Exercise

How can a skinny guy put on muscle?

I got asked this question recently and answered it with a video. Here it is:

There are two main things you can do:

  • Eat like a horse
  • Work out like a horse

There are more things involved, such as getting enough sleep and focusing on big, whole body exercises such as the deadlift, the squat, the clean and press and other similar exercises, but those two things, if put in practice with determination and with the clear goal in mind of getting huge, will take you from a skinny ectomorph of 135 lbs. to a muscular, strong 195 lbs. See the diptych below. On the left is what I looked like when I started college, and on the right is what I looked like when I graduated.

Diptych Bodybuilding College YearsHope you find the video helpful to you!

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Reviews

Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS

I saw this camera when it first came out, in its 1st generation. It was dropped onto concrete then stepped on. Worked like a champ afterward. Now it’s even more rugged, it’s got built-in GPS, it looks even better and performs even better. What’s not to like about it?

Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS

Buy it here: Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black)

The most sophisticated rugged point-and-shoot on the market, the Olympus TG-2 iHS was designed with the serious photographer in mind. In addition to its Shockproof (7ft/2.1m), Crushproof (220lbf/100kgf), Freezeproof (14°F/-10°C), Dustproof design, the TG-2 iHS dives deeper than ever before with an astounding waterproof depth rating of 50 feet (15m) without a housing. But don’t be fooled, this camera’s not only for the avid scuba diver, it’s for active photographers who won’t sacrifice image quality and performance. The TG-2 iHS is the only rugged camera on the market equipped with an ultra-bright, high-speed f2.0 lens, allowing you to capture dramatic low light and high-speed action shots. Paired with a 12 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and TruePic™ VI Image Processor that fuel Olympus’ cutting-edge iHS Technology, you’ll get amazing pro image quality and 1080p Full HD Videos in places that your DSLR camera just can’t risk traveling.

With advanced functions like Aperture Priority mode, you’ll have even more control to capture the exact images that you want! Added features like next generation GPS & e.Compass, a 3.0″ OLED monitor, Linear PCM Stereo audio recording, High-Speed Sequential Shooting up to 60 frames per second**, four underwater scene modes and two custom modes make this adventure cam stand out in the crowd!

Looking for more? The TG-2 iHS is the only rugged camera to feature system expandability to put even more photographic control in your hands; use the telephoto converter lens to achieve even greater optical zoom range and artistic blur or the wide-angle fisheye lens for more expansive views, especially underwater. The completely waterproof system allows you to take your photography to places that your pro system can only dream of going.

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Video Log

Sledding is fun!

This is video from a sledding outing with our friends, near Medias, Romania. Remember sledding?

I ask the question because most people look at me funny when I talk to them about hauling an old-fashioned sled up a hill, then sliding down said hill at great speeds, only to repeat the process until completely exhausted, at which time we’d trudge on home with big smiles on our faces.

My sled is part wood, part cast iron, with steel feet. It’s a heavy, sturdy monster that I’ve had since I was a kid, and there’s a good chance this sled will last me my whole life. I might even be able to pass it down to my children.

In the States, I rarely saw people sledding. Sure, if you visit winter resorts, there’s bound to be some sledding going on. But the neighborhood sledding slope has been slowly disappearing.

Remember when parents and children alike would know just which slopes were perfect for sledding? And they couldn’t wait to get their sleds and run outside after snowfall? Remember being in awe at the glossy photo of the latest wooden sled in the L.L. Bean catalog? I can’t even find those old sled models in their catalog anymore… All I can find now are kiddy sleds and plastic somethings. I’m talking about real sleds, like these!

When I grew up in Romania, the hills were full of children, yelling, laughing, crying, running about, having snowball fights, sledding. It was the same for my wife. Now, the hills are mostly silent. Medias is surrounded by hills, yet when we wanted to go sledding, we had to drive around for about 1 1/2 hours, looking for a good slope. Nobody knew where they were anymore.

I’d love to see more people sledding. It’s great exercise and it’s tons of fun! I think local governments can help by maintaining sledding slopes at certain locations. Nothing fancy, no artificial snow, just some lights and a man to turn them on and off. Word would get around and people would come.

By the way, this is what the moon looked like that night, after we got home.

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Thoughts

Vasile Stoica: around the world by wheelchair

Vasile Stoica is the first Romanian to have traveled around the world on a wheelchair.

Born paralyzed from the waist down, he spent the first thirteen years of his life mostly in hospitals, enduring numerous operations which were supposed to enable him to walk, too poor for a wheelchair, forced to drag himself along the floor. When he got into his first chair, it felt like flying to him. Since then, he’s set ever higher goals for himself. He started making trips through Europe, then prepared for his trip around the world.

He completed his first round-the-world journey in 1998, and that’s also when he entered the record books as the person who traveled the longest distance by wheelchair. Since then, he plans different routes and travels with his special Kuschall wheelchair each year, hungry for new places and new challenges.

Here he is after he completed a grueling 5,250 km trek across Europe, in 2006, at Finisterre, Spain.

The man who traveled the world by wheelchair doesn’t get any respect in his own country, along with the other disabled people who live there. In a short video that he and his friends put together, he demonstrates how hard, or even impossible, it is for him to get around on his wheelchair in Romania, because of the lack of disabled access to public buildings, such as ramps or elevators — this in spite of laws that have been on the books for years.

Photos used courtesy of Vasile Stoica.

The first people to have traveled the world by wheelchair were Patrick and Anne Simpson, who published their account of the journey in 1997, in a book entitled simply “Wheelchair Around the World“.

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Reviews

The Ferrari FXX

Today was the first time I saw and heard the Ferrari FXX. While I’m not wild about its looks, the sound of its engine is amazing. It floored me. It’s pure adrenaline. I’ve heard the sound of plenty of sports cars in my time, but I don’t know, there’s something that sets the FXX apart for me. Perhaps it’s just the way the sound was mastered for the videos, who knows, but it blows me away.

Here it is in a video where Michael Schumacher drives it around a race track with French football star Zinedine Zidane in the passenger seat.

And here it is being driven by Ferrari test driver Dario Benuzzi for a Top Gear show.

Only 30 of these monsters were made by Ferrari from 2005-2007, and it’s essentially a souped-up Ferrari Enzo with an 800 bhp engine. Here are the detailed specs:

  • Engine: Longitudinal, rear-mounted, 75 degree, naturally-aspirated aluminium V12
  • Valvetrain: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder with continuously variable timing
  • Fuel system: Bosch Motronic ME7 Sequential Electronic Injection
  • Horsepower Max: 800 hp (597 kW) at 8500 RPM
  • Specific Output: 127.75 PS (93.96 kW; 126.00 hp) per litre
  • Drive system: RWD w/TCS
  • Construction: Carbon fibre body over carbon fibre tub with rear alloy subframe
  • Front brakes: Brembo CCM (carbon-ceramic) discs w/6-piston calipers, power assist ABS
  • Rear brakes: Brembo CCM (carbon-ceramic) discs w/4-piston calipers, power assist ABS
  • Front wheels: 483 mm (19.0 in) x 229 mm (9.0 in)
  • Rear wheels: 483 mm (19.0 in) x 330 mm (13 in)
  • Steering: Rack and pinion with power assistance
  • Suspension: triple wishbones with push-rod actuated coil-shock units, adaptive dampers, electronic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
  • Wheelbase: 2,650 mm (104 in)
  • Front track: 1,660 mm (65 in)
  • Rear track: 1,650 mm (65 in)
  • Rear view is provided by a roof mounted video camera displayed on a small inboard screen.
  • Top Speed: 217 mph (349 km/h)

There’s more info about it on Wikipedia or on the Ferrari website.

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Thoughts

Gotta give them something to do

It’s easy to decry TV, movies and sports as nothing more than a time suck, as a constant push toward looser morals and a consumer culture, but they also provide a benefit that’s not often discussed — that of giving people something acceptable to do with their time. Among other things, they redirect energy that would be spent on real life behaviors into vicarious behaviors, and in some ways, that’s a good thing in today’s world.

You look back through recent history, and you’ll see that as societies became more civilized, people distanced themselves from nature and segmented their existence not only in terms of time but also in terms of space. When economies were based solely (or mostly) on agriculture and crafts, people had plenty to do all day long. Life and work followed a natural cycle, and they intermingled. (You see some of that these days with telecommuting.) People had homes, and they had land, and they worked on that land and around their homes all day long. They put in long hours during the spring, summer and autumn, and relaxed during winter, at home with their families. Nowadays, very few people still live on that cycle. Most people have office jobs and live in apartment buildings, particularly in the larger cities where the costs of owning a home are prohibitive. When they get home at night, what’s there to do? Little, really. When you have an apartment, what are you going to do? Stare at the walls? Vacuum the floors? Re-organize your sock drawers? I suppose that’s how the need for mass entertainment developed, first with sports, then movies, then TV. When you have (roughly) five hours of free time per day, you’ve got to spend it somehow, so why not become a sports fan, or why not watch movies or TV?

As one follows the progress of their favorite sports team or TV show, they live in that world, through those characters or stars, and experience the highs and lows of that microcosm. Some would say that’s a form of population control, of dumbing down the population, of occupying their time with nonsense so they don’t wake up and start something. In some ways, it is, but it’s also needed. What would people do with the energy and time they spend on sports and TV if those outlets didn’t exist? Some would spend it in positive ways — with their families, on books, arts, hobbies, games, newspapers, trips and the like — and yet others (and this is a number that can’t be quantified) would spend it in negative ways — and the variety of those ways is something that would boggle the mind. For that group of people, the fact that they spend their time in front of the TV or in the stands, cheering for their sports teams, is undoubtedly a good thing.

So, beside the fact that there are very real benefits to TV networks and advertisers as more people tune in to see TV shows and sports matches, or to movie studios as more people go to see their latest creation, or to sports teams when fans fill their stadiums, there are arguable benefits to be gained for society in general as more people tune out the outside world and turn on their TVs. The issue is clearly more complicated than that, and I’m oversimplifying things, but I wanted to point out this particular aspect. It’s but one view among many that can be taken when you talk about this subject. The more I think of this, the more I realize its complexity can’t possibly be explained in a single post, so don’t expect an overarching conclusion here — just an observation.

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Exercise

This is how you can look at 72

Meet Jim Morris, a 72-year old California man, who has been working out every day for most of his life and has won many bodybuilding competitions. He does it because he loves it. There’s a video of him working out on YouTube, originally broadcast one one of the local TV stations where he lives. The photo you see below is him at age 71, about a year ago.

Jim Morris 1

You can read more about his life and dedication to the sport of bodybuilding on his website. He is a personal trainer, and has helped many people get fit over the years, starting in the early 1950s. His diet is also something special. He only eats nuts, fruits, beans and vegetables.

Can it be done by anyone? I think so. You just need the inspiration, which Jim Morris has just provided, and the drive, which you must work up yourself. I think it’s worth it. Do you?

Images used courtesy of Jim Morris.

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Events

Photos from the Legg Mason Tennis Classic

I wrote about the fun day I spent at the William H. Fitzgerald Tennis Center here in DC yesterday, watching the Legg Mason Tennis Classic courtesy of Olympus, and promised I’d publish photos taken at the matches with the new E-510.

After I deleted the blatantly bad ones, I was left with 607 photos. I spent a couple of hours sorting through them, and picked 44, which I then processed. There are a few nice blooper-type photos from the tournament as well, where the players are making funny faces or their bodies are in contorted positions, so those will be kind of fun to see.

Under the cold glow of the big lights

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

P. Goldstein

Overcast

Bryan Twins

Bryan Twins

Bryan Twins

Bryan Twins

Bryan Twins

Unforgiving August sky

Take it in stride

One tall dude

T. Phillips

T. Phillips and P. Goldstein

T. Phillips and P. Goldstein

A. Clement

A. Clement

A. Clement

A. Clement

Saw the light

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

R. Stepanek

T. Johansson

T. Johansson

T. Johansson

T. Johansson

T. Johansson

T. Johansson

T. Johansson

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Lists

Sports videos

I’m not really into motorsports, but I understand there’s a big Formula One race going on in Europe this weekend. I admire the capabilities of the F1 cars, and I thought I’d post a few racing-related videos. Enjoy!

The best video is up first. Ari Vatanen climbs Pike’s Peak in a Peugeot 405 T16. This is back from 1988. If you watch it, you will very likely break into a cold sweat. Ari literally speeds through hairpin turns where even the slightest miscalculation can throw him right over the edge and into the deadly precipice below.

“Top Gear” shows off one of the most exclusive cars in the world, the Ferrari Enzo:

The Dutch (I think) came up with this souped up cart that runs on a 1100CC bike engine and puts out 164 bhp. That thing looks terminally unsafe and I’d never get in it, but it does put up a good fight against a Dodge Viper:

Some spoiled brats race a Ferrari 355 against a Dodge Viper GTS through a twisty mountain road in California. What do you think happens when someone that doesn’t know how to drive rally-style gets behind the wheel of a Doge Viper? Watch and see:

A plane lands on a motorhome in this next video — it gets billed as the world’s shortest runway:

This last one is another thriller. A stunt plane comes within inches of crashing miserably as it undergoes a loopdeloop:

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Lists

Interesting sports

I played rugby in college for about two seasons. It was enough play time for me to break my nose and tear my right ACL, necessitating surgery… Would I play it again? Absolutely not. Rugby is a dangerous sport, and I think only certain people can play it — the ones built for it. I’m not one of them. Although I don’t even watch it anymore, I did enjoy this short clip of the NZ All Blacks vs. Tonga. They both engage in a little Maori Haka intimidation, and it’s fun to see.

Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick. One of the most awesome tennis plays I’ve ever seen:

This is an amazingly coreographed kung-fu fight scene. The two teammates are within inches of impaling each other with their lances. This sort of thing is very dangerous, so please don’t try it at home.

Top Gear got their hands on a Bugatti Veyron and maxed it out at its advertised limit of 252 mph (407 kmh). Very, very cool, and I think my eyes may have gotten a little misty toward the end. 🙂

Sepak Takraw is an Asian sport that’s best described as volleyball with your feet. Some amazing jumps take place here.

I believe the name of this Asian acrobatic team is Butterfly Lovers. Their name isn’t that impressive, but their act sure is! Watch it and be amazed at their skill.

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