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What’s the big deal about toxins?

Q: What’s the big deal about toxins? I go to the bookstores and see the shelves in the nutrition section filled with books on the subject, many of them written by celebrity trainers. Is this something that can affect my training?

A: Yes. Environmental toxins can adversely affect your health, and if you’re not healthy, you won’t be able to adapt to the stresses of training. If you’d like a laundry list of all the bad things that toxins can do to your body, pick up a copy of Achieving Victory Over a Toxic World by Mark Schauss, MBA, D.B. Schauss has spent the past 27 years researching the effects of toxins on our lives, and his background in data analysis enables him to evaluate the relevant research in an objective manner. I’d certainly listen to what he has to say about detoxing the body, as opposed to the trainer who supposedly had Jennifer Aniston eating 14 servings a day of baby food to “cleanse” her body of toxins.

Schauss says that today’s environment can expose us to about 80,000 chemicals, and the scary part is that we have no idea what most of them can do to the human body. We do know, however, that environmental toxicity is linked to an increased rate of cancer, a statement supported by a nonpartisan report from the U.S. government.

Some environmental toxins can be hormonally disruptive and can stimulate early puberty in girls. An increasing number of girls are starting puberty before the age of eight, a condition called precocious puberty. In a recent interview Schauss said that he’d met a mental-health worker who had seen several girls who’d gotten pregnant as early as nine years of age, a fact disturbing on many levels. Further, Schauss says that our current crisis of childhood obesity may be associated with environmental toxins.

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit Also, see his ad in the magazine.  IM

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