Mr. Universe Dave Draper
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Dave Draper's Iron Online

Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation

Goodbye to Kansas

Kansas City has come and gone. Nine stops in 10 days and every single one is a bright memory in my blurry mind. 30 to 60 people showed up at each appearance, listened to my pitch for 15 minutes and asked questions for as long as three hours to which I responded with long-winded, reasonably accurate answers. I make things up as I go.

While traveling I fed myself from a Styrofoam Igloo filled with ice, milk, cottage cheese, eggs and favored vegetables, and a gym bag full of tuna, Bomber Blend, homemade beef jerky and supplements. Time was not on my side and restaurant stops were narrowed down to one a day. I lost three or four pounds somewhere between Missouri and Minnesota and my pants are a little baggy in the bottom. I'll get over it.

Workouts consisted of crunches and leg raises every other day; two 15-minute, non-stop improvisational sessions with those crazy Exertubes and two mean gym routines spaced just right to keep the jets burning. The mild investment of time and energy kept me reasonably well balanced, tuned and alert.

Did I mention that it was in the high 90s during the excursion, with wilting humidity to match?

The only trouble ominously appeared like a hippo's head from silent swamp water the moment I picked up a map and got on the road. Day after day I thought it would get better and day after day it got worse. I love to drive and look around new neighborhoods and countryside; unhappily, most of them were in the wrong direction. Once I was racing toward Minneapolis on a grand, four-lane beauty for 75 miles when a friendly freeway sign read something like "Welcome to Canada." Blankityblank. I was one hour late for that Barnes and Noble appearance -- my last of nine -- in The Mall Of America, forgiven by everyone who waited -- nearly all 50 waited.

Did anyone learn anything? I certainly did... time flies. We talked a lot, laughed a lot, got serious, told stories to one another, yawned, confessed, encouraged and inspired. One gal in her 30s sat in the front row of the folding chairs arranged appropriately in the history section of the bookstore. She appeared anomalous to the setting and I wondered about her presence. At one point halfway through a dissertation on the benefits of weight training there was a pause. Before it became conspicuous, I asked my nearby lady friend what her name was and if she exercised. She was shy yet compelled to tell us that she did work out with weights and that it made "all the difference in the world" in her life. She lit up and was an eager testimony to the benefits of weight training and good foods.

After the presentation she visited me to talk and said she had taken up the weights to strengthen her arm that was damaged in an accident; the therapy was working and she fell in love with the sport. I noticed a scar on her wrist at the edge of her long-sleeved blouse and mentioned it. She rolled up her sleeve and displayed an arm of breaks and scars and unusual shape, the result of an accident when a drunk driver ran a stop sign, hitting her when she was a child. "You learn to live with it," she said, as she flexed her arm and happily showed the bump of her biceps. I was at once brokenhearted and inspired by this neat lady who bravely endured a shattering at a tender age and now commended the treats in store for those who need and should exercise, eat right and be happy. I couldn't help but hug her and regret letting her go. What a sweetheart.

There were plenty of people to identify with, as 2 to ten of the attendees were subscribers to the newsletter or members of the IOL discussion group. Without being cliquey we shared our mutual friendship with the entire group and displayed the generous qualities that are common to us. We might have new eyes and ears joining us as we carry on, bombers. It's exciting and gratifying to see energetic faces with familiar names sitting in an audience of strangers 1,500 miles away from home. Everyone was a pleasure; no one was troublesome -- no scratches, no lost items, no illness, a ticket for going 90 in a 55 from a Minnesota State trooper; no loneliness or lost sleep or nightmares (cost $275.00) or fistfights (was Laree mad) or indigestion.

Nice countryside and neighborhoods and great people. Would not have missed it all for the world. Thanks for the experience and terrific email, folks. I hear you loud and clear.

YOU MEET THE COOLEST PEOPLE IN THE HOTEST PLACES

This is what I did feeling at home in Tom Canavan's very tough, very respectable black matted, iron and steel mill, The Ultimate Gym in St. Louis:

1) Tight-contraction crunches and leg raises for 10 minutes.

2) Wrist curls and thumbs-up curls and pulley pushdowns for four tri-sets.

The idea while on the road is to do what is appealing and meets your energy and needs. Lift to lift yourself up. Going heavy or long or hard is not desirable as almost any travel reduces your muscle energy stores and resistance to injury; furthermore, unfamiliar settings are not comfortable or predictable. You're not going to make any muscular strides, only bruise your ego as you attempt to show off. Save it, Moose.

3) Flat dumbbell presses followed by dumbbell deadlifts (same weights in hand, no pause) followed by stiff-arm pullovers, four multi-sets x 10 reps.

Not exactly creative, but as satisfying and sure as a Rembrandt. Solid, clean and tight are the characteristics of the exercise combinations that will carry you agreeably onward. You'll notice the weights become very heavy the moment you leave town. Don't make demands on yourself; don't make the workouts ugly. Smile.

4) Lying side-arm lateral raises with an extended range of motion, four sets (back and forth, left to right) x 10 reps.

5) Seated lat row with full range of motion and tight contractions to the gut, back slightly arched to emphasize the effects. Four sets x 10-12 reps

Feeling good and soothing the accumulated aches and pains of travel are accomplished, the spirits are renewed and the body is energized. Somewhere along the way you can't help yourself from reaching out and grabbing for some intensity... enough to sublimate the beast that crawls around inside you. Just don't plan it... you'll only foil your instincts and desires.

That sturdy routine in St. Louis carried me over to a mean quickie at The Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee. Their gym is on the entire fifth floor of a handsome and modern glass 10-story. An eighth-of-a-mile track runs the total window perimeter and a rugged nuts and bolts gym sits piled up and ready far enough from a good-size aerobic floor. A cool guy, Art Hansen, started the gym with an Olympic bar, over-sized dumbbells and a bench five years ago; buddies kicked in and Miller got the hint, completing the affair with machines and the works.

I took advantage of a slow post-lunch gym to do rope tucks, dumbbell rows, pulldowns, dips, calves and leg presses. I was in and out in less than an hour while Art drank beer and read muscle magazines with his feet up on a desk in the corner.

I'm kidding about Art and the beer and the mags. He worked the phones taking care of brewery business and ran interference for the defenseless bomber. Thanks, man.

Did you know every Miller employee gets a free case and a half of beer every month from the company? Incentives in pull-top cans. Smart management.

Monday I'm off to the races on the East Coast, and they race at high speeds, if I recall.

Look out, ready or not here I come... tailspins and dive-bombing,

Dave Draper

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