got to get some workouts under my belt, not to mention a few steaks
and a night in my own bed. Cruising up and down the West Coast was
rewarding and I met a bunch of swell people, but I’m feeling
red-eyed and itchy. Hold it there, hound dog: “Swell”
does not adequately describe the very cool folks you met during
your Body Revival excursion, Drapes. “Absolutely stupendous”
is a bit overkill, but we’re getting close. Try “Very
special” or “Terrific.” Now you’re talkin’.
walk into the bookstore about 10 minutes before 7pm, the scheduled
presentation time, and look for an anxious face wondering if and
when the muscle-guy author will show; this nervous person would
be the store’s events coordinator, whose relief is palpable
as I approach him or her with a big smile and outstretched hand.
We exchange greetings and I’m directed to the area designated
for my appearance, a handsome wooden table displayed with books
-- mine, I hope -- and a bright bouquet of fresh flowers. Before
the table, folding chairs are arranged to seat the expected audience.
This is always a challenge. Are there 10 or 20 chairs; is anyone
seated or are the chairs empty and will they remain that way? I
peek before heading to the restroom; the friendly and helpful relations
person gets me water, an oasis in the desert, and makes one last
announcement over the PA system. My name fills the hushed air and
10 billion silent, awaiting pages absorb the sound. It’s happening…
seems to stand still as I make my way to the space reserved for
authors -- ha -- through the endless aisles of bookcases overflowing
with books, books and more books. Bookstores are not familiar haunts
for me, and I find myself searching for a squat rack or pair of
dumbbells as volumes of oddly passive yet intimidating hardcovers
and paperbacks amass at my sides. Three people sit self-consciously
among the metal chairs assembled in a loose semicircle, a curious
trio not knowing any more than I what to expect.
not a crowd so I join them, a feeble attempt to enlarge the scant
gathering. The strategy works well to make new friends and in minutes
we’re lost in conversation. I look up to accept the water
offered by the coordinator and notice the seats filling up and some
curious onlookers lingering, waiting for me to speak. Another challenge...
Iron” and “Your Body Revival” get the formal treatment,
a babbling introduction from someone who prefers writing to vocalizations,
lifting weights to selling his wares or notions. Soon enough and
with little panache, I end my preamble and exhale, “Time for
questions and answers, my rapt and fascinated book-readers and bombardiers.”
We’re all grinning. Life is good. It’ll be 9 or 10 o’clock
before I’m graciously removed by book security while resolving
yet one more training dilemma.
are the good folks seated and standing immediately before me and
what do they want to know? Each store, stop, community and region
offers a different audience in size and composition, but as I look
back they are surprisingly alike in personality. Allow me to confuse
you: Each individual is unique, but the overall personality of the
groups is similar. There are men and women (boomer bombers), a few
teens (surely precocious) and an assortment of fit and less fit
seekers of muscle and might. They are welcoming, receptive and lively;
at least five are IronOnline regulars and some don’t know
me from Lurch. I don’t see any slugs in tank tops with chips
on their deltoids… torn rotators, but no chips.
interests range from food supplementation choices to training around
plateaus, the future of bodybuilding to the merits and risks of
training through injury and illness. Muscle gains over 40 and 50
is a popular subject and the tuna and water diet gets a fair amount
of animated discussion. The questions are simple, as are the answers,
if the one providing the answers were to take the direct, unembellished
route. I, of course, get lost taking the road most traveled, and
instinctively wander through territory completely off the beaten
path to an answer so convoluted we all forget the original question.
Nobody cares. We learn. I keep moving.
question… you, sir, in the leopard-skin leotard.
of the questions are valid. They are not new. The answers are not
new and they are not brilliant. Mostly what the gang sitting around
and gabbing in the corner of the gym or the bookstore wants is identification.
They want reassurance. They want someone to tell them he loves this
stuff as much as they in the group do and that it is good, very,
very good. They to want to be told the “how and why”
are basic and simple, not hi-tech and complex, and that it absolutely
works. The confusion big, greedy business has brought to a simple
place needs to be eradicated, expelled, stomped out -- publicly
and vociferously -- by an infamous character. Standing on top of
the bookseller’s table, hands raised overhead and shouting,
“Protein, protein, protein… Back to the basics…
Don’t believe the deceivers… We must superset,”
I fit the role.
is more valuable than a cutting edge routine guaranteed to build
gargantuan arms... slim hips… melt fat… get huge…
ripped, etc. Encouragement is oxygen and water to the soul.
to stick with your simple plan to train hard and eat right for good
cannot be purchased. Motivation is priceless.
acquired from within through time, sacrifice and hard work is authentic
and absolute. Confidence comes from knowing the truth.
realized and established through achievement is contagious and exhilarating.
Enthusiasm is fire in heart.
We’re alone often in our pursuit and the world around us is
not helping. Fitness, muscle and might are words that dimly haunt
the shadows of our listless and bent-back neighbors. They have time,
eat what they want, have few restrictions, let their bellies hang
over their belts and laugh as they and their multitude of companions
shuffle about their lives. We, with little encouragement and against
a bombardment of synthetic media hype, exercise, eat right and keep
smiling. Good motives, growing discipline and guts separate us,
and aloneness is a consequence. Attributes more precious than gold
are not available in abundance through TV infomercials or at the
fast-food restaurants. They are not displayed brazenly across the
chest in the public square, but cherished in the heart and shared
generously with those who value them. That would be you and me,
brother and sister, and we are hardly alone.
is not lonely, it’s being together with yourself. Being separated
from the crowd and alone, that’s lonely. We are not of the
young lady by the towering bookcase… you were about to say
cornered three workouts at hardcore gyms en route and managed to
keep the dragon within from raging and breathing fire. The bodyweight
held up and the energy remained high till I completed my last event
-- #9, Seattle. That’s all I wanted; all I could hope for.
After that it was back to the barn, pedal to the metal, eye on the
rear view and downhill all the way… zoom, zoom, zoom.
stops: Santa Rosa, Oakland and Las Vegas, October 10th, 11th and
19th. All aboard.
Routine of the Week
couple in Issaquah, Washington, kept me company as I signed the
last of the unsold books for the store’s stock. He lifted
and was an IronOnline email groups participant since its infancy,
and she was an obliging wife whose interest was stirred by the book
signing and his excitement about it. She wanted to join him in his
passion. She was also gaining weight day by day and becoming sluggish
and she wanted it to stop.
thinking “how easy,” right? All you have to do, dear
nice lady, is exercise, eat right and go about your life with promise
and a smile. It will happen. She had already heard a dozen people
discussing the simple nutritional and meal management steps -- more
protein, smaller and more frequent meals, lots of water, dump the
sugar, shoot junk food on sight, yada yada. All she needed now was
a push-pull, full body routine to keep her busy.
an hour a day, three times a week and you’re a new woman in
a year,” I tell her. Am I right or am I wrong? The only way
to find out is through application. She’s listening, I’m
signing books and Timothy is grinning.
of choice: Work up to 15-20 minutes -- intensify.
Basic crunches and leg-raise combination for starters.
press -- flat bench
Dumbbell pullover -- straight arms
Seated lat row
Dips (machine or bench version)
Curls (standing barbell)
Leg press plus calf action
week -- 1 set of each exercise, 12 reps
Second and third weeks -- 2 sets, 10 reps each
Fourth, fifth and sixth weeks -- 3 sets, 12, 10, 8 reps per set
defined the purpose of each exercise, pointed out the energy-saving,
muscle-recuperation logic of the basic push-and-pull combination,
defined pump and burn, encouraged eventual intensity and praised
the attributes of discipline, patience, hard work and persistence.
Now all three of us are grinning and she buys a copy of Your Body
Revival for her sister.
T looks forward to demonstrating the exercises with form and focus
the following afternoon. He promises his adoring wife that she’ll
commence supersetting at the end of her six-week introductory cycle.
She’s impressed. Go, Tim.
last thing,” I said, “the most important elements to
achieving your goal are being demonstrated right here, right now:
commitment and enthusiasm, purpose and trust. Don’t let them
go, nurture them, crave them and realize them. You are close to
where you want to go. You’re in control. Don’t let the
disappointment of deceptive worldly expectations rob you of your
ambition. Be strong and courageous, girl.”
said “God bless you guys,” as the mild-mannered bookstore
security guard led us out the front door and into the dark and empty
parking lot. “Blast it.”
go. Time to rest this old B-51 before the sun rises on a brand new
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