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There is a heap of email before me; a mix of queries, mostly unrelated. For the fun of it, I'll try to answer them in one deep breath.

Cardio? Years ago in the '60s, amongst lifters there was none. Hard, heavy, volume training, supersetting and long hours, the kind of training some writers refer to as overtraining, secured our cardio respiratory needs. As hard bodies and exercise took off in the '70s and the fitness industry erupted, money drove the market to preposterous proportions. The sheep followed. Extensive scientific and pseudo-scientific research in physiology and mechanics presented our "urgent" need for treadmills, stair steppers, stationary bikes, climbers, gliders, recumbants, et al. Cardio equipment in all its glory emerged in the '80s and like the car, snappy new styles and new features are offered year after year.

I love barbells.

Today I spend 15-20 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week on the bike at an intensity level of 6 on a scale of 1-10. That's the aerobic range I suggest most everyone approach to complement their weight training, pointing out that the 10 minutes of continuous mid-section exercise that follows further extends tough cardio input.

Fitness buffs, if aerobic is your first love, by all means live it up. Just be sure to add some mid-section and resistance exercise for balance and skeletal-muscle maintenance.

Trying to get lean? Too much cardio I fear will cut into your precious time, available energy, desire and training focus. Purposeful, quick paced training is fun and effective. Yet, a workout in a hurry causes anxiety, stress, poor form and injury. Joy is replaced by bitterness.

Something else. Excessive aerobics may deplete your energy stores, causing your body to shift its chemistry, calling on muscle protein to provide energy. Have mercy.Throw me in the swamps, lock me in a dungeon, but don't take away my muscle protein.

Cardio activity alone (bike, treadmill, steps) should consist of 20-30% of your total training investment, depending upon the goals you seek. Your emphasis should be on resistance training to build valuable muscle size, muscle-based metabolism, strength and bone density. This exercise ratio plus your eating strategy provide a reasonably straight line from A to Z.


Gary F. and John P. have caused me to muse. ..
Personality and training style eventually converge. I really have a problem with one set intensity training. It's like speed reading, could never get the hang of it. Besides, I love to train. I love meticulous movement, form, flow, pace, pump and sanity.

Give me five days a week, 3 days on, one off, 2 days on, one off - 90 to 120 minutes to all-out assault and pound each muscle group 2 times a week. When burnout shows it's ugly head, I give it one more good kick and withdraw - regroup, recoup, and prepare for the next rally.

One set training...what's the point?

Want to know more about HIT training? Try it for a six week cycle, I guess. Reading gets you only so far.

Want more info? Here's the top book, top two sites.





Another reader query -

A good age to start a youngster exercising is any time you get their attention, starting off with running, jumping and freehand exercise; chins, dips, pushups and crunches are fantastic. Show them the right way, the basic way to perform and why. Exercises done randomly is okay early on, but giving them logical order and purpose is priceless in the development of the body, discipline, awareness and appreciation. Further direction is achieved as they matriculate to weight training.

Age12-13 is just right, again if interest is keen and instruction is wise. The whole world would be a better place, don't you agree?

.... Here's a link to more youth training info...


Yet another -

Bodybuilding can be expensive even though every workout is an investment. Overtraining, obsessiveness and excessive money spent on exotic ingredients "guaranteed" to pack on muscle can lead us to the poor house. However, a good vitamin & mineral (cold processed, time released) and a quality whey protein should comfortably be included in the daily food budget. Overall they will be a healthy investment and may save you money throughout your life.

The vitamin/mineral will improve your body chemistry, aid in muscle growth, recuperation and resistance and your protein drinks serve the protein and nutrients you need during your busy, hard pressed days - they are inexpensive meals if prudently mixed with low fat milk, and egg, a banana and ice. Quick, convenient fortifiers that lift you, take you forward or at the very least, keep you from sliding back. I count on the above food intakes and don't short change myself by viewing them as costly supplements for the rich and famous and foolish.

Creatine is good - add lotsa red meat to your diet and your creatine stores will be ample. When Christmas, your birthday, Father's Day and aniversary come around, your family will know what you want and need. Happy Bodybuilding Day, guys and gals... coming up this month, I believe.


Kevin C. asks...What caused you to retire from competition. You reference a changing of the gears in bodybuilding as the reason on your site, but you do not elaborate. In hindsight, do you wish you had entered the 68 and 69 Olympia to compete against Sergio? Inquiring minds want to know....

Living in Venice in the '60s was like living in a junk yard with a bunch of junk yard dogs. Biting was allowed and the food wasn't free. I had to make a living, learn and grow. My workouts served to stabilize, fortify and entertain me, but no way could I see training to beat Sergio (as if I could - he's from another planet you know) a real wise career decision - baby needed shoes.

I found myself making rugged oversized furniture out of old wood, loving it and making enough money to pay the bills. Very cool. Tranquil, alone and natural, woodworking matched my workouts. Someone could say the '70s never happened and I'd believe 'em. Do I wish I had competed against Sergio back then? I thought I had. Truth is I like it just as it is.


I'm new at the 'net as you may or may not know. Laree, my wife, is the webmaster and began our journey on the 'net at the very end of '98. We thought we were getting a late start but think now we are right on time. After all, it's all only a few years old.

Now that we're in place and getting hits, email, comments and questions, I expect my comments and replies to be in two separate forms....weekly text (see Draper columns button above) and mini-conversation you'll find here at Bomber Talk.

My very first email was from a man "50 years young" and training for 4 1/2 years, loving it and I suspect wondering where to go from here.

50 today is not the same as 50 thirty years ago, or ten for that matter. With advanced technology the lifespan has extended as has the length of the mid years - especially if one cares for oneself. Be a good babyboomer - eat protein and workout.

I look to Bill Pearl for my validation and reassurance, Bill being 11 years my senior. I feel sometimes like I'm hanging out under an old shoe waiting for it to drop. Will I grow old overnight? Recently I spent time with Bill at a conference, instantly, automatically noting his excellent form and tone. He was thick (about 230 pounds I'd guess), small hips, no stoop, veiny in the forearms and the same good ole face - non-fleshy and hard jawed and had that I can bench 400 look in his bones.What's the next 10 gonna be like, buddy?

As the Good Book says, be strong and courageous. Be hopeful. A good plan is to continue to be aggressive in your workouts with ample time for repair and recuperation, being aware of overtraining. Work on a weekly schedule of two days on, one off...followed by two days on , two off. Hit each bodypart 2 times per week with 2 exercises per muscle group, 15, 12, 10, 8 repetitions sequencing, mixing heavy, moderate and light weights. Push hard and determined days 1 & 2 and back off days 3 & 4, being more fluid and playful.

Consider supersets as gold....more specifics another time (or click here if you haven't seen the supersets page).

So, more later.. dd

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