First Things First

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I Wish I Was a Kid Again… Again


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“If you intend to write your memoirs,” she said snarkily,” you had better hurry before you forget them.”

It all started when Laree and I were going to San Francisco for a seminar. I made a wrong turn and we wound up at the gym. Big deal! That’s not unusual after traveling to that same destination repeatedly for over 20 years. Habits thrive. It was on the return home whereupon we found ourselves once again in the parking lot of the alluring iron establishment that the dear girl came to her conclusion.

I was cinching my lifting belt as I headed up the staircase to the entry before she could stop me. One o’clock in the morning, we both wished we were in bed. 

I don’t know, folks. Memoirs? Of what… Blunders, mishaps, nincompoopery? And for what… a few bucks? I could make more money rag-picking. Besides, being at the sweet end of the redistribution-of-wealth policies going into effect as we holler and scream, I’m expecting a regular check from the federal government.

I guess I could claim the losses on my annual income tax. If it were any other time, I would invest my dollars in a small business and contribute to the growth of America, one nation under God. Think I’ll wait on that one… word has it hope and change is around the corner.

It is times like these I ask the question, “Where would I be without the iron?” (Sounds like a bestseller: provocative, stimulating and intriguing.) Alas, the answer to the question is always the same, whether accompanied by rich, smart or lucky, doctor, professor or a number -- 45789, Cellblock 575.

The answer is… gag… I can’t say it… I… it’s mmmmnnnnooooor… mmmnnnord… mmnnordinary. Ordinary!

See what I mean. Ordinary sucks.

Briefly, the iron to which I refer is the heavy metal we arrange into handy devices -- barbells, dumbbells, cable, resistance machines -- enabling us to hoist, push, toss and pull with varying degrees of exertion in passionate effort to build muscle, might and fitness and confidence, and to entertain and challenge, fulfill and de-stress. The iron is our rock, our center, our companion, our best and worst friend.

Weight training started out as the obvious, direct and simple means to any of a variety of achievements -- muscles and strength, fitness and physical capability, good looks and coolness -- and became something much more: an expression, a discipline, a release, an instructor, a guiding force, a commendable lifestyle.

I dare say nothing at this point of an ego trip or hang up, an obsession, a veil, a substitute, an excuse, an escape, a pet (monkey on your back) or retribution. Mum’s the word.

Alas, without the iron I am ordinary. Average is harmless and normal is plain, but ordinary is weirdly nowhere. I hate ordinary.

Not for us bombers of the most unordinary and spectacular type. Young and not so young, we’ll not settle to grow long in the tooth as our backs stoop and our legs buckle. The years may join us, but aging without intense opposition is forbidden. We’re off to the iron frontiers, the steel jungles, the cavernous mountains of metal to confront the heathen.

Observations of bombers whose wings need a trim and struts are bowed and fuselages are bulging:

Enough mockery… Let’s waste not another second, heroes and guardians and dive-bombers. This is what I suggest we do, or, to put it more accurately, this is what I did this day in the middle of summer in anxious and over-burdened California:

Low-incline leg raises supersetted with seated, forward-leaning side-arm lateral raises and steady, laborious truck pushes…
(4 x 25 reps, 8 reps, 30 seconds)

Smith seated and back-supported press-behind-necks supersetted with widegrip pulldowns behind-the-neck and forward-the-neck equally mixed…
(4 x 8 reps, 5 and 5 reps)

Standing barbell curls with a bent bar and pulley pushdowns of varying triceps-engaging positions…
(4 x 6-8 reps, 12-15 reps)

Thick-bar wrist curls
(4 x 12 reps)

Ho hum. How average, how normal, how utterly mediocre is this routine. How ordinary!

Not!

Ordinary is banished from the routine as imagination and freshness are integrated and skillfully installed in the performance of the reps, the groove, the rhythm and level of exertion. Movement is not a thing separate from you, but an exact part of you. You know the direction in which you’re going, but you’ve never been there before. It’s no mystery, but it is not a known, a given… a sure thing either. It’s the outer edge, the upper level, the nth degree.

Not one rep, or any set, or group of sets is a factory knockout. Each is custom-made on the spot according to need, urge and popular demand.

Made in the USA… One Nation under God… Dave

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