There are no safe shortcuts to weight training

The Pediatric Insider

© 2014 Roy Benaroch, MD

You or one of your children want to bulk up? Maybe get stronger, improve your tone, posture, and endurance? Weight training can be a great, healthful hobby for kids of (almost) any age.

But, as happens so often, some people try to push things too hard. Many people think they can get ahead faster with supplements and special powders, pills, and energy bars. Nope. All of that stuff is for suckers. And worse: some of it might kill you.

23-year old Andrew Mabry of Atlanta was found dead in his Atlanta apartment in 2013. He lived alone, and spent a lot of time working out, hoping to join a local minor-league football team. Investigators found boxes of supplements in his home, including N.O.-Xplode, Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60, and GNC Beyond Raw Ravage. They also found that he had a damaged heart, and toxic blood levels of a chemical called DMAA. That “supplement” has caused at least 10 known deaths, but since the reporting of adverse effects from supplements is voluntary, that’s probably an understatement. Worse, the FDA has no way of knowing which supplements even contain this ingredient. The FDA has been trying to ban DMAA, but it’s still widely available on the internet.

More after the break –

No one knows the toxic dose of DMAA or how widely it’s used. A quick Google search revealed that it’s still widely touted as an aid to muscle building or fat burning, and you can certain still buy it online. Some manufacturers claim it’s a natural part of the geranium plant, implying that “natural” must mean “safe”—a common fallacy among supplement sellers.

If you want to get the most out of your workout routine:

Do it safely. Younger children, from school age and up, can use weights machines with some resistance, but not much. As children get older and move through puberty, it’s fine to increase the weights. Work with a qualified trainer to help develop a routine that will be safe and effective for your child’s age, build, and personal goals.

Make sure to get plenty of sleep. Cheating on rest will short-circuit any work out routine.

Eat a diet rich in lean protein—food protein. Powders and other preparations from the health food store are a waste of money; and some of them can be dangerous.

Don’t be a sucker. There’s no getting around the work that has to be done. A strong, lean, healthy body comes from healthful routines, not from a supplement.

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3 Comments on “There are no safe shortcuts to weight training”

  1. I read this in the Atlanta paper. Wouldn’t the company be liable for this young man’s death? If I were his mother, I would sue just to put them out of business. Terribly sad. I wonder where he bought this stuff from. I can’t believe how often supplements (usually expensive) are suggested at health clubs. No way would I touch any one of them. Regular old vitamins don’t even come out as strikingly beneficial.

    I think a lot of people believe that consumers are protected from dangerous and untested products. Unfortunately, we are most definitely not especially when it comes to supplements.


  2. mrprewitt Says:

    Reblogged this on Bustamante.Pediatrics.Blog and commented:
    Pediatric Insider offers a balanced look into fitness and how not to overdo it with your little loved ones.


  3. shikhsha Shah Paliwal Says:

    Thanks for sharing this. What are your views on BCAAs, creatinine , whey protein and other related stuff. Sometimes it seems though that we really do not need them but the industry convinces people that one can not achieve anything without these. The other day my 17 year old cousin was telling me he is thinking of buying some BCAA and I told him to stay natural.


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