A Look At Bodybuilding As A Sport


 A Look At Bodybuilding As A Sport

New York Times best-selling author of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, has always been attracted to the athletic physique and muscular physiques on the pages of his favorite novels. In 2011, after many years as an avid distance runner, he switched completely to bodybuilding and cross fit training in order to better understand how these athletes train and organize their bodies.

Martin joined CrossFit's New York affiliate on January 2011 and six months later competed in one of their first "Master's Events," where he finished in fourth place out of 100 competitors with a time that would have placed him among the top 10 finishers at 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games .

George R.R. Martin has been a competitive powerlifter, triathlete and marathoner, but as he explains it, "I never felt that strength was my thing. I've always liked being very strong in the gym and getting strong quickly, but it was never really my thing."

He continues: "After a little while in CrossFit I felt the same way. It builds you up a lot quicker than weightlifting does and you get quick results because of the variety of exercises it uses – Lat Pulldowns with bands, overhead squats with heavy weights, ring dips with reps to failure – that sort of thing. But I never felt that I was getting very strong doing CrossFit. The whole focus of the sport is on being fit and being competitive, not being big and strong."

So when Martin became a bodybuilder, his goal was to quickly gain as much lean muscle mass as possible so he could become as big and strong as bodybuilders get before just an additional drop of muscle would bring him up to the level of a professional bodybuilder.

"I worried that if I waited until August or September to really start lifting weights seriously, I wouldn't be able to get there in time for the show next March," Martin said. "I have to write the book in January and it would be nice to be in shape when the book comes out."

The New York Times best-selling author also wanted to see what it would take for him to excel at this sport. And for Martin, excelling at bodybuilding meant one thing: eating.

"Bodybuilders are pretty easy to stereotype," he said. "If you're a bodybuilder, you've got the whole bit going – the big belly, the big arms and shoulders, the barrel chest, and if you're a top competitor like Kai Greene or Branch Warren they have even more of those things. So I wanted to see how all that worked. How much do they really eat? Do they really eat everything in sight or do they control their portions and stick to their diet?"

On average, Martin ate about 6,000 calories per day and never dropped below 4,000 calories a day. He performed high-intensity, low rest interval methods of training that allowed him to maximize muscle gains in the shortest amount of time possible. By consuming a large volume of nutrients and performing short but intense workouts, Martin was able to gain an average of two pounds per week. After 14 weeks he had added 10 lbs. of lean muscle mass.

As Martin explains, "I wanted to see how natural a bodybuilder's diet was and how easy it is to put on muscle.�� Despite enjoying the intense workouts and eating a lot, he never felt like he was too big or that he had eaten enough.

"I ate pretty much everything," Martin said. "And I still ate about 6,000 calories a day. I didn't feel like I was ever drinking too much food or even eating unhealthy foods – just as long as it was stuff that tasted good."

Despite his physique being leaner than most bodybuilders', Martin maintains that his diet has really helped him keep a clear mind.

"I feel like there's a clear distinction with bodybuilders' diets and others," he said. "Bodybuilders, especially the guys in the top ten, they're pretty big but they don't look like they have potato chip guts and they don't look fat.   They live on rice cakes and chicken breasts and broccoli, and that's fine for them. But I don't want to eat like that."

No matter how far away George R.R. Martin is from his bodybuilding competition in March, he still maintains a high volume of workouts each week including Olympic weight training and HIIT cardio in CrossFit gyms around New York City.

"I do a lot of strength training to keep my shoulders and my arms strong," he said. "The main goal for me was to get bigger without getting too fat, so I had to keep my intensity high all the time. I couldn't let up or I'd just slide back down again."

But despite the intense diet and training, Martin seems to be enjoying his time as a bodybuilder as much as his time spent as a distance runner. He even plans on bodybuilding again in the future.

"I'm going to compete again in March," he said. "I'll go back to running after that because I've always been attracted by long distance endurance sports. If I really wanted to, I could probably put on another ten pounds of muscle and have a pretty decent showing at the Natural Olympia, but I've always felt that putting on too much muscle would just slow me down."

"I don't want to get too big," Martin added. "Bodybuilding's not really my thing."

George R.R. Martin is a New York Times best-selling author of popular fantasy novels including A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted into HBO's hit show, Game of Thrones. Learn more about his novels and television series at www.georgerrmartin.com . Follow George R.R. Martin on Twitter @GRRMspeaking . Follow CrossFit Mayhem on Twitter @cfmmidny and Facebook . Follow George R.R. Martin on Instagram @georgerrmartin #GRRM

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Mayhem. See more photos at www.crossfitmayhem.com/indystar/graham-bell-robert-pattinson . Follow George R.R. Martin on Instagram @georgerrmartin #GRRM

More news and information at indystar.com/shape-of-life . Follow the Shape of Life on Twitter @ShapeOfLifeIndy and Facebook . Like IndyStar Shape of Life Page on Facebook by clicking here .

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