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Animal Rights for Muscleheads

ironmanmagazine.comIt’s Sunday morning, and I’m planning my workout for later in the day. I like Sundays; the roads are traffic-free, the gym is light in attendance and I entertain the casual yet fictitious notion that I don’t have to submit to the cruelty of the relentless iron master this fine day. I choose to.

Yeah, right. And gasoline is free.

Let’s see: bi’s and tri’s? No. Chest and back? No. Thunder thighs and rippling abs? Certainly not. It’s all so exciting, I don’t know where to begin. Should I focus on the almighty pump and burn, or seek rhythmic fulfillment in precise set and rep performance? Neither. Should I seek looming bulk and power or swift-chiseled definition? Both. At once, simultaneously, together and at the same time?

Yes! Maybe!

“I don’t know what to do,” he said fretfully, as he gouged out his eyes and yanked clumps of hair from his head. I shall discover what to do, as always, when I skip gaily across the enchanted gym floor amid the beguiling assortment of bars and benches, pulleys and cables.…

Tic-toc-tic-toc.… Time flies.… I’m back.

I had a superior workout: tight, balanced, bold. The legs did little more than transport me from bench to rack and back, but from the waist up I caused a small riot. The iron experience is never casual. I regularly offer myself the legitimate option of training slowly over an extended period of time, allowing comfortable pauses between wholesome sets of modest reps.…

“Let’s face it, Bomber of the B-69.9 variety,” I say to myself as I mount the stairs to the perpetual pleasure palace, “the craft’s a bit shabby, the fuel’s low, the runway’s short, the load’s heavy, and the time’s light: revive, restore and rejoice; stimulate, satisfy and smile. What’s the rush? Where are you going? Take it easy.”

Then I grasp the cold, knurled bar festooned with decorative black plates of alluring iron, and something snaps inside my head. My countenance contorts, my eyes widen, my lips quiver, my muscles contract and my body lurches as if charged by electricity.

Restore? Stimulate? My inner voice snarls like a tormented pit bull. Seriously, really, not exactly and I don’t think so. Intensity rules! A light weight in hand may be right and fitting, but slow and easy I cannot grasp.

I mean, I’m mean.

Alas, power is gone, and strength has left the structure. Energy I seek with spyglass and searchlight, only to uncover lingering fragments. Endurance, once savory and abundant, has vanished entirely with the foul north wind.

Yet, know-how and finesse remain deeply etched in my forehead; determination and persistence I retain in generous stores; faith and hope, my gracious eternal gifts, go wherever I go. Absent these treasures I am no one, nothing, a void, a shadow in the dark. An oaf, a booger, a poop.

Sooner or later, amid kicking and screaming, we must give up the heavy weights. Heavy weights are those weights we can no longer lift and when we do anyway (any way we can), we break, burst, bust and burn. But, then, we knew that already.

“When the time comes, I’m ready,” said the slightly sagging warrior with the receding gray hairline wearing a tight tank-top and bright-red Keds in a voice of magnified ignorance and tones of overflowing arrogance. “That’s life.”

“That’s life?” A bit wordy, Rip Dip, but poorly said. However, saying a thing doesn’t mean we know it, and knowing a thing doesn’t mean we accept it. A child says it, a grownup knows it, and a mature person accepts it.

None are enough. A bomber embraces it.

Accepting is for the rational. Those who lift weights feverishly are not rational. Their pursued, practiced and highly developed character qualities—patience, determination, perseverance, passion, commitment—are tempered, hardened, into insistence and stubbornness…analness. Their ability to overcome and pummel senseless immovable metal objects into submission fills them with a false sense of inevitability and invulnerability.

Along comes buster bad boy injury and his whacky, wicked associates, pain, incapacity, soreness, limited range of motion, throbbing, wraps, curses, ointments, aches, woe is me, lay-offs, sleepless nights, misery, doctor who, lousy mood, tenderness, bad attitude, weird exercise grooves, moan and groan.

We must turn our back on them, the stumbling band of fools, without submitting, without surrendering, never quitting, never letting go.

An absurd word from the loose goose is candy for the dandy gander.

“Seek and discover muscle exertion in light weight, intensity of performance in passionate focus, serious pump and burn in amplified set ’n’ repetition application. It’s all there at your command, not at the demand of punishing, oversized barbell and dumbbell extravaganzas constructed for young gorillas. They’ll make monkeys of us every time, after all.” —The Loose Goose

Save a Musclehead. Drink Bomber Blend…Dave Goodmore Doright


Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.

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