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Trial and Error

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Ahhh...life is good. When's the last time you sighed that sigh and said those words with peace and conviction?

Gotcha there! Probably the best we can do is recall the feeling we had after our last workout. Of course, not long after the shower, the temporary relief, a ray of sunshine faded and the storm returned -- lightning and thunder.

But we're tough. We rock, we roll, we bomb and blast; we adapt and hardship becomes relative. I shudder to think where I'd be without those workouts.

Larry: "Yo! Did you look in the dumpster, beneath that heap of cardboard in the alley, under the 2nd Street overpass...? He's an ornery fella when he doesn't get his fix. Check the ER or the county lockup."

Moe: "Found him! He's in the junkyard sprawled across a V-8 engine block doing presses with twisted truck axles in his greasy grasp. The nearness to iron evidently lightens the load and soothes the pain. And by the look on his face, it brings ecstasy and great satisfaction."

Curly: "Hey, can I work in? We can superset axle presses with bent-over driveshaft rows."

Something you might have noticed: I've suffered, among other things, from inter-transphasial discordance since my birth in 1942. Once I was a child and I thought like a child. I became an adult and I thought as a child. Now I'm beyond adulthood and I think like a child. Did I miss something, anything, along the way?

Gee, I hope not. I can't face a redux.

The very first thing I remember as a kid was waking up one morning at the crack of dawn with a dumbbell in my hand. You think that's weird? I was supersetting concentration curls with triceps extensions. Superior pump for a child!

"Tell them," said a tiny inner voice again and again. My mom wiped pablum from my face and the rest is history.

It's like this, kids: time and patience, experience and common sense, trial and error, daring and audacity...cleverness and foolishness, curiosity and discovery, energy and industry. These are the sources of the knowledge I present to happy, wandering ironminded gypsies.

If I'd had to go school for it, I wouldn't have gotten it.

I'm not opposed to school and reading, 'ritin and 'rithmatic. Those enable me to count my sets and reps and regularly share with you using a keyboard, but I prefer action to analyzing, doing to didactics, working to wondering and rack rattling to rote researching.

Tips and hints from fellow muscle-makers and consistent observation also contribute to my frayed-backpack education. Look, listen and learn; play, practice and perform; grab, grapple and grow and push, pull and press.

Moving more metal makes many muscles and much might.

I'm particularly aware of my sketchy knowledge of exercise relativity and muscle mobility when stopping occasionally to read some of the principles informed and practiced instructors offer. Invariably, I realize, "Oh, that's how it's done," or, "That's why," or, "I never thought of that."

Silence falls; I hunch over my keyboard seething with envy and wrestling with my dummy complex.
Embarrassing! This is my backdrop as I proceed to concoct my next secret muscle- and strength-building blast for the IronOnline newsletter: training in a closet wearing polyester with the lights out and the water dripping.

I've gotta come up with something more original, something deep, mysterious -- prophetic, maybe. Time for me to re-create myself, re-invent the wheel or discover the truth.

The secret is there is a secret. The basics are a rip. Perseverance leads to destruction. Discipline is for losers.

I should head off to the gym to save myself from imploding. I don't care what I do; I'll figure it out when I get there. Getting there is the battle; it is also the triumph. The workout is the war; it is also the peace. Knowing when to fight is enlightenment; knowing how is discovery. Fighting is courage, performance and play; fighting is winning by not losing.

You've come this far, warriors, here's the bodybuilding revelation of the week -- you might want to jot this down.

Curious thing: I never think of my workouts as wars or battles or fights. Those activities and actions concern drugs, crimes, gangs and terrorism. They are a struggle, that is certain, and a challenge of course, though I don't like the lattermost terminology because it is so contemporary intellectual -- PC for relentless, brutal, blood-thirsty combat.

Yes, I know; I'm stalling. I have no revelation this week.

I have always gone to the gym with everything I have -- on my back, in my hand and on my mind and within my soul. And there I unload it.

I go from exercise to exercise in a sensible, quasi-spontaneous order according to an amenable plan. I perform the sets I need and must, and repetitions I should or can. I approach each movement with probing certainty and from it I squeeze all it has to offer.

This might be a lot, a little or nothing. It will be hard; it's usually painful and might cause injury.

None of what I've done is unintentional, though it may be impulsive or accidental. And not a single rep of it is done while talking or daydreaming. I might want to be done or be somewhere else, but I grip the weights and there am I. Distractions are filtered and discarded, few escaping the hefty built-in Bomber security system.

No enemy stands before me. My workouts are not battles, though often I face surrender; fights they are not, but wounds I occasionally incur. Wars, not they, but upon their completion, victory I claim.

"He who lifts weights regularly and eats right and is good to his neighbor is a noble, wise and sinewy companion." ~ Tarzan to Jane, Tarzan and the Apes, MGM Pictures, circa 1949.

I heard there's a new book of these tall tales about to hit the streets. Would you look at that?!

 



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