#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!!

Avengers: Age of Ultron

In a word: AWESOME!!!

(No spoilers, I promise!!)

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If you aren’t planning on heading to the theaters this weekend to see Avengers: Age of Ultron… you’ve made a mistake. Or you’re finally watching Daredevil on Netflix and have taken to the reclusive life for the weekend. When you emerge from your binge watching, head to the theaters and back into the darkness and watch this movie!

Here’s all the reasons to watch it:

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The Scene Stealer
Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch, one half of the Maximoff twins, completely steals some big moments in the movie. Her powers are epic. Her acting is perfect. Her introduction as an Avenger… well I already said perfect, but I’ll say it again!!! PERFECT. Marvel’s casting department definitely knows what it’s doing!

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The Payoff

To anyone still smarting from the lack of Hawkeye action in Avengers, this is our boy’s moment to shine!! And shine he does. Jeremy Renner takes every moment to shine! And we get some rather unexpected twists where his character is concerned. Good ole Clint Barton really is a standout among the gods and demigods that make up the team of Avengers.

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The Favorite

And by favorite, I mean my favorite. Cap has always be my guy!! He’s the eternal boy scout (something they take time to poke fun at a little bit in the film.) Because Captain America has 2 solo movies under his belt, we don’t need character development or back story here. We just need Cap to be Cap. And as always, Chris Evans brings the heat. You can also see the threads they are setting up for the Civil War story line in his scenes with Robert Downey, Jr. The bromance is still alive and well, but there might be a little trouble in paradise.

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The Villain

It’s no surprise to anyone that James Spader (excellent actor that he is) took the role of Ultron to the next level. This is no mindless robot bent on torture and mayhem. Ultron is an intelligent entity of Tony Stark’s own creation. Granted, his creation takes a turn for the dark side. But even in his darkness, James Spader manages to keep that Stark humor alive in his voice work.

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The Vision

The duality of good and evil is explored throughout the whole movie in a wonderful way. A discussion about how humanity is bent on preventing bad things and in doing so eventually end up creating bad things in the process some times. This is brought to life in the form of Ultron’s antithesis, The Vision. Paul Bettany’s Jarvis finally gets a face… sort of. The Vision is meant to be an instrument of destruction for Ultron’s evil plan, but ends up… well, no spoilers!

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Lady Love

Black Widow (as bad ass as she’s ever been) gets to explore a different side to her character that we haven’t really seen yet. (Although one might think that if she had a stand alone movie, we might have the chance to see all of her different sides!) I think that this will be one that people are a little divided about, but I really loved it! I love a softer Natasha Romanoff. And it doesn’t effect her ability to kick villainous butt in the least. As if anyone believed for a second that it would!

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The Classic

What needs to be said about RDJ’s Iron Man that hasn’t already been said a million times. There’s a reason Marvel started the entirety of their world building, mega franchise, phasing plan with him. He’s irreverent and funny. He’s a leader, but he makes mistakes. He’s relatable and untouchable all at the same time. Again, Joss and company really took some time to give beats to each character. Play on their fears and their pasts. And like basically everything else in this movie, it works!!

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The New Kid

Quicksilver, aka Pietro Romanoff, aka brother of Scarlett Witch. He’s a great character, but really loses some ground in the presence of his overpowering sister, Wanda. I will say that he does have some good moments. But he’s not as strong as he could have been. And not quite as funny as Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past played by Evan Peters. My favorite part about him was his relationship to his sister. He’s the older twin (by a whole 12 minutes) and it’s sweet to see how he takes that to heart. He is a protective older brother who…NO SPOILERS.

Ok, this is getting tough. The more I talk about it the more I want to tell you everything!!!!

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The Hulk

I love Hulk. And Mark Ruffalo really gets to explore a little of the mental torture that comes with being a mean, green fighting machine. Plus he gets to explore a softer side of himself as well.

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The god

And Thor is Thor! God among men. Son of Odin. Ruler of Aasgard. Wielder of Mjolnir. Boyfriend of Jane. You get it. He rocks!

Yeah, I’m gonna stop before I give all the major plot points and twists away and you get mad at me! Go see and then we can talk. 🙂

Come join me tonight at 9pm EST for my #NerdySlumberParty to talk more about Marvel’s many projects including Avengers: Age of Ultron!

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