First Things First

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For the Ladies and Gentlemen in the Bleachers

The Future of Exercise Program Design DVD, new October 2013

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I plopped down on a deck chair in the late morning sun, knowing the precious rays that give life, stir healing and provide relief for the oft-distressed heart were the last ones of the year. Still and at peace, I basked in warm, tranquil silence. I heard no one, nothing, not a whisper. The madness dragged on till I twitched like a sack of fleas, every body ache magnified and throbbed, and the deafening silence gave way to a forest full of clamor.

Woodpeckers persistently hammered and pummeled the trees, brazen blue jays, like police defending their community, called, warned and chided in demanding shrieks. A hillside swale a mile from the ocean’s shore provided the background score, the din of sundry vehicles, industry and population in motion and commotion.

Undaunted, my contemplations continued as I sat, observed and twitched. Were they recorded and unedited, they, my bell-tone thoughts, would sound something like this:

I don’t get many email questions (wheeze, gag) asking me how to build 20-inch arms or barn-door lats these days. I suspect (cough-cough) it’s because I have all that priceless information recorded in black and white somewhere or another (snorf) --  pads, books, magazines, computer files, sweaty palms, paper napkins or walls of tenement halls (sniff).

Nowadays, I receive requests from guys -- they’ve gotta be over 60 (yerp) -- asking how on earth (snivel, snort) do they lose their bellies, butts and baldness. Peculiar! In a way it’s fascinating and one step short of bizarre (gurgle-glerp). Mysterious, even. I wonder what the devil the world is coming to (burp).

I tell them, look, when you were a kid, you did what kids did. You ran like a gazelle, lifted weights like a gorilla and ate like a prize-winning hog; you’d rest, smile and gleam. Now, as an over-grown grown-up, you do the same things, only more or less. That is, less gazelle, gorilla and pig, and more rest, smile and gleam.

At three-score years and eleven, the essential quandary I confront is simply this: When am I using up -- exhausting, wasting, abusing -- my physical stores and strength and my impetus in seeking long-term fitness? When am I being excessive in my physical output and, thus, endangering, sabotaging, violating my health and long life? Or when am I engaged sufficiently and satisfactorily to aspire and be happy?

To put it another way, when is training for an old warship too much, not enough or just right?

That’s easy (nothing’s easy). I’m heading for the gym in a few and will decide my work out on the way. Zipping down the coast I ask myself a few basic questions, like what hurts (everything hurts), what’s safe ’n sound (muffled muttering), what’s neglected (feeble glances) and what’s hungry for action (complete silence)?

Hmmm... I’ve seen this motley group before. Guess I’ll have to fake it when I get to the gym. Or, as it is known to my achy body and reluctant mind, the bad Iron Torture Chamber of Horrors (the bad ITCH). On really bad days, the bitch. I didn’t say that.

This is what I did:

Arrived and entered, major achievement.

Wide-grip Cybex machine press supersetted with wide-grip pulldown before neck Increment weight each set [3 sets x 12, 10, 8 reps]
Engages shoulder and pectoral regions, bis, tris and lats

Close-grip machine press supersetted with wide-grip pulldown behind neck
Increment weight each set [3 sets x 12, 10, 8 reps]
Recruits shoulder and pectoral muscle, bis and tris, lats and upper back

Close-grip, over-grip pulldown supersetted with triceps pulley pushdown
Increment weight each set [3 sets x 12 reps]
Works lats, bis, tris

These were smooth, well-paced sets with advantage of light to moderate weight to assure focus and form every rep, maximum exertion the last rep and the good sense to avoid joint injury, muscle overload and system damage.

Heavy weights and extensive workouts have done their muscle and strength building in the past. Now I stimulate, oxygenize and agreeably, desirably and wisely employ, work and play.

Good luck with that. Oh, and last but not least...

God Bless you... the Bomb


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