# The Absence of Logic: Possible Versus Likely (Athlete Journal 106)

## Charles Staley

Coach

Scottsdale , Arizona, United States

Mature Athletes, Strength and Conditioning

A few years ago, I was having dinner at my local Outback when I overheard the following in the booth behind me:

“My trainer says that if you eat too much protein, it’ll turn to fat.”

Did you catch that? And if someone posed that suggestion to you, how would you respond?

## Logic 101

This is a great exercise in logic, so let’s look at it for a second:

First, is it possible to get fat by eating too much protein?

Sure, in much the same way it’s possible to die by getting hit by lightning while you’re being eaten alive by a shark.

Second, is it likely that you’ll get too fat from eating too much protein?

Well again, it’s about as likely as getting hit by lightning while you’re being eaten alive by a shark.

## Thermodynamics 101

To be slightly more serious, let’s do a bit of thermodynamic mathematics.

If your caloric needs are, say, 2,500 calories per day and you eat a high-protein diet consisting of 7,500 calories per day, you’ll definitely get fat - that’s my educated guess. However, let’s examine the improbable mechanics of eating this much protein for a moment. If we say that your 7,500-calorie diet is eighty percent protein, this means that you’re getting 6,000 calories from protein per day, which equates to 1,500 grams of protein.

Further, if a six-ounce chicken breast contains forty grams of protein, you’ll need to eat 37 chicken breasts a day to hit that number. Or to use another food source, you’d need to consume about 37 protein shakes per day (assuming each shake contained forty grams of protein)

Okay, that’s obviously absurd, so let’s modify the original example to a somewhat more likely scenario. Using strict thermodynamics, you’d have to consume about 3,600 calories per week (or about 500 per day) above and beyond your normal caloric requirements, to gain a pound of excess body fat in that same period of time. So if your caloric requirements are 2,500 calories per day, we’re now assuming you’re eating 3,000 calories per day, where eighty percent of those calories come from protein. Now you’re eating 600 grams of protein per day, or fifteen chicken breasts or shakes per day.

Unlikely? Well okay, not as unlikely as getting hit by lightning while you’re being eaten alive by a shark, but have you ever eaten fifteen chicken breasts in one day (or the equivalent of it)? I never have, not even once.

Now I have eaten the same caloric equivalent in fats and/or carbs - in fact, many times. And I bet you have, too. In fact, 3,000 calories in non-protein form is amazingly easy to consume. Here are a few possible options you might consider:

• 2.5 pints of Haagen Daz ice cream (this would be my first choice!)
• 1 14-inch All Natural Pepperoni Pan Pizza
• 6 Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccinos with whole milk

Or you could mix and match. For example:

(1) Pint of Haagen Daz, (2) slices of pizza, and (2) Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccinos

In any event, it should be clear that it’s far more likely to get fat eating fats or carbs than it is to get from eating too much protein. So with that in mind, what’s the rationale for statements like the one I overheard at Outback? What motivates people to say things like this, given how preposterously unlikely they are? Is it simple ignorance? Or perhaps people have some type of PETA-inspired hatred of protein? I’d love your thoughts on this, so please share your experiences and insights in the comments box below.

## This Week’s Training

In keeping with last week’s theme, there were no real surprises this week, although my volume went up a bit and I hit a 370lb squat that I was quite happy with. One thing different about my recent training (as compared to years past) is that I’m doing a good job in terms of trusting my training and not testing my 1RM capacity a whole lot, except for the squat. While I am in fact hitting new set/rep records on my deadlifts and bench press, I haven’t tested either of those lifts in 1RM terms since I started my training for Worlds.

I recorded both of my lower body workouts this week. I hope you enjoy, and as always, please leave your questions and comments!

Weekly Training Volume: 49,508 lbs (Last Week’s Volume: 48,739 lbs)

Significant Lifts:

• Squat 370x1

## Monday, August 25, 2014, 3:45 PM

Bodyweight: 204.4 lbs

Volume: 16,795 lbs

SQUAT

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 3

Set 5: 225 lbs × 2

Set 6: 275 lbs × 2

Set 7: 315 lbs × 1

Set 8: 340 lbs × 1

Set 9: 370 lbs × 1

BACK EXTENSION

Set 1: 160 lbs × 8

Set 2: 160 lbs × 8

Set 3: 160 lbs × 8

LEG EXTENSION

Set 1: 165 lbs × 8

Set 2: 165 lbs × 8

Set 3: 165 lbs × 8

BARBELL HIP THRUST

Set 1: 315 lbs × 8

Set 2: 315 lbs × 8 (Video of this entire session with commentary below)

## Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 2:40 PM

Bodyweight: 201.8 lbs

Volume: 7,390 lbs

BENCH PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 2

Set 5: 205 lbs × 1

Set 6: 220 lbs × 3

Set 7: 220 lbs × 3

Set 8: 220 lbs × 3

Set 9: 220 lbs × 3

SEATED DUMBBELL CURL

Set 1: 70 lbs × 8

Set 2: 70 lbs × 8

Set 3: 70 lbs × 8

Set 4: 70 lbs × 8

Set 5: 70 lbs × 8

## Thursday, August 28, 2014, 3:10 PM

Bodyweight: 201.6 lbs

Volume: 9,385 lbs

Set 1: 315 lbs × 1

Set 2: 135 lbs × 3

Set 3: 135 lbs × 3

Set 4: 225 lbs × 3

Set 5: 275 lbs × 1

Set 6: 325 lbs × 1

Set 7: 385 lbs × 1

Set 8: 450 lbs × 1

Set 9: 450 lbs × 1

Set 10: 450 lbs × 1

Set 11: 450 lbs × 1

HIGH-BAR SQUAT

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 5

Set 5: 225 lbs × 5

Set 6: 275 lbs × 5 (Video of this entire session with commentary below)

## Saturday, August 30, 2014, 10:17 AM

Bodyweight: 201.4 lbs

Volume: 15,938 lbs

BENCH PRESS (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 100 lbs × 15

Set 2: 160 lbs × 10

Set 3: 100 lbs × 6

Set 4: 100 lbs × 6

Set 5: 100 lbs × 6

Set 6: 160 lbs × 12

CHIN UP

Set 1: +25 lbs × 1

Set 2: +25 lbs × 2

Set 3: +25 lbs × 3

Set 4: +25 lbs × 4

Set 5: +25 lbs × 5

Set 6: +25 lbs × 1

Set 7: +25 lbs × 2

Set 8: +25 lbs × 3

Set 9: +25 lbs × 4

Set 10: +25 lbs × 1

Set 11: +25 lbs × 2

Set 12: +25 lbs × 3

BICEP CURL (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 70 lbs × 10

Set 2: 70 lbs × 10

Set 3: 70 lbs × 10

A big believer in practicing what he preaches, Charles Staley trains and competes just like his clients. Every Friday you can read what Charles has done this week in his workout sessions.

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