T Nation

jail, the army ,and nurtition

I was ruminating about nutrition, and a strange thought crossed my mind… We put such a premium on nutrition to grow and morph ourselves. I like to think this emphasis isn’t misplaced, but why, when someone goes into the pen or the army do they usually end up like granite. There isn’t protein every 2-3 hours, and calories aren’t in the stratosphere. Of course training is usually an integral part of each (on some level) but how does it translate without “massive eating” and such? Perhaps I’m thinking too much out of the box, but what’s the consensus?

bump…I’ve been thinking about this a lot, too.

I think of it as if the motivation is high enough, anything can happen. These guys HAVE to end up like granite.

Juice is still readily available to them from what I’ve heard.

There were a few wacky theories on previous threads conerning this like increased production of testosterone in such a stressfull/ultra male enviorment. II’m not sure if I buy it. Another funny thing is that prison and military workouts primarily consist of bodyweight exercises with astronomical volume or haphazard weightlifting instead of following the latest guru’s plan to the T. These guys aren’t keeping a foodlog and taking in 1.567675 grams of protien per pound of bodyweight most of them are eating starchy crap 3 times a day and junkfood as snacks. I’m sure they aren’t crying about ‘overtrainig’ and being hardgainers. It makes you wonder, it’s kinda like that guy everyone knows who only does curls and benches 3x a week and is hyoooooge.

Do a forum search for “prison muscle”. That dead horse got kicked around for awhile there. If you’re interested, it’s fun reading, though.

im thinking that once you get into a routine they are extremely low stress environments…

The guys usually don’t end up “big”, they just end up lean and their muscles harden. For all I know, I have more muscle, but it’s softer and covered with more fat.

Take all the bullshit, all the gurus, all the theories away, and ask, why does the body modify itself when you exercise? The body is adjusting to a form of extreme stress, in the case of bodybuilders, the stress of lifting weights. It changes so the next time you try to pull some lunatic crap like benching 400lbs, it will be damned well prepared to deal with that situation the next time it happens. That’s also why you keep having to change your routine, because your body will have absolutely no reason to change if the nature of the stress doesn’t change. So, in prison and in the military, your body is freaking out because it has to deal with completely unique situations, and will adjust to become the best possible body to survive the specific situation, no matter how crappy the food. Live or die, it’s that simple. Improve, you increase chance of survival – stagnate, risk death.

How about this for a reason: intensity and volume. If you are forced to PT or have nothing better to do besides pushups you are going to see results. I believe that anyone who hits the weights with intensity and gives it their all is going to see results whether Ian King wrote their program or not. All these fancy programs are wothless without intensity. A guy who goes all out on a soloflex will see better results than someone doing a edt-hst-xyz program half heartedly and taking flavor of the month supplements. There never is some magic reason or magic program. It might sound cliched but you get what you put into something. I personally like renegade GPP because its hard work and gets results as proven by the last 300 years when it was just called boot camp.

I heard that getting raped in the shower increases size.

But pat, that only explains the prison experience, unless more of our army boys are exercising that “don’t tell” clause. :slight_smile:

Remember most of the things we eat and do training wise have been “sold” to us as being necessary if you want to get big and ripped. Guys back around the turn of the century were big and lean, and they didn’t have the latest greatest MRP and postworkout nutrition. Alot of what we do has been shaped by the supplement industry…some good, some maybe not so good.

Typical misunderstanding – getting punked in the shower increases density, in your cell increases size. Don’t go spreading misinformation, prag!

I don’t think there are that many military people who look like “granite”. In fact they are a pretty good cross section of society, there are fit people and not so fit people. Also the lifestyle isn’t very conducive to being like granite, they do a lot of cardio and the nutrition they receive from the military chow hall’s is far from beneficial. I have worked out in many military gyms, they are usually filled with people just trying to stay within regs.

I can’t speak for prisons, but I have seen people come out of prison small and fat.

Good ass post!! I was thinking about this same thin for a while now. My theory is this: Basically the only three things you can do in a prison is lift, sleep, eat. A perfect bodybuilding life, well you know what I mean. Well they only get to lift for around an hour or two a day. For the rest of the time the jst chill in their cell healing, growing, etc.

As for the army guys I would just say juice!

I can speak from experience on this. You have nothing but time on your hands so you lift. It becomes the focal point of your existance and its very easy to overtrain. So the first 6 months you make good progess. As you become acclimiated and build some muscle you hit a wall - and that is largely from diet. They intentionally load you up on starch to try and mellow you out. If you are cunning you can get the protien you need -working in the kitchen, performing some service - (I did legal work) where you can make enough $$ that you can buy at least some high protein food at the canteen. Yet, most guys who go in in good shape and stay less than 3 years generally come out looking like shit. Look at Mike Tyon and Mark Gastineu. And getting steroids or other drugs in jail is HARD. Big drugs in prison is a big myth. No one has money so why would any one think there is going to be drugs. The little drugs there are are sold for big money. What cost $10 on the street costs at least $50 in prison.

Even with poor diet, if you work out hard every day for 6 years or more and get plenty of sleep you will, barring poor genetics, get big and ripped.

I was in about 5 years straight and was in good shape when I got out. Within two months of getting out I made real good progress because I had access to good food. (did not juice at that time).

It all boils down to training intensity. You have to want those last few reps like it’s your next breath. You might think that you are working out hard in the gym, but the most likely thing is that you’re not. Look arount your gym. How many people have looked exactly the same for the last 5 years? 95% of people in the gym are going through the motions. There is motivation in the military. There is motivation in prison. There is also a sense of competition. You either compete, or you fold up your tent, and take it in the poop shoot night after night. I’ve never been in prison, or the military for that matter, but the best gains I ever made was working out with a group of friends who were very competitive. You can’t overestimate the power of that competitive atmosphere. Go forth, compete with your buddies. Talk some trash. It’ll make you grow.

There are a lot of guys in the army that are on the juice.

I think you’ve been watching too many movies. People in the army usually aren’t all swole. They’re fit. People coming out of prison usually aren’t either. Most of the time they’re either fat or skinny. I’m around people in both situations all the time. You shouldn’t have such a strong opinion just from what you saw in American History X.