First Things First

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Work Like the Devil for My Pay


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"Essentials and Reflections" booklet in pdf and kindle e-format.
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Baby, it’s cold outside, but that lucky old sun has nothing to do but roll around heaven all day… behind dark and menacing clouds without silver linings. As if that’s not enough, daylight savings time in my neighborhood will have come to an abrupt end before this newsletter reaches your front door. Clocks are adjusted back causing us to go sideways.

5 PM and it’s dark.

Did you know barbells and dumbbells are heavier during the winter months? Yup. It’s got something to do with the Earth’s increasing gravitational pull due to the Sun’s intermittent cooling during the exaggerated global warming. Another little-known fact is the coincidental increase in the caloric content of tasty foods during the same period of time. Molecular bundling, diminishing daylight, holiday delight, unleashed appetites and lack of discipline are at the core of this seasonal phenomenon.

For bombers, it’s the time of year for bulking up and getting powerful. For bummers, it’s the season for fattening up and getting slothful. For balmers (from the word balm, implying relief and comfort) such as me, standing up and getting a bowel movement are the objectives of the grey days.

When I feel alone, hollow and deprived, when my pockets are empty and the cupboards are bare, when a pump and burn are nowhere to be found, I make a list of all the exercises I am still able to do.

Hmmm… let’s see: the smith press, dumbbell incline-press variations, machine dip, cable crossover, reverse pec dec, seated lat row, pulley pulldown variations, stiff-arm pullover, one-arm lateral raise, curls -- barbell, db incline, alternates, tris – various extensions, pulley pushdown variations, legs -- extension, curl, press, sissies, calf raise.

Gee, I’m rich. In bold print I embellish upon my inventory with crucial provisions: sensible weight, maximum exertion, personalized form, slow ‘n steady pace, critical focus, hopeful attitude and unassailed commitment.

If things are particularly wretched and relief is not forthcoming, I invent happy combinations of the enchanting movements, including sets and reps, bound to produce exhilarating workouts and reap bountiful muscle and power rewards. When I can’t take it anymore -- a last resort -- I go to the gym and blast it.
 
The only time hesitation intrudes upon my training is during those tortured moments before entering the chamber of iron. Once my hand is on the metal, anxiety flees the scene like an unmasked bandit in a spotlight.

How much thought can you pack in those fleeting moments before you grasp the iron and give it a tug? The Old Farmer’s Almanac assures us our minds slow down as we grow older, our memory fades and contemplation and calculation are more difficult.

Seriously!
 
To all the clod-busting, cow-milking, seed-sowing, hay-bailing whiz kids chewing on stems of straw as they feed the chickens, I say, “I don’t think so.”

During my enlightening scintillating pre-workout flashes I experience a flood of visions and reflections, notions and queries: What am I doing here? Oh, my aching back, shoulders, elbows, knees and wrists! You’re too old for this stuff. Remember, if the long ones are barbells, the short ones must be dumbbells. I’m confused. I’m going home. What’s that? Are you nuts? Be strong and courageous... What would Jesus do?

That is the final question to cross my mind before I reach for a hunk of iron, however small it may be.

Hoist… oomph… ahhh! Peace ‘n joy at last.

It’s not unusual for me to be 10 minutes into my rope tucks before I know exactly where I’m going with the iron. And exactly is a word I seldom use unless referring to approximations, guesses, prevarications, fiction or outright lies. It really doesn’t matter these days, the exact direction, as long as I’m in the gym twice a week, moving, contracting and grimacing in pain. It’s all become such a maze.

Rope tucks, while working the gut, core and a multitude of sinew throughout the entire system, afford me precious time to determine which muscles work, need work, will work, don’t work and won’t work. Note: I’m deep in physiology and astrology. I’m also quite literate, poetic and prophetic: Lift, lug and learn; Tug, toil and torment; Hoist, heave and howl; Extend, expand, explode; Push, punish and party. I have more.

My biggest problem these days is over-exertion during my 75-minute battle against gravity. Granted, I’ve had a few setbacks, thus, arranging my gym bag is tiring, driving to the Weight Room is exhausting and climbing the rear stairs is all-consuming. But once my workout is in motion – think of a balloon filled with water wobbling down a hill – it’s hard to stop. I go for the last rep every set.

It’s a mental thing… not that I have problems. Say you’re robbing a 7-11; do you take some of the cash and leave handful in the drawer. No. You take all of the cash and maybe a carton of cigarettes, as well… some chocolate, a People magazine. Get all you can get while you’re there, bombers, that’s what I always say.

Suddenly I have that odd, familiar feeling… pins and needles… an itch, slightly ticklish… hot and pulsating… amusing but annoying… vague, yet definite.

I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to the gym and blast it.

This, my last resort.

Anxiously and with apprehension,

Sir David Daring

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