First Things First

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What Motivates Us in our Training?

Motivation, Motivation, whither doest thou wander?


Dave at the Mid-City Gym, Manhattan, September 2004

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It’s my love for the activity of weight lifting and the great feelings and rewards surrounding health and strength and exercise execution that have kept me close for so long. Herein lie the primary motivations.

I like it, it feels good and it’s good for you.

The most effective secondary motivator for us, having trained and known the good feelings of conditioning oneself and being in condition, is to contemplate what happens if we don’t continue in our attitude and practice of training and eating right. Look around and without being cruel, how do you describe your neighbor on the street? Apart from the rare exception and unless he or she is a young person (and this, no longer an acceptable criteria), he or she is probably under-muscled and underpowered, unhealthy, limited and negligent. Is that someone with whom we want to identify?

He's ignorant and unaware and undisciplined and lazy and a conformist. Sounds cruel, I agree, but his condition is a reflection of his values and purpose. He's not unlike everyone else. He's got a job and aspirations and friends, perhaps, but he's ignoring his greater treasures and gifts -- his health, long life, vitality, physical might and ability, personal power and enthusiasm and creative thinking. He's there, limited by himself, doing, yet winding down. He's neglecting his body, an intricate and miraculous system of flesh, bones and muscles, electricity, brain waves, glands, hormones and pulsing life. That’s a shame, a loss, a crime and a sin.

You who stumble over your exercise and menu, where will you be next week, at Christmas or a year from now? Will you be blending in with the unknowing and uncaring puppets around you, bumping into furniture and bouncing off walls? Day by day neglect pervades; it gets worse, less tolerable, harder to confront and more difficult to fix. It eats you alive physically and emotionally and is evident in your personality, thinking, appearance, performance and spirit. Darkness, darkness, is there no light?

There’s motivation in that black tale of defeat. Put those healthy, friendly, comforting practices you're familiar with back into play and the multiplicity of deterioration stops short, reverses immediately and your very own goodness returns, as sure as the sun rises in the morning. The process is not magical nor does it occur overnight, but it is certain and that’s good enough for me and you and the man in the moon.

You stumbling? Do this: Put aside an hour a day for as many days a week as you can, a minimum of three. This is your precious time to train. Acknowledge it, respect it, be thankful for it, use it. It should not be a severe, austere hour and not a casual hour, but one of dedication and exhilaration. Forget aerobic exercise for now and get into the business of basic muscle building. Let your continued training and smart eating diminish the fat while you build strong muscle by pushing the iron.

Keep it pure and simple, as the basic exercises work best -- more punch with less set-up time and frivolity. Do what you know and like most, seek balance and don't try to do it all. It's important and most effective to be focused, content and unhurried, yet following a good pace with good form. Haste makes waste. Hurry makes one anxious, stressed, and is counterproductive. Relax and train hard and enjoy it. Remember, you want to get a grasp on your training and want to enjoy it before lousing it up with lots of pressure and demands (bigger guns, more cuts, etched abdominals, big bench, competition), which leads to disappointment and overload and injury and quitting. You can alter your training scheme down the line -- be grateful for steady and pleasurable training till the end of the year. You're back in the saddle again, cowboys and cowgirls.

When we enjoy our work, missions and projects, we don't need motivators. We do them because we like them. School, study, the job, yard work -- to some folks these are a joy, rewarding and fascinating and satisfying. Discover in your exercise plan -- your training -- these characteristics and attractions. They are there. Fashion or refashion your powerful and worthy fitness endeavor to be interesting, meaningful, stimulating, exhilarating and challenging. This requires common sense – next to a dog, man’s best friend -- and a little analysis and effort.

Rediscover your training, worth more than polished gold to the dimming luster of abandoned health and fitness.

Keep your eye on the purpose and rewards during the moments you feel the steel and execute an exercise. Contract and extend, pump and burn, seek form and establish pace. Wake up, look up, step up and build up. That you have the perception of lifting weights and smart eating and the means and the ability to practice them are gifts. Enjoy the iron, and the might to push it. Savor the proteins and tantalizing disciplines. It only gets better and better every day… unless, of course, you interfere with wrong thinking, old habits and lost courage.

Like it or not we have an image of our self and we respond to it. That image can be accurate or inaccurate, and we tend to become who we think we are. Be careful of what you think of yourself; you might become a scoundrel, a loud mouth or a portly and complacent loser. Adjustments are at your fingertips, bombers. It’s a stray from the well-traveled road to run a mile down it, to grab a bar by its girth and extend it victoriously in the air overhead, to pit your body with all your might against nearly immovable objects, to apportion an hour a day to tire yourself in good battle under the weight of heavy, lifeless metal and to insanely strain with pain to gain the edge. Isn’t that motivation enough: To stray from the norm, to strain to gain, to extend, to battle and seek the edge?

Is that too much?

The food thing is interesting. Feed me, that I might forget my plight, salve my rebelling emotions, achieve a moment of pleasure amid the daily burdens and toil, satisfy an addiction, occupy my troubled mind and avoid a responsibility. Ah, yes, I understand it serves to fuel my body and supply sustenance as well... how convenient.

Right eating is as essential as clean air and pure water. Smart eating is as simple as arithmetic, one plus one equals two: Regular meals throughout the day, lots of protein (meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy) and salads and less sugar and enough fats and no overeating adds to good health and long life. Yes, discipline is required, that beautiful quality we develop with the artful assistance of patience and commitment. Their development is another powerful motivation to add to the list. Bright stars, they account for success and achievement in all areas of our lives. They are a crown worn by the noble and dauntless, the respected and admired.

There’s an abundance of healthy, mouth-watering, inexpensive and easy-to-prepare foods available in the marketplace today; thus, no excuse to compromise nutritional goodness due to the denial of tasty delights. Our urgent needs for health and weight control have alerted our social benefactors and business community merchants, and reached the market shelves, eateries and restaurants. Partake, enjoy and don’t overindulge. It’s simple and easy.

Where are we? You want, I want, we all want a body to die for, to win the hearts and minds of the opposite sex, to win the respect and fear of the same sex; to attain general health and well-being and long life; to gain the ability to lift large and heavy objects for work, play, survival and showing off. We Aspire!

Laree tells me lists are for stiffs and monotonous bores. I like lists. So, here’s a long list of training motivators -- incentives to work out and eat right by – presented to the curious mind:

Are you guilty of self-neglect and low-esteem? Workout and eat right. The duo effectively fights enemies and conquers foes of all manners.

Are you a confused and disorderly person? Working out is actively meditative and restores thy soul.

Are you sluggish? Exercise and right eating generate energy, endurance, hormonal balance, healthy digestion and clear thinking. They build and rebuild, and deter destruction.

Are you well fed, but hungry? A workout satisfies your appetite. The joy of fulfillment from a workout well-executed is indescribably delicious. A workout poorly executed is more rewarding than any dessert.

Are you uninterested in healthy food? A workout arouses a real desire to eat.

Are you broken? A workout is the fix.

Are you bored? Weightlifting is a fun and fulfilling diversion.

Are you lonely? A workout is a swell companion.

Are you tired? A workout stimulates.

Are you wired? A workout promotes needed rest and relaxation.

Are you anxious, nervous or strung out? A workout soothes and untangles the mess.

Are you troubled and unsure? Problems are solved while working out.

Are you fearful and worrisome? The workout dispels the paranoid misplaced pair.

Are you doubtful? Work out and all doubt is gone.

Are your emotions erratic? Work out. Stabilize them with active, physical confrontation.

Are you achy and suffering general malaise? The prescription is a caring workout.

Are you sniffling with a cold? A gentle workout stimulates the immune system.

Are you in love and broken hearted? Go to your sweetheart and tell him or her you love 'em and can’t be without 'em. Your workout can wait. Unless they want to join you, encourage you, spot you, assist you in loading and unloading the bars, count your reps, admire your form...

Life’s motivators vary with time and age and the panorama. But health and fitness, muscles and might are a loyal and consistent troop of incentives and stimulators. Coddle them now, curry their favor, set them in stone and they, like your friends and loved ones, will never leave your side.

Hangar L and D will remain open 24 hours to accommodate the anticipated influx of revived and highly-motivated bombers. Soar high and always.

Godspeed... Draper

SLIGHTLY MODIFIED, ENHANCED OR OTHERWISE EXAGGERATED TRUE STORIES

~ I’m watching this kid from a distance and notice that with each repetition of pulley pushdowns his triceps are forming incredible horseshoes. As I approach the lad I see he’s using the powerful Stealth Tri Blaster and is completing his reps with the comfort, vigor, finesse and intensity only the mechanical advantage of the thick-handle unit provides. "No wonder," I said, as I slapped the robust fellow on the back, "You’ve discovered the natural blasting benefits of the Bomber’s STB. How does it feel to grow at the speed of light?" He grinned and squeezed out two more reps.

"You don’t mind if I work in, do ya?" I couldn’t control myself. Life’s grand!

~ I was walking back to my car after a late-night workout when a raggedy fellow leaped from a doorway with a stick and demanded my wallet, watch and rings. I told him I was coming from the gym where I had just engaged in a swell biceps-triceps routine, supersetting, of course, and employing high reps with a medium pace. I went on to say I don’t wear a watch or jewelry and I didn’t carry a wallet to the gym. I tossed him my gym bag to satisfy his nervous curiosity. He found little interest in my grips, wraps, water bottle, thick lifting belt (worth a small fortune), ointments, supplements, towel, training log, photo of Reeves, lock-tite collars and grocery list.

"What’s this?" he said, grasping a tub of Bomber Blend -- classic vanilla -- in his stubby, un-manicured hands.

I told him it was an elixir of life when mixed with water, milk or juice -- a priceless and delightful drink designed to build muscles, provide energy and restore the body with essential nutrients and plenty of fine protein.

"It satisfies the mind, body and soul," I said.

"Where can I get it?" he asked.

"Why, you can have that one," I said.

He returned my belongings, threw his stick in the bushes, hugged me and ran into the night with his jug of goodness.

He trains at the gym regularly now and has been recently nominated for the DARE Citizen of the Year Award.

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