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.

The Good the Bad and the Unforgivable

Sorry, beloved reader, the title of this post is somewhat misleading; there is little good involved, apart from maybe laughing your abs into a six-pack at what follows. Here at Level Up our geek glands rage 24/7, whether it be for fantasy, Sci-Fi, RPGs or comics. But whenever there is good, there must be bad. A sad and kind of Taoist truth. Nerdy entertainment does seem to be a metaphorical yin-yang rollercoaster of laughter and tears. Today it’s tears I’m afraid. Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor has searched high and low for the most terrible, offensive and downright awful. For every Batman or Tony Stark, there’s a Kylun or a Typeface. Prepare to be impressed / unimpressed by characters that had to be created whilst drunk, high or threatened at gunpoint.

Kylun

A crappy Thundercat rip-off with crappy powers.

A crappy Thundercat rip-off with crappy powers.
Essentially he is a humanoid tape-recorder.
How very 80’s.

Once a member of the British mutant team Excalibur and looking like a humanoid lion pretty much explains this blasphemy in printed format. He basically, being rather cat-like, had slightly better strength and agility than most and better senses. His main power wa to be abl to mimic nay sound. That’s it. That’s his angle, that’s what got him in a superhero team that defends the entire UK against super-powered threats. He also had magic swords that could not cause harm to the pure of heart, these lame blades turned up in later comics when the writers realised that he was so very rubbish. Needless to say, even with the new swords, he didn’t last long.

Wraith

You'd think he'd be much groovier with a name like that.

You’d think he’d be much groovier with a name like that.

So, what can this Wraith character do? Can he become ethereal / incorporeal? Is he some sort of demonic other-worldly monster? Maybe even a soul-sucking, hell-born beast to be feared by all mortal men? Nope. Hector Rendoza’s ‘fearsome’ power is to have invisible skin. The X-Men took pity on him after he had been beaten s**tless by some normal, genetically average, humans. In a fight that he started. He nearly died from his wounds, but it was really easy to see if he had eaten that cheesecake you’d been saving in the fridge. He can transfer his transparent epidermisery to other people, making him the only mutant so terrible that his own body is trying to offload the X-gene. There were other characters in the Marvel universe called wraith too, all of them a damn sight more useful. There was John Wraith, he had military training, an extended lifespan and could teleport. There is also Brian DeWolff, known as Wraith, an ex-policeman with psionic powers and then we have Zak-Del Wraith who is immortal and has a gun that can transform into any kind of gun imaginable. Why Marvel? Why did you create Hector Rendoza the kid with invisible skin?

Jihad!

Un-freakin'-believable.

Un-freakin’-believable.

That’s right, beloved reader, freakin’ Jihad. Marvel comics presented us with is genie in a Fantastic Four storyline, where the bright green turbanless behemoth sent them on an item retrieving mystical quest. The character was a little controversial, his first appearance was eleven days before the September 11th attacks, and Jihad was a character bent on world conquest. For reasons I cannot fathom he hasn’t made an appearance since.

Typeface

Unemployment is hard to deal with in the USA apparently. It drives people to use giant lettering as weaponry.

Unemployment is hard to deal with in the USA apparently. It drives people to use giant lettering as weaponry.

The economy is the real villain in this tale. Ex-US Army soldier Gordon Thomas went home to become a sign smith. The American dream. But alas, poor Gordon’s dreams were shattered when he was laid off from his job at ‘Ace Signs’ when a man named George Finch takes over the company. Mr Thomas does what anyone else would do in that situation; he wrote a giant ‘R’ on his forehead, for ‘retribution’, called himself Typeface and went on a rampage with an arsenal of giant letters. The saddest part of this tale is that he actually kicked the crap out of Spiderman. He then changed the ‘R’ on his spam to an ‘A’ for ‘Annihilation’.

Squirrel Girl

She is kinda sexy. Anyone else developing a squirrel fetish?

She is kinda sexy. Anyone else developing a squirrel fetish?

Doreen Green is her name and she can communicate with squirrels. Yup, that’s right beloved reader, once again Marvel comics have subjected us to more lameness. For some reason though, she is extremely accomplished in the area of villain butt-kicking. Teamed up with her squirrel companion Tippy-Toe, she has defeated Doctor Doom, a task that the entire of the Fantastic Four have difficulty with and in another story line the bushy-tailed duo have even defeated Thanos. For those of you who don’t know who Thanos is, please follow the handy link to discover how incredibly powerful and god-like he is. But give credit where credit is due, the Marvel writers had to be pretty creative to pull off those stories.

Hemo-Goblin

hemo-goblin

What can I say about this guy? Really?

It’s DC comics turn to bow their collective heads with shame. This character covers the trendy topics of racism and AIDS in one horrifying package. He is basically a vampire, which generally are powerful enough critters to take on super powered folk. The skinny albino blood sucker was created, laboratory style, by a white supremacist group to rid the world of anyone who wasn’t a honky. This is accomplished by giving them AIDS, which he managed to infect some of the members of the New Guardians with. Thanks DC.

These characters are terrible. How can it possibly get any worse?

Behold!

Armless Tiger Man

Pfft. Ha. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Pfft. Ha. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Yes, beloved reader, we’ve saved the ‘best’ for last. Armless Tiger Man is a man – wait for it – with all the power of an armless tiger. Like our feline chum Kylun, Gustav Hertz has the augmented agility, strength, senses etc. of that great hunting cat, the tiger; but without the baggage of having arms. Who needs the encumbrance of four limbs? Especially prehensile ones. This extremely bipedal chap was a WWII villain who lost his arms whilst working as a machinist. Quite appropriately he then vowed vengeance upon all things industrial. He was eventually caught by the Gestapo who sent him to America to wreak his two limbed, anti-machine hatred.

Until next time. Stay informed.

The Dark Side of Comics

It looks like our chums at DC comics are actually going to go ahead with the Justice League movie, even imdb has an entry for them stating the release date as June 2015.  Christian Bale may even be returning as Batman as DC try to strike back at Marvel and all their recent hyperbolic skullduggery. But it seems DC have an ace up their sleeve.

Justice-League-Dark-Game-Faces

Justice League Dark

In a recent interview with Total Film about his new movie Mama, Guillermo del Toro discussed characters he wanted to bring to the screen from comics.

“I am going to be presenting my storyline to DC and Warners of where I want to take this universe. We do have a writer, but until that is firmed up, I have to keep it a secret. I hope it happens,” he said.

“It’s going really well. It’s like meeting old friends. I grew up with Demon Etrigan, with Swamp Thing, with Deadman, so these are characters that are near and dear to my heart.”

“I’d love to use the origins that are proper to each character. I love the idea of Jason Blood as a paladin and a knight…. I love the entire Constantine mythology, the Dead Man mythology, the Alex Holland Swamp Thing mythology. These are really rich things to well, and to dig.”

The rumours flying around give the still unconfirmed project the working names of Heaven Sent, Dark Universe and of course Justice League Dark. The anti-hero super group features the likes of John Constantine, who already had his own movie in 2005 staring Keanu, (fight off the woodpeckers), Reeves, Swamp Thing, the protagonist of Wes Craven’s 1982 film of the same name and also The Demon, Phantom Stranger, The Spectre, father / daughter magicians Zatara and Zatanna, and Deadman, a title del Toro was rumoured to be bringing to the silver screen until it was stalled in development.

With these tasty tidbits of rumour and / or information, it seems that DC, if all goes well, will have the perfect counterattack against all the gems that Marvel have turned up and have future plans to continue. That is unless the hybrid freak known as Disney-Marvel-Lucas Film retaliate with . .

darkavengers

Dark Avengers

That’s right, beloved reader, whenever one or the other, DC or Marvel, has a version of something, you can bet your flux capacitor the other will have their own counterpart.

Just who are these clearly nefarious characters?

Iron Patriot: Norman Osborn, (Green goblin), managed to take Tony Stark’s place as director of H.A.M.M.E.R. which is S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s successor after the Invasion of Skrulls storyline. Osborn went about creating a new avengers team, but lacking the actual Ironman and Captain America. Without these heroic figures he came up with the Iron Patriot, StarkTech armour improvised from items confiscated from Stark’s armoury together with Cap’s colouration to goad the public with iconic imagery.

A shot of the Iron Patriot from upcoming Ironman 3. Other shots show James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes inside the armour. Surely he should be War Machine.

A shot of the Iron Patriot from upcoming Ironman 3. Other shots show James Rupert “Rhodey” Rhodes inside the armour. Surely he should be War Machine.

Osborn’s technical expertise, however, was lacking and he couldn’t get the armour’s repulsor generators to work, (let’s be realistic about things, he’s no Tony Stark, eh?), he ended up replacing it with the weaker Uni-Beam, that had a star-shaped output.

Venom: Not the original Venom; Eddie Brock. Not the second incarnation; crime Don Angelo Fortunato, but the third to take up the symbiotic suit; Mac Gargan. Formerly known as the Scorpion. Whilst wearing the suit and capering alongside the Iron Patriot, he poses as your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman. Nasty business.

Bullseye: He dresses like Hawkeye but this isn’t Clint Barton. This is Lester, the psychopathic assassin that has an uncanny aim, only on a few rare occasions has he missed moving targets. He uses the opportunities afforded by his profession to satisfy his homicidal tendencies and to keep his mind off the grudge he holds against Daredevil.

Lovelly chap really. Apart from his personal vendetta against a blind lawyer.

Lovely chap really. Apart from his personal vendetta against a blind lawyer.

Daken: Real name Akihiro, he is the mutant son of Wolverine and his deceased Japanese wife Itsu. He poses as his father without difficulty, having similar powers; accelerated, (to extreme regenerative craziness), healing factor, heightened sense of smell and retractable Muramasa steel coated claws, (created from the original Muramasa blade), 2 of which originate from the back of his hands, whilst the third comes from inside his wrists. He obviously doesn’t have the adamantium skeleton  like his dad, but makes up for that disadvantage by having telepathic immunity and a crazy pheromone ability. He can use this pheromone manipulation ability to disguise his own smell, making him ‘invisible’ to Wolverine’s scent tracking and also to change the emotional and sensory state in other beings, instilling sensation such as fear, psychotic rage and even sexual attraction. Definitely one of the nastier characters in both Avengers and X-men. EEK.

Duking it out with pops.

Duking it out with pops.

Moonstone: Real name Karla Sofen, born the daughter of a butler to a movie producer, she managed to become somewhat of a success with her own psychological practice. She used her psychiatric credentials to access the prison cell of Byron Becton – the original Moonstone. Then using hypnosis, she warped his mind into believing he was a disgusting, hideous monster. She was so convincing  that the psychological trauma caused his body to reject the moonstone and it became hers. In the Dark Avengers she poses in the place of Ms.Marvel.

Why are the evil ones always so sexy?

Why are the evil ones always so sexy?

Ares: The son of Zeus and Hera. Quite the credentials. It was never really confirmed who he was supposed to be posing as; one would assume he was meant to take Thor’s place but he always brought his customary sword and / or axe to the party. No matter though, he didn’t last long. He was killed in Siege #2 by the next chap.

Ares taking a kicking from The Sentry. Embarrasing really.

Ares taking a kicking from The Sentry. Embarrassing really.

The Sentry: Yep. As you can see from the picture above he’s one of those, run-of-the-mill-not-really-thought-out-caped-twats-with-vague-powers. His abilities ostensibly come from a serum, similar yet more powerful than the one used on Captain America, that moves his molecules an instant ahead of current time. Whatever that means. Doesn’t really matter, because he went rogue in Siege #3 just before being killed by Thor in Siege #4. Thanks Thor.

Noh-Varr: A prize-winningly cheesy name for a character. Noh-Varr is a member of the Kree race, from the alternate reality of Earth-200080, (we are on Earth-616 by the way). So we’ve got alien and another dimension story in one. He was also enhanced with insect DNA, ahem, giving him enhanced reflexes, speed, strength, and endurance as well as being triple jointed, allowing him to negotiate even the trickiest close environments. Probably his greatest power is the ability to re-route neurological impulses and suppress any stimulus that is unwanted. In Civil War: Young Avengers /Runaways he uses this ability to perform a ‘White run’, defeating Hulkling, Karolina Dean, Wiccan and Xavin in under 5 seconds. His constitution allows him to digest any organic compound without harmful effects, this also increases recovery from wounds or extreme stress.

nohvarr

Mr. Varr. Try saying that with a straight face.

In addition to all that whacky business, Noh-Varr’s spit has infectious biological properties that cause hallucinations and gives him a small degree of mind control. Each of his fingernails can grow into a crystalline spike, which can then be inserted into an opponent and left to explode! He also has access to a wide-range of Kree technology and has the know how to create the means for interdimensional travel. As much as an asset as he was to the team, pretending to be Marvel Boy, he left Dark Avengers #6 and joined the actual Avengers.

I hope that got your geek glands juicy.

Until next time. Stay informed.