Mr. Universe Dave Draper
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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation


We are a month old in our progress toward muscle and mind fitness as the spring secretly spreads her revitalizing arms in welcome. The fitness process is ongoing, you know, one that you wisely embrace for life and gratefully nurture as you would a rare and true friend. Have you noticed how the struggle for discipline in your eating and consistent exercise has strengthened your internal fortitude and added muscle to your confidence? The first steps forward are tough, awkward and unconvincing if you inspect them day-by-day and too closely. Reviewed collectively they possess the quality of a concert well performed. Practice, time and desire harmonize and the results are a song.

We started slowly and from ground zero: junk food out, protein and whole food in. We then set out on a freehand exercise program to condition our muscles, joints, mind and spirits. Good stuff, basic and stimulating. Here's some advice from a former garage head for getting started at home with a small investment in equipment. I repeat: You, with the right attitude and plan, can reach an exciting level of fitness, no doubt about it. You can build bigger and stronger muscles; you can trim down an overweight body, shape it and tone it. It just takes time, persistence and a keen personal agreement to do it. Do you have these elements? Absolutely.

Neatly and concisely set up your equipment in your predetermined area. Give yourself enough room to move freely, breathe and grow. A cramped area will work against you. A private area will work for you. Let's assume you have the basics: a bar, enough weight, a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a bench with racks, a couple of sturdy high-backed chairs and a lot of heart. Be a happy bodybuilder; hang a couple of posters and tune your radio to your favorite sounds for some cool background music. Atmosphere and a little company are always welcome. You're in charge and you're getting close.

Give yourself sixty minutes, three or four days a week, to work out and, most importantly, set a regular time for this special occasion. Regularity is essential in establishing a mental identification, a "mindset," and in creating a physical pattern. Applying order from the very beginning will help you develop the power of habit and give substance and discipline to your new undertaking, this matchless and terrific sport.

Do things haphazardly and you get haphazard results. You'll miss the fun and fulfillment of completing a tough, focused and intelligent workout. You won't pump, burn, sweat, or thoroughly overload. No endorphins, no natural chemistry improvement. Sooner than later, without foundation your inspired endeavor will fade to a guilty memory. Sounds grouchy, doesn't it?

In the early stages your job is basic. Practice, get to know your muscles: which are working in each exercise, what are the factors of resistance, pump and burn. This requires and develops patience, focus and concentration, super qualities to add to your list of accomplishments. You might make notations of the weights you use, the reps and sets and a comment or two on a pad as a quick reference from workout to workout. This weightlifting stuff is pure and simple, bearing your personality and standards. It becomes a vital extension and reflection of you.

You're a home trainer and we're ready to go. Seriously. You've got your water bottle at hand. Hydrate and keep hydrated. You're fully fueled for blast off, of course, with your pre-workout carbs and protein to provide pump, energy and muscle restoration. Begin your routine by working your midsection for five minutes before hitting the weights. This will not only strengthen and define the trunk muscles, but also raise your heart rate and core temperature, stretch your muscles and prepare your focus for the intense workout ahead. Several sets of floor crunches and leg raises to maximum reps should do it for now.

So much for the potatoes, now for the meat: the fun stuff, the major muscle builders, the big guns. There is no fast way to build muscle, get strong and lose fat; only hard work, good food and a lot of time will do that. Right? Right. There are no secrets. There are fifty exercises, maybe a hundred that we can choose. I've chosen the best to do the job for you. More is not better. Different is not better. Not today.

You've got one solid hour, three alternate days a week. Give yourself loads of time for your start-up workouts to determine your level of condition, familiarize yourself with your surroundings and exercises, and enjoy the novelty and substance of your new endeavor. Ease into your first workouts with one or two sets of each exercise. Increase the number of sets to three by the end of the first month, with your eye on four.

Exercises 1 and 2, done together:
Bench Press (1-4 sets x 12, 10, 10, 8 repetitions)
supersetted with
Stiff-arm Dumbbell Pullover (1-4x10)

Exercise 3, done alone:
Bent-over Barbell Row (1-4x8-10)

Exercises 4 and 5, done together:
Barbell Curl (1-4x8-10)
supersetted with
Dips Between Chairs (1-4x10-12 or maximum)

Exercises 6 and 7, done together:
Light Bar Squats (2-4x15)
supersetted with
Toe Raise off block (2-4x15-20)

This beginning program uses the superset technique; that is, doing one exercise followed by a second complementary exercise. For example, exercise one immediately followed by exercise two, pause for a weight adjustment and a thirty- to sixty-second rest, repeat exercise one followed by exercise two and so on for two to four supersets. We'll spend more time on this discussion later. There's no rush; practice your movements at an agreeable pace with confidence. There's no doubt about the fact that you are training with intention and muscle, strength and health are spreading delightfully through your miraculous body.

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