T Nation

Strong Guys Who Eat Like Crap

I just got a new job moving furniture, and it got me thinking about a topic that’s been brought up before on these boards.

I’m talking about dudes who work manual labor jobs, eat shit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but are strong as shit.

Case-in-point: the guys I worked with today. Their day started off with donuts and iced coffee from 'Dunks. Several hours later, they stopped by a convenience store and bought Gatorade and chips. Then, in what must have been the healthiest meal of the day for them, we all stopped at Quizno’s and got subs. After the job, on the way back, they stopped and each got a cup of slush (ice flavored with sugar, for the unaware).

Anecdotal examples such as these have led me to the conclusion that nutrition is practically irrelevant when it comes to strength.

I’d like to hear what people have to say about this. Any more stories of strong guys who eat like shit would also be interesting. I’m sure there are plenty out there.

see, there is this guy named dave tate. Strong as hell, and he USED to eat like shit. I agree that strength isn’t neccessarily all that dependent on nutrition, look at some of the worlds healthiest people, and you will find they are not the strongest.

Just go to your local construction project or factory. At my last job, making gooseneck hitches, some 50 year old welder picked up a 400 pound stack of angle iron like it was nothing. and his breakfast was always something out of the machine in the breakroom, often a honeybun.

Dude… its called good genetics.

I have friends who drink and smoke like its 1969, eat like shit, maybe 3 times a day, do half assed lifting, and still maintain a pretty impressive physique for a teenager, even by T-Nation standards.

[quote]Nominal Prospect wrote:
I just got a new job moving furniture, and it got me thinking about a topic that’s been brought up before on these boards.

I’m talking about dudes who work manual labor jobs, eat shit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but are strong as shit.

Case-in-point: the guys I worked with today. Their day started off with donuts and iced coffee from 'Dunks. Several hours later, they stopped by a convenience store and bought Gatorade and chips. Then, in what must have been the healthiest meal of the day for them, we all stopped at Quizno’s and got subs. After the job, on the way back, they stopped and each got a cup of slush (ice flavored with sugar, for the unaware).

Anecdotal examples such as these have led me to the conclusion that nutrition is practically irrelevant when it comes to strength.

I’d like to hear what people have to say about this. Any more stories of strong guys who eat like shit would also be interesting. I’m sure there are plenty out there.[/quote]

If you are actually working hard and have decent genetics, overall caloric intake becomes more and more important than where those calories are coming from if the goal is just size and strength. If your goals are to lean up that is where the nutrient analysis becomes more important. It was mentioned before how poorly Mariusz Pudzianowski eats yet looks the way he does. Look at what he does with that food. That makes all of the difference.

Kids today aren’t getting fatter because Mc Donald’s exists. When we were kids we ate the same shit (though possibly not nearly as much) and weren’t obese. We also played outside more. That makes all the difference when compared to some kid who just plays video games all day.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

If you are actually working hard and have decent genetics, overall caloric intake becomes more and more important than where those calories are coming from if the goal is just size and strength. If your goals are to lean up that is where the nutrient analysis becomes more important. It was mentioned before how poorly Mariusz Pudzianowski eats yet looks the way he does. Look at what he does with that food. That makes all of the difference.
[/quote]

If you’re talking about Pudzianowski’s diet that was posted in a magazine, I’m pretty sure that was a hoax.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
If you are actually working hard and have decent genetics, overall caloric intake becomes more and more important than where those calories are coming from if the goal is just size and strength. If your goals are to lean up that is where the nutrient analysis becomes more important. It was mentioned before how poorly Mariusz Pudzianowski eats yet looks the way he does. Look at what he does with that food. That makes all of the difference.
[/quote]

Exactly. I completely agree. If only more people realized this. And bonus points for spelling Pudz’ name right.

When it comes to strength, eating shit doesn’t matter as long as you are eating.

[quote]Brett Tucek wrote:
Professor X wrote:

If you are actually working hard and have decent genetics, overall caloric intake becomes more and more important than where those calories are coming from if the goal is just size and strength. If your goals are to lean up that is where the nutrient analysis becomes more important. It was mentioned before how poorly Mariusz Pudzianowski eats yet looks the way he does. Look at what he does with that food. That makes all of the difference.

If you’re talking about Pudzianowski’s diet that was posted in a magazine, I’m pretty sure that was a hoax. [/quote]

…and I’m pretty sure that while that may not be what he eats every single day, he was showing that he isn’t eating chicken breasts and brown rice as his daily base diet.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Nominal Prospect wrote:
I just got a new job moving furniture, and it got me thinking about a topic that’s been brought up before on these boards.

I’m talking about dudes who work manual labor jobs, eat shit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but are strong as shit.

Case-in-point: the guys I worked with today. Their day started off with donuts and iced coffee from 'Dunks. Several hours later, they stopped by a convenience store and bought Gatorade and chips. Then, in what must have been the healthiest meal of the day for them, we all stopped at Quizno’s and got subs. After the job, on the way back, they stopped and each got a cup of slush (ice flavored with sugar, for the unaware).

Anecdotal examples such as these have led me to the conclusion that nutrition is practically irrelevant when it comes to strength.

I’d like to hear what people have to say about this. Any more stories of strong guys who eat like shit would also be interesting. I’m sure there are plenty out there.

If you are actually working hard and have decent genetics, overall caloric intake becomes more and more important than where those calories are coming from if the goal is just size and strength. If your goals are to lean up that is where the nutrient analysis becomes more important. It was mentioned before how poorly Mariusz Pudzianowski eats yet looks the way he does. Look at what he does with that food. That makes all of the difference.

Kids today aren’t getting fatter because Mc Donald’s exists. When we were kids we ate the same shit (though possibly not nearly as much) and weren’t obese. We also played outside more. That makes all the difference when compared to some kid who just plays video games all day.[/quote]

You really think the food isn’t any worse now than it was 2-3 decades ago?

I honestly don’t know, I grew up in Romania in the early '90’s and moved here in '97, since then eating mainly home-made Romanian food. So any info would be great.

And for the OP, when it comes to overal strength and size, you just gotta get big, doesn’t matter much where from. Of course, there are little limitations. I’m sure certain foods cause you to be tired too much, or maybe you get less than optimal sleep, which could affect numbers/size, but in the end, what really matters is how much you eat.

When going for athletic performance or great body composition, then you can worry about what types of foods you eat.

[quote]danmaftei wrote:

You really think the food isn’t any worse now than it was 2-3 decades ago?[/quote]

No, I don’t. What is the difference between a 1986 quarterpounder and a 2006 quarterpounder? The only real difference is the portion sizes as “value meals” today were considered “EXTRA large” fries and a Big Gulp Drink 20 years ago. That doesn’t take away personal responsibility as it takes no more effort to say, “Can I have a small?”.

[quote]
I honestly don’t know, I grew up in Romania in the early '90’s and moved here in '97, since then eating mainly home-made Romanian food. So any info would be great.[/quote]

OK. I understand from the point of view someone who hasn’t lived in this country for 20 years, however, when I was in highschool (which wasn’t exactly so long ago as to expect this much culture change) the scene was much different. There were possibly 2 or 3 “fat kids” in my whole school. One of them lost weight before graduation.

The rest of the culture groups were simply variations of the ones today. They have simply changed from “headbanger” to “skater”, “punk rocker” to “goth”, and “flaming gay” to “emo”. The jocks are still the same and I have no idea what “preps” are called now (maybe ‘Hilton Sister clones’).

The foods were no worse as we got most of our nutrition from late night Taco bell or Mc Donald’s and Wendy’s 99 cent menu when hanging out with friends once we had our own cars. The main difference between then and right now is ACTIVITY. I was never just sitting around the house growing up. You just grab the Transformers and the Go Bots and head down the street to play with your best friend until you either smelled dinner or you got into a fight over a “yo momma” joke or a broken Lazer Tag gun.

Yeah, but I think you will find they eat a LOT of shit.

And that is the difference.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Brett Tucek wrote:
Professor X wrote:

If you are actually working hard and have decent genetics, overall caloric intake becomes more and more important than where those calories are coming from if the goal is just size and strength. If your goals are to lean up that is where the nutrient analysis becomes more important. It was mentioned before how poorly Mariusz Pudzianowski eats yet looks the way he does. Look at what he does with that food. That makes all of the difference.

If you’re talking about Pudzianowski’s diet that was posted in a magazine, I’m pretty sure that was a hoax.

…and I’m pretty sure that while that may not be what he eats every single day, he was showing that he isn’t eating chicken breasts and brown rice as his daily base diet.[/quote]

Point taken.

[quote]Magarhe wrote:
Yeah, but I think you will find they eat a LOT of shit.

And that is the difference.

[/quote]

Absolutely. The “shit” food is typically calorically dense. I’ve worked with these people too, and most of them are essentially on a bulking diet year round. Couple that with an equally high volume of physical exertion, and viola. Strong motherfuckers. Eat big, lift big.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
OK. I understand from the point of view someone who hasn’t lived in this country for 20 years, however, when I was in highschool (which wasn’t exactly so long ago as to expect this much culture change) the scene was much different. There were possibly 2 or 3 “fat kids” in my whole school. One of them lost weight before graduation.

The rest of the culture groups were simply variations of the ones today. They have simply changed from “headbanger” to “skater”, “punk rocker” to “goth”, and “flaming gay” to “emo”. The jocks are still the same and I have no idea what “preps” are called now (maybe ‘Hilton Sister clones’).

The foods were no worse as we got most of our nutrition from late night Taco bell or Mc Donald’s and Wendy’s 99 cent menu when hanging out with friends once we had our own cars. The main difference between then and right now is ACTIVITY. I was never just sitting around the house growing up. You just grab the Transformers and the Go Bots and head down the street to play with your best friend until you either smelled dinner or you got into a fight over a “yo momma” joke or a broken Lazer Tag gun.
[/quote]

Boy that brought back some memories.

Here is something I find pretty interesting, myself. I am part of a generation (at the ripe old age of 33) that was the first to have home video game systems. When I was in 5th grade, I had an Atari 2600 and was in 7th heaven when Pacman came out. We played a lot of video games back then because even though they were cheesy by today’s standards, there was no frame of reference. Pitfall and Dig Dug and all of the classics were staples.

However, I played outside a lot and when I was spending too much time in front of the TV, my Mom got all over my sh*t to get outside… and I would. Does that even happen today?

I went through a short stint of being pudgy in middle school, but lo and behold all that fat dropped over the course of a single Summer… just by riding my bike a lot, playing a lot of baseball with my friends and playing in the local pool.

I ate McDonald’s. I ate a bunch of carbs. Hell, I ate whatever my Mom made back then and I can assure you we never thought about out macronutrient ratios. I might not have been shredded, but I damn sure wasn’t unhealthy.

I always wonder about the performance carryover in sports or even during the jobs that the OP originally mentioned - if more calories are coming from not so great foods despite being active, does the performance begin to suffer after awhile. I am not advocating whoppers before workouts but wondering if anyone has experience dealing with performance dropoff in the weightroom or anywhere else when the ratio of good foods/calories vs bad begins to lag. P.S. Not afraid to eat but just wondering.

It’s not just furniture movers who are big/strong dudes.

You know who else are big and incredibly strong?

The Amish. That’s right.

Their work and their diet puts them right up there with the strongest people I’ve seen. Their forearms are like coffee cans (big ones) and their legs are like tree trunks.

I’ve worked with them before, helping a buddy put up fencing around a cow pasture. Those guys were lifting and throwing big logs around like they were wiffle ball bats. And man can those guys eat! It’s not typically healthy food that’s in thier diets either. It’s wholesome, sure, all mostly “organic” but it’s incredible to see what they can throw down. And when it comes to desert (which they always indulge in) it’s always cake or pie or shortcake or Ice cream, usually made with non-pasteurized heavy cream.

B.

I guess if you’re training hard enough, you’ll get big on crappy food as long as you eat enough of it.

Won’t be the healthiest choice but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

I’m one of those that can eat crap once and a while and have decent workouts. We had KFC last week, 2 hours later it was workout time, I did fine although my wife felt nauseous and was burping up the chicken. She made it through the workout but struggled. Junk food affects her, not me. When I keep my eating clean, I do have better workouts, with junk food I just coast through it, know what I mean?

[quote]dmanor wrote:
I’m one of those that can eat crap once and a while and have decent workouts. We had KFC last week, 2 hours later it was workout time, I did fine although my wife felt nauseous and was burping up the chicken. She made it through the workout but struggled. Junk food affects her, not me. When I keep my eating clean, I do have better workouts, with junk food I just coast through it, know what I mean?[/quote]

I’ve had insane workouts after getting hammered the night before and eating platefuls of sausage and fried chicken. I don’t think having some KFC would affect your workout.

[quote]Kuz wrote:
However, I played outside a lot and when I was spending too much time in front of the TV, my Mom got all over my sh*t to get outside… and I would. Does that even happen today?
[/quote]

When my kids were toddlers, some older people were reminiscing about yesteryear when moms used to “lock us kids out of the house so we would play outside all day.” That stuck with me, and now when my kids are choosing too many indoor (sedentary) activities or say there’s nothing to do outside (read: they’re being lazy), I lock them out for a couple hours. Funny how they find the most interesting and adventurous things to do when they’re locked out. They’re forced to be active – playing ball games, riding bikes, climbing trees, running, building forts, etc.

Some moms think I’m so mean to my kids when I do this, and it’s usually the ones whose kids desperately need more exercise. I guess it’s the idea that I literally lock the door that they find alarming, but if I didn’t, they’d be coming inside every 5 minutes for something, including telling me they’re bored.