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Too Late. This One’s a Goner


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The best defense in the world when it’s crumbling around you is strength and health within your own borders. Broadly, the borders include your home and workplace, your friends and acquaintances, your daily movements and deeds. Narrowly, it comes down to your workouts, your food and your dog.
 
Whatever you do, do not worry. Be strong and be courageous. And beware, should courtesy become submission, caution become fear, humility become weakness, pleasantness become acquiescence and nice become dull. Life is a trickster.
 
Under no circumstances should you go one week without two workouts. Two is the bare minimum. They are the precious and irredeemable investments of time and resources saving you from the insidious disease of the system known as the gap.
 
I’m certain you’re familiar with the gap, the unmanageable malfunctioning of the disciplinary tract, which leads to the deterioration of the walls of the will. Some folks have been known to succumb to the wretched disorder for months, losing muscle tone and gaining a spare tire around the middle. Mild discontent, guilt, irritability and sloping shoulders accompany the gap. Loss of energy and stamina are not uncommon and binge eating has been observed amongst serious gap sufferers.
 
Some seasons pressure us to limit our exercise schemes, and obliging the pressure is natural and right. Summer vacations and winter holidays beg for time off. Be aware and recognize the safe and friendly boundaries of maintenance training and faithfully heed them until the more favorable times when you can "blast it" with hungry might. Failure to do so leads to unbearable consequences. Prevention is easier than the cure.
 
Alas, the cure demands that you be so sufficiently distressed with yourself that you commence your training from its beginnings. Gadzooks. Don't you hate that? Admonishments precede the undertaking of the bitter cure and recovery is a lonely path overgrown with thorny weeds. Cures and recoveries are bitter, yet sweet if they are short-term and infrequent; they teach and reward us with gratefulness.
 
Aren't you glad you're a wild and crazy muscle-building nut? That was my first and last question and a rhetorical one at that. From now on it's action. We don't have time for muttering and digging around in our weird little minds. We have protein to devour, energy to stoke, inspiration to harness and enthusiasm to express. We live here and now, enjoying moments of creation, participating, contributing, fueling, building, preparing and absorbing. Everything we do has purpose, it's all fulfilling; when it's done, it's meant to be.
 
Feed your body and your senses wisely. There are weights to lift, cables to set in motion and gravitational forces with which to contend.
 
Before tomorrow morning, pack your gym bag, prepare your ready-mix pre-workout protein energizer and plan a 45 minute re-entry program that gives you 10 minutes on the stationary bike, five minutes on the trusty mid-section (crunches and leg raises) and 30 big ones on your favorite muscle-building equipment. Don't get in anybody's way and don't stop. Don't calculate, think too much, groan or talk should some mope or cutesy cross your path. You're there to work, to seek, to move as if chasing a wild mouse but not wanting to catch it.
 
Make this your workout style for the weeks to come, which might otherwise be conspicuously void of the iron. Random training can develop smart patterns that allow you to move through the gym cleverly and swiftly, around the people, equipment and circumstances wherever and whenever you please with a highly honed homing mechanism -- logical improvisation.
 
I applied this apparently erratic training approach for most of the years (’70s and ’80s) after I stepped away from competition and trained for me and the joy of the iron only. Freedom and non-structure was its great appeal and I, thus, trained more enthusiastically. I trained regularly and intensely and was in better every-day shape for years on end. Routine was taken out of the routine, yet law and order remained.
 
Incline dumbbell press followed by pullovers, followed by the dip machine, followed by bent over lateral raises (sets of 8-12); onto the triceps pulley pushdown and then dumbbell alternate curls (any weight that feels good). Back to the dip machine…
 
At first, non-structured training is an effort. This must be wrong: “what am I doing”, “what did I do”, “what do I do next”, and “why” are the thoughts that muddle the mind. Given time, courage and confidence, your intuition and perception kick in -- animal on the hunt. The clutter parts and the path is revealed. I’m here, now; I feel it and I’m going forward.
 
There’s joy in this pain.
 
… Smith presses, flys and seated lat rows. Breathe deep. Good pace, perfect form, you're building momentum. Again, dumbbell press combined with lat pulldowns, triceps machine, and curls… water, always water. Smile, nod, dumbbell alternates (this is spine-tingling -- tomorrow it’s legs and deadlifts), triceps pushdowns... One more set... Dumbbell inclines...
 
There’s order in this chaos.
 
“Gym closes in five minutes, Buster!”  
 
Five minutes? Forget about it! Bench press followed by pulldowns, followed by the whachamacallits...
 
There’s wisdom in this foolishness.
 
“Hello 911… We’ve got a half-crazed bodybuilder on our hands. Yeah, bring the straight jacket. This one’s a goner.”
 
There’s sanity in this madness.
 
We press on, bombers, still crazy after all these years… The Bomb

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