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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation

Older and Stronger

We are older than we were one month ago, a lifetime older, and bear expanded responsibilities by which to live. Our contribution to the great effort before us must include physical fitness and readiness.

Don't let your training fade with your tan; don't put on the pounds along with your hooded-sweatshirt. Every fall, with its short days and cooling temperatures, we fall with our loss of motivation and grab-bag excuses. This year, of course, will be different as we choose not to falter. Not wanting to lose control where we need not, our exercise and smart eating will remain fixed in place.

I remind you that it is as simple as replacing a few old wasteful habits with crisp new ones that reinforce your whole being. The fact is we are all enriched as each one of us adds to his or her individual capability, strength and well-being.

New habits in exactly one hundred words:

1) Walk/jog one mile three days a week. Cardio-vascular health. 2) Eat smaller meals, more often. Better assimilation, regularly fuels and feeds the system, reduces cravings. 3) Avoid large meals and long gaps between meals. Fat builders. 4) Drink two quarts of water daily. Energize and afford function. 5) Eliminate empty (non-nutritious) calories and high sugar intake (pop, candy, cake). Spikes insulin, distresses hormones, deposits fat. 6) Increase protein from animal sources. Builds muscle and might. 7) Increase positive activity level. Stay busy. Raises metabolism. 8) Incorporate regular resistance exercise — lift weights. Establish and nurture years of strong health.

I know you heard it all before.

When I was a little kid the only way I learned important stuff was through repetition. You know, the multiplication tables — seven times seven equals forty-nine — The Gettysburg Address — Four-score and seven years ago. It's no different today. Those one hundred words are the constants in achieving a strong, trim and well-muscled body for the years to come. They, like Lincoln's immortal words, offer freedom and will go down in history.

Three questions for you to ponder:

Do any of you doubt that we need to be sturdier, more alert and resistant to outside forces that interrupt our normal daily life — impact from a fall, winter viral infection, darting across a busy intersection or carrying a heavy load? To the degree that we cannot appropriately respond to these challenges are we not vulnerable or, at least, dependent? Does everyone agree that the best way to accommodate physical demands is through regular thoughtful exercise and sound eating practices?

They are not trick questions and I'm not selling anything. I am not boasting or singing a solo. I'm hoping to catch your attention, set you in motion and keep you in motion for your own good.

Gym members, here's a series of movements to perform as a change of pace. You have sixty dedicated minutes. Enter the gym, pull up a piece of floor and with little rest complete three sets of abdominal crunches (twenty reps) alternately combined with three set of leg raises (ten reps). You're warmed up and stretched out. Good.

Wasting no time, set up a light weight on the racks of a bench press. Assume a typical pressing position using a grip that is eighteen inches wide instead of the conventional wide grip. Perform four sets of descending reps (15, 12, 10, 8), increasing weight appropriately. Go for eighty-percent intensity with one minute between sets. You'll work triceps, front deltoids, chest and substantial torso power.

Your next exercise is a standing barbell curl with the same scheme of sets, reps, pace and intensity. You'll work biceps and grip with sufficient resistance in the back muscles as they counter-balance your deliberate and powerful curl movement.

Ready to engage the shoulders, lower chest, triceps and upper back regions, move to the adjustable plate-loaded dipping bars, free-standing bars or assisted dips off the edge of a standard bench. Improvise to accommodate a bar-dip movement that co-works and stimulates the attractive combination of muscles and offers great functional might to the upper body. Four sets of ten reps with sixty to ninety-second pauses.

Finish the upper body routine with the seated lat row. A very complete and agreeable resistance, this cable exercise adds effective stabilizing power to the entire back from the erectors to the scapulae. Grip, forearms, biceps and minor pectoral muscles undergo a fair amount of overload while the lats and back do most of the beneficial work. Execute four sets of eight to ten moderate-paced repetitions, seeking a full range of motion.

I enjoy and appreciate a tight, focused and intense workout. This simple combination is versatile, as it may be defined by the user. Two or three sets can be substituted for the recommended four. Intensity is individual as is weight and pace. A beginner with a good coach can count on the routine to exhilarate him and teach him the playing field. A pro with the right temperament can pleasantly pummel herself with a heated volley of the basic exercises.

Smile. Next time I'll sufficiently squash you with squats. Swell.

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