So at the Pre-FNCE Sports Nutrition Workshop in San Antonio a few weekends ago, I decided I'd not only cover the presentations (read: mainline espresso and dutifully take notes), I'd also get together with a few of the smart cookies there and talk nutrition and current events. So I strolled down to the famous Riverwalk, imbibed a cold brew, and met with Doug Kalman, Dr. Jose Antonio, and Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss at the Hilton Palacio Del Rio.

This proved to be a great time for a roundtable interview. These brainy guys were relaxed and in a rowdy mood. This was partially because we were about to go eat large portions of Mexican food and see how many nutrition rules we could break in one cheat meal, and partially because they were all smashed on tequila.

No, no, not really. I think they were just glad to get their suits and ties off. Kalman even had on his Yankees cap and could be seen weeping gently on Ziegenfuss's shoulder when his team lost the World Series just a couple of hours later.

Before we started our roundtable I was introduced to a big, strong lookin' dude who turned out to be none other than Chris Street, former science editor at FLEX and all around smart guy. (You may remember TC's interview with him way back in issue #39.) I asked Chris to chime in on our roundtable discussion whenever he felt like it. Luckily for us, he felt like it quite a bit.

Punching the button on my trusty tape recorder, I threw out the first question.

Chris Shugart: Let's start with current events. What the hell is going on with BALCO Labs and the so-called designer steroid THG?

Chris Street:

Shugart: He meant to sell THG as a legal sports supplement?

[laughs all around]

Shugart: Conte has said there's no proof THG is a steroid or that it has performance-enhancing effects.

Shugart: Okay, why does Conte keep popping up every time an athlete gets busted for 'roids? Remember when Marion Jones's husband, C.J. Hunter, got popped? There was Conte on TV standing beside them. I kept thinking, why the hell is the ZMA guy there?

Shugart: Sounds like THG is just the tip of the iceberg then. On to what we came here for: sports nutrition. What's hot right now in this area?

[Note: Tania Becht is a fitness/figure competitor who presented at that day's workshop. Suzy Favor Hamilton, the world's top female mile runner and Nike model, also presented at the workshop. As you can see, both women had a profound affect on the men in attendance.]

Shugart: I've read about this too, but doesn't the fat block the insulin response?

Shugart: Let's talk about carbs. The general public has gone from low fat/high carb mania to low carb mania. I think T-mag readers are ahead of the curve though and the pendulum is swinging back toward the middle. What do you guys think?

Shugart: So carb intake should not only differ for individuals, it may even need to change for that same individual from week to week or day to day.

Shugart: If you guys had to name one nutritional supplement everyone should be taking, what would it be? I'm thinking more of general health stuff. I'd say fish oil. What about you, Joey?

Shugart: What kind? I hear about some tablet vitamins which don't break apart and absorb properly.

Shugart: Oh, that's disgusting! But that's why I've heard of people biting their multivitamins in half – to create more surface area so they'll dissolve. Do we need to do that?

Shugart: Cool. Let's talk more about what Dr. Z brought up and that's genetics and nutrition. What genetic elements are out there we have to consider?

Shugart: So if someone says, "Oh, I don't do well on low carbs," maybe they just need to give it a few more days?

Shugart: Okay, good info. Now, what's the average weight trainer screwing up in his diet if his primary goal is building muscle?

Shugart: Why raw exactly?

Shugart: Excellent point! Now, I'm starting to hear more people come out and say saturated fat isn't as bad as we once thought. Comments?

Shugart: Bring on the charred mammal flesh! Next topic: dairy. What's all this talk about dairy and how it bloats people or "thickens" the skin? What's up with that?

[It seems that fitness hottie Tania Becht has entered the room and sat down with us.]

Shugart: [Higher brain function slowly returning to normal.] Tania, thanks for joining us! You talked about dairy today in your presentation. Since something appears to be wrong with the guys in the room, what's your take?

Shugart: Even cottage cheese?

Shugart: Well, you know the rule. If someone bigger than you says it, it must be true! Tim, what do you think about dairy?

Shugart: Ooooh, the plot thickens! One more current event question: David Boston, the football player who's amazing everyone with his physique improvements. He's supposedly doing these 90 minute IV drips of minerals, eating low carb, getting trained by Charles Poliquin where they do those so-called "growth hormone producing workouts," etc. His physique is making everyone scream steroids and GH. What's your opinion?

Shugart: What do you think, Chris?

Shugart: And with that loaded response, we'll call it quits and go eat some Tex-Mex! Thanks!


At the end of the discussion, we all went to a nice Mexican restaurant and broke every damn rule in the book when it comes to healthy eating. But as Joey Antonio stressed that day in his presentation, there's nothing wrong with an occasional cheat meal, as long as you're eating healthy the rest of the time and training hard.

This seemed to be an overriding theme to the workshop and the roundtable discussion. While it's fun and sometimes very helpful to dig into the microscopic complexities of nutrition, 99% of the population could greatly improve their health and their body by simply taking care of the "big stuff": eat plenty of good protein, avoid frying and trans fats, limit sugar, get most of your simple carbs around the training session, eat more fiber and more veggies, don't fear a good steak and, most importantly, lust hard for Tania Becht and Suzy Favor-Hamilton. It's fun and healthy!