It’s Sunday afternoon, and the gym’s serene call echoes in my ear. “Clank, Thud. Get your butt here now, or pay big time, Chump! Clunk, Thump.” It’s nice to be wanted. What could be more delightful than curling up with a knurly Olympic bar and a pair of battered dumbbells on a rigid incline bench on a chilly day? I think I’m in love.
Of course, I don’t have to go gymward if I don’t wish. Yeah, right! Should I choose not to attend the Weight Room and engage the iron forthwith, I will be slowly and surely reduced to mush. Mush sucks. The merciless mushing process starts at the cerebral cortex and works its way down the spine to the midsection, obliques and butt and eventually invades the extremities, including the guns and thunder thighs.
At this point a loud screeching sound of a tormented beast emanates from the bowels of the computer.…
Pardon me, comrades in muscle. I must ready my gear. The hour has arrived. The metal grows restless. The steel longs for my grip. The iron awaits my reassuring presence. Hoist, tug and shift I must. Off to the gym I go.
Check list: instructions, water, Bomber Blend, wraps, chalk, smelling salts, tunes, beerskees (joking), iPod, GPS, oxygen, defibrillator, first-aid kit, paramedics, spotter, lighting, makeup, teleprompter, film crew, cheerleaders, marching band, caterers, manager/Laree.
I don’t need no stinking teleprompter!
The truth is, the less preparation I make before my workout, the better. “Just get there” has become my slogan—short, to the point and easy to remember. I enter the gym slightly startled and out of breath and plop on the nearest bench. After a brief survey of the premises, I identify where I am and determine what to do. Work out, Draper—whatever moves and doesn’t hurt.
It’s become so simple.
Not exactly. I am currently perplexed. Considering my ailments, conditions, limitations, injuries, instabilities, shortcomings, aberrations, misfortunes, afflictions, slick agility and stunning good looks, should I train intensely two times a week or moderately for three? I’m currently on the two-day plan, Sunday and Wednesday, and “intensely” seems a bit much.…
His final words were, “One more rep.”
Yet my three-day plan is foiled again and again before installation because I cannot release my desperate grip on the iron until the last repetition of every set is forced out and I’m dizzy, gasping, staggering, my joints red and swollen.
Really. The last few words above describe precisely my condition upon entering the gym every Sunday and Wednesday after a night’s sleep, a cold shower, a hot lunch and sizzling words of encouragement from Laree. Go get ’em, Tiger.
The time for moderation has arrived. It’s not as if hypertrophy is the primary purpose of my training and the resulting production of hefty muscle mass is my goal. The Mr. Over-69 contest will have to be re-thunk, lad.
Training is loving refreshment, and each set is a hug, every rep a squeeze, the entire workout an extension of life.
My focus should be on stimulating existing muscle, preserving the vital function of my joints and avoiding overloading my handy internal organs. Incidentally, the demonstration of kindness to the strained, stressed and dazed personality in charge of operations requires—demands—primary attention as well.
Why didn’t I think of this years ago? Perhaps I’d have hair.
The Six Lean and Mean Commandments
1) I shall grasp a handful of exercises from my brown bag, toss them on the floor and perform them with intuitive order, prudence in pace and sensible force—80 percent of max sounds about right.
2) I shall reengage my mind at the outset with imagery, declaring moderation, well-being and longevity; joy of movement, freedom from mental and physical misery, and fulfillment of athletic playfulness and prowess.
3) I shall approach the iron playground (wreckreation center) with a smile of anticipation.
4) I shall stand tall and walk steadfastly, lift with sureness and repeat with certainty.
5) I shall exit with a smile of contentment.
6) I shall never quit.
Eighty percent max. No forced reps, no anguish, no gasping, no collapsing, no CSI, CPR, ER, ICU… no smoking.
Just get there!
Bombs away! David the Devastator
Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www.DaveDraper.com 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.