First Things First

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2008 is Gonna be a Great Year, Bombers

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Mugsy’s latest trick to gain my attention is sitting on the key board between the computer screen and me while meowing as if he was being tortured. I’m focused, yet his simple ploy works without fail. I’m left with two choices: chase him away, adorable cuddly creature covered with soft fur, or lean back in my CEO swivel chair and tickle his cutesy neck after he curls up on my lap purring loudly. The latter solution is the most popular with all parties concerned.

Email can wait, the newsletter another time.

The humane and PETA friendly posture allows me time to think about things I would not normally think about, like who lifts more weight in a lifetime, an Olympic lifter, a powerlifter or a bodybuilder? When does overtraining commence, considering hormonal production, maximum oxygen uptake, stress on joints and ligaments, blood sugar levels and focused energy expended? If a devoted trainee did nothing but cleans and presses for strength, health and muscle development, what would the results be after a substantial commitment of five years? How about curls and dips only?

By this time my computer goes into a hibernate mode, Mugsy’s off chasing tuna fish and I’m snoozing like a wino with an empty bottle. It’s the last day of 2007, New Year’s Eve, what else does one do? Laree’s in the kitchen (where women belong) making Campbell’s pea soup, having spent the last 10 hours updating the IOL web page, forum and blog posts. Guess we’ll be hearing fireworks in the distance before long, commemorating time’s passage.

12 weeks ago, early October, IronOnline introduced the 2007 Year-End Challenge. Some of you have forgotten the enthusiastic bid to get in shape, learn and grow, and some of you will never forget it. You grabbed the banner and got in step with the growing mob. Week after week you pressed on with daring and resolution, and accomplished exactly what the surge prescribed: forward movement, loss of bodyfat, improved muscle development, matured discipline and encouraging fulfillment.

Sincere congratulations, bombers, job well done. Let’s face it, in a world of shriveling character and standards, you are heroes. Over 50 participants logged their progress on the pages of IOL, shared their thoughts and gained encouragement. Another zillion carried the torch privately, caught up in the enthusiasm and success of the online contributors. The tail of the year, October through December, did not pass by without a vigorous wagging; it did not waddle into the sunset a size or two larger than it did a year ago. And the momentum carries into the new year.

Which reminds me: 363 days till 2009... 2008, ready or not, here we is.

We won’t talk about resolutions. Those went out with polyester and disco. Resolutions are like lifer-long promises; they are not only broken, they are chopped up, pulverized and finally vaporized. Let’s just stick to the basics: train hard, eat right and be -----------. You fill in the blank. Choices include, but are not limited to, happy, strong, consistent, big, lean, smart, healthy, a rock star, a busboy and Governor.

December is the longest month of the year. Somehow we manage to pack six weeks into four, gain weight, lose muscle, waste time, spend money, buy junk, get deep in debt, forfeit discipline, submit to chaos, misplace the iron and skip squats. It happens very fast and takes forever, both at the same time.

Lucky me. I got a giant head cold the last ten days of the oversized month and was placed under house arrest, or whatever. If I strained too much my head exploded like an IED -- a cherry bomb. So, I hung out. Got over the guilt by noon every day and went into a repair and refresh mode. Good for joints, tendons and ligaments, bypasses, brain matter, muscle tissue, general health and attitude and other assorted things I tend to abuse with decisiveness and premeditation.

I believe it was an authentic Gimme-a-Break reaction to 2007, which is not unlike the I’m-Outta-Here, Ya Rotten Year syndrome.

Today was my first day back in the gym. I found the place with the first try and everyone remembered who I was, which was cool. I did press-behind-necks supersetted with widegrip pulldowns to the front, thickbar bench presses supersetted with stiffarm dumbbell pullovers, and one arm rows supersetted with machine dips, (5 sets of each superset x 6-10 reps). Bingo-bango.

Now you know one of my favorite training schemes to cover a lot of territory after an obscene layoff. Did some gut, and split. Boom-zoom.

I intend to show my body kindness this year. In other words, I shall reduce the blasting to sensible bombing, thereby reducing the negative approach that accompanies the white-hot sets and reps, and the injury that lurks on the other side of the last rep. When pain begins to linger like the smell of an old cigar, it’s time to lighten the load.

Speaking of which, considering it’s the New Year and you’ve got important things to do -- weight to lose, muscle to gain, money to save, resolutions to keep -- I’ll tie down the craft, close the hangar doors and give my girl a call.

See ya, ya bums... God’s might... Draper

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