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Dave Draper's Iron Online

Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation
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Are you training hard and eating right as we proceed rather speedily through the month of December? Getting to the gym at all constitutes training -- that’s acceptable -- and eating with reasonable control and minor guilt, that, too, is acceptable. With a generous heart to match the Christmas season, I offer you a simple choice: either hang on or do not let go or don’t give in.

The price is too high, not worth it, unacceptable, painful, ruinous and devastating. Season submission, December defeat and winter waning are like credit card debt; it is never removed, paid in full, under control or tolerable. Once you gather a little, it grows like it had a life of its own.

Sheesh! What a grouch! Slip that guy an eggnog, quick.

I was asked to contribute to an article to appear in a small health publication. I thought you might like to review my standardized comments en total, a reminder of the things we forget right about now.

Dear Editor,

Regarding The Bodybuilder's Grocery List, you said, “E-mail to me a list of five foods or supplements you feel are absolutely a must for anyone serious about building muscle, and why.” Here goes.

Generally speaking and without getting into the details of individual metabolism, levels of training or goals, these are my thoughts:

Protein tops the list of muscle-building ingredients and the best source for aggressive muscle growth is red meat, followed by chicken and fish and dairy products (milk, cheese, eggs, whey protein powder). Look at 1.5 to 2 grams per pound of bodyweight. I recommend little reliance on soy or beans or nuts as protein sources.

Fat supplies energy and fats are absolutely necessary in numerous healthful bodily functions; it is wise to assure the intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) through the diet and supplementary sources. However, excess fat common in the diet should be avoided, so trim meats and skin chicken; fish fats are good, watch the fat in nuts and as an active trainee do not fear cholesterol in egg yolks. Do not ingest fried food and avoid trans-fatty acids.

Carbohydrates are a source of energy and play an important role in running the body at high and low speeds. Yet carbohydrate is ultimately sugar and does the most havoc to man's health and well being when ingested abundantly.

It's the sugar overload that’s dangerous to the system; excess is stored as fat, too much at once can induce hyperglycemia and can result in diabetes, mood swings and more. This understood, it is wise to avoid processed sugar and to limit simple sugar intake to nutrient rich whole foods; fruits, low fat milk products and such.

Complex carbs -- simply put, slowly digested and administered sugar -- work well in supporting the hard-working trainee. Vegetables and beans high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and amino acids are the preferred source.

In variety and abundance eat fresh vegetables in salads or lightly steamed. These are the great suppliers of fiber, vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients essential to the health and wealth of the body. Fruits are also great body supporters high in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. A reminder, they are high in sugar content -- keep fruit sugar in check.

Pure water is required in abundance to assure the healthy functioning of the body at work: energy, temperature control, body purifier, cellular efficiency, main body component... the list goes on. Drink lots throughout the day, go for two quarts.

To assure vitamins and minerals a' plenty for the superior health of a serious athlete, it's smart to include a high-quality vitamin and mineral formula daily. A top-quality whey and casein protein powder is a great tool for the aspiring lifter-musclebuilder to supply muscle-supporting protein in abundance and at inconvenient times -- breakfast, pre- or post-workout intervals, or on the road.

Creatine works for muscle contraction and is safe.

There are no exotic concoctions on the market suggested by the obnoxious advertisers that make a spec of difference to the natural musclebuilder.

There are the big don'ts: don't ingest soda pop, junk food, infamous fast foods, cake, candy, chips and fries. No booze, cigs and drugs. Don't eat excessively at one sitting or throughout the day; instead, eat smaller meals spaced more frequently.

That’s that, bombers. I’ll let you know if, where and when it is published.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Laree and I look over our wardrobe in despair. There are piles of sweatpants and sweatshirts and stacks of t-shirts and tanktops. These articles of clothing are our daily dress, work uniforms and the tools of our trade. We wash and wear the same favorite raggy items over and over again. At home they double as what some people call pajamas. “Oh my goodness,” you say, “what bums.” Remember, we live in Santa Cruz where “kicked back” has its origin.

As owners of a small gym, our working hours are consumed by our own sweaty training and attending the needs and upkeep of the gym and its membership. We don’t dress up for the occasion. We seldom dress up for church, weddings or funerals. Jeans and a sweater or a button-down shirt to me have the feel and appearance of a tuxedo or, in Laree’s case, a strapless gown. We secretly delight in this abandon of convention, no silks and frills bind us.

We also admire those who dress well and display charm and fashion with ease. Clothes, they say, make the person.

In ten days Laree and I board an aircraft bound for NYC where we will spend our Christmas holidays. Just us; no family to visit, no special occasion other than Christmas and no enticements but “the City.” What more can you ask for: lights, wonder, spontaneous excitement, city bustle, skyscrapers, bona fide entertainment, countless restaurants, life en mass and the total anonymity that one only senses in a vast and madly peopled metropolis. You become nobody and nothing at once, good for the soul.

And as we recall -- I, having spent my first 21 years in the immediate vicinity and Laree four years down the coast a piece at NSA -- it gets bitterly cold and snowy. It is this reality and the image of us wandering Times Square in tanktops and cutoffs that provokes our slack-jaw gloom.

We don’t hang onto gloom very long; it’s a damp, sticky and unpleasant thing. Solution: Buy some appropriate clothes and go east to play in the towering winter wonderland. A jacket for each of us will do, some gloves with fingers; Laree wants boots and we’ll pick up what we need when we need it at the local Wal-Mart’s. Now, where do we train?

That, the standard question of the traveling musclebuilder, is one of the reasons we are embarking on this journey -- if one needs a reason, which we do because we are a pair of obsessed and driven, half-crazed individuals who think there is no time for absolute relaxation or joy for the pure sake of joy itself and work must be done even if there is no work to do. It is frivolous, fruitless, incompetent, costly and hedonistic.

The Bomber Bash in September of 2004 is in Manhattan and we believe a first-hand, look-and-see approach is the only effectual way to make arrangements for the affair. Where to stay, train, eat, convene for the barbecue and seminar, visit, play and travel about in the Big Apple requires some physical contact, visual perception and personal negotiation. Phone calls don’t make it -- like calling China.

Do you see the neat combination of work and play Laree and I have organized? We have some Bash ideas after having made a few of those made-in-China phone calls and will follow up on them in person to verify their appeal, cost, worth and accessibility. There is the Mid-City Gym of days gone by; will it work for us? The lodgings: Are they reasonable, adequate and centrally located? The venue for our barbecue and seminar where real estate is slim and costly: a yacht on the Hudson (expensive), a sort-of-remodeled warehouse loft (cool?), a mansion, (please, no dorky conference room in a hotel). We need atmosphere, we are worth atmosphere. Sightseeing is abundant and restaurants are everywhere and there are super shows in that city of cities. We’ll put a list together of sure things that’ll fit our nature, needs, pocketbook and timeframe versus travel convenience. I think this is called logistics. Nightmare is another possible word.

You make plans, talk them over, save your loose change, take aim each day as you train hard and eat right; you anticipate, you forget, but not completely. The winter fades and the warmth of spring revives the seeds silent in your gut. The gym reappears with its sunny promise and by early summer the pump and burn and focus are once again old friends hard at work making you more than ever before. Zoom, it’s September and it’s New York and it’s your friends and those moments of which our life is made. Once a thought or a dream or a bit of foolishness we allow to slip into our sometimes dull lives, then a plan, now the real thing on the other side of tomorrow.

We’ll be gone a week, foregoing the newsletter for December 24th. Primarily a holiday of the Western world, many people worldwide will be busy with Christmas Eve just the same. It’s the global thing.

May strength be your ship’s pilot and may courage navigate you safely across the skies. When we fly together, we fly higher, further and with more sureness and delight. We fly forever…

God’s speed and Merry Christmas,

Dave Draper

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