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Gym Time

Its a disturbing, awakening thing to realize your own mortality. Id imagine the Reaper allows himself a snide grin, observing his quarry from the shadows as he realizes that his time is in fact finite. For the longest time our subject had allowed himself the luxury of delusion. He believed that his zealous devotion to his workout regimen, coupled with his stringent dedication to fasting daily, insulated him from any potential harm regarding illness. The delicious harmony of muscle straining against gravity warded off any thoughts of weakness and deterioration, and the proven fact that, through monastic adherence to his lifestyle, his body would burn extraneous fat with the ease of a furnace cooking dry leaves, combined to form a suit of
impenetrable, impregnable armor. What he didnt realize, however, was that, adept as he had become at guarding himself from the outside, all of his demons, wraiths and poltergeists had already compromised his fortress. They were built into his psyche, his genetics, his beloved body itself. A prediliction for heart disease and diabetes haunted both sides of his lineage, and it seemed that he would ultimately be powerless to stop them from destroying him from the inside out. A horrific tale no doubt, made all the more sinister by the truth; the subject of this little story is me.

Against the warnings and care of those that love me most, for the past few years Ive lived on little more than meat and bread. Burgers have always been the staple of my diet, and, when I can afford such extravagancy, Ive devoured steak, roasted chicken, lobster, shrimp, and fresh venison. In short, Im a born and bred carnivore. Along the way Ive been accosted for my tastes by those whove gotten to know me on this hectic journey masquerading as a lifestyle. My lovely girlfriend has remarked that she hasnt seen me eat a vegetable for the entire duration of our relationship. Not that Im any worse for wear. As my bodyweight has climbed steadily as planned, my shoulders, arms and chest have filled out while my waist has shrunken. My abs are crisp and defined, unmarred by the viscuous fat that seems to infect many other men my age. Yet Ive noticed that at times I feel sluggish, incredibly so. My joints creak and ache, and I feel out of breath after the slightest prolonged exertion. Could my culinary choices be the culprit? Tonight, for the first time in months, I ate salad, garnished with low fat vinegarette and sprinkled with pepper. I shudder as I write that, as Ive long considered such comparatively paltry dishes to be the purview of yuppies and hipsters. It was however, surprisingly delicious. While I will never be a vegetarian, let alone vegan like the majority of my hometown friends, I can say with full certainty that I will continue to enjoy salad, provided that it is immediately followed by a plethora of meat. We all have our vices.

After my athletic awakening at 17, I considered myself bulletproof. Encased in refined, battle ready muscle, I could face down the world and fear little, if anything. Currently, my metabolism allows me to inhale cakes, pastries and candies and remain unaffected, provided that I maintain my rigorous exercises program. Twice a day, 6 days a week  without fail, year-round. However, I fear for my health and its inborn capacity to succumb to ailments as I age. Longevity is the focus, not some inconsequential, abstract PR. Rather than focus on the examples of Jim Wendler, Louie Simmons, or Mark Bell, I instead extend my gratitude to Gene Mozee, Dan Laurie, Marvin Eder, and the immortal Jack LaLanne. To paraphrase the ancients, longevity is the goal, and health is king. Beset on both sides as I am by infirmities and a maelstrom of cardiac issues, I think Im being prodigously proactive by shifting my sights from arbitrary numbers to prosperity, vitality and the perpetual halting of physical degradation. Of course muscle and strength are welcome, but they are expected anyway. With this new, personally innovative but collectively stale and repititious approach, I can, similar to an investor, count on a steady, sturdy stream of continual advancement and evolution. No longer beholden and enslaved to a mechanical program defined by stringent mathematical parameters, I increase my workload when my body lets me know that the time has come. I eat when hungry, and engorge myself until my appetite had ceased sufficiently. In keeping with the example set out by the physical culturists of old, I am simply synchronizing my circadian rhythms with those of the natural worlds, and the results are astounding. May this endeavor prove to be gratuitious in rewards and beneifical in its outcome.

To be dedicated to fitness and holistic well being in todays world relegates you to the oxymoronic status of both pariah and paramore. You exercise passionately and fruitfully while the population sleeps in. You carefully monitor both your food and your culinary intake with an attention to detail that borders on militaristic while the world at large consumes apathetically and promiscuously. They scorn you as a buzzkill, a loner that chooses narcissism over companionship. Oh, but how the tune of society's voice alters when they behold your handywork. Bulging muscles, paper thin skin framing the lean contours of your body. A well-regulated internal factory, ensuring that you are youthful and sustained eternally in your prime, regardless of your age. They gaze upon you with rotund, drooping eyes that eerily mimic their ever present paunches, silently wishing futilely, with an unhealthy dollop of masochism, that they could muster a modicum of your willpower. But they wont, now, or ever. You know it, and they know it. And as you smirk cockily and contentedly at their resignation and outright hatred, you both know your rightful places on the totem pole. Regardless of rank, financial status, intelligence or even social standing, your aesthetics dominate them completely, as easily and absentmindedly as a parent would handle a child. Take pride in your work, it is indeed well deserved. But remember, this is an exclusive club, and rent is due daily, in sweat, blood, grit and grime. Get to work.

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