First Things First

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IOL Research Clinic Report # 577


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Introduce me to someone and I say, "Hi." End of conversation. Stick me in front of a computer keyboard and you can’t shut me up. I’ll write (my way of talking) endlessly about nothing. What’s that all about? I suppose it has to do with simple rejection: When speaking to people directly I risk suffering their bewildered expression and uncomfortable twitching as they back away, turn and run. I hate that. Hey, I’m not contagious. Talking incessantly through email and the newsletter, I’m safe. How do I know if and when someone presses "delete" and I’m in the trash. I seriously doubt that ever happens, though, don’t you?

Wait! No! Don’t touch that key… I... Gone-zo! Not even a poof.

Be that way. But you can’t stop me from getting my message out to the great masses... which might more accurately be called a restless mob... or, how about a curious group... a misguided few... an innocent bystander... a stray dog.

My subtle scheme is to present a selection of questions and answers that have been expertly attended by the IronOnline Research Clinic over the past few months. The obvious object of the report is to offer hopeful solutions to common problems. We all need guidance. An added benefit of Q&A reporting is to remind us that we all regularly face training difficulties: plateaus, injuries, loss of spirit, training gaps, workout indecision, muscle fatigue, lack of pump, etc. Obstacles are as plentiful and troublesome as hornets and everyone gets stung.

You’re not alone. Listen to the buzz:

Q) What do you recommend for getting the mind back into the game?

A) Exercise isn’t exactly a thrill a minute. Too often it smacks of monotony, fatigue, work, obligation and sacrifice. Swell! Let’s work out. This is wrong thinking, bomber -- negative input -- and must not be entertained and allowed to take root. The work begins with establishing your commitment and training attitude at the starting block. And only by knowing your goals and purposes can these prerequisites be considered.

I suggest you review your training goals: why you train and where you want to take it or where you want it to take you. The list is as long as Route 66. And, as you review your purposes, take the time to invigorate them. Increased strength, lean muscle, fat loss, improved health and self control must not become vague, slumbering stirrings of your mind. They must be bright and crisp urges, full of life, color and animation. Be grateful for their presence, and well-pleased you are capable and know how to achieve them. Few people are as blessed and aware.

You’re free. You can walk into the gym and work out according to your wants and needs and abilities. You can push and pull and lift, and greet and know yourself in the process. Step back for a minute; revive your workouts by doing what you please to do and when. Go for your favorite exercises; go for the pump and the burn, go till you want to stop, go for the smile. Who cares if you get the last rep, the total sets, that hoped-for poundage? It’s the act of being there with spirit and enthusiasm that counts.

When that old time feeling suddenly returns -- and it will if you let it -- you can crank up your training and add just enough control to keep it rolling... smoothly.

When all else fails, I think of life and what it would be like if I let the weights go. If that doesn't get your mind back into the game, nothing will.

Something I read in an ancient how-to book revisits me often: Be strong and courageous... full of hope. Good advice.

Click here for Dave's 11 Nutrition Rules

Q) There’s a lot of confusing info on carbs and fats and protein. Some theories endorse high carbs for fuel and muscle-building energy; others push fats and no carbs. I don’t want to be a scientist. I want to lift weights. What’s the short story, please?

A) I won’t debunk carb-plus theories 'cuz they might work for you. We’re all different. However, throughout all my years of training I’ve relied on no more carbs than those I get in plenty of raw vegetables, some choice fruit and a fair share of milk products. Protein’s my hero, plus EFAs.

Bomber Clue #1 -- Whey protein and casein mixed in reduced-fat milk, a banana, a dab of peanut butter and a couple of nuked eggs is my all-time favorite pre-workout and post workout meal. Whey (simple structure) is transported quickly into the cells for repair and muscle energy and casein (more complex structure) serves to rebuild tissue. The eggs fortify the protein and carb and fat intake. Sugars in milk and fruit, and fats in peanut butter provide the remaining essentials for a strong anabolic environment. The mix makes a powerful meal when time and convenience are priorities.

I seek good foods without excess science and calculations, which only cause me to wonder and doubt. Whatever carb intake is not used as energy will be stored as glycogen reserve in cells for future use, or stored as fat if unused over time. It takes energy to rebuild cells and to operate the body and carbs effectively supply this energy.

Periodic infusion of high doses of carbs to a seriously hard-trained system can stimulate growth hormone. Carbing-up over a two-day period (weekends) can be hormonally profitable for the tough musclebuilder. A favorite book on the subject is The Metabolic Diet by Mauro Di Pasquale -- enough science and practical training advice to stimulate the appetite and muscle growth. If you want a few details on the subject of hormones and diet, read Rob Faigin’s Natural Hormonal Enhancement. Read it to your kids at bedtime. They’ll love it.

Of course, Brother Iron Sister Steel is still considered by historians, philosophers and leaders in medicine and science to be the most enlightening work since the Iliad by Homer.

My advice is based on simplicity and the basics. Once you're certain you're training smart and hard and eating clean, and unless science fascinates you, put the scientific details aside. I'll bet you have all the answers and you learned them in the first few years of your training long ago. Muscle building is more fruitful and delicious when it comes from the heart. Encouragement is the best additive to our menu and workout routine. Confidence is a huge plus. And don't worry; it causes catabolism.

Q) I am the father of a college red shirt freshman. He is doing exactly what his strength coach has told him to do and over the course of over one year now he is still only 202 lbs. What does he need to do from a weightlifting and nutritional standpoint? He doesn't want to lose his speed/quickness.

A) The problem with gaining muscular weight for a growing young ballplayer is solved over time by eating more of the good foods and a continued mix of weight training and sport practice. It’s hard, continual and wonderful work. The expenditure of energy is enormous and the caloric value of the high protein diet needs to exceed the expenditure of energy calories: thus, more good food -- red meat, milk, eggs and cottage cheese are mass and power building foods. Eat frequently (every three hours) and don't eat junk (sugary, greasy, valueless foods). Consume salads and fresh fruit for roughage and vitamin and mineral, carb, enzyme and phytonutrient value. Add a high quality vitamin and mineral and supplemental EFAs to the daily diet.

For energy and endurance in the gym and on the field, be certain to include a Bomber Blend protein drink fortified with peanut butter and banana and whole milk before each workout and practice. Repeat after each heavy duty session for tissue repair and recuperation.

The warrior needs to apply himself to the basics (full squats, deadlifts, cleans and presses, curls, stiff-arm pullovers, bent-over rows -- 4 to 5 sets of each for 6, 8 and 10 reps). Put exclusive power training aside till off-season to avoid the distraction and the risk of injury. Train to compliment ball-playing performance: Tight and focused reps, disciplined form, steady pace, 80-percent intensity input; warm up always and don't over-extend joints (elbows, wrists, knees, shoulders). Combine the above exercises using intuition and establish training order and efficiency ASAP. Random training is uncreative and shoddy and bleeds into one’s performance on the field.

The ball player who insists on excessively overloading his muscles in the gym (beware of the bench press) risks injury, the last thing he needs. Don’t be a wimp, but don’t be foolish either. Play hard, be smart, and win.

Suggestion:

Day 1)
Crunches and leg raises for warm-up and midsection and general conditioning

Moderate-weight squat
4-5 sets x 8-10 reps

supersetted with

Stiff-arm pullover
4-5 x 8-10 reps

Light-to-moderate-weight deadlift
4-5 x 8-10

Day 2)
Crunches and leg raises for warm-up and midsection and oxygenizing

Barbell clean and press
4-5 x 6-8

Standing bent-bar curl
4-5 x 6-8

Dips (machine or weighted)
4-5 x 8-10

Alternate workouts striving for three a week. Depending on field practices and life demands, these workouts should be appropriate for weight gain, strength and performance needs, and injury and fatigue protection. He can adjust from here.

For more on athletic conditioning programs, take a look at Bill Starr's great book, The Strongest Shall Survive, available through Ironmind.com

Q) I find that some exercises are more overused than others. For example, bench presses, preacher curls and pulldowns. I am really slow with recovery and don't make gains with them like my other exercises. This past week I could get 200lbs for six reps on the bench, while last week I got eight reps. What are your thoughts?

A) The dilemmas you reference represent the famous mysteries of individual bodies and training methods only we and our persistent training can resolve. And, the resolutions are not necessarily in words but in experimentation, trial and error and modification of our training methods to suit our needs.

The bench press is notorious for this predicament; we use it consistently and we push it hard; we have good days, diligently overload the muscle and require extra recuperation for repair, which we don’t allow and our strength goes down like the winter sun. Next problem: injury from training insistence, compromised form and repeated overload.

The preacher curl isolates the biceps, a relatively small muscle, and easily over-trains them by the demanding full-range-of-motion reps during furious workouts. The bis poop out like rambunctious kids after a big day at Disneyland. Feed me, give me rest, change my routine.

Lat pulldowns depend a lot on those same weary biceps and frequently present insertion overloads. Offer variety in pulldown grip and groove: wide grip, close grip, overhand or underhand grip, pull down before or behind the neck. Lately I’ve been rotating these advantageous positionings to suit my healthy aches, fickle abilities and wandering needs.

Gauge your training input on each individual exercise and muscle group; be instinctive and positive and adaptable. You're experiencing what we who are dedicated and intense experience. Know thyself.

That wraps up IOL Research Clinic Report # 577. The reports are not made available to bombers until they are reviewed by the entire staff of authorized researchers and clinicians in timely conferences.

The meetings go something like this:

Dave: "Hey Laree, it’s Wednesday already. Do you think anyone will notice if we don’t put out a newsletter this week? You know, like, who cares, man?"

Laree: "Dave, you’re a lazy bum."

Dave: "Oh yeah? Your mother wears combat boots."

Laree: "Your head’s shaped like an eggplant!"

Dave: "It is not!"

Laree: "Is too."

Dave: "Barf. I found this bunch of questions and answers in the computer’s trash bin. They’re way old. Will they work? Whatta ya think?"

Laree: "Shhh... yeah... fine... whatever... I’m on the phone. Hello, Domino’s Pizza... I want to place an order."

Done.

The question is not do we fly, but how high and how fast.

God’s speed... DD

<><><><><><>

Tomorrow, Thursday, I fly to Indiana where I’m told they have an airport. After settling in and connecting with Odis, we will begin our final engineering on the Draper Dungeon. What can we add to the basic beastly bench and cage that is thrilling (high and low cable system), absolutely delightful (sturdy thick-handle dipping bars of varying width and height) and stunning (solid Z-form chinning bar for the short and tall), and doable (not a flimsy contraption soon to become a coat rack)? We confront the challenge boldly.

Someone suggested a sort of Smith press configuration with a removable bar for uncertain, unspotted presses and squats. Not bad. A preacher bench for curling and other improvised moves is reasonable. Why not? Assorted handles for the cable system are popular. Very good idea. Laree and friends want a single-handle pulley attachment that is adjustable from low to high. "You’re dreaming," was my comment. A leg extension and curl would be nice, and we’ll work on it, but these are always funky unless machined weight stacks are used, and we want to avoid that nerdy addition -- expense, weight, floor space and this is a dungeon, remember, not the Ritz Carlton.. How about a shower and Jacuzzi?

We shall consider it all, making on-the-spot prototypes and revisions by cutting and welding and testing. Ball park figures of cost, weight, time and size will be calculated. Appearance, stability, colors and practicality will be discussed. Two-door and four-door models are standard, turbo charge optional.

We hope to complete the design of the Dungeon’s iron and steel accessories over the weekend and give you an update in the next newsletter. I also hope to bring peace to the free world.

Click here for other new pages of the website this week.

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