Oh, no, Mister Dave. I don’t want to go to the gym and get ripped, bombed and blasted. Oh, no, not another rep! Not every workout has to be a knock-down-drag-out battle. I’m all for blasting it and drawing blood, but sometimes it’s just plain good to go to the gym and roll around on your back like a playful dog.
On those curious days when the old mutt in me comes yapping to the foreground, all paws and unrestrained, either because I’m way ahead of the game and cool or so far behind it’s inconsequential, I let myself go and follow my tail. The results are always the same: a good time accompanied by relief, learning and growth. Oddly, the workouts develop and are as intense and unrelenting as the prescribed regimens; that I don’t anticipate them, that they are spontaneous’the real deal and not a repeat performance’gives the execution of the movements freshness and the training a sense of adventure. How long has it been since you associated freshness and adventure with your workouts?
I’m a proponent of sticking with a workout scheme for six weeks to achieve the maximum results it can offer. Too little time with one plan and you don’t dig in deeply enough to excavate its densest core. You don’t overload the muscles repetitively enough with might and discovery to send the message to the brain that you need a more powerful cellular structure, more pulsing muscle to accommodate the consistently applied workload. Still, a tail-wagging diversion is often what’s necessary to put some bark in the routine and bite in the workouts. Sit, stay, roll over, get huge…good doggie.
Some people talk about regularly surprising the muscles with new routines. Cute. What’s this, a party for frolicking muscles at the Pizza Hut? I believe you’ve got to relentlessly pound size, density and shape into your muscular system, throwing in well-placed intermittent shocks to detonate stubborn mass. That’s when muscle and might reconstruct.
There are those who suggest intense, slow repetitions for maximum muscle growth, a technique bordering on isometrics and dynamic tension with a twist of language suggesting it’s a cutting-edge fundamental. Iron imprisonment. Where has the motion, rhythm and beat gone’the action, the excitement, the vital circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients, the revelry and enthusiastic expression? Put me under an Olympic bar for 10 minutes while I do six reps’whatever’and I’ll implode. Do it on a regular basis, and any aspiring muscle builder will last three miserable days to three tortured weeks.
‘Short workouts of 45 minutes, three times a week, are the outer limits for maximum muscle and strength growth.’ That theory’s getting a lot of play from some wise guys who fear the demons of catabolism and don’t really understand why anybody would want to go to the gym to get huge or ripped or strong and healthy. In 45 minutes a decent natural bodybuilder sporting respectable muscle mass is just getting warmed up and encouraged. You want time to fly? Throw the clock out the window. Zoom! You want to grow? Take time to do some serious saturating and penetrating and exploding. Boom!
One workout a week per bodypart for beginning and advanced bodybuilders is a recent rule put forth by the big guys who hang out on the corner near the Rexall drugstore. It makes sense as long as you’re intertwining and blending and overlapping exercises in such a brilliant way that every bodypart is receiving its necessary twice-weekly blessing and bombing after all.
Don’t be stingy. Don’t be cowardly. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be dumb. Be generous, and be wise. Be directed and committed. Use your common sense and train hard and efficiently, with good order, crisp pace, absolute focus, keen intelligence and zeal. Stop listening to the noisy voices out there that confuse you with the latest ingredient, product, gadget, methodology, scheme, scam or holistic adventure.
Look in the mirror and be that person you see, your best friend. Give him or her credit for internal knowledge and understanding. Learn the basics in exercise and nutrition and practice and apply them eagerly and with confidence. Now you’re on your way, not their way. You’ll discover and grow day by day under your own tutoring, care and attention.
The gym is a refuge and fueling station full of good folks who just love to physically mingle and stimulate and break up their day. It’s a place to coax the muscles and fill the lungs and bloodstream with oxygen and goodness. Exercise is not work; it’s a hearty, productive and freeing diversion, a one-hour expression refreshing the spirit, renewing the body and inspiring the mind.
The moments are yours, adored and priceless. Push that iron, champion. IM