The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Workout

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All credit to Ancorgil on DeviantArt for the awesome turtles artwork!

Strength Workouts

Level 1(beginner):

3×5-10 Kneeling Push Ups
3×5-10 Chair Assisted Pull Ups
3×5-10 Bodyweight Squats
3×5-10 Pike Push Ups
3×5-10 Second Front Planks

Level 2(intermediate):
5×5-10 Push Ups
5×5-10 Pull Ups
5×5-10 Bodyweight Squats
5×5-10 Pike Push Ups
5×5-10 Step Ups (step up on a chair, step back down, repeat on each side)
5×10-15 Second Front Planks
5×5 Sledgehammer Levers (each side) (choke up if necessary)

Level 3(advanced):
5×5-10 Push Ups w/weighted backpack (start at 5 lbs, add 5 lbs every week)
5×5-10 Pull Ups w/weighted backpack (start at 5 lbs, add 5 lbs every week)
5×5-10 Tuck Jumps
5×5-10 Handstand Pushups
5×5-10 Step Ups w/weighted backpack (start at 5 lbs, add 5 lbs every week)
5×15-20 Second Front Planks
5×5 Sledgehammer Levers (each side) (choke up if necessary)

Level 4(Ninja):
5×10-15 Push Ups w/weighted backpack (start at 5 lbs, add 5 lbs every week)
5×5-10 Muscle Ups
5×5-10 Tuck Jumps
5×5-10 Handstand Pushups w/weighted backpack
5×5-10 Jumping Step Ups (Instead of stepping up, instead “launch” yourself up off the chair with one leg, repeat on each side)
5×15-20 Second Front Planks w/weighted backpack
5×5 Sledgehammer Levers (each side) (ninja do not choke up!)

Strength Notes:

We’re building explosive leg strength and dominating upper body strength, with the addition of sledgehammer levers to build hand and wrist strength for wielding weapons!  You may notice some similarities between this and Ryu’s workout…imagine that…

Cardio Workouts

Cardio A:
20-30 Minutes Long Form Cardio (swimming, biking, running, elliptical)

Cardio B:
20-30 Minutes Punching Bag Work
OR
5-15 minutes sledgehammer slams (swing your hammer onto a tire, make sure you alternate sides)

Cardio C:
Tabata Sprints
Sprint flat-out for twenty seconds.  Rest(walk) for ten.  Repeat at least eight times.

Cardio Notes:

Agility, explosive movement, and enough cardiovascular help to keep going, the whole fight long!  We’re looking to build an elite level brawler here, who can take punishment and just keep going!  The sledgehammer slams help lend some strength to our weapon styles, and encourage core engagement.

Schedule:
Day 1: Strength
Day 2: Cardio A
Day 3: Strength
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Strength
Day 6: Cardio B or C
Day 7: Rest

Schedule Notes:

We’re giving ourselves and extra rest day after day 6 instead of another strength day because cardio B and C both tend to be pretty intense.  That said, if you feel up to it after a few months of working out, feel free to throw in an extra strength day on day 7.  Conversely, when you’re first starting out, feel free to throw in an extra rest day on day 3 if you need to, at least for the first few weeks.

That’s it for the turtles!  Make sure to come back tomorrow for a great video on leadership skills!  Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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Character Spotlight: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Character Spotlight: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Name: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Game(s): Various arcade and console names bearing their name

Archetype: Fighter

Class: Brawler

Skills/Attributes:

Skilled in various martial arts disciplines

Leadership (Leonardo)

Technology (Donatello)

Partying (Michaelangelo)

Scrapping (Raphael)

Eating pizza

Skateboarding/sewer surfing

Overview:

COWABUNGA!  Freaking ninja turtles, man.  You’re looking at what is most likely the biggest single reason I’m talking to you right now.  No, seriously!  I started karate when I was three because I LOVED these guys.  Since I posted the Patreon poll super early this week because of karate camp, we didn’t get any votes in, so I got to pick who I wanted to do, and since the movie just came out and all that, I figured, why not the teenage mutant ninja turtles?  I’m sure quite a few of you spent tons of money on their arcade games, just like I did (Turtles in Time, in particular), so the qualify!

The turtles are cool because they each have their own individual personalities, which gives us a lot to pull from for our breakdon!  They’re extremely skilled martial artists, though I framed them in the Brawler class because of their general penchant for sloppy-yet-effective solutions for problems, as well as their general tendency to go looking for a fight.  Let’s talk a look at what they’re made of!

Trained by a Rat

So, the turtles trained exclusively under Master Splinter for basically all of their lives, making them incredibly skilled martial artists.  The funny thing is, they don’t actually do that much ninjutsu-type stuff!  Most of their fighting and weaponry is a lot closer to Okinawan empty hand and weapon styles, rather than Japanese ninjutsu (which is of dubious origin, anyway).  The exception to this is Leonardo, who fights with katana, but beyond that, they’re almost exclusively Okinawan.  As such, I’d recommend three arts:

Karate

Okinawan karate is one of the oldest martial arts traditions, originating from just “te,” as developed from kung fu practitioners visiting from China, fused with local fighting traditions.

Kobudo

The okinawan study of weaponry, kobudo is focused on the study of the bo(staff), sai, nunchaku, tonfa(tuifa), kama, and other nifty blunt and pointy objects.  Kobudo is rarely studied alone, and is instead taught in concert with karate (typically after achieving a high rank in empty hand).

Kendo

Here’s Leonardo’s happy place.  Kendo is the modern sport that originated out of the Japanese samurai schools.  Now, yes, traditionally the Samurai were enemies of the Ninja (although some historians maintain that the ninja never actually existed, and were just samurai trained in espionage), however if you want to learn modern katana swordplay, this is your best bet!

As always, I recommend you take your time to find a reputable school.  For my guidelines on this, check out Beware the McDojo!

Sewer Surfing

So, outside of fighting, what do the turtles do?  Skateboard!  Skateboarding is awesome!  No seriously though, skateboarding is awesome.  Whether you’re interested in street, vert, or longboarding, skateboarding is a great way to improve coordination and balance, promote proprioception, and have a really fun time while doing it.  Of course, proper protective equipment is always a good idea, since we hate injuries around here, but even with all the protective gear and the cost of a good deck, it’s still a pretty cheap hobby to get into!

Here’s a couple links to get you started:

Beginners Guide to Skateboarding 

How to Longboard

Beyond this, I’d recommend looking up your local skate shop and going down to see them.  Let them know you’re interested in getting into skating.  Skaters are usually super chill people, and they should have lots of info on what to buy for your first setup, where to go, if there are any classes in your area, etc.

Pick a Turtle, Any Turtle

One of the cool thing about the turtles is, as I mentioned, their personalities!  Let’s give them a once-over, to help you pick which one you want to emulate!

Leonardo

Leonardo is the leader of the group.  He’s arguably the most skilled of his brothers, with the possible exception of Raphael, and exhibits the most well-rounded judgement of the four of them.  He’s not quick to anger, but he is more than capable of defending himself, or avenging others.  As the leader, he must exhibit the most “balance” out of the four, to keep his brothers united and on-task.  If you’re like Leo, you’re the person who stays calm under pressure, observes before acting, and then acts decisively to solve a problem.  You’ll also want to check out the video about leadership that I’ll have going live on Saturday.

Donatello

The tech support of the group, Donatello is a total nerd, and it’s awesome!  He was my favorite growing up because I, too, was a giant nerd, and I loved all the stuff that Donnie built!  In addition to being the tech guy, Donnie’s also probably the most passive guy in the group.  He’s relatively slow to anger, avoids a fight if he can solve things in a more constructive manner, and generally doesn’t cause problems.  At the same time, however, his weapon, the bo, is arguably the most powerful weapon in the group, and his combat prowess cannot be denied.  If you’re like Donnie, you take your time, avoid conflict when possible, and always look to improve the situation, through technology if possible.

Raphael

Raphael is the hardheaded scrapper of the group.  Extremely skilled in combat, Raphael can sometimes beat Leo in a straight-up fight.  His temper and impatience make him a poor leader, however, and he’s pretty content to just be “the muscle,” although he sometimes chafes under Leonardo’s leadership.  Raph’s brutal combat style is efficient, fast, and powerful, marking him clearly as one of the strongest in the group.  If you’re like Raph, you don’t take crap from anyone, and you’re never one to back down from a fight.  You’re not necessarily interested in leading, but you sure as hell don’t like being told what to do, either.  You little troublemaker, you.

Michaelangelo

The nunchaku-wielding goofball of the group is, in a way, the heart and soul of the turtles.  He’s not necessarily the best fighter, or the brains, or the leader.  He does, however, keep his spirits up, and in doing so, keeps his brothers spirits up, too.  He’s always able to crack a joke, or see the bright side of the situation, and that is an incredibly important thing to have in a group of friends.  If you’re like Mikey, you’re always looking on the upside as well, and trying to boost those around you.  Just remember, there is, occasionally, and inappropriate time for a joke.  =P

 

That’s it for our spotlight!  Tune in on Friday for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles workout!  Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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Becoming Superhuman

Forerunner, Prothean, and First Civilization, oh my!

 

The idea of a superior race that either birthed or nurtured humanity in its early years is a recurring theme in sci-fi games, movies, and books.  In gaming we have races such as the Forerunners, the Protheans, and the First Civilization (which we just mentioned in our Desmond Miles coverage).  While we may not have the gift of their DNA or advanced technology, there is quite a bit that the average person can do to surpass those around them.  Here’s some ideas to start with!

1. Sleep More (and better)

The fact is, most adults don’t get enough sleep.  Seriously, sleep is something that’s so INCREDIBLY important, and yet frequently marginalized by modern culture.  The generally accepted numbers are 7-8 hours a night for adults, and at least 10 for children.  Getting less sleep than the recommended amount can result in loss of concentration, increased healing/recovery time, inhibited muscular growth, increased chance of disease and obesity, and a shorter expected lifespan.  Yikes!  Conversely, however, getting a full night of sleep every night can result in increased testosterone production, increased muscular recovery time, better concentration and productivity, a calmer, more regulated emotional state, and a longer than average lifespan.

To help your sleep out, try this:

  • Sleep in a completely dark, quiet room.  Hang blackout curtains, turn off all electronic devices, wear earplugs, do WHATEVER you gotta do.
  • Limit screens before bed by at least an hour.  The light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime!
  • Have a tablespoon of peanut butter before bed.  The fats can help you feel sated (giving you that nice “full” feeling) and peanuts can also help boost melatonin production.
  • Go out when it’s light out.  Getting a good dosage of sun during the day can actually help regulate your internal clock.
  • Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day.  This, too, helps regulate your internal clock

2. Work Out Regularly

For those not aware, we’re a fans of working out around here…  In all seriousness though, if you’re NOT working out 3-5 times a week, you are SERIOUSLY limiting yourself.  Working out helps increase your body’s “happy” chemicals, boosts your productivity, helps maintain a healthy weight, makes you more capable in physical tasks, increases your confidence, builds self discipline, regulates your internal clock, boosts testosterone production, and generally improves your life in almost every way.  Seriously.

Working doesn’t even have to be a huge thing when you first start out.  Walking for twenty minutes, three days a week, is a FANTASTIC start.  Seriously!  You don’t have to jump right in to working out like Kratos!  Make sure to stop by the forums if you need any advice or encouragement, we’re always there for you!

3. Eat More Fat

People fear fat.  It’s an unfortunate relic from low-fat health movements of the 80s and 90s.  The fact is, fat is really good for us.  Basically every single cell in our body requires fat in some way, shape, or form, PARTICULARLY our muscles, and our BRAIN.  Fat is essential for hormone production, energy consumption.

The tradeoff is, fatty foods very often are not good for us.  Fast food, chips, and junk food are all really bad sources of fat.  Also, fat is very high in calories, so if you’re looking to lose weight, you DO need to pay attention to how MUCH fat you eat.  That all said, here’s some good sources of fat:

  • Avocados
  • Fish (just watch out for mercury content if you’re eating saltwater fish)
  • Eggs (whole!  Don’t skip the yolk!)
  • Meat, particularly grass fed (why grass fed?)
  • Olive oils
  • Insects (seriously, we gotta get over this whole fear of eating bugs thing)

Just try to steer clear of junk food and fast food.  That stuff is never good for you, regardless of how much fat is does, or does not have.

 

4. Play With Toys

Frequently after we grow up, we tend to push toys to the side.  This is unfortunate, because the benefits of playing with toys don’t magically stop, just because we grew up.  Playing with toys can be excellent exercise for the brain, encouraging spatial relationship growth, creativity, and emotional health.    Toys that are fueled by creativity and puzzle solving are particularly good for this!  Here’s a few recommendations:

  • LEGOs
  • Building blocks
  • Tinker toys
  • Play-doh/modelling clay
  • Rubiks cubes, and other 3D puzzles
  • Crayons and a coloring book (seriously, just try it!)

I realize this may all sound a little juvenile (har har), but it’s only after having my own kid that I’ve relearned how great tactile play can be for your brain.  Give it a shot!

5. Meditate

Meditation reduces stress, helps focus, and trains your brain.  Meditating for just fifteen minutes every day can provide a significant boost in productivity, reduce your overall stress levels, and help improve your ability to focus on tasks.  For a good place to start, check out the guide I wrote up on beginning meditation.

6. Eat Green Stuff

So, the idea of eating vegetables to be more healthy is not new.  However, frequently not enough emphasis is put on the right kind of vegetables, specifically dark green ones.  I’m talking spinach, peas, broccoli, brussel sprouts, okra, kayle, romain lettuce…you get the idea.  Dark green veggies are PACKED with micro- and phyto-nutrients, as well as lots of key vitamins and minerals.  Seriously, if you spent every day eating salads loaded with this stuff, and topped with chunks of meat, you’d live a pretty damn good life.  In fact, that’s generally the diet I shoot for myself.

Just remember, green=good.

7. Have Sex

I realize that this may not be possible for everyone reading, and that there are some SERIOUS caveats to be made here, but for those that this applies to, sex tends to be really, really good for your body.  Seriously.  It helps lower stress, strengthens your relationship with your significant other, increases pleasure, and, again, can help boost testosterone.

Now, some guidelines to stick to:

  • Be safe.  SDIs are nothing to joke about, so ALWAYS use protection, and get tested!
  • Be positive.  Sex should be a positive experience for all people involved.  If you or your partner aren’t enjoying something, you should communicate about it and work it out, without pressure or shame on the unhappy party.
  • Communicate.  I touched on it above, but sex is not a substitute for communication in relationships.
  • Have fun!  Don’t get hung up on insecurities or misgivings in the bedroom.  If your partner is the kind of person who would make you feel bad about them, then you should not be with that person.  Period.

8. Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is the great productivity killer.  There have been many, many studies that trying to get more than one thing done at once is less productive, more stressful, and less efficient than just focusing on one task at a time. Get things done more quickly, more effectively, and at a higher level of quality by focusing on ONE thing at a time, and getting it done before moving on to the next.

9. Utilize Modern Technology (well)

Most of us have a more powerful computer in our pockets than the astronauts that landed on the moon did in their entire machine.  In addition to this, it’s hooked up, wirelessly, to a database that theoretically contains almost everything the human race, collectively, has learned.  It’s a smart phone.  We use it to look at pictures of cats, watch porn, and argue with strangers on the internet.

All the races we mentioned at the start of this article have incredible technological advancements.  The fact is, we humans have those too!  The smartphone is just an example, we have desktop computers, tablets, the internet, cars, Arduino and Raspberry Pi…TONS OF COOL STUFF.  The fact is, we just typically underutilize these technologies.

Become a hunter of knowledge.  Every time you want to know how to do something, why something is the way it is, or what you should do in a given situation, then use all the tools at your disposal to get an answer!  There’s no excuse not to!

10. Be Clean

They say cleanliness is next to godliness, and honestly, it’s true.  Maintaining a clean living space, and good personal hygiene, can work WONDERS on your confidence and psyche.  It also increases your general overall state of physical health, AND makes you more attractive to other people.  Make an effort to stay on top of your living space and personal self every day, as it’s way easier than letting everything pile up around you.  When cleaning day DOES come (because sometimes you need a bit more than just maintenance), remember what I said about multitasking a few points ago!

 

WHEW.  Okay, that was a big post.  Hope you enjoyed it!  Some of these points you may not have known, some you may have known but not paid that much attention to, and some you may already be putting into practice.  The bottom line is, if you follow all ten, you will be living a life far beyond your “average” person.  Make these your prime modality, and watch your quality of life and personal capabilities increase exponentially because of it.  Become more than you were.

Wednesday’s a new character post!  Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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