Friday, March 1, 2013

"If you are going to be an artist be a complete one or die in the attempt"
Muscle Marathon Year 4

In August of 2012 I passed the half-way point of my marathon.  I have completed 208 weeks of six days a week training with 156 weeks left to go. 

For the past four years I have been concentrating on the physical directing all my efforts toward gaining control over the health of my body.  I feel I have accomplished that.  So now, after four years of intense training, I believe it is the time to ease up on the physical and begin to explore more seriously my inner spiritual self so that, at the end of my marathon, hopefully, I will have found a balance between the physical and the spiritual.    

In order to help with the spiritual I thought it would be a good time to go to the source of my marathon inspiration; China.  I was inspired to start my muscle marathon by China’s Shaolin Monks (along with the Marathon Monks of Japan) so I decided I should make a pilgrimage to China - a spiritual journey if you will.  

In October my wife and I took a two week trip to China. It was a wonderful and mind opening trip.  But there is too much to talk about here in this blog up-date.  If you are interested I have a detailed account of this trip to China on my web site.  Go to,  and click on, “China – Spiritual Journey.”  There you can learn more about my trip and see photos of my interaction with China’s Buddhists Monks.
Here is an update on the physical side of my marathon
 Weight and diet
I have had no trouble maintaining my bodyweight within a range of 157 -159 pounds all year.  Because I have tracked my food consumption every day (calories and protein) for the past three years I pretty much know how much I can eat daily to maintain that weight and still have enough protein to build and maintain my muscles.  I did however cut back on my protein intake by 25 grams because I think after four years of intense training I have made the bulk of my muscle gains and I don’t need as much protein anymore. 
Now my training has leveled off and is more or less just for maintenance with the possibility that I might get a little more muscle definition.  I have a routine that is comfortable with just enough weight resistance to work all my muscles satisfactorily. I think the gains I have made over the past four years are proof enough that a rigorous weight training regimen with a high protein diet can result in larger muscle mass at an advanced age.  More importantly it is also beneficial to one’s health; at seventy-six years of age I still take no prescription drugs of any kind.
My routine is basically the same as it was last year except for a few minor changes. I felt I still needed to work on my posture so I changed my training routine a bit putting more emphases on upper back, traps, and deltoids. Unfortunately I got a little over zealous and tried a few new exercises and as a result I tore a shoulder and bicep muscle.  I quickly went back to my regular routine, but I had to work with very light weight weights for a while until things healed up a bit.  I still have some discomfort in my shoulder and right bicep but I am able to use full weights again.
That’s the problem with old bodies they don’t allow for any variety unless you take it very very slow to start.  I remember when I first tried to do dumbbell lateral raises I thought I could use 25lb dumbbells.  But after a couple of days my shoulders were so damaged I could hardly lift my arms.  It took months before I could do them again and when I did I had to start back using 5lb dumbbells and work my way up.
As for my routine, in order to keep from being repetitious, just go to Year 3 for all the details.  If you want to know more about my marathon philosophy go to Year 1
My marathon is part of my artist’s life now and with it a new image has emerged.  It has been a slow but deliberate image change from cowboy artist to physical/spiritual artist.  It hasn’t been easy because I spent forty five years promoting and living with the “Maestro” cowboy image.  But the transition is sincere and I am comfortable with things as they are now.  In order to make the transition more acceptable to others I incorporated my new image into my website while still maintaining some of my old cowboy image.  Most of my friends, with the exception of a few, have accepted this new image and understand the philosophy behind it. 
With three more years to go on my marathon I am looking forward to what may lay ahead for me physically and spiritually as I strive to become a more complete artist.  Be sure and check in next year (March 1, 2014) to see how things are going.