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Me and the Mob, The Grand Conclusion



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It’s April, springtime in America. The sun appears more frequently and hangs out longer. If you sit still and look close, you can see the forest grow; brown’s down and green is everywhere, the birds are frisky and the squirrels are plump. I love this country, one nation under God, the land of the free.

Yet I look out the window and the world’s not smiling. Something’s wrong. For the first time in my life I sense someone is trying to tell me what to do, whether or not it’s right, whether or not I like it.

Get ye behind me, Alphonse.

There’s an occasional burst of nervous hilarity, a few tentative laughs and a handful of polite chuckles. You can count a fistful of smug grins and copious smirks of sarcasm disguised as humor, but authentic smiles are rare. Content, fulfilled, safe ‘n secure, good ole feeling good – these are missing, hiding out, undercover, conspicuously absent.

These are the days when the gym serves double duty, when gravity gives generously, and when the iron is half as heavy and twice as light. Merely address the weighted gear with gratitude and intent, and before you can count to 10, you’re building muscle and eradicating stress -- the dynamic duo.

I’m happy.

A cascade of cooperative twin benefits are enjoyed with moderate engagement: you develop strength and relieve anxiety, increase fitness and diminish frustration, grasp steel and release tension, add power and lighten the load, pick up good stuff and let go of bad stuff.

That’s a smile.

Let’s move on to the past and continue last week’s hapless tale from 2004. Where am I -- where were we -- in my recollections of me and the mob?

Ah, yes! With the provocative inquiry, ‘When did the pleasure of training – lifting iron, tossing steel, hoisting metal -- settle in my bones?”

… like it was yesterday…

When I stepped back and realized its indispensable worth; when I resumed doing it for its pure adventure and immediate reward; when I trusted its permanence and investment; when training was no longer an obligation, but a wise choice, a desirable means to eliminate barriers and overcome obstacles and to express myself without screaming periodically throughout the day, the week, the month.

And it’s no big ego trip for a vigorous lifter of steel to enjoy physical strength, endurance, reasonable confidence and a body that doesn’t resemble a pear balanced precariously on a pair of toothpicks. No more ego than a long list of letters after one’s name on a letterhead, a tattoo in the right place, a yellow Carrera in the driveway, a 1,000-dollar suit or a shaved head. It took some time pressed together with considerable doubt, curiosity, pain and sacrifice to make the discovery, but it’s worth it. To settle into your training with certainty is like sitting back in an easy chair, comfortable and relaxed. Just don’t fall asleep on me, bombers, we have work to do -- fueling up, checking the landing gear and clearing the runway.

Of course, the choir agrees, and loves to be reminded. How about you, whose T-shirts are getting snug and triceps are forming horseshoes?

Those who are relatively new (though proudly invested) and struggle to maintain their training balance, focus and zeal can reduce the less-than-delightful learning and growing curve by accepting the precepts put forth on the well-shared pages of IronOnline. A mouthful; read that again, out loud. Trust, press on toward your sensible goal and put in your time with renewed enthusiasm, because it’s happening and it happens no other way.

Consider how far you’ve come and imagine -- visualize with certainty -- where you want to go. The only thing that stands in your way is time and doubt. Time will pass, but doubt must be removed. What you need to correct or alter in menu or exercise arrangement, attitude or workout intensity, you will surely attend along the way. Today’s questions are tomorrow’s answers. Mistakes and injuries are the instructors.
 
Be strong, nourish your sense of humor, stay alert, be positive and hopeful, drink your Bomber Blend, be nice to your neighbor, squat, of course, and don’t ruin your shoulders with heavy bench pressing. As far as it is possible, allow no unsightly gaps to develop in your eating scheme or your training thrust; they have a way of growing out of control and they are unbearable. Beware.

That we are aware of what we must do places us well above the rest. That we practice what we must puts us on top.

Let’s taxi down the runway, bombers, and take off one by one in fine form till we fill the skies with roaring and fill our hearts with fire.

Go. You first, I’ll follow... Draper

God’strength

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