First Things First

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You Can Look, but Don’t Jump


French Muscle Magazine Cover, November 1966
Compliments of Richard Sequin

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Today is the first day of what promises to be the beginning of our California spring. It’s a grand day. An hour more sunlight beams through blue skies gracing us with temperatures in the 70s, a few light breezes and plenty of burgeoning smiles. I feel 20 years younger.

Last week it was all about aging, this week it’s all about youth. I remember when I had 20-inch arms and gas was 19.9 a gallon. Those were the days.

As I glance in the specially rigged rearview mirror on me ole virtual biplane, I see kids under 18 jumping out the cargo area like we were goin’ down fast. No parachutes, they’d rather take their chances bailing out now than enduring a crash landing later.

No jumping, no crashing, kids. Old captains never die; they just run out of air.

Here’s a question that will gain the attention of the young and wingless daredevils: Bomber, if you were 18 years old, five-foot-ten, medium build, 165 pounds and weight training for a year in an average sort of way and wanted to get bigger and better and smarter, what would you do... besides joining the Army?

Easy answer, tough pursuit. I’m reluctant to reply ‘cuz average-sort-of-way training just won’t do, and I don’t want to waste his time or mine. Magnanimous muscleman I am, though, I’ll give it a go, Joe.

What would I do? First, I’d sit back and take five to review myself and my goals a little more closely. Know thyself. A quick who, what, where, why and when now and then proves to be invaluable in musclebuilding. Think, act, reap.

I know. All you wanted was a quickie routine, a pat on the back and to be on your way. Not so fast, Buster.

Who are you, what are your ambitions outside the gym, how will bigger and better serve you; where and when will you train and how much time do you have and are willing to commit? Is weight training and musclebuilding a mission or a diversion or healthy sport? These and related questions can be fun and enlightening and invaluable. Thinking along the way with wonder and confidence transform the daily exercises, sets and reps into a marvelous journey.

Knowing what I look like, what would I like to look like; how do I see myself as I successfully progress? Visualizing and imagining works. Our proper and positive conscious and unconscious thoughts urge us along like currents in deep waters. Direct them wisely.

Too much trouble, too complex, too boring, you say? Beats texting. Your mind’s picture of yourself is worth a thousand words.

Another thing that’s probably bugging you... or not: All our endeavors are ego-bound. Fine. Me-first isn’t exactly an isolated attitude, it isn’t necessarily wrong and it isn’t always evidence of killer conceit. Accept essential, inherent egocentricity and mold it to be universally beneficial. Being strong and fit and capable and healthy are bold responsibilities and the noblest of qualities, and among the pursuits most commonly neglected. That these fine traits are lacking in our neighborhood are evidence of this.

Crimes against one’s self, sins against man.

Take pride in your weighty endeavor, your iron diversion, your steely sport or heavy pastime, whether you’re an aspiring fireman, policeman, taxman, doctor, lawyer or Indian chief. What you do is good... brilliant, perhaps. Go. Aspire.

Before moving on, you must face the four naked truths: discipline and perseverance, courage and forbearance. These are prerequisites and byproducts of building muscle, might and brights. Ya gotta have them, or, at least, be ready, willing and able to develop them. Be prepared.

But, but, but... where’s the beef?

Nutrition is next. Bigger, better and smarter are most directly assured by right eating and proper supplementation, and their daily implementation. Yet, I’m struck by how few people are familiar with healthy eating guidelines or appreciate their vital importance. They don’t care. They eat when they get the urge or the chance, when they’re bored or depressed, for comfort or entertainment. And they eat junk, too much and too fast, or they don’t eat at all.

Do as I do, do as I say and do it always, regularly, consistently, certainly, without fail: daily, weekly and monthly, and on and on forever and not just occasionally.

Feed yourself simply, wisely and respectfully. Ya’ll know Bomber Nutrition 101; ya’ll just forget it every now and again. Ya’ll dumb. Be simple, be wise and be respectful. Be smart.

Eat breakfast always. Small, yet substantial, the starting meal will save and maintain muscle and provide energy and engage the metabolism.

Eat sufficient meals regularly throughout the day, every three hours is a nice rule of thumb. Not too much at once, not snacks only.

Eat well-balanced meals (40 percent animal protein, 30 percent good fats, 30 percent nutrient-high carbs is my favorite calorie ratio), including fresh vegetables and fruits and excluding junk, refined sugars and grease.

Eat red meat, low-fat milk products and ground-fed chicken eggs as your size-building protein muscle foods. Wisely use a superior protein powder to augment and simplify your muscle-gaining endeavors. Perhaps you’ve heard of Bomber Blend.

I also add EFAs to my menu and take creatine by Anabol Naturals and a quality vitamin-mineral by Super Spectrum. That basically does it for me in the supplement department.

I could go on, but it’s time for one of those substantial, well-balanced meals that assure weight gain and muscle growth. Check out this popular link on sports nutrition for more fascinating, information-packed reading as you carefully and gratefully chow down.

Now for a training routine suitable for the increasingly dedicated, disciplined and committed 18-year-old musclebuilder dripping with perseverance and filled with positive visions.

Of course, I’m limited only to the secret information I can divulge over the internet. We are being closely monitored by oppressive regimes, mobs and tribes across the world for any edge they can gain to propel them into the knowledge of extreme muscular advancement. I will, thus, use code words, such as sets and reps, lats and bis, and curls and squats. Act casual, don’t look suspicious.

Again, with the premise “if it were me, this is what I would do,” plan to train four days a week. You don’t want to consume your time excessively, and weight training and its goals have a way of dominating your thoughts and deeds. You want them to complement your body, mind and soul – your life and lifestyle – not control them. Furthermore, you don’t want to overtrain, an insidious physical side effect of determined musclebuilding.

The young, relatively new lifter with goals of muscle size and power is most productive recruiting the basic exercises found in the handy how-to-build-big-muscles manual. What a relief because they are the only ones I know. If this stuff was complicated, I’d be on the streets and there’d be a noticeable scarcity of musclemen walking the earth’s surface. Let’s face it, we’re heavy on the bench and light in the brains.

And, too, you want to arrange your exercises so you train every major muscle group twice a week with ample time between bodypart workouts to allow muscle repair and recuperation. Keep in mind this is not the end-all of training routines and is not designed to accomplish all your muscle development desires. Variations of the fundamentals – sets and reps, multi-set combinations and levels of intensity -- determine varying effects: muscle shape, definition, density, might, speed, endurance.

Stick to the prescribed routine for six weeks to exact all the benefits it has to offer. You are seeking, learning and growing, and your instincts continue their exposure and honing. They, I suspect, are not ready to override your instructed mind and lead you down the tangled path ahead. Be patient, persistent and content.

Know this: A change in workout might serve many purposes (muscularize, thicken the back, strengthen the thighs), but its most essential purpose is to keep us interested and hopeful and engaged. Or, put another way, to keep us from pulling our hair out, drooping with boredom, sinking in doubt and staying home and watching TV instead of blasting it. Anything but another workout!

Consistent training, even if it’s bad, is good. Better a bad workout than no workout. The worst workout is the missed workout. He who neglects his exercise is a loser. Skip your routine, fall on your face.

Include the following 10 must-do-to-be-big exercises:

Squats

Bench press (better yet, dumbbell incline press)

Dead lifts

One-arm bentover row

Barbell curls

Lying or overhead triceps extension

Seated lat row

Widegrip pulldowns

Dumbbell pullover

Sidearm lateral raises – one-arm or two-arm

You’re beginning to get the picture. The secret is there is no secret. We’ll mix these recently devised, earth-shattering and stunning movements into a grow-big scheme of sets and reps... next week. More just-discovered and freshly-minted information will accompany the sudden and startling routine. Stay tuned and grow big.

Over and out... the Bomber

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Well, not exactly... there’s more...

Here's an idea: Brother Iron Sister Steel was called The Best Book on Bodybuilding Ever by Muscle and Fitness magazine. You'll ask less and train harder with more joy and certainty after reading its fun pages. Tips and hints, routines and nutrition, motivation and stories, and tons of pictures from the good times.

Go... Godspeed... Dave

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