First Things First

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Don’t Hold Your Breath


Dan John and Josh Vert, IronOnline June 2009 seminar

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It’s a gorgeous Saturday in booming California as I write this newsletter. Laree is in the mountains of Utah with a crew of strength athletes and lifters -- friends from IronOnline -- celebrating the ninth annual Bomber Bash. They are engaged in a marathon of fundamental and specialized training instruction and demonstration by Dan John, highly accredited strength coach and master lifting champion.

This is a grand enrichment for 50-some ironheads as they enjoy each other’s company and share in lifting, learning and growing and eating and mingling for a long spring weekend. Beyond being a veritable wealth of information, a formidable iron technician and practitioner, Dan is a remarkably skilled communicator. Dan speaks and performs -- you listen, learn and love it.

Video cameras will be rocking and rolling as the training weekend proceeds and the director (guess who?) hopes to gather 15 hours of raw tape from which to glean material for three exciting and instructive DVDs. Available sorta soon, these will be an unbeatable looking, listening and learning experience for all variations and levels of strength trainers.

Dan wrote the splendid, hot-off-the press teaching book for mighty athletes titled Never Let Go. The book’s content is extra excellent and the writing is super superb, and only exceeded by the absolutely brilliant editing and publishing of Laree Draper, the acclaimed creator of davedraper.com.

She comes home tomorrow, at last. I’ll pick her up at the airport in San Jose. She’ll be packed with inspiration and stories and energy and ideas, and I’ll soak it all up like a dry rag.

I’ll then go on to relate my daring tales, adventures in the thick and rugged coastal California forests with only Mugs to watch my back (ferocious squirrels, man-eating deer). Real bombers are strong and courageous... and humble... and wise.

An out-of-the-blue question for you, humble and wise ones, or is it out-of-the-green these days? Call me traditional, I’ll stick with blue.

Ever pour yourself a tall one at the end of the day, sit back in your favorite easy chair and say, Ah, life is good? You performed your job responsibly, helped an old lady cross the street, beat the traffic home and -- the biggee -- your workout was a blast: no injuries, good pump and you pulled a few extra reps. Mmm, mmm... smell that barbecue.

We need to do this more often, my dear friends, a natural appreciation for life, freedom and goodness. We know better. Take nothing for granted, ever.

And then -- got remote, will travel -- you click on the ole’ TV and you catch the evening news. Holy shimoly!! What the? The crappy fan is clogged! Tell me I’m watching a stinky horror flick made in Somalia.

Of course, the Mrs. and I tune into the boob tube for our pound of diversion, as well. We’d be better people if we didn’t, but the TV is captivating... ubiquitous, contagious and insidious. And, yes, like good little sheeple, we watch the nightly news, and squirm. We prefer waterboarding, but the news is so convenient, swift and effective.

Click, scream, fall over!

You might say I’m a concerned citizen. Lately I’ve been pondering the complexities we, as muscle- and strength-builders, might be facing if things continue as they are. I’m not alone. Below are a few topics tossed about between sets during today’s workout at The Weight Room.

The pros and cons of city, county, state and federal entertainment taxes on our gym memberships. Near future global entertainment taxes? Should guns over 18 inches pumped be registered with government law-enforcement agencies, and guns over 20 inches cold be banned? Is it unconstitutional to require anyone found driving while in possession of six-pack abdominals be subject to a breathalyzer test? How long before professional bodybuilders are required to possess a contractor’s license and apply for building permits to construct their incredible structures?

And about iron, ironheaded investors: Will we be allocated a given number of pounds in the shape of barbells and dumbbells depending on our electrical consumption to our wind- and solar-power production ratio? Should all treadmills, stationary bikes and stairclimbers be modified to produce energy and connected to a central energy bank in, say, Washington, DC? Will there be a gym czar, and who will it be?

This is very important stuff, friends. And about the bomber thing, I might change that to blooper just to be safe. The Blond Blooper... has a universal, non-threatening ring to it, don’t you think? All is not lost, bloopers!

Crazy, man!

To keep me off the streets and out of the line of fire, I’m considering training at home. Lifting weights at home is a 50-year-old childhood memory, and I recall a tiresome grimness in out-of-the-way shadows that taught me to complain to no one and get another rep.

Once I waged war in the gym, skirmishes at home were no longer significant; I needed the big guns and heavy artillery to be effective and triumphant. It’s been a long and persistent, huge and ripped battle ever since, keeping the enemy at bay and encouraging strength among fellow world peace fighters.

Now I’m mature. The battles change, strategies change, but the will to win remains the same.

After careful assessment and calculations, and a visit to the shrink, I have decided it’s time for a pause from my regular gym training and an adventure in training at home. Easier said than done; I have been forbidden access to the Weight Room, Laree has stashed the car keys and I’ve been fitted with a home monitoring ankle bracelet.

I’m committed to spending one week around the pad to craft an amusing training routine with the items at hand, or die. This is literally kid stuff. I’ll pretend I’m seven, instead of 67, and want to build big muscles. How does it go, again? Laree has a variety of kettlebells, a short Oly bar and a few plates and an assortment of large and small exercise balls, like 20, every color in the rainbow. I’m bad, I’m bad!

Chins and dips, girls and boys... time for some homemade muscle and might defense training. To satisfy your burning curiosity, I’ll outline what I did, how and why, next week. Don’t hold your breath. I might go to Costa Rica for a vacation instead, me and my bloopin’ ankle bracelet.

Go... Godspeed... The Bomber

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BILL PEARL/DAVE DRAPER LIVE SEMINAR DVD

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. ~Dave

Cut through the confusion! Grab your copy Brother Iron Sister Steel to make your training path clear.

Readers agree: Dave new book, Iron On My Mind, is non-stop inspirational reading.

Our IronOnline Forum will answer your training and nutriton questions right here, right now.

Golden Era fans will rejoice in this excerpt from West Coast Bodybuilding Scene.

Are your shoulders tight? Do your shoulders hurt when you squat? It's practically a miracle! Dave's Top Squat assists squatters with shoulder problems.

Here's Dave's previous week's column.