Sunny Storms Ahead
December 20, 2002
just came in from the windy outdoors to secure a tarpaulin that
protects a pile of dry firewood. The rain is starting once again
after a suspicious two-day pause and the brooding, swift-moving
skies indicate another mean storm is about to unleash. Our central
coast neighborhoods have been for days on end without power, or
more precisely, without lights, refrigeration, heat, microwave oven,
George Foreman Grill, washer-dryer, telephone, television and computer.
Sit, shiver and stare silently, sullenly. I hear it’s bad
further up north.
most popular cliché of the week, “Things could be worse.”
go to the gym and open the doors; the lights flicker, the electricity
falters and the aerobic machines do what they do best, stop. Angry
mobs of one or more show their true disposition by moaning and kicking
the inanimate object as if it -- the treadmill -- did it on purpose
to spite them. I have the hyperventilating athlete lie down in the
stretch area and apply cool compresses to his or her forehead while
telling them inspiring stories about Joe DiMaggio, Jim Thorpe and
computer means no newsletter or internet access, which means I’d
better jot down a few words post-haste and send them off to you
as a sort of lifeline before there is another interruption in communication.
Don’t want you to think we deserted or fell out of the sky…
we don’t want you to forget us. Now if I only had something
at noon I walked in the front door of the iron refuge that is World
Gym and there stacked shoulder deep was the great book on feeding
the athlete, Stella’s Kitchen. I remember when it was a single
recipe of Shiskabob-a-la-Stella written in pencil on a yellow-lined
pad; it multiplied like super-setting muscle cells on Bomber Blend,
hypertrophying food menus piled high. Can you use an attractive
and streamlined book detailing what to feed your championship body?
Get one while they last, awesome, scintillating and hot off the
press. We only have three gillion left.
YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT I THINK?
people, the masses across the lands in their movement to get into
shape think of two things: fat and the heart. This translates to
diet and aerobic exercise, or more exactly, starvation and aerobic
exercise suffocation. Muscles are summarily ignored. Muscles are
jock stuff; guy stuff, dumb stuff, big stuff.
course, there’s the infomercially-informed who believe in
the Bow Flex or the arrow-maker or muscles in an electric-impulse-minute.
At least they believe in muscles and that’s hopeful.
or more appropriately, foremost, there’s us swell folk, educated
and all, who know just about everything, like, “to get in
shape feed the body, build the muscle and lose the fat along the
way; throw in some aerobics, throw away the sugar and blast the
weights.” Look in the mirror with just the right amount of
light or no light at all and say, “It works. It’s working.
We are doing this now and forever.”
people, the same masses, think the get-in-shape movement is a temporary
thing. The car gets dirty, you wash it. Your hair grows long, you
cut it. The body gets chunky, you exercise and diet. Life’s
simple, easy. Before long, simple becomes complicated and easy becomes
problematic. The car sparkles and the hair looks perfect, any color
you want; but the chunky body won’t budge.
“21 pounds in 21 days” diet lasts a long desperate week.
Spouse moves to the den, kids stay with friends and the dog sleeps
in the garage with the cat. The first two weeks at the gym were
novel, the third week a challenge and the fourth week was the same
week the NFL started and who can go to the gym that week? Seriously.
anyone set a goal? How deep was the commitment? Was visualizing
practiced in those susceptible quiet moments? The plan, the outline;
was it thorough, clear and achievable? Where is the will power?
Where is the spirit? Where is the courage?
… Hi Jane. It’s Shirley. How are you and the family?
… Yeah, us too. Have a nice holiday? … Yeah, us too.
Went to Buffalo to see the in-laws. Ate like a pig. Must have gained
another 10 pounds. … You too, huh? Happens every year. Bobby
-- he’s such a kidder – says I look like a barge. Guess
I’ll be going to the gym again for a while. You wanna go,
we can visit on the treadmill and catch some low-fat lunch afterwards
at the mall? Exercise and diet is sooo booorrring. … Remember
how we lost 30 pounds last June by walking all day and eating soy-puffs
for a month? Let’s do that again. … See ya at the 24-7
Nebulous in the AM, Ms. J. Be there or be a pear. Say hi to Joey.
… Hey, Joey, it’s Bobby. The girls are going to the
gym tomorrow, you wanna come over the house and do benches in the
basement? … Right on. I got the gearski, you bring the beerski.
Get pumped up on the carbs. … Right on. Get huge, bro. There’s
protein in good dark brew, you know. See ya at eight, don’t
be late. You say no, you won’t grow. … Later.
what I mean? Hear what I’m saying? Get my drift? Drives me
crazy. Something’s missing. They’re going on a bombing
mission with kites and water balloons. They’ll crash and drown.
an alternative plan, Plan B:
and Joe meet as planned after a pre workout Bomber Bend. Beerskis,
it is agreed, will never be mentioned again… well, almost
never. They set up the equipment for bench presses and wide grip
bent over rows to be performed in comfortable supersets after properly
warming up. 4 sets x 12,10, 8,6.
PUSH. You got it… you got it. Great. The bodies are confused,
caught between getting ripped and getting huge at the same precise
moment. Keep it curious. Body power, big back, some bis, some tris,
pecs, front shoulder, grip and that thick distribution of torso
muscles only a physiologist can describe. More water.
next combo is the Guys Giant Gatling Guns, standing barbell curls
followed by dips anywhere you can in a basement. This is more fun
than being a cop, a carpenter, a doctor or a lawyer. Bam, bam, back
and forth, like passing and receiving, pitching and homeruns, aiming
and firing. Sweat pours; men are men, high-fives, more water.
for one day. “Let’s keep it up till spring,” they
say, as they pierce their thumbs and press them together, a pact
sealed in blood. Tomorrow we’ll run the hilly trails behind
the old foundry outside of town. Toughen the legs and build wild
B, a la femme:
and Shirley meet at the town square and walk n’ run a mile
along the riverfront to the Eastside Gym. They had their Bomber
Blend at home with the kids before school; they’re warmed
up and ready to push some iron. Several sets of leg extensions and
standing calf raise combinations followed by leg curl and seated
calf combos set their focus and spirit. They step into the athlete
roll they love; that restores, revitalizes. 3 or 4 sets of high-rep
leg presses (20) with some decent and agreeable intensity are supersetted
with stiff leg deadlifts for ample stimulation of the heart, ham
strings and lower back. Is this a blast or what?
sets of dumbbell inclines supersetted with DB pullovers and followed
by seated lat rows, all sets of 10 big-bad-girl reps feels perfect
for today. They look into each others eyes, nod and say, “by
the summer you and I are gonna kick, girl. Lets do some rope tucks,
leg-raises and stretch. The tuna and water waits at my place.”
are Bombers and there are bummers. The distinction is clear. Let’s
take it up and touch the sky. DD
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