Up and Fly High
April 22, 2003
through bloodshot eyes and speaking in a scorched and breathless
voice, I remind a co-trainer how grand it is to be lifting weights
and that this is the best time of year for muscle-building progress.
We stand before the dumbbell racks that line the mirrored wall running
the length of the gym. She nods while leaning on a pair of 20s for
support, her posture and expression belying her message of agreement.
sun is strong this afternoon, the air warm and the shift in the
clock to daylight-savings affords another hour to work and play.
Time is freedom. Spirits rise, layers of clothes are removed and
joints cooperate. Why then do I turn limp this time of the year
and stagger in a mental, physical and attitude void, contradicting
the obvious promise of the season?
said I’m alone. We expect to soar, instead we crash. Jimmy
“Trees” walks past me as I precisely position an incline
bench for some righteous abdominal work. He’s grumbling ‘cuz
it’s hot and he’s sweaty and itchy and tired and it’s
Monday. “Poor baby,” I offer my sympathy and encouragement,
“This is the best time of year for muscle-building progress,
Jim. Time is freedom!” He glares, sawdust from trimming redwoods
still in his ponytail. He’ll be okay in a few sticky and bristling
minutes… been there, done that.
a big seller at the juice bar and clear plastic bottles decorate
the gym. Pint-sized towels pass over damp foreheads and drape the
equipment. Sweatshirts and Ts are tossed in corners and tank tops
and crop tops bob and weave about the benches, bars and racks. It’s
wonderfully warm, but the creatures are gasping.
perfect blend of ingredients is present for unparalleled workouts
and muscle response. We worship the first wave of warm weather,
we rejoice in the sun and find relief in the extended daytime hours.
The long, cold and dreary winter is over and we are liberated. No
more dampness and chills, fewer aches and pains, less bulky gym
wear and more pump and burn. Here we come, tanned, toned and tapered.
not exactly. The adaptable animal we are must adapt. The blood in
our veins, the beat in our heart and the air in our lungs need to
adjust. Our hormones and digestive system are responding to seasonal
changes in diet and patterns of eating and sleeping and extents
and intensities of activity. We go through stress changes -- a natural
phase, AKA spring fever -- as the days lengthen and the temperatures
rise and our habits alter, ever so slight as they may be.
wrong? Unsuspected fatigue might be misinterpreted as a mystery
illness or depression or ennui. Unfamiliar with the phase, we try
to overcome or over-ride it with forced training tactics and grouchy
days of insufferable workouts. “It’s spring and I feel
sprung,” we say. Our appetite wanes, our muscles lose tone,
we’re tired, weak and looking fat. Great, just great! What
happened to the pre-summer revival we’ve all been anticipating?
Discouragement mounts, confidence slips…
year, get it right. Don’t panic and don’t despair. It’s
spring, not the flu again or a triple by-pass or SARS or cooties.
It’s spring; stop and smell the flowers. It’s spring;
take a walk in the park, have an ice cream sandwich, go fishing
or mow the lawn. It’s the springtime we thought six months
ago would never come, the long days, the cool nights with only the
summer ahead when flying is high and landings are soft and time
drifts. Vacations and long weekends are in sight, barbecues and
relaxed time with friends, no work, no responsibilities, lots of
sleep and lots of food.
course then the dilemma becomes laziness, missed workouts, misplaced
discipline, zero energy, extinct self-esteem, lost muscle and gained
fat. The summer will end on time -- catching us off guard -- and
the winter will pounce on us mercilessly as always and we will long
for the spring when everything is good and hopeful and wonderful
and you will hear me say, “This is the best time of year for
muscle-building progress, Jim. Time is freedom!”
cool, Bombers. Lighten up and fly right.
con Dios… DD
LIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT
fever: a temporary state of fatigue that attacks all the systems
of the body simultaneously; any combination of low energy, almost
lazy-like feelings where shoulders sag, motivation ebbs, spirits
droop and procrastination replaces immediate action; an intolerable
yet self-perpetuating condition of the mind and body that diminishes
its victim unless intelligent precautions are taken.
is what I do at the first signs of spring fever: I lie back on the
closest bench and rejoice. Spring, here at last. Life is good.
then proceed to load up on cool water, savoring its flavor and goodness.
Life is sweet.
allow 10 minutes of midsection exercise -- my favorite variety of
the day -- to warm up and activate my self-charging neuro-muscular
systems. No pressure, no demand, no stress… just downhill
rhythm and motion and ever-increasing action, contraction, extension
and momentum. Cruise control.
tucks, hand-hanging leg-raises, hyperextensions – 3 supersets
this fluid time I consider where I am and where I’ve been
and where I want to go. I hope – I trust -- that by the end
of my romp the remainder of my muscular pursuits will be evident,
my all-knowing subconscious at work.
before me unfolds the ideal combination of basic and subtle movements
best suited for my energy level, muscular ability, depth of focus
and internal desire.
like a trustworthy, living and breathing computer to run the factory.
The iron workload in response to the first day of delirious spring
fever looks like this:
grab a pair of comfortably moderate weight dumbbells, assume a sturdy
shoulder-width stance and bend over at the waist and knees allowing
the weighs to hang naturally, a posture resembling a deadlift. The
stretch alone feels good. I pull the dumbbells upward and toward
my torso and simultaneously stand up partially. The result of the
movement is what appears to be an abbreviated dumbbell clean. The
action is repeated in slow muscle-controlled thrusts and returns,
deliberately accenting the contraction and extension.
movement recruits a lot of muscle throughout the body, from the
thighs, about the midsection and lower back, upward along the traps,
upper back and rear delts, and not without a demand on the biceps,
forearm and grip. Keep these muscle groups in mind as you work.
The pump is seductive and exhilarating and the flow of blood and
oxygen a strain, but restorative. Spring fever takes its first hit.
(your call) supersetted with
me guess, stiff-arm dumbbell pullovers? Nope. Bent-arm straight-bar
pullovers and press. This sweeping movement, Smarty, is done with
a light to moderate weight as we are seeking precise action, therapeutic
stretch, focused muscle contraction and relief.
Bar overhead, down to chest, backward and over the head and downward
to a sufficient bent arm stretch. Return following the initial path.
we engage the triceps, the pecs, front delts, the lats and abs.
under-grip pulldowns are performed to mimic your everyday chin-up.
This action has a Spring-like flavor to it and I pretend I’m
in the park at Huber Street Elementary School in Secaucus, New Jersey.
I’m 10, without a care and nothing hurts.
pump, lats work, serratus contract and the grip is in action.
Dips assuming a variety of positions (forward, backward, arched
back, rounded back) to squeeze out the last repetition.
triceps get their turn, lower pecs, mid back and some delts. Between
the two the pump and burn is gratifying and hopeful -- a sprinkle
going for the whole body. Leg presses are an agreeable movement
cuz you get to sit down in what appears to be an easy chair. Three
or four sets of 25 reps (with calf stretches between sets) is a
grand way to pump blood, aerate, energize and penetrate the lower
body. Do the reps in close segments, such as 15, 5 and 5.
heading for Oakland to pick up a supply of precious Bomber Blend
as soon as this document is on a disc and into Laree’s greedy
little hands. She’ll stuff it in her computer, dot the i’s
and cross the t’s, add her two cents and send it off to our
beloved readers -- that’s you -- in a flash. I’ll grab
a workout later today on my way home with a truck full of miracle
powder. I am very responsible, ready for hijackers and other treacherous
fiends. They’re out there but don’t have a prayer.
your tail… DD
here to order your personalized, autographed copy of Dave's new
book, Your Body Revival, $18.95
here to see the previous week's column
New | Online
Store | Weekly Columns | Photo
Archive | Weight Training
| General Nutrition | Draper
History | Discussion Group
| Mag Cover Shots | Magazine
Articles | Bodybuilding
Q&A | Bomber Talk | Workout
FAQs | World Gym Listing | Santa
Cruz Local | Muscle Links | Need
More Help? |Site Map | Contact
All IronOnline pages copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
All rights reserved.