Month: March 2016

Training Season

 

It’s 4:30 am, and my alarm buzzes me somewhat awake after about 4 hours or so of sleep.  My eyes slowly begin to focus, and I lay there in the dark, not quite ready to move just yet.  For a moment, my mind begins to wander,tempting me with thoughts of  “Remember the days before we started doing this?  There’s no earthly need to get up this early, we don’t even have class til 9:30 this morning, that’s another 4 hours we could be sleeping.”

Yet, that is not the life I lead anymore, of sleeping in.  Not during the week at least.  I had to be up that insanely early during my past in the Navy, but that was when I was on their time, so that was forced “motivation”.  No this is something completely different.   This is all about me.

Sure, I could work out at any other time during the day, or evening even.  I used to do that, sporadic workouts a few times a week here or there, maybe I’d even get a week or two in where I hit up my apartment complex’s gym 3 times a week (Chest, back/shoulders, and arm day)  and then I’d eat whatever I want and I was content in that, complacent with that even.

It wasn’t until recently, when I had that wild hair to truly improve myself, to really be the best version of me possible, and not just saying that, that I changed things.  I have a mental montage of some of this (Previously, on Mike’s Life) before I force myself out of the comfort zone that is my bed at this ungodly hour.

I strip down, then hop on the scale in my bathroom, 212, a nice improvement from the 219 I was at the previous day.  My metabolism is weird like that now, the Monday after my cheat day Saturday I always seem to go up like 6 pounds, but then after getting back into the routine of my diet I fall back down to the more comfortable weight level I’m at.   I admit I’d probably have better results if I stuck to my diet on a 7 day basis, but being that I’m doing this for no one but myself, I can afford to go up a few for a day, and work on it even harder the next week.

 

Finishing up, I get my workout clothes out of the laundry basket, fresh and clean for the only brief time that statement will be 100% accurate this week.  Old Navy gym shorts, and the Spider-Man shirt I wore yesterday, red and blue is my look for today’s session too, I can dig it.

I stretch my legs, calves getting ready for today’s run, pumping myself up by remembering how far I’ve gotten already in this journey, from barely pacing a mile, to the now 2 mile standard I set for myself, this time adding in some ankle rotations to the warm up, so as to further prepare myself, it’s not the same quick and easy jog it was before.

Now that I’m ready, I leave my room, and get my running shoes on.  These grey and red Reeboks have been with me a few years now, since my last great adventure in the Navy.  They’ve walked the ancient steps of the Coliseum in Rome, been all up and down the bars in American Alley in Souda Bay, Crete, and seen their fair share of laps around the ship during my free time whilst still at sea.   And now they’ve seen the most action they ever have, in these past few months.

I feed the cats, crank up the music, and leave the house.  I like running this time of morning, as I can start my run as soon as I cross the street, no need to wait for traffic to let me pass, as there’s no traffic at 5:00 am.

I start running, more of a slow jogging pace to warm myself up that first mile.  I’m not trying to beat any time today, it’s all about the distance.   Three songs in, or 8 minutes later I’m a mile into the run, at the corner of the sidewalk where Rosemont turns into Holland, the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Supermarket.   Calves are killing me so I take a bit of  a break, stretching them out, and catching my breath for a minute, before getting past the Taco Bell, and kicking it up again another notch.   21 Pilots, Heavydirtysoul is the soundtrack for this next round.

 

I’m on autopilot by round 2, speeding up just a bit now that I’m warmed up, I have to walk again another two songs later.  I think I’m going to take a break for a bit, but then another song comes on ‘Metalingus’ by Alter Bridge, and my body’s like, “You’ve got this”, and my mind says “Fuck it”, and hit the ground running again.

By this point I’m around the corner of Lynnhaven, ready to hit that home stretch coming up sooner than I’d like.  I take a quick walking break for a few minutes, until I see that despite all this I’ve only run 1.6 miles.  I need to get another .4 miles in to keep my streak going.  I’m not exhausted but not running at 100%  but I push myself to get as much of this running as possible.

I’m at the home stretch now, now getting a little tired, this breakfast only after the workout thing works for me but still kills me by this point in my session.  I put on the training theme from the movie ‘Creed’ for that last bit of motivation.  I hit the ground running as fast as I can as hard as I can for that home stretch, it’s like 4 minutes of hell for my body, but as I hit the corner of Rosemont/Buckner as that song hits it’s climax I’m finished for now.  I check my stats on the Google Fit App, 2.2 miles.  I did it.  Like I said I would.    This part of the workout is done, and now I’m ready for round 2, at the gym.

 

 

 

 

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In Defense Of: Spider-Man’s costume in Captain America:Civil War

 

So, by now I’m sure you’ve seen the new and final(?) trailer for Captain America:Civil War, and if you haven’t you’ve seen the plethora of internet memes about one very key scene in the movie.   That’s right, I’m talking about our first very brief look at Marvel’s/Sony’s new Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland.   Here’s the pic, if you’ve missed it, or just want to see it again, because it looks really cool.  Like a Steve Ditko drawing come to life.

 

spiderman

 

Here’s an actual Steve Ditko drawn Spider-Man just for comparison’s sake.

cos-spider-man

 

Some tweaks there, but basically, that’s the closest Spidey we’ve gotten from page to screen without things changing too drastically. I really like the emphasis on the black around the eyes when they change, that made me geek out just as much as seeing the new Spidey in and of itself.  Its funny how after almost 20 years of consistent comic book movies getting released we’re slowly getting to where superhero costumes can be brought to the screen without things getting campy.  Now, some things just wouldn’t work on the screen, like Electro’s  green suit with the starfish mask, that’d be silly.  But we’re past the days of black leather everything, well mostly.  (I’m looking at you Bryan Singer, though it seems even he’s leaning off of that a little from what we’ve seen of X-Men:Apocalypse)

 

And still, people, supposed fans of this character, they, who, like me, have been waiting years to see Spider-Man be integrated into a movie with other Marvel characters, the first thing they do is complain about it.   He looks like a video game, he’s too cheesy looking, he sounds too young.    And much more internet crap talking and such, why?  Other than it’s the internet it’s what we do.

First thing I’d like to point out, that hasn’t gotten that much talk online, is his mask’s eyes.  They can change size to give across emotions like they do in the comic books, (with a whirring sound, I’m told, like a mechanical thing is doing that, unlike when it happens in Deadpool, so I’m thinking Stark may have a hand in this costume design’s extra bells and whistles)  This to me is the thing that has me most excited about the new suit.

For so long in superhero movies, the Spider-Man movies are most guilty of this happening, at multiple points in the movie, especially in the climax of the thing, the hero will take of his mask, and it stays off, or partially off, for the big fight.  This was so that the audience could see the emotions, (and marketable face) that the studio put a lot of money into getting out there, despite the fact that this rarely happens in the comics, because it defeats the purpose of being a costumed hero in the first place if you’re going to take off your mask at first opportunity.

 

It did help that that Deadpool is a wacky type character, and the eyes changing is just an aspect of his character, but that’s how it works in the comics, people wear masks for a reason, mostly to protect their friends and loved ones from repercussions from villains and things, but also because it looks cool.  We came to see Spider-Man, or Batman, that’s why they have the names in the titles.  It’s not Clark Kent vs Bruce Wayne we’re looking forward to next week.    The only movie I’d be okay with it just being about the identity and not the superhero is a Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark movie, which I guess in retrospect they did, but it was marketed as Iron Man 3.   If they called it Tony Stark I might have liked it a little more.

But now, hopefully, theoretically, we can get a Spider-Man movie where he’s Peter Parker when he needs to be, but when he’s Spider-Man he’s freaking Spider-Man, and let the eyes in the mask change to show his emotions, and his body language, not him removing the mask in the fight at the end for no reason.

Also, side note, I really hope that they found the right balance this time out.  With Tobey Maguire, we had a great Peter Parker, but a silent Spider-Man who had a few wisecracks here and there.   With Andrew Garfield, his Peter Parker could have used some work, but in just his first scene in the suit in The Amazing Spider-Man, he captured the essence of who and what Spider-Man his better than Tobey did in 3 movies.  If we can get a good Peter Parker, and a good Spider-Man, I’ll be happy.

The other aspect that people have been complaining about, his voice.  In this movie, he’s supposed to be a teenager, so he’s going to sound young.  What do you want, a gruff, Christian Bale as Batman voice coming out of the mask?   He sounds like he should.  I’m really hoping that third time is the charm, and his Spider-Man does well enough that we can get out of the high school setting in the movies, a setting where his stories only took place during the first couple years of the book being published, yet Marvel assumes everyone associates Spider-Man with teenager for whatever reason.

 

And far as the costume itself, look at it, it really looks like, bells and whistles aside, that it was made by an untrained teenager.  You’re telling me that either of these other ones..

spiderman

Andrew-Garfield-Spiderman-Cover_0-510x679

Do either of those look like they were designed by anyone other than professional studio costume designers?  No, they don’t.  They look equally cool, but clearly professional, and not by a teenage kid.   Now let’s look at our new Spider-Man again.

spiderman

That looks like, mask changing aside, that it was designed at home on a sewing machine.  It’s weird though, it never bothered me up til now that the costumes in previous movies looked costumes from movies, but in this case I’m making a deal about it (not a big deal, just a deal) but it rings true to who the character is.

This is all from just a few seconds more of footage though then what’s in that .gif , he could suck in the role, when we see him in the actual movie in a  few months, and this will have been a grossly misinformed article, and the internet haters would have been right all along, but by this point Marvel seems to know what they’re doing when it comes to casting.

Reel Geek Origins

 

Good morning once again fair readers.  I figure it’s only appropriate in writing this new blog that I fill you in as to why I’m even writing a geek fitness/lifestyle blog anyway, where are my credentials.   Well on the fitness side, I don’t really have any.  I’m just an ordinary geek like you, who just decided to turn my life around one day and so far it’s been getting better, as have I, every day.  I don’t have a fancy gym membership, or even a not fancy gym membership, just a small kind of crappy gym in my apartment complex and a decent pair of running shoes, and a lot of willpower and dedication.   But I’ll tell you that story in a minute.

As far as the geek cred goes, let’s just say my fate was sealed when my first memory was seeing Return of the Jedi, opening day, back in May of 1983, when I was 3 years old.  I grew up in the prime decade for great geek things, the 80s,  Transformers, GI Joe, Voltron, Robotech, The Goonies, Ghostbusters…all that stuff.  That also dates me a bit, but I don’t care, it was a fantastic time to be a kid.

 

mike keskeys before

 

This was me before, a few years ago, but I this is about the same level where I was at fitness wise, as in not so much.  Not fat fat, but not like particulary fit either.  And at the time I was perfectly content to live that way.   It was of course, until a girl came into my life.

 

Met her at a Star Wars trivia game at Dave and Buster’s, and I was hooked instantly, beautiful, smart, and as much, no, I take that back, more of a Star Wars geek than I was.  We clicked instantly, but as it turned out there was a boyfriend in the picture.   So I moved on, we stayed friends though, and ended up dating a few months later, just in time for the release date of Star Wars Episode 7.   We had a great month together, it was like a dream, being with someone who not only was beautiful, but I could be me around, which is to say a total geek.  She wanted to see my comic collection, and that was a turn on.  That doesn’t happen in real life, but it did.  But things started to fall apart soon after.  It didn’t help that I was a smoker of 18 years.  Even trying to brush my teeth and chew gum, changing clothes before I saw her didn’t help.  It was a definite problem in our relationship.  The other problem was, well it was me, I have an addictive personality, when I get into things I get into things, relationships included.  It got to the point where I became clingy, and it’s definitely not an attractive look.

 

It could have been any number of those things, but one day towards the end of January, she comes over and says to me whatever spark she once had for me it was gone, just like that.  I was devastated, to feel like I finally found my match, after years  of searching, and thinking that women like that are a myth made up by bad writers,  and it was just over.

I of course turned to my only comfort in times as dark as that, alcohol, and chain smoking.  It turned out that some new level of maturity hit me that neither of those things was actually helping me feel any better.  It certainly wasn’t filling that void in my soul.

So, after a weekend of that, I made the decision that I was going to turn my life around, and re-dedicated myself to a workout routine, 3 days a week I figured was good.  So, I ran a bit on the treadmill, then Monday was chest day, Tuesday was back and shoulders, and Wednesday was arms.    It wasn’t enough of course, but it’s a good initial plan, like 12% of a plan.

By Wednesday I realized that I couldn’t get anywhere doing things like this and still smoking, so I smoked my last cigarette, and got some nicotine patches.  By the next week I was able to actually run again,  doing a mile in short gaps of walking then running.  And things were slowly forming together.  After that it hit me, what if I started actually eating right, what could I do then?

So, my next time grocery shopping, I got all low calorie options, some vegetables, some grapes to snack on, a healthy cereal, Lean Cuisines, all that stuff.  And actually spent less on that then I did when I was buying junk food.  Go figure.

So, the next step of my journey was complete.  I started cooking a chicken breast for dinner every night, along with either a salad or microwaved vegetable of some kind.  (My personal favorite was the Bird’s Eye Buffalo flavored Cauliflower, so good)  I’d Mcguyver up some kind of seasonings with it from the spice rack, Lemon Pepper and Cayenne was a particularly good choice.    And I was on my way to the path of awesomeness.  I bought a scale, and saw that I’d gone down from 220 to a about 215 or so, and I knew I was on the right track.

A few weeks after all that, came the day that my ex had mentioned to me was going to be a thing, we’d go on a try out date to see Deadpool,  as we’d already had plans to see it before things fell apart anyway, to see if things could work out between us.  The date was great (as was the movie, go see it if you haven’t), but in the end, she said things were still as they were a few weeks ago, my recent changes weren’t enough to lower the red flags from earlier, and that was that.

Second heartbreak even worse than the first.  I couldn’t sleep that night, well barely.  I was up at 4 am, and did the only thing I could do to make me feel anything other than empty.  I ran.  I ran so far away…no wait that’s a Flock of Seagulls song.  But I did run, longer and farther than I had previously.  From my apartment to the Wal-Mart Supermarket parking lot, like a mile away.

I felt great, accomplished, some good had come out of this pain.  So I shared my distance calculated by my Google Fit app on Instagram, and it got a few likes, and I started to see the pieces come together.

That became my new addiction, running, 4-5 am, five days a week, I’m out there, getting better every day.  I also added in a core workout for Thursday, and a circuit training session for Friday I read about in an issue of Men’s Health.      And just like that, the routine was complete, and I went from that, to this.

 

mike keskeys after

 

Not that much different, a little slimmer, 6 pounds lighter, and a pants size smaller, but you can see the change.  I’m only just getting started too.  As I said on Instagram yesterday, No supplements, No substitutions, just Maximum Effort.   That’s all I do, and I’m still working on improving myself. My journey’s not over, it’s only Chapter 1.   Welcome, we’ve got a lot of work to do, so Allons-Y, and let’s get dangerous.

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Prologue:A New Beginning

Good morning, internet. This is the start of something awesome.  I started a journey to better myself almost two months ago now, and have received a  few compliments that I’ve helped inspire some friends.  That came as something of a shock to me, as I’ve never been a role model, but I’m just glad to help.

 

So, the inspiration struck to document this journey to a better life, and I’ve always liked helping people, and writing, the only thing missing was a name. I started hash tagging my fitness pics on Instagram  (Reel_Geeks_Guide) as #fitnessgeek. It turned out there was already a guy using that name on Facebook, though I doubt his geek cred.

Inspiration struck further still a little while ago in the shower,  my own personal bat flying through my window,  ReelGeeksGuide. Com, if it wasn’t a thing yet, which it obviously wasn’t,  so here we are.

I wanted a place where people of all levels, the geeks, the freaks,  anyone who wants to better themselves can come for some entertainment and inspiration.  I’ll tell you my stories, you tell me yours, and together we’ll figure out how to be the best versions of ourselves we can be.