Muscle for life

Cool Stuff of the Week: Inov-8 shoes, The Last of Us, Game of Thrones, and more…

Cool Stuff of the Week: Inov-8 shoes, The Last of Us, Game of Thrones, and more…

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m kind of a sucker for cool stuff. I like nifty gadgets, quirky decoration pieces, nice clothes (and shoes!), good books, and fun games.

As I know many of you are the same way, I decided to create a weekly series of posts where I just share whatever currently has my fancy.



inov-8 bare xf 210

I’m a big fan of a proper lifting shoe. A flat sole and proper arch and ankle support make a difference, especially when you’re performing heavy squats and deadlifts.

For almost two years I lifted in the New Balance MX20 Minimus and loved it, but I’ve found something I like even more: the INOV-8 BARE XF 210.

This is hands down the most comfortable training shoe I’ve ever worn. It weighs almost nothing, fits snugly but not too tight, has a perfectly flat sole, and has great arch support.

It’s expensive ($120), but you shouldn’t need to buy another pair for at least 1-2 years (unless you’re like me and are just kind of obsessed with trying different products).





the last of us


I barely have any time for video games these days, but this was worth it.

This was, hands down, one of the best games I’ve ever played. It’s a masterpiece–a true top-notch cinematic experience.

The story is gritty, visceral, and thought-provoking; the visuals and sound are downright stunning; the acting is at a Hollywood A-list level; the gameplay is intuitive, thrilling, and harrowing (especially on the highest difficulty levels); and the overall presentation and experience is nothing short of enthralling.

If you own a PS3, buy this game right now and disappear for a day or two. The Last of Us sets a new standard for single player gaming.




sandisk cruzer flash drive


This is nothing more than a 16 GB USB flash drive that snaps onto your key chain, but it can come in quite handy for quick, easy file transferring.

I like this in particular because it’s small (smaller than an average key) and solidly built. You won’t break it tossing your keys around.




game of thrones


Yes, the show is awesome, but the books are even better.

Game of Thrones is the first in the series, and I’m not even a huge fantasy fan, but this some of the best fiction I’ve read. Martin truly is a master.

The plots are intricate, but not confusing; the character development is some of the best I’ve ever seen; the suspense never lets up (you never know who’s going to die next); and Martin’s writing style has that effortless eloquence that can only come with decades of practice.

Put Game of Thrones on your reading list, and see if the Seven Kingdoms is a place for you.


What do you think of this week’s picks? Have anything you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Anthony Pampillonio

    Very cool man. I like the fact that ur creating a community like environment. People with similar interests and maybe even learn about some new things as well. Keep it up. And I think I will have to check out “The last of us”. Peace

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Anthony! I hope you like what else you find on the site! 🙂

  • Jessica Snigir

    Saw some Inov-8 shoes a couple weeks ago and wanted them. You may have just pushed me over the edge!
    LOVE the Game of Thrones books! Can’t wait for #6 to come out…

    • Michael Matthews

      The shoes are seriously awesome! I love them.

      GoT is amazing. I actually just started on the series because I was into the show. Have a year to get caught up. 🙂

  • Jenny Leadem

    Playing The Last of Us right now actually with my bf. You should put up a reminder to play it with the lights on unless you want to freak out XD Love Game of Thrones too and it’s probably the only fiction book my bf will ever read. Never heard of those shoes though, very nice looking. Do they make them for the ladies?

    • Jessica Snigir
    • Michael Matthews

      Nice! Are you enjoying TLOU? Haha nahhh lights off! 🙂

      GoT is awesome. Really something special.

      The shoes are badass and yeah they do. In fact the pair I have are for both men and women.

      • Jenny Leadem

        It’s pretty awesome. Haven’t beat it yet, just after the point where you ;eave after meeting up with your brother. Graphics are amazing and the story is great, but I hate how easy it is to die! I’m used to running in guns blazing. God forbid you try to run in on clickers without a shiv, you get your face gnawed off.

        • Michael Matthews

          Haha yeah it’s tough at higher difficulties. That’s what makes it fun though! 🙂

  • Christian Kichy Bitancurt

    Thank you for the shoes info. I am lifting on Nike Shox and they are… shocking. Looking forward to getting these. Games wise I am a soccer fan so I am waiting for FIFA 14 to be released in September.

    • Michael Matthews

      Hahah Shox have an elevated heel and cushioning, right? Hate that for squatting and deadlifting.

      Cool on FIFA. I’m not a big soccer fan but still find those games fun.

  • Brad Porter

    Nice post! Turns out we have similar taste, haha. I’m currently reading a Storm of Swords right now and I’m almost finished with it. It’s such a phenomenal series. And I can’t wait to play The Last of Us; I’m gonna get it really soon. 😀

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Brad! Haha nice. Agreed on SoIF and lemme know how end up liking TLOU.

  • Kevin

    Great post! Keep them coming Mike. Is it cool if I add something I think is cool? It’s a fantastic anatomy book geared towards body building. Really great if you want to know which specific muscles you are hitting for a particular exercise. Highly recommended!


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Kevin! Yeah man thanks for sharing! STA is an awesome book. I’m going to be putting book recommendations up soon and it will be on the list. 🙂

  • MB

    I’ve recently started squatting/deadlifting in a pair of Olympic lifting shoes. I’m also looking to start picking up some Olympic lifts over the next few months (getting coaching for the techniques). What are your thoughts on incorporating Oly lifting into BLS?

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s great, and you can definitely include Oly lifts in BLS. The reason I left the more intricate ones out is they’re so form dependent. I don’t want to have people trying clean and jerks without a good coach to make sure they’re doing it right, you know?

      Let me know which lifts you want to incorporate and I’ll tell you where I would put them.

      • MB

        Absolutely! That’s the main reason I’m getting some coaching before I start doing them.

        I’ll mainly be looking to incoporate the snatch, clean and jerk and the push press. Also throwing in front squats and KB swings as assistance exercises. I’m currently following your 4-day split.

        • Michael Matthews

          Okay that’s good.

          Snatch: Let’s do these on back day, after deadlifts. Keep in the heavy deads.

          C&J: Shoulders day. IMO you should start with Military Press so you can hit your shoulders hard and heavy, and then move onto this, for which you will need to use less weight due to the complexity of the lift.

          PP: Same. Let’s rotate this and C&J: one week you do the C&J, next week the PP, next week back to the C&J, etc.

          Font Squat: Legs day. It doesn’t replace the back squat though.

          KB swings and assistance: Up to you. These are kind of just for fun. 😉

          • MB

            Awesome! That’s really helpful Mike. Cheers 🙂

          • Michael Matthews

            Great, I’m glad! Let me know how it goes!

  • Chris Baxter-Parr

    Great post Mike, a refreshing change of topic. Glad to see your a gamer as well!
    One question about game of thrones. I’m a fantasy fan and an avid reader but I have avoided game of thrones so far due to the synopsis. It sounds like a lot of political maneuvering and plotting. I don’t find political intrigue all that intriguing. I prefer adventure, swords and sorcery in my fantasy books.
    Do you think I should give the books a try?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Chris!

      I don’t have much time for gaming these days but I try to fit the “must plays” in.

      Hmm I’m only on book one and yes it’s very much about the political intrigues and maneuvering of the characters. It doesn’t have much in the way of traditional fantasy.

  • George

    The Last of Us is amazing.

    • Michael Matthews


  • Jarrod

    Game of Thrones, the books are way better (but then they usually are). my problem is going to be when the new volume “winds of winter” comes out. Part of me will want to re-read the entire series to get my head back in the story and then I will take one look at all those pages (4273 so far) and I won’t be able to face it.

    Shall I tell you what happens to …..

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah books are almost always better. You just can’t capture the essence of a character on screen like you can in a book.

      I hear you–that’s quite a time commitment, haha.

      Once Tyrion dies I’m quitting. 😛

  • Jameson

    Hey Mike,
    Have you tried New Balance Minimus MX20v3 shoes? If yes, how do they compare to your Inova8 and previous MX20?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup I have and I love them. I’m going to update my reco actually.

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