ring size is 13. It isn’t like I have “small genetics”.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
My wrists are over 8" around and my ring size is 13. It isn’t like I have “small genetics”. [/quote]

Whoa. I’ve seen you talk here for years about being very skinny as a kid, but those are some massive numbers. Did you just severely undereat when you were younger? Or do you think you were always bound to “catch up” (for lack of a better term) as you got older and your metabolism slowed down a bit?

That probably sounds wrong. I don’t mean to downplay the importance of eating a lot when trying to gain weight. Hopefully you understand what I’m asking.

[quote]CC wrote:
Professor X wrote:
My wrists are over 8" around and my ring size is 13. It isn’t like I have “small genetics”.

Whoa. I’ve seen you talk here for years about being very skinny as a kid, but those are some massive numbers. Did you just severely undereat when you were younger? Or do you think you were always bound to “catch up” (for lack of a better term) as you got older and your metabolism slowed down a bit?

That probably sounds wrong. I don’t mean to downplay the importance of eating a lot when trying to gain weight. Hopefully you understand what I’m asking.[/quote]

My metabolism didn’t slow down, I just ate to compensate for it (something I had a hard time with until after high school even though I worked since 16). I didn’t eat much as a kid for several reasons. The most important being that my parents didn’t eat much so they didn’t cook much food, at least not enough for me to grow. I also didn’t have much of an appetite. There was also no weight room and my high school didn’t have any sports…so that meant no school gym to lift in. My metabolism was flying so I didn’t make any progress until I was able to eat enough to make up for it and hit real weights on a regular basis…which was in college when the food was “all you can eat”. I didn’t map out specific ratios or worry about the glycemic index. I just ate a ton of food and the weight came on. That pic of me kneeling in my backyard was taken after about 4 years after I started training “seriously” and I was about 210lbs (I dropped weight from about 225-230lbs).

It isn’t like I accidentally gained size. I worked my ass off for it for years being extremely consistent in the weight room even if my diet was largely what many here would consider “crap”. I still ate about 6 times a day and have since I started. I never wanted to be one of those people who said, “I train off and on”…so I didn’t turn into that.

I haven’t taken longer than a week off at one time since I started well over a decade ago.

When I talk about genetics, that doesn’t discount the above average effort I put into this…and I am still very far from where I want to be.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
It isn’t like I accidentally gained size. I worked my ass off for it for years being extremely consistent in the weight room even if my diet was largely what many here would consider “crap”. I still ate about 6 times a day and have since I started.[/quote]

That’s why I made sure to say I wasn’t downplaying the importance of eating a lot. I know you’ve busted your ass to get where you are.

The reason your comments interested me is because I have one friend, my best friend in fact, who was kind of in the same boat as you, size and eating-wise. Very skinny when we were growing up, didn’t eat much, hardly ever worked out. His father, however, is tall, jacked, forearms like bowling pins. My buddy is also tall and has fairly large bones.

After high school he blew up, and not in the Pillsbury way. He’s in the Marines, and within his first couple of years he went from 140 pounds to 230. Sure, it wasn’t 90 pounds of muscle, but he sure as hell wasn’t “fat”. And I know it’s not steroids, because a) he’s my best friend and I asked him point blank; he wouldn’t lie to me, and b) he still maintains a weight of ~220, despite eating once or twice a day a lot of times, and not working out consistently for close to a year now.

The thing that pisses me off is that he doesn’t pay attention to what he eats, whatsoever. I’m not talking about eating clean, I could careless about that.

He always laughs when I talk to him about having to eat enough calories, getting enough protein, etc., for myself. He just rolls his eyes and says “I’ve never worried about that.”

He maintains that he was just bound to be that big one day, and his body “caught up” as he got older.

I know that is not an average case and genetics play a huge role in all of this. I had just never seen someone make such a dramatic change from seemingly bad genetics as he did.

I hope we all are. This would all be pretty boring if we just reached a point and said, “Okay, that’s all for me.”