The Legendary Workout Regimen
Here’s a great read by Pat Jordan at Baseball Analysts. Its predominantly about Roger Clemens’ workout routine with Brian McNamee, and it questions the physical abilities had by Clemens even into his mid 40′s (he juxtaposes Tom Seaver’s success/abilities with Roger Clemens’ success/abilities).
Whenever people talk about Roger Clemens and his success, even as he got older, they always spoke of his workout regimen (created by McNamee) that began in 1998. These workouts were said to be intense, long hour affairs that lasted late into the day. Clemens would even invite many other pitchers to his house, guys like Andy Pettitte, to work out with him, ultimately turning the workouts into legendary events within baseball’s social circles.
“I got the impression from the workouts that Roger was taking a guy like Andy and getting him ready to do it for another 8 to 10 years,” said C. J. Nitkowski, one of the pitchers who joined in the workouts.
“Roger had done it so well for so long, and he loved the workout and was really good about sharing it. He was sold on Mac. He was a believer, and he encouraged other guys to get on the program.”
Clemens’ workout routine reminds me of another famous training regimen that is often talked about, except in another “sports” realm. I’m talking about professional wrestling and the Hart (as in Brett “The Hitman” Hart) Family Dungeon, where a variety of famous wrestlers (past and present) participated in tremendous physical workouts that were absolutely mythic in the professional wrestling world. Ironically, a lot of these wrestlers (including Bret Hart, the ringleader of the workouts) were entrenched in PED use (particularly steroids) and many have since passed away. Their subsequent deaths are thought to be brought on, in part, by their prolonged substance abuse issues (e.g. Chris Benoit, The British Bulldog, Brian Pillman).
I bring this up because the extreme measures taken by Roger Clemens in order to stay fit and in shape with Brian McNamee are highly interesting. One wonders as to why he would jump into such a different and demanding workout plan so late into his baseball career. Of course, he does know that he’s not getting any younger so age definitely plays a big part in his choice to engage in such a physically demanding regiment. However, there could be other issues at work as well.
Here’s a bit of text from Jordan’s post:
During the dinner at the steakhouse Mr. Clemens asked Mr. McNamee for his permission to have a steak (McNamee nodded) and a baked potato (McNamee nodded again, but added a caveat, “Only dry.”). The same scenario played itself out at the Mexican Restaurant. Clemens pointed to an item on the menu and Mr. McNamee either nodded, or shook his head, no.
During the three days I followed Mr. Clemens around Houston, he seemed like a child beholden to the whims of the sour, suspicious, and taciturn McNamee. It seemed as if Mr. Clemens would not do anything to his body, or ingest anything into it that Mr. McNamee hadn’t approved. I found it strange that, at 38, Mr. Clemens still had to have someone dictate his diet and workout regimen down to the minutest detail at this late stage of his illustrious career. In fact, Mr. Clemens’ devotion to Mr. McNamee’s diet and workout routine seemed almost like a spiritual quest that must not be impeded.
This abnormal reliance on McNamee’s workout plan can be explained by Clemens’ desire for normalcy in baseball. If Roger Clemens was actually taking steroids during those years, an important part of maintaining one’s body while using steroids is training hard in order to “cut” or reduce excess weight (explains his strict diet), allowing for steroid growth to seem like a natural evolution of one’s body (brought on solely by working hard) instead of a blatant steroid induced progression. Water weight and even body fat is often gained when on steroids, so reducing preexisting body fat in order to hamper the look of added bulk (muscular and even fat) is essential when you’re publicly seen, everyday, in the baseball world.
Obviously, you’re going to work out harder when on steroids in order to produce maximum gains. That’s essentially how your routine pays off, in the physical gains you ultimately achieve. However, the added element of “looking normal” is also in play when you are a nationally recognized athlete. So, working out extremely hard, not only to increase strength but to reduce bulk for appearance purposes, is very important.
Clemens needs to understand this connection between the suddenly extreme workouts and steroid use. He must understand why people may seamlessly lump the two together. He can’t simply say “I worked hard,” and that he’d have a “third ear growing out of my forehead” if he used steroids (come on, a third ear? More like another Cy-Young). Hell, he’s publicized his workouts so much, you have to wonder, maybe he was preparing for this one day. Maybe, he thought, if I just work out so hard and talk about it a lot, making my workouts well-known, maybe I won’t be mixed into the steroid era (and he predominantly wasn’t, for a very long time). That’s why these are shallow arguments for Clemens’ case and, if you think about it, his demanding regiment and steroid use seem to fit well together. Therefore, more is needed than some hyperbole and generic “I work hard” statements.
Similar to those who trained endlessly in the Hart Family Dungeon, I wouldn’t be surprised if both Pettitte and Clemens were taking steroids regularly and working out, all the time. Maybe he’s the Bret Hart of the group, leading them into their steroid laden workout routines, and motivating all of those participating. Again, I know Pettitte has admitted to using HGH briefly, but, you can never really know nowadays.
Finally, I’m not attempting to crucify Clemens or Pettitte. As you can see, I’m just stating that working hard (and this sudden, obsessive reliance on McNamee’s program) and steroid use are not necessarily two separate things in today’s modern sports’ world, as they both fit fairly well together for an athlete looking to become physically greater (while retaining a “normal” appearance).
This is also an attempt to demonstrate that Clemens did not really offer any conclusive, substantial evidence or legitimate reasons as to why we should believe him in his 60 Minutes segment. If he had done so, I would not be writing this now. Sorry, but more is needed.