First Things First

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About Today's Fitness


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About today's fitness -- life on the gym floor is simple; our daily bread is no big puzzle, and getting through a workout without tripping over our feet takes one mighty step at a time. What's the big deal? The ordinary guy and gal do it every day... poorly.

I know. I hear what I'm saying. I see what I'm writing and I'm a cynic. Cynicism is the bone I love to chew on, but it's not the meat of my diet. It keeps me busy and it keeps my teeth sharp. There's marrow in those bones and calcium, and the chewing engenders the production of healthy enzymes. I'm really a wild and optimistic musclehead whose irritating rants are compassionate pleas in disguise.

Later I'll give you a secret tip that'll build lean sinew, but first a few thoughts from the Bomb Squad:

About discipline: Discipline is regarded by many as a tyrant and by a blessed few as a magnificent force that causes, affects and directs. There is no doubt of its incredible power. It is an absolute in achievement and shapes the world by shaping the people. Sadly, the world's condition is also influenced by those dismal characters who reject the great power, cannot sustain its efforts or idly contain crevices as discipline passes them by. Should we embrace the steely energy and apply it to good, what a wonderful world this would be.

Long may the bombers continue their contribution to a finer world, cultivating discipline's benefits and disposed to its favors.

Each of us has considerable built-in discipline (instinctive or survival discipline) to control many of our assets and faculties. We arise each morning, wash our face, brush our teeth, comb the hairs on our head and go about preparing breakfast before it's off to work. Discipline in action; it's cool, it works and we have it.

We have these personal controls in sufficient supply to effect changes, improvements and advances in our precious lives. We simply need to add oxygen and motion and a little daily practice. Like watering a flower taking root in a crack of soil in the tarmac of life's vast, encroaching parking lot... don't let it die. We need all the flowers we can get.

I find it hard to agree with new-age thinkers who declare that a person can achieve anything he wants to -- play a piano solo in the New York Philharmonic, scale Mount Everest in a wheel chair, gain financial independence and personal happiness in the global real estate market -- if he simply tries hard enough. “You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it, if you believe and don't doubt,” say the leaders of popular win-win seminars and commercials selling sneakers and infomercials hustling Internet business software. Walk on fire? I don't think so. This “success” stuff turns nice people into scrappy wolves or disappointed lambs.

Discipline is not owned by repeating mantras, reading a book, watching a video or following a formula. Discipline is founded in need and desire and developed in deed. Discipline is yours.

You want something, if you can't buy it or steal it, you must work for it. The more you want and need it, the harder you try to get it. The wanting and needing, the working, trying and getting combine and eventually present discipline. Great or small, the stoic quality is a benefactor assuring that you become a better person, more complete and capable and aware, as you pursue your healthy and humble goal giving it your very best shot. The heart and soul and mind grow strong in the body while on the gym floor knocking out the sets after a day's hard work and plentiful supply of protein... and sufficient discipline.

And it deserves nobler applications than egocentric gain. Not everyone can bench 450, have 19-inch arms or wear a swimming suit like a model. This has absolutely nothing to do with limiting your achievement of the jewels that discipline affords. Keep your head on your shoulders and the deltoids will grow.

About laziness: It's a hideous trait that leads to dullness and poverty and is inherited by the simple and practiced by the ignorant; there is no doubt of its corruptible weakness. Left to its inertia, little is accomplished and not much is enjoyed. Fulfillment has no chance in the lax and sluggish individual. He gets by.

The lazy guy or gal has enough discipline to accommodate the chores and hygiene and bare responsibilities of the day, but applies the barest energy to things of achievement and acclaim. The architects of the TV and remote, fast food and frozen dinners and the microwave, the baggy pants and the muumuus planted today's crop of corn. Like fields of droopy stalks rattling in the breeze, the harvest is plentiful, but the produce is dry and hollow.

The lazy add nothing to a community or neighborhood. They provide no support. They are an encumbrance, a nuisance. They sit on the leg extension and read People Magazine.

About motivation: The key that starts the engine that impels us forward -- unlocks the door and opens it wider -- releases the integral energy that builds on itself like the atom. Without it, accomplishments are accidental and success a chance occurrence. The reason we do things is often disguised in the tasteless task of daily living. With barely enough flavor to get us through the day, we urgently need seasonings to greet another morning's sun.

Purpose is accompanied by at least a teaspoon of heated passion and regular portions of savory fulfillment; they are treats and on-going nourishment. Life with sweet motivation, inspiration and enthusiasm is a feast. Without them, we live on bread and water. Might I interest you in a thick slice of roast prime rib of beef, a juicy turkey leg or a fresh crab salad? Help yourself. Get ripped.

About patience: The art of waiting, the skill of working dauntless and hard while nothing appears to get done, the comfort found in hopefulness day after day -- I suggest practice, practice and more practice till the cows come home. You can't stare at a pot and expect the water to boil without scorching your forehead on the steam. There's water in the pot and fire under it, right? Good. Hang back, stay cool and attend the sights and sounds of life around you. Just don't let the fire go out and the water evaporate. Get out the tea and cups and biscuits. We'll have a party.

Patience and time are juggled by the same clown. Time is not the problem; it's our concept of it. Life is a continuum interrupted by manmade units separating the past from the future. The clock has its benefits, but mostly serves to capture our minds in seconds, minutes and days, weeks, months and years, always counting, always watching... tic, tic, tic. Is that the way to build big muscles and a lean figure, lose bodyfat and set a personal record -- from inside false compartments struggling to get out?

The stress of impatience squeezes the life out of time. It makes the moment unknowable and the present unbearable. We fret, we hurry, we become discouraged and we almost quit. Patience comes hard, it comes slow and it comes at a heavy price. Patience is tough and revives just as frustration prepares to wrestle us to the cold, dirty ground. We're back on our feet crouched and ready, a new level of fortitude in our command. Thank God for perseverance -- the perseverance of bombers.

We are enduring, as the continuum stretches on. Impatience plus practice plus time equals fortitude, the first cousin of patience... once a stranger, now a friend. And we need all the friends we can get.

About perseverance: The long-lasting forever necessary to achieve, that familiar attribute set deep in the mind of the committed, motivated, patient and disciplined, the quality of the lithe racehorses never giving up, whether it wins or shows up last at the finish line.

With perseverance you cannot lose. You stick to it or roll over, your breath no longer leaving a cloud on the mirror. Perseverance can be hard pushing and mean, or a gentle effort, kind in its application. But always it is unceasing, positive in action and never falls short of finishing its work.

About perseverance, it is undying.

Next time you work out, consider the five bombs we tossed around today. What role do they play in your training and how on the scale of one to 10 do you score? Ten is perfect.

We all know how to train -- a curl is a curl, a squat is a squat, a shrug and so on... sets and reps, eat some tuna, drink some water. It's the DLMPP* that gives us a run for the money. You get those right and everything else falls into place.

There you have my secret tip to building a lean sinewy body, bombers. Now let's practice individual and team formations -- imaginative routines with renewed commitment and energy. Where craft value is lacking (perhaps an older model in need of reconditioning), we can proceed with resourcefulness, common sense and old-fashioned grit.

Sky high the bombers fly... DD

* Discipline, Laziness, Motivation, Patience, Perseverance

*****

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