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Blast Not, Lose Much

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.

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 his or her 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 and disappointment, troublesome, tiresome and 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, occasional jumping jacks and eating your veggies. 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, 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 man or woman 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.

Remember, training is the devoted practice of well-planned weightlifting, smart eating and daily care and rest. Training is not walking the dog, eating celery sticks and holding your stomach in.

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. When I don’t train (never happens), I slyly wear a wooden cross around my neck to guard me from demons.

• 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 for and care about.

• Stress mounts, as that which dissipated the dreadful disease 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 and 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 muscle-building 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, or 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.

• Walk past a construction site, girls, and the guys whistle. Guys are as dumb as wood.

• Pizza and beer are 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.

• Joy is discovered in labor, and thanks are given on all occasions.

• 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 muscle-building 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!

• Good workouts are alive with the sound of music. Listen. Sing along, hum, tap your feet. Do something!

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

• Training is not going through the motions, an irritable thing to be gotten out of the way or a chore to be over and done with.

• 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 end. Hello.

• Basic and simple, push and pull, trust, be consistent and develop.

• No junk food, no whimpering, no leaving till you’re done.

In doubt, fed up, lost, up to your ears and otherwise blue? Train every other day with the weights for 30 to 60 minutes, and cycle and work midsection on the alternate days for 30 minutes. All better now!

Choose five push and pull exercises for three sets of eight to 10 repetitions (my choice: dumbbell incline presses, seated rows, low-reaching lying triceps extensions, barbell curls and bent-over lateral raises). 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 that away, sky high and star bound.

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. IM

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