How Dangerous Was The Phantom of the Opera?

The Strength and Cunning of the Phantom of the Opera

What made the Phantom of the Opera such a scary dude? His disfigurement was creepy enough. But, nothing like his speed, strength and murderous intent. Created in 1910, by crime reporter, Gaston Leroux, the phantom was inspired when he reported on a dead body found under an opera house.

Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom was not just another creepy guy with a bad disposition. He was strong and agile and knew how to use weapons, ropes, poisons and explosives. He could scamper up the rafters of the opera house, like a monkey and ellude capture as well. In hand-to-hand combat, he was equally dangerous. At one point, while playing his violin for his protege, Christine, her young suitor, Rauol, appears and tried to make some demands. At which point, with a single blow, the Phantom knocks out the younger man, but spares his life. (Note: Don’t ever interrupt the Phantom him while he is playing his violin.)

The phantom, whose real name was Erik, had been the disfigured son of a construction worker. Young Erik fled from his home in Normandy and joined several carnivals, where he learned skills of agility, performance in music and even weapons. He became very good with weapons, including the rope. He could throw a loop, known as a “Punjab Lasso,” around an opponent’s neck with amazing speed. Sometimes he was ordered to entertain a wealthy sultana (wife of a sultan) by being locked in a room with a condemned prisoner welding a pike and sword. Eirk with his lasso, would always win. (The sultana, later learned the same skill, which she would dispatched both servants and friends with her lasso.)

The Phantom was also hired by wealthy men to construct mysterious buildings with secret passage ways in Turkey and Persia. (But he had to flee when his employers attempted to keep the secret passages secret by murdering Erik.) When he took this skill to France, the Phantom built the opera house where he designed his own hideouts and passage ways. This opera house covered several acres, including a large horse stables. So, he had plenty of room to move around, watch the world, practice his music and carry out his mischief.

He then tutored and fell in love with a young singer, Christine Daae and that is where the story begins.

Though it is a tragic story, the phantom of the opera shows how formidable a functionally fit “monster” can be. To be able to lift, run, climb, kidnap maidens, elude and fight police takes a sustained type of strength that most 21st century people cannot even hope to attain.

But, I saved you the guess work with my book: Strength-Endurance Secrets: Build an Unstoppable 2nd Wind.

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How to Sculpt a Tear Drop Shaped Butt

By Doug Setter (and modelled by Helena Van Der Zon)

The butt muscles are essential in almost all movement, from dancing to sports to modelling. When the butt muscles aka gluteus maximus aka “glutes” are neglected or trained improperly, a (literally) wide variety of undesirable butts are produced. While not all women born with Barbie Doll derrières, the right training can get you the backside that nature neglected and you still want.

The fast-twitch leg muscles, like those found in dancers, figure skaters and sprinters tend to be more developed and muscular than those of slow-twitch muscle athletes, like a marathon runners. (Some exceptions apply.) So, even if you enjoy regular cardio exercise, you need the strength training to build a strong, rounded butt.

Squats and leg press machines are good to a point. Along with strength training, you need to be working the external rotator muscles to sculpt the female butt into that tear-drop shape. These means a figure skater, (who uses the pushing outward movement of her legs) usually has a more shapely butt than that of, say, a long distance cyclist.

If you doubt this, look through the sports magazines and pick out which women have the most attractive butts. The cyclists, runners, kayakers and team sport players usually have nicely developed butts. But, the prize-winning butts generally belong to the ballerinas, figure skaters, sprinters and kicking-style martial artists. All of these latter mentioned activities rely on the external hip rotator muscles (eg. Periformis).
So, without further ado, here are the exercises:

1. Reverse lunge.

(Special thanks to Helena Van Der Zon for posing for the photographs)
a. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart (with or without a weight in each hand.

b. Step back, with one leg, about 2 ½ feet to a meter to the rear.

c. Squat down so that your front knee is above your front ankle and front thigh is parallel to the ground. Look straight ahead and keep your back straight.
d. Return to the starting position with your feet shoulder width apart and step back with your alternate foot.
e. Repeat 5 to 10 times each leg. Work up to 3 sets of 10 each leg before increasing held weight.

2. Wide Dumb bell Squat

a. Stand with your feet double shoulder width apart and pointing outwards at 45 degree angles. Hold a weight, such as a dumb bell, straight in front of you, between your legs. (Hold the dumb bell, with both hands, by the plate, like you would holding a small wooden stool so that the dumb bell is vertical.)

b. Keeping your knees pointing outwards, aligned with your feet, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

c. Then, straighten your legs and (most important) squeeze your butt muscles together. d. This last flexing, motion gives you greater definition than just performing numerous squats. Remember it is this external rotating motion of the legs that forms that tear drop shape.
e. 10 to 20 repetitions.

3. The Double Kick

a. This is like the Pilates movement. You lie on your stomach with your head down, legs slightly apart and arms by your sides.
b. Raise your torso and legs off of the mat, while keeping your head looking forward about one foot ahead of you on the floor.
c. As you raise your legs, force them straight and rotate them outwards. Hold that position for two seconds and flex your back and butt muscles.
d. Repeat the exercise 4 to 8 times.

Follow up with a cool down, like cycling, running or walking, to avoid muscle tightness. Doing these movements in an honest effort three times per week and eating well will make your backside will feel and look strong, solid and shapely.

Doug Setter, BSc.(Nutrition) is a personal trainer and author of Stomach Flattening, Reduce Your Alcohol Craving, How to Handle Your Alcohol Craving: Student’s Edition, One Less Victim and Strength-Endurance Secrets: Build an Unstoppable 2nd Wind. He has trained in kick-boxing and competed in Hong Kong and Canada. Doug has served with the U.N. Peacekeeping Forces in former Yugoslavia, parachuted with the Cdn Airborne Regiment, climbed Mt. Ranier and ran five complete marathons. He has trained over 400 in military skills, Pilates, weight-loss and kick-boxing. He can be contacted at:
His website is:

Your Metabolic Type

The Metabolic Diet

By Doug Setter (with special thanks to Oz Garcia and Carlton Fredericks)

Should a Type A personality eat the same as a Type B? Why does a low carbohydrate diet energize some people and make others lethargic? Why do certain people naturally crave fats, sour-tasting foods or sweets?

Determining your basic metabolic type can help you to better understand your body’s basic needs in terms of nutrition, exercise and rest. Fast and slow metabolisms, also known as fast and slow oxidizers or burners, have been written about for decades.i In the book, The Balance, Oz Garciaii describes three basic types of metabolisms: Fast, Slow or Mixed Burner.

By taking the following test, you can better determine what kind of foods best suit your own metabolic rate. Keep in mind that the information in this article is not a substitute for medical advice.


Based on The Balance by Oz Garcia

  1. Do you tend to get angry?
    1. Easily
    2. Almost never
    3. Occasionally
  1. Do you tend to get anxious?
    1. Easily
    2. Almost never
    3. Occasionally
  1. Your appetite is:
    1. Above normal
    2. Below normal
    3. Normal
  1. You find it easy to:
    1. Lose weight
    2. Gain weight
    3. Maintain weight
  1. Your hair is usually:
    1. Dry
    2. Oily
    3. Normal
  1. Your skin is usually:
    1. Dry
    2. Oily
    3. Normal
  1. Bedtime eating makes you:
    1. Toss and turn all night
    2. Feel good
    3. Indifferent
  1. During the day, you:
    1. Sometimes forget to eat
    2. Get hungry often
    3. Eat only 3 times per day
  1. Emotionally, you tend towards:
    1. A hot temper
    2. Calm, cool and collected
    3. Occasional emotional upsets
  2. You exercise:
    1. Frequently and enjoy it
    2. Seldom, and dislike it
    3. Sometimes and enjoy it
  1. You fall asleep:
    1. Easily
    2. With difficulty
    3. Within half an hour
  1. You feel fatigue:
    1. Seldom
    2. Often
    3. Occasionally
  1. If exercising, you like to choose:
    1. Intense aerobic exercise
    2. Weights and machines
    3. Either or
  1. Your blood sugar is usually
    1. Low
    2. High
    3. Normal
  1. Your breakfast is usually:
    1. Skipped
    2. Large
    3. Average
  1. You like raw salad and vegetables:
    1. Quite a bit
    2. Indifferent
    3. Sometimes
  1. You tend to feel too warm:
    1. Very rarely
    2. Frequently
    3. Rarely
  1. You are most alert:
    1. Bright and early
    2. Around noon
    3. Whenever you get up
  1. Around evening, you tend to:
    1. Go to bed early
    2. Come alive
    3. Gradually slow down
  1. Regardless of what you eat, you:
    1. Have trouble gaining weight
    2. Gain weight easily
    3. Have stable weight
  1. Your stamina is:
    1. Above normal
    2. Low
    3. Normal

Total the letters. A’s = Fast Burners, B’s = Slow Burners, C’s = Mixed Burners.


Fast burning metabolisms are usually found in hyperactive people who often thrive on anxiety and irritability. They are often impatient Type A personalities who seem to have their adrenal glands stuck on high. They tend to have bursts of energy and have difficulty relaxing. The fast burner often has an addictive type of personality and displays obsessive traits or develops an abuse of drugs or even food. Fast Burners may not all be lean and active, but they are constantly looking for quick boosts of energy, usually through quick carbohydrate fixes.

If you are a Fast Burner, you probably skipped the metabolic test and are in a hurry to find answers. Fast Burners, like yours truly, burn out their mineral supplies like there is no tomorrow and have difficulty building muscle. This is why I disagree with diet pills that are mild stimulants that contain substances such as theobromide, caffeine and ephedrine. These “quick-fixes” will only tire you out in the long run.

A Fast Burner must maintain a steady flow of energy from their food. Take a typical eating pattern:

Breakfast: Coffee, toast, fruit

Snack: Coffee or pop and a donut

Snack: Coffee, muffin or donut

Lunch: Juice, yogurt, salad with dressing, bagel

Snack: Diet Coke

Supper: Chicken breast, boiled potato and pre-frozen mixed vegetables

Snack: Apple

It is painfully obvious that this eating pattern is packed with sugar at regular intervals. While it might fit the low-calorie, low-fat format, it is going to give the eater more ups and downs than a runaway roller coaster.

An effective fast-burner eating plan would be more like this:

Breakfast: Water, oatmeal, three egg whites

Snack: Peanut butter on whole grain crackers or chicken fingers

Lunch: Chicken or salmon salad

Snack: Protein shake

Dinner: Water, lean beef, stir-fried or steamed vegetables

Snack: Water, slice of turkey breast

The Fast Burner can tolerate higher amounts of fat and oil as they need the gradual release of their concentrated energy. Most fruits and fruit juices are high in fruit sugar (fructose) and should be avoided. However, vitamin-rich fruits such as apples, pears, apricots and all types of berries are okay.

When I find six small meals a day a nuisance, I try to have at least two good sit- down meals per day. I often did this while I was in the military, while working around the base. I found that I could actually make faster muscle gains by eating fewer meals, but eating those meals slowly.

Those high-speed, Type A people who are too busy to eat must discipline themselves to either prepare their meals in advance or arrange to have at least one relaxing, uninterrupted meal per day. Many Europeans, like the Germans, eat like this. They have tea and some heavy bread in the morning, a huge (often two hour) lunch and then a moderate supper in the evening. If you have been to Germany, you might have been amazed as I was to see stores close, restaurants fill up and so many people just relaxing during one of North America’s most frantic times of the day.   I would have to challenge anyone who questioned the productivity or good health of Germany’s people.

If you are a very active fast burner, such as a competitive athlete, you can add more complex carbohydrates, like rice, yams or potatoes, to your diet. As for exercise, fast burners often benefit from anaerobic exercise, such as weight lifting, sprinting, team sports or even yoga. The short duration exercises help build muscle tissue and can have a more calming effect than aerobic exercise.


On the other metabolic extreme, slow burners tend to be easy-going, have low blood pressure and good digestion and often dislike exercise.

A typical slow burner eating pattern is as follows:

Breakfast: Two waffles with butter and maple syrup, two cups of coffee.

Snack: Apple.

Lunch: Baked potato, egg salad, roll with butter, fruit cup, coffee.

Dinner: Salad with dressing, rice, brownie with vanilla ice cream.

By now you can see the low-food value and high sugar content of most of these foods. This slow burner’s energy is going to drop about an hour after every meal. Unfortunately, many of us have grown to accept that afternoon “dinner drunk” syndrome as being normal. When you eat properly, you can often go back to work feeling satisfied and alert. An effective slow burner eating plan would be more like this:

Breakfast: Two eggs, poached or over-easy, steamed vegetables, one cup of herbal tea.

Snack: Protein shake.

Lunch: Salmon salad with greens, tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice, one pear.

Snack: Low-fat yogurt or cheese (if you can tolerate dairy) or almond butter and rice crackers.

Dinner: Chicken breast and stir-fried vegetables.

Slow Burners should minimize their fats and oils and stick to whole fruits such as apples, bananas and citrus fruits. Bananas and citrus fruits are high in potassium, which is a mineral that tends to be low in most Slow Burners. Grapefruits have been used for decades for weight loss as they tend to help kick-start a slow metabolism. Be aware that some people are allergic to citrus fruits and might react adversely to them.


Only about ten percent or less of the population is estimated to be Mixed Burners.iii If you are one of these, you will have a fairly even flow of energy unless you “fall off of the wagon” from a steady intake of processed foods, coffee and reckless living. However, a Mixed Burner metabolism is not a free ride.

You can take food choices from the other types of burners and determine what works best for you. Sometimes you might perform more like a fast burner and others you might perform like a slow burner. You have to find out for yourself.

As for exercise, use anaerobic exercise, like weight-lifting to slow yourself down and aerobics, like running, to speed up your metabolism.

i Fredericks, Carlton, Ph.D. (1988) Psycho-Nutrition. Berkley Books: New York.

ii Garcia, Oz w/Kolberg, Sharyn (1998) The Balance. Regan Books: New York. P.19.

iii Ibid.