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Beyond the screen and the endless conduits of my magical computer hovers an audience composed of very cool people. And, according to a recent survey initiated by Laree, a bright and shiny percentage of you are 20 years of age and younger. You look through eyes that have seen much, though not for an extended length of time. Just a lifetime. I'm immensely jealous.

Most of you I suspect are impressed by the today’s lineup of bodybuilding champs, as one is with, say, stealth bombers, erupting volcanoes and yowling tornadoes. What the… how the… why? They're wild and bizarre and harshly appealingly.
Again, I’m immensely jealous.

Common sense and sensitivity call the sufficiently sane back to the real world. What can you do to develop your muscular system, strength and health that is sensible, achievable… and slightly outrageous? More accurately, what can you do to lose fat and build muscle without compromising good and goodness? Okay, a teensy step further -- get huge and ripped without killing yourself.

I devote substantial amounts of time, space and words on the subjects of fat loss, trimming down and shaping up and wrestling father time, the cranky old SOB. Oops, pardon my French. The faulty human condition of excessiveness calls for a loud and continual voice on these topics if they are to be heard above the buzz of daily life. And in the newsletters I tend to provide material that tips in its substance toward the more mature crowd (over 20), mature not necessarily a complimentary and enviable term.

“Laree, dear,” he said in a gravelly voice, “could you adjust my shawl and fetch me a cup of hot soup… I’ve a chill.”

Today, let's talk about getting huge and getting ripped, the red-hot subject matter of my earlier years.

The first thing that comes to my mind is in seeking muscle size and definition at once, you are, in your assessment of yourself, either too fat or too thin; gain a pound and you are bigger yet smoother, lose a pound and you are leaner yet too small. Oh, the frustration that comes with aiming at counterpoised targets simultaneously -- frustration followed by confusion, aggravation trailed by disappointment, discouragement completed by defeat.

Small observation here: These apparent negative reactions and experiences accompany you in every worthy objective. They become regular escorts and from them you learn. Failure is cruel, miscalculations costly and mistakes are troubling, but they purchase precious ground and teach hard lessons. The only experience you cannot permit is the last one, the final one... defeat. Defeat is for the enemy only.
There are a few exceptions where one can develop substantial muscle size exclusive of undesired bodyfat in a relatively short period of time. If the subject is underweight and untrained, he can expect outstanding progress in the early stages of smart weight training and right eating. The body is flourishing and reaching its natural state of fitness and exceeding it sufficiently in proportion to the healthful training regimen applied. The windfall of super progress slows down as an average lean-muscle-to-bodyfat set-point is reached. From there the hard training pushes the man or woman to commendable levels of musculature, but on a slower timetable. This is where character plays a greater role than genetics. He who perseveres wins.

Another time we see muscles grow while bodyfat remains at a minimum is when observing the genetically advantaged, hormone-rich naturals. Here, too, our character is paramount. Be nice. Do not glare or curse, punch or shoot. Jealousy, bitterness and anger are reactions of fools. It's not their fault, the dirty rats, and they too must train hard to move forward when muscular saturation is established.

Of course one could take a handful of those nutty fruit loops stashed under the counter to gain muscle mass and hardness without the time, trouble and inconvenience of lifting weights and eating right. But that's sort of like leaping off a cliff to get to the bottom of the mountain. Thud. Your goal is the peak.

So where are we? What do we do? Getting huge and getting ripped or some version of the two that suits you is going to be accomplished by an agreeable compromise. You need to understand and accept that the realistic and admirable goals you have set are achievable with fortitude and persistence and willingness … and will follow multiple and diverse, often circuitous paths.

Do not let time become your enemy, kids. It can't be pushed or pulled, leveraged or persuaded, ignored or bullied. Train hard and enjoy it. Eat right and find delight in its goodness. Be consistent with both and you're going at full speed. Be grateful for the natural and rhythmic forward motion, slow as it might appear from your viewpoint. Keep your eyes on the prize and grow day by day. No secrets, no short cuts, no doubts.

My advice: Free of guilt or angst, agree to carry under your winter wear those extra pounds that provide energy and power, resource and protection. Apply the abundance to convincing workouts through the spring and see where it takes you. It’s gotta be good.

Later... Dave


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