and the Livin' is Easy
Weight Training for Summer
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was a nip in the air this week reminiscent of fall weather. Ugh.
Unpleasant deja vu rippled through my system as I imagined it was
September and we faced six full months of descending climatic patterns.
A spasm of chemical changes erupted and I lost my drive, enthusiasm,
sense of humor and pump. My shoulders slumped and my jaw went slack;
I broke out in a cold sweat and I ached all over. “But I don’t
want to bulk up and wear a hooded sweatshirt.” This adrenaline-charged
distress consumed me for exactly one point five seconds.
the opposite is true; the most hopeful and desirable days of the
year are ahead of us. I recovered fully within the time it took
to stagger, wipe my perspiring brow with the back of my hand and
say, “Only 45 shopping days left till Christmas.” I
lose control when faced with disaster.
The fright -- more accurately, the terror -- caused some hard thinking.
Time is precious, bombers, don’t waste it. Grab it, plan it
and use it. Now. Don’t let this spring and summer pass by
without exploiting the unique properties and exciting advantages
they present; warm weather, extended daylight, a fundamental sense
of enthusiasm and joy of living, the natural cycle of birth, rebirth
and growth and the matching attitude of being alive and free, creative
and expressive. What a bounty of magnificent resources to draw upon!
A popular avenue of fair-weather travel is the downhill slide, which
includes celebrations and parties and spectator sports: frolicking,
eating, drinking and sleeping, or not sleeping. The beach, bar,
boat, ballgames and backyard barbecues are regularly enjoyed. Fun
is a blur. Seasons go by fast and furious. It’s over, they're
toasted, you’re roasted. No plan, Dan.
I don’t know of any sky-riders who slide, do you? An occasional
swoop, naturally, but feet-on-the-ground, downhill sloppy-sloping,
slipping and sliding? No way. Still, sufficient attention to prudence
and planning is highly recommended. You can soar, cruise, glide
or nosedive, your choice, but don’t slide, Clyde.
it’s spring and I’m easy, ladies and gentlemen. The
plan does not have to be rigid. In fact, flexible is a swell word
to describe the training scheme I’m talking about. The important
thing is to stop and think:
~ Where are you today?
~ In what direction are you going?
~ Where do you want to go?
~ What is your level of interest?
~ What obstacles are on your calendar?
~ Based on your answers, what’s your simple, supple plan?
routine is wisely based on a short self-evaluation, a brief introspection,
and an honest conversation with yourself. This time alone is sometimes
enough to remind yourself you care, stimulate your training instincts
and affections, heighten your innate physical senses and arouse
your musclehead logic to performance. Concisely, inspire action.
wake up, I love you, it’s time to get your butt moving.
me tell you what my brief encounter with a summer lost did for me.
I applied and completed the 30-minute evaluation (in about 30 seconds)
and surmised I survived the cold, wet and short days of winter and
don’t exactly look like Doughboy Goes to Hawaii. My diet and
training run parallel tracks in a straight, swift and unwavering
line... I travel express. How they maintain continuity and consistency
while I’m personally a wild and crazy guy is something my
veterinarian will never understand. I didn’t get sick or suffer
any unusual injury these months and my periods away from the gym
served as vacations during which I repaired and revitalized. This
perplexes my private bodyguard.
too cheap to revel and make merry. It costs too much to get in shape:
time in the gym, pain to gain, sacrifice and compromise here, there
and everywhere, straining under loaded bars and striving on the
spin bikes, steaks and eggs, fruit and vegetables, tuna and water,
Super Spectrim and Bomber Blend, training and eating days on top
of days till you gain a paltry pound on the bench in a month, half
a pound of muscle mass in two months and an inch off the ole’
hips on occasion. I’m greedy, Petey. You can party, Marty.
Take a hike, Mike. I’m cool, Raul.
it greedy, cheap, obsessed, stiff, boring, crazy, weird or get-a-life;
I call it safe and sound. A generous bystander might call it wise,
responsible, disciplined, dutiful and robotic. Whatever, it works.
and summer are loose and I refuse to wrap myself tight with a consuming
exercise program, and, as noted, it doesn’t appear I need
major restoration. After 45 years of training, it’s a brain
transplant that I need. Instead, I’ll get some color and vitamin
D, increase my daily activity as one does in long days of fair weather,
respond to the lively and lovely qualities of the breezy months
ahead and fly. I’ll release myself of any overbearing training
demands -- no bully for a silent training partner, no 1-RMs unless
it’s my heart’s desire, no forced reps unless they sound
like music, no two-hour workout minimum -- but I shall in no way
Of course you know that I didn’t review my training past without
my eyes wide opened and focused on you. Recorded above in limited
detail is my self-assessment, conclusions and general plan. Your
findings might be the same. More than survived, you strived during
the less inspiring months earlier this year and you’re not
carrying unwanted pounds in hard-to-conceal places. Tuned in and
in-tune, you’re a one-man band; crank up the volume and create
the lyrics as you go. Have fun, practice and perform on your own
private stage. You’re a star.
I don’t suggest any of you got soft, deconditioned or overweight
in the recent past, but there are always the off-season bulkers.
It’s not uncommon that months of hard winter training produce
strong, large figures accustomed to eating lotsa food and lifting
lotsa weights and wearing lotsa clothes. It’s phase one of
a favorite plan -- get huge and powerful -- and it was terrific
in January. Today, under the midday sun, there you are in all your
grandeur. The friendly yet critical fair-weather exposes the truth
and it is not too slick. Phase two is called into immediate action...
somewhat reluctantly. Shape the ape.
in there somewhere, rock-hard and shapely, under a layer of efficient
self-imposed mass. Now, the process of cleaving the extra pounds
to reveal the creation of your high hopes and hard work is upon
you. Sometimes ‘tis better to dream than to bare the naked
truth. Alas, thou must.
on mass and madness, phase two of the cold-weather plan, the warm-weather
plan, includes three or four, 12-to-15 minute sessions weekly of
HIIT aerobic on the formidable spin bike.
to 90 minutes of weight training four or five days a week to include
four midsection workouts at the outset of the workout (of course,
15-minute combinations of any of the following: 15-degree incline
crunches and leg raises, rope tucks, hand-hanging leg raises, hyperextensions).
your favorite arrangement of muscle groups in a creative format
assuring each muscle group is served directly or indirectly twice
a week. Squat once a week, practice deadlifts once a week and seek
heavy-weight workouts when you get the urge or when prompted by
need. Remember, supersetting is like dynamite when it comes to blasting
away fat and making room for muscle.
loose as a goose and twice as mean.
Bubba, about eating. What’s the damage? Ten pounds... twenty
pounds, more? Same rules apply to all of us, always: high protein,
low carbs and medium fat. You can count them if you want to, need
to or have to, but it drives me nuts -- always has. Learn to guess,
use your judgment and don’t fret over a gram of protein or
a calorie of fat. Life’s too short and you have work to do.
of high protein, low carb (no sugar) and medium good fat in your
dietary balance. Get back to eating those more frequent yet smaller
meals throughout the day, starting with a balanced breakfast. Supplement
your diet simply with a quality vitamin and mineral, EFAs and a
protein powder where need and convenience shout. Think twice about
beers and booze, desserts and extra helpings. Water is worth more
is a sufficient plan. In fact, it’s a wonderful plan. It’s
a plan to save the world from self-annihilation.
and think, my friends. If our brothers and sister around our neighborhood
-- that is to say, the world -- followed this incredibly simple
plan it would be a better place to live; obesity would shrink, heart
ailments, diabetes and countless other diseases would relatively
disappear, good energy would abound and enthusiasm and clear thinking
would soar. Problems of the mind and emotions -- insecurities, low
self-esteem, anger and envy -- would begin to evaporate. Self-imposed
physical limitations would practically be eliminated and unfulfilled
lives would be transformed into vigorous, productive and happy lives.
Hospitals beds and emergency rooms would no longer overflow with
deteriorating victims of irresponsibility and thoughtlessness, over-eating
and wrong-eating. Healthy pride would replace an existing widespread
world-weariness, low-level personal disappointment and guilt. We’d
probably care for each other more.
I know. Sounds like ideal thinking, impossible to indoctrinate.
Yet this manner of living matches our basic nature, selfish and
self-centered. “Do this and be great -- rich, strong and free.”
And we have immediate personal control of this self-enriching practice
-- feeding our body; it’s legal, it’s cool and we fail
miserably. The consequences are dramatic. Yet we turn our attention
to wars and terrorism and TV commercials and other silly forms of
distraction. Hello. Get a clue.
this kind of activity gives us bombers a bad name. The best we do
is keep the skies around us clear and present our exotic flying
skills to those who might see. Fly right, always.
God bless you... Dave Draper
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