Allow Not Life to Hang Limply Over the Bedpost
December 11, 2002
life in that circle of iron; milk and honey in those bars of steel.
The pulleys go round and round like a sweet melody and the cables
are threads of gold, weaving rich cloth into a fine tapestry. A
workout is the joyful union between man, performance and forces
of gravity. Goals are realized within the embrace of time and meaning
is clearest when one tries least to understand. “Why”
and “how” lie somewhere in the doing and done and doing
for the body, mind and soul is matchless, priceless and loving.
to feed ourselves is a grand responsibility and a magnificent delight.
A variety of foods give us energy; many provide material with which
to build muscle, while other delicious foodstuffs fill us with all
the goodness we could ask for to keep us healthy, balanced and whole.
Good food nurtures, restores and develops our collective nature.
Of course, there are nasty yet pleasurable food-like items we are
encouraged by deceptive marketeers to ingest that diminish and destroy.
Why we succumb -- weaken, submit and fall -- needs to be known.
Hint: has something to do with courage, awareness and discipline,
and the lack thereof.
in all things is a divine rule of thumb and 99 out of a hundred
disregard the instruction. They are exercise and nutrient-starved;
blatant, obtuse and sad, but it doesn’t stop there. Their
neglect and carelessness is pervasive, flooding their system and
leaking into the systems around them. Their weakness deteriorates
the whole. Societies limp.
personally think it’s an outer space thing, you know, aliens,
the pod people… probably an invasion from the nebulas of Orion
or someplace. Totally scary.
you thrilled you have inside intelligence, are not infected and
have developed a strong immunity to insidious diseases? We, taking
five to converse about such things as health, muscles, weight lifting
and bodyfat are a distinct, special, commendable – and did
I say rare? – breed. On the chart labeled “wise and
good warriors,” the lines representing you and me go upward
at a very impressive incline.
is it about us that has us caring for ourselves, our health and
strength and body shape, while the others watch tournament bowling
from the couch? Why do we refuse to miss a workout or eat everything
in sight? Because our self-image is bankrupt and we are paranoid,
bound with guilt, masochistic, obsessed and fear rejection. Yeh,
yeh, yeh… besides that?
Sum it up to say we have an uncompromising love for life and gratitude
for its multiplicity and dimension. We want to enlarge it, extend
it, fulfill it and nurture it. We enjoy experiencing life in motion,
functioning and working as designed. It speaks of strength, might,
limits, speed, acuity, deep breathing, high performance and challenge.
Engage it vigorously, feed it well and finally let it rest, but
never abuse it or allow it to hang limply over the bedpost. Your
life is a keeper.
man walked into the gym yesterday, middle-aged, overweight and a
little out of breath. He works for Community Social Services up
the street and a fellow employee suggested he visit the gym on his
lunch hour. He casually reassured me he lifted weights when he was
a kid, “but you know how it is.” He laughed, patted
his belly and said all he needed to do was to move this from here
to there, pointing to his chest. Oh, boy. Where have I heard that
before? I smiled.
than preach to the lost soul, I gently placed the good books, “Brother
Iron” and “Your Body Revival” under the counter
and said, “Let me show you something?” We walked onto
the gym floor and over to the bench press. “Do me a favor
and lay down on the bench,” I said. He did as I asked without
hesitation and was quickly adjusting to the padded surface with
old-time familiarity. I handed him the Olympic bar evenly and encouraged
him to practice a few reps, “for the fun of it; I’ll
watch you closely.”
now he was serious and beaming, like a little kid about to go down
a steep slope on his snowboard for the first time. The bar dipped,
swayed and swooped for five reps as he searched for the groove and
then… there it was. He knocked out a set of 12, sat up and
with arms bent at his sides, threw his chest out while contracting
his back muscles. Yeh! Youthful memories revisited, old habits revived.
He stood, assessed the bar and loaded 25s on each side. Dead giveaway.
joined the gym before going back to his cubicle and we talked about
protein, next summer and getting strong. He admitted he’d
put off his return to the iron and the muscle and might because
he, like most everyone else, viewed them as things of one’s
youth and of the past. He thought of getting in shape as a ponderous
and time-consuming task, added labor to a burdensome daily schedule.
Never did it occur to him that lifting weights could inspire youthfulness,
be a fun and fulfilling diversion and so directly contribute to
his well being.
a sedentary job one loses touch with one’s physical being
and functionality. Action is reduced to a minimum of perfunctory
movements: sitting down, getting up, reaching, short walks, slight
bends, minor twists, occasional climbing and, of course, sitting
down once again. Our community social worker, no exception, needs
and misses hard physical work, intense physical action and full
physical function. The inactive man stews in his inactivity and
grows soft and puffy; he’s become restless, listless and passive.
He’s aged like an unopened, unread book on a shelf: musty,
pointless and cracked at the seams from non-use. The situation calls
for iron in motion.
very little but enough about our new muscle maker, come Friday I’m
suggesting a short and solid routine immediately after work to start
the healing, learning and developing process, most appealing, most
effective. The long hours of urging good social practices among
a dysfunctional community must call for venting, if not exploding.
Like my grandmother used to say, “A small dose of medicine
will do more good and go farther than the whole bottle in one gulp.”
MERCILESS UPPER BODY SCINTILLATOR…
plan for Day 1 of the two-day program is to sit our earnest gentleman
on the lifecycle for 10 dizzy minutes, show him the five-minute
crunch and leg-raise act and steer him directly to the bench press
of his daring younger years. I say superset from the start; why
waste precious time? It’s standard bench presses and partial
introductory deadlifts, back and forth, working toward 4 sets x
8-10 reps by his third week, continuing for a total of five weeks.
with light-to-moderate weight, this odd couple is a great conditioner
and prep for the many seasons and changes and moves ahead: the motor-coordination
of the pushing and pulling basics; the systemic contributions of
large muscle involvement; the comprehensive blood flow for the health
and capacity of the heart and lungs by major muscle movers and the
sheer power building in the entire body, including the chronically
weak areas of the lower back, hips and thigh biceps.
long as his color holds out and he can count my fingers, we’ll
move onto standing barbell curls creatively paired with machine
dips, again seeking a firm 4 supersets of 8 to 10 reps by the fifth
week of relentless pounding, or rather, intelligent performance.
Nice combination for the arms, shoulders, chest and back, huh?
DAUNTING LEG MAKER…
2 is a shorter training period and time invested on the bike and
in the midsection exercises can be extended according to devotion.
go with the usual extension, curl and calf routine done in single-set
fashion until supersetting seems appropriate. Throughout all initial
training, mild application is recommended, as structures are tested
and prepared and rhythm and pace and groove become familiar quantities.
The same scheme of sets as Day 1 can be followed on Day 2, while
increasing the reps to 12.
presses work safely and agreeably, yet aggressively, to build thigh
strength, muscle hardness and shape. Soon enough the whole body
will be ready for squats (by the end of the five week cycle). Then
those round holes and square pegs at social services had better
have their building blocks lined up and in order.
two simple routines should be alternated regularly. For example:
1, day off, Day 2, day off, Day 1, day off, Day 2, day off and so
on … or
1, Day 2, day off, Day 1, Day 2, two days off and so on …
to me, listen to yourself, but don’t divert from the good
plan. Put in your time, pay your dues, reach for intensity and trust
in the one and only God you know. Lots of protein, sufficient nutrient-packed
carbohydrates and the fats you need in thoughtful abundance will
set you ablaze with lean sinew and might.
can hurry but you won’t get there any faster. You can meditate,
howl at the moon and chant in solitude, but whatever happens, happens
as it happens. Never let go, never give in, press on with God’s
The Bomber’s Creed… DD
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