Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Workout - Splosion

A little over two weeks ago, I shared my plans for workouts leading up until a couple days ago. We're now in the process of repeating those 14 days of workouts (making some changes along the way to keep things fun, of course). We're now back to a workout that I named "Splosion". I took a couple exercise ideas for pushups and squats that I found somewhere online (I forget where) and added in some single-arm kettlebell clean and presses. We've enjoyed the workout so much that I figured I'd share it here. Check it out below:


3 RFT (rounds-for-time)

- 20 pushups, 10 second plank, 4 clap/plyo pushups

- 20 squats, 10 second hold in mid-squat position, 4 jump squats

- 34 single-arm KB C&P (17 per arm, alternating)

This workout is lots of fun. It's short and sweet but still hits some major muscle groups (it made us sweat pretty good as well). The combination of static holds before explosive movements as well as the round finishing move of the KB clean and press makes the workout a bit more challenging than it sounds, but it's still accessible to pretty much anyone with a decent level of fitness. Definitely get in a good warm-up before you do the workout. 

If you want to try Splosion but don't have clap pushups yet, then try a plyo pushup (push to the top of the pushup position quickly and let your fingers leave the ground a little bit). Also, a dumbbell could easily be used in place of a kettlebell for the C&Ps.

Three rounds of these exercises will definitely get you sweaty. We're in the 11 to 12 minute range right now, but are looking to take that down to 8-10 minutes. If you try this workout, let me know and tell me your time!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Young Einstein (1988)

Albert Einstein: Dad, I want to be a physicist.
Mr. Einstein: What do they grow, son?
Albert Einstein: They don't grow anything.
Mr. Einstein: Well what's the use of them then?

In 1988, a then little-known Australian man who had his name changed to Yahoo Serious came to short-lived fame globally due to the release of a film he wrote, directed, and starred in. That film was Young Einstein and it remains my favorite film to this day. 

Young Einstein is an imagined myth of the life of Albert Einstein, but, in this tale, Einstein is a young Tasmanian apple farmer's son who discovers the theory of relativity while figuring out how to split a "Tasmanian beer atom" (to put bubbles into beer, ya know) and who falls in love with Marie Curie (in the end saving Curie and many others from gruesome deaths due to a massive atomic bomb, which Einstein has to defuse by playing roll-and-rock music). Okay, I know that sounds like a bit much. Maybe you'd dig the trailer for the film. Check it out:

Okay, so it's an older film now and the trailer doesn't really do it justice. The film is definitely visually stunning for the time when it was produced. The overall story isn't going to drive anyone to tears or impact your life greatly (unless you see it as a child and think that Albert Einstein was really a Tasmanian who split beer atoms - as has been the case for some people). However, the wittiness of the film and the awesome 80s rock score will certainly keep any of us who are past our tweens amused. You should definitely check out Young Einstein. It won't be the worst 1.5 hours of your life. Maybe drink while you watch it, though.

I personally love Young Einstein. It's the first film that I fully remember seeing. I was 5 years old when it came out. My parents took me to the theater to see it. I went home that night and tried to build a guitar (which didn't pan out, but later my mom helped me build a shoebox guitar which actually worked a bit). Young Einstein impacted me as a young person as it helped me to wonder about how we can re-imagine the lives of great scientists and inventors while having some fun along the way. It helped me to formulate my earliest stories. I still watch it at least once a year. Surely due to the nostalgia, but also because it's a really fun movie.
I'll close with this, the dedication to the real Albert Einstein that is offered at the very end of the film, just before the credits roll:

Young Einstein is dedicated to a genius, a rebel, a pacifist, an eccentric with a clowning sense of humour who once remarked about his own theories:

"...I never thought that others would take 
them so much more seriously than I did." 

Albert Einstein 1879-1955

Monday, December 28, 2015

Climb the Mountain

Climb the Mountain, by sunrise666 at Deviant Art

“Climb the mountain 
not to plant your flag, 
but to embrace the challenge, 
enjoy the air and behold the view. 
Climb it so you can see the world, 
not so the world can see you.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Dune - Leto II, Transformation" - artwork by Andrew Ryan

Here's a piece of beautiful artwork by Andrew Ryan (username AndrewRyanArt at Deviant Art). This illustration shows the transformation of Leto Atreides II, the son of Paul Atreides and the God Emperor of Dune within the Dune Universe. In this fictional world, Leto II transforms from prescient human to sandworm. Ryan's artwork showing part of this transformation is a bit different than what I figured when reading the original novels (I saw the change more as a mottling of the skin in scales than in whisps that look like tribal tattoos). Nonetheless, this is still a beautiful piece of Dune artwork.

"Historians exercise great power, and some of them know it.
They recreate the 
past, changing it to fit their own interpretations. Thus, they change the future as well."

      -Leto II, His Voice, from Dar-es-Balat (Frank Herbert)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Star Wars a cappella by Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and some "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" cast members!

Star Wars a capella, from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Certainly, most of us from all of geekdom are super stoked for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (I can see 8 year old me playing with Legos I had cut and shaped to resemble Star Wars characters, playing Star Wars nintendo games, and dreaming of what more might come from the Star Wars Universe). Well, as if we didn't need another reason to get excited about this film, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots brought some of the cast members of the upcoming film onto The Tonight Show and put together this awesome a capella Star Wars medley. It's going to be an awesome weekend!

May the force be with you, always.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Two Weeks of Fun Workouts

50 pullups - strict
100 pushups – hand release
Run 5 K
+ Thrusters

The Warrior

20/10/4 of:
squats – squat hold – jump squats
pushups – second plank – clap pushups
then 34 single-arm KB C&Ps
Core + 100 dips


Core + 100 KB Swings
PAP Upper
PAP Lower
Deadlift +
5RFT - 5-10-15-20

I don't normally share my workouts routines online, but I like the current plan I have for the next two weeks. You can see that plan above. It mixes together a Crossfit Hero workout called Severin with some of my own bodyweight workouts (like the one I call "Splosion", which mixes an approach to squats and pushups that I found online with some kettlebell clean and press moves) as well as some of the workouts that can be found in the Beachbody collection. If you're interested, here's a quick breakdown of the workouts:

This one is pretty fun. It's 50 strict pullups followed by 100 pushups (with hands coming off the ground at the bottom, resting the chest momentarily) and then a 5 kilometer run. The goal is to work up to doing the workout with a 20 lb. weight vest. 

The Warrior
This is one of the workouts from P90X3. It's a fun mix of sets of exercises for the upper body, cardio, core, and lower body. The Warrior is one that definitely builds up some sweet. 

This is a routine that I put together. I found a suggestion online to mix squats with squat holds and jump squats as well as pushups with plank holds and plyometric pushups. I do it as 20 reps followed by 10 seconds of holding and then 4 reps (so 20 squats followed by 10 seconds holding a low squat followed by 4 jump squats). Each set will see this 20-10-4 progression for squats and then for pushups and then I add in 34 reps of single-arm kettlebell clean and press. I then do three rounds for time (3 RFT) of this progression.

For these days, we do any of the cardio kickboxing workouts from the Les Mills Combat series. Lots of punching, kicking, knees, and elbows (which I throw in, since they're not included in the workouts).

This is a 10 minute core routine from the Les Mills Pump series. I've done lots of core routines over the years, but this one is by far one of the best. It targets the upper abs, lower abs, obliques, transverse abdominis, and the lower back. It's a great workout for targeting the core. I have either bench dips or kettlebell swings added in on the end of my core routines a couple times in this two week progression (just to add some more to the workout!).

This is another of the P90X3 workout routines. Isometrix targets the core and includes lots of balance exercises. The exercises alternate from planks and down-dogs of various kinds with standing balance poses (mostly from yoga). I feel like balance is a super important component of fitness that too few people focus on. It's definitely worth running through this routine from time to time.

Other Resistance Workouts
I also have a couple of workouts in this progression that include deadlifts, pullups-pushups-situps-squats, barbell clean & press, and barbell thrusters. These exercises are a great mix of compound movements with bodyweight exercises.

PAP Upper and PAP Lower
These workouts are from the P90X2 series. The PAP part of the names comes from post activation potentiation, a way to exercise where a heavy load is placed upon a muscle followed by lighter loads and fuller ranges of movement. Although I don't personally think the P90X2 workouts do a great job of incorporating PAP, they're still fantastic workouts. Each workout is composed of four rounds each of two supersets of 4 exercises that target either the upper body or the lower body. These are hour-long workouts that end in a heavy sweat, but they're a lot of fun as well!

Like I said, it's not usually my thing to share my workouts online, but if you dig these and want some more info, feel free to ask.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Writing Motivation - Almost There

Sometimes writing can feel like your stuck on a ledge on a cliff (writer's block), sometimes it can feel like your falling (self-doubt), and sometimes it can just feel like your looking up at a mountain and thinking about climbing it (just start writing already!). I'm definitely at the point now where I'm just climbing away. I'm nearing the top of the first major section (the first full draft). I can feel it coming. I'm almost there. Then it goes off to my adviser for reviewing while I focus on other stuff. So close. Almost there. Write on!