The X-Factor; Designer Superhero Workout Training Tips and Advice

Greetings true believers

With the new series of articles on Designer Superhero Workouts just beginning; I thought it only wise to give you some handy tips and advice to help you get the most from your workouts.

That’s right, beloved reader, today we learn from that diverse gang of Super Heroes, the X-Men. Thus, Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will be sciencing you upside the head mutant style.

So what can we learn from these genetically mutated folk?

We can learn a lot of handy training tips and tactics from these diverse and over-the-top politically correct chaps.

Periodization

What’s this periodization business? 

Periodization can be defined as a system for program design that plans appropriate cycles and training phases. The system used in the Designer Superhero Workouts.

The human machine, being what it, is an incredibly adaptive organism; quickly responding to its input. You lift heavy you get strong. You stretch you’ll get flexible. You run for hours upon hours per day, you will have improved cardiovascular endurance.

But because it adapts to the input, it will become complacent, thus reducing the results. When this happens things need to be switched around a bit, to ‘shock’ the body into having to adapt again, producing new results. Do you think the X-Men do the same training day in day out in the danger room? Nope.

It has been time and time again proven for success in achieving training goals and has a track record of over 50 years of development. Research has confirmed that periodization has the ability to produce significantly better results than straight set training or normal progression type training. Michael JordanMuhammad AliUsain Bolt, Babe Ruth, Tiger woods, and Bruce Lee have all used this wonderful training tactic. It also provides the ultimate training log. Looking back on a year’s periodized training will really give clarity on how much you have accomplished over that time.

Program Design

This represents a periodized table of progression, working up to a competition.

Any good training programme should be considered as ongoing and therefore broken down into calendar based blocks of time based periods that usually termed as ‘cycles’.

During each cycle prioritize working on the attributes which will benefit the athlete. Within these cycles we have Macrocycles, planning the overall outline of the program and commonly lasting for three-month periods, give or take, depending on the individual athlete’s goals.

Macrocycles are then, in turn, broken down again into smaller more manageable segments called Mesocycles.

Training Phases

These are the Mesocycles, which enable the athlete to efficiently track their progress, maybe reassess their goals if necessary and tailor the routine to suit and desired changes; such as training tactics, nutrition, intensity etc. The cycles run from 3 to 12 weeks, but great yields can result from longer or shorter periods, dependant upon genetics, muscle fibre composition and already established attribute levels. A 3 to 8 week Mesocycle suits most people.

Hypertrophy phase: During this is the phase for the athlete will be most effective hitting a rep range between strength training and endurance training; that will stimulate all the different fibre types, thus, the greatest overall hypertrophy.

Hugh Jackman preparing to do some heavy squats for a hypertrophy phase.

Strength / power phases: Characterised by extremely high levels of intensity, all-out short distance sprints, lifting extremely heavy but for very low reps or a three-minute round in the boxing ring.

The easiest transition between phases is from strength to power; gradually decrease the reps from the usual 8 down to a range of 1 to 6, whilst also removing some exercises to really focus on the core movements for power: such as barbell squats, deadlifts,  bench press, bent-over barbell rows, military press etc.

Endurance phase: This phases consists of lower intensity but higher-volume workouts. Muscular and cardiovascular endurance will be the primary focus. It also functions as an experimental phase of sorts.

If there are new exercise techniques that need to be introduced, this is the phase for it. Given the low intensity, (weight usually), gives the athlete the opportunity to master them, the added repetitions required for the high-volume element.

Transitional phase: This is the transitional phase, to morph one phase into another. For example:gradually bringing the reps up when moving from a strength phase to an endurance phase, and visa versa.

Swimming is a fine example of ‘active rest’. I’m sure there are rules about adamantium claws in the swimming pool though.

Active rest: On ‘rest’ days it can sometimes be a good idea to get  what is known as ‘active rest’, keeping you geared up athletically but recreationally.

Body-weight Exercises

Hank McCoy demonstrates the value of bodyweight exercises.

If you wish to attain Beast-like agility, then add body-weight exercises as often as possible, like chin ups, pull-ups and bodyweight dips. When you can add extra resistance to those, you’ll be able to perform great feats of agility.

It’s common sense; let’s say you perform jumping squats whilst holding 2 dumbbells; when you get rid of the extra weight of the dumbbells, your jump height will be significantly higher.

You can also add a flexibility routine. A greater range of movement will facilitate greater dexterity.  

Break it down and rebuild it

BAMF!

When Nightcrawler teleports, all of the atoms in his body disassemble, pass through another plane of existence, then reassemble at another point in space and time.

A similar process is occurring in your skeletal muscle when you are working out, the exertion of the training breaks the muscle down, actually damaging the tissue. The body then reacts to this by re-growth geared toward the new input.

This anabolic process occurs when you are resting and eating, that’s when the cells get reassembled. Once the skeletal muscle has been nicely broken down, even they haven’t travelled through another plane of existence, we still need to put them back together.

Thus we need . . .

SNIKT!

“Recovery bub”

The sooner one can recover from a training session, the sooner one can train again, speeding up the results. That’s simple for Wolverine; he regenerates. It doesn’t matter how much he gets cut, smashed, pummelled, drinks or smokes; he never takes any lasting or permanent damage or even gains a scar.

So, bereft of mutant powers how can we get recovering at such a rate?

Protein: Already covered this in ‘The Asgardian Power-House‘, but a little more detail couldn’t hurt. Get plenty of it, from high quality sources. The reason for this is that the building blocks of protein are called amino acids, and they all have a different and vital function.

Human protein is formed from 20 amino acids that are found within proteins.  Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid, Cysteine,  Glutamic acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine Threonine,  Tryptophan, Tyrosine and Valine.

Humans can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids. The others must be supplied in the food. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, those that we cannot make, results in degradation of the body’s proteins—muscle and so forth—to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. Unlike fat and starch, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use—the amino acids must be in the food every day.

Non-Essential amino acids: The 10 amino acids that are essential, those that can be converted by the liver from other nutrients are; alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, so if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well.

Essential amino acids: Are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. This means we must consume them and / or supplement them in our diets. Supplementation may be the only option for some of these if you’re vegetarian and the only option if you happen to be vegan.

Glutamine

This is the stuff I’m talking about, the very brand that yours truly uses. It’ll have you recovering like Wolverine.

We’re going to focus on one really important one for regeneration. Glutamine plays a role in a variety of biochemical functions, including: Protein bio-synthesis, as any other of the proteinogenic amino acids, regulation of acid-base balance in the kidney by producing ammonium, nitrogen donation for many anabolic processes including the synthesis of purines, carbon donation, as a source, refilling the citric acid cycle, nontoxic transporter of ammonia in the blood circulation.

Basically, whenever your body needs to make a repair, glutamine is the primary amino acid it goes to for most reparation chores. When any part of your body needs healing, say from a cut, recovery from a hangover or even sleep deprivation, it’s glutamine that gets used, and a great majority is extracted straight from the skeletal muscles. Unless there is some spare via supplementation. There aren’t many supplements worth spending your hard-earned or hard-stolen cash on but glutamine is without doubt one of them, get it in powdered form, for ease of absorption.

Sleep

Most of us don’t get anywhere near enough sleep, the regeneration magic happens then But when we are so busy in our daily lives with those vile afflictions known as day jobs, those wondrous affairs called social lives and those horrors we address as responsibilities; sleep is the first thing Sleep deprivation can have a big impact on our metabolism; slowing it down and hoarding fat and not getting enough sleep slows glucose metabolism by as much as 30 to 40 percent, causing even more fat gain. EEK

Eve Van Cauter, PhD , from the University of Chicago Medical School, studied the effects of three different durations of sleep in eleven men aged 18 to 27.

For the first three nights of the study, the men slept eight hours per night; for the next six nights, they slept four hours per night; for the last seven nights, they slept 12 hours per night. Results showed that after four hours of sleep per night, they metabolized glucose least efficiently. Levels of cortisol were also higher, which has been linked to memory impairment, age-related insulin resistance, and impaired recovery in athletes.

Van Cauter said that after only one week of sleep restriction, young, healthy males had glucose levels that were no longer normal and showed a rapid deterioration of the body’s functions. This reduced ability of the body to manage glucose is similar to those found in the elderly. This study shows that sleep deprivation can negatively impact physiology that is critical for athletic performance — glucose metabolism and cortisol status.

While no one completely understands the complexities of sleep, this does indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to decreased activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis.

Psylocke demonstrates sleeping. Never mind showing off all the psychic abilities and martial skills, eh?

So how much sleep is required?

It going to differ from person to person, but the general consensus is 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, more for is required for athletes due to greater physical exertion. A minimum of 6, preferably 7, and if you’re raining hard 8 to 9 hours.

Some of our genes act as internal clocks and release hormones according to cycles called circadian rhythms, which are triggered by darkness and light and alternate over 24-hour periods. When we mess with these rhythms by not getting enough sleep, our metabolism of glucose declines, and our level of cortisol increases. Further, sleeping for long stretches is naturally anabolic.

During deep sleep, our bodies release growth hormone, which stimulates the healing and growth of muscle and bone. So while it’s possible to push through a lack of sleep during any one day, proper sleep helps athletes by boosting areas of performance that require cognitive function, reaction time, hand-eye coordination and of course it aids recovery from grueling workouts.

Anything else? It is a pretty big team to learn from

Use your mind.

The mind-muscle-connection

Great things can be accomplished with strong focus, concentration and visualisation. A technique utilised by many athletic pros to maximize muscle and performance. By developing a strong ‘mind-muscle connection’ ,this connection is made by visualizing the muscle being trained and focusing on the feeling of it working through its complete range of motion during each rep.

When applying the technique don’t think about where you feel the muscular stimulus, think about where you’re supposed to feel the stimulus. For example; during press ups the muscle that should be shifting all the weight are the pectoralis major, but a lot of people end up focusing too much on the arms, triceps specifically, which are only assisting the movement. Instead you must focus on contacting the pectorals thereby bringing the arms together and forward, the triceps assisting only to extend the elbow joint. Continue with this thought process during the negative phase of the movement, focusing on the feeling of the pectorals stretching.

Keeping your mental focus channeled in this manner will direct the majority of stress to the target muscles of your chest, maximizing muscular stimulation. It sounds daft, far-fetched even a little sci-fi but believe in your Rogue Advisor, beloved reader, the mind-muscle connection is the real deal.

Visualization

Some athletes routinely use visualization techniques in both training and competition. Those who’ve used these techniques have cultivated not only a competitive edge, but also found renewed mental awareness, and a heightened sense of focus.

Visualization is also referred to as guided imagery, mental rehearsal, mediation, etc. Regardless of the term applied, the techniques and concepts are the same. Visualization is the mental process of creating an image or intention of what you desire.

Colossus. Clearly.

“Throughout my bodybuilding career, I was constantly playing tricks on my mind. This is why I began to think of my biceps as mountains, instead of flesh and blood. Thinking of my biceps as mountains made my arms grow faster and bigger than if I’d seen them only as muscles.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

This technique can be used to increase the ‘intent’ of the result of a competition or training session. By visualizing the desired scene, complete with reverie of a previous best performance or a future target, the athlete is then ‘steps into’ that feeling. While imagining these scenarios, the athlete will imagine in perfect detail, all the myriad sensations of the way it feels to perform in the desired way, or the results wanted from that training session.

And finally

Keep it cool.

No really. It does wonders for you. Every time you get stressed out, start vexing or get your raging bellyache on, you get a massive surge of nasty old cortisol, which breaks down muscle tissue. So when you have to skip a meal or a workout, don’t be miffed but don’t use cortisol as an excuse to slack off either. Temperature also affects testosterone levels. Everyone knows that guys who sleep in the cold have a higher sperm count right? That’s because testosterone is boosted when the testicles are at just the right chilly temperature. Yay.

Until next time. Stay informed.

 

“There can be only one”

On April 1oth your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor set the task to create an awesome character to win a rather humble prize. Using Hero Machine 2.5 you, beloved reader, had the challenge to create a new and awesome character.

The response overwhelming, thus even though the deadline for entries was the 21st, the colossal task of selecting the best from so many awesome characters has taken yours truly until now to decide who will become the proud new owner of a plush Boba Fett.

With HeroMachine 2.5, you can create groovy characters such as this perfectly accurate depiction of yours truly.

With HeroMachine 2.5, you can create groovy characters such as this perfectly accurate depiction of yours truly. Protector of London.

It was tough choosing, and believe me beloved reader,I have tried to be as fair as possible in my selection from the 167 entries. Yup. 167. Not bad for a blog that’s been  running for a few months.

Bizarrely only one of my Facebook chums bothered to enter, yet I had 23 entries from beloved readers in the realm known as Canada and 34 from people I have never met in Poland!

Shame be upon thee and thine Facebook ‘chums’

With mild disappointment in the aforementioned, yet overwhelmed by the coolness brought to you today. I present to you in this post of creative glory from around the globe, the best 5 original characters.

But first

The one Facebook chum that bothered to enter, who is more than just some bloke I chat with online, is presented here as a bonus. I’m sorry Double-G, but your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor cannot in good conscience allow favouritism to get the better of me.

Besides which, my cowl increases my moralistic logic, thus you have not won the prize my friend. But I will show your creation to the world!

Daichi

How sweet, innocent and virginal she looks. That cat looks dodgy though.

How sweet, innocent and virginal she looks.
That cat looks dodgy though.

Double G, being  as awkward as ever, has 2 pictures, thus we will have to rearrange the layout just for him, and cough up the background story first.

Origin: Daichi Me’anor was an innocent Japanese schoolgirl. Her father really wanted a son and was really mean to Daichi, giving her a boy’s name and constantly demeaning her as well as renting her out to her dads evil corporate friends including the head of the Japanese World Police (JWP). She was abused so much that a demon came to her and offered to help free her from her father, in return for her soul. Daichi was so desperate she agreed.

The demon did as he had agreed and freed Daichi, by killing her father and framing her. The JWP arrested, tried and executed her, sending her soul to hell. In hell she was tortured and broken for what felt like an eternity to her. Eventually she grew to like it. (Always time for a little S&M)

Reforming her broken body with scavenged limbs from other broken souls she grew strong. Eventually her evil demeanour and damn craziness drew the eye of a powerful prince of hell; he saw a lot of potential in her and wanted to raise her from her sorry state. He tutored her in demonic powers and dark sorceries and let her gobble down on his evil gargantuan engorged power (or other p word).

Eventually the prince of hell felt that she needed to progress to the next stage in her training. Casting her out from hell with only the few powers that had been taught her the prince demanded that she defeat her own demons from her past before he could bless her with her own proper demonhood; he ordered her to hunt down and get vengeance on the friends of her father, for the abuses they had inflicted on her flesh and for putting her to death and sending her to hell.

But standing outside the gates of hell Daichi is torn. She can see the dark path laid out before her but dare she tread it? Is there another path she can walk? Will she hunt down and brutally murder all those who had raped her as she was supposed to? Perhaps she should go and try to find the one friend she had when she was alive, then she could ask for advice…..

Miss Daemon Meaner

By George Douglas Gregory, London, UK.

By: George Douglas Gregory, London, UK.

Powers / Abilities:  When first let loose from hell she does not have a full grasp of her powers, but is able to summon demonfire and befuddle minds, especially of men (Succubus style). She can also conceal her demonic appearance, at least for a short time (but if she gets excited she loses her camouflage).

Skills: She loves Sadomasochism and is obsessed with blades, needles, whips or anything that she can use to inflict or receive pain.

Statistics: Strength-33, Agility-89, Speed – 75, Endurance – 28, Intelligence – 55, Charisma – 87

What can I say? I know you were trying hard to appeal to my nature to win, knowing that I would appreciate the similarities with the Spawn storyline, my affection for Japanese school girls, and you even did a little research  (or maybe a really unlikely fluke), naming her Daichi which roughly translates as first blood. Nothing to do with Rambo though. But now, on with the show.

"There can be only one"

“There can be only one”

As I laboured affectionately through the 167, (I’m still impressed with that number), entries, I had certain criteria to be adhered to, mostly originality and sustainability. The character had to fresh and new, unlike what has gone before but also able to keep readers and /or viewers interested if the character ever got a comic and / or TV show for a long period of time.

As for the 161 characters that didn’t make it to this post; fear not beloved reader, as your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will be adding a databank of these creative gems to Level Up, thus they will not go unseen by the world. It may take a while, Google translate is pretty good, but I have had to use it on most of the entries. Some things may have been lost in translation.

Boom Daddy

By: Alan Myers, Southend-On-Sea, UK

By: Alan Myers, Southend-On-Sea, UK

Powers and abilities: Ex-Marines turned nightclub DJ, Danny Greenway, has no powers that could be described as ‘super’. He trains physically to almost Olympic level fitness, and is a peerless marksman.

Skills: He was a bully at school, but also got bullied himself for being so vertically challenged. He is only 5′ 3″, (Rogue Advisor’s note; that’s the same height as Wolverine. Really. Hugh Jackman is way too tall for the role; should have been played by Peter Dinklage), and all the beatings he took and gave made him a well ‘ard brawler.

When he left school he joined the Royal Marines; according to the revised height requirements he only just managed to join. He served for 6 years, becoming a Paratrooper and familiarizing himself with every combat technique and weapon possible. He spent some time as a sniper, now he has the patience of a chopping block.

Statistics: Strength-76, Agility-68, Speed – 64, Endurance – 98, Intelligence – 46, Charisma – 13

Origin: He left the marines in 2012, during the recession and couldn’t find a job, so he ended up sleeping on his mate’s couch. Paul Kenny, his accommodating friend, was a successful DJ at many clubs in the Essex area, (That’s South-East England for our non-British readers info), and in his spare time taught Danny the fine art of being a DJ. Soon enough, Danny was part-time DJ-ing and had another part-time job training Territorial Army recruits.

Unknown to Danny, while he had been gone, a drug war had started in his home town of sunny Southend-On-Sea. Paul had become part of this, allowing the Wickers gang sneaky entry into the clubs he DJ-ed at in return for a cheeky profit. But this backfired when the Cheung triad gang from York Road Chinatown killed most of the Wickers gang in a club called T.O.T.S, (Talk of the South), in a massive bloodbath shootout. Paul, the Cheung gang thinking him one of the Wickers gang, was kidnapped, tortured and mutilated beyond recognition before dying from his severe wounds.

The police couldn’t identify his corpse, because he was discovered naked, with no I.D, all his teeth had been pulled out and all his fingers cut off. The rest of Paul was so horribly burned and mutilated, they actually had trouble figuring out what gender he was.

He found this out from one of the few surviving member of the wickers gang, a 15-year-old burglar called Jamie Witt. Danny swore revenge. He took Paul’s identity, gaining him a lot of money to work on his plan of vengeance. Then he bided his time a little, drank a lot, which gives him his jaundiced appearance caused by liver damage, until the police investigation was over and the building the club was in was back on the market. By this time he was a full-blown alcoholic.

He purchased the nightclub formerly known as T.O.T.S, and refurbished it under the guise of a steel mill. He accomplished this by calling i some favours from his old Marine buddies, and bringing in an unholy amount of weaponry at the same time.

He took Jamie the young burglar under his wing, for scouting purposes, along with the most promising selection of his students at the Territorial Army Base. He wears no disguise, when he kills his enemies, he wants them to know who done it. The war rages still, the Cheungs are many and Boom Daddy’s crew are few, But he will never stop.

The Iron Valkyrie 

By: Addi Lund, Denmark.

By: Addi Lund, Denmark.

Powers / Abilities: She has all the battle prowess and fighting skills you would expect from a Valkyrie, one of the greatest warrior maidens of Valhalla. Her real name is Helga Grímnismál; her strength and equestrian abilities are second to none. She is ambidextrous, choosing to dual wield war axes with unerring accuracy. She can communicate with horses and ravens, and these creatures will fearlessly do her bidding,  no matter the task.

Skills: She has been a passionate smith since she was 8-years-old, working the forge everyday. Such dedication to the craft of smithing granted her great strength, endurance and of course remarkable skill.

Any weapon she makes seems to never need to be sharpened, the armour she has forged have saved countless lives. Her dual war axes are virtually indestructible as is her armour. She also carries a selection of differently weighted throwing axes, meant for different ranges of attack and for penetrating different kinds of armour.

Statistics: Strength-98, Agility-88, Speed – 74, Endurance – 89, Intelligence – 62, Charisma – 48

Origin: Helga is a true native of Valhalla, for 33 years her life was nothing more than combat, combat practice and working the forge. One day though she was exiled, given no explanations as to what her crimes were.

She found herself in Romania, minus all her equipment but not her combat skills and stoic resolve. A woman of her abilities found it easy to get things done in such a place, she forged new equipment, disapproving of the weak steel found on Earth.

Now she strives to clear her name and return to Valhalla. Little did she know that it was her jealous ex-lover Zane Jensen, who knew he could never be the warrior nor smith she was, who had set her up. He had ensured that she brought a cowards soul to Valhalla.

Merpyro

By: Albert Slusarczyk, from: Plock, Poland.

By: Albert Slusarczyk, from: Plock, Poland.

Rogue Advisor’s note: Google translate is particularly poor with Polish language, so I have had to assume and / or guess what Merpyro is all about.

Powers /Abilities: At 2.6 metres tall, Merpyro is hard to miss, and with his size comes strength comparable to the Fantastic Four’s Thing. He dubbed himself the King of all the Swamps, as he can teleport from swamp to swamp all over the planet.

His scaly flesh acts similar to scale mail armour, and once again is on par with the Things toughness. He is immune to fire and all related fire-based attacks. If attacked with fire, he will absorb it, store it in his bloodstream and then may later produce an equal amount to that absorbed to be used as he pleases. Also he can control the absorbed fire, as seen in the picture in his left hand, he can convert it to light rays. The absorbed fire can be directed and controlled into columns, pillars, walls, shields, balls and cone-shaped forms of attack; a great method for crowd control. Sometimes he even wears it as a hat.

Of course he is an amphibian, making him capable of breathing both air and water, his gills also function as a filter, making him immune to any airborne toxins. If, somehow he finds himself trapped in a place with the only breathable source being a finite amount of oxygen, he can slow his metabolism to crawl; slowing his breathing to use what is available as efficiently as possible.

No reptilian creature will ever attack Merpyro, and even though he is mute, he can communicate with them emphatically. Reptiles no matter how small will always come to his aid.

Being somewhat reptilian himself he has perfect camouflage abilities, but only if he hasn’t absorbed any fire, it will make him appear as a ghostly outline. He regularly cuts off his own tail, just to let a new one grow back and choose a new colour for it.

Being a lumbering giant of a creature, you’d expect him to make a lot of noise and be clumsy; this is not so when in swamp land. He moves through swampland in complete silence, leaves absolutely no trace of where he has been and can make his presence undetectable even by those with mind reading powers, and is odourless when in that environment.

However, his powers, strength and even cognitive abilities will slowly degrade if he is not in a swamp environment.

Skills: He is master of an unarmed  Martial art as yet unknown to most of the world. The movements are heavy-duty grappling techniques combined with massive strikes, somewhere between wrestling and kick boxing. He can without peer track anyone or anything on swamp territory, even the invisible and silent can be found by him. Below the statistics shown in brackets are when he is away from swamp territory.

Statistics: Strength-100, (57) , Agility-76,(23), Speed – 68, (13), Endurance – 100, (40),, Intelligence – 33, (12), Charisma – 48, (11), always counts as 100 when dealing with reptiles.

Origin: Little is known about Merpyro, because he is mute he is unable to communicate with anyone who is not reptilian. He has never attacked anyone without provocation, unless they are hunting in his swamp. There is a rumour, because of his teleportation ability that  there are more than one of  Merpyro. There have been reports of his sightings for centuries, giving speculation to how old he really is and has been publicised in some media as ‘big foot’.

The Chaplain

By:Carter Wilson, New Brunswick. Canada.

By: Carter Wilson, New Brunswick. Canada.

Powers /Abilities: Incredible strength, which increases with his ‘Holy rage’. In this state of clearly not normal sanity, he feels no pain, and will attack with his knuckle duster / battle axe combo weapon anyone and everyone, friend or foe.

He is the guy you send in to clear a room full of bad-mofos. Possibly torturing the last survivor for fun. The pages of the strange ‘Holy book’ he carries give him divination powers, such as clairaudience and clairvoyance.

Even without consulting the tome, he can predict events several seconds into the future. it also increases his charisma, so that he may ‘convert’ others to his warped religion. The book is an actual living entity that is symbiotic. It has merged with his mind sending him into the depths of true irreversible madness.

Skills: Real name Javier Ramirez is an expert in Mexican wrestling, and thanks to the book he holds onto so dearly, he can communicate in every dialect of every language. The intelligence in brackets below is his natural score; the book increases his IQ.

Statistics: Strength-78 , Agility-43, Speed – 39, Endurance – 99, Intelligence – 96, (12), Charisma – 75, (9 without the book, he ain’t pretty and has a very bad attitude as is)

Origin: Ever since he was a young boy, he wanted to dominate the Mexican wrestling scene, which he accomplished, undefeated in over 123 bouts. But his family were poor and his mother dying, she needed treatment he could not afford, and the wrestling prize money just wasn’t enough. He turned to crime and began a racketeering business. until one day, whilst holding aloft a scrawny bookshop proprietor, he was offered the ‘Holy book’ as collateral for the protection money owed.

The book instantly began to take a grip on his weak mind. He snapped the neck of the shop keeper, (the shadowy figure behind The Chaplain in the picture), who had actually planned the whole thing, Thinking nothing more of it The Chaplain went on to his next illicit collection point.

The old shop keeper is the voice of the book, and the targets selected to be killed are all non-Catholics. The Chaplains mind has been warped into that of a religious genocidal maniac.

The Victor!

Larcen Yart

By: Hunter Tremblay, from Manitoba, Canada.

By: Hunter Tremblay, from Manitoba, Canada.

Powers and abilities: Larcen was born with ability to absorb and integrate any DNA, picking and choosing what he would like to add, sometimes using DNA coding to remove flaws in himself. This has allowed him to acquire a varied range of strange and unique powers.

This is accomplished by simply touching the living creature with the DNA he desires, but there is a drawback; sometimes he will take on physical characteristics of the creature from the new DNA, changing his appearance on a regular basis. Very useful in his trade as an intergalactic smuggler.

All his attributes have been improved through DNA remodelling, he has heightened senses of smell, vision, (he can now see in all spectrums of vision), and hearing, he changed his sense of touch to make his pain receptors less sensitive and his pleasure receptors more powerful. He increased his bone density to that of steel, and increased the range of his ligaments and tendons to be able to contort into very small spaces. He has boosted his metabolism to an astonishing rate, because of this he heals and recovers from diseases and viruses, (from which he can also utilise the DNA of), but must compensate by taking in a vast amount of calories. He has camouflage abilities, but they’re imperfect, he shimmers as he does. His DNA remodelling is not perfect. He does however have a perfect ‘Spidey sense’, that warns him of imminent danger. DNA remodelling has allowed him to breath in various environments, including underwater. He cannot absorb any knowledge with this power though.

Skills: He is a tech genius, but not with weaponry. He wears on his left hand a force field generator, it has 2 projection point to be able to project 2 different kinds of field at the same time if required. The force fields produced can take the form of shields that protect from physical, energy, nuclear, gaseous and explosive attacks.

Attached to his right wrist is a scanning device, that can detect any life form and analyse it from a distance of up to 12 kilometers. The collar he wears acts as a translating device and also allows him to survive in environments he hasn’t absorbed the DNA for.

Statistics: Strength-65, Agility-92, Speed – 92, Endurance – 72, Intelligence – 88, Charisma – 79

Origin: He was raised as an only child by his father who was the man that taught him all his tech knowledge. As  a child though, when running a simple errand he was kidnapped by slavers, to be sold for sordid tasks.

Being unaware of his power, each of the 7 men who took him had manhandled him at various points, unknowingly giving him their DNA. The DNA remodelling takes days, sometimes even weeks, so he was trapped on the slavers ship for some time with other slaves, whose DNA he made sure to absorb also. After the remodelling was complete, he was the fastest, strongest and toughest on the ship.

He freed the other slaves and took the vessel as his own. However after travelling so long and far, he had no idea where he was. Some of the slaves remained with him to crew the vessel, even though none of them knew how to navigate through the stars, but some were pilots. They now spend their days smuggling, Larcen is now notorious with the intergalactic authorities, but extremely hard to identify due to all the DNA remodelling.

Conclusion: A group of original and sustainable characters from the four corners of the Earth, all have their merits. But Larcen Yart, the name alone, get it? Larceny art. Roguish genius.

So if Mr Tremblay will send me via e-mail the postal address he wishes his prize to be sent to, he will soon be the proud new owner of he-who-survived-the-Sarlacc. Yay

Please feel free, beloved reader to submit characters any time you please to augment the database. They will be eligible for future competitions.

Until next time. Keep Creating.

 

Designer Superhero Workout Basics

Greetings true believers

Reckon you know the names of all these Marvel characters?

Reckon you know the names of all these Marvel characters?

This pre-post to the series of Super hero specific workouts, will outline the basics that need to be adhered to. These ‘rules’ aren’t steadfast and unbreakable, they are adaptable to individual needs and also sometimes ‘tweaked’ for each specific character’s physique requirements.

Unlike most of the workouts thus far on Level Up, you will need equipment for this training, and also isn’t advisable for a total beginner. If however, you have been working out, or following the Batman zero to hero fitness guide, then your body will be primed and ready.

OK Dc fans, can you name all these chracters?

OK DC comic fans, can you name all these characters?

The Plan

Each customized workout plan will be a 12 week intensive fast-tracked journey to bad-assery, separated into 4 week blocks, this is known as periodized training, (see the Hulk link above for more information),and covering, dependant on the hero in question, one or more of the components of fitness.

1. Cardiovascular Fitness: Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart, lungs and vascular system to deliver oxygen-rich blood to working muscles during sustained physical activity.

2. Muscular Strength: Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert against resistance.

3. Muscular Endurance: Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to repeat a movement many times for an extended period of time.

4. Flexibility :Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen, producing greater range of movement and thus, augmenting agility.

5. Body Composition: Body composition is the amount of fat in the body compared to the amount of lean mass, muscle, bones etc. this is the one we all want. Lean bodies with great attributes. Sweet.

Equipment

That is an impressive home multi-gym.  Dear Santa . . . . .

That is an impressive home multi-gym.
Dear Santa . . . . .

Unfortunately you will be needing either a gym membership or some comprehensive home training equipment for these workouts. Sorry, beloved reader, but some heroes are just so very mighty this will be essential.

The gym: Be warned , beloved reader, these overpopulated establishments are full of morons, degenerates and cretins. Then you once you’ve avoided the instructors and so-called personal trainers, you have to deal with the people who go there to work out, a  good percentage of which are meat-heads, roid-heads, jocks and gym-rats. They will attempt to impart their ‘wisdom’ upon you.

Heed not their ill-informed mewlings. The truth you require can be found right here at Level Up.

Hideeous freaks such as this are a fine example of roid-heads. Avoid, evade and don't feed them after midnight.

Hideous freaks such as this are a fine example of roid-heads. That is not the physique of a Super hero, that’s just to be avoided, evaded and never fed after midnight.

The home gym: Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor prefers the home gym set up. It means you can have a nice paced workout and don’t have to wait for an equipment hog to get of the bench / cable / barbell etc. you need.

It’s also an investment, rather than paying extortionate gym fees indefinitely, you already have all the gear you need and it ill pay for itself in about a year.

Diet

All the training in the world wont get you anywhere if your stuffing your cake hole with, well, cake.

Try to eat every 3 hours, to keep the metabolism boosted and a steady stream of nutrients coming in to help you recover from the workouts. I know this is tricky to do, and for those of us on a limited finances difficult to afford, but with a little imagination and efficient budgeting it can be done, as our hero of ‘Don’t make me Ingrey, you wouldn’t like me when I’m Ingrey’ has demonstrated.

Get plenty of protein from high quality sources: eggs, milk, fish, beef, chicken, and for those of us, like yours truly, with those horrifying afflictions known as employment, protein shakes and protein bars.

That's the kind of tasty business you wanna be munching to get results

That’s the kind of tasty business you wanna be munching to get results

If you go for the protein supplement options, be sure to get the ones with plenty of carbs in, you’ll need the energy, (If I catch any of you, no matter how beloved that reader may be, doing the vile Atkins diet, I will be forced to have stern words, all I have to say is “Shazam” and things get ghetto), they are extremely handy to sneakily get a quick protein fix if you work in a crappy job like mine where you don’t really get breaks. Thus your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor’s pockets are generally full of protein bars, and I have mastered the art of stealth eating. A skill to be reckoned with.

Protopure Recovery are generally the best value for money, and taste fairly good. Go for the chocolate cookie or chocolate, caramel and peanut flavours. Yum.

Protopure Recovery are generally the best value for money, and taste fairly good. Go for the chocolate cookie or chocolate, caramel and peanut flavours. Yum.

You’ll also want good quality sources of carbs, wholemeal versions of baked products, oatmeal, pasta, (make sure it’s cooked Al dente), and nothing with processed sugar. But you knew that already. Right?

Get healthy fats in your diet too, from fish, nuts and seeds. Bingo. You already know the foods to avoid, so I hope I wont have to bore you with all that skullduggery.

The First Instalments

The first two workouts in the series will be Spider man, followed by Thor, this is due to the very different attributes they have, giving you, beloved reader, an insight into how unique each plan will be.

You don't want to get involve in that.

You don’t want to get involved in that.

For a little extra advice and inspiration before you begin your sojourn to a customized Super look, (just in time for the nice weather), check out ‘‘The Legend of You’.

Not many of my beloved readers bother hitting the handy links I work so hard to provide you with valuable information, however I implore you to check each one on this post as they have great relevance to the subject matter.

Until next time. Stay informed.

 

Taskmaster

As requested by the infamous, nefarious and downright decadent Zsa-Zsa-La-Trine; your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor presents one of Marvel comic’s gems. He looks cool and has a cool power.

There he is in all his finery. Powers Unknown.

There he is in all his finery.
Powers Unknown.

Taskmaster

To avoid any confusion, this is Taskmaster. Powers known.

To avoid any confusion, this is Taskmaster.
Powers known.

The Taskmaster, (created by David Michelinie and George Pérez), is more often than not primarily portrayed as a villain rather than the anti-hero he really is. Real name speculated to be Tony Masters, is a mysterious figure believed to have been born in Brooklyn, New York City, and once went by the  alias Contingency T.

He made his first appearance in Avengers vol.1 #195, (May 1980),before making his full début in Avengers vol.1 #196 in which he was introduced as an enemy, and gave them a pretty hard time. Although the Avenger’s line-up, with the exception of Iron man, was fairly lame at the time.

Because of his notoriety he usually finds employment within criminal organizations as a training instructor. However, in Taskmaster vol.2 #3 (2011), it was revealed he was a sleeper agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. planted by Nick Fury for the purpose of intelligence gathering. During this time though, Taskmaster had trained quite the contingent of super hero imposters meant to discredit the real thing; Blood Spider the criminal version of Spider-Man, Jagged Bow and Death-shield were trained to be replacing Hawkeye and Captain America.

So what’s this groovy power you mentioned?

Checking out all his bad-ass equipment may give you a clue.

Checking out all his bad-ass equipment may give you a clue.

Photographic reflexes

Photographic reflexes is the ability to essentially copy any skill, talent or ability you see. Anything that you see, even video footage will be sufficient. As long as he spends enough time observing another’s physical movements, no matter how complex, he can then go straight ahead and duplicate them without even needing to practice. Sweet. The drawback to this groovy power is that the new knowledge he gained from each observation will replace his previous non-skill related memories.

Due to these powers he can almost imitate super powers. For example he has discovered that watching Martial arts movies on fast-forward he is able to briefly duplicate the moves at a greatly increased velocity, effectively giving him a limited form of super-speed.

He was previously a naturally gifted athlete who trained himself to superb physical condition. He committed the fighting styles of:

Captain AmericaDaredevilElektraHawkeyePunisherTigraUSAgent, Spider-ManAnt-ManBatrocBoomerangBushwackerBlacklashGenis-VellCableDeadpoolFalconFataleFirestarIron FistJusticeMoon KnightPower Man, SilverclawSilver SamuraiShatterstar,  and Wolverine to memory, as well as many others.

As well as fully utilising his ability to copy the fighting techniques of others, he had mastered hundreds of forms of unarmed combat, both ancient and modern, and had created some of his own original techniques as well. As if that wasn’t enough he is skilled in the use of all conventional weaponry, an unerring marksman, master of swordsmanship, gymnastics with aerial acrobatic capabilities and adept at sleight of hand. This is not an individual you would ever want to get in a ruck with.

He has often shown the ability to actually predict an opponents next move before they make it if he has studied their fighting style enough. Opponents who are skilled at improvisational fighting styles, or who have a more random unpredictable style are less likely to have their moves predicted by Taskmaster. He is a master strategist and tactician, which he has used to great effect against Captain America and Iron Man during the siege of Asgard.

In addition to his already formidable abilities, he went about training his body to be in peak physical condition and engaged in intensive regular exercise. His strength, endurance, stamina, reflexes, and agility are on the level of an Olympic athlete. That means he can lift 440 lbs / 199.6 kg, that’s close to half a ton. Due to the intensity of his training he was nearly the physical equal of Captain America, and that’s without all the super soldier steroids.

He then went about recruiting a top team of scientists to recreate duplicate version of the weapons used by super-humans, which after having studied their skills, could utilise them with just as deadly efficiency as their respective original wielders.  Among such combat based finery was a copy of the Black Knight’s sword, Daredevil’s multi-purpose billy club, Hawkeye’s trick arrows and bow, a .45 calibre Colt automatic similar to the Punisher’s, and a shield designed like Captain America’s but it was not forged from Adamantium, therefore wasn’t indestructible; it was made from an Osmium alloy, the same alloy that the X-Men’s Colossus‘ flesh morphs into.

That's kick-ass guy with kick-ass gear. Take note y'all.

That’s kick-ass guy with kick-ass gear. Take note y’all.

Taskmaster has come to blows and also teamed up with Deadpool a number of times; the two became friends when Taskmaster started dating Sandi Brandenburg, Deadpool’s Personal Assistant when both were employed by Agency X at the same time.

Two of the badest mofos in one scene. Nice.

Two of the baddest mofos in one scene. Nice.

 

Taskmasters work with Deadpool, and thus observing and learning from him, led to a considerable change in appearance; he designed a costume that could efficiently accommodate all his spectacular new gear and was modelled on tactical battle armour. He ceased to encumber himself with the arsenal of duplicate weapons. His primary arms became a pair of semi-automatic handguns and a Katana, which he wielded with deadly grace after having observed the Silver Samurai’s fighting style. But by far his most efficient piece of gear is a prototype wrist-mounted device, stolen from S.H,E.I.L.D., that can spontaneously generate solid energy shapes. It can even be used to duplicate Captain America’s shield and Spider-Man’s webbing. Nice.

Deadpool should feel very flattered.

Deadpool should feel very flattered.

Weaknesses

  • The Taskmaster was not capable of duplicating a physical feat if the effort to do so requires a superhuman effort. For instance, he could never fly, have X-ray vision or any abilities outside the parameters that a human could attain.
  • His abilities were also limited in that they did not grant him an innate understanding of underlying disciplines. For example, as a child, he nearly drowned after imitating a dive because while he was able to mimic the dive, he did not know how to swim. Because of this, he has a fear of drowning.
  • Taskmaster was unable to copy the moves of Alex Hayden ,(Agent X), for unknown reasons
  • When Taskmaster copies something new, it pushes old memories out of his brain in a form of amnesia.

Until next time. Stay informed.