First Things First

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This is Heavy


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Recent studies suggest that deadlifting contributes to the curious global warming problem concerned individuals say we are incurring. I believe it was former Vice President Al Gore who said, "The incredible action of deadlifting practiced by bodybuilders and powerlifters has caused and continues to cause a shift in the earth's rotation, which science can prove adversely effects atmospheric conditions. As the lifter pulls on the bar, so does he push away the planet. Oops-a-daisy! Not good!”

Furthermore, it has been implied that heavy squatting and bench pressing are equally liable, though no long-term double-blind study has been done. Al’s brilliant colleagues go on to point out the thunderous bellowing and growling accompanying the pointless activities exhale perilous amounts of carbon dioxide into the already compromised air supply.

Whether you agree or disagree, it’s time we come together, bombers, to coordinate our lifting efforts to save the planet and extend our lives; as one half pushes, so shall the other half pull. Seeking balance, continuity, cooperation and life extension, we can do this. Let’s unite, intelligent steel-minded advocates.

Or not. Come to think of it, I prefer to push when I feel like it, and pull when I get the urge. Count me out. Pushing and pulling, lifting and hoisting are the first and last of our frontiers and freedoms. Paraphrasing Sir Winston Churchill, a champion powerlifter: Never let them go! Never give them up! Never! Never! Never!

Similar government-sponsored studies go on to recommend that lifters abandon all related, life-threatening ironbound activities and engage in team bowling, a powerful and aggressive challenge applying planet-friendly linear and horizontal action. See details at algorebowlalot.org.

Note: Some of the world’s best bowlers deadlift, squat and bench press -- heavy. So much for Goreski and the global warming theory.

The last time I went bowling I was 12 years old. Seems like only 54 years ago. Time flies when you sit still and stare. It was at the Secaucus Bowlarama. I bowled 200 if you add up my score for both games. Never went back. Too social: people, beer, balls and shoes for rent, slipping and sliding, boisterous laughter, confusion, little pencils and score keeping and costly. I had a quarter and a dime in my pocket and a hole in my sneakers.

Heck, I can play for free where there are no crowds and balls and beers and score cards -- downstairs in the basement with my weights and milk crate. Later... clank, clank, clank.

Much, much later I’m still at it, which says a lot or very little. I’m either highly committed and disciplined, or just plain dumb. Hmm... Gives me something to ponder between sets.

My workouts are as important as ever. The heavy lifting has been done, the earth moving and plowing, the clearing and leveling, the construction and development. Now to attend the maintenance and repairs. We do not want to allow weeds to grow, leaks to go unchecked or faulty wiring to threaten the electrical system. Once decline begins and repairs are ignored, the interior and exterior fade quickly.

Got caught up in my dopey metaphor and pictured myself as an old tenement building on the rundown eastside, crawling with drug addicts and deadbeats and rats... broken windows, 40-watt light bulbs, graffiti and stink. Big belly, hanging butt, sloping shoulders, soft arms... Yipes stripes, let me outta here.

Laree and I shall journey to the land of iron ‘n steel as one today. Keenly diligent yet romantic, we shall move the weights with precision and resolve. She’ll go her way, I’ll go my way and we’ll ultimately meet at the same destination: muscular fulfillment. We’ll embrace and return from whence we came, our little cabin in the woods. Maybe we’ll stop off at the Pink Lady Bar for a pitcher of brew, a tub of buffalo wings and some pool. Ah, Sundays!

M’ lady has veered off the beaten weightlifting track and picked up kettlebells and her own brand of cross training and muscle balance exercising. Good for her. She reminds me of Mugsy on a hunt, alert, focused, intent, expectant -- no movement wasted. Seek and find and devour.

Girls and cats, who understands ‘em? Gimme da weights.

I admit I don’t know much, but I do know I am due to train arms today, with a touch of legs to stimulate the system and burn some loose calories. Biceps and triceps comprise a small muscle group (that has not always been the case) and don’t require lots of energy. Hard work, burn and focus, yes, but not a big drain on the heart and lungs. Thus, a reserve for some friendly leg work to keep the foundations from failing and crabgrass from cropping up along the walkway.

I intend to arrange my workouts, henceforth, with particular attention to robustness and good cheer, function and wholeness. No longer shall I seek mass and power, huge and ripped, marathon workouts, the last rep, and one more set before they lock the doors and turn the lights out. I shall train sensibly, wisely and productively.

Time has not caught up with me; I have overtaken time. What was once necessary yesterday and a year ago is too much today. I expect I’ll be playing this intricate balancing game from now on: exercises, sets and reps, pace and intensity of performance, ability and purpose. Just when I thought I knew what I was doing, along come the same old variables disguised in the different clothing.

I’ll customize my workouts, rotate and alternate my muscle groups, and train according to on-the-spot, at-the-moment needs. Have to, ought to and suppose to will not guide me; guilt will not be my judge. “More is better” will no longer rule my hauling and tossing of metal, and “beyond my ability” will remain beyond my ability.

I recognize you as sober and serious lifters with whom I share similar training precepts. A powerful alliance, I thought we might examine ten post-Stone Age sayings found etched on the walls of ancient cave dwellings and dungeons.

Iron Age Proverbs

Train hard and eat right, my son;
Be strong, be wise and live long.

Curls for strong arms and presses for mighty shoulders;
The rod for the back that refuses.

The wise man seeks muscle and might daily;
Perseverance and patience are his companions.
Not every day is fruitful and a delight;
Satisfaction comes at a great cost.

Better to sleep in a bed of thorns,
Than to share a house with a drunken scoundrel.
Such a mate is destructive,
Apart from Bomber Blend and Barbells, there is no hope for him or her.

I saw a man walking to ruin and death,
His hands were without iron and steel.
No fresh fruit or greens of the earth entered his belly,
No protein or essential fats satisfied his languishing body.

The foolish choose the easy way,
The wicked the way where evil lurks.
But the courageous fear not toil and pain,
And the devoted delight in loaded bars both long and short.

Listen to the words of wisdom, my child;
Let not health and strength drain from your body.
Serve your muscle and might always,
And they will serve you forever more.

Worship the heavy bench press and it will take you down;
Treat your body to its rewards and damage will not visit your house.

A good pump and a stinging burn are the joys of a solid workout;
Pursue them with diligence and long suffering.
Dullness in spirit and sluggishness in body assure defeat;
Avoid them like poisonous snakes.

Weights that go unattended build up rust,
While the lax attendee builds up no good.
Sluggard is his name,
Frail is his frame.

Early bombers resorted to jumping off cliffs and peaks to gain air; we have wings and propellers, ailerons, rudders and flaps. Yet, some things never change, bombers: Once a dumbbell, always a dumbbell.

A little reassurance goes a long way, and we have a long way to go.

Runway to Tower... Preparing for takeoff... or landing... whatever...

Godspeed... DD

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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