So, Draper, someone matter-of-factly asked, what
will be the topic of your next book? Thats like asking
what bridge will you jump from next. Gee. Dunno. The Golden Gate
or maybe the George Washington? Truth is I have already considered
a few possibilities, one of which is the long-term effects of global
warming on the bench press, though admittedly I have done very little
research on the subject. Another is training for men and women over
50 and 60 years of age. Now thats a dandy subject of interest
to a handful of hopefuls and, coincidentally, a matter that I am
presently studying in detail.
put the pen to the paper and discovered that I have not yet matured
enough to offer a clear picture of the particular circumstances
surrounding advancing age. I need a couple more years of background
research to be competent and comprehensive, and Im in no rush.
Furthermore, though fascinating and provocative, aging, I quickly
realized, is not exactly an uplifting writing experience. I begin
to think old, focus on aches, pains and their cures,
look for crotchety problems to remedy, ponder my mortality, glare
at the youth in the gym and sulk. I decided to put the
project on hold before I went out and purchased a sturdy cane for
short neighborhood strolls and a woolly plaid cardigan to fight
off the chills.
out, I super-compensated and chose instead to write a book for Young
Muscle Builders. What a smile: underscore the value of exercise,
nutrition and good health; define the life-building and character-building
benefits of consistent training, show them the tricks, point out
the avoidable pitfalls, eliminate the lies, accent the truths, and
generally get them in touch with the joy and fulfillment of the
magnificent journey sooner than later, if at all. Of course, instruct
them intelligently in how to train and eat, strive and thrive.
my testosterone normalized and I stopped tottering around the house
watering the artificial potted plants.
an occasional newsletter for those growing kids who playfully kicked
cans down neighborhood streets in 50s is not a bad idea. To
keep us sharp and perhaps add to our understanding of the effects
of over half a century on the body, mind and spirit, lets
kick around some old tin cans today. Its likely that you rising
muscleheads under 20 can learn a thing or two as well, if I can
gain and maintain your jetting attention. Swell idea.
accident and illness, if you have been active and eaten in moderation
since your high school days, youre probably not in bad shape.
You are also in the top 20 percent of mainstream society. Nice job.
If you regularly lift weights and eat smartly, you are probably
in very good shape -- the top 5 percent. Congratulations, brothers
and sisters. If you are reading this newsletter with high hopes
of applying its precepts, you are safe and on your way to consistent
improvement in your health and physical condition. Bravo. Thats
what happens when you train hard, eat right and stay hopeful.
only category left is the big one, which includes those who are
unenlightened, undisciplined, misguided, lethargic, time-poor, unable
or unwilling -- the remaining 70 percent. This big group needs big
help, big time, now.
is primarily comprised of hardy trainees between 30 and 50 years
old; athletes, white-collar and blue-collar folks, moms and dads,
powerlifters, bodybuilders, Joe-Bob and Mary-Jane, life loving characters
all. What does time hold in store for us? What can we expect to
compromise and when? What should we do now in preparation for later?
What to eat, how to train, how much, how often? What about supplements
and special foods? Whats the word on skin tone, muscle density,
strength and endurance?
the sort of the questions weve asked for years at every stage
of our training, and now they take on a different hue and bear a
bolder question mark.
rusty cans... Ill offer my answers and points of view based
on experience and observation and intuitive logic. Im not
gifted and Im happily imperfect. Do not inscribe my words
with a sharp instrument across your pectoral muscles. My training
background, influences, motives and body chemistry do not match
yours, yet I represent some point of reference -- a marker of comparison
-- with which you can identify and adjust accordingly and from which
you might gain insight.
Im a 60-year-old male, under the iron for 45 years, have not
always led a wholesome life to amplify my longevity and internal
health, have worn parts, tingling nerves and joints that complain,
and the usual allergies, hormonal inconsistencies and neuroses that
face any compulsive, over-trained, highly stressed and otherwise
arguably well-adjusted earthling. Hi. Glad to meet you.
good news is I love to work out more than ever. Ive basically
accomplished the physical mounds we here set before us: decent muscle
shape and size, reasonably low body fat, sufficient strength, energy
and endurance with a growing understanding of training. Therefore,
trust in my training and enjoyment of its benefits are for me almost
a daily experience. This doesnt make it a walk in the park...
it enables me to blast it. The simple point: Thus far, Ive
discovered weight training works well and it gets better. Stick
and illness befall the most careful, stable and healthy individuals.
Thats life. Common sense develops with our attentive training
and internal and external resistance improves with the rigors of
exercise and proper eating. Were stronger, more coordinated
and better balanced, more flexible and resilient, smarter and wiser.
Subsequently we tend to care for ourselves better, break less easily
and restore more quickly. Nice return for the investment, no?
injuries that come with years of impact, overuse and misuse can
be dealt with because they must... there is no choice (note the
attitude of perseverance that accompanies disciplined exercise).
The painful shoulder, immobilizing lower back, stinging biceps insertion
and hammered knee can be depressing and threaten to put us out of
commission, and sometimes they do. Apply the ice, ingest the anti-inflammatory
and give the injury its due rest period.
I encourage you like-minded, determined trainees of all ages to
work around injuries and maintain whatever percentage of training
intensity you can, wherever you can within the body. Diligently
investigate the damage, scrutinize the pain, understand the limitations
and apply minor, lightweight movements that match the capacity of
the problem area. Pain is your guide. Warm-up movements are precious
and allow us to proceed with safety, confidence and familiarity;
they provide blood support, warmth, alleviation of pain, awareness
of mechanical tracking and estimation of exercise potential. They
refine our focus and prune our patience and exact our form. When
youre 50 going on 90, who wants to lay off and grow weeds?
Get to the gym, exercise and thank God. Youll heal faster
and live longer and be happier.
have an ugly, rotten collection of paraphernalia that I carry around
the gym floor: leather lifting belt, thick foam hand pads, shredded
wrist wrap, stained elbow wrap, twisted knee wraps, squashed squat-bar
pad and a few other indistinguishable odds and ends. I dont
use them all at once, only occasionally, but they help when I need
help. Dont ignore the proper intermittent use of gear. I dont
use hand straps, incidentally, as Im always seeking improved
hand and grip strength... good idea for an upcoming newsletter.
are more injury prone as we get older and repair is slower. However,
we get smarter and wiser (worth repeating). With each passing year
I become more attentive -- perceptive -- not wanting to endure again
the pain, frustration and limitation of yet another injury, possibly
one that is chronic and unfixable. And rather than intolerant, I
am a graduate student of injuries, fascinated by what they have
taught me and respectful of their power. By necessity and performance
preference I am a more patient and focused lifter and am hopeful
that the improving awareness, workout style and attitude permits
me -- and you, my co-worker -- more productive years in the iron
and steel toolbox. Or is that toy box?
time we spread our wings we will climb a little higher. The Bomber
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