Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation
the Brat August 12, 2003
was out in the field patching up the old bomber the other day when
it occurred to me some of you are only twenty-something and to you
age, the number of years you’ve gathered while here on earth,
is incidental. Your birthday rolls around (once a year, as you recall)
and you might fuss over a special dinner and a few cute cards, some
gifts if you have those family traditions, and it goes away. If
asked, you remember a twinge of change when you turned 18 (I’m
legal) and a feeling of melancholy at 20 when you bravely left the
teens behind. But as you slip and slide in those busy, invincible
and seemingly unending 20s, collecting years is no more on your
mind than collecting string.
well, live it up. 30 will probably get your attention (who am I,
where am I goin’ and why ain’t I there yet?). And the
Big Four-O is always good for a few phony laughs and some restless
days -- nights, weeks, months and years (where did my life go?).
everyone embraces the 40s with open arms (they hide under the bed)
and those truly wonderful years can cause a good man or woman to
do some really strange things. They often dress funny, wear gold
chains over tanned chests and accentuate the makeup; they color
their hair, transplant it like the potted plants on the front porch,
throw an accenting toupee over it like a politician or shave it
off like a Sultan. The lonely adopt a golden retriever or a four-pound
terrier or chase the opposite sex; there’s the two-seater
sports car, the nip n’ tuck, the consuming introspection and
not infrequently, the bottle nestled in the bottom of the laundry
all our pathetic blunders the strangest and most disturbing is losing
them, those priceless years, trying to save them. There’s
a problem, but we don’t know what it is. We misunderstand
it, attempt to hide it from view or chase it away. We need not resist
the passing of time, as if life was slipping by and we were diminishing.
That is to support the misperception of aging, to feed it, to fear
it and become its victim. Big mistake, like allowing a spoiled brat
to rule us by kicking and screaming to get its way.
see ourselves as having reached our peak after too many years of
worry, sacrifice, poor choices and bad food. We further burden ourselves
with fear, doubt and anxiety. It’s the wrinkles, sagging skin,
flaccid biceps, abounding midsection, achy back, wobbly legs and
chins, plural. Youth gone by, if only I knew then what I know now.
It’s true what they say: Youth is wasted on the young.
we need to recognize the willing and able companion we are, the
friend who deserves our love and encouragement and support. You’re
not old, I’m not old, George Washington is old. He’s
the father of our country. We’re just kids in a body that
needs our help. Get back to the gym with purpose and zeal, eat right,
for cryin’ out loud, and the youth that left will return.
To outsiders I say start exercising, today, and discover real discipline
and fulfillment. Get rid of the sugar and eat protein, today, and
give your beloved body something to feed on and live for. Stop grumbling
and chasing your illusive midlife daydreams. Grasp authentic strength,
health and action with willing hands. Stand up. Be strong.
don’t go from bad to worse. They go from “better than
you think” to terrific. The years of your life add up, yes,
but you add years to your life. Youth isn’t wasted on the
young, nor are the 40s and 50s wasted on you. You’re in control
at the prime of your life with all you need to know. Fix what’s
broke and soup up what’s workin’ good. Zoom zoom. We
got places to go and things to do.
have a special affection for those middle years, 40 to 50, because
I beat the 30s, that season of princes and princesses, repeatedly
with a blunt object and was reborn in the 10 years that followed.
I was 42 to be exact, when I got to my feet, dusted myself off,
surveyed the burned-out territory in which I stood and commenced
the act of walking forward, one step at a time. (The point, please,
oh sorrowful fallen victim.) The 40s are really good for that sort
of thing, making magnificent strides over peaks, plateaus and beast-ridden
countryside. The 50s work very well also, but you’ve got to
be, like Jack, nimble and quick, alert and ready. While I’m
at it, the 60s, it seems, takes a nickel from one pocket and puts
a dime in the other. You don’t know whether to say, hey, hands
off or thank you, thank you, thank you, uncle time.
the early years when we were growing up we ate what we ate ‘cuz
it was there and did what we did ‘cuz we were told. Later,
as we got older, we imitated our surroundings, what we viewed on
TV and saw in the media. For most of us, none of it was ever really
good or bad. It was sufficient. Today, with the passing of time
the good has diminished and the bad has increased. We eat like horses
and act like hogs; we do what is easy, what is our habit or what
little we can. And we know it, we’re not doing anything about
it and it doesn’t have to be that way.
can control it.
been weight training for a long time and more or less on the pursuit
of muscles and strength since I was a kid. Even when I was bad and
messin’ up I was training and eating tuna. Talk about a dizzy
dude. The last 20 years have been as straight as an arrow and I’ve
been attentive to life around me, the days gone by and the days
ahead. How to keep the stone rolling and free of moss has become
my hobby. Keeping you periodically informed of my observations helps
me observe. Evidently there’s this cool group of people who
care and wonder as I do. I’m accountable.
what’s the latest? Remember, dear reader, whose eyes are yet
to require magnifying glasses to read this newsletter, this stuff’s
for all ages and conditions, breeds, makes and models. Listen and
learn, or not.
only have positive news to report. If you recall in a summary last
spring, I added certain unpopular exercises to my workout that I
ignored for 40 years to replace those exercises that were overused,
abused and not withstanding the years. The additions included low-incline
flys for pecs, reverse-cable crossovers for the back and rear delts,
wide-grip pulldowns behind the neck and medium wide parallel-grip
have proven to be effective and productive and my strength in each
movement has increased considerably. This is great news when inflammation
and nerve pain due to repeat trauma -- exercise redundancy -- start
to limit one’s plane of resistance, repertoire of exercise
and joy of performance. Little things started to happen and continue
to happen here and there: fullness, tightness, hardness, expanded
capability, comfort and reduction of “bad” pain in critical
areas. The direction remains forward and upward, in spite of the
wrinkles and aches time insists you bear to keep you humble and
best, I am feeble. Even so, I’m stronger in squatting, pulling
and deadlifting than ever before and more capable in pushing and
pressing than in the last three years. The revolting nerve pain
in the right wrist and elbow prevent me from demonstrating the true
ability of my shoulders and triceps. Nevertheless, maximum muscle
intensity in difficult regions is approachable through warm-up,
focused reps, periodic forced, slow reps and odd positioning. Pressing
on is successful, development is possible. That’s the point
of my story, hopeful bombers, not me and my clay-footed pursuits.
train for muscle and power, health, fun, expression, stress repression
and because, once bitten, we must. When I train for maximum response,
that is, muscle growth, definition, density, strength and intensity
in performance, I train with ultimate focus and concentration. My
attention does not veer from the work before me. To the extent that
it does the work is compromised. The physical and the mental and
the emotional become entwined, tightly strung. I love my training
most when it is at that level. Only then is it really training.
Other times it is play.
continue my juggling act and throw in a somersault every now and
then -- anything to keep you motivated and training and eating right.
Last week under the direction of Laree and the eye of video-cameraman
and friend, Ritch Bergland, I completed a six minute tape demonstrating
the Top Squat. It’s in the editing stages and will be on the
web and down-loadable in a few more days. I look like an old retired
high school coach reluctantly doing charity work for his former
alma mater. “Stand here, Coach, say these words and, please,
try to smile. Don’t forget, look at the camera.”
don’t want to miss this. If it comes out okay, we might film
Slumpbusters and Workout Routines and, maybe someday, Westside Story.
you’re a grand team.
high and go with God.
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