This blog provides encouragement to people who are recovering from injury and working towards fitness. This is my journey, and I write in this every day, which helps me. If it helps you, that would be wonderful.

How to communicate with a disabled person

If you want to communicate with a disabled person, I think I can help. And it starts with understanding what I call their "learning style". That is, how they prefer to share information. When I did sales, and as a teacher, I learned to wait until I understood how someone preferred to be communicated with before I would proceed.

So that's where you start. You yourself have a preferred learning style. If you're reading this, you obviously like the written word. You have vision, or you're reading this on a braille reader. If you can speak and hear you may prefer the spoken word. But this isn't about you, it's about them.

As a disabled person who's abilities are sometimes good, sometimes bad, I know that people who won't accommodate me probably just aren't trying very hard. I let them go. But I'm in there. They may refuse to use email, and insist that I talk to them on the telephone, which sometimes for me is very painful due to the ringing in my ears. Or they may not talk on the phone and instead insist on sending me a letter the length of a book, which I have to read through with bleary eyes, which happens to me quite often nowadays. And since my learning style fluctuates, people who can't adapt quickly are thrown off. They say things like "I though you preferred..."

There was a time in my life when the only way that I could communicate was with the touch of a hand, and I marvel at people who understood that. The people who expected me to jump up from my hospital bed and sing and dance were very disappointed, and I'm sorry that they didn't understand.

So here's what I suggest: try everything. When you've found a disabled person's learning style, it will be wonderful, and you will be a miracle worker.

Reasons to have a dedicated biceps day

Today is Thursday, and I've dedicated Thursday to biceps. At first I wrote "Arms" on my calendar, but I changed it to biceps. If your situation is similar to mine, you may want to do the same thing.

My triceps have been developing since I was a teenager in gymnastics. If you've ever swung on parallel bars, you know how well that develops triceps. I also, like most men, do a lot of chest work, that is, pressing movements, and you can't do that with enlisting triceps. So my triceps, which while are not huge, are more developed than my biceps.

Another very good reason to have a dedicated day for biceps is that they're a very showy muscle. Even people who know nothing about muscles admire biceps. Like abs, they pretty much advertise that you work out. Of course, you have to take off your shirt to show your abs, but your biceps are right out there for anyone to see if you just wear a short-sleeved shirt.

You train biceps the same way you train every muscle in your body. You need to understand what it does, what the attachments are, and how to do the flex and stretch under tension. Since I'm not "weight lifting", I don't measure my progress by how heavy the weights are, I measure it by how my arms look. So if you're one of those squeamish guys who won't look at yourself, it's time to get over it. Flying blind ain't gonna cut it. Go stand in front of the mirror and flex your biceps.

I'm serious about this first step. I compare it to taking the car cover off of your car before you started doing repairs to the body. Look, evaluate, if you have the guts, take a selfie. Again, if you're too squeamish to actually look at your body, you can't succeed. Look, evaluate, then begin the process. If you're blushing right now, I can't help you. Get over it.

OK, make a muscle. Tense that muscle and extend your arm, like I'm doing in the pic up there. Try to "pop" the biceps with a straight arm. That's tension under stretch. That's all there is to it, then flex and stretch. Pump those biceps up until you can hardly bend your arms anymore, the muscle is so swollen and engorged with blood, and you're done until next week.

How to build muscular thighs without hurting your lower back

It's Wednesday, and that means Leg Day for me. Specifically Upper Leg Day. That is, mostly thighs.

Thighs are a neglected muscles for us guys because we don't look at them. In my lifetime men have become very prudish about our legs. And the fashion dictates that men's legs are always covered down to the knee, at least. And, for what it's worth, I agree with the fashion. If you're wearing short-shorts, and think it's still 1973, please stop. Please.

But you will need to look at your legs. And that's only if you want to develop muscle there the same way that you're developing muscle in your chest and arms. You have to isolate the muscle. This isn't weight-lifting, this is muscle-building. There is a difference.

So take off your pants and look in the mirror. In the privacy of your own home. Yes, I know that no self-respecting man ever does that. But do it anyway. Look at those legs. If your goal is to modify the shape, with muscle, that's where you start, by looking. If you can't do that, you will fail, sorry.

Still with me? Great.

Those are my legs in that pic up there, and they've looked like that since my late twenties, which is over 30 years ago. Before that, they were as skinny as twigs, but I learned to squat, and that's what you gotta do.

Now waitaminute, I'm not suggesting that you need to go to the gym and load up the squat rack until the bar seems to bend over your back. No. No. My frame is to fragile for anything like that, especially my lower back. If you're like me, all that heavy squatting will do is to hurt your lower back. What you will have to learn how to do is to flex and stretch.

Always start with a warmup and a full stretch. Then stretch some more. Stretch before a set, stretch after it. Walls were invented so that I could grab them and stretch. Think of yourself as a tiger, stretch and stretch.

When you squat, never think of lifting weight. Think of flexing the muscle under tension. Then think of stretching the muscle under tension. You can use the tension of just gravity (no additional weight), you can use resistance bands, you can use dumbbells, or a barbell. Feel the muscle work through its entire range.