workout tips

How to Effectively Bulk Cleanly

Bulking up is a process known to bodybuilders as a way to gain more weight, emphasizing on lean gains. There are two ways that you can go about bulking, which are clean or dirty. Get your mind out of the gutter, a dirty bulk is when there are, basically, no rules. If you want to gorge yourself with fast food, go for it, this is the essence of a dirty bulk. Being far easier than clean bulking, having no rules or exceptions when you bulk can lead to the obvious problem of fat gains.

When you get that first dose of weightlifting hunger, where you almost seem like you are in a constant state of hunger, the dirty bulk was my first pick. For some background on me, I was very skinny before I decided to bulk up. If you don’t care about having a little bit of a gut, you should definitely go with the dirty bulk, as it is much easier to commit to. For those of you who have been lifting for a longer amount of time, you will probably want to bulk cleanly.

A clean bulk is all about watching what you eat, you should be lifting weights to help bulk up, regardless of which way you choose to gain weight. Dedication and perseverance are two main traits that a clean bulk will take, you still have freedom to eat a select few of the foods that you want, gaining less extra fat in the process. How you will want to look, during your bulk, will help to determine which kind of bulking person you will end up being.

If time is an issue, you can get some extra help through using supplements. Being that it is the process in the title, a bulking stack is often seen as a great option. Stacking together different ways to help bulk you up, even more than the food that you are eating, is great for either a clean or dirty bulk. It is no wonder why so many use supplements to bulk up quicker, there are no additional calories to make that waistline grow, that is a part of the body that you DO NOT want to bulk up.

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Three Signs to Toss Out A Supplement

I wanted to provide some information regarding when a supplement is ready to be tossed out. You should always check expiration dates, as they are the best indicator to judge when a product has expired. However, you could run into cases where a supplement’s expiration label isn’t there or is obscured.

Discoloration and Clumping
If anyone has ever opened an expired supplement, they will know the sight I am about to describe. Imagine that you are about to twist open the container of a supplement that you haven’t used in a while. You expect to see a bunch of powder that is all ready to be scooped up. Instead, you are treated to the horrifying sight of a bunch of dark colored clumps. Expired supplement powder actually resembles what would happen if someone was to pour water into your container and then close it off. This sight can be shocking to anyone but if you see it, you only need to do one simple thing: throw it away. I’ve been in desperate times and have tried to use a clumpy supplement, it didn’t work well. I was the person who tried to get those clumps broken up in any way possible. I had tried a sharp knife and an ice pick (almost stabbing my fingers in the process) and was finally able to break up a few chunks in a cup. As you have probably pictured, my mixing attempts were a workout in itself. First, I couldn’t get the giant clumps mixed ups so I had to start mashing my own cup. Many small waves of water cascaded over my kitchen as I was smashing a cup like a crazy person. After my efforts, I finally had a mixed up drink that probably never should have even been made. I was able to complete my workout with a bit more energy but it didn’t come close to that supplement in its prime.

Tastes Different
This is probably one of the easier signs to recognize, as it will only take one time. Supplements tastes vastly different and taste itself is subjective but we all know the difference between good and really bad. I remember having an energy supplement that was green apple that I loved. Apparently, I didn’t love it that much because I found a container of it in the back of my supplement closet. I was so excited to get some energy from this delicious green apple product that I didn’t see it has expired. When I took my first drink, all I could taste was water mixed with pepper. I’m not sure if there was actual pepper in that pre workout but it was not the green apple taste I had wanted!

Stops Being Effective
This is something you will have to assess with capsules, more than powders. If a supplement has stopped doing what it is supposed to, it could mean that it has expired. Sometimes, it can be impossible to find an accurate expiration date on your container, I’ve been there. I find that, if I can’t remember if a supplement is expired that means I won’t take it. With capsules, it is tougher to know if something has truly expired. If you try your old standby supplement and find it isn’t the amazing experience it once was, the potency of that supplement may not be there anymore.

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Amazon Elements Coming to a Home Near You

Considering that there are so many companies getting into the world of nutritional supplements, it seems like hardly anything surprises me anymore. However, seeing that such a giant brand like Amazon creating supplements has made me very happy. First, I like being able to have more information about the supplement that I am trying with the handy QR code scanning capabilities of the Elements line. In an unprecedented move, Amazon actually encourages the customer to find out more about where the supplement they ordered came form. Early reports suggest that this code will actually give you a printout regarding the ingredients in the product you bought so that you can know more about how your product was made.

Currently, you aren’t going to find the widest range of products in the world but give it time. The Elements line is still newer and I am sure that it will feature a ton of cool products to it very shortly. As of right now, there are currently four different vitamin products in the Element line, including: Turmeric Root, Calcium Complex, and Vitamins K and D.

If you visit the product listing page for any of the products in the Element line, you will be treated to more detailed information that is very scientific. For someone like me, whose life revolves around trying new supplements, Amazon’s desire to be transparent truly shows. We are seeing that the Element product line doesn’t want to leave anything from the customer, a decision that I’m sure will pay off in a big way. Right now, there are only four vitamins in this product line but I think that we will see more Elements supplements get added as time goes on.

Of course, these supplements are still in the early stages but the reviews seem to be largely positive. Since Amazon is a platformbalanced where customers can leave reviews of what they have tried, we should all be seeing a clear picture of how the world feels Amazon has done in the supplement world. However, if the early reviews are any indication of overall satisfaction, it looks like this mega brand has got another winner on their hands. I think that the labels for the Elements line look really great. The black label with white text really makes these products look professional, like they could compete with other brands right away.

Another important concern for anyone is going to be cost of these supplements. One school of thought could be that Amazon would want to have their prices low, since they are new supplement makers on the block. Another argument could be made that we could see higher prices, considering the quality of the manufacturer. However, I’m happy to say that the Amazon Elements supplements are really well-priced.

Overall, I am so excited to see the Amazon Elements line finally being released. I had heard that this company was going to create their own line of products, I just wasn’t sure when that would be. Now, it looks like some of these products are only available to get by invitation but I am sure that we will see that change very soon. I eagerly await the expansion of Amazon Elements to possibly include a protein powder or preworkout product. I suppose that we will have to wait and see when new innovations come our way.

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When You Eat is Nearly Important as What You Eat

If you’ve been worrying yourself sick over how many calories are in every food item you come across, I’ve got some good news for you. As it turns out, studies are showing that when you eat could be more important than what you’re eating. I remember working an odd job that presented long hours and not many opportunities for lunch. In hindsight, it was probably against employer rules to treat us how they did, but that’s besides the point. What this job left me with was an enormous appetite when I got off work. I started getting used to waking up at 8am, getting a small breakfast and working until 7:30pm, with no meals in between. Needless to say, I would be in such a hunger-induced frenzy that I would find the first drive-thru I could. This way of eating wasn’t just harmful to my body, it nearly drove me insane.

When I started that job, I probably weighed around 190lbs and by the time I left I was close to 220lbs and it wasn’t muscle I was gaining. What was happening was that, by having a large meal once per day, my body couldn’t naturally burn off the excess calories. We often think that, by eating less meals, we are doing ourselves a favor, which couldn’t be more from the truth. If you starve yourself throughout the day, the worst part is that this can become a hard to habit to break. It took me about three weeks, after leaving the previously mentioned job, to learn how to eat properly again. I know that may sound a bit over-dramatic but if you were in my shoes, you would realize how hard of a battle it was.

Now, I’m not saying that if you eat multiple times throughout the day, you can eat whatever you want, that’s not the case. However, if you eat smaller meals more frequently, you have a bit more wiggle room than someone who gorges themselves, all at once. When you eat smaller meals throughout the day, you are giving your body energy and most of it will have burned off. It’s almost as if the concern over what food we eat causes some to just throw their hands up and eat less. It’s easy to get burnt out on tracking your foods, it feels like someone is taking away your freedom. I’ve never been one to follow every rule and a diet is no exception. For most who are having difficulties with eating healthy, it’s likely that they haven’t found the right foods. I remember only knowing the fruits and vegetables that were forced upon me, when I was younger, so that I could get to the dessert already! Growing up, you have a lot more freedom and that certainly can play a big part in selecting new food. I know it may sound weird but the next time you go to the supermarket, have some fun! Try and pick out a new vegetable each time you visit the store, think of it as a treasure hunt for your new diet staple. At times, we must grow up from the old preconceived notions that we have about eating healthy. You don’t want to give up eating, instead of that choose healthier foods you like, have fun with it!

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VR Technology Mixing with Cardio

The great part about birthday parties was always going to the arcade, as far as my friends were concerned. Living in a rural area, we had two or three arcades that we would frequent, until they started closing down. I love being able to play video games at home, with one of my consoles, but I hate what has happened to the state of the arcade, currently. I mean, if you can find an arcade in America that is still existing, take a look inside. If you can walk into the arcade that you’ve found and not see a bunch of empty space or more than 5 machines, consider yourself lucky. I had often wished that some company would do what they could to repair the decaying state of the arcade in America and I may have gotten my wish answered, if the VirZOOM has anything to say about the matter. We’ve heard about how virtual technology is adding new elements of realness, immersing us in virtual worlds with no outside interference.

tech taking over

I remember seeing the old E3 footage, when it was promised that virtual reality technology was going to foster in some amazing changes to how we live. Now, one of those changes is actually coming to the way that we exercise, truly making working out more fun. I know that nearly every new form of exercise is always touted as being fun but we are talking about video games here, I don’t think there is much that can compete with that, in terms of actual fun. The VirZOOM technology is taking what you would see from something like an Oculus Rift and mixing it with a stationary exercise bicycle. Currently, there are three different games that you can play, each one adding a new level of fun to biking in one spot. What I also like is that the headgear that you wear, while using the VirZOOM, isn’t clunky, it’s just a cool looking pair of glasses. The first game that I saw was somewhat traditional, having you race your bicycle in a virtual environment, against any other racer sitting next to you. The idea of biking along a virtual path might not excite those who have used the virtual world technology before but you likely haven’t tried it with the full immersion experience.

For the second game, this is where things went to a true game world, free from the realities of life, where you were on a giant horse, flying through the air to collect little orbs. I don’t know how they do it but, while playing the horse VirZOOM experience, I really felt like I was flying in the air! Unfortunately, I did not have time to play the third game, as I was only allowed a brief amount of time to test out the machine, the line was starting to really get backed up behind me. From what I saw, there were tons of people trying to test out the VirZOOM, making me feel like it is a great sign of things to come for how we exercise in this new era. Although they are only in a handful of states, expect to see these awesome virtual reality bicycles coming to a gym near you, in the future. I can’t wait until the day where there are actual tournaments that occur with the VirZOOM, now that would be an awesome competition to watch.

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The Many Benefits of Taking Folic Acid

Often looked past as an ingredient that most of us don’t think twice about, folic acid is vital for others. What can this special type of acid do for you and why is it so important for us to have? I plan on answering all of your questions and, hopefully, teaching you a thing or two that you might not have known about this ingredient! Looking closer to find the answers, we need look no further than our blood. A subject known to make me squeamish at times, having our blood in a good condition is crucial for staying on the good side of your health. One type of people that will benefit greatly from having folic acid in their system would be those who suffer from anemia, a disease that can cause all sorts of problems. You don’t have to be dealing with a disease to get the relief that you need from folic acid, as a matter of fact, you could use this to prevent further medical issues from developing, like cancer. The subtleties of cancer are those that have not yet been fully found by science, although we seem to be getting very close. Until the day that we can knock out this horrible disease, folic acid is a safe way to help reduce the chances of cancer forming.

It is always a good thing to check with your doctor, if never using folic acid in the past, as this will give you an educated opinion about this matter. Sometimes, there are side effects that can experienced with folic acid side effects, some of the most common include: changes in mood, dizziness, and lack of eating. Should you notice that the side effects are too much for you too handle, look into an alternative to folic acid, which is something that can be easier on you. Many hear the word acid and assume that the folic kind is going to be dangerous, which isn’t true, so long as you are not susceptible to side effects. If it makes you feel better, you can always say that folic acid is a B vitamin. Another awesome perk of using folic acid is that by using capsules, it will absorb faster than if you were to get this ingredient strictly from food.

With so much of the benefits having to do with blood, we can’t stop there with how well folic acid helps your body. Folic acid is known to help boost your cognitive properties, as it has been shown as a great supplement for increasing brain activity. We have all been in those meetings where we are asked a questions and we blank out. As I get older, I sadly find that those gray moments where I can’t recall show up more now, than they did in the last ten years. As we often dread when Spring rolls around, it becomes time to start doing some cleaning. Think of using folic acid regularly as that same kind of cleaning but this time it is for your organs. I don’t know how you feel, but I would much rather be worried about making sure my internal system is clean before I go worrying about some towels on the floor. I love using folic acid, it tends to help me become more leveled out. Life can get to all of us, if you find that you are having some symptoms that are mental, physical, or both, you could be in desperate need of folic acid.

workout tips

Gaining More with Cuisinart Ice Cream Machine

After the rushing of the holidays has now ended, I was looking forward to unboxing a gift that I had received. By doing this, I get to finally play around with a machine and I can see how well it would be suited for those looking to gain weight. Made by Cuisinart, one of the major houseware companies out there, they are going to deliver quality. After opening the product, there really isn’t that much to it, as far as assembly goes. The one thing that I recommend you follow, if you do decide to pick up one of the machines is to freeze the bucket right away. I had rushed to the supermarket earlier in the week, thinking that I could end up having frozen yogurt about twenty five minutes after getting home, I had missed a very important part of the directions. Freezing the bucket is crucial for having your Cuisinart machine working the way that you need it do. The purpose of me getting this ice cream and frozen yogurt maker was to gain some more weight and I find sweets to be easier to consume.

Pump your brakes when initially setting up this machine, as waiting 24 hours is super important. However, once the bucket is frozen (slosh it around to make sure the liquid is frozen) and it is smooth sailing from there. Not just content with the recipes within the book, I wanted to try my best to add some extra protein power to the already outstanding recipes. The first thing that came to my mind was to chop up some nuts in the mix, which works well for extra fats and protein. Not just for helping with muscle development, having mixed nuts with a frozen treat is a way to add some extra crunch and flavor. Another thought that I had, came from how I used to prepare some pancakes, cooking them with protein powder. I had put about half a scoop of protein powder into the frozen yogurt mixture, both of which were vanilla flavored.

I suppose that I could have went with a full size scoop of powder but I didn’t want the sweet dessert to be over powered by that protein taste. If you live in close quarters to others, the machine could have your roommates shutting their doors but the noise isn’t really that bad. What else I enjoyed about using this ice cream machine for gaining more weight is that it makes two quarts at a time, quite a lot when you prepare it for the freezer. The first time that you realize you’ll need to wait an extra day for ice cream or frozen yogurt, it can be sad but provided that you always leave the bucket in the freezer, you can rest assured that treats are always close by. In the recipe book that came with this machine, there are a ton of various recipes that you can try, ranging from simple to slightly lengthier processes. Overall, I have been amazed with how easy it is to make quality homemade frozen treats that are loaded with protein. In that recipe book, it will lay out the details of carbs/calories/fats and much else for each meal that you can make, for anyone out there who is all about tracking each individual snack.

a pound gained

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Mark Wahlberg Helps Launch New Supplement Line

We have seen quite a few changes come to the supplements that we know and love. One change that many have rallied behind is more clarity from supplement manufacturers. After all, we are the ones who are trusting them with, basically, our lives, so we should have transparency, right? Mark Wahlberg, a big name in both the world of movies and staying healthy agrees, helping to create a new line of workout supplementation, known as Performance Inspired. You may remember Mark Wahlberg from his days as Marky Mark, or perhaps, you have seen him in the tons of movies that he has been in. It’s likely that Wahlberg has been on your television, for one reason or another, many times.

Now, Mark is bringing his star power to a line of supplements made with a better purpose in mind, making sure you aren’t getting mystery products. If you recall, there was a huge backlash for all supplements, when it was being released that we might not be getting the ingredients that we thought we were, a big scare for everyone. We have seen certain manufacturers abide to the will of the people, who only want to know what they are consuming. Performance Inspired doesn’t want to worry or have to guess what is in your supplement, they are all about being all-natural. From the line of supplements from Performance Inspired, there have built up a nice little line of products, which I will get to in a minute!

I love that a company isn’t dodging the issue of clarity in our supplements, they are actually calling it out and saying that they will never do that, bravo! As I have stated, the company is still in somewhat of a new stage, they do have products that are available but there are also some cool surprises coming up soon, including a mass gaining product, a post-workout supplement that is made with branch chained amino acids, as well as a creatine that looks delicious. Mark Wahlberg is likely to have an awesome 2017 and setting his name by a company that are making supplements with the customer in mind, could have this man celebrating his best year yet. I can’t wait to try Performance Inspired for myself, after reading up on it, it looks to be a big move forward for the supplement world.

Before I forget, I did to want to give special mention to the Performance Inspired supplements that are out right now. First, there is the Inspired Bar, which is their form a protein bar, made from all-natural ingredients without all of the filler certain companies have been known to add in their products. I do love the clear labeling that is on each supplement in the Performance Inspired line. Even on their website, this company does not try to hide anything or pull any punches, they are proud of what they have created and want you to know all about it. Last but not least, there are two types of protein powders, one made for weight loss and the other for bulking up. If you are looking for new supplements, feeling like your old stand by isn’t cutting the mustard anymore, I can sympathize with that concern. Performance Inspired wants to make you a better weightlifter and their supplements are some of the best ways to accomplish that very goal.

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Does Protein Before Bedtime Really Matter?

I’ve heard many times that you should always try to get an extra bit of protein before you go to sleep. The science behind this theory suggests that since you are not eating while you are asleep, having calories that come from a nice protein shake will avoid any time that you could lose muscle. I had always thought that the thought of a big protein drink before bed was nothing more than broscience at it’s worst. It looks like this could be a time where I have to admit that I was wrong, as new findings are showing many benefits associated with protein consumption before bed.

Especially when it comes to strength training, the findings show that having protein before you go to sleep actually helps it to be delivered in a better way. It stands to reason that I have likely missed out on years of potential gains, as I was never into having a meal before I went to sleep. I don’t like going to bed hungry but trying to consume a lot of calories, before I lay my head on the pillow, will usually have me tossing and turning for a good portion of the night. I have no idea why my stomach disagrees with the times that I want to have my meals but it looks like that is another hurdle that I will just have to get over. As for the choice of protein you should want to consume, there is more than one option. Many prefer having a nice casein protein to use before they go to sleep, as this kind has been shown to be more of a slower-releasing protein, suitable for keeping you anabolic all night. Of course, we have the standard whey protein that people have been using for years. If you don’t to spend any extra on a casein protein, a whey option would be perfectly fine to use.

time for proteinThe only real difference between whey and casein will be how they are released, with the whey releasing all at once into the body, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. If you are wanting an option that is suitable for vegans, they are being included in the spread of becoming more fitness minded, there are many vegan proteins available. Whether it be from peas, soy, or another source, any vegan in the world should not be at a loss for where to get protein that is made for their food beliefs. There is certainly nothing the matter with choosing to have your protein of choice in the middle of the day, or even first thing in the morning! Just because there are no additional benefits, other than the obvious, from consuming protein at night, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some kind of protein throughout the day, as before bedtime is only a small part of the day. To everyone who has been drinking those shakes before sleepy time, I have to congratulate you! It appears as if I well be needing to make some adjustments, as I am for sure going to be having a big glass of protein every night. I will have to make sure that I don’t end up brushing my teeth before the protein shake, as I remember how nasty those drinks are while you are trying to get rid of a cool mint taste from your toothpaste, gross!

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A New Challenge to Conquer: the Stepmill

A staple of gyms all across the world, the treadmill has been keeping us lean for ages. It seems that the attitude of getting to watch a television show while you walk in place is starting to die out, as some have favored a new challenger to the table and that would be the stepmill and it is not for the weak. When you see a stepmill in person, you can already see how it is going to be a different and tougher experience. With a set of two or three stairs that are always moving forward, like an escalator, the user can’t just stand there, otherwise they will trip over themselves. Social media is already starting to get behind the stepmill, with the most avid fitness enthusiasts bragging about how they had completed a workout on the stepmill.

When you have an invention that is so grueling that people are bragging about completing a single workout on it, you know you’ve got yourself a winner. The steps on this machine will stay at the same height, you don’t have to look down, which keeps you at a steady pace. Speaking of pace, a workout performed with using the stepmill will allow you less actual exercise time, since you have a wider range of motion, when compared to a treadmill. If you have an aversion to stairs and are always using the company elevator, the stepmill could be a way for you to get more used to using real stairs. There have been stair machines that have been used, primarily in the 80’s, but those machines were not as well-received as what we are seeing now.

I contribute the need of more being done quicker, as to why we have seen stepmills become must-haves for any fitness center. Due to having an irritational fear of elevators, I’m always looking for stars, whenever I can find them. If I do find myself in a skyscraper and I’m looking at taking ten plus flights of stairs, I have to put my elevator fear aside! When using a stepmill machine, as you can guess, your legs will have the most to gain from this activity. As far as I am concerned, what made the stepmill a machine that more of us have grown accustomed to all comes down to the design. In the past, the stair options we used to have would have two bulky and awkward looking pedals. Since the older machines weren’t built like actual stairs, it did require a great deal of balance just to stay on those old school stair machines. I can still remember the embarrassment that I felt as I was taking my pedals too fast and I ended up losing my balance.

Thankfully, I was able to grab onto the handles of the stair machine and only managed to leave me with a couple of scrapes and bruises. If you do decide to take the stepmill challenge, be prepared that is really is unlike any other workout that you have done. Set a speed that is suitable for you, pave yourself, and stay within your physical limits and you will have a set of legs that will be turning heads. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding stepmill where you live, they are taking off in sales and are popping up in new gyms almost every week. With the people behind this new and faster way of toning up, it’s likely that we won’t be seeing the stepmill go anywhere any time soon.

stair machine

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Is the Batman Workout Worth Doing?

Call me a bit late to the party but I was able to finally catch the new Batman film late last night. I’ll save my review of the film for someone who is qualified to do so. If you are on the fence about seeing this film, after hearing the largely mixed reviews, I still suggest giving it a watch. I’m not saying that you should go out and spend upward of twenty dollars to own it but give it a look, it was pretty good. Now, one scene that stuck out to me, as I’m sure it did with many other lifters out there, was Bruce Wayne’s intense workout scene. After I had watched what had seemed to be a training scene, like ones we always see in action movies, it took a few minutes for what I just saw to really set in. As far as I recall, the last time that we were treated to seeing how Batman really trains was a glimpse of some push ups in Batman Begins.

Call me someone who likes to nitpick, I never really bought the idea that Batman, protector of an entire city and a name that strikes fear into every evil doer gets his training in by doing push ups? Call me crazy but I would think that the Dark Knight who has a drive and budget unlike anything most of us will ever see, would simply be content with busting out one hundred push ups every morning. On a funny sidenote, one of my old friends who was obsessed with all things Batman, was inspired by hearing about the push up scene. I think that my friend might have had some serious disillusions that he was Batman, he took to the new push up routine like a fish takes to water.

After a few weeks, I think his drive had finally tapered off but it was amusing to see him so determined to become a superhero. In the newer Batman movie, with Ben Affleck at the helm, we see a very different workout routine, one that is far more closer to what you would imagine Batman actually performing. In the scenes, Bruce Wayne begins taking a sledgehammer to a tire, which could look out of place to many of us. I have been to a hardware store recently and I can safely say that picking up a sledgehammer is quite heavy. If you have ever had to swing a sledgehammer, you’ll know that it isn’t to do more than once or twice. When you are able to actively swing a sledgehammer onto a safe surface, like a tire, you have an environment created where you can swing a heavy hammer without chipping away at your nice floor. Next, we watch as Bruce Wayne is doing pull ups, with a twist on the old classic, he has a weighted belt wrapped around him. If you remember taking any gym classes, you’ll know how difficult doing a pull up can be, when you are adding extra weight, in addition to that of your body, you can see why this would be a hard exercise to really complete. Again, the viewer is seeing another exercise that is far better suited to the protector of Gotham than daily push ups. I will always love the Nolan Batman trilogy, which are still far and away the best superhero movies around, just something I thought I would point out.