T Nation

Prison


#1

I once worked at several Federal FCI?s and USP prisons a couple years ago as a telecommunications contractor building their computer and fiber optic networks. I saw some huge guys in there. Now being at each joint for a few months I was able to see what goes on, training, diet etc. I seriously doubt they had access to roids. If they had a needle it would be worth much more for heroin or cocaine use. Plus security was tighter than a fresh new white boy from the suburbs. The food sucked, and the commissary sold mostly junk food. No supplements of any kind either, just tuna. Now these guys had to work 6 or 7 hours a day mon-fri, so they weren?t just lounging in bed conserving energy. What I did notice is that they were in a perpetual state of ?pump?. To be big meant that no one was going to mess with you. So they did their regular workout of mostly arms and chest, but they also did pushups and pull-ups all day long. They would be working and we?d take a break and they would do pushups. Now my question is why weren?t they in a state of over training? Stress levels were high so their cortisone levels must have been high. They probably had naturally high Test levels due to their non-conformist personality traits; incidentally they mostly had good hair, so DHT levels weren?t high. So you training gurus - why were most of them huge? Could it be from a constant pump by working out all the time and never letting the muscle atrophy by always doing pushups and pull-ups?


#2

This has been discussed many times here and for good reason. There must be studies of some kind on this and if there isn't, there should be. We spend so much time trying find the smallest things that can help us and here we have a near perfect control group.

I've seen situations where inmates don't have acess to much more than parallel bars and a chin bar and they've managed to at least maintain some serious size. Perhaps many of these guys were big to begin with.

If prison wasn't such a bad place, I might look into a short stay :wink:


#3

This is a really interesting question, and one I've often thought about. It has been suggested that men in an environment of constant high stress have higher than normal T levels. However, I have no idea if there has ever been any controlled studies to confirm this.

I know drug smuggling is rampant in prison; and some guards are obviously involved. So, it seems at least possible that inmates can get ahold of AAS. It seems to me, in that environment, that AAS could have as much value as street drugs to the right sub-population. For obvious reasons, orals would be easier to use--and perhaps more desireable than injectibles.

Crowbar


#4

As a former corrections officer I can say that prison food is high in starch which helps put weight on.If you're a prisoner who trains that can go in the bicep.If you're a guard that's sitting all day watching these fools then it goes to the mid section.Plus in many prisons you can buy protein powders in the prison store along with chips,cokes,extra food,etc.Plus most of these big boys have been doing 10-20 year stretches and that's allot of time to train.


#5

I think the development of prison physiques tells the tale of exactly how important proper nutrition is to getting big and strong: not very. That's not to say that all other things being equal proper nutrition won't make a big difference, I think it will and does. What it does say is that as far as the training/nutrition equation goes (and I'm only talking about gaining muscle size here) the training part is much more important. Too many people get hung up on nutrition and leave out the part where you bust your ass in the gym.


#6

As CGB mentioned, most of these guys were probably pretty big to begin with. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to assume that many of these guys have gotten by on their brawn long before being locked behind bars.

We all rely on our stronger points to get us through life to some degree, and perhaps many of them used their size (read: physical violence) to get them through theirs... which inevitably led to them getting in trouble with the law.


#7

I have plenty of friends who go into prison and blow up. I would imagine it's just a matter of not having anything else to do but eat work lift. BTW there's alot of steroid use in prison, don't kid yourself.


#8

Nice friends, wideguy. :slight_smile:


#9

Nice points...However, in my experience the Federal System is less corrupt and the ability to get AAS in the joint would be less than the State systems. Pot and heroin cost 5 times as much in prison as do anabolics; smuggling occurs where there is a greater payout to a larger potential market. IMHO I think that steroids use in prison is a very small percentage, I'm sure it occurs but it is on a much less scale than on the outside. Something else to think about is the prior lifestyle of these guys packing on this muscle. Most of the ones I talked with were hardcore partiers, drinking every single day, drugs of every sort, no sleep, no physical fitness program, horrible eating habits (hmmm?sounds like my misguided youth) anyways not really a recipe for building a foundation of muscle. They talk of adding 30 lbs of muscle since coming to the ?big house?. I?m still wondering if it isn?t the constant state of pump they keep themselves in. Imagine dropping down for 25 pushups every half hour (12 hours a day X 25 reps every ? hour = 600 pushups a day) every day for 3 years. You would get huge, because your body has to adapt to the high workload of time on tension, but my question is they don?t appear to be over training or am I mistaken?


#10

I'm a Sergeant for Florida DOC, and I see a lot of skinny guys "blow up" when they get locked up. The biggest are what we like to call "big for nothing" because they are very weak, especially for their size. Most just do abs, pull-ups, dips, bodyweight squats etc. But they do 500 to 1000 a day! And prison food is nasty, but it's probably more nutritionally sound than the average Americans diet because they have a dietitian make up the meals. There are very few that are really big that got that way using weights. You usually have the weight crowd (big arms, chest, no legs and fat guts but really, really strong), and the "big for nothing group". One group may incorporate the others methods occasionally, but not in most cases.


#11

Anybody who doesn't think steroids are absolutely rampant in prison has got to be wearing blinders.

Inmates with power can get anything they want.

There ought to be plenty of motivation to bulk up in the hoosegow.


#12

First: Until we get the size of these guys before they got clinked what we see means nothing other than that they can maintain muscle.

A couple notes:
I dunno about you guys but the last time I saw a prison "Ernest Goes To Jail" there were a lot of muscle men. But there were a whole lot more bitches if ytou know what I mean.
Does this mean most guys in prison can build a hell of a guys in prison want to come out with a Size 11 asshole? No. What it means is that the prison system doesn't suit everybody for making gains.

2.
Arnold S. wrote a piece awhile ago about how when he wanted to put on some size after his muscles had seemingly tired out he would shock them into state by working them all day i.e. non stop bicep work for 24 hours. This would put on an inch or two of mass.
Being in a constant state of work these guys don't have time for their muscles to relax: being semi-nourished and always in action their bodies have switched over to the highest state of efficiency. They don't ahve to worry about cheat meals or forgetting to train, it is their way of life.
Just like not getting enough food makes your digestive system more efficient their skeletal structure must have upgraded its priorities.


#13

Security isn't that tight in prisons, especially when it comes to small pills and vials that can be exchanged in a handshake.

I've got a mother in law who was the head nurse at a max security joint here for 20 years, also a brother who is a guard at medium level. They laugh laugh laugh when people think there is no drug access or other things available. Really the only limitation of acquiring items in a max security prison is the size of the item. Larger stuff is hard/nearly impossible to acquire, but small items are just some money away.
And when you are talking about maximum security you tend to be talking about lifers or very long term, so they have nothing else to do with their money for the most part, and many of them have nothing to lose from being caught.
Yeah they may earn only a few bucks per hour, but they really have very few bills to pay so that money is easily spent on supplies.

Anyway it's training time, ie time under the iron. Your diet can be pretty poor and you still will build fairly well if you are eating enough and working out all the time.


#14

Read Chad Waterbury's "100 reps..." article to get an idea of why these guys aren't overtraining by training as often as they do. Guys like Mentzer did the lifting population a huge disservice with the whole overtraining crap. The body is capable of adapting to stresses better than you think. I'm in great shape, "gym shape", but if I were to go work construction, I'd be put to shame by some saturated fat eating, cigarette smoking, 56 year old. Why?-Because he's been doing it day in, day out for his whole life!


#15

"Stress levels were high so their cortisone levels must have been high."

I always get cortisone shots when I'm stressed:)