PT on the Net Research

Race Car Driver


I have a Nextel driver who is experiencing an increase in fatigue levels and an inability to maintain a stable body weight. He drops approximately 10-15 pounds each race and requires IVs to replenish fluid levels following each race. There haven't been any labs drawn to determine electrolyte levels; however, if there were, wouldn't it be more beneficial for accuracy to do it one week before a race and the next week after the race? We will be monitoring caloric intake daily and carb/protein/fat ratios of the driver. Do you have any suggestions as to how to get this young man turned around for the rest of the season? It sounds as if he is overtrained, but the one to two weeks of rest I have heard is totally out of the question.


I am going to keep this as simple as I can for you. I am going to give you some ideas and recommendations, since in my opinion, this case requires more than just basic nutrition, exercise and labs. I will steer you in all the right directions in order for you to better assist your client. I am going to list them in order of importance for you, so you can follow them step by step.

It sounds like your client is borderline sympathetically overloaded. If your client is not eating vital foods, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep (to repair and recover), as well as performing an individualized properly programmed exercise program, this can be a stress to the body. On top of that, he needs to be able to withstand the demands of racing. With all the stressors we have in the world today (physical, mental, emotional, chemical, environmental, EMF, nutritional and spiritual), our bodies can’t handle it anymore. We are designed to handle stress, but when it keeps adding up, that is when it can become a problem. Anytime you are under constant stress, the bottom line is that you become catabolic (tissue breakdown). If your client is losing weight quickly, it means he is unable to withstand the stressors of his sport, which is putting him over the edge. It is our lifestyle (personal, professional and spiritual) that will paint a picture for us (i.e., the human body). If you live an unhealthy lifestyle or live one you think is healthy and is not, you will get back what you put in. My recommendation to you is to read the article series on by Paul Chek titled You Are What You Eat (see "related articles" at right and below) as well purchase his book titled How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!


  1. Eat organic foods, as well for his Metabolic Type. If he is not, he will be unable to utilize his food for energy properly and it will become a stress to the body. As well, these vital foods will assist him with putting on and keeping on healthy weight. If he wants his body to have the necessary energy to withstand the demands of his sport and not break down, then he must eat organic foods. “It takes life to give life!”
  2. Eliminate C.R.A.P foods from his diet (Caffeine, Refined/Processed foods, Aspartame/Alcohol, Pasteurized milk). For one, these foods are considered non foods. They take more energy away from the body than they provide. As well, they are filled with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, artificial flavors, colorings, sugar and much, much more. This is a great example of a chemical stress to the body that can cause a myriad of visceral, as well as musculoskeletal problems. Your client will become a walking cess pool of toxins, become constipated, dehydrated and his mental capacity or reaction time will suffer.
  3. Have your client drink half his body weight in ounces of water a day. This is a general rule, but before, during and after a race hydration could be the key to his success.
  4. Get to bed by 10pm and up no earlier than 6am. This will allow him to psychologically and physically repair at night. If he doesn’t, injury is inevitable.
  5. You will read and learn lots more in Paul’s article series and book about the above. The one thing you will learn is that it takes life to give life and sometimes less is more!

Musculoskeletal Recommendations:

When training for any sport or life for that matter, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration.

  1. Get assessed and don’t guess! We can create postural distortions from poor program design, faulty movements and loading, pattern overload/repetitive movements (racing). If your client has not been fully assessed by a trained professional (PT or CHEK Practitioner), my advice would be to start now and work along with them.
  2. There are certain Biomotor Abilities that go into our everyday life or sport. They are listed below:
    • Balance
    • Flexibility
    • Strength
    • Power
    • Coordination
    • Speed
    • Agility
    • Endurance

Your client should be taken through the stability, strength and power paradigm. If this is followed, his success is inevitable. Phase 1 is your stability or corrective exercise phase and has two parts. They both last about four weeks long and require your client to be fully assessed in order to be developed. Phase 2 is your strength or strength endurance phase, which usually lasts anywhere from four to six weeks long. The last part is Phase 3, and this is your sport specificity phase. This is where you will rank each biomotor ability from 1-10 (10 being the most important). After you rank them, you will pick the biomotor abilities that are most pertinent to the sport/activity. The most important biomotor abilities in regards to racing are: balance (stability), strength/strength endurance but most importantly isometrics. Your specificity phase will focus on mostly movement patterns the incorporate isometrics within them. Now I don’t mean just holding static positions and that’s his program. Within this phase, you could throw in lunges with a static kettlebell hold over head or stationary frontal plane lateral shifts while holding a cable pulley at his chest. There are many movement patterns that will assist you in your programming. They are what Paul Chek calls Primal Movement Patterns (squat, lunge, push, pull, twist, bend).

The bottom line is that his program needs to include but incorporate nutrition with his lifestyle. Taking in the necessary nutrients, using it for energy and not losing it all comes down to what you put into and do to your body. If he wants to be a stable, strong and one of the most vital racers out there, then what he puts into it, he will get back. If he eats conventional foods, drinks lots of sugar (soda, juice, Gatorade, etc.), eats sweets, doesn’t get enough sleep and is not conditioning properly, then his symptoms match what he puts into it.