First Things First

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It Must Be Done

Dave Draper's Top Squat

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"Training" is a word I use often in conversation and in print. To me it means both exercising hard and eating well. Simple enough, like analytic calculus, one and one are two.

Training, the word, stands out like a soldier or a warrior or an athlete in the vocabulary of the ordinary man. A stiff sound when spoken, black and white when written, and heavily shadowed when seen in the mind's eye, training to the touch is cool and icy cold when left unattended.

It warms when acknowledged and becomes white hot as it's translated into action. Training means commitment. Training means discipline. Training means business; let there be no doubt about it.

"It must be done."

That is a broad declaration of the foremost training instruction. Why it is not configured into our involuntary neuromuscular system, like breathing and blinking our eyes, is a mystery to me. Left to our own devices, left to choose between exercising and not exercising, the latter, for the overwhelming majority, is the popular choice of the day.

And eating right is often purely good luck. Though common sense, experience and scientific evidence confirm that an exercised and well-fed body lives longer and with higher quality, mankind is repelled by the effort this requires.

Entertain me, feed me, give me comfort, security and happiness, but, oh, don't make me exert myself. I'll labor for a wage because I must, but don't prod me along or withhold my appetites. Haven't you noticed, don't you see; I prefer to sit and nibble and watch TV.

"It must become a habit."

That's part two of the instruction, given birth by the character of part one. Since training is not a mechanical, instinctive activity performed regularly like the beat of the heart (though nearly as important), we must make it happen, and routinely. We must volunteer and will it to happen, or it will not.

Better yet, we must want it to happen, wish and need it to happen and then, happen it will. Habitually.

Society by nature is a collection of habits. Cultures are defined by their habits. Who we are individually -- good or not so good, charming or alarming, pleasant or annoying, clean and sweet smelling or sour, productive and useful or of little value -- is reflected in and attributed to our habits. He who bravely assesses himself and rids himself of objectionable habits becomes a less objectionable person. He who develops and adds wholesome habits becomes a better and more complete person.

"It's up to you," part three, the final condition of the training fundamental, pronounces that it is achievable by us all and dependent upon us individually. Why do so few men and women among us choose the golden practices that most directly support life and wellness? Further, why do we neglect them, even spurn them, those precious actions worth more than gold? Confounding.

Look back to our grandfathers and great-grandfathers and unless they were royalty, we see that labor -- hard work -- contributed to their muscle and hardiness. Today, most of that is gone.

They walked or saddled up. Most of that is gone also. They ate sufficiently and with a semblance of regularity. Today we eat inefficiently and in abundance, here, there and everywhere. And sugar is consumed by truckloads. Our forefathers did not know the high-calorie ingredient with near the intimacy and affection as their hypered, hungry and soft ancestors do.

And what was nightlife and weekends without TV? I suspect they did things... as in activity.

We didn't see it coming. Modern man has been run down by the speeding and streamlined oncoming train of progress. We built our towns and cities, escalators and SUVs, governments and schools, and failed to comprehensively care for our most fundamental needs, the strength and health of our physical bodies.

We have reading, writing and arithmetic in our classrooms, but where are the basics of nutrition and right eating? Are they not central subjects of study to man's personal strengthening, advancement and social welfare?

There's art, mythology and social sciences, yet I don't see compulsory physical education on the curriculum. Shouldn't thoughtful and vigorous periods of fitness education be added to those subjects essential to progressive living?

Did we forget? Are they too exhausting, too much trouble, too demanding and time-consuming? Are they -- um -- considered embarrassing, primitive, harsh and repressive?

They are vital to mankind, should be routinely taught and it's a grave mistake that they are not.

Where did we go wrong? We failed to educate and we remain ignorant. Only a handful have heard the good word -- train, exercise and eat right -- and of that handful, only a pinch understands and applies the principles.

You'd think I was expounding upon the philosophical themes of life hidden in the vaults of time, suspended in the obscure minds of distant scholars, unfathomable and untouchable. I'm talking about invigorating exercise three times a week for an hour and sensibly, gratefully being aware of your food consumption.

It goes like this: Mom and Dad didn't tell us what to do and why? Because nobody told them what to do and why. Then, we didn't tell our little rascals what and why and they won't tell theirs because we didn't.

The trend has started and a distinct few -- you and me -- carry the ball with which no one else wishes to play. What should be natural to society has become an impossible national and global project and has led to a worldwide epidemic. Fat, soft and out of shape people with mounting diseases practicing habits not fit for human repetition.

To tell you the truth, I don't like to think of training as a habit. Lifting weights and consuming protein is more of a determination of will, a centering and ordering of the mind and spirit, a forceful yet friendly struggle venting stresses of the mind and toxins of the body, a playful release, a living, breathing, moving creative expression, a statement about who we are, a fix.

Training separates us from dark guilt and provides generous portions of physical fulfillment.

Training is not a worship, but it is an act of appreciation and thankfulness. It doesn't decide where you are going, but it does improve your destination and surely helps you get there.

It will not reveal your future, but it will help you understand your past. It might not tell you who you are, but a good workout will lead you to your soul.

Let exercising and eating right become a habit for people who don't exercise and eat right. For them, such a development is a boom, a deliverance and a life-changing accomplishment. Training is a novelty to them and will survive as a habit and hopefully grow into a lifestyle. Who knows where that will take them, but it has got to be good.

Go with God, you crazy daredevils... Bomber D


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