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Explosive strength: Shot put master

Jan. 3, 2012 - 12:33PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 3, 2012 - 12:33PM  |  
Retired Army Spec. Scott Winkler  Shot putter
Retired Army Spec. Scott Winkler Shot putter (The Associated Press)

Sample Day:

• 7:30 a.m.: Egg-white omelette with cheese and hash browns
• Noon: Protein gel pack for a post-workout snack
• 1 p.m.: Turkey sub on whole-wheat bread; or a chicken breast and a small baked potato
• 3:30 p.m.: Apple
• 5 p.m.: Protein gel pack
• 6:30 p.m.: Steak, potato and salad
• Occasional evening snack: Popcorn
• Guilty pleasure: Drinks the occasional no-sugar-added Powerade

If you think putting a shot is just like throwing a ball, think again. A shot ball weighs more than 16 pounds, and medically retired Army food service specialist Scott Winkler can throw it more than 35 feet from a chair. Winkler discovered the sport in 2006 after being paralyzed from the chest down in Iraq. His 10.72-meter throw at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships set a new Americas record.

Fifth-place finisher in shot put at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and a 2012 Paralympic hopeful, Winkler trains at Fort Gordon, Ga., and credits his trainer with helping him clean up his diet and kick his habit of four to six energy drinks a day.

"For me, energy drinks became routine in the Army because I had to get the job done," Winkler says. "Turns out they slowed me down by adding fat weight instead of muscle weight."

After cutting out the energy drinks, other empty sugar calories and fast food instead paying attention to protein intake and timing carbohydrate consumption for maximum energy output Winkler realized his body felt better when he treated it better.

"Less fat equals more speed," he says. And when it comes to shot put and Winkler's second event, discus, throwing speed means more distance.

Winkler divides his training into phases. During his strength-training phase, he eats moderate amounts of protein and focuses on more reps at lower weights. During his power phase, it's heavy weights and less reps, and he alters his diet to match, adding protein to build and repair muscle and carbs for quick, explosive energy.

Diet overview: His big focus is keeping out unnecessary sugar. He usually starts his day with an all-American egg-white-and-cheese omelette and hash browns, has a protein-based lunch, makes sure he gets lots of leafy greens and sometimes eats pasta, but not too much. He eats pizza the night before an event to top off energy stores and occasionally adds a yolk to to his egg-white omelette the morning of.

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