Friday, July 27, 2012

So You Want To Save The World

The shooting in Aurora, CO was a massive tragedy. It's the kind of thing that makes us want to save the world. But there's a difference in pining for a theoretical and actually getting out there and actively working to make it happen. Some people, despite their cries for a better world, because of their cynical nature, end up going down with the ship.

Believe me, there are two clear camps of people in life. You see them every day. But today, for the sake of argument, let's say you side with the first. So you want to save the world...

All the killing we see, the death, and the pain, you can look at people and either think they're dispicable, or keep up the faith that there are good men and women in this world. But pessimism will not save the world, it will destroy it. Sitting around sharing contemptuous remarks on Facebook or photos under the name "No Hope for the Human Race" or "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" is spreading fear, doubt, and the notion that it is okay to surrender. If you surrender, the world falls. If you fight, maybe we won't save it today, tomorrow, or even in a million years, but at least we can say we fought like hell to do our best. And when people look back on our lives they can do so with fondness and take up arms with those we've inspired, because for every action there is a reaction. If you want a positive reaction, there must be positive actions. So get your head out of your ass and stop resenting the human race. Stop these disparaging remarks of your neighbor. It isn't cute and it's not funny, it's childish and worthless. Is that what you want? Do you want pessimism to define your life? For people to look back on your life and your actions and consider them worthless, your existence to be meaningless, for your time on this earth to have been spent detracting from the beauty of the meaning of life? The meaning of life is to live to the fullest, so what are you doing trying to drag your peers through the mud with you? Get up, wipe that grin off your face, and clean up. You're not a superstar or a badass because you find pleasure in schadenfreud, or find hilarity in laughing at a sinking ship. You're on that ship pal. The more you spread fear, doubt, and negativity, the quicker you get promoted to its Captain, at which point you're required to reap what you've sown. We all know what happens to the Captain.

We are a beautiful people capable of many wonderful things. Go ahead and spread your negativity, but at the end of the day, when your hope has dried up and your friends have left you and you're alone in your misery wondering why life was so cruel, understand it's only because you gave up on it. You quit. And you only have yourself to blame. People may look down on you for being hopeful, optimistic, or tease your or think you immature for having faith in the goodness of mankind, but you are not alone. Those who spend their lives trying to disprove and destroy the hope of the faithful may feel joy from their assumed rhetorical victories but these are only momentary and do not add up, but rather subtract from the quality of their lives without them even knowing it until it may be too late, that when they reach the end of their road they find it lonesome, dark, and void of any victory they may have thought they claimed in life.

Don't be swayed by cynics that faith is only for the religious. They're a bitter folk who let dejection and a gloomy outlook control their lives. Faith is believing strongly in whatever it is that you do. Period. If you believe the world is a beautiful place, one that at its core is full of kind people, then it must be worth saving. But in order to do so you've got to have a little faith. You've got to understand that there will come a time that despite the darkness you must keep marching. Faith will take you to the sunrise.

Those who hold up hope for their fellow man may suffer through life, may have that faith tested, may feel that they are already alone or in the darkness despite not being at the end of their road yet. But we stand at the mouth of a cave. Beyond what can be seen is the unknown, the darkness. But when the hopeful shout into the cave they are met with the echoes of their own voices shouting back at them reminding them that their optimism is enough to restore their faith in the goodness of their neighbor.

The pessimist sits at the mouth of the cave, too afraid to venture inside, so sure that it contains nothing but more of the same; darkness, loneliness, nothing but a bleak, meaningless existence. Make no mistake, the pessimist goes down with the ship. The optimist enters the cave, despite the danger, knowing that if he doesn't he will be nothing more than what the pessimist has become. He enters because he doesn't know what awaits inside, but knows full well of the multitude of options that may lead him to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Do not give up hope for those around you, for the people of this world. Do not let the actions of the few dictate your opinion of the many. There are good people in this world. Fight for them. Never give up. You stand today, and each day, at the mouth of the cave.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Workout




The “RISE” Workout

Given it's the biggest Blockbuster coming out this summer, and the fact that I've been a Batman fan since the womb, I decided to take my first dabbling into creating a fitness regimen based on the experiences I've gained over the past two years. It's really become more than a hobby, a pass time, or something to do because I feel obligated. Fitness has become a way of life and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

NOW! The reason it's called “The Rise Workout” isn't just to coincide with the movie. That's part of it. As are the two components that make up this workout. But the KEY factor here is mental determination. Any Joe-shmo can lift weights at a local gym and any Sally Sue can go for a jog. But if you want to get into Superhero shape, that takes more than muscles. It takes will power and determination.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Batman lore, SPOILER ALERT Bane is responsible for breaking Batman's back. Did I ruin the movie? I don't think so. We already know Bane is going to mess Batman up and Batman is going to have to come back bigger and badder than ever to take him down. That premise is what I want to drive you and where the importance of “The Rise Workout” title should be placed. You must break yourself down before you can build yourself back up. As Batman must reevaluate who he is and what it means to be Batman, you're going to need to do the same of yourself. Who are you? What do you want out of your life? Do you want to know what it means to set high goals and reach them? It's possible. I promise. I've done it. But you're going to have to RISE to the challenge to push yourself harder than you ever have to come out on top as the new you.

Sounds extreme, I know. I would say that it isn't for beginners, but that's not entirely true because anyone can do anything they set their mind to. But for those of you relatively new to fitness or relatively new to extreme workouts, take it slow and work your way up. Seriously. Take breaks when you need to, drink LOTS of water, and don't injure yourself. Start with the weights you can handle and add weight as time goes on. Don't try to be a hero (ha) right away. This is the training it takes to become the hero. As of day one, you're just Bruce Wayne. No more special than anyone else.

So, are you ready!? Now is your moment to accomplish something you never thought you could. Now is the time to RISE from the ashes of your former self and become a Hero. Today you're just you, but tomorrow...you become a legend.

I've broken the workout into two characters. Batman and Bane. (Yes, I know Bane is a bad guy but he's in stupid shape, so we like him.) You take your pick who you'd like to be and what shape you'd like to see. Batman is lean, Bane is bulk. There's even a little surprise character workout you'll find at the very bottom that is for the ELITE only. (You've been warned.)

The Batman workout is a full body workout that will give you tone, definition, and some added size. But Batman isn't huge, he's buff but incredibly fast, agile, and resilient. And most importantly Batman is smart. This workout is meant to break you down and build you back up both physically and mentally. When your body says stop, you keep pushing. Just because Batman gets injured doesn't mean he's not going to save that woman from being mugged across the street. So just because it hurts doesn't mean you give up. When you think your max is nine, you do ten. Batman is about zoning in on your goal and fighting through hell to achieve it. I don't care if it's one extra rep, one extra pound, anything. Whatever your best was last week, this week you beat it. Ladies, this may be entirely what you want to stick with. If you're not at all interested in bulking up, as in Bane, then Batman is for you. These workouts are approximately 40 minutes.

Bane is for bulk. That's as simply put as it needs to be. Bane is a slugger and a demolition machine. He doesn't care about form, finesse, or style. He has one goal: Destroy. Batman fights like a ninja, Bane fights like a wrecking ball. This is why Bane is designed mainly for men. It's a lifting regimen meant to put on muscle mass, no joke. Gals, don't feel discouraged. You can do whatever you'd like. But keep in mind that this workout is meant to SERIOUSLY put on size. Any of these exercises can be used to tone up, so if you'd like, take them and use the weight that you can do and do the reps that you can do. If your focus isn't on being huge, you're not going to load on the pounds each week and that's perfectly alright. But guys, if you want to beat Bane, you must become Bane. Plain and simple. Because of the lifting nature of this workout, Bane requires either a gym membership or an impressive at home weight collection. Pulley systems and bands alone don't count. You can't Bo-Flex your way through Bane. It is not the same. I promise. Bane lifts weights. Heavy weight, moderate reps, three sets each exercise. Break for 1 minute between sets and between exercises. These workouts are approximately 60-75 minutes.

Remember, as is the relative rule of thumb with all workouts. Light weight, high reps = tone. High weight, moderate to low reps = mass.

LET'S GET STARTED!

The program is six days a week. Yes, six. If you want to watch Saturday morning cartoons then you've either got to wake up early enough to workout before them, or have the motivation to get up off the couch after them to push through your workout. I prefer early morning, that way you rev up that metabolism and get it out of the way. But, as always, it's up to you.

The program is 12 weeks. Once you've completed the program, then feel free to go back and pick and choose exercises tailored to you. But the program itself is designed to be, for now, as it's written. If you've got the time to do both, do your best, but I promise you that that will be hell on earth and I'd recommend it ONLY to experienced folks who are comfortable with their body and their limits. We want to push our limits, but we don't want to hurt ourselves. And remember to eat PLENTY of food. Find out your daily calorie needs and meet them. Seriously. DO NOT under eat. This plan requires, for me, about 2,500 and up calories of food a day. That doesn't mean junk food, it means good, healthy, solid food that will serve as your bodies foundation.

Here's the basic breakdown. Depending on the character workout you're doing, you'll find what workout is required of you that day.

Monday
Batman or Bane

Tuesday
Batman or Bane

Wednesday
Batman or Bane

Thursday
Batman or Bane

Friday
Batman or Bane

Saturday
Batman or Bane

Sunday
Stretch/Yoga/ Rest

Now Mr. Wayne, are you ready to begin?



Batman – Monday
  1. Cardio warmup - 10 minutes. (Bike, treadmill, elliptical, row. But change it up. If you jog the treadmill Monday, use the elliptical tomorrow, row Wednesday, etc. If you only have access to jogging or if you don't have a gym membership, that's fine. Jog it out for 20 minutes, but give it some oomph please.)
  2. Stretch – 5 minutes
  3. Interval Training. You two two Intervals each comprised of four exercises, 45 seconds per each exercise. Three sets of 4 exercises. 30 second break between sets. So you're exercising for three minutes straight, pushing yourself as hard as you possibly can without breaking between exercises. Once you've finished your set of four, break for 30 seconds then get back to it until you run through that entire interval. Break for 30 seconds between intervals.
  • INTERVAL 1
    • Power Jumps
    • Dumbbell Power Clean
    • Medicine Ball Overhead Throw
    • Burpees

INTERVAL 2
  • Kettlebell (Or Dumbbell) Swing
  • Stationary Sprint to Lunge (Sprint for an 8 count, then do 4 lunges, then repeat)
  • Medicine Ball Woodchopper (Cross body, mimicing a cable woodchopper)
  • Floor Sprints

4. Cooldown Stretch – 5 Minutes

Batman – Tuesday

  1. Cardio warmup - 10 minutes. (Every 2 minutes do 1 minute of Jumping Jacks)
  2. Stretch – 5 minutes
  3. Intervals
  • INTERVAL 1
    • Mountain Climbers
    • Side Floor Sprints
    • Football Sprints to Low Plank (Sprint for an 8 count, hit a low plank and hold for 5 seconds, then jump back up and repeat)
    • Moving Pushups
  • INTERVAL 2
    • Basketball Jumps
    • Ski Abs
    • In and Out Abs
    • Pushup Jacks

4. Cooldown Stretch – 5 Minutes

Batman – Wednesday

  1. Cardio Warmup – 10 Minutes
  2. Stretch – 5 Minutes
  3. Intervals
  • INTERVAL 1
    • Heisman
    • Pike Pushups
    • Floor Tricep Dips
    • Frog Jumps
  • INTERVAL 2
    • Switch Kicks
    • Stance Jacks
    • Burpees
    • Standing Side Crunches

4. Cooldown Stretch – 5 Minutes

Batman – Thursday (Stretch/Recovery Day)
  1. Cardio Warmup - 10 minutes.
  2. Stretch – 20 minutes
  3. TIP: DO NOT skip this day. Seriously. Just because it's a stretch day, don't blow it off. You need this to improve your flexibility and help your muscles recover. If you skip it, you're only hurting yourself. This will help you improve on EVERY other day you do. Stretching is important.

Batman – Friday
  1. Cardio Warmup - 10 minutes. (Every 2 minutes do 1 minute of Jumping Jacks)
  2. Stretch – 5 Minutes
  3. Intervals
  • INTERVAL 1
    • Kettlebell (Or dumbbell) Swing
    • Medicine Ball Overhead Throw
    • 5 Dumbbell Curls to floor 8 sprints
    • Wide Leg Floor Sprints
  • INTERVAL 2
    • Dumbbell Clean and Jerk
    • Calf Jumps
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
    • Heisman

4. Cooldown Stretch – 5 Minutes

Batman – Saturday
  1. Cardio Warmup - 10 minutes.
  2. Stretch – 5 Minutes
  3. Intervals
  • INTERVAL 1
    • Diamond Jumps
    • Power Pushups
    • Medicine Ball Reach and Slam
    • High Knee Jump Rope (Mock the jump rope motion if you don't own one)
  • INTERVAL 2
    • Oblique Pushups
    • Floor Sprints
    • Side Pushups
    • Power Jumps

4. Cooldown Stretch – 5 Minutes

Monday – Bane
SHOULDERS
  1. Warmup – Pike Pushups – 2 sets of 15 reps
  2. Military Press – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  3. Seated Dumbbell Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. 1 Arm Side Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  5. Front Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  6. Seated Rear Deltoids Raise - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  7. Rocky Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  8. Reverse Flies - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  9. Smith Machine Shrugs (Or Barbell Shrugs) - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Tuesday – Bane
CHEST
  1. Warmup – 2 sets of 15 pushups
  2. Barbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  3. Incline Barbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  5. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  6. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  7. Pec-Deck Flies - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  8. Chest Pullover - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  9. Lying Dumbbell Flies - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Wednesday – Bane
LEGS
  1. Barbell Squat - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  2. Leg Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  3. Leg Extensions - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. Lying Leg Curls - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  5. Calf Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  6. Seated Hamstring Curl - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  7. Single Leg Seated Hamstring Curl - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  8. Sated Calf Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  9. Hip Abduction - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  10. Hip Adduction - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Thursday – Bane
BACK
  1. Warmup – Pullups – 3 sets, push to failure on each set.
  2. Bent over Barbell Rows - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  3. Mid-Back Shrugs - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. 1 Arm dumbbell row - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  5. Wide Grip Lat Pulldown - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  6. Seated Rows - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  7. Straight Leg Deadlifts - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  8. Upright Rows - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Friday – Bane
BICEPS/TRICEPS
  1. Warmup – External Rotation – 2 sets of 15 reps, light weight
  2. Preacher Curl - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  3. Low Dips - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. Barbell Curl - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  5. Overhead Tricep Extensions - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  6. 1 Arm Preacher Curls - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  7. Throw the Bomb (Single arm overhead tricep extensions) - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  8. Dumbbell Curls - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  9. Tricep Pulldown (Pully machine with a rope) - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  10. Forearm Curls - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Saturday - Bane
Cardio - 45 minutes. (Jog, treadmill, elliptical, row, anything. But get that heart rate up and sweat your ass off for 45 minutes.)


BONUS CHARACTER WORKOUT

The Man of Steel

For The Man of Steel workout, you do both Bane and Batman every day (except Saturday, just do Batman). It's as simple as that. Again, this is not for the feint of heart. This is usually what I do and it kicks my butt. My “Batman” workouts are a little longer, usually about 45 mins – 1 hour. So total, you're looking at over a 2 hour workout. But if you're serious about doing The Man of Steel and don't have over 2 straight hours to devote to it, break it up. Do Batman in the morning and Bane after work or vice versa. However you'd like to get it done, do it. But doing both won't make you either Batman or Bane...it makes you Superman!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rise

I'm taking an extra week, cooking up something special for next Friday. Consider this your teaser.

Something Rises next Friday and it isn't just the Dark Knight. If you're willing, it can be you.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Tired


I don't often get tired, but I'm tired today. Tired of the darkness I see in people every day. Not that it snuffs out any chance of life for the light burning inside, but because they would rather draw their pleasures from darkness than from light. We are born good people, I promise. I get tired of hearing people say that positive people feel they need to be as such because it makes up for a lack of something, or that there is a subconscious desire to act overly positive, moral, or optimistic because deep down they battle some hefty demons and it keeps them at bay.

I don't. That's me. When I look around the world, when I look on the internet and see what my peers are saying, when I read the headlines and listen to the people I encounter in the day to day, the photos, the comments, the hate, and the hypocrisy, I see an overabundance of sadness, pessimism, and self loathing. I see the constant need for some to compare their hardships to those of another, as if it were a race. We like feeling bad because it makes us feel good. For some odd reason we choose the road easiest to travel because it requires the least work to maintain, despite it being the road most difficult to return from; the road that leads to a perpetual dusk. Yet beyond the dark and dreary, I see us not for who we are, but who we can be. And it is this that drives me to act.


I have a lot of love in my heart. More than I can contain. What other option do I have but to share it? If I didn't, I could not exist. It would be like an expanding bomb inside me. If I tried to cover that fire, to hide it, to lock it away because others told me I was being too naive, I would die. I don't preach peace because I hide some shadows you've never seen from me, I don't insist we love one another because secretly there is great hatred in my heart and I seek to keep it hidden, I don't do any of this to hold myself in pious regard to the rest. I do these things because I honestly do not know how to live my life any other way. 

I'm tired of the world seeking to hammer in the nail that sticks out. I'm tired of people telling me I don't understand because I haven't experienced identical hardship. I'm tired of people telling me to stop being optimistic. Would you have me strangle myself; cease to breathe as the rest are allowed? It is my oxygen, it is in my blood! We cannot exist if others continue to tell us not to be who we are at our true core.


I love not because I harbor secret psychological trauma, but because what my body is composed of, though science may label it as flesh and bone, tissue and organ, in truth is none of those things. All of it, the sum of my parts, is love. Take it or leave it. But if you are tired of my optimism, know that if it were stifled, so too would be my existence. Love pushes me forward and I will let no man hold me back from fighting for it until I take my dying breath. And even then it will be too late, as my love will have been recorded in time, amongst my peers forever, a synonym to my name.


I am Love. Don't ask me to be anything but. Even if you did, it would be impossible.