Mr. Universe Dave Draper
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Training Log

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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation

The Interrogation

How do you feel today? Are you hopeful, energetic, energized? Will you eat to nourish and strengthen your body, to fuel it or fuel your emotions -- a dutiful habit, a compulsory chore, a satisfying muscle-building opportunity or a frenzied delight? Will you eat at all, or too much, and what will be your choices of food -- hmmm… beans, beef, beer, bananas, bagels?

Do you feel blue or gray or red-hot… and do you plan to work out? Are thoughts of training at the sharp, bright edge of your mind or trapped in the dull depressions where they might remain for days? Are my relentless questions stirring, trite, annoying, difficult, discouraging or reassuring, and who or what decides their answers, the outcome of your life?

Melodramatic? I don't think so. The responses to these inquiries offer a slight reflection of who we are and might very well determine who we become. Unless we are pinned under the bumper of a bus, a "care less" treatment of the queries indicates a preoccupation with convention, a compliance to everyday life; the rat race, the treadmill, the beginning to the end with little between; do it as it is done by everyone else, without nurturing, vibrancy, finesse and love.

All week long: wake up, stand up, sit down, eat, work, grin, lie down and sleep. Friday: dinner, drinks, movie, laugh or cry, lie down and sleep. Saturday: TV ballgames, yell, snack, cheer, nibble, fix leaky faucet, grumble, lie down and sleep. Sunday: church or sleep in, papers, funnies, snooze, eat and sleep. Monday: more, again…

Aren't you glad you're a wild and crazy muscle-building nut? That was my last question and a rhetorical one at that. From now on it's action. We don't have time for muttering and digging around in our weird little minds. We have protein to devour, energy to stoke, inspiration to harness and enthusiasm to express. We live here and now, enjoying moments of creation, participating, adding, fueling, building, preparing and absorbing. Everything we do has purpose, it's all fulfilling; when it's done, it's meant to be.

Feed your body and your senses wisely. We have weights to lift, cables to set in motion and gravity with which to contend. In an hour Laree and I head for the gym to unleash the caged beasts.

This is what I have up my sleeve (I will reveal my plan of action to you as I reveal it to myself):

Having fueled myself with the necessary ingredients (Bomber Blend protein drink -- yum), I'll start with hanging leg raises (15) tri-setted with rope tucks (25) and hyperextensions (15). Five multi-sets at a steady pace will provide my version of mid-winter aerobics. (Yea, I know…) Warm, stretched, contracted, prepared, invested, confident and inspired, I am ready for the mission. This workout will be composed of the basics, 75 percent of which will be vaguely routine (minus the banality that usually accompanies "routine") and 25 will be impulse. I request latitude where impulse is concerned, as this is an imagined workout to accommodate our newsletter conversation.

It goes like this:

I review my most recent training sessions: exercises performed, body parts worked, intensity applied and access the good damage done; what is sore, what is injured, what is aggravated, what needs to be done and what is over-done. This takes about 10 to 30 seconds, some of which are conscious. It's "arms day" and this means intense, yet not all-consuming, whereas leg workouts are short but b-b-bad and chest, back and shoulder sessions are long and downright mean.

The elbows are okay; maybe I'll wrap them. The wrists are fine; I'll wrap them if they complain. Where's my water? Start with wrist curls but use the 2-inch Apollon's Axle bar to change the demand on the hands and wrists and forearms… warm up good and slow. After warm-up, pump out 4 working sets in the 12 to15-rep range. Superset this with reverse grip bent-bar curls, starting strict and light, and work up to a heavier weight that requires a miniature, slow and controlled clean-like action. 12 reps with light weight and decrease reps with incrementing weight, 12,10, 8, 6.

Triceps are craving activity and respond well to overhead pulley extensions, where I position myself with my back to the pulley system; hands and arms over and behind the head and leaning away from the overhead pulley, I extend the handles toward the wall before me (want that in English?), 15-rep range as I strain for form and output; I am an octopus with two arms.

Now, I have choices. Having been a good boy lately, I am rested and full of juicy food neatly distributed to all parts of my body. I can go for pace, form and reps, which is exhilarating and muscularly rewarding; great pump, freedom to move, action, excitement and… um… burn, pain, burn. Or, I can go heavier and more deliberately; deep and strong, stoic, pauses that are drenched with preparation, motivation and psyche. They are also burdensome and at some point, dull. What will it be?

Using the thick Apollon's Axle, I choose to superset reasonably strict standing curls with deep stretch, lying triceps extensions with the bent-bar. This combo, with its minor modifications (thick bar, deep stretch), has me moving steadily, slowly and intentionally; care must be taken to work the muscles and not inflame humorless, easily insulted tendons. 5 supersets of 6 to 8 repetitions of the fat curl followed by 5 sets of 10 to 12 of the extension. Water, Nitro-max, creatine.

Before they drag me off the gym floor I go to the dumbbell rack and say a prayer. I then grab a pair of 50-pounders and pull them thumbs up for 6 or 8 reps of hefty, heaving hammer curls (form hides under the squat rack); three breaths and I move to the 45s for six; three more deep ones and I tug the 40s for five, then four with the 35s and finish with 30-pounders for three. I gasp, my eyes are crossed, I'm hunched over and my arms are distorted; I can't open my water bottle. Great set.

Recovering, I stagger toward the cable machine for some pulley pushdowns. Out of the corner of my eye I see them coming, there's four of them, maybe five. They're crouched low and spreading out… don't make a scene… I go peacefully.

God bless you as you fly high and glide wide.


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