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Yes, I, too, watch the news. I urgently apply the remote looking for the best spin of the latest catastrophes, while adding my own dopey remarks as if they mattered. My comments are thoughtful and substantial: He's a bum, she's a jerk, that's a lie, they're all thieves, politicians should be imprisoned, and so on.

In truth, daily events are part of the reason why many of us work out with zeal: Muscles, strength and fitness topped the list early on, but the gnawing stresses of the times have many of us at the gym's door simply for its sanity and relief.

A good gym is a way-station, a refuge, a place of your own to lick your wounds or prepare you for the good race tomorrow. The field, the track, the dungeon across town, your garage -- a gym is where you cleanse, restructure, restore inside and out: no miracles, no magic, no kidding.

You forgive, you forget, you remove the thorns, you ease the pain, you count your blessings like reps and sets. You become reunited with yourself as a friend who's worthy and, silently, those around you know you better and enjoy you more and life is good for a long time.

Do not go one week without two workouts. Ever. These can be the 30 minutes that save you from the dreaded muscular disease, The Gap.

You've heard of The Gap: an unmanageable malfunctioning of the disciplinary tract, which leads to the deterioration of the walls of the will. Some folks have been known to succumb to the wretched disorder for months, losing muscle tone and gaining a tire (excuse me) around the middle. Mild discontent, guilt, irritability and sloping shoulders accompany The Gap. Loss of energy and stamina are not uncommon and binge eating has been observed among serious Gap sufferers.

Some seasons pressure us to limit our exercise schemes and obliging the pressure is natural and right. Summer vacations and winter holidays beg for time off. Be aware and recognize the safe and friendly boundaries of maintenance training and faithfully heed them until the more favorable times when you can blast it with hungry might. Failure to do so leads to despicable consequences. Prevention is easier than the cure.

Our creed goes something like this: Keep it simple, stick to the basics, train consistently with enthusiasm and intensity, use logic, be creative and intuitive, be confident in your applications, be happy and deal with your misery. Be real. Stop fussing.

There are absolutely no secrets. Nothing's new. Collect the necessary information and get to work. The clutter of intelligence, the waste of words describing a simple thing, the superior heaps of decaying mental rubbish surrounding the notion of exercise and sensible eating is maddening. There are people out there who have read so much they think they actually know something. The learning's not in the reading; it's in the doing.

It's not uncommon for me to refer to the unhealthy and unfit condition of society as a reflection of its apathy, complacency and ignorance. My references are not insensitive comments on the undesirable fitness level of the people on the streets. They are not condemnations but instructive pleas to set the dormant into motion. They are not intended to ridicule the overweight but rather to stir the sleeping. They call the weak to strength with no tone of mocking in the voice. (Any mocking heard, rather, is in the ear.)

Exercising and eating right regularly prepare us for the tough days ahead. Exercise is a constructive diversion that relaxes and reduces stress, strengthens the body, mind and spirit, establishes confidence, builds brotherhood and sisterhood, adds considerably to the resources of the country and prepares it to win the good fight.

You've heard this sermon before: exercise and eat right for good. It is not clever or original, profound or poetic, but it's exact. Today, more than ever, we need to be exercising, at home, on the streets, at the park or in the gym.

Some days we rock and some days we roll and some days we hum a tune to ourselves, and the beat goes on and on.

The Bomber

*****

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