Monday, September 09, 2013

Nautilus Principles and High Intensity Training

If Casey Viator made it past 62 in the marvelous condition he was noted for, I would have proclaimed that Arthur Jones and the Nautilus Principles (high intensity training) he advocated, was definitively vindicated and validated -- as a modality that could be embraced by anyone wishing to maintain and achieve their peak condition throughout today's extended lifetimes.  But if such an extraordinarily gifted individual as Casey could not, I doubt that anybody else can. 

Arthur handpicked him as the prototype for his theories -- while many others have famously passed advocating similarly extreme training regimens -- the result of which apparently, is to produce enlarged, weakened hearts (congestive heart conditions), which seems to cause their premature deaths despite their previous great success at muscular and strength gains -- including Oliva, Mentzer, Redding, Bednarski. several world's strongest men, etc.

That's a particular concern when cohorts of that generation begin to sense that they cannot sustain training that way once they are past 40, 50, many of the Baby Boomers are now.  It's not a lack of will but simply a physical impossibility -- when even the most prolific specimens, such as Oliva and Viator, cannot sustain their progress but go into a dramatic health reversal as a result of their lifetime devotion to high intensity (overload) training ending in their untimely deaths -- just as Jim Fixx of a previous time advocated running as the antidote to heart failures, or the original Olympic marathoner collapsing and dying as he reached his destination to announce, "We triumph."

For many now, retirement age is just the beginning of life, and not its conclusion -- as it has been in previous times.  A generation ago, people were expected to die a few years after they qualified for Social Security, and now the future viabilityof that system, is threatened by many living a whole lifetime beyond that -- but the question remains, "How can we do it with increasing good health?" -- and not just the appearance of it -- until suddenly one day, we learn of their passing.

That was what I was beginning to suspect at the height of the popularity of the Nautilus machines back in the mid-80s -- after actually being one of the first persons to embrace the Nautilus Principles -- on hearing it from Arthur Jones at the 1970 Teenage Mr. America, where Casey burst upon the bodybuilding scene -- and Arthur produced his one prototype machine -- which all the contestants got to try, but Casey seemed to double in size, while the others stayed moderately the same.  That was the visual impact of Casey at the Teenage Mr. America contest (and subsequent national contests) -- that he was twice the size of everybody else -- particularly in response to using the Nautilus Pullover machine.

But they seemed to want to maintain their distance -- as though they weren't already working in collaboration at that point, but they turned up together at the York Barbell Club later that week, as I watched Bob Bednarski train -- who had just won the world superheavy weight lifting championship -- and was also a superfreak of his generation -- who shortly also died of a heart attack.  People tend to blame the steroids rather than the trainiing methodology -- which is admittedly very stressful -- with short and longterm side effects that seem to be increasingly overwhelming and conclusive as not the way one wants to be training if sustainable longevity in improving health is the objective -- way past the short term goals of winning any physique or strength contest should be.

I was just wondering recently, probably on his birthday, I wonder what condition Casey Viator is in?


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