Since it seems like the Barry Bonds scam is coming to an end, I thought that this would be a good time for me to reprint an item I wrote almost 3 years ago where I told people something was not kosher with the Bonds, Conte Balco Labs relationship. For your reading pleasure...
Considering the current state of training techniques for athletes, Barry Bonds’ training routine is antiquated at best. The program is counter-productive since this is actually just a bodybuilder’s routine. From a program design standpoint, the five-day split, as is presented in the article, is a waste of time and effort. Three to four days during the off-season, and two to three days in-season is more than enough. And for an older, well-trained athlete, less time is required for training.
There seems to be only two ground based compound movements – squats and lunges. If Bonds squats in a Smith Machine (dangerous) – like the Angels’ Brad Fullmer (featured in another baseball-related article in this issue of M&F) – then Bonds is really doing only one ground based compound movement. This program is dominated by isolation (single joint), equipment-based movements and does nothing to maintain/improve range of motion, balance and joint stability. Not acceptable.
Furthermore, there are no explosive movements (cleans, jerks) incorporated in this program, which is not only unacceptable, it is shocking. Collegiate soccer players utilize these movements in their training! This makes us wonder if Bonds really uses this routine.
The Bonds nutrition regimen is where things get interesting, sketchy, hazy, perplexing, etc…first we’ll make a few points about his supplements. I’ve included links to the details about each supplement. The key sections to read on the links are the “Indications and Usage” and the “Research Summary.”
Overall the items on his supplement list are pretty standard bodybuilding nonsense…stuff that’s marketed to the hilt regardless of the level of substantiation. For example colostrum, which is generated by a mother’s mammary glands right after giving birth and is rich with anti-bodies beneficial to newborns, has been hyped as a fat builder, muscle builder, injury healer, mood improver, depression fighter and cancer fighter. Sounds good, except for the fact that there’s no credible evidence to support any of these claims. http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/bov_0082.shtml
The use of glutamine peptides in this regimen is an example of how supplement companies market substances based on positive scientific evidence obtained in the study of individuals who are “metabolically compromised,” and applying the results to those who are not.
Basically an anti-catabolic amino acid, studies have shown than glutamine helps in the recovery of trauma, surgery and other critical patients. Yet there is no credible evidence that orally administered glutamine has any benefit for those who are not “metabolically compromised.” http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/glu_0124.shtml
Chromium, in any form, has been shown in studies completed this year to provide no benefits whatsoever. http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/chr_0073.shtml
The most puzzling items on this list are the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. Claims made in favor of these substances are mostly from an anti-depressant standpoint, and there’s no evidence that they are very effective. One study concludes that tyrosine may provide some protection against mood and performance impairment when encountering some forms of environmental stress such as cold and hypoxia. However more studies need to be performed on this. Phenylalanine has been shown to be somewhat effective in the treatment of vitiligo.
Our guess is that Bonds takes tyrosine because his camp believes in the purported stress protection offered. We can’t imagine why Bonds takes the phenylalanine. If he needs something for depression he should take a real prescription drug. By the way, phenylalanine is the main ingredient of aspartame, an excess of which has been shown in some studies to actually cause depression! http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lph_0201.shtml
Where things get a little sketchier, is with this Victor Conte the head of Balco Labs. In the article he’s described as a nutritional consultant. In a search of the web we came across Balco’s website and some interviews of Conte where he describes his philosophy and the theory of measuring the nutrient levels in the blood of athletes. Despite all of this very technical/medical sounding info, there is no indication of what Conte actually is. In one item Conte is referred to as an inventor and scientist, yet there isn’t a mention detailing his background.
The other thing that raises a red flag, is that even though he is involved with some legit athletes, he also works with professional bodybuilders, and was involved with C.J. Hunter, the banned shot-putting ex-husband of Marion Jones. http://www.canthrow.com/news/sept262000.shtml
If you read this article, the guy mentioned sporting the pencil moustache is Conte.
This item provides more details about the Hunter situation and Conte’s role using the standard “Doper’s Defense.”
The Balco website is surprisingly cheesy and uses a lot of purposely confusing medical jargon to describe why their method of measuring the nutrient level can be important for weekend warrior and elite athletes alike. Our feeling is that this nutrient level analysis is just a bunch of pseudo-science garbage. Like the research used to “prove” that a supplement is effective, this nutrient level analysis is just a marketing hustle that now boasts legitimacy in the form of Barry Bonds. All in all we wonder how a guy like Conte gets access to a superstar athlete. You can draw your won conclusion.
To close with an analogy, to claim that this regimen is responsible for Bonds’ success is like saying a modern day newspaper is produced and printed around the world using only typewriters and printing presses.