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Bomber Blast

I can’t resist mocking myself, my tarnished conversations and the fact that I’m 66 and nibble at the edges of cracker-size workouts. I wonder how long this will go on, like I’m gonna get better; like I’m in a short recovery period and with a few nights’ sleep, some soup and a couple of aspirin, I’ll be my old self again—younger and stronger—and charging around the gym, a bull in a china shop.

At 66 years old I’m no longer a pile of rocks; more like a pillar of salt. I’ve received considerable e-mail from guys who are relieved they’re not alone. They know better, but none is eager to acknowledge the bold truth, the bare facts, the revolting predicament: the reality of—gag—old age (OA).

See what I mean? Did you feel that? I said it, OA, and ya’ll cringed. More than one not-so-young bomber flipped the page. “Later! I’m outta here.” All these years invested in muscle and might, iron, steel and discipline, and we fold like beach chairs as the sun goes down.

Excuse me. I, in this day of social correctness and sensitivity, should have applied the more appropriate and graceful terminology, gathering of years (GY).

Gee, why? Prevent mass hysteria.

Do you suppose we built a robust outer shell and not one of us has developed inner strength, courage or mettle—spirit, heart and soul? No way. I like older. Older lasts a long time, forever, in fact. Once you’re older, young is silly. I was young once but abandoned it for something more substantial and worthy: oldness. Young is ephemeral, passing, untested, vacant, thin, without density or mass. Old is deeply rooted and thick-walled, established, profound and unyielding. It’s masterful.

I can’t resist mocking myself, my tarnished conversations and the fact that I’m 66 and nibble at the edges of cracker-size workouts. I wonder how long this will go on, like I’m gonna get better; like I’m in a short recovery period and with a few nights’ sleep, some soup and a couple of aspirin, I’ll be my old self again—younger and stronger—and charging around the gym, a bull in a china shop. Warm up, don’t forget cardio, keep a log, practice intelligent periodization, don’t overtrain—but how can I help myself, compulsive whack job that I am?—eat right, and rest lots. If only there were eight days in a week. Push that iron, lift that steel, eat that tuna, and drink that water. That’s my bench; I’m using that bar.

Have you noticed? The older we get, the more closely we approach the same abilities and capacities. Soon we’ll be sharing similar instinctive training systems: breathe in, breathe out—good. Again. Breathe in, breathe out—good. Again.

Talk about insecurity: I went to the gym last Friday, did six dandy sets of cable work—rope tucks and crossovers—and had to sit slump-shouldered for 10 minutes on the nearest bench. Fatigue climbed over me like an onslaught of slugs. I dragged myself across the floor, out the door, down the steps and into my truck. I’ve never before walked out on a workout. People pointed, they gasped, they whispered, they stared, they dialed 411. Hello, information? Where’s he going?

What’s that all about? It must not become a precedent. No way. I’ve trained twice since then, and all systems are go. I’m a rocket ship. The warming days, the lengthening days, the hopeful days bring with them an expectation of sudden renewal. We need to modulate our training to suit the season of the year and the season of our lives. As we eased out of fall and into winter bareness, so should we ease into the spring and summer abundance.

Stop, look, listen. Pause and take note. Put your ear to the ground and sense the earth’s rumbling. Lift your moistened finger to the air and determine the wind’s direction. String your bow and choose your arrow; know your target and aim with care. I’m a stealthy archer. Pull steadily, release gently, don’t shoot to kill, shoot to live. Retrieve your arrow and do it again.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere. I was going to compare isolated left-right nanocell training with amplified molecular stimulus exercise, but no such things exist—yet. I guess I’ll have to go back to the basics. By the way, this is my last pass at the aging thing; have to get it out of my system. From now on it’s strength and health, and bombing and blasting. I’m a bomber.

Try this upon entering the gym when you haven’t a clue why you’re there or what to do: Stand or sit someplace quiet and out of the way. Close your eyes, relax, and count backward from 10 to one. If that confuses you, go home immediately. If not, go on to step two, which includes determining which muscle group or groups need attention. Sometimes I wiggle and shake my body to arouse meaningful muscle sensations to guide me in my selection. Apply the technique covertly. It’s dumb—embarrassing if observed—but works.

Flex, extend, contract, and consider. Where is the pain? What stings or burns or feels like lead? Feels like Jell-O?

That’s been my general approach to training recently: Sit in the corner, flex, wonder, and choose. Hello, chest, shoulders and back. Pick two nonvexing exercises for each muscle group, perform three to four sets of six to 12 reps—18 to 24 sets total—with 80 percent output, and complete the deed in 45 to 60 minutes. Ride the bike or walk the plank for 15 minutes and call it a day—one of three or four workouts this week.

At once cutting edge and prehistoric, this wholly unique methodology is making its circuitous journey to the forefront of resistance training. Time will prove its viability, its popularity, its acceptance. Your humble participation is priceless, noble and admirable.

Smile, go home, pet the dog, adore the cat, hug the spouse, squeeze the kids, and feed the loving mob well. Thank God. Tomorrow’s another day. Possibly arms. Maybe legs. Perhaps a walk on the beach.

Preferably a charge down the runway, a dash for the sky and wings outstretched for the heavens above, where hope resides surely and abundantly. IM


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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Bomber Blast

Something?s Missing

Aren’t you glad you’re you, a muscle builder and student of iron? Health and fitness are your lifestyle, and the years ahead are full of promise. You’re rare and rich among mankind. Be grateful. Be humble. Believe.

What is it with those around us? Why do they avoid physical fitness like a disease, regard it as embarrassing fool’s play, ignore it like an inebriated uncle or neglect it like a leaky faucet? It’s not a stretch to say our physical condition’health, strength and fitness’is the most important possession of our lives.

The world’s aware of the need for fitness and the appeal of a fit body. Obesity, heart disease and diabetes are piling up like garbage in every corner of the globe, while awkward, misproportioned bodies incapable of work or play gather before TVs and junk-food dispensaries. Facts are on the news, and warnings are being issued by concerned governments: Exercise and eat right, people, and make it a lifestyle. Our nation can’t afford the encroaching vulnerability of masses of unfit weaklings. Get your lives together.

Something’s missing, fellow ironheads; I’ll give you five, and I don’t mean a handshake.

About discipline: Discipline is a powerful force. Many regard it as an oppressive tyrant and a blessed few as a desirable superforce that causes, affects and directs. It’s an absolute for achievement and shapes the world by shaping the people. Should we grasp the steely energy and apply it to good, what a wonderful world this would be.

Discipline isn’t in great abundance today, as it demands sacrifice and compromise’giving up something, a generous and hearty practice not embraced with open arms by a world full of distracted and dull societies.

Each of us has sufficient built-in discipline to sustain us. Even so, to effect change, make improvements and seek achievements, we need to add desire and deliberate practice to our reserves. You don’t own discipline by repeating mantras, reading a book, watching a video or following a formula. Discipline is founded in need and desire and developed in deed. Discipline is yours. You want something, you must work for it. The more you want and need it, the harder you strive. Discipline begets discipline. The wanting and needing, the working and striving combine and eventually develop iron-willed discipline. The heart, soul and mind grow stronger as the body becomes leaner and mightier knocking out sets and reps on the gym floor.

Long may the iron men and women, cultivating discipline’s benefits and disposed to its favors, continue their contribution to a finer world. About laziness: Laziness is a hideous trait that leads to dullness and poverty and is inherited by the feeble and practiced by the ignorant; there’s no doubt it’s a corrupting weakness. Little is accomplished, and not much is enjoyed. Fulfillment has no chance in a lax and sluggish individual. He gets by.

The lazy guy or gal has enough discipline to accomplish the chores, hygiene and bare responsibilities of the day but applies the barest energy to things of achievement and acclaim. The lazy add nothing to the community or neighborhood. They provide no support. They’re an encumbrance, a nuisance. They sit on the leg extension and read People magazine.

About patience: Patience is the art of waiting, the skill of working dauntlessly while nothing appears to get done and the comfort found in hope day after day. Patience is essential to achievement and is gained by silent practice, practice and more practice till the cows come home for milk and cookies.

Patience and time are juggled by the same clown. Time isn’t the problem; our concept of it is. Life is a continuum interrupted by manmade units’moments’separating the past from the future. The clock has its benefits but mostly serves to capture our minds in seconds and minutes, days and weeks, and months and years, always counting, always watching…tick, tick, tick. Is that the way to build big muscles and a lean figure, lose bodyfat and set a personal record’inside false compartments, struggling to get out? ALL The stress of impatience squeezes the life out of time. It makes the moment unknowable and the present unbearable. We fret, we hurry, we become discouraged, and we almost quit. Patience comes hard, it comes slow and at a heavy price. Patience is tough.

About motivation: Motivation is the key that unlocks the door and opens it wide, starts the engine and thrusts us forward. Without motivation accomplishments are accidents and success mere chance. The reason we do things is often disguised in the tasteless task of daily living. With barely enough flavor to get us through the day, we urgently need seasonings to greet another morning’s sun.

Purpose accompanied by at least a jigger of heated passion, a whiff of burning desire and regular blasts of savory fulfillment is called motivation. Life with motivation, inspiration and enthusiasm is a feast. Without them we live on bread and water. On these morsels of character you may indulge yourself without restraint and get ripped.

About perseverance: It’s the passionate persistence necessary to achieve; the need to press on etched in the mind of the disciplined and hard-working, patient and motivated; the quality of the lithe and sweating racehorse that never gives up, whether it’s first or last to cross the finish line. With perseverance you can’t lose. Perseverance can be harsh and hard-pushing, or a gentle effort, kind yet unceasing in its purpose. It’s positive in action and never falls short of finishing its work. Perseverance is long lasting, undying and forever.

Oops! Gotta go. Planning ahead is important too. IM

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Bomber Blast

Take Me to the Iron

The key slides into the ignition and cranks over the engine, signaling that part one of the day is over’no small deed. You feel free for a moment, the tether that binds you given slack by the forward lurch of your vehicle, the private space that moves you to your next objective. This small interlude provides time to collect your thoughts, converse with yourself and otherwise glean the wheat from the chaff.

What’s your plan, where are you headed and what’s on your mind as the first mile rolls away? Folks across the fields and fences and city streets are headed home to couch, fridge and TV. Good to kick off the shoes and let the hair down. Some need to take a deep breath and wrestle with a second job or a long list of unending chores. An anxious handful, to be sure, moves quickly to strategically placed watering holes. Whatever it takes, I guess, to move the pieces across the board.

But wait a minute. There exists a rare breed unaccounted for in the above cast of characters. In a certain place where the air is full of oxygen, the navigator of his or her vehicle steers clear of the traffic and heads to the gym. Thoughts are on grander things’life, love and the pursuit of happiness, or, as interpreted on another level, discipline, patience and the pursuit of pain.

The rare breed is you.

And the time you spend before entering the gym, be it on Main Street or in the garage, is rare as well. As the gym is a refuge and an area for productive work, so is the mind. A solid, bold and mighty workout is established in one’s head before entering the inner sanctum of the gym. Compromise, sacrifice and long suffering call out; no one said the task was easy. The groundwork begins in the mind, is effected in the body, transferred to the gym floor and consummated in the iron with the fortitude, courage and heart of the pursuer. Tough stuff, this muscle building. That doesn’t mean we don’t love it; even when we hate it, we love it. How can you hate that which is so elevating and beneficial and, more often than not, fun and fulfilling?

Anticipating of your training with a brief, yet energetic, review of its benefits’improved health and strength, the mental and physical purge, the afterglow’and a positive overview of your exercise scheme are all you need. Fill your mind with these magnificent thoughts, and there’s no room for those grim enemies, doubt and apathy.

Stopping by the gym on the way home for a 20-minute quickie is commendable’in this day and age it’s remarkable. But, to be profitable and long lasting, a workout must be more. As you must not let training and its anticipation dominate your life, so is it unwise to squeeze it in like a wedge of lemon in a cup of tea. Unfold and review that imaginary list of the Top 10 Most Important Things in Your Life, and you’ll note exercising for your health is among the top five, not a cozy cup of Constant Comment in your easy chair.

Ninety minutes, four days a week’from the time you park your car to the time you pull away rejuvenated. The diligent work in the focused and unrushed minutes between defines the physical investment. The rest of the week and the rest of your life are yours to give generously to whomever and whatever you please. Perhaps you’re like me; I’m nowhere to be found for a good two hours because I get lost in the wilds of the iron and steel. Sometimes I don’t emerge for three hours, bleary eyed and grinning.

The well-organized individual makes sure his energy and muscle-building stores are supplied in advance. Sufficient food and water must be part of the simple plan. A substantial portion of protein powder in a plastic container ready for mixing with water or juice before your workout is a splendid idea. So simple, so smart, so effective’so do it.

The gym is down the highway and on my mind. Though it’s the weekend, I’ll probably go in to make up for a workout I missed during the week due to some emergency’an attack of warships from the planet Catabolica or an 8.9 earthquake’whatever. These unscheduled training sessions often turn out to be some of the best. I’m drawn to the iron by desire, not obligation. I don’t have to lift; I want to. There’s no pressure, no rush, no ground lost, no ground to recover, just the playground where time floats rather than flies.

What do I want to do, what stirs me, what would I like to perfect or investigate, create or devise? The field is open. Letting the workout evolve is a relief and can be most instructive. Sufficient spontaneity is needed to provide freedom in one’s training without allowing it to become random and unproductive in the long term. Here I may wallow in my favorite exercise combinations, try a personal best, switch to high repetitions for pump, burn and euphoria, or I might exact a dumbbell movement to work that part of my deltoid no standard exercise does. A little creativity and thinking on one’s feet go a long way toward adding to one’s self-esteem, training maturity and workout excellence. Another day, another workout, another notch on the gun’make that another gouge on the iron.

Web alert: 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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