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A Toll-Free Bridge, Workout to Workout


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It's Monday; sun's hiding behind a thick cloud cover, the wind is still and the hillsides are silent. No chainsaw, no barking dog, no bird calls, no stirring neighbors. I feel fine, not nursing any wounds or gasping for relief. It's a good day to count blessings, thank God and pray for more. I'm greedy.

I have no plans to go anywhere, which suits me just fine. What to do, bombers, the choices are divine: Eat, take a stroll, stretch, work the foam roller, practice my bird calls, compute, couch, Tivo, to bed early, arise early and do it all again.

Scary. I'm tempted to remove the above sally of listless notions so they do not enter my mental pores via osmosis of the subconscious mind. Furthermore, I believe it's a sin for spiritual folks and atheists and androids to reflect on such notions, with the exception of, maybe, Islamic terrorists. I'll check with the Administration and get back to you on that one.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, in the middle of the day, I go to the gym to rough house and cause trouble. Rumbling pickup, speeding traffic, changing lanes like cards in high-stakes poker; pulleys, plates, benches, dumbbells and bars; clank... clank... thud... hiss, moan, groan.

The elbow sounds like a chainsaw, the shoulder barks like a dog and the back calls out with the cry of a night bird. The gym is alive with the sound of music.

The lifter who foregoes his or her workouts is a loser. Workouts comprise any combination of deliberate thrusts with iron-bound barbells, dumbbells, cable handles and machines. A major portion of one's might and energy must be applied with maximum focus and imagination when engaging the various thrusts.

That one's might and energy might be limited by injury or age or any such ghastly intrusions is to be courageously accepted and wisely accounted for. Desiring to go beyond one's limitations is natural to a disciplined and determined ironhead, but it can be unhealthy.

Danger ahead. Proceed with caution.

Note: A person is not a natural and authentic ironhead if that person is not disciplined and determined. He or she is only a lightweight, a wannabe. Sorry. Get a life. Join the circus. Get a job. Get a loan.

I say these things cuz (I may have mentioned this before) I'm not as strong as I used to be. Yup! At first I thought it was something I ate. Then I blamed my depression on the 911 attacks and NYC. Then I was certain it was the 2008 election and Chicago... te he... silly late-night TV joke. Now I think it's wear and tear and the mounting years.

Who’d a thunk it? Live and learn.

When my dad was 67, he had another 25 good years ahead of him. That’s like a lifetime. By the time I was 25 years old, I was the dad of a six-year-old cutie, was Mr. America and Mr. Universe and Harry somebody in Don’t Make Waves, and an old friend of Zabo. Just think of the pump and burn I can get in the next 25.

It all depends on the last workout and continues with the next. I can’t wait till tomorrow to carry on the journey. In the meantime, I sit at my computer and tell you about my last workout only one day ago.

It started like all the rest: enter the gym, review the surroundings, untangle and retrieve my wraps from the stinky little gym bag, and head for the pulleysfor a round of rope tucks. One of the best sets of the workout, excluding the last set, is the first set of rope tucks.

It reminds me of an animal when stretching after a lovely nap: The paws reach out in their turn, the body gets low and elongates like a loose coil and he shakes briefly and uncontrollably starting at the nose and ending at the tail... or, maybe it’s the other way around. The creature then sits up, licks his chops and looks around in total innocence and refreshment – I call it a smile. I’m convinced this is an animal’s survival instinct, an inborn technique to extend its health and wellbeing.

Those first reps of the first set are determining: Their sensitive execution determine our abilities and desires, aches and pains and strength and weakness. The manner -- the attention and appreciation and excitement -- with which we perform the reps and set indicate our training determination; the success of the reps and set performed determines the success of the subsequent sets, and the entire workout.

I let the first set take me where I’m going, knowing the closer I get to it, the more I embrace it and surrender to it, the more I will enjoy it, respond to it, and learn and grow from it.

Gee, you think it was the stairway to heaven. It’s just a set. Blast it.

Now, the second set is where and when it all takes place. We’re here to grow, you know. Readiness observed, it is with the second set that the hormones are reminded they have an important part in the process and need to be ready for the third set, the hot set that overloads the involved tissues and prepares the muscular system for – you know what I’m going to say – magnificent hypertrophy.

OW!!

Momentum builds with the completion of the third set, readying the mind and body for the synchronicity of the fourth set, which global warming scientists assure us furthers our capacity for dynamic muscular development, including thick veins and deep cuts. The fifth and sixth set, no matter what exercises they might be, jar the reluctant muscular system into powerful forward motion.

Ka-thunk!

Hold on tight. Drink water, rest adequately between sets, yet focus tightly on the course ahead. Not that you would stray or relax your intensity, but the internal electrical structure dare not be compromised when it is at a heightened state. It’s a law of physics and it’s out of our control. Be strong and courageous.

Zoom, zoom, zoom.

The exercises fall into place as if we knew what they were beforehand, but this is an illusion. Not to worry. This is only experienced by 3-D ironheads of the disciplined, determined and dynamic nature and over 50 to 100 years old.

The remaining sets seem like a dream until you wake up on Thursday morning, stretch, drink your Bomber Blend and read the IronOnline newsletter. Then you know they were real.

I have no idea what I’m talking about. I think I have a fever. Maybe it is something I ate... a long time ago.

Miss your bus and you arrive late.

Miss your workout and your day collapses, the world ends, your shorts go on fire, withdrawals begin... and then the hallucinations. You don’t want to go there, bombers. Trust me.

All aboard... Next stop, Paradise.

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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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