Health Advice from Elite Powerlifter Eric Talmant By Vin Miller for Naturalbias.com
Photo by SAS Digital Memories
Whether you’re an athlete or not, the following interview with top powerlifter Eric Talmant will help you understand the importance of prioritizing your health over your fitness and appearance.
When I first started learning about natural health, I was frequently frustrated by how rarely it’s principles are applied to the needs of an athlete. After all, following conventional advice for sports oriented nutrition and conditioning is part of what led me to my prior health problems. As both an elite athlete and a big advocate of natural health, and also a fellow Metabolic Typing advisor, Eric Talmant bridges this gap. As such, I’m thrilled to have him share his unique perspective with you.
Some of Eric’s Powerlifting Accomplishments
Eric is an American Powerlifting Federation record holder in the state of Florida with a 678 pound squat and has been ranked in the top 3 of all raw (no supportive equipment) powerlifters in the United States for the past two years in the 75 Kg (165 lb) weight class. His best equipped lifts include a 683 pound squat, a 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift.
I asked Eric some questions about his lifestyle and his perspective on health and strength training. Here’s what he had to say.
Question: What inspires you to live according to the principles of natural health?
As a competitive athlete, I do all that I can to win and be the best. This certainly involves feeding my body the proper fuel I need so I can continue to bust my butt day in and day out. Being healthy creates an optimal environment for athletic excellence. There is no way that I would ever use sub-standard equipment (shoes, belt, etc.) in my sport of powerlifting; so there is absolutely no way that I am going to feed my body the wrong type of fuel!
Question: In my opinion, many people mistake fitness for health and fail to realize how important optimal health is to achieving their goals. What are your thoughts on this?
I completely and totally agree. In fact, I created the following video for this very subject.
Just because someone walks around with a six pack DOES NOT mean that they are healthy. In fact, I have written a brief summary of my personal journey in building health which I think is also very applicable to this question.
I am living proof that you can have your cake and eat it, too. I have taken great strides over the years to build a very healthy body, I look fit, and I am one of the best in the United States in my weight class in the sport of powerlifting. I teach my clients that looking good is the last piece in the puzzle. Instead, we build a solid foundation upon which vibrant health can begin to take hold and then thrive.
Once a person is on the way to being “healthy” then the options are limitless. However, if someone chooses to look great but not address their health then that is the same as having a Lamborghini with a lawn mower engine. It really does not make sense, and sooner or later there will be consequences.
Question: As a competitive powerlifter, what aspects of a healthy and natural lifestyle do you think have made the most significant contributions to your success?
That is easy - doing the Metabolic Typing program. Knowing my Metabolic Type and taking the Signet MRT food sensitivity test to determine the right foods for me, fine tuning my macronutrient ratios to where it has become instinctual, adding in the proper supplementation using all of the methods that are available to the Metabolic Typing philosophy, and removing blocking factors and toxic loads.
Doing these things has allowed me to continue to be at the top of the sport of powerlifting, and I am currently 35 years old. I have created an environment in my body that is conducive to repair and recovery, which allows me to train harder and more often than my competition. I honestly credit Metabolic Typing for a huge part of my success and longevity over the last 7 years.
Question: Do you think that conventional fitness advice, even for bodybuilders and powerlifters, puts too much emphasis on protein powders and other supplements while not giving enough attention to food quality and health?
YES. Absolutely! So many are simply in the “fitness industry” to make a buck, and the return on investment for a supplement company is astronomical! I will come out and tell you point blank that 95% of the sports supplements on the market are CRAP! I have talked to many great athletes in many sports, and I can tell you that the backbone of any athlete’s program is hard work, dedication, and determination. Many do not pay that close attention to their diets, and others just do what someone else is doing. In short, when it comes to nutrition THEY ARE LAZY! So, what is the best thing for a lazy person? You got it - convenience.
Protein powders and supplements are convenient and require little to no work to “take.” However, in examining the gut and hormone function of people who have an athletic component to their lives I can tell you that they are doing themselves no favors by popping the latest and greatest supplement while chugging it down with a protein shake. In my experience, a good portion of athletes are actually sensitive to cow’s dairy; and I am one of them. If that is the case, then every time someone slugs down a cow derived protein shake they are stressing their immune system. Sure, they are getting the protein they need to repair their muscle, tissues, etc. but at the same time they are stressing their body. It is like trying to fill a bath tub with the drain out.
Nevertheless, many people don’t want to hear that you actually have to work hard and have discipline in not only your training but in your diet. When something seems too good to be true, it oftentimes is too good to be true. This is usually the case with protein powders and supplements. Most of them do not do what they claim, and they certainly are not all that they are cracked up to be.
Nothing and I mean nothing is better for the body than eating the right foods for each individual that produce the proper fuel to meet the energy needs of the body. The best way to do this is through Metabolic Typing and the Signet MRT food sensitivity test. I am 35 years old, and over the years I have taken all that was out there in terms of sports supplements and protein powders. Most of it ended up being total BS. What got me to where I am today is hard work, perseverance, luck, genetics, and cultivating, building, and now maintaining optimal health via Metabolic Typing. Metabolic Typing did not find me - I found Metabolic Typing and I have stayed with it for about 7 years now for one very simple reason: nothing is better.
Photo by SAS Digital Memories
Question: For the average person, how important do you think it is to regularly engage in some form of strength training to promote overall health and well being?
It is very important - almost imperative. The human body was designed to move. However, because our society puts a premium on convenience that leads to physical laziness, simple things like walking or lifting objects has become nearly obsolete. So, the physical laziness leads to minimal movement, which leads to physical degeneration and eventually poor health.
In particular, the benefits to the heart, muscles, bones, mind - the entire body - that strength training provides make this a no-brainer. Why would you not do something that increases metabolic rate, increases lean muscle mass, increases and restores bone density, improves balance and mobility, prevents injuries, decreases heart disease, will have you feeling and looking better, and allows you to age at a slower rate?
Question: What are some of the most common mistakes that you see people make in regard to strength training and why do you consider them to be mistakes?
The number one common mistake that I see people make in regards to strength training is not learning the proper technique for each exercise. Whether that is due to choosing an unqualified personal trainer or just rushing to put more weight on the bar while compromising form; proper technique is essential to continued success when it comes to strength training. Only when you master the technique should you even begin to increase the difficulty of the exercise or add to your program.
Question: What advice would you give to a beginner who’s looking to improve their health through strength training?
I would recommend that they really do their homework and find a highly respected fitness professional to work with. There are so many fitness certifications nowadays, and many of them are fly-by-night outfits. Word of mouth is always a great place to start. I WOULD NOT recommend simply going down to the local trendy fitness facility and requesting a trainer. Don’t settle for someone who is just popular or looks great.
The best trainers are usually the ones who are not hollering the loudest. Their clients will do their hollering for them. That is the guy or gal who you want to seek out. Once you find them, lay it all out for them and see what they come back with. If there is a good exchange of energy then both parties will know it. Then, once a person spends a few months with someone who knows what they are doing, they can then decide if they need to continue to work with a trainer or whether they can take what they have learned and perhaps begin to start training on their own. The main point is that they have to be willing to take the first step.
Question: What advice would you give to a more serious fitness enthusiast or athlete who’s looking to maximize their performance?
This is very simple. They need to find someone in their chosen sport or field that is one of the best and then learn from them. There is no better advice than learning from the best. I have done this for numerous sports in my life, and it has never failed me once.
Eric would like to thank his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems for their sponsorship and support; his coach Dave Bates for always being there, Bill Wolcott for all of his generous advice, and Liz Gutierrez and Susan Welsh for keeping him structurally healthy. You can learn more about Eric by visiting his website at www.erictalmant.com.