Nerdy Find of The Week: Under Armour E39

18 05 2012

Since I promise nerdy stuff from time to time (I think I have to since it’s part of the domain name…),  I thought I’d share my thoughts on something that I learned about a year or two ago:

Cards on the table: I am a sports junkie.  I eat/breathe/sleep sports, both collegiate (Go UCF Knights!) and professional (yes, I am terrified of the Heat losing to the Pacers).  More importantly, my addiction goes as deep as to watch the NFL Scouting Combine every year.  This is the beauty pageant of the sports world, where grown muscular men are measured, weighed and evaluated by other grown men who determine if they will fit their team’s needs.

Cam Newton: Property of Stark Industries

In the 2011 Combine, Under Armour rolled out a new piece of technology that they tested out on a few prospects, including eventual #1 overall pick, Cam Newton.  The compression shirt he wore had a sensor on it that resembled Tony Stark’s arc reactor in the “Iron Man” comic books.  From what I was told at the time, it was to measure what was once immeasurable in real time.  We’re talking about things like heart rate broken down by yardage when running a 40-yard dash and breathing patterns during cone drills.  All the data was then saved onto a 2 GB hard drive for further study.

The E39, as it became named, was yet another way for scouts to find out more invasive athletic information without actually BEING invasive.  Personally,  I don”t need to know if a player’s heart rate increases a X amount of beats per minute within five yards of the line of scrimmage.  However, I can see this being important for an Offensive Coordinator, who is looking at a wide receiver prospect and wants to make sure they have an initial burst at the line, as opposed to needing those yards to ramp things up (a-la Ted Ginn, Jr. and his family…I’m still bitter, Cam Cameron!).  Here’s a video explaining the E39 a little bit better:


The cost of this bad boy makes it obvious that it’s meant for professional athletes, as Under Armour has put the E39 in the $700 range.  I guess when you’re the sure-thing first round pick that Cam Newton was, your agent can foot the bill until he signs that contract.  I’m curious to see if these find their way onto college campuses.  I can see the E39 being useful in offseason conditioning or even spring drills.

However, it could open up pandora’s box, since college athletics programs usually have apparel sponsors (Nike, adidas, Russell Athletics).  The last thing the college football world needs (you know…aside from the BCS…) is a technology advantage for Under Armour-sponsored schools (Maryland, Auburn and the loathed University of South Florida).

So what do you think?  Is this useful data or just another shiny toy for soon-to-be millionaires to bring home as “swag?”





Welcome To “Fun Sh*t Fridays!”

18 05 2012

(Note: Thanks to Twitter, I can’t use this as a hashtag so there it’s #FunStuffFridays…but you all know you wanna say shit!)

Congratulations on making it through three weeks of “The Nerdy Gym Rat!”  For those of you who are new to the site/blog, welcome and get ready for a crazy ride…

Today is meant as a break from the non-stop fitness and health posts I put up five/six days a week (with multiple posts every freakin’ day).  It gives you, the reader/follower/fan a chance to see the inner geek, as you can see from the meme above.

If you’ve been on the Facebook fan page, you’ll notice I put up some links about technology and sports, with the most recent being Usain Bolt’s branded headphones (which I believe I compared to crappy “Beats by Dre,”  which I can say with confidence as an audio engineer by day).  I’ll share a few here as well and give my take on each.

Also, if time permits, I do have an interview ready to go with a professional in the health & fitness industry.  This is something I’d like to do on a weekly basis, as long as people are interested in doing it.  This week,  we have Dylan Farr, founder of the California-based “Fysiologik” studio.  Look for my chat with him to be up this evening (before you get to happy hour, of course).

Aside from that…you’ve all been very awesome in following me, whether it’s here, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.  I’m hoping with the all-mighty Zuck’s (Mark Zuckerberg) recent acquisition of Instagram, there will be an easier way of getting you guys over there to check out some pictures I take, both in the gym and in the recording studio.

Hope everyone enjoys “Fun Shit Friday!”  If you’d like to see something on these days, I’m totally open to suggestions.  Again: BETA TESTING IS AN AMAZING THING.  With your help, this site can do great things.  We’re all in this together!

– Jonathan 

 

 

 





Welcome to “Workout Wednesdays!”

16 05 2012

I’ll tell you: the revelations you come up with at 5:00 in the morning on a cardio day are very underappreciated…

Well, as you can tell by the post, I’m now declaring Wednesdays as “Workout Wednesdays.”  What does this mean for my GymGeeks? 

This means that all posts on this day (and over on Twitter and Facebook) will be about different ways to spruce up your workout routines, whether it be changes to your cardio days (today we’ll be looking into Tabata training) or on lifting days.  Today’s switch will be on how to work your abs using crunches…but with a slight modification that (hopefully) some of you already know about and are using.

Speaking from current experiences, I’ve actually had to modify an exercise in Jim Stoppani’s “Shortcut to Size” program.  Since my current gym only has dumbbells that go to 75 lbs., I’ve had to resort to barbell rows, as opposed to the prescribed dumbbell rows on Back/Biceps/Abs days.  I’ll admit it’s not as good at getting rid of possible imbalances in the muscles of my back, but it does allow me to control the movement a bit better, without losing the full range of motion that I’m a big fan of.

So what types of variations would you like to see up on NerdyGymRat?  I’d love some fan/follower/reader participation.  Hell, it’s how I knew that “Gym Pet Peeves” is a keeper on a weekly basis!

Let’s get through this hump day and keep the eyes on the prize!

Jonathan





Mother’s Day/Rest Day

13 05 2012

Happy Mother’s Day!

Hope everyone did something good for the woman in their life.  I actually spent the weekend with my mom (and dad) in South Florida this past weekend.  Nice little weekend with a cheat meal at J. Alexanders (Scottish Grilled Salmon & Orzo…I do love me some salmon!), some lunch from Whole Foods and a brunch on the beach today.  Couldn’t have asked for a better way to recharge the batteries.

While we were at the beach, my mom did give me a suggestion on a post I should do, which I’ll work on this week.  It’ll be in the same vein as the Cinco de Mayo Survival Guide, but geared towards something a LITTLE bit different…

A lot of people have given me some great ideas for what to write up this week, including products to look into (apparently I’ve neglected Syntha-6, a product I actually use) and some more switches to your workouts. Hell, I have people subscribing to my playlists on Spotify!  I really hope you guys are digging them, since they’re helping ME through Jim Stoppani’s “Shortcut to Size” program.  Phase 2 begins tomorrow…

You’ll see these coming more often in the coming weeks.  Any other stuff you guys want to see, feel free to leave in the comments section.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some tilapia to cook and some cottage cheese & pineapple to portion out for the week!

Jonathan





Saturday Morning Revelation!

12 05 2012

Great Scott! I’ve got it!!!

Almost as good an idea as the Flux Capacitor…

While it didn’t take me hitting my head on the porcelain of my toilet (a-la Doctor Emmett Brown),  I did come up with a great idea .  Like some sort of “Inception,”  (ok ok two movie references are enough!) the seeds were planted while sifting through my e-mail last night after a long drive to Fort Lauderdale.  An old trainer of mine, Ken Bowman (here on Facebook) sent me an e-mail asking if he could use me as an example of a client he’s helped.  Of course I was happy to help out!

But it wasn’t until this morning that it hit me…as nerdy as I am and no matter how much research I do, I’m not REALLY a trained professional.  I figure…until I get my PT license, anyway…why not interview ACTUAL personal trainers for their tips and how they got to where they are now?  I think it’ll save you from my diatribes at least once a week and is a great way for everyone involved to get social media exposure.

Now, off to do a little cardio!  I’ve got a “Beach Day” with my mom tomorrow for my rest day, so I’m going to make this count!

If you guys have any trainers you think I should pitch this idea to, send me an e-mail over at thenerdygymrat@yahoo.com or leave comments!





Five Fitness Apps For Your Smartphone

8 05 2012

I’m sure by now, you guys are wondering why I’m the NERDY gym rat.  I mean, all I’ve talked about to this point is protein powders, lifting weights and how to make good nutrition choices.  All that does is solve two-thirds of the name!

Well good news!  The nerdy side is coming out with this post!

I think we can all agree that setting goals with health and fitness are crucial if we’re going to see improvements.  We can also agree that 90% of the world has a smartphone permanently attached to their hand for 16 hours a day (because we’re all getting our eight hours of sleep, right?).  The great thing about this is that we can use that addiction to our advantage, with the development of apps for each format (Windows Phone, Android, iOSwhatever-version-they’re-on).

Now, like most apps, there are good-to-fantastic ones and there are those that are…well…not.  Here are a few of my favorite from each of the platforms.  (Note:  I’m reviewing the FREE versions of these, since I’m a bit on the cheap side with the apps on my phone.  Sadly, CheapskateNerdyGymRat.com was taken.)

RunKeeper (Available on Android & iOS)

I’ve had this app on my Motorola Atrix (and before that, my iPhone 3Gs) since the date of purchase.  As a person who hates long distance running, the integration with my playlists makes the run a whole lot easier on me (especially the one a few weeks ago that went for 8 miles).  Whenever I have that moment of wanting to just stop, I have the music to help me push through (as well as an optional coach, updating you on your current pace/distance at certain intervals).

Psh…someone’s doggin’ it!

My only complaint with the app is that, while it has an on-board GPS to track where you’re running, it can get a bit spotty, depending on your provider. Mine being AT&T, I haven’t had that big of a problem running around Orlando.  However, if I go on a jog in Gainesville or New Smyrna Beach, I’ll fall off the map.  For a free app, it’s pretty fantastic, though!

MyFitnessPal – Calorie Counter (Available on Android and iOS)

Weight Loss 101:  Calorie deficit = loss of pounds.  With this app, you can track your caloric expenditure throughout the day.  It actually has a pretty good database to pick and choose from (restaurants included) and also lets you punch in the serving size of whatever it is you ate.

Very Nice Design!

This may be me being a little nit-picky, but I have one big problem with calorie counting apps (including the Weight Watchers one).  Sure the less calories you take in/burn off in the gym, the lower your weight will be…but what about the other important nutritional information?  This is sort of like seeing a 100 calorie pack of Oreo’s.  Sure, it’s 100 calories, but they’re EMPTY calories.  If this app allowed you to also punch in information like, say, grams of protein or fiber, I’d find it to be much more effective in assessing your overall health.

Nike Training Club (Available on iOS)

Now THIS is an app I can get behind!  While aimed towards the female demographic (something the interface design does quite well in conveying in tone and color scheme), men can appreciate the exercises listed in here if you’re looking to tone up.  The Nike Trainer Club allows you to customize your workouts, as well as work out to your playlists.

Perfect Form!

The only fault I could find in this app is that it only allows tracking of one user at a time, so no sharing between mother & daughter.  However, this is something that I’m sure Nike will fix, as they have with their other apps (Nike+, for example).  Once they refine it a bit more (and maybe have it join forces with its male counterpart, the Nike BOOM), they’ll have domination of the fitness app world, especially since you don’t need to buy a special $100 pair of sneakers for it to work!

Bodybuilding.com (Available on Android and iOS)

I’m actually a big fan of Bodybuilding.com as a website.  The store usually runs good deals, the database of workouts is solid and there are countless articles that span over years of research from credible people in the fitness world.  The app is a great extension of that.  In its most recent update, it allows for you to shop from their store, something that wasn’t available in older versions.

Yeah, like I was going to miss a chance to screencap Jamie Eason!

The biggest problem with the app, however, is its tendency to freeze and shut down on Android phones.  With so much traffic going to the site, it may just be an issue of a lack of bandwidth to handle everything at once.  I’d suggest a purge on the website of articles from 2007.  Maybe that will help reducing the frequency of crashing.

Restaurant Nutrition (Available on Android and iOS)

I will admit: I’m the guy who researches nutritional information PRIOR to going out to dinner with friends.  I’m sorry that I’m not sorry for that.  This has been a staple on my phones since my first smartphone and has been a godsend.  Knowing every detail of information from most major chain restaurants lets me know that I’m better off with two “fresco style” tacos over a grilled stuffed burrito at Taco Bell (a bit obvious, I know, but still a good example!).

Big Macs are unhealthy, you say…

Unfortunately, it only does chain restaurants.  It may just be me wishing, but with the capabilities of GPS location in this day and age, there should be a way to access local restaurants nutritional info, if available.  For example, chains in the southwest (i.e. In-n-Out Burger) should pop up when I’m in Las Vegas.  Again, I’m sure this is something that can easily be fixed as we move ahead in the world of technology.

Well, hopefully that gives you a good starting point of apps to download (if you haven’t already).  With the help of some of these, you should have no problem keeping yourself accountable.  Your phone will happily be your buddy on the road to a healthier lifestyle.





Dymatize Elite Casein

7 05 2012

As I’ve always said, I only write about things I use or have tried, whether it’s nutritional, physical or supplemental.

I started using Dymatize Elite Casein back in 2010 and only stopped using it recently for the reason that it was lacking the relaxation blend of GNC’s RAW RE-FEED.

Casein protein is great for overnight prevention of muscle breakdown.  While you’re sleeping, your body goes into a catabolic state and goes after your muscles in starvation mode (assuming you’re eating small meals or shakes every 2-3 hours).  Dymatize, with its 24 grams of slow-digesting protein, helps counteract, while also being quite tasty!

As far as taste is concerned, it really depends on what you’re mixing it with.  With milk (a natural source of casein, might I add), it’s phenomenal.  With water?  I found the flavors I’ve tried (chocolate and vanilla) to be a bit chalky.

To put it simply; this is a great “last meal” of your day.  Pairing this shake with a banana and you’ll have a great night’s sleep without losing muscle.  It’s currently on sale over at Bodybuilding.com ($26.99 for a 2 lbs. tub), so the investment is well worth it!  Leave comments and let me know what you think!





First Week Recap

6 05 2012

Goooood Morning, Folks!

I hope everyone had a great Cinco de Mayo (and hopefully followed my rules to survival a little bit).  If you didn’t follow them word-for-word, don’t beat yourself up over it.  We are all entitled to have fun and indulge every once in a while.  It just means you’re going to work that much harder to make up for it during the week 🙂  I know my chest/triceps/calves day tomorrow will be a killer thanks to Phase 1, Week 4 of Jim Stoppani’s “12 Week Shortcut to Size.”  We’re going to 4-6 reps, so that means MUCH heavier weights for me.

Had to have a sombrero! Photo credit has to go to my friend, Kerry (having her next to me ups the good looking factor of the picture, no?)

I just wanted to say how floored I’ve been by the reception of this blog in it’s first week.  It’s already received 800 views, which isn’t bad considering I didn’t come up with the idea until I had one of those “lightbulb over the head” moments on a Saturday morning in Fort Lauderdale.  A couple pieces of content later and here we are!  I can’t wait for the things to come (which I’m keeping secret, of course) and I love the comments and messages you guys are leaving me.  I especially appreciate the little notes from friends of mine via text or e-mail.  I’m glad to know I’m making a tiny dent and it’s a great feeling.

Something I’m going to try and do is leave these recaps every week (some weeks will be easier than others, depending on travel plans) of the things we’ve learned.  This week:

  1. We learned who I am (and why the heck I even STARTED this blog)
  2. Got some good reviews on some great products for your workout routine
  3. Learned that overexercising is most DEFINITELY possible
  4. My take on the word “diet” (dirty secret? I don’t like it!)
  5. How to assemble a shopping list
  6. The basics of a workout, from stretching to having a plan
  7. How 21st century adaptations to the Paleo Diet are a great way to think about your diet
  8. Our first recipe: the Spicy Salmon (something I actually made for my dinners this week)

Not bad for a first week, huh?  I know it’s a ton to process, but it pales in comparison to the tips and photos I’m leaving on my Facebook and Twitter pages, so I suggest following both!  Healthy choices and exercise are things anyone can get behind, whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds or even build up some muscle!  I suggest sharing this with the ones you love who happen to be into social media.  I also started a Pinterest, Instagram (obviously TheNerdyGymRat if you’re searching on your phone) and Foursquare account, so feel free to follow me there as well.  The more bonus content, the more fun this’ll be for everyone!

If you’ve enjoyed what I’ve put out there, I’m sure they’d love the help too (sidebar:  while I was out last night, I had friends ask me how I got down to the 5.2% body fat I’m currently at.  My response? “Read my blog, follow me on Twitter, like the fan page on Facebook.”)

Enjoy the rest of your day.  There will be one more update today, which will be my special treat I promised in yesterday’s post.  I’ll be taking in my rest day with a deep tissue massage (masculine or not, you need to get a massage from time to time to prevent injury and knots) and some Miami Heat domination!  I was born & raised in South Florida, so that’s my team first and foremost.  I still remember the Glen Rice/Jamal Mashburn/Alonzo Mourning years, so I’m not one of those fans who showed up when LeBron & Chris(tina) Bosh joined the team (my dad and sister happened to think he plays like a girl).  I can’t wait to see them win the whole thing this year 🙂

Jonathan





Playlist of The Day (5/4/2012)

4 05 2012

So a bit of a mea culpa before I show you guys the playlist…

I’ve been totally going about the postings the wrong way.  Looking at the stats, it seems as though the home page is where you guys spend most of your time.  I didn’t realize how much of a pain in the arse it is for me to post links to other pages.  Not only does it mess with functionality, it also effs up the SEO of the whole freakin’ thing!  From now on, all new articles/posts/reviews will be on the home page and then archived under the tabs for future reading so you don’t have to scroll down!  Sorry about that.

Yup, pretty much how I felt after realizing my stupidity…

Now, today’s leg & abs day was amazing!  As part of Jim Stoppani’s “12 Week Shortcut to Size,” Week 3 calls for 6 to 8 reps on each move (I modified the abs so I’d hit each part until failure with resistance), which allowed me to lift a lot heavier than last week.  I will say this: there is nothing more swagger-inducing than watching the bar bend over your delts while you do squats at 5:00 in the morning, ESPECIALLY with this list.

Enjoy!





Friday Eve Updates

3 05 2012

Weird nerdy issues going on around here:  Wordpress isn’t playing nice with my Chrome extensions and it seems as though my “indestructible” Monster surge protector has…well…been destroyed.  Looks like I’ll have to rough it…

Speaking of roughing it (you have GOT to love a good segue), today I put up a review on an e-book titled, “The Paleo Diet For The 21st Century,” written by Douglas Robb over at Health Habits, a blog I highly respect.  I think it jives with what I believe is proper nutrition, since it focuses on nonprocessed foods being a part of the every day diet.  To put it bluntly; eating processed foods is a lot like putting low-grade gasoline in a luxury sports car.  It’s going to give you poor results and ultimately hurt you in the end.  Give it a read and leave your comments!

Also, I know I put up a link to my Spotify playlist for today.  If anyone had trouble getting to it, let me know and we’ll go back to the old-school way of me listing the songs….or just listen below!  Surprise!

That’s it for now.  Remember, don’t think of tomorrow as the end of the week.  You should be sprinting to the finish line, not walking it out!








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