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Now to Get Ripped


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I'm thinking, I'm thinking. You should see me. My face is all blotchy and crumpled from the strain. I twitch periodically when a thought is close, otherwise my shoulders are drawn tight by my traps and I'm as rigid as a fire plug. Muscularity for bombers, be they ready or not, that is the subject.

Today's muscle-building generality: Where you are going and how you get there depend upon who you are and where you are now.

~ Where you are going is a place of desirable and attainable muscularity.

~ Who you are is defined by your past, your genetics and your temperament.

~ Where you are now is that place in your journey determined by your acquired lifestyle and habits.

~ How you go from place to place is up to you.

Let's take a look at the most common scenario among you explosive disciples-of-the-skies, consider a course of action and see if we strike a chord or a nerve or my big swollen thumb.

May I impose upon you to use your imagination?

You're a guy of 40-something, worked with weights on and off in a garage with your buddies during high school and got in pretty good shape. Job with the city (the firm, school, institute, restaurant, mortuary, maternity ward) and married with two kids had you looking over a gut, 30 extra pounds and diminishing strength and energy. You haven't missed a workout since the grim revelation and joining a gym three years ago. You've lost 20 pounds of fat, gained muscle size, shape and density and you're semi-intentionally holding 5 to 10 pounds of extra mass for strength, workout drive and good luck. It's time to get trim and see what's there...lurking.

You are not alone: a boomer, a product of the golden years of bodybuilding, a Zane, Scott, Howorth, Draper and Arnold knockoff of sorts, having grown up watching us flex in the muscle magazines. You did it, you fell and you're back, and once back, you're back for good. Yes! And high-fives all around.

Now to get ripped.

Be prepared for a few head adjustments. You are required to drop up to 10 pounds over the next months to achieve the desired leanness. This is fine on paper and in your imagination, but the actual loss of size in the shoulders and arms is devastating. You revolt; we all revolt. Furthermore, strength diminishes, muscle endurance is compromised and the pump of promise and hope takes a nosedive. Wait. There's more. You get to eat less scrumptious food and there's no cheating. Swell.

Bulking up is more fun. Can I go home now?

No, you can't. Commitment rules. Reaching for hardness can only make you a better person, smarter by experience, tougher by restraint, harder by application and sharper by intensity.

You must keep your eye on the goal. Visualize strong, well-muscled hips and the thickness of the waist replaced by a trim taper, the large torso minus the layer of thick padding, clear separation of muscle groups and thin skin that reveals veins and the ripple of underlying muscle -- the lean body, active and alive.

This is the authentic stuff. Anyone can get big; getting muscular is the real deal. Chumps get fat; champs get muscular. Besides, you can regain your precious monster size practically overnight if you find yourself sweating, quivering and going through withdrawals. Your choice. Be strong.

If you hear cliché in my presentation, it's in your ear and not in my voice. Listen to what's said; add your heart and soul and desire.

You'll need four days in the gym; they will be direct, hard-hitting and concise, yet neither short nor rushed. Each muscle group needs to be hit twice a week, either directly or indirectly. Use supersetting generously because it is a most generous training method. It builds muscle strength, density, tenacity, shape, separation, endurance and energy. It stimulates training focus, involvement and excitement; it creates pace, rhythm and momentum. Supersetting contributes to muscularity like fire contributes to hot. Supersets work.

Yeah, so I heard.

The heavy weights will be replaced by moderate weights, with each exercise executed with meticulous form and intensity. Set, rep and muscle concentration will be taken to new levels of demand and responsibility. With lighter, more controllable weight in your grasp, you will demand of the weight, rather than the weight (oversized and unwieldy) demanding of you.

Seek a swifter training pace as you accept the workout modifications and quickly condition yourself to the muscle-defining regimen. I say “quickly” because a new intensity needs to be adopted if you are truly seeking rock-hard muscle and lower bodyfat.

The goals before you come at the cost of enthusiastic and exhilarating blasting. Passionate blasting. Blasting and more blasting.

Do not fret. To satisfy your craving for the heavy weights, reserve two workouts a month for your low-rep power onslaught, a great addition and complement to muscularity training.
Here's the general layout. You've heard it before and why should it change? Eat more protein, less carbohydrate, ample essential fats and lower overall consumption -- that is, fewer calories here and there in the six meals you'll be consuming throughout the day. You're a bomber, we're all bombers and there'll be no hand holding, counting your calories or balancing your food groups with a calculator. Wing it.

Pull up a bench for a sec. We are reasonably seasoned musclebuilders and things of the mind need not concern us. We are not bubbleheads. Disciplines have been established, perseverance exhibited, commitment expressed and evaluations considered. The requirements for each of us seeking rock hard sinew will be basically the same. All that's necessary are fingers on the dial, hands on the eating, arms around the training and full-body submission to time; finesse, hard work, compromise and patience.

It's all under control.

From breakfast to bedtime you'll be eating to serve the body, not your sensory persuasions. There's plenty of delight in the menu of the hard-working weight trainer seeking tight muscles. The food groups are broad, the vital needs are sizeable and we have choices. Ice cream and donuts are not on the list. Smile, there's tuna and water and Bomber Blend.

If you are a calorie counter and carefully balance percentages of this and that to achieve physical improvement, stop it, for gosh sakes. Details are good for detectives and researchers and professors, but they distract from the instinctive trusts with which the dynamic musclebuilder forms the mold. Or is it, molds the form.

Calorie counting and other such intellectual preoccupations engross, mislead and confuse in the act of perfecting and accurately achieving. They're tiresome and muddle the mind of the aspiring athlete. They bind and they dilute.

Backing off the food-intake requires fortification at the proper times, conveniently and in concentration. I don't disapprove of running the body on low food volume (even an occasional mini-fast) for system relief periodically, especially when leaning down, providing the limited ingested resources are power-packed. Keep those supplementary vitamins and minerals and antioxidants coming, roughage from Metamucil and lots of water for smooth flying.

God's speed, bombers. And remember, no flying under bridges, no stalling over the White House, stay out of tunnels and no landing on football fields, golf courses, beaches or interstates.



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Golden Era fans will rejoice in this excerpt from West Coast Bodybuilding Scene.

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