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Get a Job

Another week has gone by already. Are we enjoying ourselves immensely, totally preoccupied or have we been slumbering, prompted by wet, cold days and long, drowsy nights? Beware: Sometimes we are asleep while appearing in every way to be awake and active. Ambitions falter and grow numb this time of year and they habitually go into hibernation. Keep your eye on your goals lest they slip from view.

That was my brief yet pointed admonition for the day. I am dedicated to providing a small boot in the britches once a week from now until April… it’s the least I can do. Besides, I get a kick out of it myself.

So. Is it your aim to lose weight in the form of bodyfat over the next months, gain substantial muscle size and hardness or continue to chisel away at shape and separation? Are you bound and determined? Across the land and sea there are those of you who are weathered, tough as nails and understand that time is muscle. You recall last year as the wintry months marched by while you barely moved, and come April you discovered a soft, plumpish and astonished stranger inhabiting your new shorts and sleeveless tee. Yipes!

I know some of you are shooting for heavier lifts and more mass and more power. Man, oh, man. Don’t you just love the string of food-centered festivities stretched before you? Consider: One does not need to swell to blimponic proportions for one to gain true muscle strength… though for some it’s a grand excuse, a sheer delight. A five-percent gain in “bulk” or “mass” should help you hoist the steel without waddling conspicuously as you approach the rack.

Unless you are sorely committed to the big weight gain with a comprehensive strength and muscle-building program, you might find your hefty body a discomfort and the reflection of your rounding face in the mirror slightly unsightly. Makes for a lousy holiday season.

Realistically, maintaining your equilibrium and preventing a slump through the steel gray season ahead might prove to be a sufficient challenge. Be kind to yourself, expect the best, do your best and don’t beat yourself up. Guilt can be heavier than the weights and the overload will surely harm the mind and spirits and do no good for the muscles and might.

I haven’t been exactly on track myself. I saw the changes that come with November a month ago, yet it’s like they sneaked up on me. There I was over the weekend, floundering, writing in circles, lukewarm and pointless. It became apparent that I -- me, dd, your cap, the bomber -- needed a plan. I needed to retool, rethink, redefine. I panicked. “I‘m not ready for the unspeakable horrors of winter, the relentless blasts of icy wind, the dark cold that penetrates the soul as if to freeze the spirit; sunless skies day after desperate day driving you to seek light in pale shadows… stiff joints, no pump, no body heat, cold iron and I feel droopy. Droopy Draper, that’s me.”

Poor baby. The answer came like a thief in the night. I’m going back to work… my day job.

Laree and I stepped out of a regular schedule as part of the work force at the gym this past summer to accommodate our extensive internet ventures – Stella’s Kitchen, YBR book tour, The Bash and such. With those energetic rascals put to rest for the moment, we have resumed our duties in the “land of the iron.”

Duty calls. I will have to contain myself from training five days a week, the number of workdays I face. Overtraining is as effortless and unintentional for me as overeating is for others.

Come to think of it, I kinda like the ole wintertime with a bit of nip in the air; shelter takes on new meaning and the fireplace becomes a theater of dance and crackling music. Don’t get snow in our neck of the woods, but we sure do need the rain. Yeh, winter… the change is fascinating and refreshing. Gonna be good but we’ve got to stick together for the warmth of support.

I’ve got a $64,000 question for you: Why don’t more people exercise? The word is out. It’s no secret. There are few things that are better for you. Good food is right at the top of the list, also. Why don’t people eat better, healthier, more beneficial food? It’s all over the place. The supermarket is like a paradise if you know what aisles to walk. Something’s wrong. About 95% of the population got whacked in the head when they were little kids and they haven’t been right since.

The most agreeable and highly recommended form of exercise, as you know, is walking. And there are a large number of people of all ages who have taken up the activity and have enjoyed remarkable benefits, including weight loss, lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, lower stress, lessened risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, enhanced mood, improved digestion and diminished depression. Still, 8o% of adults fail to walk or do light exercise as much as 15 minutes a day. Exasperating. How does one expect to get them to lift weights?

They need to take a peek at the amazing cascade of metabolic events that occur in their body the moment they take a step or lift a weight in the course of an exercise program. Here’s a sketchy rundown from one sketchy musclebuilder: Adrenaline secreted by the adrenal glands finds it’s way into the bloodstream and signals the heart to beat faster. Blood is pumped vigorously to the muscles under the exertion of lifting, moving, pushing pulling and walking. The blood vessels in the arms, legs, shoulders and such begin to expand as they are gorged with blood supplying oxygen and other life-supporting nutrients, the pump.

The heart and lungs and venal system become very busy supporting the muscles with blood as the body continues to work under resistance. Muscle cells, like furnaces, go through complex exchanges burning readily available and stored carbohydrates. Digestion hurries and the metabolism -- the process of reducing raw materials to elements essential to the system -- speeds up. The temperature of the body is rising and the calories are flying in different directions to keep the body cool. Fat’s in trouble.

I can’t begin to tell you what relief the hormonal system enjoys when muscle, might and action are brought into the complicated equation of one rep plus one rep equals two reps (not to mention supersetting and squats).

And they continue to sit, eat stuff out of a bag and fidget with the remote.

The brain has got to do something with all this commotion going on, so it causes the release of endorphins into the rushing bloodstream. Endorphins are extremely important as pain blockers – the body would literally scream without them – and they have comforting feel-good properties as well. Furthermore, the brain, enjoying its charitable function, releases a generous portion of the neurotransmitter serotonin, a life-rescuing mood elevator. Beats drugs.

Now I know why I like to wallow in my workouts all day long. I’m addicted.

This is a small glimpse from a limited viewpoint of what takes place when the magnificent art of exercise is applied. Imagine the vast sea of benefits that accumulate as the rivers of weight training run freely: The heart muscle grows stronger and more efficient; the lungs and vascular system expand and improve in transporting oxygen and vital elements to more parts of the body; resting oxygen uptake is improved impressively; blood pressure drops within a day or two; the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood clots is diminished; digestion improves with the ramped circulation; blood sugar levels drop with the improved efficiency of transporting glucose into the needy muscles, thus helping the body process fat and convert it into energy. Exercise immediately ratchets up the immune system, bones grow stronger and muscle control improves. That’s the beginning.

I didn’t even mention the subjects of getting huge and ripped and being able to scale tall buildings without having to change outfits in a telephone booth.

Press on, bombers. We’ll save them one by one, one day at a time.

Fly above the storm.

Vaya con Dios… El Bombero

Where there’s an admonishment, a kindness will surely follow.

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