Mr. Universe Dave Draper
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Red-hot Subject Matter

Beyond the screen and the endless conduits of my miraculous computer hovers a good-size audience composed of some very cool people. According to a recent survey tossed out by Laree, about a thousand of you are 20 years of age or younger. You look through eyes that have seen much, but not for very long, and I'm a wee bit jealous. Most of you I suspect are fascinated by the current crop of muscle builders, as one is with -- say -- the Himalayas, space walks, cyclones and sacks of money. You look but not for very long; they're huge, extraordinary, out of control and unbelievable.

Common sense and sensibility call you (us) back to the real world. What can we do to develop our muscular system, strength and health that is sane, practical and maybe slightly outrageous? More accurately, what can we do to lose the fat, get big (huge) and defined (ripped) without compromising goodness? We all secretly want to be a little out of the ordinary.

Admittedly I devote an inordinate amount of time, space and words on the subjects of fat loss, trimming down and leaning up. The excessive human condition calls for a loud and continual voice on these topics if it is to be heard above the monotonous noise of daily life. And in the newsletters I tend to provide material that tips in its substance toward the more mature crowd (over 20), mature not necessarily a complimentary and enviable term.

Today, let's talk about getting huge and getting ripped, the red-hot subject matter of my earlier years.

This week's selected topics are my favorites and remain the targets of my training today. Don't tune out if ripped and huge are not exactly your current training goals; perhaps there is something to be learned by tagging along. I personally hope to uncover a novel thing or two as I offer the material not yet considered, compiled or written.

The first thing that comes to my unprimed mind is that in seeking muscle size and definition at once, you are, in your assessment of yourself, either too fat or too thin; gain a pound and you are bigger yet smoother, lose a pound and you are leaner yet too small. Oh, the frustration that comes with aiming at different targets simultaneously; frustration followed by confusion, disappointment, discouragement and defeat.

Small observation here: These apparent negative reactions and experiences will accompany you in reaching difficult heights; they will become regular companions and from them you will learn. Failure is cruel, miscalculations costly and mistakes are troublesome, but they purchase precious ground and teach hard lessons. The only experience you cannot permit is the last one, the final one... defeat. Defeat is for the enemy only.

There are a few exceptions where one can develop substantial muscle size exclusive of undesired bodyfat in a relatively short period of time. If the subject is underweight and untrained, he can expect outstanding progress in the early stages of smart weight training and right eating. The body is flourishing and reaching its natural state of fitness and exceeding it sufficiently in proportion to the healthful training regimen applied. The windfall of super progress slows down as an average lean-muscle-to-bodyfat set point is reached. From there the hard training pushes the man or woman to commendable levels of musculature, but on a slower timetable. This is where character plays a greater role than genetics. He who perseveres wins.

The other time we see muscles grow while bodyfat remains at a minimum is when observing the genetically advantaged, hormone-rich naturals. Here, too, our character is paramount. Be nice. Don't glare or hiss or weep. Jealousy, bitterness and anger are reactions of fools. It's not their fault and they too must train hard to move forward when muscular saturation is established.

Of course one could take pharmaceuticals to achieve muscle size and hardness without the time, trouble and inconvenience of lifting weights and eating right. But that's sort of like shooting oneself on the head with a pistol so one can sleep at night. I don't recommend it.

So where are we? What do we do? Getting huge and getting ripped, or some version of the two that suits you, is going to be accomplished by an agreeable compromise only. Struggling for broad shoulders and a thick back while focused on "six-pack abs" and striations across the chest is illogical (dumb, really) and counter-productive. You need to understand and accept, also, that the realistic and admirable goals you have set are achievable primarily with fortitude and persistence and enthusiasm.

I know you want what you want soon. Me too, I must confess... now is just fine, thanks. Do not let time become your enemy, young men and women on the early of 20: It can't be pushed or pulled, leveraged or persuaded, ignored or bullied. Why bother? Let the seconds tick. Train hard and enjoy it. Eat right and find delight in its goodness. Be consistent with both and you're going at full speed. Be grateful for the wholesome and rhythmic forward motion, slow as it might appear from your close viewpoint. Keep your eyes on the wise and grow steadily every day. Remember: no secrets, no short cuts, no doubts... only hard work (don't you love it), growing discipline and courage.

Training is a skintight armor that enables, protects and fortifies and is more comfortable than a pair of sneakers once they're broken in. Working out is not a regrettable means to an end; it is the end, and the beginning and everything that is in between. Trust it and trust yourself; it's a good thing that you're doing. Tell a friend.

Got sidetracked. The compromise I suggested several paragraphs ago is simple enough: You must make a deliberate choice between big muscle and cut muscle, now -- your training over the next months and probably longer depend upon your decision. Huge or ripped, which will it be? Go for both, but first things first.

Let me help you make the choice... next week.

Practice your formations; take them high and fast... heads up, always.

Later... Dave

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