A Dose of Innocuous Brainwashing

Dave Draper

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There is nothing new under the sun; you’ve heard it before. But we ought to repeat some things regularly despite the tedium of the process. They’re like reflecting lights that illuminate our way, and our way is one step from the shadow of darkness.

Seek contentment, abhor complacency, and don’t be anxious about anything. The most we can expect of our life is a grand virtue, living it with its hardships and joys, accumulating our time without regret and doing our best and accepting the rest. Be honest and true to ourselves and give no ear to our critics, who are less pleased with us than we are with ourselves. Try too hard, and we fall on our backside. Put a squeeze on time, and it slips through our hands. Expect too much, and our best is never enough. Steady as she goes, bombers, and she’ll go a long way, high and far.

Call it perseverance or stubbornness.

Set your goals, ample and wise, and seek them with diligence and might. Be unique, be yourself, imitate no one and be kind to those who follow your ways. Work hard, eat right and be consistent, a simple practice that keeps us untethered—alive and free. Slip not into apathy, ward off lethargy and boldly resist gluttony, the shallow characteristics typical of the masses crowding our path. Don’t compromise standards set high by your spirit, mind and deeds. Clay feet we have, and soiling our neighbor is too easy to do and so hard to recall. Be careful. Be aware. Be grateful. Be emboldened and filled with joy.

Wait until you can wait no more, and wait again. Do what’s right once, twice and three times. If what you do continues to be right, do it 10 times more. The least you’ve done is something right many times and practiced a quality of greatness that eludes us day after day. It goes by many names—a favorite is persistence. Be persistent, always, when doing good is troublesome, when getting to a worthy place is doubtful and precarious and when giving up a wicked way is painful and slippery.

Courage accompanies that admirable quality. You’ve heard of fortitude and marveled. Oh, to have fortitude each morning when the sun rises and each evening when the sun goes down. Nothing wretched before us could endure.

Could be patient, or dull.

Living without constraints and wandering freely are priceless lifestyles with immediate rewards. Looking and seeing, listening and hearing, we learn, imagine, discover, wonder, invent, play and pretend. It’s fun. Yet, without aspirations toward which to direct our steps, we go nowhere and accomplish little. To grow we need a place to go, a purpose to achieve, a target at which to aim.

Aimlessness and wandering take us around and about, backwards and sideways, but they don’t move us forward. They don’t get us ahead. They don’t fulfill our longings. First objective: Keep our eyes on the path. Ultimate objective: Reach our destination.

That one is definitely, without a doubt, goal-seeking, or single-mindedness.

We want something, know what we want and want it badly. Good. This will help us achieve it. Incidentally, we must be certain what we want “badly” is “good.” We don’t want something we ought not to want, like the money in the local 7-Eleven cash register or Bobby’s girl or several pizzas and beers. We have a way of rationalizing our wants and confusing them with our needs. As in everything, be realistic and well-meaning.

Let’s, for example, strive for a strong, well-built body, which is about as good as good gets. Visualize your worthy goal; see, feel, taste, smell and wear that mighty sight as if it were already your own. Put your powerful subconscious to work. I don’t mean get all goofy like a little kid, but close is not a bad idea. Determine the methods required for achieving your goals and implement them with resolve. Know that wavering in your pursuit is foolish, weak and damning to the process.

There’ll be times when we give up, no longer care, get sidetracked, misplace inspiration, lose ambition, get lazy, procrastinate, encounter the blues or fall into a slump. That’s life, either an affliction or a challenge. Afflictions attack the weak and take them down; challenges are moments of truth subject to the strong. Push on, press on; tug, pull and squeeze with all your might. The day is ours, by God, to add to our wealth. Don’t waste it; make the best of it. Smooth its course with repeated treading. Dedication and devotion, they beat like drums.


Squat or Not?

Gary Bannister

Squat or Not?

Squats are by far the most productive exercise for the lower body. Because of the muscle mass involved, they also provide great overall stimulation. But they're not without their problems, and one relates to depth.

"The danger in a full squat, a low squat," Arthur Jones said, "is not a result of the position of your legs in relation to your torso. The danger is a result of the direction from which the force is imposed." The force is trying to bend the bones of your lower leg and pull your knee apart-the same as a leg extension. Although the direction of force is worse in a leg extension, the amount of force is greater in a squat. Results are about the same.

Eat It Raw?

Becky Holman

Eat It Raw?

Bodybuilders are learning that eating fish can be a great asset to adding muscle. According to Jose Antonio, Ph.D., “It’s an excellent protein source, containing all of the essential amino acids, and the fat found in fish (the omega-3 fatty acids) is head and shoulders above all other fats when it comes to a whole slew of benefits, including inhibiting tumor growth and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, fish fat, specifically eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), has been shown in several animal studies to have an anticatabolic effect.”

Don’t Go Against the Grain

Daniel Curtis, R.D.

Don’t Go Against the Grain

According to a study reported in the December ’04 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, three servings of whole-grain foods a day reduce the risk of coronary disease—a 20 to 30 percent reduction, in fact.

Whole grains don’t include white bread, white flour, white rice or white pasta. Nor are they found in corn flakes, Rice Krispies, Special K or any sugar-coated cereals. Also avoid the deceptively white breads that are treated with caramel coloring, molasses or raisin syrup—like pumpernickel, cracked wheat, wheat nugget and rye.

Uplifting Feats

Frank Zane

Uplifting Feats

Last November Sri Chinmoy invited me to participate in his 19th-anniversary weightlifting celebration. Bill Pearl was to emcee the event. I’d known Sri Chinmoy since he first began lifting weights in the mid-1980s. It began with dumbbells. Since then it’s been onward and upward: heavier and heavier weights in various lifts, big animals like elephants, many smaller animals like sheep and cows, plus cars and more than 7,000 people. He does it to honor the achievements of others. He’s uplifting the world not only metaphorically but literally.

Is Perfect Form Restricting Your Gains?

Skip La Cour

Is Perfect Form Restricting Your Gains?

What’s your definition of form? Think about that for a moment. How you perceive the meaning of form can make the difference between mediocre gains and packing on the most thick, rock-hard muscle possible in the shortest period of time.

You want form that stimulates the muscle to grow, not rigid, deliberate exercise execution. Overloading the target muscle group—not strict form—stimulates maximum growth.