Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dusting out the cobwebs!

I can't believe how busy I get for someone with so little going on. Work, gym, and that pesky day-to-day stuff just eats up a lot of time and I find my poor blog just getting neglected. That being said, today I want to talk about the hobby.

Right now, I am still in the holding pattern I have been on since my hiatus began at the end of 5th Edition Warhammer 40,000. Yup, I haven't played a single game of 40k or Fantasy since that point. I did a brief stint of Dust Warfare... and boy is that a sore subject.

Anyhow, it looks like my holding pattern is going to get shaken up hardcore this year. The Imperial Knight Codex just went up for pre-order today, the Space Marines are getting redone this year (June timeframe, allegedly), and 9th Edition Warhammer Fantasy is coming this summer. Holy crap!

Also, a little birdie told me that Forge World is going to be making some decal sheets for the Heresy-era Knight Households. I was going to do custom decals for House Taranis, but only because I thought I could make them work with both 30k and 40k (but it won't and yes, I am that much of a fluff nut). Anyhow, looks like if I can be patient, House Vyronii might be in my future for my Horus Heresy army.

Oh yea, plus those poor Skorne. Until a Warmahordes crowd exists in my area, that is on hold too. 

That leaves me with my unloved Cadians. I am going to start slapping paint on those fools soon, but as per usual, I just can't commit to a paint scheme. 

So... what to do?

For starters, I am going to get my hands on two Wyverns. That is a must to run my solo Cadian list. First though, I am going to build the Steel Host portion of a list that I want to run (the other half is the Adamantine Lance).

But what color?

Well, thankfully, I have some time to work out that detail. I have a handful of commissions that tie up whatever painting time I do have.

Right now, I am weighing out a bone/black combo, adopting the 88th (grey/black), or going for something a bit off-the-wall with like orange or blue or something.

Also, I wanted to share some sketches with the community. I doodle at work when it is really, really slow, and I felt the need to draw some Iron Warriors in action and a Pyroclast torching stuff. Check them out!

Iron Warrior Legion Destroyer Squad
Salamanders Legion Pyroclast
Anyhow, that is all for now. I will get some more content soon! Look out for some finished Bolt Action models and maybe, if I am bold, some potential repainted X-Wing stuff.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Poll Results!

Not that I expect a whole slew of people to be reading this blog, but it was good to see almost a dozen poll votes. Glad I have reached at least a few readers. That being said, for those of you who voted, post up what you do with your gym time! And if you were one of the few who didn't go, do you have plans to? Why don't you go?

And on an aside, I did get at least some interest in my goings on at the gym. Needless to say, I can't find my 1RM (1-rep max), because I often go alone and thus don't have a spotter, meaning I won't risk it if I can't do it safely (and no one should, for that matter!). With that caveat aside, here is where I stand on the top end of my lifts:

Squat (top of pyramid; 6 reps) - 325lbs.
Deadlift (top of pyramid; 4 reps) - 415lbs.
Bench (top of pyramid; 8 reps) - 225lbs.

The bench is where I am suffering, but mostly because of all the lifts I do, it feels the most dangerous to push hard. I tend to really hit my chest hard and I am sure with adequate spotting I could do more.

One last bit for you gym rats - if you haven't discovered the lovely pain of Rest-Pause, check it out! I did it recently and my-oh-my did it kick my rear. Really leaves me sore, where little else seems to.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Supplements & Gear

A week or so ago, I ordered some extra stuff to help me keep pushing towards my goals and to enhance my performance. No, not steroids or anything. Just some basic supplements and gear to assist me. Check these out!

Rogue Fitness Belt
The idea behind this is to give me something to push against with my abs, keeping my core stabilized. It really, really helps for squats and deadlifts. It isn't like the leather heavy-duty ones, but I find for the more casual lifter like me, it was worth the $18 vs the $100+ for any quality leather lifting belt.

Rogue Fitness Lifting Straps
These have been a major help. I was finding that my grip gave out before my muscles did, so these really helped me keep from losing the bar during those very heavy deadlifts. They also have the added bonus of being cushion between my hands and the bar so I don't tear them up. The key to these is to use them only on the heavy stuff. Don't use them as a crutch, or you won't be improving your grip strength. Another perk for these is shrugs, for the same reasons.

This supplement touts itself as a means of getting the body to burn more fat. The research is there and I have some in my pre-workout powder (see below), but when you are struggling to shed the fat like I am, a boost on non-lift days seemed like a good idea. I am now taking two of these on my non-lift gym days about 15-30 minutes before I go. 

As a someone who eats "clean" - that is, as few additives and junk in my food as I can manage - I was all in for this PurePump stuff I found. It has a load of good stuff, including B vitamins, Creatine, caffeine, and amino acids too. All that good stuff to help get you through a tough workout. I take it 15 minutes before my workout on lift days, usually mixed into 1 scoop of my Whey protein powder (taken with 8oz of Almond Milk).

I take this twice a day on my lift days. Before, as stated, it has the pre-workout powder added and really is there because it improves the dreadful flavor of my pre-workout powder while giving me a higher protein total for the day. I take another scoop after with the thought that Whey is fast-acting and will help me with my recovery, muscle gain, and all sorts of other benefit.

That is all for now, folks. I am almost done with the Blood Angels, so look for them next week or so, plus the start of some Bolt Action models. Possibly one of the new Bloodthirsters eventually, as well. Fingers crossed for that one!

Plus, inevitably I will start my personal projects, but with the rumors floating around about so many new things, I am leaning towards my Knights and Cadians before anything else. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Measuring by Small Victories

Still overweight - but progress!
Fitness Talk
Sorry for the silence of late, but life is a hectic thing. Big news for me - I won a massive psychological victory in my war on fat today. For the first time in almost 10 years, I am under 300lbs. I know that doesn't sound like much, but I was easily 350lbs or more at my heaviest, soaring up to a size 48-50 pant size.

Back in 2012 and again in 2013, I got really close to this, but would plateau before I dropped below 300lbs. Now though, I can finally say I did it!

For some context, when I started my current job in the fall of 2012, I was about 301-303lbs, but was not active beyond my previous retail job that had me moving all day. Within 3 months of starting the desk job I am at now, I put on 30lbs due to snacking and inactivity, ballooning right up again.

I have heard from plenty of folks that the idea of changing their lifestyle to be more fit and shed fat is too daunting and they don't know where to begin. Well, I am living proof that just getting off your butt and eating smart can go a long way. There is no excuse! Nothing worth having is free or easy, folks, but when you finally hit those small goals, they feel tremendous. For someone looking down the road at a now much closer long-term goal, I can't wait to hit my next target, which is 280lbs (the halfway mark to my final goal of 260lbs).

This got me thinking about how to measure your progress without being discouraged. A lot of people just say "I need to drop 50lbs!" and when they work out for a few months and the scale doesn't budge much (if at all!), they get discouraged. Or, the scale drops 10lbs in the first month and they plateau hard afterwards. That is why I don't like to look at my final goal and only work to that. I set a whole slew of smaller goals that form the path towards the end game.
Losing inches counts more
than losing pounds!

Examples of my small goals:
  • Bumping my warm-up job to 6mph (achieved!)
  • Bumping my steps/minute and duration on the stairmachine up (achieved!)
  • Getting under 300lbs (achieved!)
  • Hitting 100 push-ups (achieved!)
  • Adding 5lbs to my deadlift by next month
  • Adding 5lbs to my bench by next month
  • Adding squats to my routine
  • Getting down to size 38
Those are just my examples - many of them I have achieved already! They build up over time as your body transforms and it just feels great to see the results stack up like that. It is a positive psychological victory!

Hobby TalkSo, thanks to Bartertown, I was able to add a few more tidbits to my growing Skorne collection. This should prove a big project down the road. I have ordered some additional paints - some of the new Vallejo Game Air line - to bolster my reds and oranges. Right now, I have some reds, but when I realized I had so much Skorne, my Ogres, and House Taranis to paint up with reds, I thought it was time to get some more.

The Blood Angels I am working on are going slowly, but steadily. It has proven tough to cram work time for them on the weekends, but I got a whole lot done (even though it doesn't look like it). This weekend, I am going to put in another day of solid work and I hope to get them to final details by the end of the month.

Putting down those base colors
Another good thing is coming my way to paint - a Forge World Keeper of Secrets. A co-worker who plays 40k is ordering one and having me paint it (along with building a bunch of bases for his existing Daemons). That should be a real blast! What an amazing model to get the chance to paint.

With the whole End Times nonsense and possible 9th Edition Warhammer Fantasy kicking up this Summer, I am on standby with the Ogres. I do not want to paint up units that I then have to rip a part to make fit some new scheme Games Workshop springs on us. Kind of a bummer, but it happens. I have been patient, what is a few more months?

Finished bases!
On the Warmahordes front, I have been binge watching Advanced Maneuvers and they really got me motivated to put my Skorne on the table. Sadly, I haven't had the time to paint them, nor play them. They are going to need a lot of TLC, too. I pulled them out of their foam earlier this month and my-oh-my were they in rough shape. I am going to need to re-prime many and get some replacement parts too. Along with about $250 worth of new models and fresh foam to replace the ruined pluck foam they used to inhabit.

That wraps it up for this (long) post, but keep an eye out as the Blood Angels are finalized and the Keeper comes my way! Also, be sure to hit my up on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Hard Talk: Getting Gamers Active!

It goes without saying that one of you has an out-of-shape gamer friend. I knew more than a few back in my Magic: the Gathering days and still know a few now that I am into the tabletop stuff. This crosses all boundaries though - unhealthy lifestyles and inactivity are common enough in the US, especially among gamers. Not sure why, but we need to change that, but... how?

No doubt, it is always tough to tell someone they are fat. Unless you are either heartless or going the "tough love" route. Still, it isn't easy to approach anyone about their health, but if you care about them, it is never too soon to get them on a healthy track. I am a prime example! I didn't start taking fitness and proper diet seriously until I was in my late 20's, spending nearly a decade being a near-perfect specimen of poor health and laziness.

Be Positive!
I can't stress this one enough. If I had a dollar for every jerk who picked on me because of my weight, I wouldn't need to work for a living. You know what that does? Makes that person feel like crap and robs them of any impetus they may have had. Obviously, not always. Some folks might need a wake-up call, but I can attest to the fact that if you start making digs or jokes about someone's weight, they aren't getting a self-esteem boost or motivation to fix it, they just usually get depressed (possibly further) and maybe do some even more self-destructive behavior. Like depression-eating, which I did. When my "friends" (because real friends won't make fun of your serious weight issues!) got me down, cake certainly made me feel better... temporarily.

Be Supportive!
This plays into the first one, somewhat. It is all fine and good to be positive and say "Hell yea, make a life change!" and whatnot, but it is another thing to really get behind them and push. Not everyone is a self-motivator. Some people need that hard shove in the right direction. Are you a fit gamer? Do you have a gamer friend who is obese or frequently inactive and out of shape? How about asking them to join you in a new diet or hitting the gym with you. A buddy might help motivate them where encouraging words might not. Even if they just walk it out on a treadmill while you wreck the weights, that is better that sitting on their ass, doing entirely nothing.

Be Firm!
Is your friend eating a damn cupcake? Has your friend missed the last two gym days? Get on them and don't let them forget it. At this point, I assume they made the intention to change and should be following through. Don't let them slip. Obviously, be tactful about the first of those. Just be like "Hey, how about not eating that cupcake now and rewarding yourself next month after you see some more progress?" I know that might work on some. Others, you might need to just grab that cupcake and toss it in the trash. I know, harsh (which you would think runs counter to the first item, but it totally doesn't!). They might even thank you for reminding them that their life needs to change if they are going to get on the right track.

Obviously, not all of your friends will want to hit the gym or go on a low-carb diet, but sometimes the small changes count the most. Challenge them to not drink soda anymore! I did that and lost easily 10 lbs and honestly, I don't even miss it now 3 years later. Soda is one of those major enemies of health that somehow is pervasive among gamers. Get them to quit that and you go a long way towards helping them stop the insulin spikes and poor health that goes with it.

So ends this weeks wall-of-text and sorry for nothing fancy to look at, but I wanted the content to really speak for itself. If you have any stories about bringing your gamer friends into the gym or getting them to join you on a new diet - post them up! I want to hear them and have others see them, so we can build up a supportive mentality in this community.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fitness & Hobby Updates

Fitness Update!

In my last few posts, I believe I mentioned the need to get into the routine of deadlifts and push-ups. Well, I am happy to report that I have done so. Currently, I am doing 2x25 for push-ups as a burnout after I have done all my lifting. Also, Mon/Wed/Fri I am doing pyramid sets for my deadlifting. Currently, it is 8/6/4 reps with the weight increasing in each set. I managed to get my set of four up to 315lbs, which is a new record for me.

Right before my 2nd set in the Pyramid
Anyhow, another big push for me was to push the bench. I was doing dumbbell bench for the longest time, but ran out of weights to use (my gym caps at 75lbs dumbbells!). So, I am not moving up the barbell bench and am at a comfortable 225lbs.

Without a spotter, I don't like to risk this one too much by going up too high or doing too much. But that is a pretty big improvement. Along with things like the Svend Press, Low Cable Crossover, Dumbbell Flyes and push-ups, I am really killing my chest.

As for other things I am working on, I have enjoyed the T-Bar quite a bit. I find it a pretty satisfying row variation and I do it about once a week, along with standard seated rows and upright rows, etc.

Right now, I am up to 175lbs (not including bar), which is pretty serious! For me, it is all about building strength in my arms, chest, and back to ultimately aid (along with fat loss) in my ability to do pull-ups with more regularity. Right now, I can only knock out about 4-5, which is a lot for a guy who weighs 300+ pounds, but I am hoping to get to a point where I can do at least three whole sets, eventually.

Getting ready to rock the T-Bar
Now that I have kicked up my workouts a bit, I am going to need to buckle down on my eating. I fell off the wagon a bit this weekend and had some less than ideal food, but nothing horrendous (excluding that chocolate muffin at Starbucks... don't judge me!).

I am going to shift my macros over to heavy fat intake and see if that can kickstart my fat loss again, since I am clearly an Endomorph and erring towards fat and protein intake over carbs is a no-brainer. I already eat healthy grains when it comes to the carbs I do get, but I am going to have to take it down even further to 10-15%, or so. 

Hobby Update!
Anyhow, on a hobby-related note, I was able to finally make some progress now that Icepocalypse 2015 has concluded (for now) and the weather was downright wonderful last night. I was able to get some rattlecan priming done and can officially get crackin' on the Blood Angels commission. Take a look!

Burned Cookies? Nope, just bases.
Sanguinary Guard wings all primed up
Tactical Squads, Sanguinary Guard, Terminators, etc etc
Another model that got a coat of primer was an Ork Painboy that I am going to use as a test for my brush skills. I feel like in a lot of things, I have plateaued and want to see if I can break it. Plus, I uncased my Skorne to evaluate what I had, what I needed, and what needed repairing. It wasn't bleak, but I realize I have a lot of cleaning up to do. That poor army got beat up, neglected, and tossed about in a box for far too long.

Challenge accepted!
All that Skorne... and NoS Deathstrike, too!
Expect me to start in on that stuff ...eventually. Like anything, I tend to get backlogged a lot because of a general lack of free time.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Body Types & Macros and oh yea, Blood Angels!

For those of you who don't do much reading on fitness or diet related stuff, take a gander at this article first. It talks about the various body types briefly and some ideas on how to factor them into your goals.

Everyone is different and the individual needs do tend to trump these sorts of generalities, but holy crap am I an Endomorph, or as has been mentioned throughout my life, I am "husky" or "big-boned". Or whatever nice way of saying fat-but-carries-it-well people chose to say.

That being said, I have been looking over this and thinking it is time to try to break through my already-attained plateau. Right now, I am doing a fair mix of food types (carbs, fats, protein) since I was working on building up muscle and whatnot. Though in hindsight, maybe I should have gone for fat-loss first. No worries though! I am going to shift gears with hope that it will break my plateau and get me under the 300lb mark!

Here is a nifty article, also from that explains this as well. Now I know, I am just posting a bunch of articles and not really telling much, but I am not a trainer, nutritionist, or anything. I basically read as many sources as I can, compare info, and see what works for me. In this, I have discussed the idea with friends and read a lot on it, so I think it will have the desired fat-loss effect.

And for visual learners, here is a set of charts from the above article:

Neat, right? So, I am going to go from my Higher-carb to Lower-carb in an effort to drop some fat. This spare tire is cramping my style! Time to get rid of it.

Now, for the hobby end - the Blood Angels for my long-time client are underway and I am having a blast with the new kits. They are gorgeous, if sadly less open to variation than I would have liked. Still, I will get more in-progress pics as they go forward.

Two Blood Angel Tactical Squads WIP
Blood Angel Terminators WIP
And for anyone living under a rock, the Horus Heresy teasers from BoLS need to look and I recommend a napkin, since you will be drooling over the goodies. I am finding it harder and harder not to build a Legion army and just need to keep my mind on my Knights. Of course, they mentioned at the Weekender that, of course, more of those in the pipeline too! There goes my poor, addled wallet.