We’ve been posting about fitness, health, bodybuilding, web design and tattoos. I think it’s finally time to make a post about our biggest passion of all: dirty and abrasive music that’s easy to dance to and fun to yell back at. We spend our days in front of our computers designing away and singing our hearts out in happy discord. We’re both musicians. Or I guess you could say Jared is a temporarily retired hardcore vocalist . . . and I’d be slotted more in the aspiring category.
This post makes a case for three modern punk bands. The three best, I’d say. One of them is still wailing away better than ever, one of them switched names and evolved into possibly my favorite band of all time, and one of them split up several years ago . . . but is still touring around, playing shows and working on new music. I’ll post videos for each, so you can see what I’m getting all excited about, but I encourage you to go out and buy their albums. No one hit wonders here—all three of these bands make great albums. They’re all pretty popular, too, so you might catch them touring around. If you’re interested in indie punk bands and happen to live in Seattle, I grabbed the photograph used in the image above off of a great Seattle based punk blog that features lots of smaller punk bands.
What criteria am I basing this top three on? I like songwriting that feels raw and uncontrived, frontmen that know how to make a scene and entertain, rhythm that makes me want to dance, and vocals that are gritty and emotive and great to sing along to. These three bands are wild, energetic and unapologetic, and write music that’ll make you want to kick and scream.
If you’ve been reading our fitness blog I know what you’re thinking: “Uh oh. Foxhound with their shirts off again.” Yep. Our first official bodybuilding photo-shoot has become our second official Foxhound-team-effort-photo-shoot (if you missed our first one, the grad shoot, it’s right here).
So what makes this one special? Well. It took a lot of work, mostly in the gym. The photo-shoot itself was also rather tough. Flexing isn’t as fun as our smiles make it seem. But that’s the test of a true bodybuilding pose, right? Can you hold it while smiling. So we tried our best to smile our hearts out. A lot of effort went into the poses themselves, too. There are a lot of particulars to each pose.
The photography is probably what you’re curious about though. They aren’t HDR photos and they aren’t painted—in fact, they aren’t even touched up! We got this effect by combining four things: Dynamic lighting, olive oil, boosted clarity (Adobe Lightroom) and Jared’s Photoshop sharpening algorithm. I know everyone paints on muscles these days, and it’s more or less accepted. But this isn’t 300 or Twilight, this is our attempt at a legitimate bodybuilding shoot, so we tried to keep it real. We didn’t brush on muscles with make-up, we didn’t paint them in Photoshop, we didn’t selectively boost shadows—we didn’t even remove pimples or smooth out pores. This is us . . . albeit well lit and covered in oil.
I’ve wanted tattoos for 8 years now. First I had to turn 18, then I had to find the right tattoo artist. Finding the right tattoo artist is tough. There are so many out there and I’m pretty picky with my artists. I spent years hunting and after almost giving up several times I found one. Then I had to decide what to get—but that actually wasn’t too hard, once I had found the right artist. Then I had to wait 5 months to get the tattoo because the good artists, it seems, are in high demand. But I’ve finally finally got it!
It’s a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) inspired skull. The holiday seems a bit morbid at first glance but it’s about celebrating life, not death, and the artwork I just find so damn beautiful—and it runs in the family. My grandmother is a Cuban bundle of energy with one of the most interesting life stories I’ve ever heard. Her outlook on life is inspirational and she’s one of the people I most respect most in the world. And the latin influence and passion for life runs through my family. When my cousin Alexei married Dan Boeckner a few years back they had a Day of the Dead themed wedding. That’s where I first wore the skull. Yep. A few years ago, this was me.
I’ve had a lot of people asking me about how to lose weight. Almost two years ago our good friend Willem was trying to lose weight, so I put him on a program that had him down 20lbs in a month. No supplements or gimmicks. Just a simple diet consisting mainly of chili and a light workout program. A year later another friend, Payam, was after the same thing. I put him on a similar program and he lost 18lbs in a month. If you aren’t a 6’0 athletic male, don’t worry. It’ll work whether you’re male or female, buff or a chubster, an ectomorph or an endomorph, a busy businessman or a beach bum. Jared’s 5′ girlfriend lost 9lbs in a month and shrunk out of her clothes faster than she could replace them. More importantly, not only did they all get quick results, they’ve all maintained or improved upon the weight loss! Willem’s stomach went from a blob to a scary looking washboard in a couple months, making him the perfect poster boy for a blog post about healthy weight loss. I just finished a cutting phase. I lost 12 pounds of fat in 3 weeks, maintained my muscle mass, and improved my strength—all while working 12 hour days for clients who needed rush jobs done. Since then we’ve experimented with several new techniques (such as those presented in The 4-Hour Body, by Tim Ferriss). If you follow the tips and tools in this post you can expect even better results than we got. Whether you’re a beginner or a fitness freak we’re confident that these methods will get you to your body fat goal in no time.
Lean to Mean was a four month bodybuilding experiment—our ectomorph transformation, as we’ve learned it’s often called. We studied the bodybuilding masters, got help from personal trainers, studied research papers, books, e-books and we meticulously recorded EVERYTHING. We wanted to pit conventional wisdom against cutting edge controversial research and figure out what worked. Well. We still have a long way to go and several really exciting theories and programs to test, but phase one is done!
(update: we’ve come a long way since then. Read the updated story here)
And you might notice the new addition to our two-man bodybuilding crew crunched over off to the right. He started his journey last year when he and I planned out a fat loss program that led to 20lbs of fat loss in one month (more on that here). Willem’s an active and adventurous guy with a body bursting with fast-twitch muscle fibers. He runs, bikes, climbs rocks, plays sports and loves the outdoors. He also has the ability to pop on pounds of fat faster than he can eat a donut—and damn can he ever eat donuts fast! He’s coming at bodybuilding from the opposite side of things and we wanted to include him in the experiment.
Jared and I, scrawny nerdlings that we are, after researching our hearts out, decided to focus on short intense strength training workouts at the gym no more than 3 times a week. Willem spent the summer in British Columbia planting trees. Long brutal days tacked one next to another spent working his muscles harder than they’ve ever been worked. So we’ve got ectomorphs vs mesomorphs, manual labour vs HIIT, and strength training vs rock climbing.
So, what we’ve got here are before and after pictures and before and after measurements. We’ve all gotten bigger. We’ve all gotten leaner. And we’re pretty happy with our results. We’ve gone from bony to beastly (or at least we’d like to think we did) in just one summer.