First Things First

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The Top 20


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Do you remember Dragnet, a cop show as old as television, featuring two no-nonsense detectives getting to the bottom of crime without messing around? Sergeant Joe Friday, the lead investigator, would repeat when necessary, which was often, the stiff line, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”

It worked every time. He and his partner, Officer Gannon, would go about the neighborhood, collect the facts, solve the crime and go home. End of story.

That’s where we are today: Just the facts, Ma’am. Fiction, guessing, exaggerations, elaborations, misconceptions, lies, tall tales and conjecture will not do. Not anymore, not for you and me, not for bombers. We’re up to our ears in research, hypothesis, trials, analysis, contemplation and consideration. We want the facts, Ma’am, just the facts. Not reports, accounts, chronicles and data. Not anymore, not for you and me.

I’m going to list 20 facts that pertain directly to us in our endeavor to develop muscle and might. See how these compare to your list. No yawning; I’m just trying to get to the bottom of things.

Here goes.

1) There are no secrets; there are no shortcuts.

2) Weight training and proper eating combined is the most direct way to build muscle and might.

3) Right living and quality rest contribute significantly to the lifter’s progress.

4) The trainee’s genetic makeup is a determining factor in the structural and muscular development, strength and rate of advancement.

5) External factors, such as environment, gym atmosphere, support and inspiration add greatly to the training process and outcome.

6) Consistency in training is an absolute in success, as are passion and commitment.

7) Training intensity must be intelligently and instinctively measured and applied.

8) Exercise and eating are basic and simple in form, yet tough in application.

9) Many people start weight training to achieve fitness goals, only to give up because they don’t reach their expectations quickly, and because the activity is demanding.

10) Mankind’s failure to exercise and eat right is killing us.

11) Gain weight too fast and the lifter will gain fat weight; lose weight too fast and lose muscle.

12) Early weight training requires order in exercise, sets and reps and practice as the lifter focuses on form, muscle engagement, discomfort, endurance, exercise groove and pace.

13) Though fundamental, weight training and musclebuilding are ongoing processes of learning and discovery as the trainee’s development unfolds, as plateaus, injuries and obstacles are engaged and as time goes by and years are added.

14) Hypertrophy is caused by regular muscle overload; too much overload can cause overtraining or injury.

15) Immature weight trainers seeking extraordinary musclebuilding goals are easy prey for marketing hype promising sensational advancements from pills packed with multi-syllable “cutting edge” ingredients, or advanced methodologies that are, at best, novel.

16) Advanced or long-lasting musclebuilders applying wisdom, understanding, knowledge and rips and tears, settle into the training basics with finesse, intensity, instinct and continuing hope... continuing discovery.

17) Musclebuilding is not limited to building physical health and strength alone. As discipline, patience and perseverance are required to approach the activity, so, too, are these rich qualities developed.

18) It occurs often that a seeker of muscle and might will undertake a course of exercise and right eating for a worthy period of time, and then quit, only to return steadfastly to the activity upon declining. They never were healthier, looked better and thought more clearly than when they trained.

19) This might not agree with the so-called facts gained by research, but about one in a hundred takes personal health seriously by training seriously. Another five pretend to care by going through feeble motions, and the remainder don’t care enough to even pretend.

20) One of the best arguments for exercise and eating right is this: What if you don’t?

So, there’s my 20.

I know: Your list is bigger than mine, and more comprehensive, too. You went into protein and hormones and high reps versus low reps, catabolism and the truth about B-complex. You’re so smart. You ask, “What about multi-sets, the anabolic environment, the progressive weight training techniques and percentages of the one-rep max?”

I get stuck as soon as I get past squats, tuna and water. Twenty’s enough.

dd



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