Spotlight on Kimmie David

Spotlight on Kimmie David

Meet Kimmie David, a Punk Roper in New York City. The photo above was taken at the 2012 Punk Rope Games. Kimmie was a member of the silver medal winning Asian Contagion team.

Word has it Tim helped advise you when you were an undergrad at Hunter. Did his advice have any effect?
Tim wasn’t assigned as my advisor, but I did meet him in the advising office, and the only thing he advised me to do was to check out Punk Rope, which I finally did, four years later.

We’re eagerly anticipating your burlesque debut. Any ideas for a stage name? And what makes you want to take your clothes off in public?
Noooo! Pressure on the burlesque front! If anyone can christen me with a fitting stage name that references Queens, you get five dollars and my undying, glittery love. And to answer the second question: the world needs more beauty.

You have a really unique look and style. How do you describe it? What are your influences?
My style comes from: having worked my way through college at the Hot Topic in Queens Center Mall and stocking up with my employee discount, going to Catholic school for thirteen years, fitting everyone’s hand-me-downs, owning too many T-shirts and a sewing machine, and a fancy dress addiction. The more vintage, the better.

You’re a Buffalo Bills fan. That’s so random. How did you get hooked on the Bills?
This is not random! Buffalo, as I recall, is in New York, and I live in New York. I also have a penchant for underdog teams and disappointment and the big upset. I live for the moment of Big Upset.

Any thoughts on what you might do next after leaving Bluestockings? Looking for any leads or connections from our readers?
Ok, guys. Check this: I co-owned an amazing bookstore for close to five years, and I just hung up my hat there. But bookselling is one of those things I live for (along with removing articles of clothing while watching football), so if anyone knows of a bookselling position with a small-to-mid-sized independent in NYC…or something in the publishing universe…or anything else that lets me roll around in piles of books without having to go back to school…do let me know.

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Beastanetics – Workout of the Week

Beastanetics - Workout of the Week

4 sets x 20 sec + 20 sec recovery
1. Run (18 yards)
2. Lateral shuffle (18 yards)
3. Star jumps
4. Mountain climbers
5. Speed skip
6. Speed squats
400 meter run
Forward lunge (60 sec)
Push-ups – regular (4 x 20 sec)
Baby cobra (4 x 30 sec)
Single leg stretch (4 x 30 sec)

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Martin Kirwan Interview: Part 2

Martin Kirwan Interview: Part 2

This is the final part of our interview with Martin Kirwan, a former semi-pro soccer player, who hails from Ireland. Martin has 10 grandchildren and a great grandson. How many great grandparents do you know that are jumping rope?

You’ve created your own routine blending rope jumping with the TRX. Can you give us a snapshot of the routine?
Obviously the warm-up is very important, and I stretch my whole body, with particular emphasis on my leg and groin muscles. I do 3 minutes of jump rope, starting with the basic jump, then the jogger, straddles, playground hop, the skier, the boxer, and high knees to finish. With the TRX I focus on the abs. The first set I can do with no problem, but after my second and third sets of jump rope, my strength starts to falter. This is followed by a complete leg workout, which is also intense, then arms, shoulders, back, and core. All of these are done with very little recovery time. I then take a minute’s rest before my next jump rope set, which is the same as above. I have to remember I’m not the young stallion I was when I played semi-pro soccer.

What do you enjoy most about rope jumping? What do you find most challenging?
I would never have dreamed of doing jump rope as part of my routine, but I purchased a jump rope workout download from the TRX site, which features Buddy Lee (the rope jumping star), so I tried it and was amazed at how enjoyable the jump rope is. I like to push myself to my age limit, letting my body guide me on intensity so I don’t overdo it, but I never underdo it either. My heart is pumping near its maximum for my age. The jump rope is very challenging from set two to three, but I always manage to finish my routine. I might miss a few jumps, but hey I’m a beginner.

Do you listen to music while you workout? If so, any favorite tunes?
Not really. I start about 6:30am so don’t want to annoy the neighbors or the Rottweiler, but if you want to know my taste I am a big Doobie Brothers fan. I also like Steely Dan, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, and at the moment when working at my PC, Ludovico Einaudi. He really calms the system down.

Tell us a bit about your semi-pro soccer career.
I played for my hometown club — Club Drogheda United — from 1976 to 1985, having been part of their successful youth team that won the F.A.I. Youth Cup. My fondest memories are signing semi-pro forms, and then captaining the club in my final season. I always wore my heart on my sleeve for the club, and no matter how bad times were, the hairs on the back of my neck always stood up when I pulled the shirt on. My one regret was when Brian Kerr (who then managed the Irish national team) offered me a contract to play for Saint Patrick’s Athletic in Dublin, but I couldn’t commit as I had a young family, didn’t drive, and travelling to Dublin four times a week for training and matches would have been too much. The following year, on the last day of the season, we played St. Pats and they won the league at our ground. So I missed out on a League of Ireland Winners’ Medal. Also when I returned to Ireland from England I lost all my memorabilia from my soccer career, so I have no newspaper cuttings or anything to show my grandchildren, however my 21-year-old grandson is always telling me that he met this person and that person (he doesn’t remember names too well) and they always tell him how good a midfielder I was.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes Tim, I was really struggling to get a momentum going with the jump rope. As much as I watched videos on YouTube they never really showed the basics — just guys showing off their skills. Then one day Punk Rope appeared on the list and I viewed some videos, and these were very helpful to me, so I purchased your downloadable DVD. It takes me through the very basics of the skill, which is what I need to perfect it, and now I am doing 3-minute sets without hardly any breaks. It’s all on account of the attention to detail on your jump rope DVD so many thanks for that.

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Can rope jumping lower cholesterol? Ask Martin.

Can rope jumping lower cholesterol? Ask Martin.

This is part 1 of our interview with Martin Kirwan, a former semi-pro soccer player, who hails from Ireland. Martin has 10 grandchildren and a great grandson. How many great grandparents do you know that are jumping rope?

How’s your cholesterol now that you’ve been upping the intensity of your workouts?
The reason for me training again is because my cholesterol was 8.2, which is serious. 3 to 4 is considered acceptable. I hadn’t done any training of any sort for 18 years, so if I may say so myself I am surprised at my level of fitness. I started off with a 5-minute run around the block and I was absolutely knackered after it, but I gradually built it up and then moved on to The Sean T Insanity program. My 38-year-old son tried it and lasted 12 minutes. He was mortified that his old man could do the complete program. Anyway, I just had my cholesterol retested an it is down from 8.2 to 4. My doctor was very impressed that I accomplished this without any medication. He said for a man of my age to achieve this is impressive indeed. He told me to keep up the good work. I told him “I’ll just keep jumping.”

 Have you made any modifications to your diet? If so, which ones?
Because of my soccer background, I know how important my diet is for results, so just some basic modifications where I never drink fizzy drinks at all, cut down on the chocolate, and take plenty of vitamins, and protein drinks.

You mentioned that you played semi-pro soccer for many years. Did you do any skipping for fitness back then?
In my time we usually stuck to the fitness routines for our particular sport, however I had a friend who was a boxer and every time we would have a drink together he always brought this up that skipping was great for the cardiovascular system and for coordination, but his advice always fell on deaf ears.

Would you recommend rope jumping to today’s youth soccer players? If so, why?
My 7-year-old grandson is doing very well at the soccer academy. He’s scored 29 goals in 16 matches, and all from midfield, so when he turns 8 in October I am going to introduce him to some basic jump rope techniques to improve his balance, speed, and coordination.

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Punk Rope Rocks Highway to Health

Punk Rope Rocks Highway to Health

We’ve made appearances at countless health fairs and festivals over the years, but you never really know what’s going to happen until the event actually starts. Fortunately, yesterday’s Highway to Health Festival, which was produced by HealthCorps, was one of the best we’ve ever attended.

Thanks to Joe, Liz, Howard, and Shana, the Punk Rope booth was hopping all day. Since the event took place at South Street Seaport, we had the pleasure of teaching rope jumping to a large number of tourists, as well as locals. The broad jump mat (see photo below) was a big hit with kids of all ages including those over 50. People love immediate feedback and it doesn’t get more immediate than looking down to see how far you jumped. One of the highlights of the day was turning the long rope for our friend, Adam, the founder of Just One Wheel. What made it especially cool was that Adam was jumping over the rope while on a unicycle!

The Punk Rope demo on the main stage featured rousing renditions of Olé by the Bouncing Souls and Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones. And the day concluded with a raucous competition under the tent. Events included crossing, double unders, spoons, long rope, “pull it together” (3-person squat), standing broad jump, and push-ups. Four lucky folks received pairs of Ropix rope jumping shoes and we also gave away some jump ropes, T-shirts, and DVDs.

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Yes, we have a rope jumping instructional DVD!

Yes, we have a rope jumping instructional DVD!

Nearly four years in the making at a cost of countless millions, Rope Jumping for Maximum Fitness is finally a reality. Okay, we’re kidding about the countless millions, but there’s no doubt that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into the project.

Lovingly directed and shot by Cynthia Malaran, the 74-minute DVD was shot on location at Location One, an art gallery in Soho and stars two time Punk Rope Games champ, Howard Wu, Beastanetics all-star, Heather Wagner, and Tim and Shana. Alfred and Tonka appear courtesy of their agents.

The DVD focuses on rope jumping basics and provides detailed instructions on how to perform more than 20 steps, which improve timing, coordination, agility, speed, endurance, power, strength, and more. Also covered are how to fix common mistakes, proper warm-up and cooldown protocols, and some simple exercises, which help ward off injury.

56 minutes of the video are devoted to instruction and 18 minutes to an actual workout, which is fueled by the sonic boom of New York-based bands Alice Texas, ps xo, The Likely Hoods, and The Shalitas.

The physical DVD is available for $15.00 (and includes the Jump Rope Made Easy PDF Manual) or as a digital download for $6.00.

You can check out the DVD trailer by clicking here.

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Rise & Shine: Tips for Morning Workouts

This is an excerpt from a post by Eric Cressey, who writes one of the best fitness blogs in the world.

We are creatures of habit – not only psychologically and socially, but physiologically as well.  It should come as no surprise that changing the time of day when one’s workout routine takes place is a huge deal for everything from mood to performance. Perhaps the most common adjustment that takes place is when someone decides to exercise in the morning.  It may be because a long day at work is too exhausting to be 100% when you hit the gym after it’s over, or you may just not want to wait for equipment access in a crowded gym at 6PM. Or, it could be because a parent is super busy with kids’ afterschool activities, so first thing in the morning before they wake up is the best bet for getting in a strength and conditioning program. Here are five keys to making it a smooth transition:

1. Get to bed earlier.
You’d be surprised at how many people complain that they can’t get results from exercising in the morning without realizing that they’re still going to bed far too late at night. If you’re someone who is accustomed to sleeping 12AM-8AM, then racing to be to work at 9AM, it’s going to be an adjustment if you want to start training at 6AM before you head to work.  You’re only making it tougher if you decide that you’re simply going to sleep 12AM-5AM. It’s also going to crush your productivity for the rest of the day, as you’ll be sleep walking rather than enjoying the post-exercise energy boost most people experience.  If you want to be up at 5AM or 6AM to train, you’ve got to be in bed by 10PM.

2. Stand up for a bit.
Our spines are stiffer first thing in the morning. Simply standing upright and moving around upon waking allows us to move the spine more safely and effectively.  If you’re someone with a history of back pain, you’re probably best off not incorporating exercise in the morning, especially if your workout routine includes a lot of bending and rotating.  If you’re going for a walk or light jog, though, it’s probably not a big deal. If you’re someone who plans to use some of these more challenging compound movements and have to exercise in the morning, I’d encourage you to get up 30 minutes early and just focus on standing up, whether it’s to read the paper, pack your lunch, or take the dog for a walk.

3. Take a hot shower before exercise in the morning.
One of the biggest struggles a lot of folks encounter is getting warmed up in the morning.  Folks usually turn the heat down at night while they’re asleep, and it’s obviously colder outside at nighttime.  You might think I’m nuts, but hopping out of bed and into a hot shower is a great “body temperature transition” strategy that bridges the gap between bed and exercise.  And, since you’ll be standing in the shower, it also helps to accomplish tip #2 from above! It only has to be 25-30 seconds to get your body temperature up a bit, and then you can take your “real” shower after you sweat up a storm.  As an alternative to shower #1, you can always splash some hot water on your face and drink a cup of coffee.

4. Extend the warm-up.
In line with points #2 and #3, it’s a good idea to add a few more dynamic warm-up drills to your pre-exercise routine. It might add five minutes to your dynamic warm-up, but that’s far better than spending far more than five minutes in physical therapy for an injury you got from insufficiently warming up! In line with tip #2 from above, you likely want to focus on more standing variations in your mobility exercise selections.

5. Tinker with various nutrition approaches.
I’ve heard thousands of different nutritional strategies outlined for those who want to exercise in the morning, but the truth is, everyone is different.  I have known folks who will throw up anything solid that they consume prior to exercise, and others (myself included) who could eat a giant breakfast and keep it down just fine.  For most, I think sipping on a shake as you start the training session is a good place to start.  If you handle that fine, you can consider having some solid food before the training session, if you find that you’re hungry in the middle of the training session.

6. Recruit a training partner.
A training partner is almost always a good idea, but this is especially true when you’re up at the crack of dawn and not necessarily in the mindset to really push yourself.  Plus, when you’re awake for exercise before the sun rises, you’re far more likely to hit the snooze button if someone isn’t waiting for you at the gym.

While training first thing in the morning isn’t exactly ideal, it may be your only option for staying consistent with your workout routine – and consistency is the name of the game.  Implement these strategies to get the most out of your early morning training sessions.

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How did this man lose 115 lbs? (Part 2)

Sean Reveille, who appears in the photos above, lost 115 pounds in a relatively short period of time. This is part 2 of our interview with him.

4) How did you get into rope jumping and what do you like most about it?
I am a creature of habit, and I wanted a form of cardio I could stick to that I could do whenever, wherever, and without weather being a factor.  Since I often find myself simply jumping up and down in my room while listening to rock or heavy metal music, I figured jumping rope was the natural way to go.  I now own a few ropes, one of which I keep at work so that I can spend 20 minutes of my lunch break jumping rope.  I wasn’t intending on doing it EVERY day at work, but it’s one of those things that gets really fun when you have the right background music to accompany it.  So now I find myself doing it daily.  They know me now as “that guy who works out during lunch.” What I like most about it is the fact that it was totally natural to me.  I had always just found myself pogoing up and down while listening to heavy music, just without the rope. Adding in the rope completed it.

5) I hear you like to squat. What’s your personal best and are you shooting for a specific goal?
My preferred form of resistance training is calisthenics. However, I make an exception for lower body. Squatting is one of my favorite things to do. I normally do 5 sets of 8-10 reps at the gym and for my final set I like to try to increase the weight. Monday this week I hit a new max.  I did my last set with 225 lbs, which is a big milestone for me because it’s an even two 45 lb plates on each side of the barbell! I don’t really have any specific goal.  I don’t like setting goals when it pertains to self-improvement because I see goals as stop signs. It means hitting a point and then saying “okay, I can stop now.”  And that’s just not how I am.  As long as my legs don’t get so massive that I can’t fit into my riding leathers, I’m going to keep working on it.

6) What do you like to listen to when working out?
Well, on top of your typical “gym rat metal” (Disturbed and other similar bands), I like to listen to a lot of film score tracks (typically the background music from epic battle scenes), and remixes of video game tunes.  Yes, nerdy, I know!  I also like listening to ’80s synth-pop bands, hard rock bands such as AC/DC, and Industrial metal such as KMFDM.  My favorite genre of music is a subgenre of metal called Power Metal, but I find that it doesn’t make suitable background music for working out.

7) We hear from the medicine ball police that you like to toss those suckers around. What do you do with them?
Here’s another one that’s going to give away my nerdy background! Haha. I have a set of medicine balls ranging from 2 to 8 pounds that I purchased some time ago for use with a video workout program.  I couldn’t stick to the program, however, so they gathered dust for some time.  Then one day I got into a little argument with my sister about how the foods she is feeding her kids combined with their lack of activity is going to make them just like I was.  I didn’t want to sit by and watch, so I started thinking of ways to get them exercising. I noticed my nephew was really into the show Dragonball Z and liked to pretend he was the characters from the show. So I gave him the lightweight medicine ball and had him imitate the movements characters make with their bodies when they perform their signature energy attacks, and then pushing/launching/throwing the ball into a wall and catching it as it came back to him.  I put together a workout program for him based entirely on imitating his favorite Dragonball Z characters using this approach, just throwing medicine balls instead of firing mystical energy, and it ended up being a full, total body workout. It seemed so fun I figured I would try it myself, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I usually finish the medicine ball workout by doing static holding exercises with the 6 lb ball, holding it at arm’s length, arms fully extended, and slowly turning from side to side.

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How did this man lose 115 pounds?

The other day, we had the pleasure of chatting with Sean Reveille (pictured at far left in July 2009 and at far right in February 2012), a Punk Rope customer who happens to be a fan of metal and rope jumping, and who recently lost 115 pounds by making some very sensible choices. We were inspired by Sean’s story and think you will be too.

1) Most Americans struggle with their weight. How did you drop 115 pounds?
I tried a lot of different things as far as exercise went, but for a long time I wasn’t consistent about any one thing. I tried various video-based programs as well as basic workout programs I got off the Internet. But the big thing I did was change my diet, which I did in phases. The first month, I stopped drinking everything but water. The second month, I started preparing my own meals at home rather than eating fast food. I didn’t do anything to drastically change my eating habits as far as WHAT I was eating, but I prepared it all at home using low-fat ingredients, and that made a big difference. Messing around in the kitchen, I came up with ways to cook things like burritos, burgers, and other foods I was already eating in a way that was diet-friendly. All grains became whole grains, eggs became egg whites, etc. Then during month 3 I began completely cutting the foods I knew to be bad for me.  Honestly, I tried a lot of things and I wasn’t meticulously following any sort of exercise regimen until I had already lost a lot of the weight. But because I was strict about my nutrition, I could afford not to be serious about exercise, at least until I hit my plateau at about 250 lbs. One key thing to understand (and this is something I learned) is that no amount of exercise can make up for poor overall nutrition habits. A person who is strict about nutrition, but only exercises casually and not following any set program will get a lot closer to achieving their goals than one who works out like a beast but has poor overall nutrition habits.

2) Has it been difficult to maintain the weight loss?
I would say that keeping the weight off is easy. Once you’ve been doing it for a few months, the desire to go back to your old ways kind of stops, except for the odd treat meal, and that’s okay to indulge in.  I know that, on the rare occasion we go out to eat (which is once a month, if even that) I throw the nutrition rulebook out the window. And that’s okay.  It doesn’t get in the way of your progress when it is that rare.  I’ve noticed that most people who give up do it early on, and they do it for one of two reasons:
a) They don’t understand how the dietary changes they’ve made along with the sudden introduction of exercise will affect their weight in the short term. They weigh themselves constantly, not understanding how, in the beginning, water retention and muscle gain will throw off the scale. And since the scale isn’t showing progress, they give up.
b) They don’t give it long enough to become a routine. As I said above, sticking to it and keeping the weight off is easy once it becomes routine, and that can take anywhere from 3 weeks to a couple of months depending on the person.

3) You mentioned being an outlier in 2 different communities, Florida and Pittsburgh. Why do you think people perceive you as an outsider?
I grew up in Boca Raton, FL, a very upscale beachfront city in South Florida. EVERYONE there is thin, and quite a few people have had some sort of cosmetic surgery. Being that I was overweight, I was an outsider.  In 2002, I moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where obesity is more the standard thanks to lack of organized physical activities and local Polish-based cuisine.  In the beginning, I fit right in.  But after adopting a healthy lifestyle, I began to drift toward the opposite end of the spectrum.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our discussion with Sean, which will appear next week.

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