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Dave Draper's Iron Online

Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation

Texas, boots and stones: A true story

A man in Texas came across our website this month and out of despair tossed a shaky lifeline for help. In a tone conveying doubt that I would read his email and apology for writing it if I should, he told me he was 32, married, the father of three children and worked in sales, a desk job. He lifted weights years ago and loved it, but the responsibilities of family life have gotten him down. He realizes he should continue but no longer has the energy or motivation to work out and wanted to know if it was because he was older or "just plain lazy?"

Sounds like the American tragedy, not that we in the U.S. have a corner on the plight. The scene is being played out in every average neighborhood around the world: sufficiency in shelter, food, clothing, recreation and comfort, but egregious insufficiency in exercise and diet. My friend from Texas has some stones in his boots. He has to stop, sit down, take his boots off and remove the troublesome stones, put his boots back on and watch where he's walkin' in the future. Smart thinking and acting, he and his loving gang of four will go a long way.

Now, as I see it, if he doesn't, he's lazy… and I have observed over the years that lazy and dumb go together. Maybe, someday, if the discomfort irritates him enough -- motivates enough -- he'll attend the source of the problem and dump the stones, but his feet will bear the scars. I have also observed that scars are slow to heal, require a lot of work and you're never quite the same again. Pull off the boots; your wife will love you, the kids will think you're the greatest and sales will skyrocket. And, oh, the relief.

Getting older is no problem until you get older, which won't happen for a long, long time if you act today. Tex… you mind if I call you Tex? … sit down now, take a load off your feet and consider your concerns. They are serious. They are hopeful. You're the head of a family that looks toward you and responds to you and is influenced by you. You have a job that calls for enthusiasm and energy. Doesn't every bit of life? You have trained in the past, know, understand and, therefore, love exercise; you appreciate its value. You probably know of a gym in town or have some weights stashed in the dark. This is good stuff.

Excluding an unknown immune disorder, insidious infection or other medical problems, you're probably okay. True, what do I know? But it's what I think. You're thirty-something and feeling old, tired and lazy. Very bad personal assessment, Big T, but you can fix it. You can turn this ugly frog around and get him jumping out of town.

Here's the plan, plan A. It's January and the year is a baby. You absolutely must exercise and eat right to thrive, to grow strong, build muscle and carry the load atop your shoulders. The consequences for delayed action are wrought upon you today and they are getting more burdensome. You either start immediately or the time will pass, the urgency replaced by the distractions to which we have continual and direct access, the downward condition will persist and future control fade. This isn't vanity as much as it is survival, though looking good is a cool asset. This is the healthy process of putting order in your body's chemistry, balancing the hormones that regulate everything, releasing the anxiety -- the stress -- that binds you to depression and hopelessness.

Think of this when you insist that there is no time, no way to get to the gym to stir up the body, no appetite for good food to nourish your bones and those of your clan: Muscle, strength, energy and spirit are declining while fat and submission are taking their place, as surely as the warm sun goes down and the cold moon rises. Gunfight at the OK Corral.

You know what to do; you've done it before. We all know what to do. And you're not lazy and you're not too old. These are weak misperceptions that you eliminate with the stones from the boots. Early evaluations of one's fitness after a period of neglect are often discouraging; it's the comparisons we make to the good old days or someone in a magazine more fit than ourselves, the disconcerting appearance of the long and rugged road ahead, the doubt of our resources and fortitude. Oh, boy, we can stack 'm high.

Forget them. They're lies, the devil's work. Think of the truths, the hopes and the future realities around the corner. Talk to your sweet and loving wife (give her sweats for her birthday… big-time favorite), restock your pantry, roll out the weights or join the gym, schedule three one-hour appointments for some serious workouts just as you would with a preferred client, put on your gear and take the plunge. Better yet, wade in the water for a few days and enjoy the splashing. There's no sense in gulping in a mouthful, almost drowning and dragging yourself home like a wet rat. You're working out for life, a prosperous hobby, a gratifying diversion and a superior therapy.

This is what I would do: 15 minutes on the stationary bike, a set of crunches and leg raises, three sets of light dumbbell presses supersetted with seated lat rows, three sets of barbell curls supersetted with machine dips and two sets of leg press and calf combinations. I'm home, dear, feed me (please). Protein, protein and protein.

Poke around the davedraper.com website before you go to bed and make plan B. Spring is not that far off. Time to blast it… dave

Next week, TALL TALES

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