Welcome to #TheSweatPack

I love fitness! I really do. I love the feel of straining dormant muscles (most especially dormant after the holidays.) I love taking classes at Soul Cycle and Title Boxing Club (where I am a member.) I love running by the lake in my neighborhood and lifting weights and jumping rope. I love to feel like I’ve pushed myself, truly pushed myself outside of my box and past my limits. The limits I set in my head. The ones that tell me that I can’t go any further or that I’m never gonna be good enough. Some days those limits win out…but most days I kick those limits in the ass!

#TheSweatPack running

My last blog post was about the tone of my New Year. I’m going to be living this year with a freedom that can only come when those limits are abandoned completely. Is there something that’s holding you back from working out or asking for a promotion or jumping out of a plane? Live Free!! What’s the alternative?

Maybe this doesn’t sound particularly nerdy to you. And if The Big Bang Theory is to be believed, then nerds don’t really choose to sweat much (unless they’re running away from bullies.)

But guess what…I’m a nerd! A BIG ONE (this much you already know.) I love fashion and Firefly. I love music and Marvel. I love sports and Star Wars. I don’t fit into the “normal” nerdy categories and stereotypes that are out there. Never have. That includes the stereotype that nerds aren’t sporty. I just have to beg to differ. Or beg for that stereotype to be buried once and for all. Because I believe that when it comes to nerdom…there is no “normal.”

#TheSweatPack

So, I’m partnering with the lovely Grace Kelle of Lean Girl’s Club and we are kicking the New Year off with some serious sweat!

Frankie had Deano…Emilio Estevez had Judd Nelson…and me? I have Gracie. No, we don’t live in the same city anymore. She’s still living that big city life up in the Apple and I’m beachin’ it up down in the F-L. But when it comes to #TheSweatPack, distance is only a number!

Liz Tailor and Grace Kelle are #TheSweatLPack

You’re wondering where you come in? Well, the beauty of #TheSweatPack is that it’s open to all. Come join Gracie: @leangirlsclub and me: @nerdinthesand over on Instagram and jump into our weekly challenges. It could be 1 picture a week, it could be 7 or 17 (if you’re the overachieving kind!) Wherever you are in your Sweat Pack journey, we want to meet you there!

Listen, if I can do it so can you! And probably way better than me anyways. So show us your sweat. Let it shine! Get up, get moving and get out of that little box!

This week #TheSweatPack is… taking The Stairs!!!

#TheSweatPack taking the stairs Instagram challenge

What’s Your Word?

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

The past is very important. Of course it is! It’s the path we’ve taken to get to where we are today. There is value in the past. Value in learning from the mistakes we’ve made (and we’ve made mistakes.) Value in celebrating the magic we’ve experienced (and there sure was some magic!)

I’m someone who easily forgets and yet somehow I still hold on with both hands. I hate to admit that I find myself dwelling on those darker, harder, sadder, angrier moments occasionally often frequently. The ones I shouldn’t hold on to at all. Sometimes I get bogged down with the beautiful moments too. Trying to recreate the past. Instead of allowing new moments to be created, I’m too busy trying to relive moments that have come and gone. But they were just that good! Shouldn’t I want to find that happiness again? Isn’t that a good thing?

The thing is, this is rather a new revelation about myself. I didn’t realize I did this. At least not to this extent. WOW. That mirror can be a hard thing to look into sometimes.

Instead of lamenting this…well…lamentable behavior, I’m actively choosing positivity (it’s sorta my thing!) I choose to inspire myself to be better. No one else will work as hard as I will to inspire the future I want to see for myself. NO ONE!

I won’t recount to you my hardest trials and biggest triumphs of 2015. You can go look to past blogposts or my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the cliff notes. There was good…there was great (birth of my nephew deserves a shoutout!) There was bad…and there was certainly ugly with a capital UGH!!!

Forget all that! I’m walking forward…no…running forward. I have big, bright moments in my future and I’m eager to get to the good stuff.

I’ve mentioned to you, gentle reader, that I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. And I don’t. Resolutions tend to be about changing ourselves. Temporary solutions that don’t last longer that mid-January or if you’re really lucky February even. The truth is, I don’t want to change who I am. I like me! Moles on my face and all!

I want to inspire and allow me to become my best self. So instead of a long list of character flaws that must be changed immediately, I pick a word. A word I want to live out in my daily actions for the whole year. Sure, somedays I’ll fall short. Other days I’ll jump high and long and clear the hurdles. But the point is, I’ll be trying. Me…this unholy mess of a girl.

In the year 2016, I Liz Tailor, choose to live FREE!

Free in 2016 New Years, Same Nerd

-Free from my past actions.

-Free from unrealistic expectations.

-Free from debt.

-Free from negativity.

-Free from judgements.

-Free from convention.

-Free from borders and boundaries.

-Free to create.

-Free to live.

-Free to love.

-Free to travel.

-Free to come back home.

-Free to share.

-Free to inspire.

-Free to write and sing and run and fall.

-Free because I serve a MIGHTY GOD who “knows the plans for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

freedom in 2016 New Year

Part of discovering what it truly means for me to be free, I also want to explore how I can help those who aren’t blessed with the freedoms I have. Human Trafficking is a cause that has long been on my heart. So I hope you’re ready to hear about my journey to learn more. And perhaps the causes you are passionate about will take a front seat this year as well!

Tom Petty Quote "Freedom"

I hope you join me in choosing a word to live by instead of unrealistic lists (I know that up there is a list, I like lists) that you cannot ever hope to live up to. And I hope with all my heart that you find what you’re looking for in 2016!!

What’s your word this year?

Girls Do THIS, not THAT

Lately, H (9 year old girl twin) has been struggling with what it means to be a girl. Traditional gender roles don’t appeal to her. She doesn’t like pink. She rarely wears dresses. She loves to skateboard and she has the trendiest short hair cut that’s ever graced a 9 year old’s head. She could easily be a Jolie-Pitt.

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Her short hair causes people (mainly elementary and middle school boys) to mistake her for a boy sometimes.

I asked her if it bothered her when they called her a boy. She said, “not really, it just makes me uncomfortable. Cause I really am a girl, Lizzie.” My heart almost broke. This precious girl is starting to find out what it means to be pressured by the world. And that it’s a tough hill to climb. How dare the world start in so early. She’s only 9 years old, for Pete’s sake!!

I told her that these kinds of things happen to everyone. Even me. I told her that plenty of people think girls don’t like Star Wars and superheroes and ninja turtles. I told her some people think that I should be married with kids by now. That maybe I should have a “steady” job and a 401K. But I walk to my own beat and so does H.

I don’t know if that helped her at all. I sort of hope she comes into her own in the not-giving-a-damn-about-what-people-think department. It’s so much better than way!

The other day when we were skateboarding home from school, she took a tumble and as she got back on her skateboard she looked up at me and said, “I fell off cause girls aren’t as good at skateboarding.” I looked at her and said, “Excuse me? Girls aren’t what now??” She laughed and said, “I take it back! I take it back!!”

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She knew it wasn’t true, but it was still her first instinct. To write it off. Classic “girls can’t” syndrome. I thought this wouldn’t come till much later, but I guess the self doubt is starting earlier and earlier in kids these days. (Kids these days? I’m officially 500 years old!!)

I don’t want this for her and she’s not even my own child. I want whatever she does to be what it means to be a girl. I want the same for boys. I want her to be able to have the freedom that America offers. Doesn’t that extend to our youth?

Who made these archaic rules anyways? Who decided that long, Disney-channel length hair and a love for all things pink made you a girl? I thought all you needed to be a girl was the mechanics. Time to change it up, America…WORLD! I think we’re on our way, but we still have quite a ways to go.

Tell me again what girls “can’t”do??!!

I Promise, I’ll Keep Trying

Well, there goes all that hard work and those healthy initiatives from a few months back. Remember that? Remember when I thought I’d figured out the “secrets” to staying healthy and spoke like I knew something…anything about it.

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Look at me up there, all pompous and motivated and successful at losing weight. And sure, it doesn’t mean that the things I said weren’t true. The evidence is there. I really did lose that weight. I really was the healthiest I’d ever been. But as with most things…it was temporary. And as with other things… it takes daily maintenance and expended energy.

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Enter moving. And stress. And boys. And family. And humidity. And travel. And Chick-fil-A. Darn you, Chick-fil-A. There weren’t any of you in New York when I was there, so there was no temptation to have you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I had blissfully forgotten how good you are! And ps…why is your lemonade so delicious? Is there crack in it? I sorta think there might be crack in it!! Don’t even get me started on you, waffle fries!!

I wish we didn’t need food for survival. Or better still, I wish all food tasted like a health supplement. You don’t want to take it, but you know it will be good for you. Sort of like how I imagine the food in the Matrix tastes. You know, once someone gets unplugged…that goopy, oatmeal looking stuff…the “bowls of snot?”  Yeah. That’s the stuff. Necessary for survival, but you don’t see anyone getting gluttonous with it.

God bless my parents. They did the best they could. And we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so we lived on a tasty array of fast foods and starches like macaroni and cheese, spaghetti (my mom makes the very best spaghetti!!) Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy’s, etc, etc, carbs, etc, etc, sugars, etc, etc fats! It’s not their fault. And I’d don’t blame them. That junk is delicious. Plus, it’s how you did things back then especially if you didn’t have a lot of money.

Whole Foods was a blip in someone’s mind space and high fructose corn syrup is what made the world go around. Especially in small towns in the south. It was just the way of the world.

All that to say that I still have a problem with food. I don’t know when to say no sometimes. And dear Lord, help me! I cannot resist Publix chocolate chip cookies. Mainly because they too must be laced with crack!!

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I hate to keep talking about the battles of my life. Because I have a lot of harvest moments in there. The fact that I can eat at all and have a home and a job and a family and a life. There are so many times of peace and prosperity in my own little corner, in my own little world. But it’s the battles that really make me feel a part of the human race.

So, I guess it’s time to reinvent my health… again. For the thousandth time. Being in California for the next 2 months is sure gonna be a good kick start!! And I can’t promise that I won’t be here again in 6 months lamenting the weight that I wish would permanently go away. In fact, I should probably go ahead and warn you that I’ll be here again, maybe tomorrow, maybe in a year. But my hope is that if I tell you lovely people about it, maybe one of these days it will stick. Up there in the cockles of my dusty brain. And I’ll be free from the chains that keep me running to food for comforts instead of to what I should be running to. I promise you, I will keep trying!!

Signed,

a nerd in progress…

#AvengerinTraining – Recap

After 6 weeks of weekly challenges, superhero meal plans and different classes all around New York City, I lost 15 pounds and I feel stronger than I ever have. 15 pounds is by no means as extraordinary amount of weight to lose. But it’s a good amount and it’s enough to be very proud of. There were times I faltered. Times I gave in to the temptation to fall off track. But it’s the getting back on part that makes the difference!!

If you decide to take this #Avengerintraining challenge, remember that any amount of activity is better than none.

-Staying motivated is sometimes hard, but never impossible.

-The second you make it about more than just a number on a scale…that’s when you find out the reason you want to do it in the first place.

-Never compare yourself to someone else’s goals or progress. Not the models in a magazine or fit actors in a movie or your coworker who is always hitting the gym. Their plan isn’t your plan. Their plan might not work for you. Find what does and ignore the rest!

Thank you for reading! I’ve got a couple ideas for some new nerdy workouts in the future. So I hope you’ll check back! And come follow me on other social media platforms! I love to connect with new people.

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Iron Man Week (photo by Cristina Fowler)
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Hulk Week (photo by Cristina Fowler)

 

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Black Widow Week (photo by Cristina Fowler)
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Thor Week (photo by Cristina Fowler)
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Hawkeye Week (photo by Cristina Fowler)
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Captain America Week (photo by Cristina Fowler )

Let me know what you thought about my workout. Did you try it, did you like it? And which week was your favorite?

#AvengerinTraining – Captain America Week

Finishing Strong

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Entering the final week, I felt strong. Stronger than I’ve ever felt before. I discovered muscles I didn’t know could ache. I had better balance and control in my workouts. And since Captain America is my very favorite Avenger, I’d been looking forward to this week since the beginning of this challenge. And this week certainly did not disappoint!! It was an amazing finish to an amazing 6 weeks of focus and determination. I’m not an actress! And I’ll probably never be in a big budget action film. I’ll never have a crazy six pack or weigh 140 pounds. But I lost 15 pounds on this program and I have felt healthier than I ever have before! And that is success.

Week 6: Captain America Week

Watercolor Art by Blule
Watercolor Art by Blule

Steve Rogers, an average man with above average morals and a desire to do more than he was born to do. After joining the Army, Rogers was given a “Super Soldier Serum” that transformed him from a small town Brooklyn boy into the superhero known as Captain America.

To become what he needed to be to play the Super Soldier, Chris Evans packed on 30 pounds of muscle and spent a lot of time in the gym training as he never had before. Take a look over at BodyBuilding.com for the full report.

Inspiration

Movies

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Avengers, Age of Ultron, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are all obvious. And if there’s on other comic book hero that will bring that all-American spirit, it’s DC Comic’s Superman. The alien who started it all. Without Supes there might be no Cap. And just imagine that sad, sad world!!

Music

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Cap comes back the world but is out of his time and has missed decades of pop culture, music, movies, etc. To try and catch up, Cap keeps a running list of things that people suggest he see or do or listen to. I tried to add some of the music to this list that Cap might have missed in the decades he spent in the ice. Including Falcon’s suggestion, Trouble Man by Marvin Gaye.

Meals

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I really loved having steak back on my shopping list!! Thanks Chris Evans!! Take a look at Evans’ meal plan at BodyBuilding.com

Weekly Workout Challenge

I chose an army crawl challenge for Captain America Week for the obvious reason. Before becoming Captain America, puny Steve Rogers joins the army to try to make something more out of himself, not knowing at the time what that would mean for him in the long run. So army crawls it was!!

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Day 1: 2 Army Crawls across living room (Hands and Feet)

Day 2: 3 Army Crawls across living room (Hands and Feet)

Day 3: 4 Army Crawls across living room (Hands and Feet)

Day 4: Rest Day

Day 5: 3 Army Crawls across living room (Elbows and Knees)

Day 6: 4 Army Crawls across living room (Elbows and Knees)

Day 7: 6 Army Crawls across living room (Elbows and Knees)

Extra Credit

Boxing @ Church Street Boxing Gym

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Photo from Church Street Boxing Gym

This was my favorite class of the entire 6 week program. I’d never taken a full on boxing class before. Church Street Boxing Gym is everything a boxing gym should be. It’s in the basement of a building in downtown Manhattan. There are pictures plastered on the walls, a giant ring in the middle of the gym and punching bags hanging around every corner. Church Street offers a free intro class and it was so great! Best workout of the entire series. I love that they allow you to start punching the bags right away. Halfway through the class we were hitting the bags. I gotta tell you, it’s addictive and after all the other classes I’ve taken, I would sign up to do this weekly!!

Parkour @ Brooklyn Zoo

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Photo from Brooklyn Zoo

Parkour, for those of you who don’t know this word, is a form of free running. You’ll often see it in high speed action chases in movies/ TV like: Casino Royale, Arrow and of course Captain America. It’s the art of being able to handle any challenge that comes in your path as you run. Jumping, swinging, ducking. Throwing your body into the movements needed to keep your momentum up. Brooklyn Zoo specializes in a lot of amazing high intensity classes. And their parkour class did not disappoint!!! If I thought the boxing class or the cirque class was intense, I was mistaken after taking this!!! Another class I would definitely try again sometime. And their gym is really cool!! Classes are $20 if you pre register online. Give it a try and stretch yourself far beyond what you think you can accomplish!

Check out Iron Man week,  Hulk weekBlack Widow WeekThor Week and Hawkeye Week in case you missed them.

And make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc! And let me know if you are trying any of these. I would love to hear from you!!

#AvengerinTraining – Hawkeye Week

Pushing Through

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After hitting the wall during Thor Week, I was back on track and pushing through Week 5. Spring had returned, making morning runs a joy to complete! I really love to workout in the morning. I feel like it’s my personal time to get things done. Like the rest of the world is asleep and the early morning hours were made just for me. I live right across from Astoria Park in Queens and I love to run along the water. It’s a gorgeous view and if it’s a particularly warm morning, the breeze from the water feels wonderful. It’s definitely one of my happy places!

Week 5: Hawkeye Week

Watercolor Art by Blule
Watercolor Art by Blule

Clint Barton was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor, when he was sent to the compound to keep an eye on a certain grounded Asgardian Prince. Barton, aka Hawkeye, is a proficient marksman in archery and joined the Avengers to help save the world from it’s biggest threats.

Jeremy Renner has been doing action films for a while now, The Hurt Locker, The Bourne Legacy, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, so stepping into the role of Hawkeye seemed like an easy fit (though I’m sure the workout regiment was not easy.) Renner is 44 years old, though you’d never know it. Take a look at his fitness regiment over at Muscle World.

Inspiration

Movies

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Avengers, Age of Ultron… duh. You can also go ahead and rewatch Thor if you’d like, since Hawkeye is introduced to the MCU in that one. I also added a couple excellent films starring Jeremy Renner. In Bourne Legacy, Renner takes Matt Damon’s place and runs around being awesome! Also, try Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol to keep with the spy spirit. And for good measure and an extra dose of archery, go ahead and watch The Hunger Games.

Music

Hawkeye is a warrior and a soldier, so I put a lot of music in this playlist that made me feel that way. Like I could run through bootcamp and finish the toughest challenges.

Meals

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For Hawkeye’s meal plan, I took my shopping list from CelebritiesExercise.com Honestly, I really believe that if you are watchful in your eating and keep to the simple rule of moderation, you could eat just about anything and maintain your health (with glaring exceptions of course.)

Weekly Workout Challenge

To channel my inner Clint Barton, I worked on my abs and did a crunch challenge. I know we see a lot of arms from Jeremy Renner, but the core always comes in handy, no matter which Avenger you are channeling! And since I have a serious sweet tooth, my stomach is one of my problem areas. All that sugar just sits right there. So working on the core and getting it strong was a big priority for me!

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Day 1: 30 Crunches (Middle, Left, Right)

Day 2: 60 Crunches (Middle, Left, Right)

Day 3: 90 Crunches (Middle, Left, Right)

Day 4: Rest Day

Day 5: 150 Crunches (Middle, Left, Right)

Day 6: 175 Crunches (Middle, Left, Right)

Day 7: 200 Crunches (Middle, Left, Right)

Make sure to take all the final day’s challenges from each Avenger with you into Captain America Week.:

-2 sets of Full Front Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)

-Chest Flys, Dumbbell Chest Presses, Standing Shoulder Presses, Arm Curls (25 reps)

-40 Squats (2 reps)

-20 Kettlebell Swings/ 20 Pushups

-200 crunches (Middle, Left, Right)

Extra Credit

Archery @ Big Apple Archery

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I loved archery! And Big Apple Archery in Queens is a really great place to learn. They do a great job of showing you proper technique and give you plenty of time to practice what you’ve learned. They have excellent equipment and a great range on which to practice. The class had a decent number of students, but wasn’t so full that it seemed overcrowded or anything. Plenty of room on the range for everyone in the class. I used a Groupon deal to take this class, but the first equipment rental is free and if you purchase a bow from there, the first class is free. Definitely worth a try!

Sports Conditioning @ Velocity Gym

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Photo from Velocity Sports Performance

Hawkeye is a warrior, a soldier, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. So I figured he’d have done a lot of different things to train. I took an intro class at Velocity where they focus on conditioning the whole body for different sports. We pulled weights, ran sprints (thought I was gonna die after the sprints) and worked with resistance bands. It was indeed a full-body workout! Every inch of me ached the next morning. An introductory class is free and when you walk in you might be a little intimidated, but don’t be. The instructors are really great and will help you make it through the whole class and finish strong. I trained with 3 other men on my team and it was a really great experience!!

Stay tuned for the following Avenger: Captain America. Check out Iron Man week,  Hulk weekBlack Widow Week and Thor Week in case you missed them.

And make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc! And let me know if you are trying any of these. I would love to hear from you!!

#AvengerinTraining – Thor Week

Hitting a Wall

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

By week 4, I was tired. I just wanted to sleep. Scheduling was getting difficult. The nice promising Spring weather had turned cold and my motivation almost left me completely this week. Morning runs were hard to come by (because I don’t like running in cold weather.) So I had to find other ways to stay energized in the morning. One particularly lazy morning, I forced myself up and out of bed and I started making a list of reasons why I was doing this. Why did I want to train to be an Avenger? Why did I want to get healthy? Why had I given up my beloved mint chocolate chip ice cream? Was it really worth it?

After writing down 2 pages of reasons why I should continue on with this journey, I found out that I did believe it was worth it and I went out and ran, in the rain no less. It was never going to be easy to do this. And if you take that step towards a healthier life, it won’t be easy for you either. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Chris Hemsworth who has children and a wife and a job and a lot of things that demand his attention. And the world will be against you. I pass by 3 Dunkin Donuts on my commute to work every morning. Giving me not 1, but 3 opportunities to cheat. But this week, despite hitting a wall… I refused to. Something about reaching a limitation really made me want to kick it down and press through. It won’t always be this way. But it was this week!!

Week 4: Thor Week

Watercolor Art by Blule
Watercolor Art by Blule

Thor Odinson, god of thunder, ruler of Asgard, wielder of Mjolnir. Thor was born into a privileged life. He was raised to be a king of Asgard, along with his adopted brother Loki. Stripped of his powers, he was sent to Earth by his father, Odin, to learn the true meaning of kingly responsibility. Upon his return he was welcomed back and was shown to be a worthy prince of Asgard. When Earth was once again threatened by his brother, Loki, Thor joined up with the team known as The Avengers to fight the threat to Earth, home of his beloved Jane.

Chris Hemsworth plays the mighty god of thunder. To prepare for the role, Hemsworth started training with former Navy seal, Duffy Gaver. Gaver applied an “old school bodybuilding approach” to train Hemsworth. Take a look at the full article and  workout over at MuscleandFitness.com

Inspiration

Movies

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Avengers and Age of Ultron, are on the list as usual. Adding in Thor and Thor: The Dark World for all kinds of Asgardian goodness!  Thor is a great figure of mythology so I added Clash of the Titans to the list because it’s all about the gods and demigods of Greek mythology, to keep with that mysthological theme. And for good measure I added in Star Trek, the JJ Abrams reboot, which stars none other than Chris Hemsworth himself, as James T. Kirk’s ill-fated father.

Music

The music used in Thor and Thor: The Dark World have that heavy epic feeling to them, so I also added a lot of Star Wars music and other epic movie themes. Along with Carmina Burana. Anything that makes you feel like you are in a sweeping epic. This music definitely made me run with purpose!

Meals

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I crafted my meal plan based on what Chris Hemsworth ate during training. Take a look at HealthyCeleb.com

Weekly Workout Challenge

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Day 1: 5 Kettlebell Swings/ 5 Pushups

Day 2: 8 Kettlebell Swings/ 8 Pushups

Day 3: 11 Kettlebell Swings/ 11 Pushups

Day 4: 14 Kettlebell Swings/ 14 Pushups

Day 5: Rest Day

Day 6: 17 Kettlebell Swings/ 17 Pushups

Day 7: 20 Kettlebell Swings/ 20 Pushups

By now you should have layered on the final day’s workout from Iron Man Week, Hulk Week and Black Widow Week. Take the last day of Thor week with you into Hawkeye week. It should look like this:

-2 sets of Full Front Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)

-Chest Flys, Dumbbell Chest Presses, Standing Shoulder Presses, Arm Curls (25 reps)

-40 Squats (2 reps)

-20 Kettlebell Swings/ 20 Pushups

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Extra Credit

Kettlebell Kickboxing

Photo from Kettlebell Kickboxing

I chose kettlebell class because I thought the kettlebell could stand in for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. At Kettlebell Kickboxing they teach you a lot of different ways to utilize the kettlebell. They also incorporate some kickboxing and cardio into the routine as well. It made for a really great full-body workout! I brought a friend with me to this class and we were both smiling and sweating by the end. Intro class to Kettlebell Kickboxing is $20. A great class!!

Diesel Class @ Crunch Gym

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Photo from Crunch Gym

If there is one member of The Avengers who could be described as “diesel” it would be Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. So I decided to take Diesel Class at Crunch Gym for Thor Week. I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. It was an intense 60 minutes of weights, cardio and floor work. Cruch offers a free trial at their gym where you can take advantage of their gym equipment and/ or their classes. I’m a classes person myself and I really loved the group energy in this class as well as the unbridled enthusiasm of the instructor!! If you are a Crunch member or thinking of joining, definitely give this class a try!

Other options for Thor Week:

Weight Lifting

Other Kettlebell Classes

Helpful Tips

Here’s a list of tips that really helped me through this fitness plan. They are nothing new. They are nothing you couldn’t easily find online or in Shape magazine. But they are things that really worked for me and I hope will work for you, if you need that extra bit of motivation!

-Be honest with yourself – Try using a food tracker, I like My Fitness Pal. And make sure to be accurate in honest in your tracking. Lying only hinders your own progress. And unless you allow someone to be your accountability, you will be the only to know if you are creating a faithful accounting of your eating habits. But I truly believe that if you start being honest, even if it means tracking the 2 bowls of mint chocolate chips ice cream you ate one night, that you will start to change your habits because you want to see healthier stats. And because it will start to feel so good to make better choices. It did for me

-Stick to serving sizes – For dry goods and things that can be broken into portions, I tried to split up the portions way before meal time came around. For example, as soon as I got home from the grocery store I divided up the whole wheat pasta into ziploc bags with the correct portion size in each bag. Same with things like grapes or chips. Anything that would be easy to overeat in one sitting. That way when the time comes to eat the food you want, you can judge it based on an accurate portion and log it into your food tracker correctly. It’s ok if you need more that 1 portion of the food. But that’s where the honesty comes in.

-Shop the outer rim – When you go to the grocery store, try to stick to the fresh foods. Dairy, fruit, veggies, meat, eggs, etc. These can be found along the outer circle of more super markets. The aisles generally hold dry, preserved goods. Some of which you might need. But to eat cleaner, greener, healthier meals, the best things are the ones that might not survive a nuclear apocalypse (I’m looking at you Twinkie!)

-Keep what you like, ditch the rest – There’s nothing worse than a fitness plan that feels like it was meant for someone else. That’s why I want you to be able to take what you like from it. Sure, working out everyday, never losing focus and living only off the land is probably the healthiest way to live. But it’s not practical. I’m a firm believer that some effort is better than no effort. So even if you just do a weekly challenge or hit one class a week, it’s better than nothing. I went on Pinterest and just made a whole board of things that inspired me (after all, that’s what Pinterest is for!) This allowed me to visualize and then I went ahead and took the things I liked and ditched all the rest. Enjoyment is really half the battle!!

Stay tuned for the following Avengers: Hawkeye and Captain America. Check out Iron Man week,  Hulk week and Black Widow Week in case you missed them.

And make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc! And let me know if you are trying any of these. I would love to hear from you!!

#AvengerinTraining – Black Widow Week

Going Strong

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

By week 3 I felt like I could take on the world. My muscles were aching  because I was constantly using them in new ways. My endurance was getting better. My eating was clean and really healthy!! It’s the healthiest I’d ever felt. And I loved it!! An added bonus, my skin was looking so great cause of all the water I was drinking. Food started to become fuel. I loved Week 3!!

Week 3: Black Widow Week

Watercolor Art by Blule
Watercolor Art by Blule

Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 2. Using the alias Natalie Rushman, she was placed in Stark’s circle of trust by none of than Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., himself.  Natasha was originally trained to be an assassin in the KGB, but after Hawkeye was sent to eliminate her, by Nick Fury, he saw her potential and convinced Fury to recruit her to S.H.I.E.L.D. instead. When Loki threatened Earth, she joined Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop the impending threat.

To prepare for the r0le of Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson turned to trainer Bobby Storm to get her in shape and able to fit into her signature catsuit. Check out the full breakdown over at HealthyCeleb.com

Inspiration

Movies

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Still keeping both Avengers and Age of Ultron on the list, because Black Widow really has a chance to shine in both films. Iron Man 2 is where she’s introduced to the franchise and while it’s an extremely weak entry into the MCU, ScarJo has a really kick ass scene that you can feel free to fast forward to (if fast forwarding were still a thing… clearly I’m old.) I’ve also added Lucy to the list, in which Scarlett plays… you guessed it, an extremely bad ass female! She’s really good at that! Speaking of ladies who kick butt… I’ve added Wanted and Mr. & Mrs. Smith to the list for Black Widow week because if there is another female actress out there who could be on the team with the rest of the Avengers, it would be Angelina Jolie. Let these movies also motivate you to get in shape!!

Music

This list is comprised of music from The Avengers and a lot of music that puts me in a bad ass female state of mind.

Meals

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Head back over to HealthyCeleb.com to see the full report of Scarlett’s weekly meal plan, I based my sh0pping list on hers and then, once again, just made up my own meals with the ingredients.

Weekly Workout Challenge

For Black Widow Week, I focused on the booty and did a Squat challenge.

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Day 1: 20 Squats

Day 2: 30 Squats

Day 3: 20 Squats (2 reps)

Day 4: 25 Squats (2 reps)

Day 5: Rest Day

Day 6: 30 Squats (2 reps)

Day 7: 40 Squats (2 reps)

Extra Credit

Cirque Class @ The Art of Fitness

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Photo from The Art of Fitness

I fell head over heels in love with this class. I’d never tried any sort of class on the silks like Aerial Yoga or Cirque or anything of that nature before. And let me tell you… it was certainly a challenge! We started doing floor work to get the feel for the movements that would be employed while in the air on the silks. Once our muscles were loosened, we went up on the silks and started climbing. I made it to the ceiling a few times and felt so powerful when I got up there (coming back down was a little different experience.) But after a few climbs I really started to get the hang of it. And then the instructor had us do a flip which was really fun but super difficult. If you’ve never been on the silks before it’s a really humbling experience to watch a class full of people who have done this before and be one of 2 new people to the class. We all need a little humbling every once in a while. Cirque class at The Art of Fitness is $20 and after doing a lot of research, this is one of the more reasonable rates in the greater NYC area. So worth the money!! I will definitely try this class again!!

Muay Thai @ Sitan Gym

Photo from Sitan Gym
Photo from Sitan Gym

One of the crafts Black Widow has mastered is Mixed Martial Arts. In order to be considered proficient in MMA, one must study many different forms of martial arts. So I started with Muay Thai which is a form of Kickboxing. I took class at Sitan Gym in Astoria. It was a very full class and again, I was one of 2 new students to the class. I really liked how they managed the new students. They throw you in with everyone else, but then there is a secondary instructor to help newbs with the movements. I enjoyed this because I like to do workout movements correctly, as you can really injure yourself if you don’t do things the right way. Sitan offers a free introductory class. Give it a try!!!

Other options for Black Widow Week:

Kickboxing

Barre Class

Ballet

Stay tuned for the following Avengers: Thor, Hawkeye and Captain America. Check out Iron Man week and Hulk week in case you missed them.

And make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc! And let me know if you are trying any of these. I would love to hear from you!!

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Photo by Cristina Fowler