First Things First

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Shut Up and Work Out

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According to Rasmussen polls of likely voters, incumbent President… Word out of the White House today regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to… It appears Congress will seek contempt charges against… The State of Arizona and the Federal government go separate… EU, EBC and IMF pursue bankruptcy protection under unanimous UN… Drug cartel members fight for union and pension reforms this coming… Late report from Washington: The economy is roaring and jobs are… Syria, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Egypt, Burundi, Russia, China and Secaucus join happy hands in drafting universal Green Peace guidelines…

I love politics, don’t you? World and local news are a lot of fun, too: drivebys, suicide bombers (no relation), home invasions… the usual jolly stuff. Other things I enjoy: Running out of toilet paper, dead rats under the house, traffic en route to the gym, loose dumbbells, bent Olympic bars, fraying cables, pimples, depression … the list goes on.

Because life is a blast, I go to the gym to toil, struggle and wrestle with the iron that I might establish balance, restore order and regain a proper perspective; soften the blows, diminish the pain and arouse hope.

It works. Training is deliciously miserable. The first rep is the hardest, the last rep is unbearable and the reps between are loathsome and endless. And, then, the aches and fatigue begin, lasting for days on end…

… I’m having a bad day. Circumstances have prevented me from training this week and frustration and gloom are seeping into my usually uplifting -- might I say, inspiring and awesomely informative -- weekly newsletter. You’d think after fifty-some years of arranging and rearranging the iron, I would welcome a week off, or at least accept the void like a grownup.

I miss a workout and my pecs sag. That happen to you, or am I alone on this one; pecs sag and the belly jiggles more than usual? These grave conditions contribute to my lack of civility and general nastiness. Loose sleeves around unpumped biceps can be downright disastrous when I’m hanging out at the 7/11.

Tomorrow, after a seven-day descent into the abyss, a week in a hellish void, far too long in a vacuum of nothingness, I return to the gym to retrace my sanity, revive my body and restore my soul. The important thing to know is I don’t need the iron. I’m free, I’m independent, I’m autonomous, I’m me.

Neat Note: The menu during the hideous, unsacred interim was perfecto mundo, as they say in Lower Lotsavodka: well-prepared meat, fish, chicken, well-placed fresh vegetables and fruit, plenty of water, enough coffee, no pop or junk or excess. Did I mention Bomber Blend and a balance of supplements? Granola? Yup!

Someone said you can miss a workout sometime, but you must not eat badly at the same time. Another person said you can eat badly sometime, but you must not miss your workout at the same time. I say no cigarettes, drugs and Big Gulps.

Every time I feel like a failure, I think to myself, “At least you don’t smoke, do drugs or drink Big Gulps.”

Works for me. It’s become sort of a mantra over the years.

My plan, subject to impromptu change or spontaneous alteration --

Enter gym, stand and stare. Showtime!

Without moving the head -- eye rotation and peripheral vision only -- check out the scene. Let the seconds tick like minutes. You’re in control. Flex the thighs, shrug the shoulders knowingly and slowly place your hands on your hips where your Colt is usually slung. Strange, no gun, but there’s the iron… in stacks, on racks.

Did I ever tell you about rope tucks? Remind me sometime. Very cool, or someone might say, very hot. That is where I start: RTs, 30 reps in tucks, plus 10 in seated lat-pull fashion, combined with freehand deep squats and calf stretches for leg health. From there I’ll go where my body instinctively leads, shoulders I suspect. I’m due for some dumbbell action on the 45-degree incline: front delts, upper pecs and triceps will be grateful… or not. As these are a good fight, I’ll forego supersetting and dying on the spot. Four dedicated sets of 8 to 12 reps sounds daring.

I’m thinking thumbs-up curls are next cuz I notice with my various limitations and improvisations, the oafishly modified standing curl action incorporates a lot of delt, trap and torso. Maintaining balance is a large handicap for me. Stand back, broncobuster. Four sets combined with overhead pulley pushdowns (10 reps) and standard pushdowns (6 reps), I am into mounds -- small mountains -- of hard muscle action, accent on bis ’n tris.

Wrist curls and machine dips anyone? Four sets x 12-15 reps, just to be sociable. Why not?

Behold! A secret passage, an escape hatch, a hidden tunnel to the outer world… I must go, Igor...  I wish you God’s blessings… DPD  [P stands for Pump]


The former World Gym Santa Cruz is for sale. Here’s the ad Marie, the current owner, is running on Craigslist:

Ever want to own your own gym?

Selling everything you would ever need -- former World Gym needs a new location!

Cybex, Hammer Strength, Body Masters, custom equipment, squat racks, dumbbells, barbells, thick bars, flooring, mirrors, lockers, stereo equipment, Cardio Theater sound equipment, commercial fridge, espresso machine, enough equipment to fill 1,500 sq ft cardio area, weight equipment can fill 6,500 sq feet. Photos here:

$70,000, or best offer. Original value $250,000+

Email: [email protected]


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