First Things First

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Where Ya Been Lately?


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Wait! Before you hit the delete key, we need to talk. Where have you been lately? You're not at the gym, we haven't seen you at the health food store and it's reported you no longer jog around the park. Going through your garbage, we found crushed pizza boxes, empty beer cans (you should recycle), Big Gulp containers and Twinkie wrappers.

We're worried about you, we being the notorious Bomber Online Muscle Bureau or BOMB Squad. We'll stop at nothing to restore your commitment to blasting the iron.

He who blasts, lasts.

What possesses a man or woman to abandon training has long been a mystery to the Bomber Psychotherapeutic Clinicians. There are countless reasons blended with assorted excuses, and many are valid: loss of interest, disappointment, too troublesome, tiresome or painful. All are sufficient grounds for giving up mere exercise.

Ah, but not for aborting one's solid and bold training.

Exercise and training are as alike as Playschool and Princeton, the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Marines. Exercise is walking, with some occasional jumping jacks. Training is pushing the iron with passion and balancing your protein intake with valuable carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients.
Exercise is cute; training is powerful.

Bombers are either training or discovering training. They have exercised and endured and are evolving as ironheads with calluses, a repertoire of routines for power, mass and muscular definition and a cupboard full of supplements. Mere exercise has been replaced with a training lifestyle that positively affects everything in their lives, job, sport, relationships, health, nature, mind and soul.

As so aptly avowed in the hallowed pages of Zen and the Resounding Clang of Iron, training is not time consuming; training is. Training is not effortful; training is.

How, then, do they become the center of a BOMB Squad investigation? Why and where did they go wrong? Are they in a slump, behind closed doors, under a spell, over a barrel, in the closet or out to lunch? The depths of a man's mind are unfathomable.

An aggressive confrontation with the "What ifs?" of the situation will resolve the matter. No person of sound mind can walk away from the steel-hard, iron-cold truth.

What if I don't train and what if I do? Let's take a look at the possibilities and make a choice.

What if I don't train? Holy smoking guns! Just presenting the notion causes me to cringe, like I made a blasphemous statement before the raging spirits of muscle and power. The thunder I heard, that flash of light, tell me these were my imagination.

Let's try that again. Ask yourself:

What if I don't train?

~ You shrivel up and die within seconds. Just kidding! It takes days. Still kidding. Personally, I'm hoping humor will protect me from obliteration, an old-fashioned superstition steeped in mystery and fact.

~ Guilt is immediate, and eats away at the soul.

~ The muscles die from lack of stimulation and tender loving care.

~ You become confused -- life and things become less clear. Disorder rules, collapse is inevitable.

~ You care less, as there is less to care about.

~ Stress mounts, as that which dissipated the dreadful state is no longer present.

~ People point and stare and whisper about your squishy arms and jelly belly. People can be cruel.

~ What once was light in weight becomes indescribably heavy. Oooff is an unappealing (and most revealing) sound you make more frequently, like, when carrying out the garbage.

~ Your snug T-shirt fits like a sack and your baggy sweatpants like a leotard. Cute.

~ You find it fatiguing to order pizza and beer from Joe's Place. You wish they'd just send it automatically.

~ Great energy is expended moving from the recliner to bed after the late show, never mind moving iron from the squat rack to the bench press after work.

~ The only discipline you exhibit is when your dog drags you around the block for the evening poop 'n scoop. Down, Spot.

What if I do train?

~ Your stored fat and sugar will supply the fuel to get you in motion and recommence the musclebuilding process.

~ Guilt vanishes, attitude brightens and you glow.

~ Life makes sense and purpose returns, and friendly calluses appear on your strong hands.

~ Stress evaporates with each set and rep and groan of exertion.

~ Daily living is less of an effort, rather, no effort at all, and between supersets you find yourself pleasantly daydreaming of a long and productive retirement. Focus! No daydreaming between sets!

~ The sun shines, the birds sing, the flowers grow and little children play again. Hi, Mister, what big muscles you have.

~ Pizza and beer is replaced by Bomber Blend Muscle Makers.

~ You consider canceling your will and life insurance. Who needs it?

~ Discipline is restored, procrastination is eradicated and tasks become incidentals.

~ Energy is restored and perseverance is revived, and both are applied as regularly as breathing in and breathing out.

~ True self-confidence replaces fragile wishful thinking. I can do this!

When confronted with the grim choice, to train or not to train, don't think about it. That's not a choice; that's a no-brainer. Go to the gym and engage the entire body in a healthful, sporty and musclebuilding workout.

More thoughts for the earnest:

~ Anything is better than nothing. Just be there. It only gets better.

~ Do what you want to do and what you like to do, not what you think you must do. Don't be a taskmaster. Not yet, anyway.

~ The first exercise is the hardest. The first sets and reps count. Engage! Momentum is near and momentum builds.

~ Training is a primary source of light and life. Wake up, breathe deeply, look around and give thanks. You are here and now, the beginning and the end. Hello.

In doubt, fed up, lost, up to your ears and otherwise blue? Train every other day for 30 minutes, and cycle, row or jog on the alternate days for 30 minutes. All better now!

Choose five push and pull exercises for three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions (my choice: dumbbell incline press, seated lat row, low-reaching lying triceps extension, barbell curl and bent-over lateral raise).

That's all it takes to jump-start a winged machine. Once she's sputtering, she'll pick up speed and catch some air, and flight is as real and miraculous as the stars in the sky.

They went thataway, sky high and star bound.

God's speed... Dave


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