Dave Draper Article

I was here first

By Dave Draper

The Dave Draper article is reprinted with permission from Dave Draper's IronOnline Newsletter. Wednesday, May 30, 2001.

I've found myself, as of late, wrestling with an opponent I've long expected to materialize. He's no older than me, not nearly as clever yet his manner is shifty and design most unkind. He's been sneaking around the neighborhood like a bum without a home, stealing stuff and making a general nuisance of himself. I don't have much but what I have I want to keep. I was here first.

I'm not complaining and I'm not running scared but I am getting a little mad. Well-directed anger can be a healthy thing, so say grandfathers and fortune cookies. I plan to keep an eye on the old buzzard and out-maneuver him with my instincts, common sense, attitude and prayer.

Bloodshed is out of the picture although wringing the neck of the merciless geezer has crossed my mind. One sure thing: you cannot give up, ever, not for a second. This means no discouragement, loss of enthusiasm, grumbling or hiding under the bed. There is no defeat if you don't submit, so say uncles that were in the army and Kung Fu masters.

Fifty-eight and the Mad Dog of age is barking at my door. I'd rather be locked in a room full of rabid Rhodesian Ridgebacks -- there'd be more hope for negotiation, placating or escape. As it is, I will observe and make the needed alterations in my training, adopt safeguards and precautions and put into effect all my natural resources. I will outwit the mean-faced miser.

Antioxidants have been in place for years along with MSM, glucosamine and chondroitan (better add more C and investigate what other treasures are out there hiding in the jungle). The well-balanced diet with an accent on protein and a near absence of simple sugar will continue to restore my system and stay the mischievousness of age. More micronutrients from living vegetables will crowd my menu and meals will, of course, never be missed, gorged or hollow. Junk? I will pick up certain items and rotate them in my grasp. If they feel and look and smell like junk, I will dump them with a smile. I know garbage from a mile away, don't you? About water: more.

Train hard n' smart to build, play for fun and diversion, work to get the job done and fulfill your life. Don't mope and whatever you do, don't worry. Stress is essential and unavoidable and the human being is structured to accommodate a healthy load. Too much kills as sure as a bullet. Relax. I enjoy musing and find it most productive to understand and resolve a problem, set plans into positive motion, create happy environments in which to experience forthcoming trials (visualizing) and overcome negativity that often thrives when one is "idle." We're pummeled with distraction in the busy new world with sights and sounds and projects devouring us. We seldom ponder. I'll continue to become more aware of being robbed of time by my own hands.

The workouts -- rest and recuperation are the biggies. And injury does not take second place. Here comes the hard part for the long-time weight trainers (and other athletes) who have known power, the mighty pump, speed, freedom of movement and range of motion. Invincibility. Eventually, when denial is removed and submission and weakness of will and lack of guts has been sorted out, there comes a time when serious evaluation is the next step forward. And the installation of alterations that lead to more understanding, productivity and excitement. Almost simultaneously, the word maturity has new meaning.

I cut my workouts by twenty percent (4 sessions a week), added an hour to sleep (sleep-like) time and have reduced my work hours at the gym by half. The workouts are intense but done without drawing blood. I'm still defining them though they resemble what I've done all my professional life: supersets seventy-five percent of the time, mixing the reps and poundage according to feel, repair and mood, yesterday and tomorrow. I look forward to the heavy workouts spotted throughout the month with low-low reps in mind. Watch the back. Watch the knees. Pushing is my big problem. The shoulders gripe, the elbows are nervy and the hands and wrists scream like scalded apes. Sound familiar?

I'm improvising and experimenting and inventing. I'm asking around and keeping notes. We're all different. That's been established. But I'll collect clues, hints, tips, facts, fiction and old tales to feed the ole Mad Dog. Maybe they'll be worth sharing when I'm ninety. Stick around.

All in favor say "Aye.

Dave "The Blond Bomber" Draper is a living bodybuilding legend. A former Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe, he acted in movies, has owned two health clubs (although I think he might prefer the word "gyms"), and is the author of Brother Iron, Sister Steel: A Bodybuilder's Book. You may visit his web site at: dave draper.com -LF

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