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He’s Punishing Himself Again

This’ll be short and pointless, bombers. We have rising debt, rising temperatures, rising unemployment, rising prices and rising tensions. The last thing we need is rising weights.

What? Seriously? Under these conditions, raising weights is the first thing we must do. Waste no time. Get to the gym. Lift those barbells and dumbbells before we drop. They are the antidote, the solution to what brings us down.

It’s up to us to inject joy and happiness into the daily grind.

Laree thought surely I was in a foul mood as she watched me dump Nova Scotia sardines onto a plate and add a heap of chopped onions: “He’s punishing himself.” I’d just returned from the gym after an ample pounding session and needed a muscle-building treat. She squirmed when I took my first mouthful and downed it with a slug of tap water.

The girl knows computers and kettlebells, but she doesn’t appreciate the finer things of life.

There are grateful moments amid ungrateful times. Grasp the day before it’s gone. Pause, look, listen, enjoy, and understand; give someone a compliment, tell a few people you love them, offer someone a helping hand, hug someone tightly, forgive someone, and ask someone for forgiveness.

Yeah, whatever, ya wimp. Now, out of my way. My head’s throbbing, and I’m late with this week’s IOL breaking news…burp. Ya gotta love sardines and onions—make you lean and mean…and they smell good too.

I can deceive you no longer, bombers. I’m not as young as I used to be, nor am I as strong or as enduring. As to appearance, it’s hard to say because I dare not look in my direction unless seriously threatened or lavishly bribed. When I go to the gym, however, the members call me Dave, which I find reassuring.

Of course, the name tag Laree pins to my T-shirt before leaving the house helps.

If you’re new at this stuff—cold iron, bad company, straining, aching, starving, sacrifice—you’re on a bold journey with solid experiences before you. That you’re not 21 and tough, flexible, eager, hopeful and cheery isn’t important. You’re here, like it or not, and that’s commendable. Welcome or not, we’re a little strange.

Stay close, keep your eyes wide open, pay attention, and enjoy the travel. Soon enough this will all be familiar and comfortable, and you’ll find yourself wandering curiously and seeking your own path. Older kids who lift weights do that ’cuz they have short attention spans and they’re bored and nosy. Take advantage of it.

Some of you have been stacking and restacking the steel for a few years, and you’re well invested. Having dropped plates on your feet, gotten stuck under overloaded bars and dislocated your shoulders, you’ve incidentally built strength, muscle and savvy. Encouraging.

Of course, there are those of you who were lifting when gas was 19.9 cents a gallon (you might have to check the name tag on your T-shirt—I’m Dave) and you’re what seems to be one big injury and one large pain with shriveling arms and shrinking shoulders. You drag the iron around ’cuz it’s all you know how to do, and if you don’t, you get depressed and paranoid and your world eventually falls apart…or am I personalizing this too much?

Don’t forget: The most important tools in your toolbox apart from the bars and benches are common sense and consistency. Get to the gym on time and lift what needs lifting. Common sense prevents chaos and disorder; consistency assures input and output. Common sense prevents overtraining and undertraining, and consistency assures presence and accountability.

And we once thought muscle-making was secretive and high-tech, profound and unapproachable. Tsk, tsk. Anybody with brilliance, fortitude, persistence, discipline, desire, finesse, patience, commitment and heart and soul can grab a weight and knock himself out.

Rock on, or, more accurately, metal on…

Godspeed…Rocket Pants

Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www 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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