The Fear of Being Out of Breath


The Fear of Being Out of Breath

What are the worst ways to die?
Different variations on running out of oxygen. In each case you have to deal with the panic of not being able to breathe. Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? How sure were you that you were going to die right up until you didn't? Why would you induce that sensation on purpose? Except that's exactly what intense exercise does.

There is a point in exercise where your heart rate sky rockets, your lungs violently gasp for air, and laying on the ground doesn't stop the room from spinning. It hurts, it's terrifying, and anyone that claims to enjoy it is lying. What people enjoy is the high that settles in once your heart and lungs calm down. The trouble is you won't get to enjoy said high if you're having a panic attack, moving still hurts or feels extra hard, or you don't think you can drive safely. Feeling that you can't breathe or can't suck enough oxygen to catch your breath is sending you all the eminent signs of your impending doom. It's like a dress rehearsal for death, and your heart and lungs are giving the performance of a lifetime.

This is why the fear of being out of breath is rational. If you've never felt it before, or aren't used to feeling it, being out of breath is going dissuade you from doing what ever caused it in the first place. Combine it with the general anxiety of feeling like everyone is looking at you, and the belief that you look stupid or aren't good at what your're doing, and coming back the next day may require a miracle. Here's the thing though, the level of suckyness that feeling out of breath causes is the same for everyone. What changes is the amount of intensity it takes to reach the suckyness feeling.

So why would anyone voluntarily force themselves to be out of breath? Because the better conditioned your heart and lungs are for dealing with stress, the harder it is to reach the sucky feeling of being out of breath. The only thing worse then feeling out of breath during exercise, is feeling it OUTSIDE of exercise. You are at risk of finding yourself out of breath anytime you move with a purpose or for more than 5 minutes at a time if you aren't used to doing so. Being able to walk and talk and enjoy things all at the same time is not physically possible if the act of walking is making it hard to breathe. The good news is you don't necessarily need to be laying flat on your back and dry heaving after workouts in order to fix the issue.

There are sacrifices that must be made in order to achieve such an extremely high level of conditioning just like with getting a 6 pack, or deadlifting 500lbs. If your goals line up with something that intense, you will have to be willing to suffer the dry heaves that come with it. If you are not concerned with such an intense goal, or aren't really willing to deal with the sensation of being out of breath, that is ok. Just make sure to tailor your expectations and workouts realistically. Some level of elevated heart rate will be needed to improve your conditioning levels. Your body improves at things by being exposed to lesser versions of the real thing. These are small moments of stress that target a specific response. This is the same way you put on muscle, jump higher, or fight bears. There are things you can do however to prevent it from being full blown suckyness or panic inducing.

First: Spread the intensity of your exercise through out the week instead of in one big session. More frequent but not as close to death feeling workouts will give your heart and lungs the practice they need to improve without having to leave you dead each time.

Second: Rest between exercises. Push hard in each set and with each rep of your workout. Then make sure to let your heart rate recover before continuing.

Third: Trick your body. Cross train in your workouts. Mix high intensity, low intensity, heavy weight, light weight, and body weight into the same workout. The proper rest between exercises will make your body think you finished. The shock of doing a completely different style of exercise will jumpstart your system.

It is tempting to avoid being out of breath as much as possible. However! Avoiding the activities and work that cause you to be out of breath only increases the likelihood of it happening. Plus the acute levels of stress that exercise gives you act as an adrenaline dump for any other built up stress. Without a proper release for chronic stress your body will think you are sick and dying. You might not be afraid of this sensation, but unlike being out of breath from exercise, the consequences of chronic stress can actually kill you.


The Lie You're Being Told About Exercise

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The Lie You're Being Told About Exercise

Exercise is the single greatest thing you can do for your body. If there were a pill that could take care of all the benefits, big and small, that you get from exercise, it would be the most commercially successful product in the known world. Exercise on its own IS NOT great or efficient for weight loss. It shapes your body and mind for the better, but also requires a whole lot more energy to process. This increases your appetite and need for food. Thus losing weight from exercise without regulating your nutrition is extremely difficult.


There is a huge disconnect between what exercise is, what exercise is for, and how exercise is advertised. No other industry would be allowed to exist for the length of time fitness has if it followed the same model.

Imagine if you will, playing on a brand new Xbox or Playstation gaming system. Next week an even newer version of your gaming console is being released and in order for Microsoft or Sony to reach their sale goals they must convince you to ditch the one you already have.

Continue to imagine playing video games on your console. After some time you set down the controller to rest your hands and eyes a little bit. There is a magazine flipped open on the coffee table next to you. On the page of the magazine is an advertisement for the brand new console that is set to take over the world and leave yours in the dust. All it has is the console logo and the following information:

GPU - 6 teraflops (TFLOPS), 40 customized compute units @ 1,172MHz

Memory - 12GB GDDR5 RAM

Memory Bandwidth - 326GB/s

Storage - 1TB 2.5-inch

There is no photo of gameplay. There is no listing or showing of game titles, and the video advertisements dont show footage or give any sense of the style and genres of experience that will be provided. Can you disertain from the info listed above what to expect from the new console or why it may be worth $400 compared to the currently free console you just played?

Some of you might! That's great. Congratulations, in the world of exercise you are the equivalent of an athlete, a bodybuilder, a fitness enthusiast, or an industry professional.
You make up 1% of the worlds population. That's approximately how many people voluntarily want to pursue clinical exercise. Clinical exercise is needed to pursue specific physical goals, or in response to chronic onset health issues or sudden trauma. These are the smallest and least enjoyable forms of exercise. Yet they are the entire focus of how exercise is marketed!

Movement is the primary reason we have a nervous system. Your body rewards you for moving by heightening your senses, elevating your mood, increasing your concentration and flooding your brain with chemicals that give you a sense of purpose. That sense of purpose powers your dedication and is contagious. A huge portion of what most people call pride, or a reason to get up in the morning, is literally missing from your consciousness when you prevent your body from regularly moving.

The sole purpose of having a body capable of movement is to keep your meat sack of a body from being eaten, or to catch things to eat yourself. Exercise is how the primal lizard brain part of you is taught to exist and thrive. It's practice for not dying. Your body wants so badly to not die that it creates the sensation of fun as a response to practicing it. It's the same reason sex feels so good. How many people would be honestly willing to go through the torture of labor and play dates if sex was equally painful? Well the pleasure sensors ringing in your brain from sex are eerily similar to the ones created from exercise.

Pursuing enjoyment is the fundamental lesson we wish everyone to practice. The strongest sensations of enjoyment you can create for yourself come from exercise. This isnt about being good at something. This isn't talking about getting better at something. This is attempting to have as much fun as you can. Doing so is simple. Your body and nervous system considers exercise as practice for fighting monsters. Each day you want to alternate between fighting a monster, escaping a monster, and playing with a monster's cub.
In between those things is desire, mental focus, drive, and a sense of purpose. Which is also known as a work ethic.

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Goals Focused Training


Goals Focused Training

One of our main programs here at EST is goals based programming. For a lot of people that might mean weight loss, improved health, or body sculpting. However we are a nerd gym, and we have nerd clients, with nerd goals. So how, and why, do we program for those goals? We use sport specific training just like an athlete would. For this article I'm going to use the examples of baseball and esports and compare how their training really is the same.

For sports or nerd goals you want to focus on two forms of training; skills and strength and conditioning. Skills are going to be the specific things you are going to use during a game. For baseball your skills focusing are going to be on running, catching, throwing, as well as learning your teams plays and strategies. For Esports and gaming your skills training is going to be reflexes, hand dexterity, hand eye coordination, and game play strategies. For strength and conditioning your looking to improve your general athletics, so that can execute your skills better. You also want to work the areas around and supporting what you use for skills training but in a different and/or corrective way. For example a catcher isn't going to do tons of squats on their strength and conditioning day because it's all they'll be doing on their skills and game day. A gamer who stares at a screen for his game is not going to want to use screen based drills or they may impair their vision on game day. That is the basics of sports specific training. Your looking to improve the skills most directly associated with your hobby, and the general conditioning and strength to execute those skills well.

Now that we have an understanding of sports specific training how do we apply that to our hobbies. First thing you want to do is figure out what your goal is, and be clear and specific. Derek Jeter didn't just want to “be good and baseball.” He wanted to be the best hitter, that was his main focus. He focused on baserunning and fielding as part of his skills training. He also took on a position of leadership, this is also part of his skills training and play. These are all skills that he focused on developing in his training. So the first thing you have to ask yourself is what are your goals. If we go back to gaming; do you want a better kill to death ratio? Would clicks per minute up your game? Do you need to get better at reading the map or spotting enemies? Do you want to follow plot points and solve puzzles better? Figure out what your specific goals are and what skills you want to improve. Next set up a training program and schedule around those skills. This is going to mean playing the game but not necessarily in a fun way. Go into a practice mode or replay earlier levels looking not to win or rack up a high score but to work on one skill. If you want to get better at being sneaky and finding cover, play with no weapons and just see how long you can survive. This is going to be super frustrating and take a lot of fun out of the game, you will die…a lot, but you will also get better, it will help you to focus on a specific skill. You can also use different games or skill based exercises to help you develop. Juggling for hand eye coordination or jigsaws for pattern recognition. We are using gaming here as our example but again this works for all hobbies. Once you have your skills training down it is on to your strength and conditioning.

Now this were I get a lot of push-back, this is were even gamers start to tell me that e-sports isn't really sports. I can't tell you how many time I get told that you don’t need conditioning because, gaming, LARP, DnD, cosplay, Fanfic, comic books, are all sedentary hobbies. I get don't want to get on the treadmill, don't worry neither do I. However strength and conditioning can improve all of these skills. Remember strength and conditioning is putting your body in a position that it can execute the skill better. Joe Manganiello is a better D&D player then most because he has a well conditioned body. This allows his skills at role playing, puzzle solving, and basic arithmetic to come through. He has the energy, focus, posture, to play the game because he is well conditioned. Olympic level archers have talked about know they will win over someone who is less conditioned then them not because they are the superior archer but because in the moment their conditioning will help them deal with elevated heart rate, stress, energy, and focus, and their skills training can shine through. Now again I don't need you to jump on a treadmill or being looking to get abs like Joe. For your own strength and conditioning look at what gives out first in your hobby, what is sore the next day, when do you lose focus and why. You want to build your conditioning programming around that. If you lose focus every time the battle gets intense and your heart rate spike then work on sprint style drills that spike your heart rate so you get comfortable there. If you have to stop because your hands cramp up then maybe you need to work on some grip recovery work. Remember just like the catcher doesn't squat, you want to do stuff that strengthens your weak spots without overworking those movement patterns.

Ok now for the mushy wellness, let’s be happy and healthy part. As you work on these skill and training you may find that it’s a way to work in some healthy habits into your life. It might even making them a part of your everyday habits more then an awful chore you don’t want to do. Much like when we pick up a new hobby, start getting better at it, and slowly start you make it a part of our everyday life. Adding skills training can both enhance that and making different healthy habits a part of your everyday life. As always if you find yourself lost, or don't know how or where to start please reachout, we are here to be that reacorse for you


Xena: Archetype Breakdown


Xena: Archetype Breakdown

If you have been with us for even a little while you should be familiar with our archetypes. We use them to help people focus their training on what they would enjoy and what superhero they would like to be like. We have also referenced our archetypes when talking about specific goals training; cosplay, gaming, larp, ect. Archetypes are what a lot of our training is built around. Because most superheroes are well balanced, they possess skills from all archetypes, that's also why we have you practice all the skills durn Field Training. When we get into more specific goal training is when we want to look at what specific parts of an archetype you are using as your superhero building blocks. If you were training to get better at a first person shooter gamer, for example, your base archetype would be operative work, but you would want to layer in some tracer to get those lightning fast reflexes. So with that in mind I thought I might take a character and breakdown how their skill sets translate to an archetype and what type of training they would most like do to get there. Today we are going to look at Xena: warrior princess.

Base Archetype.

Now based on her large stature and bulging muscles most people would assume Xena was a Tank. However if you look at how she approaches the world around her Tank is not her go to skill set. Her base archetype is actually that of a Tracer. Is your mind blown right now? She favors fighting with acrobatic and quick move sets.

The Chakram

Possibly Xena's most famous accessory. The chakram is a circular throwing weapon. It requires high levels of precision and dexterity to use. Using the chakrum is a mix of Tracer and Operative skills very similar to that of a quick draw gunslinger. The Tracer skills come in the form of quick reflexes and fast upper body agility. The operative come in the form of hand eye coordination and the pattern recognition in know where to throw and estimating how it will ricochet.

The Vulcan Neck Punch

Mostly used for interrogation Xena used sharp hits to pressure points in the neck to render a person paralyzed. This is a purely Operative move, having the ability to know, spot, and strike a pressure point is a mix of puzzle solving and hand eye coordination of the utmost operative ability.

Hand to Hand Combat

Most of Xena's fighting style comes in the form of hand to hand combat. She doesn't prescribe to a specific style of martial arts. She favors kicks, flips, and spins which are both visually epic and help her get extra power in her attack. Here again this is full tracer, we are looking at lower body power and plyometrics and well as acrobatics.


Xena has a awesome greatsword, the way she wields it is part Operative part Tanks. The sword and some of her punching is the only place we see Tank work. The pure power and strength she puts behind it is Tank power. The ability to take on multiple opponent and attack with the right strikes is all Operative.

Battle Cry

Xena uses a battle cry to disorient and intimidate her opponents. This is a pure Operative move.

So you want to be more like Xena? Let's take a look at what that training program might look like.

Lower Body Plyometrics and Core Control:

Box jumps 5x5

Pull-Ups 5X5

Burpees 5x5

Push-Ups 5x5

Hand Eye Coordination:

Mace Flow Drills 5x1min

Shadow Boxing 5x1min


Practice your own battle cry


Lessons In Deductive Reasoning: D.O.M.S.


Lessons In Deductive Reasoning: D.O.M.S.

In our latest episode of Lessons In Deductive Reasoning we dive into whether or not you must suffer to have a good workout. D.O.M.S. (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is a thing. It's not just you. The question is, is it the sign of a good workout?

Deductive reasoning is an essential tool for solving everyday puzzles and mysteries, and one of Batman's strongest assets. We use it to help cut through the unneeded puffery, and over complication that shows up in health and fitness.


It's Not The Hero's Fault


It's Not The Hero's Fault

In our desire to take over the world, self inflicted stops in momentum are our most frustrating, depression inducing, anxiety riddling, arch nemesis. We are quick to curse the names of do-gooders, point out their flaws and hypocrisy, and blame them for our misfortune.

“Blast it! Foiled again,” is heard far too often by heroes around the world. The truth is most heroes are glory hogs that happen to be standing in the right place at the right time, when YOU YOURSELF slip up, and fail to follow through on your plan. You may hear him or her yukking it up on the news and talking about “honest” hard work and “not taking shortcuts in life”. But you know the truth.

You know you worked your butt off!! At first.

You know you had a solid plan, and got impatient waiting for it to unfold.

You know no one asked for a monologue… at all… let alone before the job was even done.

Some choose to blame the hero for getting in the way. For making it personal. Those individuals get stuck in an endless loop of personal attacks, schemes, and sabatoged attempts at zeroing in on ending the hero once and for all. Which has nothing to do with taking over the world.

Others grow to hate themself. They become fearful of trying because the anxiety and depression of failing to complete or uphold what you, yourself plan to do, is crippling to ones self-confidence.

The first group of villains is not one we can help. If you insist on building a personal vendetta against a hero and forego trying to take over the world, that is your choice. No one is forcing you to do so.

It’s the second group of villains we care about. The personal embarrassment of having to face your friends, colleagues, and family after you failed to follow through on the ellaborate freeze ray project is absolutely terrifying. Actually having completed the freeze ray and losing in battle to a hero would be far easier to deal with psychologically.

The fall out of a self inflicted stop in momentum makes rolling out of bed nearly impossible. Your feet feel weighed down to the floor. Your stomach stays clenched in knots all day and most nights. You lose your appetite, but keep eating just to feel something. This can spiral for weeks, months, even years. Each time you set a plan and fail to see it all the way through, and the longer you go without seeing anything all the way through, the harder this viscious spell is to correct.

The craziest part is that even though it is your fault. Even though you are 100% responsible for not completing your plan. You NEVER ACTUALLY FAILED.

Failure is seeing the plan all the way through and then watching your freeze ray get punched to smithereens.

Failure is being able to take your freeze ray into battle in the first place, but never getting to fire it because no one told you the hero has a team now.

Failure is what you can bounce back from. Failure allows you to hold your head high and honestly say you did your best.

In order to know if you have succeeded or failed, you have to attempt every single possible option related to your goal. When you have fired all your shots we get to see whether or not you hit your target. Until then your playing a game of what if, or shoulda, coulda, woulda.

That’s why it hurts so much. Our most intense regrets are not things we fail at, but the opportunities we never take, or the questions we never answer. When you add in the guilt and shame of a lost opportunity being self inflicted, the Schrodinger's Cat of opportunity poisons your psyche.

So now what?

Honestly, we don’t know.

Millions of people suffer from the depression and anxiety created by self inflicted stops in momentum, and other forms of self sabotage and procrastination. We can’t even begin to have a cure all for the problems. It's going to happen. It happens to everyone, and it's perfectly normal. All we can do is work hard to limit how often the sensation hits us, and fight like hell to correct it once we notice it's happening.

You can limit how often the depression from self inflicted stops in momentum hit you by practicing self ownership.

Self ownership is a very simple, shrewd, and humbling reality to participate in. Here's how it works:

  • Only focus on what you can control.

  • You can only control your effort, your attitude, and your choices, and your actions. (Inaction, aka doing nothing, counts as an action you are in control of.)

  • You can’t control other people’s effort, attitude, choices or actions.

That’s it.

Here are some examples of self ownership:

Your roommate/significant other has not cleaned the kitchen and it is totally their turn. FALSE! It is always your turn. You can't control if someone else decides to clean the kitchen. You can control if YOU decide to clean the kitchen. Keeping score won’t clean the kitchen. CLEANING THE KITCHEN will clean the kitchen. If you want the kitchen clean you are responsible for cleaning it.

You had a long and frustrating day at work and missed your workout at the gym. FALSE! You chose not to go to the gym out of your own free will. Your day did not make you do anything.

Let’s be clear, self ownership won’t magically fix things you fall through on. It won’t necessarily make you better at remembering things or being disciplined. It will simply give you perspective on what happened and why. It allows you to accept the repercussions of your choices, both good and bad, before they happen. Thus allowing you to learn and adapt instead of feeling stuck and depressed.

Self ownership as a practice is not instinctual. So there will be times when you forget and find yourself spiraling into a depression for not finishing the cosplay you told everyone about. When the depression hits, the first thing to do is check on your self ownership. You don’t have to start eating differently or remembering more, but it will allow you to start accepting where you are and why. Then you can build positive momentum and get back to the plan for world domination.


The Number One Thing Preventing Your Fat Loss (or Mass Gain)


The Number One Thing Preventing Your Fat Loss (or Mass Gain)

The number one thing hindering your fat loss (or mass gain....just do everything we say in reverse). Ready?

It's not your workouts.

It's not your diet.

It's not your metabolism.

It's not your body type.

It's the relationship you have developed between your food, and your work.

Here's what we know:

In order to lose fat you need to be in an energy deficit. Your body needs to be using more food based energy than you have stored for a prolonged period of time. There is no argument with this. Precisely 100% of all natural fat loss comes through some form of energy (calorie) manipulation.

Moving more regularly is a version of this.

As is data or calorie tracking.

As is watching portion sizes.

As is limiting or cutting out certain types of foods.

Most people mix a couple of these together.


You already know that if you've been learning from us for a bit. If this is your first time watching, reading, or speaking with us... Hi! Nice to meet you.

Also... In order to lose fat you need to be in an energy deficit. Your body needs to be using more food based energy than you have stored for a prolonged period of time. There is no argument with this. Precisely 100% of all natural fat loss comes through some form of energy (calorie) manipulation.

Even though you KNOW what losing fat requires, and are following a mix of the strategies listed previously, you simply don't appear to be losing fat. So what gives? What is it you are missing that others seem to intuitively understand? How can you be following the proper science for fat loss and not lose fat?

Unfortunately it's because despite your best efforts, and despite what all your tracking says, you have not been in a consistent deficit for a prolonged enough time. This is an extremely difficult thing to hear, but it generally means even though you're storing less energy from food, you are still not moving enough to use all of it. Even though you feel hungry. Even though you may feel tired. Even though the world is irritating you more and more with each passing second. You are still not moving enough to use up all your stored energy from food.

So what's the one thing you need to do to see the fat loss you're pursuing?

Adapt and change your food to work relationship.

For most people, and just about everyone who runs into this problem, the underline issue is that exercise is used after or to offset eating. This is where you hear people say things like “I gotta get an extra run in tomorrow after that epic taco tuesday.” Or. “Oh I fell off my meal plan this week, this weekend is going to be a killer workout.”

The chance that you are able to work hard enough to offset the energy you have consumed is slim to none. Even when you really kick butt, that one session won't be enough.

Such thinking is fundamentally backwards. But it's not your fault. That type of thinking is what powers most of health and fitness industries. The truth is your taco tuesday should be REFUELING the work and activity you've already used.

Let's paint a picture together:

You have your last meal of the day around 7pm. You're in bed by 9pm and up the next day at 5am to get going. Before heading out you make and have breakfast. Maybe you grab something for breakfast on the go.

Now, what have you done between dinner and breakfast to warrant RE-fueling? Sleep?

Yes your metabolism works hard when you’re asleep, but do you know what your metabolism is working so hard at? It is transporting nutrients to the areas that are low and attempting to repair any damage dealt to your body from the previous day. This work is done to prepare you for activity when you wake up. You may not feel full when you get up in the morning. Your stomach may even feel empty, but your body is brimming and primed with potential energy. Your food energy is stored and ready to be used.

In order for your body to burn fat you must use all your food stores so it resorts to pulling energy from the fat on your body. If you eat breakfast now before activating that stored energy, you will start the day with MORE food based energy than you are using. Every subsequent meal or snack you have before using food based energy will increase the gap between your stored energy and the actual energy you use.

I'm not saying you have to fast for some specific amount of time, and I am in no way advocating eating nothing at all. What I am saying is if you're stuck in your fat loss journey, take a look at your average day. Make sure you move, do something physically active, or different from how you spend most of your time before each of your meals, and snacks.


Points of Exhaustion


Points of Exhaustion

If you've ever played Dungeons and Dragons, or most other RPG games, you've probably encountered the condition of exhaustion. Maybe you've decided to ride through the night to catch up to a bad guy, maybe you've been climbing through icy cold mountains, or maybe it was the effect of a spell. However it happens your GM suddenly looks up at you and says “You have 1 level of exhaustion,” and you know this is going to suck.

As you know we often suffer exhaustion and stress in our real lives. Unfortunately for many of us it's so commonplace we just considered it part of life. I think however it affects us in real life almost the same as it does in games. Today I am going to us the Players Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons to deconstruct some of our everyday exhaustion and look at what effects it's having and how you might deal with them. So let's jump into it shall we?

Let's look at the levels of exhaustion we suffer in real life and how that translates in the Player’s Handbook.

Level 1:

You have a major project at work. You're teamed up with a passive aggressive coworker who you don't like. You’re stressed that the works not going to get done, or not done right. You suffer 1 level of exhaustion. You have disadvantage on all ability checks. This means when you walk into the break room and see a box of donuts, you don't have the ability to think critically about it. You're at disadvantage to check if they fit with your calories, macro goals or if you even actually WANT a donut right now. Instead you mindlessly stuff two in your face without even tasting them.

Level 2:

The stress of this work project is getting to you. You get home late and the dishes are piled up, there's a bill on the counter you forgot to pay, your head is spinning with stuff to do. You manage to sleep for maybe 4hrs. Most of the night you just stare at the clock and stress about the fact that you can’t sleep. You have 2 levels of exhaustion. Your speed is halved. You were suppose to go to the gym after work but you just don't have the energy. You're moving slow today and it would just be a lazy workout anyways. You'll go when your feeling up to it. There's no point in going today.

Level 3:

You have another bad night's sleep but it's ok because it's finally Saturday. You plan to take a long walk, read a book, maybe beat that level of the video game you never have time to play. However you barely have time to make breakfast before your mom calls. She needs you to come over and help her, and why are you still in pajamas? Your your sibling is already over there so hurry up. You have 3 levels of exhaustion. You have disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws. You spend the day with family members picking at your life choices and not understanding your hobbies. You try and speak up a few times but can't seem to find the words to save yourself. When your mom suggests you spend your entire Sunday helping her out at church you try and explain that you really want to just be home and beat this video game but you quickly realize this is a fight you can't win.

Level 4:

It's Monday again. You barely had time to grab some groceries and kinda clean the house over the weekend. You didn't get a real chance to meal prep or prepare for the week. You definitely didn't get a chance to do anything fun or even just have a nap. Now you're staring back at that work project as you listen to your passive aggressive coworker tell you about the educational activities they did with their kids over the weekend. You get the feeling they are silently judging you and your lame weekend. You have 4 levels of exhaustion. Your hit point maximum is halved. Everything is harder, you barely have the energy to focus on your emails. When it comes to counting your calories at lunch or going to the gym forget it. It's just not physically possible right now. You'll do it next week, once you feel up to it.

Level 5

Last night you managed 7hrs of sleep but woke up several times during the night. Your big project is due tomorrow and it's heavily stressing you out. Your boss is putting pressure on you. You feel the time closing in on you. You had such high hopes for this project but now you're not even sure if you are going to get it done at all. You now have 5 levels of exhaustion. Your speed is reduced to zero. You were going to take a walk at lunch but instead end up eating at your desk. A friend invites you out after work and it sounds really fun but you just don't have the energy.

Level 6

You finally have your presentation for your big project. It goes ok. I mean it was fine really. The information wasn't as organized as you would have liked. You kind of stammered your way through it, not a ton of confidence. But it was still good. You sit at your desk, stress and overanalyze everything. Everything you said, everything your boss said, everything you didn't say, everything your boss didn't say. You can't change it now but you can't stop thinking about it. You have 6 levels of exhaustion. Death. You see in your calender you have a class at the gym listed for tonight, you just roll your eyes at yourself. What made you think you could do that. You are just not capable of making that kind of change. You get a text from a friend about playing games over the weekend. You make a vague excuse. I mean come on, you don't have time or the energy for games. This is your life now. Just work, stress, and exhaustion. Nothing excites you anymore and you feel dead inside.

Depressing right? So how do we fix it? How do we get rid of the levels of exhaustion? Well let's take a look at what the Players Handbook has to say. Finishing a long rest reduces a creatures exhaustion level by 1. Provided that the creature has also ingested some food and drink.

So having a healthy meal and getting 8hrs of sleep takes away ONE level of exhaustion. However we can build up several levels in a single day. Hardly seems fair. Well first off we are going to need to reduce the things that are causing the exhalation. I mean if there is a bad guy flinging spells at your face you're not going to stand there and just hope he goes away right? Now the hard part is that this often involves confrontation. It means saying “no" which can be very difficult. It may mean you have to stop avoiding some tough choices. It may even mean seeking out professional help whether that be a financial advisor, personal trainer, or therapist. Don't be afraid to look for help. If you can't lower the things that cause the exhaustion in the first place you will always be playing catch up and never really have it under control.

Now you need a healthy meal and sleep. “healthy” is going to vary a lot person to person and depending on what your goals are. A good rule of thumb here is that you should feel good when you are done eating. If you feel stuffed, bloated, or sick then you are probably eating too much and/or not the right thing. Finally you have to sleep. Going to bed at the same time every night, keeping your room dark and cold, and turning of electronics can all help. Also moving around during the day. Even if you have an exhausting day mentally your body can still have pent up energy. Take a walk, move around, stretch out.

I would also like to point out that getting rid of exhaustion is hard. It takes effort. While the idea of bubble baths and treating yourself to a candy bar after a rough day are nice, and you can do that if you want to, they don't actually fix the problem. So be wary of “self care" quick fixes. It may be a potion that back fires on you down the road.

So there you have it. The levels of exhaustion. Be careful, they can sneak up on you, they can be difficult to deal with, and they can be deadly. Good luck Heroes.


Examples IRL: Con Prep  2


Examples IRL: Con Prep 2

Examples IRL are full, honest looks at some of our habits and practices that may go unnoticed behind the scenes. These are things we do in our own life that contribute to what you may see on the surface.

We are currently prepping for Hypericon! Follow us as we train, search for cosplay inspiration, and craft when necessary.


Story Time: Crowning Worthyness


Story Time: Crowning Worthyness

You just received a beautiful ordamental chest piece for your efforts in clearing out the near by mine of orcs. Carved into the side of this armor are the words “Dragon Hunter.” The mold was scrubbed and washed with dragon scales, enfusing the already strong iron alloy with the durability of dragon hide. This level of alchemy is rare, expensive, and only adorned by the most worthy of heroes and adventurers.

You slip the chest piece over your head and tighten the leather straps along the side.

And keep tightening.

And keep tightening.

And keep tightening.

But it's still way too big.

In your efforts to tighten the armor properly it slide down your shoulder and hung over your arm. Your neck is the only thing keeping it from falling all the way off. Frustration begins to build as you try to straighten the armor out.

“I've toiled in the haunted woods. I've rescued multiple towns from hellscapes.” You try to remind yourself.

“I've trained, practiced, and sacrificed to protect this realm.” Your words are true, but do not bring you comfort.

“I've put more effort and work into this than anything I've ever done. How THE FUCK is it not enough!”

You try again to center the chest piece over your shoulders, and set it down. It hangs off your frame as if you are a wire coat hanger. Head down, shoulders slumped, pride shot, you walk toward a shelf in your home and feel you can barely move. The armor is heavy! Even if it fit over your shoulders, you couldn't walk more than twenty feet before needing to take it off and rest.

“How?” You wisper to yourself as you slide the chest piece off and toss it onto the floor.

“What more must I do to prove myself. Why do I bother seeking out these adventures if I'm not worthy of their glory?” You kneel and begin to weep.

“Let the realm defend itself then!” You declare.

You did everything right. You accomplished every quest you've taken on. You have never once falterd in the presence of evil. Yet somehow you lost.


Examples IRL: Con Prep 1


Examples IRL: Con Prep 1

Examples IRL are full, honest looks at some of our habits and practices that may go unnoticed behind the scenes. These are things we do in our own life that contribute to what you may see on the surface.

We are currently prepping for Hypericon! Follow us as we train, search for cosplay inspiration, and craft when necessary.


Hero in Training: Leg Drive


Hero in Training: Leg Drive

Here is a helpful step in your origin story. Leg drive is exrltemely important for any Superhero. In today's "Hero In Training" video we give an example of why it is important. and show you a workout to help improve this skill!


Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter Which Is Healthier?


Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter Which Is Healthier?

Why is almond butter considered health food, but peanut butter is not?


They are both creamy....or crunchy if you prefer... tasty nut spreads good for snacking, sandwiches, baking and cooking. What's the difference? Is one better for you than the other? Let's break it down!!


First pros and cons list for each nut butter spread:

Almond Butter: 

Pros: Essential fatty acids, source of protein, vitamin E, magnesium

Cons: Nut allergies, calorie dense,


Peanut Butter: 

Pros: Essential fatty acids, source of protein,  vitamin E, magnesium

Cons: Nut allergies, calorie dense, 


Hmmm.... that seems remarkably similar. Ok let's looks at the ingredients that make up the two nut butters. If you were making it at home (super simple with a food processor), what would you need?

Almond Butter:

Almonds, salt and/or sugar/honey/sweetener to taste, oil (The type of oil used will effect flavor).


Peanut Butter:  

Peanuts, salt and/or sugar/honey/sweetener to taste, oil (the type of oil used will effect flavor).


Ok....those are basically the same recipe with the different nuts swapped out. The recipe ingredient list didn't help much, but fear not! Most of us don't make out own nut butter anyway. We buy it from the store! 


So let's compare the nutrition facts of the top store bought brands....according to Google. 


Barney Almond Butter:


Jif Peanut Butter:



Right.... one could make the argument that the ingredients used to make Barney's Almond Butter are of higher quality. The sugar is organic, the salt comes from the sea, and the oil comes from fruit palms. 

I do however feel the need to stress the fact that these are still sugar, salt, and oil. 

The nutrition label for both nut butters is almost statistically identical. There are negligible differences in a couple of the numbers, but not enough to effect the nutrient levels of each jar.


If sustainably and humanitarian practices of how the nut butter ingriedente are selected, harvested, and used is of importance to you, then so far this would be the defining point on why to choose almond butter over peanutbutter. Keep in mind however, this is a comparison of the top selling brands for each type of nut butter. The precision and care of ingredients that Barney describes can also be found in other peanutbutter options. 


Ok for our final comparison, let's take a look at the display labels for each jar:






IRL: Cosplay Programming


IRL: Cosplay Programming

We are getting ready for our Fitness for Cosplay workshop at Hypericon. In perpetration we are using some of the principals we will teach there to get ready for OUR attempts at cosplay.

Julian uses a Mind Map to do his programming. You can find a video on how to use the mind map here.