The Road to Civil War

Marvel Cinematic Universe Entertainment Civil War #TeamCap blog

Marvel Cinematic Universe Entertainment Civil War #TeamCap blog

We are on the verge of Civil War…no, not the North vs. South kind…no, not the Dems vs. GOP kind. The Marvel-ous kind!! The #TeamCap vs. #TeamIronMan kind!! The kind that will have grown men and women crying in the aisles come Thursday, May 5th (for the early birds) and Friday, May 6th for the rest of the viewing public.

There are those who have already laid eyes on this highly anticipated entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the word is GOOOOOOOD!!!

So get ready for it…if you can. You’ll probably need lots and lots of tissues. Marvel has probably purchased stock in Kleenex cause they know we’re gonna need them!

To prepare for this journey I am watching the entire MCU in order starting today, Wednesday, April 27th and going all the way till the premier of Captain America: Civil War.

Join me over on Twitter every night for live tweets. But be warned…my gif game is hella strong, so if you choose to join…you better be ready to bring it!

We know where Spiderman stands…and Black Widow and Hawkeye and Ant-Man and Rhodey and The Winter Soldier himself. But where do you stand, nerd?? WHERE!

My feet are firmly planted in the #TeamCap camp!! But there is room for everyone in my nerdy family. (Even those who make bad choices…looking at you #TeamIronMan *wink…just kidding…i love ya…but seriously!)

See schedule below…

Captain America: Civil War Marvel movies watching blog

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#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!

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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