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It has been a pleasure knowing Hollywood stars Robbie Amell and Italia Ricci for nearly 10 years. Robbie and Italia have been very active supporters of two charities for which I have been involved: One Heartland for children affected by HIV/AIDS and other obstacles, and Camp Hometown Heroes for children of fallen U.S. service members.

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During the past two days, Robbie and Italia have spent many hours with children and teenagers from both organizations. The children recognize Robbie from his role as Firestorm on THE FLASH and his recent film roles in MAX and The DUFF. Italia is best known for her starring role on the hit TV show CHASING LIFE as well as roles in several films and other TV shows. This young Hollywood couple sets a great example for other celebrities who want to make life better for children facing illnesses and grief.

Italia and Robbie first had dinner with several children and family members of fallen U.S. service members from Camp Hometown Heroes at a Los Angeles restaurant. The children were very excited to visit with Robbie and Italia. Robbie recently played a fallen service member in the movie MAX and feels a very special connection with the children, each of whom lost a father who served in the U.S. military. Recently, Robbie raised over $12,000 for Camp Hometown Heroes through the sale of a one-of-a-kind t-shirt.

Today, Robbie and Italia surprised over 75 teenagers affected by HIV/AIDS at Zuma Beach in Malibu. The teenagers are participants of Camp Hollywood Heart, a unique arts based summer camp that is operated in partnership between the non-profit organizations Hollywood Heart and One Heartland.

This celebrity couple posed for dozens of photos and gave hugs to many of the teenagers.

I hope other young actors emulate the compassion, kindness and leadership of Robbie and Italia.

Source: Power of Human Achievement


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Robbie Amell Soars With These Flashy Techniques

The ‘Flash’ actor found flight and freedom in free running. You can too.

We’re watching Robbie Amell vault over boxes, run up walls, jump off 50-foot ledges, and swing from bars as if they were vines in a jungle and he were Tarzan. He’s sweating and his hands are getting rubbed raw. It’s a display of well-rounded athleticism rarely seen outside of a movie screen or an episode of American Ninja Warrior, and, most impressively, Amell’s out of practice with it.

“I haven’t done this in a year,” he says, in between heaving breaths. The 27-year-old actor, now starring as Firestorm in the CW hit series The Flash, began freerunning three years ago, but the demands of shooting movies, including last winter’s The DuFF and this summer’s Max, in which he plays an ill-fated Marine, have kept him away from it. He came back to Tempest Academy, a freerunning gym in Chatsworth, CA, yesterday to get his groove back before our photo shoot, and he’s still finding his bearings. But even though Amell’s movement may not be up to his standards, it’s far more fluid than most—especially grizzled gym vets with tight hips and bad shoulders.

It’s a harbinger, perhaps, of a new breed of superhero movie stars to come. Not only will they be muscular and six-pack adorned, as Amell is, but they’ll be able to move powerfully as well—akin to the way their characters do in outlandish action sequences,
 but for real. “Freerunning has helped me get in shape for roles,” says Amell, who might have qualified for pro hockey had he not changed paths to acting. The Toronto native stands 5’11” and weighs 165 pounds, and credits freerunning training with allowing him to perform complicated stunts himself. “On The Flash, I had to jump off a roof and kick a guy in the head. I wouldn’t have been able to pull that off before.”

And he’s not the only one—not even in his own family. His older cousin Stephen Amell also plays a hero on CW’s Arrow, a companion show with a story line that exists in the same universe as The Flash. He, too, is ripped, handsome, and into freerunning, and will star in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel. “My cousin got me into this,” he says. “It’s the hardest workout we’ve ever done.”

Freerunning was born from parkour, a sport that originated with the obstacle courses used to train France’s military personnel, according to JT Hiltibran, a freerunning coach at Tempest. “Parkour is about moving from Point A to Point B in the most efficient way possible,” he says—regardless of what bushes, holes, or walls may lie between the two. “Freerunning is more about style and expressing yourself through movement.” As a result, freerunners are known for their acrobatic tricks and showmanship, and the training— now a sport itself, where competitions are judged according to movement efficiency as well as the difficulty of tricks—is growing nationwide.

Amell sums up freerunning’s appeal as not only a way to learn how to pull off stunts like in the movies but also
to experience camaraderie with other fitness seekers (as you see in CrossFit boxes). “That’s mainly it,” he says. “You get in shape just by being around other people and doing it with them.” To those who may be turned off by counting sets and reps or competing against others on exercises, freerunning offers calorie-burning and muscle-building activity without structure, obligation, or pressure to perform. “It’s so freeing to come in here and work out the way you want to,” says Amell. “Not just go to the gym and lift weights.” No two freerunning classes are alike, and there’s no specific curriculum.

Of course, freerunning does have the potential to promote a few anxieties: fear of falling to one’s death, for instance. But in spite of the risky maneuvers Amell performs for us, injuries are very rare. “It’s mental,” he says. “You’re going to be afraid to take a flying jump until you do it, and then you see it’s not that big a deal. So, in that sense, it’s really good training for life.” As for the learning curve, Amell says it took him a handful of hour-long classes at Tempest to get the basics down and be comfortable taking leaps and bounds. Once you get comfortable inside, running through a course with supervision, Hiltibran says, you can go outdoors for a real challenge. “You can use walls, ledges, rails. Your body is the limit on what you can do.”

The hardest trick of all for Amell remains the “cliffhanger,” in which the freerunner crawls laterally along multiple ledges of different heights by his fingers. Amell’s lats, shoulders, and forearms bulge as he attempts it, which is probably the muscular equivalent of performing hundreds of pullups. He makes a few passes at it, enough for us to get our shots, and then drops softly from the wall. “My dream role is to play Batman one day,” he says, which would be the fulfillment of a childhood fantasy that began with a love of comic books. Whether or not Amell ultimately gets the call, one thing is for sure: He won’t have trouble scaling Gotham Cathedral when the time comes.

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Amell’s free run for superhero body and strength

Robbie Amell, or Firestorm in The Flash, trains to do all his stunts in the series without a double. In these Muscle & Fitness photos, he climbs, swings, clings, and falls like his hero role on television. The maiden issue of Muscle & Fitness Philippines this September has full details of Robbie’s workout.

Superheroes are aplenty not only on the big screen but also on television. Nowadays, actors who play hero roles are not only handsome and ripped, they should also be strong, agile, and graceful to captivate us, their audience.

Two Amells, cousins in real life, fit the role of superheroes and prepare their bodies the same way. They do a lot of bodyweight workouts, combined with free running at the Tempest Academy in Chatsworth, California. The older Amell, 34-year-old Stephen Adam, plays Oliver Queen or Green Arrow in the television series Arrow while 27-year-old cousin Robbie is Firestorm in The Flash.

Both are shown on The CW in the United States and air via satellite on Jack TV here in the Philippines. The Flash airs on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on both Jack TV and ETC. Arrow airs on Jack TV Thursdays at 3:30 pm.

Muscle & Fitness asked JT Hiltibran, a free running coach at Tempest, to differentiate his sport from parkour, which originated from the French military training using obstacle courses. “Parkour is about moving from Point A to Point B in the most efficient way possible. Free running is more about style and expressing yourself through movement,” he said.

Free runners hone their acrobatic tricks and showmanship in this athletic discipline founded by Sebastien Foucan in France. Foucan, who wrote a book on the subject, coined the name in 2003. Though not yet an Olympic sport, it is currently being discussed. Meanwhile, popular competitions pick winners according to movement efficiency and difficulty of tricks.

Stephen likes to blend free running into his bodyweight workouts. He adds cardio and stunts to workouts he believes Oliver Queen would do. He does all his stunts so he really needs to train hard and regularly not only to maintain his good looks but also to perfect those hero power moves. He regularly posts his workout on Facebook or YouTube. Stephen will also play Casey Jones in the upcoming sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Speaking of Ninja training, search for salmon ladder and Stephen Amell’s name will be one of the first 10 entries to come up. Why? From the start of Arrow, he was shown doing the Salmon Ladder shirtless, showcasing his great physique and upper body strength. He has videos showing how to do it. He even ended the video by saying, “Stop asking if I can do it for real.”

Imagine an exercise cage with several pairs of notches where you rest the barbell for squats. This time around, the notches are a lot higher because they are meant for pull-ups. Stephen grabs a bar resting on two notches and pulls himself up to the bar. He then uses his momentum and upper body strength to raise the bar or “climb” notch by notch. Aside from great upper body strength, explosiveness and technique are also important.

Back to free running, it was Stephen who introduced Robbie to Tempest Academy. Muscle & Fitness covered how the agile actor vaulted over boxes, ran up walls, swung from bar to bar, and jumped off ledges that were 50 feet high.

“Free running has helped me get in shape for roles,” Robbie told M&F. The 5’11” and 165-pound Toronto-born actor credited his three years of free running for allowing him to perform complicated stunts himself. “On The Flash, I had to jump off a roof and kick a guy in the head. I wouldn’t have been able to pull that off before. My cousin got me into this,” he added. “It’s the hardest workout we’ve ever done.”

The greatest obstacle to the sport is actually the fear of falling. Robbie said. “It’s mental. You’re going to be afraid to take a flying jump until you do it, and then you see it’s not that big a deal. So, in that sense, it’s really a good training for life.” Prior to any jump, he took a lot of hour-long classes for basic techniques.

Once a person gets comfortable doing all the “stunts” under the supervision of a coach, the sport can be taken outdoors for the real challenge using walls, rails, and ledges.

While only a few of us might be able to develop the strength and agility to do super hero acrobatics, it is inspiring, indeed, to know that the heroes we admire on screen really soar with intense physical preparation!

Source: PhilStar

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I posted the videos to our Facebook page this morning but completely forgot to post them here, so here they are via YouTube. I have also created and uploaded screen captures to the gallery so don’t forget to check them out. Also big thanks to my good friend Kris for helping me out.

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