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A Leaky Spring Has Sprung

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It’s time for spring training, boys and girls. Up and at 'em. The term "spring training" has a nice ring to it, bright and breezy. We’re gonna shape up, kids, let that energy fly. "Shape up" also has an appealing jingle, stirring visions of slim, trim and able. We’ll get to the gym on time, train vigorously and eat right. Ah, fitness is a sweet pursuit, and we tingle with excitement.

Look out world, I’m comin' atcha!

Of course, there are always a few who have a different point of view and a modified version of the zippy world proclamation. It’s more like, stop the world, I wanna get off. Their spring training neither jingles nor rings; it thuds, clunks and bombs. Must be something they ate and did since the end of last summer -- everything and nothing, respectively.

Most of us have a handle on the suitcase. We’re here for our weekly dose of encouragement and reminders of good things forgotten, warnings against bad things lurking, revelations of secret musclebuilding knowledge and insights into cutting-edge methodologies, the latter two of which there are no such things. We knew spring was coming last October. Nothing gets past this band of merry musclemakers.

Many are newcomers without a handle, lots of luggage and in need of every bit of information they can grab from these cosmic pages. They’re disappointed at first that there are no shortcuts, but eventually pleased it’s all so simple. Just lift, lift and lift, eat the same old protein, rest and sleep. In five to 10 years, there you have it -- the semblance of a healthy, hardy body. Now to keep it up the rest of your life, right through the fall and winter -- October through March, including Christmas, New Year’s and Easter. Which brings us back to the beginning, spring training and its swell bouncy sound.

The best approach to spring training is to never ever lay off for an undue length of time. Anything more than a week twice a year is looking suspiciously excessive for a dedicated musclebuilder or fitness buff. And that prized period of time should be calculated as part of one’s training scheme: muscle repair, mental rest and workout planning. It’s also a good time for a vacation, house painting, spring cleaning and the flu.

Of course, the darnedest thing occurs as we skip and dance through our graciously assigned days: Life happens. To air my point, let’s go to the overflowing Q and A mail bag, grab a handful of letters and see what the rest of the bombers are up to this time of year.

Q) I’ve been training for two years and have lost 40 pounds of bulk, down to 210 from 250 at 5'10". Three questions: My college has a bodybuilding competition every year in early April and I was wondering how long I should bulk and how long I should cut before next year? As a poor student what do you think are the absolute essential supplements, and what ratio of protein, carb, and fats is correct?

A) You're doing great according to your recent progress report. Continue to lean down as that is the most satisfying strategy with the approaching fair weather. Be aware. Don't starve the muscle to lose the fat; keep an eye on next April '07.

The time to bulk -- increasing your bodyweight 10 to 20 pounds over a desirable solid weight -- usually starts in the spirit and mind about mid-September as the summer fades and the winter casts its early shadows. Gain weight with good food only -- nutritious, wholesome and protein-packed -- and continue to develop disciplines by avoiding junk. The bulk weight gained is to be sound and used for strength, energy and a musclebuilding environment.
Hold the heavy weight -- plus or minus 3-to-5-pound fluctuations -- till you’re two months out. At that point begin your systematic, yet instinctive bodyweight descent. Though I can't say accurately cuz I don't know your specifics -- shape, muscle size and density, skin tone, fat accumulation, general metabolism, response to training MOs and diet -- eight weeks should be sufficient. The average is 6-to-12 weeks for contest prep, depending on the lifter and his or her condition and raw materials. A long story best taught and learned by experience.

As for the supplementation and nutrition, add the no-iron Super Spectrim vitamin mineral, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and ample fresh fruit, and dig into the protein (red meat and milk products are great for musclebuilding and bulking --- fish and poultry for trimming). Any extra dollars should go to Bomber Blend for quick, efficient and convenient musclebuilding meals -- breakfast, pre- and post-workout feedings -- and daily feeding voids that can kill our growth challenge and endeavors.

Go 40-30-30 on the protein, carbs and fats, getting plenty of EFAs. Avoid grease and sugars and non-nutritional empty foods.

You’re covered. The rest is in your head, your heart and your training. Blast it and think positive.

Q) I’m a late-40s bloomer lifting about 3 years and preparing for a national bodybuilding contest in a month. Almost ready, a little smooth. The question: I’m beginning to lose my motivation as I diet and define. Is this typical at this point, or am I not cut out for this? I’ve really invested a lot of time and money in the sport and I can’t turn back now.  Lifting is easy, diet is tough. For someone who has been-there, done-that, what do you think?  What did you do? How did you keep the motivation strong?
A) First, consider heart and soul and hard work the most valuable investments you've made, and certainly not lost whether or not you enter a bodybuilding contest.  Time is wasted regularly on empty games and schemes and temporary satisfactions, and money is spent on toys and junk and falls through the cracks. Seldom are either smartly invested in one's strength and health, well being and character. You're rich, and you’re smart.

The last weeks are the toughest for a number of reasons. One, you’re lowering your caloric intake seeking muscle definition. This effort requires sacrifice and lowers your energy supply in the process and makes a good man cranky. Two, you begin to cut up, but you’re losing visible size and valuable strength and this makes the strongest lifter cry. Further, the goods are either there or they're not. What's beneath the remaining few pounds and defined by the last few reps and sets will be revealed soon... usually way too soon from the contender’s point of view. This can turn a bear into a rabbit.

Relax at this point. You don't have to compete if you don't want to. It's entirely up to you (with a little help from one or two confidants). Approach the days ahead with this sense of freedom. Train for the show and if you feel like it at showtime, enter. If not, don't, but at least you will have tasted the experience of training for one, and have the acquired practice and understanding for future reference.
You might discover bodybuilding contests are for the birds and stress-free musclebuilding is forever.

You have the remaining weeks to pose, get color, stimulate and coax the body with sensible and lovable training. Don't beat yourself up. Almost everyone gets nervous and overtrains the last weeks, trying too hard to build last minute muscle and definition, causing stress and catabolism, fatigued muscles and a depleted spirit. They're gaunt and whipped on stage, and look like vibrant champions three days after the show's completion. They've eaten, rested and relaxed. They're bigger, harder, healthier and happy.

Feed yourself, sleep, train for fun and pump, relax and visualize your success. Apply the functional miracles of positive thinking: Imagine -- visualize -- enthusiastic pre-contest prepping, robust workouts, exciting muscle responses, growth in body, mind and spirit; the completion of hard work well done and your personal competence in achieving your goals; a strong body, well-constructed and conditioned, capable and disciplined. No judging, just comparing yourself to yourself and recognizing your worth. Visualize in reasonable detail an exciting time onstage, connecting with the audience and hitting your poses with might and pleasure and confidence. The audience can sense your love and strength, and the absence of fear and doubt.

It all makes you stronger, win, lose or walk away.

Q) The weather has cleared in my neighborhood and I long to get back on the golf course. What exercise do you suggest for a middle-age golfer getting in shape for the greens and for life?

A) I'd train to be overall fit, conditioning you for all aspects of life. Train with the weights three times a week alternating the following whole-body routines: 1) dumbbell flat bench press, medium-wide-grip pulldown, barbell curl, machine dip, leg press plus calves 2) dumbbell incline press, seated lat row, alternate dumbbell curl, pulley pushdown, lightweight deadlift. 

Here we have one basic exercise per muscle group for three sets x 8 to 10 reps. Recall your golf form, focus and purpose as you apply your might to each set and repetition of exercise. Discover your own intensity as you proceed and progress. Like your golf game, it will come to you. It’s all about practice.

One's power in golf, I understand, is translated through a practiced effortless swing and finesse and not necessarily brutish muscular power. Eat right -- plenty of good protein and carbs and essential fats from nutrient-high foods, lots of water and no junk. Have you ever heard of Bomber Blend, the whole-in-one food?

Complement your weight training on your off days with vigorous walks combined with mild jogs totaling 20 to 30 minutes. Add some crunches and leg raises for torso and midsection strength and tone. You’re smart to train for life.

I can see it now. In six months you’ll hang up your golf clubs and join us at the next Bomber Bash. C'est la vie.

Q) I'm doing a presentation on the positive and negative effects of being a pro bodybuilder. I was wondering if you could give me any input on what to talk about. 

A) Not a whole lot of positives other than the precious character accomplishments a person gains from pursuing a worthy goal intensely: discipline, persistence, perseverance, order, personal fulfillment, courage, life-understanding. There is also the engagement of a true challenge, the swell physique achieved and its satisfaction. The trainee grows in many ways in the process of competition, the back-stage experience, the good and bad personal contacts, and the entertainment skills one engages in the display his wares before an energetic and admiring audience.

Training to compete professionally on a national level is tough and requires a great deal of dedicated time and resources. It is, thus, costly. And, unless one becomes a top national contender, there is little financial remuneration. This would come from prize money, product endorsements, a possible magazine contract or seminars. A few champs go on to write a book or become entrepreneurial and capitalize on their names and fame.

Training for serious professional competition is not healthy. An aspect of training to become a champion in today's world that must be considered is the use of muscle- and training-enhancing drugs. They're illegal, dangerous, destructive and expensive.

The best one can gain from weight training for competition is humility (honorable love of self), a love for the activity of musclebuilding and a love for life around oneself.

That was easy. The remaining 75,000 emails ask important things like how do I get huge, how do I get ripped, how do I bench 500, how do I grow taller. Each question is accompanied with a qualifier: in 30 days, without lifting weights, without dieting, while I sleep. I put these aside for another time. Instead,...

The time to make an assessment of who and where you are has arrived. Often both the trainer and his training are in a muddle by mid-April, a condition indicated by a slump in spirit, energy, direction and progress. He wants to go forward with vigor, but has yet to define the urge clearly or develop a plan to match. Stop, look and listen.

Refresh your goals, reestablish your commitment, upgrade your workout and invigorate your disciplines. Remove the junk from the cupboards and fridge, and restock the empty space with goodness and vitality.

Imagine and think positively. Apply the solid, bold and mighty attitude of a lifter who knows, understands and engages the 10 Truths about his or her training:

 ~ Consistency
 ~ Hard work
 ~ Creative workouts
 ~ Perseverance
 ~ Patience
 ~ Basic Movements Build
 ~ Protein builds
 ~ Eat right
 ~ Sleep, rest and relax
 ~ Positive attitude

Now you’re talkin'. Spread your wings and fly.

The Bomber


Last July we held a seminar at the Santa Cruz Bomber Bash with Bill Pearl as our guest and Eddie Corney making a surprise visit. We recorded the 2-hour QnA talk with three cameras from different angles and points of view... 6-to-8 hours of recorded material. Swell. The following month Laree and I visited Bill and Judy at their home in Oregon and recorded Bill and me in another two hours of compelling (cool word, compelling) conversation.

This stuff is priceless, we're thinking: Now to throw it all together and offer it to our internet participants, a small army of authentic musclebuilders, and fans of the golden era. They’ll be jazzed.

No problemo; a dozen editing-specific computer programs later and a hundred hours on the how-to-edit help line and Laree is ready for action. The roar of trucks driving by, hums of overhead fans, the clattering of ladders to turn off overhead fans, periodic jingles of incoming phone calls and my persistent coughing and sniveling had to be removed from the soundtrack to make it comprehensible. The junk, redundancy, lengthy questions and extensive answers, and embarrassing moments had to be cut. Order to the disorder that comes from random conversations among 225 enthusiastic and hungry bodybuilders had to be explored and sensibly arranged. Entertainment and substance and professional presentation were the elements pursued. Good luck. Add music where it works, add stills where they work and throw in a couple of slide shows for the fun of it. Presto!

One day a month ago Laree emerged from her hellish computer station in the lonely loft for food, water and human contact. The production was complete. I tried to be sensitive as she was given to outbursts of tears and incoherent babbling. Still cute, I pat her on the head, assured her a shower would help, some Bomber Blend... she nodded helplessly.

The finished product was sent off to the pros to be duplicated -- stamped, printed and encased... whatever -- and is now in stock for immediate shipment.

The  Package includes a one-hour-and-fifteen-minute tape of the July seminar, two muscular slide shows, plus a 32-page booklet outlining the subsequent interview between the mighty one, Bill Pearl, and me in which we discuss some favorite subjects untouched by the seminar.

Be the first one on the block to own this indescribable entertainment and informational extravaganza starring Oscar-winning performers from around the world

Click here to order your copy of the Bash 05 Seminar dvd with Dave and Bill Pearl

Grab your copy Brother Iron Sister Steel here

Click here to order Iron On My Mind

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