I Grew up in The 80’s

I grew up in the 80’s in what I had previously believed to be the dawn of an unprecedented phenomenon called Saturday morning cartoons. Wikipedia quickly disabused me of that notion, as it started in the 60’s. But who among us has not been susceptible to co-opting an idyllic time in our lives and re-writing history at large to retroactively support our bias? Look no further than Trump supporters.

One of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was Alvin and the Chipmunks, which kids nowadays are still familiar with thanks to the recent CGI movies. I liked the show because as a kid I pretty much liked any show on Saturday morning, but also because it featured a sibling trio much like the one to which I belonged. It would not be a long shot to believe that the character of Alvin, the lead mischievous troublemaker, was based off my oldest brother. Simon, the middle child, was the smart, rational one which was the middle child in our trio. And last but not least the youngest, Theodore, was pudgy and sweet. That was me to a tee.

Alvin and the Chipmunks are relevant because I have not been able to get a particular episode from the 80’s version of the cartoon out of my mind lately. In that episode, Alvin gets the itch to become a firefighter, and as with all episodes, Alvin coerces his brothers into his harebrained scheme. I can’t find the full episode online for free, so if my memory serves me correctly, the brothers do go out on a fire call with real firefighters. They then create their home fire station and a ramshackle fire truck with the intent to put out fires on their own. Anyone who has ever seen a children’s cartoon knows that this is a set-up for a lesson on fire safety, but what I remember thinking was “I’m going to do that. I’m going to make my truck and serve my community…with a bakery truck!” What can I say? Both Theodore and I were notorious for having a sweet tooth. Now, as childish, naïve and impossible as that idea sounds, had you asked me how I would go about executing my plan, I am confident that the six-year-old me would have had immediate answers.

So where am I going with this? I miss the sense of flat out believing I can do anything; the meaning of a clear and open path. Before fear and doubt had to be surmounted. Before isms had to be overcome. Before risk management and good judgment had to be added to the equation. Speaking of comparisons, like math before you learned that algebra, geometry, and calculus existed. Something so simple gets ruined by too much arbitrary and seemingly made up rules that only a few people know. As a kid, it seemed like life was simply about arranging building blocks. As an adult, it feels like life is a series of avoiding and maneuvering stumbling blocks.

Recently, I talked to two people who were very driven as children and teens to create—poetry and drawing– about picking up their craft again. They shared that they no longer create because “life” has gotten in their way: family, parenthood, jobs and other responsibilities. And that they wouldn’t even know where to start because it’s been so long since they’ve created that the process no longer comes as effortlessly as it used to. The importance of family and finances aside, once again, I have grieved that the requirement of the adult consciousness placed so many impediments in their way that they were unable to create without clear expectations of the experience and outcome.

As children age into adulthood, they become capable of increasingly sophisticated abilities and cognitive processes which allow them to navigate treacherous physical and psychological terrain. I can’t help but sometimes feel like adulthood presents as an elaborate maze which we have the ability to conquer— in fact, we are required to at least try–but stumble out having lost all ability to walk a straight line. Mazes aren’t my thing—I’d rather ride in my bakery truck down the clear and open path. shanna k houser freelance writer  editor@urbanmediatoday.com

Benefits Of Using A Foam Roller After Weight Workouts

You probably think that muscle building is a matter of hard work and dedication. These things are helpful, but all your efforts will be wasted if you don’t build muscles in an efficient manner. Read on to learn some of the secrets to efficient muscle building that you can use in your daily workouts.

Obtaining a workout partner can drastically improve your muscle-building results. Your partner can be a valuable source of motivation for sticking to your exercise session, and pushing you to maximize your efforts while you work out. Having a reliable partner to work out with can also help keep you safe because you will always have a spotter.

If you want to increase muscle mass, you need to eat more food as well. The amount you eat should be equivalent to you gaining around a pound of weight each week. Consider the ways you might increase your calories and protein intake, then reconsider your approach if you don’t put on any weight in 14 days.

Set small, short-term goals that are easy to achieve to help you reach the long-term results. You must stay motivated constantly to build muscle since it takes a while. Your rewards can be ones that benefit your efforts in gaining muscle mass. For instance, get a massage; they increase the body’s blood flow and assist you in recovering on your off days.

If you want to start gaining muscle, consider getting a trainer. A coach is an expert and has likely been where you are now. Ask a trainer about what kind of exercises are best, what kind of diet you should have and how often you should be at the gym. Trainers can be a great source of information and motivation so you can meet your muscle building goals.

Prepare your body for your weight training. You must consume about twenty grams of protein thirty minutes before your session. This will amplify the muscle building that takes place as you lift. This is a simple as drinking a couple of glasses of cold milk before you weight train, as well as after.

Many people who wish to build muscle use protein shakes and meal replacements. It is important to note however that there is a distinction between the two. It can be dangerous to your health to use protein shakes frequently as a meal replacement. A full meal contains many essential nutrients that are not included in protein shakes. Also, living off protein shakes can leave your muscles soft which negates your muscle building efforts.

What you eat is going to make a difference in the results that you get from muscle building. You must keep your calorie count up and increase the amount of protein that you consume while reducing the levels of fat that are consumed. These changes will allow your workout sessions to be more productive and you will see results sooner.

Stretching after a workout will help to repair muscles and decrease any muscle soreness. Any individual under forty years of age should strive to hold every stretch for thirty seconds at the least. Stretches of no less than 60 seconds are recommended for those over 40 years. This helps to lessen the chance of injury after you have just worked out.

Remember that it is never a good idea to use the scale to determine your progress when you are trying to build muscle. If you find that your scale is increasing in numbers, remember that you just might be losing fat while gaining muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat, this is a familiar site for many who are trying to do both at the same time. Gauge your results by what you see in the mirror rather than what you see on the scale.

Make sure that you select the best weight for yourself when doing lifting exercises. Research has proven that doing six to twelve reps at around seventy to eighty percent of your maximum for one rep, will give you the best combination of both volume and load. This can stimulate additional muscle growth.

Allow yourself to eat some ice cream. Studies have shown that eating one bowl of any ice cream that you like about two hours after a workout does some good. It will trigger the surge of insulin in your body better than many other foods will, and it will taste good too!

When you first start working out, do not try increasing the weight you are lifting. Instead, work on improving your stamina by doing longer sets or simply more sets. Once working out becomes easier, you can start adding weight or trying harder exercises to keep your routine interesting and challenging.

Keep your experience with muscle building in mind when you workout. If you are completely new to this activity, then go for full body workouts. This will give you the most benefit. Targeted exercises are better for veteran muscle builders, as they may have problem areas that need more attention, or worn down areas that need rest.

Consider making use of tri-sets in your workout plan. These sets involve doing three exercises simultaneously, and you do these exercises altogether without any form of rest. Tri-sets is an excellent method of shocking a plateaued muscle that needs to wake up for it to grow.

Be careful when deciding which moves you will do with more weight; some moves are not favorable to extra weight. Split squats, neck work, and dips may include awkward joint positions that may put you at risk of serious injury. Use the heavy weights for exercises like rows, presses, squats, and deads.

Again, hard work and dedication are important parts of muscle building, but they aren’t as important as knowing what you’re doing. After reading this article, you should have a better idea of what methods work to build your muscles. Use the tips you just read to boost your ability to build your muscles.

Boswell Kicks Chiefs out of Playoffs in 18-16 Steelers Win

I’ve stood on the age-old principle that field goals alone aren’t enough for a team to win a game, much less a playoff game and Pittsburgh Steelers placekicker Chris Boswell basically said ‘You’re wrong.’ Boswell basically countered that fact as his playoff-record six field goals was enough for the Steelers to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 in the AFC Divisional Round Playoff game.

 

Now, this isn’t anything new for Boswell as he also kicked 6 field goals in the 24-21 Steelers win at Cincinnati. But here’s the difference from that game: The Steelers still needed a touchdown to seal that game as QB Ben Roethlisberger connected with WR Eli Rogers for the team’s winning (and only) score. But here’s the obvious difference: The Steelers didn’t score a single TD in this game and frankly, that’s amazing. Usually, when they are unable to get the ball into the end zone, the Steelers are usually unable to win.

 

But not this time. Thanks to Boswell.

 

Now I’m not too thrilled at the Steelers offense, but I can’t get too mad at them, right? Because a win’s a win and they were still able to hold off a KC team that scored 2 touchdowns to the Steelers none. And KC took a 7-3 lead when they drove the ball directly down the Steelers throats on their first drive of the day. Quarterback Alex Smith found receiver Albert Wilson for a 5-yard scored to give them a 7-3 lead. Who would’ve imagined that this would-be KC’s only lead of the day?

 

The problem was, KC stopped scoring too. They basically had 7 points until halfway through the 3rd quarter. Apparently, the Steelers defense shook off that TD that they gave up in the first quarter and looked Steel-Curtain like. 39-year old LB James Harrison got to KKC QB Alex Smith for a sack and shut-down the running game with 3 tackles for loss. LB Ryan Shazier intercepted Smith for his 4th consecutive pick since the Christmas Day win vs. the Baltimore Ravens and when KC added another score late in the 4th quarter, it was only 3:29 left in the game, and they tried for the 2-point conversion and failed, it was basically too late as they eventually used all their timeouts and the Steelers got a first down and eventually closed out the rest of the game after taking a knee.

 

Thanks to Boswell.

 

Now I can give the Steelers offense for the other contributions that they made. They could get into FG range thanks to 6 successful drives that included runs by RB Le’Veon Bell, who by the way played in only his 2nd playoff game. There’s a reason why Bell was named Steelers MVP and there’s a reason why he will get NFL MVP votes: The kid is valuable to the Steelers and the NFL.

 

Last week in the Wild Card Round, Bell set the Steelers playoff-rushing record when he rushed for 167 yards. This week, he broke his own record as he rushed for 170 yards on 30 carries. He basically ran over, around and through the Chiefs. WR Antonio Brown also had a good game when he caught 6 passes for 108 yards and how about TE Jesse James? He caught 5 passes for a career-high 83 yards. He’s truly been ‘the man’ since starter LaDarius Green has missed the past 4 games due to being in the concussion protocol. Big Ben himself led those FG-kicking drives as he passed for 224 yards. His only true blemish was an end-zone interception that was intended for Brown, but instead fell into the hands of KC safety Eric Berry.

So, the rest of the team did contribute, but it was Boswell field goals of 22, 38, 36, 45, 43 and 48 that got it done. And let’s make it clear: The Steelers needed every one of them, especially after KC scored that second TD of the game. KC’s loss means that the last time they won a playoff game was 1993 when Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and KC beat Neil O’Donnell, Greg Lloyd, Rod Woodson and the Steelers in a 27-24 OT thriller. Do the math, that streak now extends to 24 years.

 

Meanwhile, the Steelers will advance to their first AFC Championship Game since 2010 when they beat the NY Jets and lost in Super Bowl 45. The Steelers have won their 9th consecutive game since losing to the Dallas Cowboys in early November, giving them a 4-5 record. 3 months later, they’re a win from Super Bowl 51.  And the only thing that stands in their way are the New England Patriots, who will host the Steelers next Sunday at 6:40 pm. Make no mistake, that’s a tall task for the Steelers who hope to exorcise their nightmares of losing to the Patriots in the 2001 and 2004 AFC Championship Games and they were at Heinz Field. This game will be at Gillette Stadium. They must be ready to play the game of their lives and I will say this: Unless the Steelers defense will be Steel-Curtain like again, they will need more than 6 Bowell field goals to beat the Big Bad Patriots. I know it, they know it and you know it.

 

But it doesn’t hurt to know you have a reliable kicker on your team, and that point was made in this game. It’s usually hard to beat KC at Arrowhead, but the Steelers got it done. Thanks to Boswell.

 

In other news: The Green Bay Packers held off the Cowboys in a 34-31 thriller that went down to the final seconds as K Mason Crosby’s game winning field goal put the Packers in the NFC Championship Game vs. the Atlanta Falcons. That game will begin at 3:20 next Sunday.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediatoday.com

 

www.Steelers.com

 

PITT DROPS 72-46 DECISION TO MIAMI Jamel Artis led the team with 15 points

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Davon Reed scored 18 points, Bruce Brown added 17 and Ja’Quan Newton chipped in 14 as Miami blew out reeling Pittsburgh 72-46 on Saturday.

The Hurricanes (12-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak by smothering the Panthers. The Hurricanes outrebounded Pitt 37-23 and held Pitt (12-6, 1-4) to just 34 percent shooting (18 of 53).

Jamel Artis led Pitt with 15 points a game after going for a career-high 43 in a loss to Louisville on Wednesday. Chris Jones scored 10 points for the Panthers, who have dropped three straight.

Pitt played without forward Ryan Luther, who sat out with an injured right foot. Senior forward Michael Young played with a mask on his face to protect his right eye. Young missed all 10 of his field goal attempts, his two points coming on a pair of free throws early in the second half.

Miami used a 14-0 run spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second to turn a competitive game into a blowout. The Panthers went 9:37 between field goals as Miami’s advantage ballooned from 29-27 to 46-31.

The Hurricanes never came close to giving it up. After some early issues taking care of the ball, Miami effectively picked the Panthers apart defensively. The Hurricanes outscored Pitt 34-20 in the paint and converted Panther turnovers into 19 points at the other end of the floor.

First-year Pitt coach Kevin Stallings ceded things early. Young and Artis – one of the highest-scoring duos in the country – spent the last eight minutes on the bench as things got out of hand.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes can rebound with anybody. Miami converted eight offensive boards into 12 second-chance points.

Pitt: There could be some serious issues for the Panthers going forward. They’ve trailed by at least 20 points in each of their last three games and the next three weeks include a visit from Louisville and a trip to North Carolina to face the Tar Heels and Duke.

MORE

Ray Jr. on Sports

 

  1. Pitt’s Jamel Artis scores 43 points in 85-80 loss to Louisville-Usually I wouldn’t put any stats before a loss, but I’ll make an exception here because Artis was amazing in that game. The 43 points were obviously a career-high, but so were his 7 three-pointers. Wow. He truly is the modern-version of the ‘Rifleman’.
  2. Just in case you were wondering where Artis’ 43 points go in the record books, it’s the second-highest in Pitt history behind Don Hennon’s 45-point performance in 1957. He did all he could to keep the Panthers in the game, and the fact that they only lost by 5 is proof that if he had more of a supporting cast, Pitt might have won.
  3. If Artis keeps this type of performance up, he’ll start getting the attention of the national awards as well as All-American status. The ACC is watching, that’s for sure.
  4. After Artis’ 43, and F Mike Young’s 17, the remaining starters: 7 from Sheldon Jeter, 4 from Chris Jones, and 2 from Cameron Johnson, who’s supposed to be the 3-point specialist, as he went 0-6. You lost that title, buddy.
  5. As a team, the Panthers are now 12-5, and most critically, 1-3 in ACC play. We knew the conference schedule would be tough, but they need to get some more wins or they will be waiting for their selection at the National Invitational Tournament. HC Kevin Stallings must know what adjustments he can make to compliment Artis and Young. And they only have 2 days to do so as they host Miami on Saturday.
  6. As for the rest of college basketball, West Virginia is at it again as they upset the #1 ranked team in the nation. Last year, it was Kansas, this year it was Baylor as they beat them 89-68 on Tuesday. The Mountaineers are ranked #10, but you can bet that will change when the new polls come out.
  7. I think it’s safe to say that West Virginia has finally adjusted to the Big 12, because they’ve been one of the best teams in that conference the past 2 seasons. They looked good in football this season and are already making waves in basketball. Keep an eye on this team, because they may be ranked #1 soon.
  8. As for the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers have an important game this weekend as they take on the KC Chiefs in an AFC Divisional Round Game Sunday. Unlike their first encounter in which the Steelers defeated the Chefs 43-13 at Heinz Field, this game will be at noisy Arrowhead Stadium.
  9. The Steelers know not to base their success on what happened in the regular season. The Chiefs are obviously better than they were in October. They have a balanced offensive attack and a better defense than Miami. They love to force turnovers.
  10. I do like the Steelers in this one, because they’re in a zone and their offense is stacked with QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown. If this ‘Big Three’ can set the tone and punch the Chiefs in the mouth like they did Miami, then we can expect the Steelers to get back into the AFC Championship Game. Yeah, I said it.
  11. The biggest question, is who they Steelers could play if they get that far. Well, the other AFC Divisional Game is the Houston Texans vs. those New England Patriots. Can the Texans, do it? Well, QB Brock Osweiler did when he was in Denver last year, but he basically must not make mistakes and score some touchdowns, but the key will be that top-ranked Texans defense to get in Pats QB Tom Brady’s face all game. Houston wins if they can do that.
  12. As for the NFC, Divisional Games: I can see Seattle beating Atlanta and get this…Green Bay beating Dallas. Why? Because experience still does matter in the playoffs. QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott dominated the regular season, but how they respond in this type of pressure will be put under the spotlight.
  13. But the NFL news doesn’t stop there. Apparently, they will finally get a 2nd team in Los Angeles, and that will the San Diego Chargers, who made it official on Thursday. The Chargers spent 56 years in San Diego, but them began their existence in Los Angeles, so it will come full-circle for them.
  14. The Chargers and Rams will split a new stadium, but that won’t come until 2019. So, while the Rams are at the Coliseum, the Chargers will play…in a Soccer Stadium. Yep. StubHub Stadium, home of the LA Galaxy. Well, at least we know that 30,000 seat stadiums will be sold out.
  15. Do I agree with the move? Yes. Because LA is a bigger market, just like New York is. LA has been trying to get teams back there for some time. As for San Diego, they couldn’t work out a stadium deal the past few years and Qualcomm (Formerly Jack Murphy) Stadium is a crater. One of the few sports stadiums that’s been around since the 60’s.
  16. Speaking of the Rams, they hired a new Head Coach in former Washington Redskins OC Sean McVay, who’s only 30 years old and is only 5-years older than Rams DT (and former Pitt star) Aaron Donald. He’s now the youngest Head Coach in NFL history.
  17. And then there’s former Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw, who made news when he questioned Steelers HC Mike Tomlin’s coaching by calling him a Cheerleader. I knew it was just a matter of time before Bradshaw backtracked, and he did on Thursday saying that he should’ve never called Tomlin a ‘Cheerleader.’ Yeah, no kidding Terry. Even media persons can think before they speak.
  18. As for the NBA, what is with the NY Knicks Derrick Rose? He misses a game without telling anyone? I mean if he tried that on a regular job, he would be suspended or done. Instead, Rose comes back and starts in the next game. Once again, the Knick area a mess.
  19. Rose’s reason for missing the game was because of a family emergency. Well Derrick, you have a telephone, e-mail, and other ways to communicate. Pick one next time.
  20. In Tennis, Serena Williams is seeking her 23-rd Grand Slam at the Australian Open, which would be a record. I wish her the best.

 

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

Exercising is not only good for your body, but it is also important for your overall wellbeing. Exercising while pregnant can unleash a wealth of benefits for you and the baby. For the sake of your child’s health and yours too, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women exercise for at least 20-30 minutes at moderate intensity every day, unless your doctor says otherwise.

Here are the top 15 benefits of exercising during pregnancy.

  1. Give your body an energy boost

When you are pregnant, you often feel lethargic and exhausted throughout the day. However, exercising during pregnancy can help you feel stronger by improving your cardiovascular system which will keep you energetic throughout the day. You can do yoga or Pilates if you are not a treadmill person. There are plenty of safe exercise routines for pregnant women these days.

  1. Restful sleep

It can be hard to find a comfortable sleeping position during pregnancy. But if you exercise regularly, you will be tired enough to slip into a restful sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.

  1. Make pregnancy healthier

Research proves that it is highly beneficial to engage in light exercise for at least 4 days of the week during pregnancy. It not only makes you stronger but also reduces the risk of pregnancy related complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.

  1. Feel stronger

As you exercise regularly, your body starts to feel stronger and can cope with back aches, pains and general discomfort. You can do yoga or stretches to ease the back pain or take up swimming to make your abdominal muscles tougher. Walking is also a great way to incorporate gentle movement into your exercise routines.

  1. Prepare for labor

Needless to say, the stronger you are, the more prepared you will be for labor when the time comes. You will be able to handle labor and delivery better if you have a good level of stamina.

  1. Improves your mood

Pregnancy can be a stressful time. However, one study reveals that after exercising your brain releases the feel-good chemical, also known as serotonin, that lifts your spirits and prevents ugly mood-swings which are associated with pregnancy.

  1. Keep your weight under control

Pregnancy can lead to obesity in a lot of women. It can be very frustrating to see the weight on your scales increase every time you step on them. However, by exercising consistently, you should be able to keep your weight in check and feel better about yourself.

  1. Regain your pre-pregnancy figure faster

When you have exercised throughout your pregnancy, it will be easier for you to keep up the routine long after your pregnancy. In fact, the more active you are during your pregnancy, the quicker you will bounce back after childbirth.

  1. Enjoy your me-time

Once you get your bundle of joy home, you will not always have the luxury of doing what you want, when you want. Exercising during pregnancy can be your therapeutic session, without worrying about a crying infant at home.

  1. Improves digestion

When your body is in constant movement, your intestines perform better. By exercising, you can help to keep bowel movements regular, thus preventing pregnancy constipation which is a common complication.

  1. Control blood pressure

It is possible for your blood pressure to go up during pregnancy. However, you can limit that risk by exercising regularly. Simple walking every day has been proven to be beneficial at keeping blood pressure under control.

  1. Preparing for a healthier baby

A study conducted on mice showed that mothers-to-be who exercised regularly gave birth to babies that were less susceptible to diabetes and obesity.

  1. Make the most of pregnancy hormones

When you are pregnant, your body releases a pregnancy hormone called relaxin that loosens up your pelvic joints as well as other joints for easier delivery. By enjoying prenatal yoga, you can make the most of this natural window of opportunity, easing the process of delivery.

  1. Your child may be born with a stronger heart

Women who exercise during their pregnancies may be more likely to give birth to babies that are born with healthy hearts, in comparison to women who do not exercise at all. You may be able to transfer your passion of cardio fitness down to your child by engaging in prenatal physical activities.

  1. Fewer symptoms of morning sickness

You will feel less nauseated after a workout session, making you feel healthier and better throughout your pregnancy.

Always seek approval from your doctor or other medical practitioner before engaging in any exercise during pregnancy.

‘Jess Walter, Freelance Writer’

Steelers ‘Big Three’ Leads the way in a 30-12 defeat of Dolphins. KC Next

Some of the greatest teams in sports history have a trio of players that they can rely on to win championships. Known as the ‘Big Three,’ they are usually the three best players on their respective teams and usually get the job done. Here are a few examples: The Dallas Cowboys had QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmitt Smith, and WR Michael Irvin. The result in they would win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years. All three players also ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For a brief period, it was the Chicago Bulls tandem of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, who led the Bulls to 3 championships and all 3 of those players are in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Boston Celtics had Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce and they won a championship, and all three will eventually end up in the Hall of Fame and finally, the well-known Miami Heat Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who finished with two championships. They will also end up in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Since 2014, the Pittsburgh Steelers have formed their own Big Three of QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown who have produced 2 Pro Bowls and led the Steelers to 2 AFC North Division titles in 3 seasons. Although they haven’t won any championships yet, it’s safe to say that the possibilities there as they produced stellar 2016 seasons and did their part in the Steelers 30-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card Game.

I think it still gets me that this was the first time that all three players have played a postseason game together, because of the absence of Bell in the past two seasons due to injury. I go back to last postseason and wonder how the Steelers would’ve fared if they at least had Bell. Ironically, in that 2015 postseason, the Steelers would be without Bell and Brown and a partially injured Big Ben and was still 2 minutes away from the AFC Championship Game. Now that they have all three together, it’s a question of how limited the sky is for the team as they are trying win their first Super Bowl (7th overall) since 2008.

In this game vs. the Dolphins, we all got a taste of what the Big Three can do in the postseason as they sent the Dolphins home for their 8th consecutive win (Of course counting the seven straight to close out the regular season) Each player played a critical part in the Steelers victory. Big Ben passed for 197 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. Now you may not think that was an impressive game for him until you realize that those 2 TDs came in the first quarter and were long passes to Brown, who finished with five catches for 124 yards and those 2 TDs. Brown would destroy the Dolphins Secondary with a 50-yard TD pass on the first drive and them after the Dolphins were forced to punt, the two would connect again on a 62-yard TD pass to give the Steelers the early 14-0 lead. Big Ben also set an NFL playoff record by being the first player in NFL history with 2 TD passes of at least 50 yards in the first quarter and Brown is the first to have 2 TD passes of at least 50 yards in a playoff game since Randy Moss did so in 2000. Not bad company.

And then there’s Bell, who ran around, over and through the Dolphins defense for a team-record 167 yards in the victory. That total passed surpassed HOF Franco Harris’ total of 158 that he had in Super Bowl 9 in 1975. For those who’s counting at home, that was 42 years ago, and this was Bell’s first game. Wow.

Bell also scored 2 TDs in the game as he ran it in from the 1-yard line (after the Steelers challenged the play) in the first quarter, and an 8-yard 3rd Quarter one for their final points of the game. Former Steeler and HOF Coach Tony Dungy has often compared Bell to Harris, because of his ability to be patient and find the ‘holes’ to run through, and I think that Dungy may have a good point. Bell’s style of running is like Harris, but unlike HOF Jerome Bettis, who spent his career trampling defenses on a regular basis. But Bell did what both Harris and Bell has done: Got the job done. Especially in the postseason.

As a team, the Steelers were not only looking forward to winning their opening playoff game but also get vengeance vs. a Dolphins team that embarrassed the Steeles 30-15 in Week 4. The Steelers looked flat and overconfident in my opinion. It was as if they expected the then 1-4 Dolphins just to fall over and succumb to the Steelers, but instead, it was the Dolphins who made the Steelers look rather foolish as rookie RB Jay Ajai ran for over 200 yards and 2 TDs. Also in that game, Big Ben tore his meniscus and would try to finish the game, but to no avail. Brown only had four catches for 39 yards, and Bell who had just returned from serving a 3-game suspension had only 53 yards on ten carries. In fact, he led in receiving with 55 yards on six catches and WR Darius Heyward-Bey led the team in rushing with one carry for 60 yards. What a weird and awful day for the Steelers.

Glad we’re able to forget about it now.

In this game, the Steelers punched the Dolphins in the mouth for 20 first-quarter points, while the defense also hit the Dolphins in the mouth as they prevented them from scoring a TD, until late in the 4th quarter. Facing 9-year vet Matt Moore, the Steelers were able to limit the Dolphins offense to 2 first half field goals. The Dolphins had their opportunities to score, but then the defense forced 3-straight turnovers on two sacks by 39-year-old LB James Harrison, S Mike Mitchell and LB Ryan Shazier who intercepted Moore. As a unit, the Steelers D sacked Moore 5 times with LB Lawrence Timmons getting two late ones, and LB Bud Dupree (who demolished Moore on a penalty in the first half) and Ajai was limited to only 33 yards on 16 carries.

Not a bad day at the office.

But there is also cause for concern as Big Ben was injured late in the game and was seen in a walking boot during the postgame news conference. He was injured on his second interception after he was hit by Dolphins DE Cameron Wake late in the 4th quarter. Although he said that they don’t know the extent of the injury, he said he would play in next Sunday’s game vs. the KC Chiefs, which is the AFC Divisional Round. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Big Ben will play without an arm in the playoffs as he’s played with a broken toe and nose in past Super Bowls. As impressive as backup Landry Jones was in their OT victory vs. Cleveland, you don’t want a backup going under center vs. the Chiefs, who look totally better than the team who was destroyed 43-14 by the Steelers October 3rd. KC finished with a 13-3 record, won the AFC West and earned the #2 seed. Plus, they will be at home in Arrowhead Stadium, where the home field advantage is pretty huge.

Do you remember the last time the Steelers played KC at Arrowhead? It was 1993 when Big Cowher’s Steelers went up against Marty Schottenheimer’s Chiefs led by HOF QB Joe Montana. The Steelers had the lead going into the 4th quarter, but then Montana worked his magic, leading the Chiefs to a 27-24 victory. Come to think of it; that game was so old that they had astroturf at Arrowhead for that game. Wow.

Well, I like the Steelers chances vs. the Chiefs a second time as well, but they have to be ready to play and punch them in the mouth as well. And of course, as long as they have the Big Three, they always have a chance to win. Let’s just hope that Big Ben is ok.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmedaiRay on Twitter

Ideas And Wisdom You Can Use To Master Fitness

As you get older, it is imperative to maintain a good level of fitness. In this article we will show you different ways in which you can keep yourself in good shape. Apply the following advice on fitness to your everyday life, so as you age, you can better adapt to the changes in your body.

If you’re a person who likes to walk for your daily dose of exercise, make sure you bend your elbows while you’re walking. Doing this will get you swing your arms faster, and in turn, you’ll move your legs faster. Not only will you either finish your work out sooner or go further, but you’ll burn even more calories while you’re doing it!

An excellent way to remain consistent with your fitness regimen is to enlist a friend or about exercise with you on a regular basis. Getting another individual involved in your fitness journey helps you stay accountable regarding the goals you have set, and also sets the stage for a bit of healthy competition to see who achieves the most impressive results.

Take some time out of your workout to focus specifically on your trouble areas. Doing this will make sure that you give particular attention to the things you need to work on, and the extra time will translate to better results. Trouble areas won’t be trouble too much time if you give them attention.

Schedule your time to workout the same way you schedule your important appointments. Your health and fitness are just as important to your life as your next doctor’s appointment, so treat it the same way. Setting your workouts in your calendar will make you more likely to take the time and do them.

Get some sunshine and fresh air! It’s easy to succumb to boredom and become completely inactive when we are always confined to the inside. Make an attempt to get outside for at least a few minutes every day. It will improve your mood and significantly increase your likelihood of exercising.

Running is an activity that can be helpful, as well as harmful to the body over time. To help prevent the adverse effects, you should reduce your mileage to half of the usual miles during one week, every six weeks. Give your body a period of recovery from running routines. By doing so, you will lower the risk of causing permanent damage to your body.

When cycling, you should aim to keep your speed around 80 to 110 rpm. This will allow you to ride farther with less knee strain and fatigue. To calculate your rate, you should count the number of times your right leg goes to the top of the pedal stroke in ten seconds. Once you calculate this number, multiply by six. This gives you your pedal RPMs.

To recover faster from heavy exercise, do a light workout the next day, that covers the same muscle group. On this second day, concentrate on very small weights, which are about twenty percent of your lifting capacity and two quick sets of twenty-five repetitions. Your muscles will heal faster because they will receive more blood and nutrients flowing through them.

Limit your strength training fitness workout to three times a week to achieve the maximum benefits for your muscles. The real work for your body in strengthening muscles happens in the recovery time between workouts. Doing your workout routine for strength-training more than three times a week does not allow sufficient time for rehabilitation and rebuilding.

One simple tactic to add motivation to your fitness plan is to pay in advance for your gym membership or your personal trainer. Because your money is already gone, you will be more inclined to work out to get back full value for what you have spent. You should never underestimate the motivational drive, provided by the threat of losing money.

To build muscles in your back, you can break the cable row into two different parts. Then, outstretch your arms when you hold the bar. Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together. At this point, you should pull the bar toward your body. By doing this, you will gain back muscles.

Making regular deposits and withdraws to ones individual checking account can create a positive image for one and also improve an individual’s credit rating. Making these monthly deposits and withdraws will assist even more if one does not overdraw their checking account. Keeping everything managed with one’s checking account can repair credit.

Don’t give up on your fitness routine until you’ve been at it for at least a month. Your body requires about thirty days to become accustomed to new changes. Keep focused and motivated for that first month, and you’ll find your routine will get increasingly easier to maintain after that.

Eat grapefruit to get your metabolism burning. Grapefruit has long been known to be an excellent way to speed up the time it takes to reach your fitness goals. Not only is it high in vitamin c but it also reduces insulin levels. Start your day off on the right track with this big citrus fruit.

To help improve your fitness, don’t forget the importance of getting enough sleep. If you regularly short-change yourself on sleep, you will also short-change your fitness. Without sufficient sleep, your body cannot fully recover from your workouts. You will also find yourself too tired to exercise. So, it is important to get the sleep your body needs.

Get outside and get moving. There are many classic games and activities that kids and grown-ups can do. Games like hopscotch, hide-and-seek, tag, kickball, or jumping rope are just a few ways you can get outside and stay active. You can even make up your own game, just keep moving!

As was discussed at the beginning of this article, as you age your body will go through many changes. It is imperative to understand that as we age it becomes harder to maintain your fitness level. Apply the advice from above, and you will live a life with a lot fewer aches and pains. editor@urbanmediatoday.com

Pack On More Muscle With This Muscle Building Advice

It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, building muscle and adding strength and tone to your body can be an enlightening thing. You improve your appearance considerably as well as doing wonders for your overall health. Use the following tips to maximize your use of time and energy in building and conditioning your muscles.

Talk to your doctor about which supplements are safe for you. You may be able to enhance your muscle building efforts with creatine and other types of supplements, but you need to know if they are healthy for you to take. Taking supplements is something you need to discuss with a doctor so you can build muscle safely and in a healthy way.

To successfully gain muscle, it is important to have a strategy, and a plan to execute that strategy. There are various resources that you can utilize to determine which strength-training exercises your program will incorporate. You should also set a schedule that is easy to follow and will not overwhelm you. Go over your plan with a professional trainer to make confident that it can fulfill your goals.

Calculate your consumption of protein daily. You need to consume about one gram of protein for every pound of body weight each day. Consuming the right amount of protein will increase the muscle growth you get from the weight training that you are doing. Varying the consumption by a little here and there is not going to make much of a difference, but you should strive for the same amount daily.

Your diet is of particular importance on your lifting days. To ensure your body has enough calories and protein to build muscle, have a snack an hour before your workout begins. Don’t overeat on workout days, but eat more than days that you aren’t planning on weight training.

Before you, exercise, drink a shake that is filled with amino acids along with carbohydrates and protein. This will increase the way your body deals with protein and will help you get the look that you are craving. Anytime, you are consuming a liquid meal; your body will absorb it faster than eating a regular meal.

Make sure you are eating enough food to support new muscle growth. Many people struggle with not eating enough to support the kind of growth they are trying to achieve. If you are seeking to lose weight and build muscle at the same time, make sure you are eating protein rich foods to help with muscle growth.

Having a strict schedule for your workouts will prevent injuries and help you gain muscle. Anyone who is new to weight lifting should workout only two times a week, while those who are more experienced can workout three times or more each week.

Some muscle groups are harder to bulk up than others. Doing a “fill set” can help to avoid this problem. A fill set is a short set of 25-30 repetitions of exercises that specifically target the incredible group. It is to be done two to three days following the last time the group was strenuously worked.

Try to eat every 3-4 hours. If you don’t eat frequently enough, you can slow down the rate at which your body creates new proteins, which build muscle tissue. Divide the total number of calories you need in a day by 6, and try to shoot for six mini-meals spread out over the course of the day.

Working out can be a very fulfilling experience, but it is one that must be done in an intelligent manner. Never use a new machine or free weight without practicing the proper form first and always be sure to start off with a very moderate amount of weight as a practice.

When lifting weights, keep your routine on the short side. If you are capable of lifting weights for more than 45 minutes to an hour, then you aren’t lifting enough weight with each repetition. Work hard, instead of working long, if you want to achieve your muscle-building goals.

Always stretch before you work out. Stretching is the way to warm up muscles, and it will help you avoid injury. Also, stretching after you are finished will help your muscles cool down going into the recovery phase. Massages will help in relaxation and post-workout recovery.

Make sure that you keep on increasing the number of weights that you lift. To build big, strong muscles, you need to extend your current muscles to their limit regularly. If your muscles are not intensively worked out, they will not grow. You could also increase the number of repetitions that you do to enhance the intensity of your workout.

Always stretch for about 10 minutes before you begin your weight lifting routine. This can prevent many injuries via warming up the muscles before lifting heavy loads. Also, by preventing injuries, you will be able to stick to your routine.

Make sure that you are consuming protein early during the day. You should ingest around twenty to forty grams of quick-digesting protein immediately upon waking up to ensure that your muscles are not evaporating. This stops your muscle breakdown that happens late at night while you are sleeping.

Many women who want to build lean muscle mass sometimes do too much cardio. After about a half hour of cardio, your body will turn to muscle for energy, causing you to lose what you’ve worked so hard for! By keeping the cardio to 20-25 minutes, you can keep your lean muscle intact!

Muscle building starts with proper hydration and eating habits. If you are not eating right, your muscles will never develop the mass or size that you want. The key to a proper diet is to get the correct ratio of fats, carbs, and proteins. However, this rate varies depending on body type.

Hopefully the tips you have read in this article can add to your muscle building arsenal and help you to reach your fitness goals. It’s important to condition your body for some reasons and doing so will add health and vitality to your life for years to come. editor@urbanmediatoday.com

Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Pitt basketball Upsets #11 Virginia 88-76 (OT)-Really? Was that the Pitt Panthers basketball team that we know and love flexing their muscles on not just one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) top teams, but one of the nations?? Yes, it was. So, what if it took overtime, unlike the week before, they finally put a team away and I was very impressed.
  2. But to be honest, the same old ‘song’ still stands: If Pitt would’ve put their last 2 teams away I regulation, then there would not have been a reason for Overtime. But one win out of 2 vs. those ranked teams aren’t bad. And when did they become such a 3-point shooting team? They made 13-21 in that game, including six by the new ‘Rifleman’ (sorry Chuck Person) G Jamel Artis who gave Pitt a much-needed lift, especially in OT.
  3. I also love it when F Sheldon Jeter lets loose, which he did with 16 points and three 3-pointers. Of course, G Cameron Johnson also get it done behind the arc with 4 threes of his own, good enough for 16 points as well.
  4. I think this type of victory should be enough to show Pitt what they can do if they keep fighting. But it’s just the beginning for them as they will take on Syracuse on Saturday, and then #9 Louisville on Wednesday. That’ll really show just how serious Pitt is.
  5. So now the Panthers are 12-3 (1-1 ACC) and could crack the Top 25 on Monday, but they could also just receive some votes, which I am cool with.
  6. As for the rest of college basketball, the Villanova Wildcats are undefeated no more after falling to Butler 66-58. Hey, it’s a Big East game so that rematch will be awesome. But the defending National Champions will still be ranked #1. No other team out there can dethrone them right now.
  7. I was sorry to hear that South Florida terminated HC Orlando Antigua this week. Apparently, there’s some academic violations going on and his name is part of it. I went to Pitt with Orlando back in 1991 and I hope he gets back on his feet and the school gets through these issues. And of course, that includes the kids.
  8. As for college football, there’s not much left to say about the Pitt Panthers as it’s been a week since they fell to Northwestern 31-24, except that I hope they’ve learned their lesson after underestimating a 6-6 team, because they were 6-6.
  9. Do I mean that? Yes, I do. That wasn’t the Pitt team that upset #2 Clemson and blew out Duke and Syracuse. No, that was the team that played flat and lost to the other teams in their 2016 season. That was a Pitt team that kind of said “We know we’re good and this game is in the bag.”
  10. Yes, RB James Conner and QB Nate Peterman’s concussions hurt the team, but the truth was, Pitt wasn’t hungry. 3 trips inside the red zone and only produce 3 points?? Conner getting stopped on 4th down and Peterman throwing an end-zone interception?? And no true Quadree Henderson ‘jet-sweeps?’ Come on now. Yes, the defense had their struggles as they gave up over 200 rushing yards, but if the offense was on point, they would’ve won that game. End of story.
  11. Speaking of those Panthers, the focus is on the 2017 season as they will officially welcome their Mid-year additions on Friday. Those additions will include USC Transfer QB Max Browne, DL Deslin Alexandra, Australian punter Kirk Christodoulou, OL Jerry Drake and QB Kenny Pickett. Should be an interesting class to go along with the class of 2017.
  12. Alabama meets Clemson in the CFB National Championship-I guess I’m a bit surprised that Clemson is there. Not to say they aren’t a good team, but just the fact that they put away an Ohio State team so easily. Maybe OSU underestimated the Tigers. After all, Pitt beat them. But that doesn’t really matter. What does matter was those Tigers were prepared to play in that playoff and OSU wasn’t.
  13. Now onto the NFL as it’s now playoff season. 16 teams will fight for the Vince Lombardi trophy and one of them are the AFC North-Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, who will play Wild Card Miami Dolphins Sunday at 1pm at Heinz Field. I think we will see a different Steelers team than the ones who embarrassed themselves in a 30-15 loss earlier in the season.
  14. For once, the Steelers will have all their offensive weapons as RB Le’Veon Bell will finally play in his first playoff game, as well as a healthy QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown. That will make a difference, home or away.
  15. I think if the Steelers are in attack-mode, and punch the Dolphins in the mouth early and often, then they will win. They can’t start off slow and sloppy. And I don’t care who the Dolphins QB is. They have a decent running game with rookie Jay Ajai (who ran for over 200 yards vs. the Steelers) and a decent pass rush lead by DE Cameron Wake and DT Ndamukong Suh. So, the offensive line (led by a healthy C Maurkise Pouncey) better have their ‘A’ game.
  16. As for the defense, well if they would just learn how to tackle someone and not go for the big hit (right Mike Mitchell?) then they will play well. They will also get DE Stepheon Tuitt back and the speed of Lbs Ryan Shazier, Bug Dupree and 39-year old James Harrison could spell trouble for QB Matt Moore. But they better not underestimate him and give him time to throw.
  17. Speaking of Bell, he got a huge honor as he was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month. In December/January, Bell led the NFL with 569 rushing yards and 748 total yards from scrimmage. Not bad at all. He’s the first to win this award since WR Antonio Brown won it in December/January 2015.
  18. As for the rest of the Wild Card Round games: In the other AFC game, I can see Oakland beating Houston. In the NFC, I can see Seattle beating Detroit and Green Bay beating the Giants. Should be fun.
  19. As for the NBA, apparently, no one’s criticizing the Golden State Warriors who’re now an NBA-best 31-5. They just needed to get their chemistry together with Kevin Durant, but it didn’t take long. It never does with great teams.
  20. In the MLB, the Pittsburgh Pirates are reportedly in trade talks for Chicago White Sox P Jose Quintana. The Houston Astros are also in the mix and you can bet that it involves OF Andrew McCutchen in some way. If trade talks meant wins, then the Pirates would win their first World Series since 1979.

 

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter