Eureka (or some other happy expletive)! I got permission to train! However, the permission was tempered with the admonishment that I must start very light. Actually, it amounts to starting over, but I was so happy to receive the permission that I was ready to promise anything.

While I've been in cardiac rehabilitation three times a week, I've been training twice a week to keep from going crazy. I've used light weights and have made some progress. There's something inside of me that wants to load up the bar to my pre-bypass levels and have at it, but I know that I can’t do that. Even if I could, it would be stupid at this stage of my healing to even try.

My euphoria is somewhat tempered by the fact that I still have to have the prostate plumbing that precipitated this whole damn mess. That surgery is scheduled for July 10 and will delay my training for about three weeks. Therefore, I'll have my 72nd birthday before I can begin to train in earnest. I know I’ll have to start over. That's why I told the cardiologist what I did. I told him that I would start to train as if I were a trainer training me. With that premise, what should I do? Well, I guess I had better get some information.

I’ll ask the questions, and I’ll give the answers.

Q: Well, we have most of your essential information. I need a little more. How old are you?

A: I’ll be 72 on Aug 4, 2013.

Q: How is your health?

A: Good—I’m fine.

Q: Sir, I see a scar coming out of the top of your T-shirt. What is that?

A: Well, I had some surgery in February. Five heart bypasses.

Q: Damn. Any other health issues?

A: Not health issues but I’m an orthopedic wreck. I have a reconstructed left knee, a right hip replacement, a spinal cord stimulator, a repaired vertebrae in my neck, and a right shoulder with severe arthritis that needs to be replaced.

Q: I’m afraid to ask but anything else?

A: That’s it.

Q: Have you lifted weights previously?

A: Yes, off and on since 1957 and very regularly for the last few years.

Q: What are your goals, and what do you want to accomplish?

A: I want to get as strong and as fit as I possibly can. In December 2013, I want to break the IPA World Record that I set in December 2012.

Q: That’s quite an ambitious goal. I read an article recently on elitefts™ that as a heart patient, you need to do moderate continuous cardio regularly. Are you willing to do that?

A: I am. I hate it, but I’ll do it on all non-lifting days. I’ll jog, use my old NordicTrack skier, pull my sled, or come up here and walk on the treadmill.

Q: Because we’ll have to start over, it will be difficult to use any of the existing programs. Presently, you don’t have a one-rep max and it wouldn’t behoove us to test for one. Right now, I thought we would start with a reasonably light weight on the three major lifts and progress linearly as your body allows.

A: OK, I’m in your hands.

Q: When would you like to start?

A: I still have to have the plumbing surgery. I can start a few weeks after that.

Q: Deal. Call me when you’re ready and we will begin.

A: OK.

Please excuse this dialogue that I've had with myself. It’s done in an effort to show that I'll try to be responsible as I start training. I won't give into my impulse to go hell bent for leather, but I'll aim to be smart to the extent that I can without losing my resolve. In telling my cardiologist that I'd start training as if I were a trainer, "training me" is what I was trying to convey.

Me training me is somewhat of a misnomer. None of us live on a deserted island. None of us function in a vacuum. A better title or concept would be everyone training me or Donnie Thompson, Alexander Cortes, and Dave Tate (even though he never picks my column as one of the week’s best) training me. All the authors whose books I’ve read, all the columnists on elitefts™, all the sponsored athletes on elitefts™ whose training logs I read are all training me. So all of y’all get your asses in gear and let's make me strong(er).