30 Days of Nerdy Hair – Day 8

Day 8: May Day from A View to a Kill

One of the fiercest Bond ladies in the entire franchise, Grace Jones’, May Day is 3 parts superhuman henchwoman, 2 parts devastating cheek bones and 5 parts total bad ass!! That adds up to a solid 10!!

Now, Sean Connery was always my favorite Bond. But my dad always loved Roger Moore. He found Moore to be funnier than Connery. So we watched a lot of the Roger Moore Bond movies as kids. And Grace Jones was always a favorite villain of mine. She’s got that steely gaze and that take-no-crap-from-anyone attitude!! Gotta respect that!

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Neither my hair, nor my cheekbones reach the level of fierceness of Grace Jones. But I do what I can!

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It’s hair. Nerdy hair!

Who was your favorite Bond villain? Who was your favorite James Bond?

#AvengerinTraining – Iron Man Week

Introduction

I would consider myself a fairly fit person. I enjoy running and Soul Cycle and walking and when I’m vigilant, I eat marginally well. But then came the winter and I was discontent. Chilly weather caused my motivation to disappear. The running stopped. The Soul Cycle stopped. I still tried to walk and get at least my 10,000 steps a day. But I counteracted that by overeating fatty ‘comfort’ foods.

One day, I realized I had gained 20 pounds that I did not want on me (it may not sound like a lot of weight, but it sure felt like it.) Somehow I’d let the weight sneak up on me. And that wasn’t ok with me!! My sugar intake was at an all time high, due to eating a lot of macaroni and cheese and mint chocolate chip ice cream (my favorite comfort food!) And I am genetically at risk for diabetes, but I just didn’t seem to care. This was the heaviest I’d been in quite a while. All the previous progress I’d made in the fall was being wasted thanks to laziness and a complete lack of discipline.

One night, while watching Avengers (for the 19th time), I realized that if aliens did invade Earth or the zombie apocalypse finally happened or some other menacing force became reality, I’d be one of the first to go. And as I watched Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow kick serious ass on screen, I knew…that wasn’t gonna work for me!

So I embarked on a journey that would eventually become a transforming experience.

A lot of what I’ll share is not ground breaking. It’s not even new information. It’s constantly posted and reposted in many forms. You just have to tailor it to you. That’s what I did. I made something that would be fun, inspiring and made just for me!

Now, I prefer fantasy to reality sometimes…it’s true. But I know I’ll probably never be called on to fight for my life or to save another person’s. But if I ever was called upon, I wanted to be ready.

I delved into each of the 6 characters that make up the team known as The Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye and Captain America. I researched what each individual actor did to prepare for their roles, then I went about crafting a 6 week fitness plan that I thought would be fun and that I knew I could accomplish. Most of the workouts I found online that were based on the Avengers, were mainly geared towards men. The meal plans too. I’m not about to start eating 2300 calories a day. That just wouldn’t work for me. This plan is meant to be tailored to individuals, men or women. If you like it, keep it in the plan. If you don’t, take it out. (Keep in mind I am not a fitness or medical professional. Just a nerdy fangirl who wanted to make a change.)

I do not have the money or the time to dedicate to actually looking like an Avenger. (and I am not being paid by Marvel to do this either.) But I knew that I wanted to do more than I was at the time and I decided to use the inspiration I felt while watching the Avengers to help transform my lazy habits into constructive discipline.

Below is the complete breakdown of Week 1, including the things I turned to for inspiration, the weekly challenges I made for myself, my food shopping list, and the amazing classes I took all in my endeavor to get healthy and become an #AvengerinTraining

Photo by Cristina Fowler
Photo by Cristina Fowler

Week 1: Iron Man Week

Watercolor Art by Blule
Watercolor Art by Blule

The first Avenger on my the list was Iron Man. I decided to go in order of their introduction to the franchise. And who better to start it off, than the Iron Avenger himself. Robert Downey Jr., at 50 years old, is in the best shape of his life. Physically and in his career (as of 2014, RDJ tops Forbes’ list of highest paid actors in Hollywood). His onscreen alter-ego is Tony Stark who, after getting kidnapped by terrorists, witnesses the damage of what has become a destructive legacy at Stark Industries. While incarcerated in an Afghanistan prison, Tony discovers himself to be more than just the “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” that he always had been and starts down the road to becoming so much more.

To prepare for the role of Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr, “started training using the Wing Chun technique, made famous by Bruce Lee.” (MensFitness.com) He also cut way back on the cardio in favor of increased weight training. By the time filming for Iron Man began, RDJ had backed on 25 extra pounds of muscle. Check out his full training regiment over at MensFitness.com

Inspiration

Sometimes the hardest part is taking that initial first step out the door. Being inspired is a fleeting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Movies and music are two of my favorite things to partake in. So while preparing to take on this 6 week challenge, I thought a lot about what would keep me moving towards my goals.

Movies

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Obviously, Avengers and Age of Ultron are on the movie list for each of the Avengers as they serve as inspiration for all 6 characters. For Iron Man Week, if I needed a little extra oomph of energy or motivation I watched some or all of the above movies. Iron Man and Iron Man 3 are also obvious choices. Spiderman may seem like an unlikely choice (Peter is a poor college kid, Tony is a wealthy man), but I think there are a lot of themes that overlap between Iron Man and Spiderman. And Casino Royale has billionaire, playboy written all over it. Plus I LOVE James Bond!!

Music

This list is comprised of music from Iron Man and music that makes me think of Iron Man. Anything to get me in the mindset while on a run in the morning. Hope it pushes you like it pushed me!

Meals

I created a meal plan (you won’t hear the word diet in this blog series, I don’t believe in them) based on the foods that Robert Downey Jr ate while training. Again, I’m not being paid by Marvel and I don’t have unlimited time on my hands. So I had the master list of items that I used to stock my refrigerator and pantry and then I made meals out of them that I knew I would enjoy and would be easy to make on a daily basis. I did a lot more cooking this week than I had been doing and I liked it!!

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Weekly Workout Challenge

For Iron Man week I chose a plank challenge. Here’s the daily breakdown:

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Day 1: 2 sets of Kneeling Side Planks (60 hold second, rest in between)

Day 2: 2 sets of Kneeling Side Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)

Day 3: 3 sets of Incline Side Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 4: 2 sets of Front Elbow Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 5: 3 sets of Front Elbow Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 6: 2 sets of Full Front Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 7: 2 sets of Full Front Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)

When Iron Man week ended, I took the last day’s challenge activity and rolled it over into the next Avenger’s weekly workout schedule. So Day 7 of the above plan will be used for the rest of the 5 weeks of training.

Extra Credit

If you were to call me an overachiever, you might be right. Especially when it comes to doing things I love and enjoy. I’ll go the extra mile and I’ll run the whole way there. So when I came up with this idea for my time as an #AvengerinTraining I chose a couple different workout classes and gyms for each week that I thought might represent the Avenger of that particular week. For Iron Man week I did:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu @ Lifestyle MMA Academy

Photo from Lifestyle MMA Academy
Photo from Lifestyle MMA Academy

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not for the faint of heart or the shy wallflower. If you are squeamish about being up close and personal with complete strangers… this isn’t for you. If you find the prospect of hand to hand combat daunting… turn the other way. But if you want to be pulled out of your comfort zone and challenged beyond what you think you can do… find the closest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studio and give it a try. Channel your inner Iron Man. And if you live in the New York City area, head to Lifestyle MMA Academy in Astoria. They will kick your butt. They sure kicked mine and, bonus, the first trial class is free. So you have no excuses!!

Power Pilates @ The Art of Fitness

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I’ve done pilates before, it’s one of my favorite ways to workout, but Power Pilates at The Art of Fitness will take your practice to a whole new level. And at just $10 a class, it’s a really great deal for a whole lot of workout!

Other options for Iron Man Week:

Rock Climbing

MMA

Stay tuned for the following Avengers: Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye and Captain America

And make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc!

The Pinterest Wormhole

Have you ever got caught in the inevitable Pinterest wormhole? You know what I’m talking about. One little picture of Tom Hiddleston’s face and you are knee deep in pinning every expression he’s ever made. Which leads you to that one photo of him and Benedict Cumberbatch together. Which is just about the most perfect man sandwich ever invented in life.

Two of my most favorite people ever(: Tom Hiddleston and Bennie Cumberbatch....

Of course, once you are in the land of Cumberbatch you end up with a brand new board called “I am Sherlocked” because one pin of that handsome face is not enough. And then you’ve brought Martin Freeman into the mix. Which brings you around to The Hobbit. Soon you have a board called “Over the Misty Mountain” which brings in Dominic Monaghan (and leads to a board called “The Hatch“), Richard Armitage (and a board aptly titled “Sherwood Forest“), and Ian McKellan which reminds you of how much you love wizards!! And once wizards enter the mix, you can’t go on in life without creating a board called “The Boy Who Lived.”

That is a ticking time bomb of new boards about to explode on the Pinterest-sphere. Then you’re just pinning left and right (3 hours have now gone by and you’ve forgotten to eat.) Once you’ve pinned Potter you say to yourself, “There are so many other fandoms I love that are not yet represented.”

Then comes more boards with titles like “1.21 Gigawatts,” “007,” “Glitch in the Matrix,” “We Named the Dog Indiana,” “Timey-Wimey,” “Walkers,” “Stormborn,” “Shiny,” “Welcome to the Hellmouth.” And so on. Being the gigantic nerd you are, you need a “Star Trek” and a “Star Wars” board. Fandom is not complete without these two… duh!!

All of sudden you think to  yourself (cause there is no human in sight amid all this pinning) “What about superheroes? They aren’t represented yet either. That’s not even fair of me.” So you come up with boards like “DC vs. Marvel (everyone wins)” and “The Evil League of Evil.” And soon you find that perfect picture of Loki smiling with that devilishly handsome face of his and somehow you’ve ended up right back to pinning the many grins of Tom Hiddleston.

Just gradually more mischievous. And there's still people who don't get this fandom. bwaahaha

The circle is now complete. And an entire day has wasted away… but if we’re being honest with ourselves… do we really think wasted is the proper word? Nope!

Tomorrow let’s start with a young Harrison Ford and see where that takes us!! The possibilities are endless.

Young Harrison Ford

PS… I’m not even kidding. Head over to my Pinterest profile to explore the many wormholes that await you. And happy pinning!

I Need a Hero…

It isn’t the least bit fair for the average modern man out there. But for a girl raised on Star Wars, Disney and Gone with the Wind, who had a brother that introduced her to The X-Men, Power Rangers and The Green Lantern. A girl raised on pure whimsical imagination… of course I need a hero. Or at the least, a man more than willing to dress up like one on Halloween and at ComicCon.

How is the modern man meant to compete with the paragons of truth, justice and tight pants that are constantly being put out there? (Not that I’m complaining.) Such heroic figures. Men in tights and men in capes. Men of steel and of iron. Men in long coats, leather coatsbrown coats. Men who wear masksfedoras, suspenders and bowties. Men in suits and men with swords. Men in breeches and in loincloths. Men who wear chucks and men named Chuck.

It isn’t fair. But it’s not my fault. Long ago, Prince Charming entered the picture. And at the tender age of 4 it was all over!! Next came Han Solo, and as you can see from the list above, the rest is history. But I don’t care. I have to believe in heroes. Because in actuality, being a hero isn’t about carrying a gun or going to war or even about saving a life. The truth is, rarely does the average person get such a blatant opportunity for heroics.

No, it’s much deeper. It’s integrity and character. It’s seeing the evils in this world and at the very least, at the bare minimum, it’s caring about change. Humanity is capable of true greatness. Great acts of good, great acts of evil. And it’s modern mortal heroes (men and women alike) who are charged with changing the world.

We don’t have the mythical super-powered good guys to look to in times of crisis. But there’s a reason we’re so drawn to movies with heroic figures. Movies like The Avengers and The Hunger Games. Because when we watch them we feel inspired to heroics. Even of the smallest kind.

So I say again… I need a hero. But at the same time, I need to become a heroine worthy of such a man, should he one day come knock down my door. Tights, swords, chucks and all.

Hey, a girl can dream!!