100 Days of Geek Chic and Healthy: Stress Relief

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

After seeing Ariel’s (Nerdy Birdie) 100 Days of Geek Chic and Healthy theme, I couldn’t help but be interested. Fitness and eating right have both been well established in my life (with a cheat day here and there, of course), but my inner-geek isn’t as strong as it once was. This challenge will hopefully step up my geek chic game with inspiration, and I hope to be able to inspire you with different workout and recipe ideas.

To be honest, I can’t say I have dealt with a lot of stress lately. I won’t lie, there have been times when I’ve been frustrated or annoyed, but it doesn’t get to the point where I hyperventilate or want to lock myself away.

I use to.

This was before I started waking up at 5:30am and prepared the coffee pot so all one had to do was push a button for it to start brewing. And before I clipped the leash on Snoopy and snapped a belt around my waist.

Those kind of long-term taxing situations were before I laced my shoes and hit the pavement. Being stressed out was before I began running.

Stress Relief - Running with Snoopy

Look ma, no hands. Well, except for the one holding the phone.

I don’t know if it’s having time to step away from everything. It could be the extra time I have to chew things over in my head and assess different paths I could take to get to the situation’s finish line. Maybe its the scenery.

Stress Relief - Scenery

Running along the trail.

Hell, it could be the endorphins.

Either way, I think there is a reason fictional characters like the Flash or Sonic the Hedgehog are so free-spirited. Runners, as many people say, are just a different breed.

And even if you don’t want to go run, it would probably work just as well to thrown on a pair of shoes and walk or ride a bike. As a famous squirrel once told me, free your mind.

 

100 Days of Geek Chic and Healthy: Super Mario Workout

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

After seeing Ariel’s (Nerdy Birdie) 100 Days of Geek Chic and Healthy theme, I couldn’t help but be interested. Fitness and eating right have both been well established in my life (with a cheat day here and there, of course), but my inner-geek isn’t as strong as it once was. This challenge will hopefully step up my geek chic game with inspiration, and I hope to be able to inspire you with different workout and recipe ideas.

While being able to go to the gym is great for strength training, sometimes you just don’t have access to a gym. Thankfully, there is a workout (and more) for that. I love body weight exercises (as does American Ninja Warrior Kacy) and think they can be just as beneficial as having dumbbells.

I also know from experience it’s fun to have a theme or something to have in mind while working out… And honestly, who wouldn’t want to go through a Super Mario course?

Super Mario World Workout

The following workout is called a Circuit Workout, which includes strength as well as endurance training. Try to go through the entire workout without stopping.

Super Mario World: 1-1 Workout
Warm-Up
Jog: 60 seconds
Arm Swing Rotation (Horizontal and vertical): 60 second
Alternating Leg Swings: 60 seconds
Workout
Get that Coin: 60 second Knee Tuck Jumps
Ride that Yoshi: 60 second Tricep Dips
Climb Up the Vine: 60 second Mountain Climbers
Fire Power: 60 second Push-Ups
Up The Stairs!: 60 seconds Alternating Lunges
- (or) Hard Mode!!: 60 seconds Jump Alternating Lunges
Dodge the Hammer/Shell/Item Thrown at You: 60 second Burpees
Down the Finish Pole: 60 second Plank
- repeat workout x2

How To
Knee Tuck Jumps
Tricep Dips
Mountain Climber
Push-Ups
Lunges
Jump Lunges
Burpees
Plank

With some of these exercises, you may have to work your way up to doing 60 seconds (like the plank.) Go as long as your body will hold. As long as you continue doing circuit training like the one above, your hold time will improve.

 

What It Takes To Be: Fionna the Human

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Adventure Time

I’ll be honest… When I first saw commercials for Adventure Time, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to cartoons. The art style looked too simplistic and from what I could see, the humor was about the same as any other thoughtless, brain dead script cartoon I had seen around the time.

adventuretime-finn

It was only after one of my college friends had made me watch it did I realize what I had been missing out on. I’ve even come to appreciate the simplistic cartoon style Pendleton Ward has shown while giving his viewers a humorous cartoon with even some intelligent points here and there (like making you think about the joke, and then it was funny.)

And for a cartoon show, it definitely has some pretty depressing episodes.

adventuretime-I-remember-you

Not to mention in makes the foodie inside me smile.

adventuretime-bacon-pancakes
Makin’ bacon pancakes~♪

After watching it a few times, I learned about Fionna, Ice King’s fanfiction version of his enemy and the main character of Adventure Time, Finn. After seeing her in the Fionna and Cake episode, I came to appreciate her character. Yet another girl who could hold her own, at the end saw she didn’t need a guy to make her who she was and could be funny without being seen as stupid.

I have been inspired so much by Finn’s alter-ego, that I have created a workout inspired by Fionna.

What It Takes To Be: Fionna the Human

Fionna Workout
1) Shoulders and Arms: Alternating Dumbbell Press, 12-15 reps
2) Cardio: Jog in Place, 60 seconds
3) Legs: Knee Tuck Jumps, 8-10 reps
4) Cardio: Sidestep leaps, 60 seconds
5) Core: Standing Cable Wood Chop, 10-12 reps
6) Cardio: Jumping Jacks, 90 seconds
7) Back: Bent-Over Two Dumbbell Row, 12-15 reps
8) Cardio: Mountain Climbers, 60 seconds
9) Chest: Dumbbell Flys, 12-15 reps
10) Cardio: High Knee Jog in Place, 60 seconds
Repeat each set 2-3 times

How To
Alternating Dumbbell Press
Mountain Climber
Knee Tuck Jumps
Standing Cable Wood Chop
Bent-Over Two Dumbbell Row
Dumbbell Flys

When choosing a weight for the dumbbell and machine exercises, make sure its something you can do for the number of repetitions (aka reps) and sets given. You want to feel like you worked something at the end, but you also want to make sure you get through it without killing yourself.

Cardio is mixed into this workout since Fionna not only has to be strong to defeat her enemies and save the boys, but has to be able to move pretty quickly as well. Mixing strength and cardio together makes for a workout that will keep your mind focused instead of lying in boredom.

Not only will working out help make you feel better, workouts like this one will make the Sandwich Dance feel like a breeze.

Sandwich Dance

Question: What kind of workouts are you interested? Do you have dumbbells or any sort of weight equipment at your disposal? Or is it you and the outdoors? Let me know!

 

What It Takes To Be: Korra

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Earth. Fire. Air. Water. Only the Avatar can master all four elements and bring balance to the world.

And while realistically you can’t master those four elements, you can master these: strength, cardio, flexibility and balance.

first-lok-image

Korra, even before before Legend of Korra began, had my interest. When they first released this image, my first thought was, “Dang, that girl is strong.” Look at that muscle definition.

Then the show was released a year later. It was very much a love-hate relationship for me. At first she seemed cool and relatable, and then she became big-headed and started draining on my nerves (especially after the way she treated one of her guy friends after she found out he liked her. Friends just don’t do that to each other—especially with their sibling.)

korra-season2

In season two she redeemed herself a bit; especially at the end. She’s matured quite a bit, and while she’s a B.A. she also has more humility then her season one head-to-big-for-her-shoulders counterpart.

Throughout both seasons, we see Korra fight and make her way through with plenty of strength and balance. While we may not have her 18 years of training, we can still strengthen ourself in the same aspects.

korra

Korra Workout

Strength
Warm-Up: 60 seconds of: Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Arm Swings
1. Full Body: 60 seconds Mountain Climber
2. Shoulder & Arms: 60 seconds Punching Circuits
3. Core: 12-15 Bicycle Crunches (each side)
4. Legs: 15 Bodyweight Squat
5. Back: 30-60 seconds Superman
6. Chest: 12 Push-Ups
Repeat 2-3x

Cardio
15 minutes of running (we all know how much of that the Krew have to do), cycling or if you do have access to a gym, elliptical (but if you’re not sweating by the end of it, you’re not working anything!)
Yoga
Not only do you need strength to be strong as a whole, you need flexibility, balance and piece of mind. Yoga is a great way to do both while cooling down from a hard workout. Here’s a 10 minute video to get you started.

How To
Mountain Climber
Punching Exercises
Bicycle Crunches
Squat
Superman
Push Up

As you can see in this workout, I’ve given a variation in numbers of repetitions (aka reps) per exercise. It all depends on your current shape. If you feel like you can make it to the maximum reps, then go for it. Just remember you have to do these exercises 2-3 more times.

Again, I do advise anyone whose just beginning this to make sure through their doctor that they’re able to workout. While exercise is very beneficial and important for your health, if you’re not in the right condition you could end up worse for wear.

Same goes for form. If you have a mirror, make sure you have the same body position as the person on video while doing each exercise. Bad form = bad injury.

 

What It Takes To Be: Black Widow

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Sometimes it’s tough being a woman in the comic book world.

For comic book characters and their fans.

Captain America II was full of all kinds of twists and turns as well as fight scenes. Chris Evans once again perfected his role as Steve Rogers, the strong, loyal and wise all-American hero. Sam Wilson was brought in for a smooth landing via Anthony D. Mackie. Sebastian Stan played the hard, cold Winter Solider to the tee.

And Scarlett Johansson gave the Black Widow more life and personality then any of the previous Marvel movies.

And obviously, this is because Natasha Romanoff is a spy and doesn’t open up to us until she’s around the Avengers for long enough to trust them.

In the movie, Natasha goes through the ringer several times. Yet, every time she comes back as a B.A. Sometimes it felt like these moments could have been overlooked by all of the other action going on, but for a human without any power, she was able to get over just about anything thrown at her.

She has brains, yes. That is one of her obvious traits that helps her through many obstacles.

She also has plenty of muscle to back that up.

Yes, in that small, shapely body is a lot of lean muscle that allows Black Widow to twist in mid air, perform the thigh hold with the greatest of ease, punch, kick and hold herself up with rope to avoid falling to her death.

Sadly, the misconception is that having muscle for women makes you bulky. Natasha Romanoff (and in real life, Scarlett Johansson and her stunt double Heidi Moneymaker) are proof of that is not the case. In fact, muscle for women makes us lean, mean fighting machines.

And it helps when you can show guys that yes, you can move that recliner chair all by yourself. That, and it may show some guys not to question your comic book fandom.

In order to build this muscle, you’ve got to figure out the areas you need to develop and how to work it out.

wit2b-blackwidow

Black Widow Workout

Upper Arm: 12 Bench Dips
Cardio: 60 second Jumping Jacks
Chest: 12 Dumbbell Bench Press
Cardio: 60 second Jump Rope
*If you don’t have a physical jump rope, use your imaginary jump rope
Upper Leg: 12 Dumbbell Squats
*If you’re just beginning or getting back into working out, go ahead and just use your bodyweight on this one.
Cardio: 60 second jog in place
Core: 30-60 second Plank

- Repeat 2-3x

How To
Bench Dips
Bench Press
Squat
Plank

When you do any exercise (especially strength training), it’s highly advised that you keep an eye on your form. If there’s ever a mirror around that you can see your stance, use it. Poor form equals injury and injury gets you no where (but pain.)

You may also notice that I didn’t add how much weight to should use. It’s going to be different for everyone. What you’re looking for is something that you can get through 2-3 repeats, or sets, with but it needs to be challenging enough to the third set is pretty darn hard to finish.

Cardio is an important factor as well. If you’ve seen any of the movies Black Window’s been in, you know how much she runs or how she’s never out of breath after taking down a room full of men. Incorporating cardio into your strength training kills two birds with one stone.

I do advise anyone whose just beginning this to make sure through their doctor that they’re able to workout. While exercise is very beneficial and important for your body, if you’re not in the right condition you could end up worse for wear.