Q: I’m 50 years old, and I’ve been training with weights for 20 years. My joints seem to hurt more and more as I age. Is there something that I can take or do for the problem? It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to train because of the pain in my joints.
A: I get that question a lot. I hear bodybuilders say that their knees are so bad that they can’t squat. Others tape or wrap their elbows and wrists before they bench-press or do other heavy pressing movements. Yet few if any bodybuilders who are contest ready have joint problems. When they do, it’s most often the result of structural injuries that date back to an actual accident.
A number of people will tell you to take all kinds of supplements—from cetyl myristoleate to hyaluronic acid to MSM to glucosamine. It’s possible that one or all of those may help, but my many years of experience tell me that you’re probably feeling the results of eating a few of the following:
1) Gluten, the highly toxic protein from all grains, especially wheat
2) Dairy products
3) Too much red meat laced with antibiotics and steroids
4) Refined sugar—including any type of syrup
5) Alcohol and/or illicit drugs
These all cause different problems for different people. Refined, processed foods cause many things, and joint pain is one of them. The reason that few bodybuilders who are contest ready feel joint pain is that most of them take most, perhaps all, of these items out of their diet for at least 12 weeks. That’s why they feel so good.
You can get away with eating that sludge when you’re in your 20s, 30s and, for some, even 40s; however, once you get to the other side of the half-century mark, your body begins to react very quickly to the micro-, macro- and nonnutrients that you put into your body. Eat whole and original foods, the foods that our ancestors evolved eating. That means wild plants—not overdomesticated “amber waves of grain.” You want wild roots, wild game, wild fish, wild fruit, wild nuts, wild berries—wild, wild, wild.
Gluten is not wild, nor is it healthful. In fact, researchers now believe that everything from ADD and ADHD to Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis is either directly caused by gluten or indirectly caused by domesticated grains. I know what the FDA food pyramid looks like, and I know that everyone says that you need roughage. So eat four to six large helpings of vegetables and four helpings of fruits each day and see if you’re still having problems. If you are, it’s something other than roughage.
Your knees, wrists, elbows and even neck are probably aching because of what you’ve been eating all your life. So it’s time for a change. I suggest you start eating the following simple way. First, eat only wild foods and whole foods. I can all but guarantee that your joints will begin to feel better in four to eight weeks. No more wraps, straps or tape—just a strong joint, the way it was meant to be—clean of toxins, allergens, “faux food,” alcohol and drugs.
For more information on all of the above, see my new book, Paul Burke’s Neo-Dieter’s Handbook—When We Lost Our Nutritional Roots; Where to Find These Foods Today. It’s available at Home-Gym.com.
Editor’s note: Contact Paul Burke via e-mail at email@example.com. Burke has a master’s degree in integrated studies from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He’s been a champion bodybuilder and arm wrestler, and he’s considered a leader in the field of over-40 fitness training. You can purchase his books, Burke’s Law—a New Fitness Paradigm for the Mature Male and Paul Burke’s Neo-Dieter’s Handbook, from Home-Gym Warehouse. Call (800) 447-0008, or visit www.Home-Gym.com. His “Burke’s Law” training DVD is also now available.