First Things First

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It’s Two Zero Zero Six—
Gone Before Ya Know It


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Let’s take a quick head count. There’ll be no musclebuilders left behind in 0-five. 2006 is the year for unprecedented gains in health, strength, mass, shape and muscularity. For some folks the size of their bank account, bottom line and paycheck rules their lives. Not us; it is biceps, quadriceps (one more rep) and long life or nothin’. We are not corrupted by greed.

Actually, I could use a few bucks. 355 days till Christmas.

Those of us given to bombing and blasting, or the notion thereof, seldom let go of the trigger. Moods, injuries, illness, responsibilities or projects can sabotage the mission temporarily, but soon we are back on target. Our instincts, determination and fortitude (I omitted selfishness) enable us to arrange our daily lives to suit our training needs. Hmmm... I suppose it should be the other way around -- arrange our training needs to suit our daily lives. Whatever.

Too much is at stake; too much is risked should we release our strong grip on the iron, our stern grasp of right nutrition: that vein across the long head of the biceps, the finally emerging striations in the deltoids, the cut between the intercostals and obliques. A missed workout could mean a loss of training momentum, the stimulation of dormant guilt, the recession of self-confidence, the cessation of humor and joy, the return of that cruel streak, the deterioration of purpose and will and the eventual shriveling of the body, mind and soul.

Missing a workout can be a bummer.

We can sit around in a circle and discuss the old and new training methods crossing our minds, the minds of advanced trainers and the pages of research and text; we can tell stories about our own training experiences and those heralded by robust lifters we know; we can share menus, compare training routines, review facts, fiction, rumors, lies and old strongman tales about muscles and might, and we would come away charged, enlivened and encouraged. Our enthusiasm to train would be lifted and secured and our love for our sport and fellow participants would be affirmed.

Real sharing can be fun. We’d roll our eyes and chuckle at the absurd training notions and practices of the beastly men of yore and shrug our shoulders and shake our heads at the insta-might 'n’ muscle methodologies put forth today by today’s thin-limbed computer techies and writers of health and fitness magazines. Ha... a little of this 'n’ a little of that and bam, pow. We might stumble upon unique techniques practiced by the up-and-coming lifters from a training school on the border of Germany and Russia or a hardcore gym in Chicago or Paris, only to learn that certain ingredients flavor their protein drinks and the methods of exercise they employ are sort of ordinary, incidental. Sticks 'n’ stacks, no racks.

But we would not part from the group enlightened. A clear and firm understanding of how to train (work out and feed the body) would not be established. We would only have more ideas, thoughts and dreams in various disguises to unravel and consider, fodder for the bin from whence we gather material for our next diet and next routine.

That’s what it’s all about, ya know, anything to keep us going with spirit from month to month, workout to workout. It’s best, of course, when it’s sane and sensible and worthy. Hold that for a sec; sometimes even the insane, senseless and worthless play an important role in our training scheme. They teach us the hard and strong lessons we would never otherwise learn:

25 sets of 25 reps in 25 minutes for biceps mass does not work. Oops! Mikey evaporated!

A hammer and sharp chisel for cuts in the midsection can be messy. Suture, swab, transfusion!

Bulking up on two gallons of milk and two dozen eggs and two pounds of beef daily works but has its drawbacks. Glub, gurgle, burp!

The fact that there is nothing new does not mean there is no hope. Rather, it reinforces hope. You know everything imperative and essential to know; you need only apply them with assurance and zeal, a to z. And this -- eager application, willful engagement, enthusiastic implementation -- is in your control.

How sad for the men and women, boys and girls who lack will, purpose and drive. They are empty beings without spirit to excite them; no hearts full of desire, devoid of souls that long passionately. They are lost; they don’t wonder, they don’t wander, they go nowhere. And their numbers are growing.

Some people say I’m grim when I draw focus to this phenomenon. It’s that I am extraordinarily hopeful that I perceive the unacceptable condition and its silent, sinister stir among us. And I suspect you do as well. My job is to remind you of the creepy presence of this multi-pronged weirdness -- laziness, impatience, lack of determination, discipline and persistence -- in our sluggish and oft-spoiled young world, and to not allow it to take foothold in our midst. We, thus, will derail its corrupt workings before they bud.

Save the world one bomber at a time.

On that lovely note, how’s the weather in your neck of the woods? The mid-west is dry as a bone and on fire. The northwest is under water as rivers swell from steady downpours. Mudslides threaten highways and homes throughout California. And it’s storming in Aptos, trees and power lines are down, a house was halved by a falling redwood, electricity has been out for 72 hours and there’s no way out. Laree’s reading a novel about serial killers and I’m tossing one- and two-syllable words in no particular order in your direction, as we listen to the roaring hum of our generator.

It’s Wednesday evening, the 4th day of the year. Days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter. It happens that way.

I just came upon our joint New Year’s resolution, one to add to the commendable list you’ve already made: Save the world one bomber at a time.

Simply by our actions we can impress friends and influence people. Our commitment to eating right, not drinking (much) or doing drugs, not smoking ever, and exercising regularly with grit and enthusiasm will inspire those around us. And inspiring those around us, we will inspire ourselves. How simple!

You’re not training for yourself, only, anymore; you’re training for them, the world of lost brothers and sisters. They don’t have a clue, you know, 70 percent of the masses you bump into. Their activity is limited to bumping into you, and a major workout consists of rooting for the home team. Not even as children do they run and play and climb trees anymore. (Make me do 100 pushups if I'm wrong, but video games are nasty and destructive. Any value they once had has been blown up, shot down and mutilated by the game’s dark, gruesome heroes.)

They eat like dispensable animals fed by taskmasters. Throw it in a trough and cut them loose. This is no way to build champions, or a strong society, where who you are depends on what you do and how you do it, and what you eat.

Here’s what we need to do. We start by thinking positively. “Oh,” you’re saying, “what genius. Why didn’t I think of that, especially after your social rant?” I was not ranting, my dear friend. I was positively expounding. We need to look at these faults in our structure if we are to fix them. And we are to perceive them not as faults, but as little wiggles we need to rework. We start by positive thinking, followed by like application. Work on the deltoids and back first, and the bis and tris will follow. A broad structure conveys power and authority, whereas arms alone indicate an insecure amateur trying to gain cheap attention. Get real. And about the abs thing; they’re cute but they cost ya big time. Even John Bastow has abs. Squat, deadlift, blast it. Yes. Let’s go for some mass and not by eating potatoes and drinking beer. What kind of influence is that going to have on the lost and clueless? Protein, girls and boys, protein... and nutritionally valuable carbs and worthwhile fats.

When you’re alone with a new friend or acquaintance and you suspect -- by the way they droop or slump or cross their legs -- they don’t train, don’t be afraid to bring up the subject. This can be touchy; be brave and use finesse. A good lead-in line is, “How much can you bench press, Bub?” This shows you’re interested in them and immediately makes them feel comfortable. If they don’t know what a bench press is you can explain it to them and further your relationship. Very cool. If they do, you can compare notes and become real chummy... unless, of course, they can bench more than you, which can present a problem. Nobody likes to talk to some new guy who can bench more than him. Change the subject, maybe.

And when you’re eating with people you just met and want to subtly direct their nutritional habits, don’t hesitate to open a can of tuna and eat it straight from the can. Have your water bottle handy (the quart size, not the gallon), but refrain from gulping down the tuna until they know you better. Take your time... smile broadly. This practice is good for conversation when things are awkward and quiet. Now you have the perfect opportunity to introduce them to some of your other nutritional habits. Out come the oodles of multi-colored pills in a zip-lock baggy. And I always have a tub of Bomber Blend and a shaker in my knapsack and a few extra paper cups with which to share my bountiful supply of delicious, muscle building protein. More fun and conversation. It’s not long before they’re hooked.

You see how effective you can be in your small corner of the world? There is no end to the consequence of your dazzling presence.

Save the world one bomber at a time.

The cloud covering is clearing and a hint of sunny blue sky is straight overhead. We’ve got places to go and things to do in two zero zero six. We soar. We fly high.

God’s speed... Dave

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