First Things First

Before you get distracted by all the great options you're about to find here, please sign up for Dave's free weekly newsletter so he can continue to encourage and motivate you toward your fitness goals.
Chris M writes:
"You blend plain-spoken wisdom, motivational fire and wry humor into a weekly email jolt that leaves me itching to hit the gym. Whether I'm looking for workout routines, diet tips or a friendly kick in the butt, the Bomber comes through every time." ... Read more...

Time Out -- What’s the Hurry, Why the Rush?

Dennis Tinerino
Lee Labrada and Dennis TInerino. Dennis died last Friday.

Download the full Draper here newsletter
in printable, live-link, pdf format, here.

Getting to it, where do we begin? The last thing I said a week ago in reference to a question about aging and letting go was, “Next week, if I can get this jalopy to fly, I’ll approach the question from a different direction, one with an answer in mind.”

Forever the optimist. Let’s give it the old grammar-school try. I promise to be positively positive.

Here’s a list of the benefits we enduring and attentive ironheads are assured of as time goes by.

1) The exercises we did by rote memory or mimicking or instruction are replaced with beneficial and rewarding movements, actions and motions we’ve developed by feel and function, need and desire.

2) Struggling over the weights, we come to know our self, our strengths and our weaknesses; and the more we struggle, the greater the former and the lesser the latter. We cannot lift as much iron, but our effort is golden. Our form is a blur, but our purpose is crystal clear. Our endurance fades, but our persistence shines bright.

3) Pride and vanity are twin villains we battle daily amid iron and steel. Where once they ruled, they are today a toothless pair that has lost its bite. Get ye behind me, Satan.

4) That which we achieved over the years of lifting is not cast aside like an In ‘n Out burger’s biodegradable wrapper. It’s defended like wealth, or, better yet, a faithful companion too precious to lose. Release the grip slowly, never let go.

5) For each thing lost, something is gained. No, not a pound of muscle for a pound of fat, or a memory for a wrinkle. Let me work on this one for a minute…

Let’s see... something gained... hmmm... like honor or courage or the overly used but reliable character thing... I’m thinking, I’m thinking...

6) Discovery is ongoing. Awareness heightens. Insight sharpens. If we’re dull and lazy tinheads, we miss many things. If we’re alert and lively movers of iron, we don’t miss anything. We and the world around us are happening, the good and the not-so-good.

7) We know the difference between too much and not enough, though applying the knowledge is still tricky.
8) Once lifting weights was a novelty: exercise, sets and reps, grunts and pumps. Today, every degree of exertion is studied, every groove is examined, every grunt is deliberate, every effect and affect is scrutinized and memorized. What was, isn’t anymore -- heavy weight, strict form, more is better. What is, is, and we know it.

9) About letting go: As gripping the weights and lifting them evolved into rigid training sessions, devoted workouts, a diligent practice and an art form, so does letting go. We become stronger everyday as we invest our time, courage and might.

You know the drill: One step forward and one step back prevent us from going sideways. Weirdly, letting go is not unlike building up. There’s pain and there’s relief and spurts of growth and stagnation. There’s doubt and surrender and surprise, and there are moments of clarity and peace. Within each workout, set and rep there’s the assurance and hope of another blasting session tomorrow.

10) How’s it go again? No pain, no gain... no wimps allowed... shut up and lift... only the strong survive... never let go... he who quits is lost... give up and weep... never give up, never, never, never!!

What do I do today? I lick my wounds and promise not to aggravate them or present myself with new or renewed ones. I mean it, but I’m a fool. As I’ve said before -- jesting in the past and a bit more seriously today -- only profuse bleeding, unconsciousness or traffic on Highway 1 will keep me from the gym. I train for health and strength and sanity. I train for joy and fulfillment and mobility. I train cuz to not train is absolutely absurd.

I also train because there are the still-crazy-after-all-these-years IronOnliners who expect me to. Gee, thanks! I have to, I’m obligated, I must. We’re in this mess together.

Now that doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing. I do the same things I did when I first started -- guesswork, play and persist -- but I do them with appropriate modifications. Note: Your source of reference is 68 and since age 64 has had a bypass, a lamenectomy, prostate cancer and radiation, a pacemaker installation and has arrhythmia, congestive heart failure (CHF), barbell bloat and gas.

With whatever I have left, I do what I am able with all my might. One day on, two days off is my favorite combination. I hit the iron for 75 minutes, doing a routine to suit my needs according to my internal bodometer. Sounds hapless, but the logic is perfect and the mechanisms of measurement are accurate and reliable: Instinct and intuition, pain and euphoria.

A preset program might schedule me for arms when the disagreeable rascals are tender and recuperating from rows and pulldowns two days before. Not wise. Dumb, in fact. Thus, I improvise. I weave my way through the aches and pains and lead myself to a pump and burn. I enjoy -- ooph -- the journey along the way.

I superset pushing and pulling, I straight-set exhausting movements, and work the core and gut most every workout. I train harder than I should, and think I don’t train hard enough. Muscleheads need serious help.

Every muscle group is hit twice every three workouts; some are clobbered, some are nudged nicely. Most workouts make me happy, some make me sad, others make me mad, few make me sick. Every workout teaches me. Sometimes I learn. Sometimes I grow.

Four to five sets of 6 to 12 tight repetitions is most common. Warming up is to my training as inhaling oxygen is to my existence. Need lots! Do I really need to mention focus and personalized form? Absolutely! To me as water, was I a fish... a barracuda, most likely.

Har, har. Very funny. No, not a tuna, which reminds me: I eat the same as I did in the day -- the days of contest training when the world was round and whole -- only less, and I use utensils.

Have I mentioned Bomber Blend to ya’ll? Think delicious and nutritious, huge and ripped, slim and trim, strong and healthy and smart...

Go... Godspeed... Dave Draper

RIP Dennis Tinerino

Born December 23, 1945—Died May 7, 2010

The sadness, the pain, the irony, the stone cold truth and sudden reality cuts deep. We lost a beloved brother, bombers. Dennis Tinerino, left us Friday morning, the 7th day of May. None of death's details are joyful, but most of this man's life was. Shoulders a yard wide and a personality to match, he stood in my house in Playa Del Rey 40-some years ago as we laughed ourselves silly over nothing, like guys do when they're in their mid-20s, from the east coast, eat iron for lunch and their muscles are piled up around their ears.

He introduced me to his buds from NYC as a poet and wanted me to make a preposterous desk and chair for his office. Neither of us knew what a poet was, but we were good at preposterous and he got what he wanted before the late-60's summer sun went down.

Remember the ’60s? A lot of us do and have the scars to prove it.

Dennis grew into a real live preacher man in the emerging decade and spread the Good Word for most of his life through his ministry, Dennis Tinerino Ministries. He and his wife, Anita, and their daughters, Taka and Marissa and son Dennis-John, together held firm to the same tight rope all their years in the tug-of-war that is life. They never let go.

Golden Age Mr. America and Mr. Universe, Hall of Famer and beautiful guy. We love you Dennis, we miss you, rest in God's Glory.


Did you know Bomber Blend will provide the least expensive and most nutritious meals in your daily eating regimen? It’s not an added extravagance to your food budget; it reduces your budget and improves your nutritional intake. It builds lean, strong and shapely muscle. Regular servings of Bomber Blend raise your IQ and enable you to time travel. Made into a poultice and smeared on the scalp will prevent baldness and kill tics. Good stuff.

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

Soak yourself in a taste of bodybuilding’s Golden Era with Dick Tyler’s on-the-scene record, written in his easy-going, one-of-a-kind style, West Coast Bodybuilding Scene.

Take a trip over to our
New Musclebuilding Q&A Blog
... where Dave allows us a peek into his email outbox.

Did you sign up for Dave's expanded email yet?
It's free, motivating and priceless!
We'll also send you a link to Dave's free
Body Revival Tips and Hints e-report with your confirmation notice.

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.