First Things First

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There’s No Business like Show Business



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Hold it right there, Palzie-walzie. Before you go to the gym or the garage, the basement, the closet or wherever it is you go to perform the preposterous act of lifting weights, are you sure you want to go through the scene one more time? I mean, you don’t have to. There’s no law or governmental requirement (thus far) demanding you hoist the obstinate objects from one place to another. It’s a strictly voluntary deed, right?

Not! You are bound to the ironic play, the steely show, the powerful theatrics; the tragedy, the comedy, the human love story.

You like the drama, the performance, the audience and its reactions. The whole show is yours. You create the story, write the script, perform the lead, execute the stunts, choose the set, direct the action and enjoy the production and reap the rewards. Bravo! Encore!

Curls -- scene one, set two, rep three.

Let’s call this heavy iron-classic “Mission Impossible,” or “From Here to Eternity.” How about “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest?” My fav is “Gigi Goes to Hawaii with Elvis.”

The best told tales of gymrats and men are told daily as the players play. The stories unfold and the plots thicken as improvisation brings real life to the moment.

Lights, camera and action... Let the games begin.

Memorizing lines and repeating them according to a script is lame.

“O Dick, Dick! Wherefore art thou, Dick?”

Yeah, right!

“Thus, here am I, my dearest Jane.”

Give me a break.

You walk into the gym, scan the floor for unknowables and knuckleheads, shrug your traps, rotate your shoulders, take a deep breath, grab the weights and blast away. Simple. Push, shove, pull, kick, scream, holler, lift, hoist and toss and slug some water. Another set. Pound, bomb, yank, snarl, growl, thrust, slam, raise, lower and drop. More water. Do not rip, tear or break. No whimpering. Tighten belt, adjust wraps, sneer, hydrate.

I love method training. It’s got guts, punch, bounce... bazoom... pizzazz.

I don’t know what the guy who enters the gym calls it when he cruises the recumbent for 10 minutes while reading People Magazine, and then slips over to the leg extension where he sits and finishes his article and does kicky thingees between pages: the see-ya-later approach, the I’m-outta-here technique.

But wait, there’s more: Grasping a pair of proper dumbbells, he curls them and presses them sideways for several sets of several reps before putting them on the floor wherever and walking away. The mini pump ‘n dump methodology, the me-go-ego principle.

My workout begins several hours before I rattle the iron. There’s that organic moment when I’m reminded of my engagement with the weights and my mind swiftly and efficiently attends the preparations.

One) The choice: Do I, or do I not work out today? Snicker... sounds familiar... chuckle... where’d I hear that before... slap my knee and a hardy-har-har. My response is the same every time: With a grip like a vice, I grab the pointless question by the nose, drag it to the sparkling bowl in the granite, stainless steel and glass bedazzled bathroom and flush it down the effervescent drain. One flush, glub, glub, gone, gone.

Two) The fuel: Bomber Blend with milk, eggs and a banana, plus aminos and vits and mits by Super Spectrim... a cup of coffee and a muffin for fun, carbs, bran and caffeine.

Three) The attitude: One attitude. I win, weights lose, they rust, I grow; they go up when I make them, they come down when I let them. We have a small agreement about sets and reps and how much they weigh. Very effective, very confidential. Trust me, trust yourself.

Four) The gear: sweats, neckless t-shirt, ragged and too small, high heel sneakers and a gym bag, ragged and too small, loaded with perfume, make-up, Long-lash by Latisse, botox gels, ointments, salves and creams and Wrinkle-be-gone one-a-day caps, several iPods, Hollywood Starz Magazine, red sunglasses, nail polish to match and my lifting belt and elbow wraps.

Five) The drive: Fast lane. If I leave early, I’m good. No pressure, no traffic, no rage to or fro. I never leave early. Dumb!

During the 20-minute dash, I nudge the prospects of the training session. The questions unfold: What works, what’s broken, what needs work, what can I do, what can’t I do, what should I do, what do I want to do and finally, what do I do?

Sometimes the answer is on the tip of my tongue, sometimes it’s buried amid aches and pains, sometimes my mind drifts with the sun and the clouds where most of my answers are found.

Six) The entrance: Relax, people. This won’t take long.

The haul up the ten stairs to the back door is the indicator. If I make it without clutching the rail, chances are I’ll have a good workout. If I get to the fifth step and stop, bend over and gasp for air, it’s gonna be a tough 60 minutes. About three months ago after several tries I made it up the stairs and to the pulleys and did one set before dragging my sorry butt back to the pickup. Cute.

I thought it might be a trend, but it wasn’t. I was back the next day. Seemed like a hundred years.

Seven) The action: “Step aside, son. Hey, that’s my bench. I’m using those weights.” I’m very territorial, and for that reason I hit the gym in the early afternoon when it’s virtually empty. There’s him and there’s her and those two and that guy. We wave.

I have never gone wrong with this little clink-clank ditty. Try it. It’ll awaken the sleeping monster in your bones, or tame the growling monster on your back. It’s simple -- I like simple, simple works best -- yet, it’s as hard as you want it, or can take it. I like hard, hard works best.

Cable tucks
(4 sets x 25-50 reps)

Smith front press supersetted with widegrip pulldowns
(4 sets x 8-10 reps)

Press behind neck (devilish movement, I know) supersetted with bentover dumbbell laterals
(4 sets x 8-10 reps)

Single-arm cable crossover supersetted with single-arm cable lat pull
(4 sets x 8-10 reps)

Gee, gotta get home before the traffic makes me crazy. I hate being late. Laree won’t feed me and makes me sleep on the deck with the dog. We don’t have a dog. Okay in the summer, but October... brrrr, man!

Godspeed... David the Gladiator

THE BEST KEPT SECRET -- TOP SECRET TOP SQUATS

Save your shoulders, be nice to your back, improve your squat, delight in the action and build thunder thighs. Grasp the handles of a Top Squat, settle the padded bar across your back and lower yourself safely, comfortably and precisely to your favorite depth, and in the same way lift yourself up.

You can’t squat -- you will. You squat poorly -- you’ll squat properly. You hate squats -- you’ll adore them. You like squats -- you’ll love them. You love squats -- you’ll marry them.

----

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Scoop the blend into a glass, stir and drink with pleasure and satisfaction, when you need to, want to or should. All the time.

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

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