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Prevention Sweeter than the Cure

How go your health and fitness pursuits as you cruise the summer days? Have you dropped the bodyfat and gained some definition? Did you set a personal record at the gym today? Has the sweat from your lean body formed puddles under the Stairmaster or have you temporarily misplaced your gym bag? I understand. Everyone reading the article understands. Truth is, the gym has been less frequented by me these golden days and when I'm there the space around me is thinly occupied. The natives are out in the jungle stirring up sunshine and waves, barbecues, fresh air, beach runs and mountain bike rides. The good life.

We've known each other for months and months now — we're old friends. May I make a small suggestion, a tiny reminder? My prompting comes from the heart and is more a plea than an imperative. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and you muscle worshippers, lend me your ears. Do not go one week without two workouts. Ever. These can be the thirty minutes that save you from the dreaded muscular disease, The Gap.

You've heard of The Gap, haven't you: an unmanageable malfunctioning of the disciplinary tract, which leads to the deterioration of the walls of the will? Some folks have been known to succumb to the wretched disorder for months, losing muscle tone and gaining a tire (excuse me) around the middle. Mild discontent, guilt, irritability and sloping shoulders accompany The Gap. Loss of energy and stamina are not uncommon and binge eating has been observed amongst serious Gap sufferers.

Some seasons pressure us to limit our exercise schemes, and obliging the pressure is natural and right. Summer vacations and winter holidays beg for time off. Be aware and recognize the safe and friendly boundaries of maintenance training and faithfully heed them until the more favorable times when you can "blast it" with hungry might. Failure to do so leads to despicable consequences. Prevention is easier than the cure.

Alas, the cure demands that you be so sufficiently distressed with yourself that you start your training all over again. Ugh. Don't you hate that? Admonishments precede the undertaking of the bitter cure and recovery is a lonely path overgrown with thistle and thorn. Cures and recoveries are sweet if they are short-lived and infrequent; they teach and reward us with gratefulness.

However, should they recur like a broken spoke on a turning wheel, you can expect that you are not going far. Fail to fix and one by one the spokes buckle, disengage and the wheel collapses.

Nothing personal but are you losing your spokes, busy enthusiasts? Before tomorrow morning pack your gym bag, prepare your ready-mix pre-workout protein energizer and plan a forty-five minute re-entry program that gives you ten-minutes on the stationary bike, five-minutes on the trusty mid-section (crunches and leg raises) and thirty big ones on your favorite muscle-building equipment. Don't get in anybody's way and don't stop. Don't calculate, think too much, groan or talk if a pedestrian gets in your path. You're there to work, to perform, to move as if chasing a wild mouse but not wanting to catch it. Make this your workout style for the weeks to come, which might otherwise be conspicuously void of training time. Random training can develop smart patterns that allow you to move through the gym cleverly and swiftly, around the people, wherever you please with a built-in, hi-tech, newly devised homing mechanism: logical improvisation.

Bench press followed by pulldowns, followed by the dip machine, followed by bent over lateral raises (sets of 8-12), onto the triceps pulley pushdown and then dumbbell alternate curls (any weight that feels good). Back to the dip machine and the seated lat row, get in a set of dumbbell incline presses. Breath deeply… you're building momentum. Once again, the bench press combined with the lat pulldowns, triceps machine, and curls… water, always water. Smile, nod, dumbbell alternates (this is the greatest, tomorrow it's legs and deadlifts), triceps pushdowns... One more set... Dumbbell inclines..

Gym closes in five minutes, muscle worshipers.

WHAT? Five minutes? I just got here two hours ago. Bench press followed by pulldowns and pullovers...

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