Iron Age Proverbs

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Dave Draper
Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. World

The last time I went bowling I was 12 years old. Seems like only
60 years ago. Time flies when you sit still and stare. It was at
the Secaucus Bowlarama. I bowled 200 if you add up my score for
both games. Never went back. Too social: people, beer, balls and
shoes for rent, slipping and sliding, boisterous laughter,
confusion, little pencils and score keeping and costly. I had a
quarter and a dime in my pocket and a hole in my sneakers.

Heck, I can play for free where there are no crowds or balls or
beers or score cards -- downstairs in the basement with my
weights and a milk crate. Later... clank, clank, clank.

Much, much later I'm still at it, which says a lot or very
little. I'm either highly committed and disciplined, or just
plain dumb. Hmm... Gives me something to ponder between sets.

My workouts are as important as ever. The heavy lifting has been
done, the earth moving and plowing, the clearing and leveling,
the construction and development. Now to attend the maintenance
and repairs. We don't want to allow weeds to grow, leaks to go
unchecked or faulty wiring to threaten the electrical system.
Once decline begins and repairs are ignored, the interior and
exterior quickly fade.

Got caught up in my dopey metaphor and pictured myself as an old
tenement building on the rundown eastside, crawling with drug
addicts and deadbeats and rats... broken windows, 40-watt light
bulbs, graffiti and stink. Big belly, hanging butt, sloping
shoulders, soft arms... Yipes stripes, let me outta here.

I admit I don't know much, but I do know I'm due to train arms
today, with a touch of legs to stimulate the system and burn some
loose calories. Biceps and triceps comprise a small muscle group
(that has not always been the case) and don't require lots of
energy. Hard work, burn and focus, yes, but not a big drain on
the heart and lungs. Thus, a reserve for some friendly leg work
to keep the foundations from failing and crabgrass from cropping
up along the walkway.

I intend to arrange my workouts, henceforth, with particular
attention to robustness and good cheer, function and wholeness.
No longer shall I seek mass and power, huge and ripped, marathon
workouts, the last rep, and one more set before they lock the
doors and turn the lights out. I shall train sensibly, wisely and

Time has not caught up with me; I have overtaken time. What was
once necessary yesterday and a year ago is too much today. I
expect I'll be playing this intricate balancing game from now on:
exercises, sets and reps, pace and intensity of performance,
ability and purpose. Just when I thought I knew what I was doing,
along come the same old variables disguised in the different

I'll customize my workouts, rotate and alternate the muscle
groups, and train according to on-the-spot, at-the-moment needs.
Have to, ought to and suppose to will not guide me; guilt will
not be my judge. More is better will no longer rule my hauling
and tossing of metal, and beyond my ability will remain beyond my

I recognize you as sober and serious lifters with whom I share
similar training precepts. A powerful alliance, I thought we
might examine 10 post-Stone Age sayings found etched on the walls
of ancient cave dwellings and dungeons.

Iron Age Proverbs

Train hard and eat right, my son;
Be strong, be wise and live long.

Curls for strong arms and presses for mighty shoulders;
The rod for the back that refuses.

The wise man seeks muscle and might daily;
Perseverance and patience are his companions.
Not every day is fruitful and a delight;
Satisfaction comes at a great cost.

Better to sleep in a bed of thorns,
Than to share a house with a drunken scoundrel.
Such a mate is destructive,
Apart from Bomber Blend and Barbells, there is no hope for him or

I saw a man walking to ruin and death,
His hands were without iron and steel.
No fresh fruit or greens of the earth entered his belly,
No protein or essential fats satisfied his languishing body.

The foolish choose the easy way,
The wicked the way where evil lurks.
But the courageous fear not toil and pain,
And the devoted delight in loaded bars both long and short.

Listen to the words of wisdom, my child;
Let not health and strength drain from your body.
Serve your muscle and might always,
And they will serve you forever more.

Worship the heavy bench press and it will take you down;
Treat your body to its rewards and damage will not visit your

A good pump and a stinging burn are the joys of a solid workout;
Pursue them with diligence and long suffering.
Dullness in spirit and sluggishness in body assure defeat;
Avoid them like poisonous snakes.

Weights that go unattended build up rust,
While the lax attendee builds up no good.
Sluggard is his name,
Frail is his frame.

Early bombers resorted to jumping off cliffs and peaks to gain
air; we have wings and propellers, ailerons, rudders and flaps.
Yet some things never change, bombers: Once a dumbbell, always a

A little reassurance goes a long way, and we have a long way to

Runway to Tower... Preparing for takeoff... or landing...

Godspeed... DD

NOTE: Dave was my first bodybuilding hero. I have had the pleasure of meeting him sevral times over the past 33 years and he was kind enough to let me repost this from his website.
He and his wonderful wife Laree have been a huge help to me in so many ways. Its truly a blessing when someone who was your hero can become a friend.--Bill

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