IRL: Cosplay Programming

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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. https://youtu.be/y0Y0aBvKrNo

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You Don't Need a Gym, You Need a Why

You Don't Need a Gym, You Need a Why

First a disclaimer:

What I'm about to share with you could vary well put us out of business. If this concept is spread and became practiced by everyone who has a gym membership they don't use, everyone that purchased a workout video they never do, and everyone waiting to be inspired so they can start working out, then my role in society is no longer needed. And I will happily trade that in for a world that universally pushes themselves to evolve, feel great, have a sense of purpose.

Joining a gym isn't going to help you lose weight. The gym membership you currently have is not how you will become healthier.

Hang on, there's more.

Attempting to save money by ordering or looking up workouts on your own is also not going to help you lose weight, or help you become healthier.

Hang on, hang on, there's EVEN more!

Attending personal training sessions will not help you lose weight, or help you become healthier.

WHAT.

THE.

CRAP.

What you actually need, is a WHY.

We've talked in the past about finding an accountabilibuddy to help with enjoyment and social accountability... Get it?

And we've talked about having a plan of attack to help bolster your self confidence and help with the overwhelming anxiety that comes from walking in to a gym.

We have an entire ebook built around designing and tailoring your priorities to make sure you see habitual changes and results.

None of these things are workouts or programs or “health hacks” for seeing results. That is because a step by step guide is not what you need to get started. If it were you would already be doing it. With out a why, with out a reason to voluntarily make yourself uncomfortable, you will never find value in gyms, fitness classes, personal training, purchasable programs, or even FREE programs. It won't matter if it's a walk in the park, a $10 planet fitness membership, or $500 for one session with a celebrity trainer.

That is why all of the content we just listed is designed to help you find a why. You need a reason to learn, a reason to seek growth, a reason to improve your health. With out that you will be wasting money, time, and energy.

Fitness is a hobby, a lifestyle, and an industry. All of it is marketed to one of two people.

  1. The body sculpting, crossfit lifting, 5k running, yoga practitioners who enjoy these activities and want to pour more money into their hobby.

  2. People who do not enjoy these things, have been told they need them, and have just enough money to buy something and not feel guilty forgetting about it.

Now be honest, which of those is closer to describing your situation? If you're thinking number 1, then good for you! You're already doing something like we discussed earlier. If you're even remotely relating with number 2, the WHY is what your lacking, and you're being robbed of any penny you spend within the industry.

None of the fitness industry is built towards discovering self worth, seeking education with or beyond school, or understanding the state of your mental and emotional well being. Not only that but those are all equally daunting tasks that have been segregated into separate industries. They each require their own money, time, and WHY. You have three different avenues for bettering yourself, none of which pay your rent, afford your food, or include time out with friends or binge watching tv shows.

Physical health and fitness

Mental acuity, and fact memorization

Emotional and mental well being

You need a why to motivate and push yourself to consistently workout and eat right so you can “look right.”

You need a why to sign up for classes, or to seek mentorship from others with your interests, or in your industry.

You need a why to seek out help before things get worse.

That's too many whys... Why?

Because this leads many people to choose one over all the others, or to cycle through phases of focusing on each one. The result being never getting to see progress in any of them. Even worse, for the rest of us this leads to ignoring all three. So here is what I propose:

Find the biggest and strongest why in your life. Generally speaking the biggest and strongest why is something you automatically work on above other things. Acknowledge this as your top priority and pay attention to which of the three avenues it falls under or leans toward.

Are you in school, working your way up the corporate ladder, job hunting, or learning a trade?

Are you active every day, do you make time to work on your body before looking at social options, and eat a balance diet designed to fuel all the energy you use?

Do you already have or use a therapist? Do you acknowledge and work to battle anxiety or depression on the daily basis?

Find the avenue that describes what you are already working on. Congratulations! You already have a why or a reason for pursuing it. Now instead of solely going gang busters on that one specific method of self improvement, use the other two to help bolster your current why.

If you're not already making disciplined choices or sustainable changes to your diet or exercise routine, you don't actually care about losing weight. You are lying to yourself every time you go on a diet, or calorie crunch, or start saying you need to work out more. Give up on that dream, because it is not going to happen. Instead, consider using your diet to help your concentration in class, or an exercise program that will better help you deal with the mundane drudgery of Monday through Friday. Seek out and build relationships with mentors that motivate you to believe in yourself, and can relate to the bullshit no one else seems to understand. Finally, always remember the key to progress in any endeavor is the same discipline and work ethic you are capable of when focusing on your why.

Using indirect methods of self improvement to hone your priorities is going to secretly provide you over all growth, without having to compromise or take your eye off the prize.

If you're still following this blog post and have yet to see an example that you can relate to, we need to talk. This is not going to be pleasant or a rah rah, go team speech. You are actively choosing to stop growing, learning, or improving. You may be bored, you may feel stuck in your life, you may feel frustrated with the direction your life is or has headed. It sucks. It hurts. And no one can help you fix it. You are the only one that is capable of creating change in your life. There are thousands of options and ways to receive help in your quest for self improvement, but none of them can help you if you don’t want change. Let this be your warning:

Your complaints will be ignored, your excuses will fall on deaf ears, and you will get zero sympathy for blaming anyone but yourself. When you are done crying foul and decide to dust yourself off and stand back up, you will have our unwavering support. But remember it starts with you, and having your why.

(Fun fact! We mentioned a number of previous blog posts and content. If this post were a sit-com episode, this would be the flash back episode where previous plot points help provide a stronger plot in the present. Reading, or re-reading the mentioned posts will make this post that much stronger! If you missed the links before we have them listed here for your convenience.)

Finding Your Accountabilibuddies

The Advantage Of Having A Plan Of Attack

How To Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable




Examples IRL: Anger Management

Examples IRL: Anger Management

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.

Today we look at anger management and being proactive and productive with your emotions.

Creating a New Normal

Creating a New Normal

Congratulations! You set a new personal record! You've deadlifted more weight, banged out more push ups, touched your toes while stretching for the first time, had to use a tighter belt loop, or perhaps finally saw the number you're aiming for on the scale.

Now what?

That's the million dollar, feeling awesome, high five celebrating question.

Can you stop?

Do you get to go back to eating the foods you actually enjoy, or take part in those activities you had to leave by the wayside to make up for your gym time?

Do you have to keep doing this for ever and ever?

No you don't have to do this for ever and ever, but if you return to doing what you did before reaching those personal records, you will revert to the standards set by your previous life style.

This is the yo yo life cycle of most people's health journey. A bunch of work is put into reaching new goals and building a new you, and many of us fall of a cliff once those goals are reached. Most of us fall of that cliff before even reaching those goals. How many times have you seen or heard of a friend or family member reaching a target weight, falling off some form of wagon and putting on weight again? On the flip side, how often have you seen or heard of a family member reaching their target weight and then not being satisfied and forcing themselves to keep pushing on?

There are countless magazines, health articles, workout tips, life hacks, and products designed to help you ascend to new heights.

How come there aren't any telling you how to stay there?

Here's my theory:

It's because new heights aren't the sign of true progress we believe them to be. New records and personal bests FEEL awesome, and are a testament to how hard and how consistently you've been working. They represent the peak of your achievements and fill the void of satisfaction often missing from the drudgery of day to day life. However, they are often not regularly repeatable. Yes you can work to improve your best, we will address that in a second. What I mean is setting a personal record often requires everything to go right.

Look at Olympic athletes: Michael Phelps set a number of records while competing in the Olympics. How often did he meet or exceed his record in subsequent competitions? Not only that, but he also trained everyday leading up to the Olympics. How often do you think he was recreating record times on a random Wednesday practice?

I believe true progress can be seen by looking at our minimum standard, not our peak best. This is also why day to day progress goes virtually unnoticed, and you never seem to notice feeling better the day of or after. Doing something once or for the first time is not the point you've reached your goal. You've reached your goal when the prospect of NOT doing your new thing becomes more awkward or difficult than how you use to do things.

This means that stepping on the scale and seeing the weight you're aiming for is not when you've reached your goal. You've reached your goal when you don't have to step on the scale to see if you're at your target weight, because it no longer takes conscious effort to be there. You've reached your goal when the way you've chosen to exercise and how you eat become more of a priority than the new number on a scale.

Priorities are dictated by your habits. Not your words. Not your chosen actions. The things in your daily, weekly, monthly, routine that you do without thinking. That's what your true priorities are. Where you are comfortable. What you call normal. In essence, progress means creating a new normal. Creating a new level of standard that you can't live without.

Elevating our minimum level of standard is how you find the ever elusive maintenance stage. Look to mark off standard raising moments and celebrate them just as hard as your peak performance.

  • Did you touch your toes in your warm up for the first time? Great! Now you're not allowed to be too tight to touch your toes again.

  • Did you just eat 1,500 calories every day last week and only notice when you backlogged your tracking journal? Great! You no longer need to track your calorie goal every day or week!"

  • Did you just bang out 5 pushups? Great! Now you're not allowed to bang out less then 5 pushups.

These are just a couple examples. In order to make this kind of goal setting work for you, you must actively look for opportunities to start a new normal, and pay attention to your first times and sudden moments of ease.

New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

There is a lot of debate about whether or not new years resolutions work or are all doomed to fail. The truth is they’re more about how and what resolution you set then the day of the year, just like any other goal setting. So if you are planning on making a resolution or setting goals for 2019 I want to give you some tips to help you smash them!!

Tip One: Action not Outcome

When making a resolution always make it something you have actual control over. You want a resolution that is an action you are taking not an outcome, that at the end of the day, you can't control. For instance don't make the resolution of “I’m going to lose 10lbs,” which is a outcome. Instead say “I am going to go to the gym twice a week.” One is something you can take action on, the other is a hoped for outcome. Don't make the resolution of “get promoted.” Instead go with “I'm going take a leadership role at least once a month.” Do you see the difference? We want to focus on the work required not on the prize. That way we keep it within our control.

Tip Two: Be Honest with Yourself

We all want to be the best versions of ourselves but setting goals too far up in the clouds will only send you hurtling back down to earth at a painful speed. Be honest with yourself, if the goal is too hard look for a smaller step in the same direction. Smoke two packs a day? Going cold turkey is probably not realistic. How about we focus on only 3 cigarettes a day to start, or maybe we only buy one pack a week and when we run out we are out till next week. Your resolution doesn't have to be about making you a perfect person, just a small nudge into improving yourself, your enjoyment, and your quality of life. This is also important when we are talking about time and money, if you don’t have enough don’t make goals that rely on it.

Tip Three: Be Selfish

If your’re going to make real change, at the end of the day, it has to be for you. Say your mom wants you to lose weight, or your partner wants you to give up smoking. Even if you know these things are going to be good for you doing it for other people is doing it for the wrong reason. It's going to be very hard to keep motivated and make the effort day in and day out if you’re only doing it for someone else. At the same time there may be people who love you but are not thrilled with your new goals. You may be trying to improve your nutrition but have a partner who refuses to stop buying junk food. Or you’re trying to stop smoking but all of your friends smoke and just make fun of you for trying to stop, “see how long that'll last.” At the end of the day you can only control yourself and your goals. Know that you are doing whats best for you, stay focused, and let everything else roll off your back.

Tip Four: Add Don't Subtract

When looking to make changes focus on adding things you enjoy to your life rather then taking away stuff that is “bad.” It's going to be a lot easier to go to a dance class you enjoy then to NOT eat ice cream you also enjoy. Now this is hard with something like quit smoking, and I don't recommend replacing a bad habit or “treating” yourself for doing good. But you can focus on what is added to your life by making positive changes. Do you feel better? Maybe put the money you would spend on cigarettes into a piggy bank. The point is to stay focused on the positive, and abundance, not on lack and scarcity.

I’m going to leave you with the story of my 2019 goals and the fact that following my own advice was not easy. I had originally set shiny pretty goals for myself for the coming year. I had things including: Win an open middle weight strongman competition, give a panel talk about fitness at a comic/nerd convention, go and visit friends I haven’t seen in a while. I was really happy with those goals, they were fun, and shiny, and great things to do in the coming year. Then I started to write this blog, I used all of the knowledge and information on goal setting, programming, habit building and human behavior I have learned being a personal trainer. Then I looked back at my own list of happy shiny goals and realized I had not taken any of my own advice, and I felt totally ashamed.

So I went back and started to rewrite my goals. First thing was they broke rule one. They were results not actions. So instead of “win a competition” I put down that I would compete at least twice and get a pro strongman coach to help me. There problem solved…except now it broke rule two, Be Honest. I work all the time and have my own growing business, I am not a hundred percent sure I can do any of that, and finding the time and money is not something that is truly in my control. It was at this point I closed the laptop I was working on, tossed the notebook I was working with in the corner, and walked away in a huff.

It took me a few days of back and forth before I came up with well structured goals: Work on full, comprehensive training programs for myself and track ALL of my food. Write and pitch a panel to at least one convention. Make sure to check in with friends I don’t want to lose touch with at least once a week. All of my goals now fit within the rules, they are all accomplishable if I put the time and effort in. They are also not at all shiny. I have to admit I was a little heart broken at first, instead of a list of great things to look forward to, like a childs list to Santa, all I had was a list of work to do…like a fucking adult. But here’s the thing, it’s not even New Years yet and I’ve already started chipping away at my goals because I can. And while there is no guarantee I will get to the shiny prizes on my original list, I am a hella of a lot closer now that I have a comprehensive list of work I can do right now.

I hope these tips can help you set some New Years resolutions or any goals going forward.

For the month of January we are offering a free week of Superhero Training, which includes one free Field Training class, one free Mission class, one free open gym day, and one free Personal Training session. If you do have health or fitness related resolutions come in and let us help you get there this year. Happy New Years Heroes and lets all have a fabulous 2019

Know Your Competition

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Know Your Competition

We live in one of the most awkwardly polarizing times in our history.

We live in a time where the number of people eligible for military service is consistently dropping, eventhough our population is growing. The majority of 17 to 25 year olds would not physically qualifie for the military. Not simply for being obese, but for being unable to complete the the fitness test.

Not only that.

But the average varsity high school athlete would also not be able to complete a military fitness test.

And yet.

At the very same exact moment in history.

We live in a time where the most people ever are reaching the peak levels of human capabilities.

The point is, we have developed a culture that is simultaneously the weakest AND the strongest of all time.

What?

The gap between weak, unhealthy, and out of shape people, and the extremely strong, fast, and resilient people, is growing wider and wider.

It makes looking to athletes for health or fitness inspiration more and more unrealistic, and less relatable.

The asperation of your average 25 year old to look or move like his or her favorite athelete is becoming just as realistic as the 7 year old who thinks they can fly like superman with a towel around their neck.

So I am issuing a challenge to all Everyday Superheroes. Everyone the is trying to better themself, or wanting to improve how much enjoyment they get out of life.

Maybe instead of looking to Olympic athletes or instafamous "fitness" "personalities" in their prime as your asperations, look to the person on your left. Look to the person on your right. Would you out live them if the zombie horde crashed into the room? 

Remember you don't have to out run the bear, you have to out run the slowest person in your group. That's who your competition is. That's who you should compare yourself to. 

So, think you can outlive the person on your left and the person on your right? Prove it! Know you can. Test your skills and keep them sharp and up to date. 

Think not? Fix it! Your competition is doing absolutely nothing right now. If you put in any ounce of work, you win.  

I challenge you to be able to walk in most rooms and feel like you could outlive the majority of people in it, should zombies attack. 

It has never been easier to defeat the lowest common denominator, and the lowest common denominator has never been so prevalent. 

Don't let it be you. 

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The Three Skill Sets Every Superhero Needs

The Three Skill Sets Every Superhero Needs

There are three skill sets that you must be proficient in if you plan on fighting the forces of evil. They are equally important and all featured in our Superhero Field Training Class. The skill sets are:

Combat:

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Lets make something abundantly clear. As a superhero, combat is NOT simply punching someone in the face. Anyone can throw a punch. Some people can even throw two! The problem is bad guys punch back and REFUSE to stand still. Moving also happens to be exhausting, and the innocent people you are trying to save tend to get in the way.

In order to successfully navigate a combat encounter, you need to be able to punch the bad guy repeatedly, while not getting punched yourself, AND without accidentally punching any innocents. We train for this by exercising physical problem solving.  

Physical problem solving is the ability act quickly and accurately in prescribed pattern.

While helping you to better fend off evildoers, practicing physical problem solving comes with a host of other health benefits:  

- Improves cognitive function/memory. (This helps battle aging)

- Improves coordination and balance 

- Improves your ability to learn new things

Rescue:

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When you encounter a rescue situation, you need to be able to pick something up AND move it to a secondary location without hurting yourself, the thing you are carrying, or any bystander that gets in your way. You need to know ahead of time what your lifting and carrying abilities are prior to engaging a rescue effort.

If you attempt to lift something that you can't, you break. 

If you are unable to move with something after picking it up, you and the object die. 

If you manage to pick something up, AND move it to a safe location, but violently drop what you are carrying onto the ground......You just succeeded where the evildoer had failed. 

Training for rescue encounters requires working strength with as much control over a movement as possible. 

There are a bunch of lovely health benefits that come from strength training:

 

- Muscle growth and/or tone. 

- Increased bone density (to battle aging and osteoporosis). 

- Promotes sustainable, long term body composition changes (fat loss, and body shape).

 

Rooftop:

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Simply put, the quickest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. In order to succeed in a rooftop scenario, you need to be able to grip, hold, hang, and swing from the tiniest of holds, while also contorting and stabilizing your body into awkard positions, and managing to jump, duck, roll, and dive at the right times to avoid running into things.

 A rooftop encounter isn't strictly going to always take place on roofs over the city. Sometimes it's as simple as scaling a fence, or jumping stair case railings for a quicker descent, other times it's climbing up the outside of a balcony to gain an advantage over bosses hideout.

In order to prepare for rooftop scenarios we focus on a mix of calisthenics and plyometric work.  As a bonus for training in this manner, you may find some health building advantages, such as:

- Improved ranges of motion/ feeling less stiff. 

- Feeling lighter or less strain on your joints

- Better control of your body (battles aging by preventing falls and being able to get up IF you fall.

 "Hey! What about all that cardio!? You said that all superhero work requires a strong cardio threshold!"

Yes. As a superhero you will have to face cardio everywhere, all the time. You have to be able to switch from one skill set to another smoothly, and with out too much time to catch your breath in between. This is why our Superhero Field Training class always spends time on each skill set, back to back to back. Your brain may get a rest from boxing during squats, and your legs may get a rest while working pull ups, but switching between all three keeps your heart and lungs from getting too much of a break. That's where the cardio is.

A great benefit of training all three of these skill sets, is that they help each other out. The skills gained in combat training help you make quicker and better judgement calls when on the move over rooftops. The added strength from your rescue training help make doing pushes, and pull ups easier. The added speed and power built from the rooftop training, give your punches and kicks the desired THUMP you are looking for.

If you want to learn more about how to blend to exercise to the needs of your job, a hobby, or your everyday life demands, make sure to check out our ebook “How to Train for The Life You’re Currently Living Part 2: Superhero Special Moves”

 

What Your Trainer "Really" Thinks About You.....A Rebuttal

What Your Trainer "Really" Thinks About You.....A Rebuttal

I recently came across an article in Mens Health Magazine entitled "What Your Personal Trainer *Really* Thinks About You." You can click on the link to check it out yourself. The goal of the article was to give the reader a reality check as to how their behavior or appearance can be interpreted by a trainer during sessions. That would have been a fun article. Instead, it was a giant list of what is wrong with the gym, fitness, and personal training industry. I am going to cover their list point by point, and explain where they are going wrong, and what we would do instead. For each of the articles points I was angered by one of two things:

Either the bullet point itself

Or

The quote given by one of the interviewed trainers.

1) They Don't Want To Hear About Your Personal Problems.

Ok. Right off the bat, personal problems are easily the number one influencer of decision making and lifestyle. Even if the personal problem is tiny. Even if it doesn't seem like a problem.

Personal problems can be the difference between major fat loss, and never stepping back in the gym. Even a trainer that only cares about a paycheck is going to want to make sure you're feeling good enough to come back. Run in the opposite direction of any trainer that shuts down, ignores, or outright dismisses personal life discussions. They are lazy, and not worth the value you are paying. 

2) They Judge You For How Little Progress You've Made.

A trainer judging a client for not making progress is a trainer caught off guard by their client not making progress. That is the trainers fault. It is absolutely 100% up to the client to put in the work required to have progress. However it is the trainers responsibility to make sure any proof of progress in the gym is tracked, and to have an open dialogue about whether or not the program is being followed. If a trainer is ever judging or caught off guard by a client not making results, it's because they failed to maintain any form of communication outside of sessions.

3) They Think You're Obsessed With Social Media.

That's dumb. 

But for separate unrelated reasons.  

First: EVERYONE IS OBSESSED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA.

99% of our outreach is done through social media, and I guarantee you the zumba instrictor they picked a quote from has an instagram account with some to a lot of fun pictures. 

Second: The paragraph and quote used to fill out the bullet point has nothing to do with being obsessed with taking perfect photos of yourself or projecting a fake life, and EVERYTHING to do with body comparison issues that have existed since the invention of the magazine cover.

4) They Think You're A Whiny Little Bitch.

 Well of course they would if they also don't have time for talking about your personal life. Seriously.

Working out sucks. It's hard and awkward and makes your skin flush and breathing difficult. It can be frustrating to not feel progress (even if progress is being made), or to miss a lift, or to have your body betray you mid workout. AND YOU CAN SHOVE BURPEES STRAIGHT TO HELL! That's even true for people that enjoy working out. 

You're telling me that someone who already doesn't want to be doing burpees, shouldn't be allowed to bring up how much they suck? Ignoring the discomfort and pain of working out forces you to associate being healthy as uncomfortable and painful.  I say lets complain together. I say lets poke fun at how horrible cardio is while we do it. I say try not laughing while holding a plank. I say run your mouth until it becomes fun, and maybe we can learn to enjoy it..... maybe.

5) They Think You're A Total Slob

 Ok this one also has separate unrelated dumb parts. 

1) Bright nikeys and fluorescently tailored everything looks great. Means nothing in regards to putting in work and trying to better yourself.  

2) Once again this paragraph has nothing to do with the bullet point. Everyone knows to put their weights away when they are done. If a trainer has a client NOT putting away equipment before moving on to the next part of the work out, it means the client is ignoring A LOT more than just gym ettiqute. You (the trainer) are lucky they haven't stopped coming altogether. Pay better attention to your client and this won't be a problem.

6) They Think Your Expectations Are Unrealistic.

 Most of the time I find that people either have expectations that are too vauge, or that they aren't actually committed to. It is part of my job as the trainer to help the client zero in what they actually want.

7) They Think You Smell Terrible.

 Why is this separate from thinking your a slob? Also, It's a gym. Everything is hot and gross. Even if you come in smelling like a fresh ocean breeze, you will leave smelling like the docks. Also, also, if your trainer ever trades you off to someone else for anything other than  scheduling, or leaving the company, they are a shallow, pompous human, and do not care about you or your progress. Fuck Them.

8) They Think It's Embarrassing When You Flirt With Them.

 Ok.... this may be a personal distinction so I want to clarify something. There is a HUGE difference between flirting with someone and hitting on someone. 

ALL successfully ice breaking small talk is flirting. It is necessary for learning whether or not a trainer and client can have success. 100% of someone's willingness to follow a program, keep showing up, and find worth in being helped, comes from building a positive connection. 

9) They Hate When You Make Excuses For Yourself.

This is kinda true. I don't so much hate excuses, as when people sell themselves short. 

However, as a trainer, one of my jobs is excuse eliminator. Most people don't even realize how piled down they can get with excuses or victimising themself. It is part of my job to strip away the layers of excuses and help you get to the truth of matters. 

Who ends a list with only 9 items? Was item 10 so stupid the editor had to remove it? I realize this is more of a personal issue, but this has to annoy other people Right? An incomplete list feels like peeling the skin off my brain. Perhaps that's just me.  After all, their are two types of people:

1) The type that can extract useful information from an incomplete thought.

 

Anatomy of a Nerd

Anatomy of a Nerd

Here at Everyday Superhero Training we label ourselves as nerd based health and fitness, but what does nerd based really mean? What makes someone a nerd? Society tends to define a nerd as someone who likes sci-fi, anime and/or video games. It can even look down on them as having childish hobbies, being socially inept, or being immature. While that some of that, to some level, for some people, is true, it does a poor job of defining the nerd-dom as a whole. There are a few characteristics though that make a person a nerd and these are also what we look at and for when we talk about being "nerd based"....as well as sci-fi and video game references of course.

Unbridled Enthusiasm

The easy way to know if someone is a nerd about something is to ask them a simple question on the subject. If they give you a simple, logical, or even a short but entertaining answer they are not a nerd. They may know a lot about the subject, they may truly enjoy the subject, but they are not a NERD on the subject. If however they not only answer your question, but also five questions you didn't ask, three you didn't think of asking, and one you don't actually understand, all without stopping to take a breath, then they are a nerd. This is an extreme example obviously but you get the idea. A nerd is someone who is willing to jump in, wholeheartedly and truly, passionately, love something. It's this enthusiasm which is the biggest give away of someone's nerdiness because they are often so excited and enthralled in a subject that its impossible not to pick up on it. 

Slight Obsessiveness

Some people may view this as a fault (and in some cases it can be) but it is often a great attribute. While becoming obsessed about something to the point of neglecting family, work, or other obligations is extremely unhealthy a little obsessiveness can be a great thing. Every great inventor or artist was incredibly obsessed. I think the problem these days is we tend to quantify what is worthy of being obsessive about and often those qualifiers are the opposite of what they should be. We hold up being a work-a-holic as a great thing, even if we hate our job. Yet we put down someone who spend their whole weekend at a renaissance fair as childish and a waste of time even though that may be much more creatively, emotionally, and mentally fulfilling.

Child like Joy

One of the reasons nerds tend to gravitate towards sci-fi and fantasy based stories and hobbies more than other people, is they are avid users of their imagination. Surprisingly this is also what makes nerds better at solving real world problems. This is because they don't just look at a problem for what it is and known factors but are actually able to use their imaginations to invite totally new options. Albert Einstein famously said "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Knowledge is great but it is only through imagining the unknown that we can invent, improve, and grown beyond what we are. 

Enthusiasm, obsessiveness, and imagination just like a muscle or any other skill can be trained...and you thought I wasn't going to talk about training in this one...that's right you can train to be a better nerd, a bigger nerd, a SUPER NERD!! Like everything else it's about building in the right habits. You can also use basic training and habit building to improve upon your general nerdiness or for a specific hobby. If you have a goal like that in mind please let us know and we can help you with a program to get you there.

Don't forget to USE your carbohydrates

Don't forget to USE your carbohydrates

Quick science lesson:

Glycogen is the primary fuel used for bursts of muscular endurance. Carbohydrates are broken down into glycogen through digestion. Some foods high in carbohydrates break down super fast. Some foods high in carbohydrates break down not as fast. Most foods higher in carbohydrates tend to be mixed with other carbohydrates in an attempt to make them even tastier! This leaves you vulnerable to forgetting to stop eating once you've gotten your fill.

Quick metaphorical question:

What happens to a car when you put too much fuel in the tank?

You know......I'm not actually sure. Let me check google....

According to google, putting too much fuel in your car's tank can "either overwhelm your evaporation system and break something or cause a hazardous leak by the excess pressure in the system. Gas needs extra space to expand in the tank. Extra unneeded gas can damage your car’s vapor collection system, designed to reduce harmful emissions."

That sounds an awful like a bloated, gassy, slow moving, humanoid with a tummy ache.

Hey everybody, guess what happens when you overload on carbohydrates? (Hint: switch out the car parts for body parts in the paragraph above).

When your muscles are fully loaded with glycogen, and you give it MORE carbohydrates to break down into glycogen, you get sick. You feel sluggish. You may sweat a little for no reason. 

How do you fix it? Simple. USE YOUR STORED GLYCOGEN! Turn your potential energy into kinetic energy! If you use your stored glycogen then your tank will be empty and you will need to fill it with MORE carbohydrates AND you will feel much better, if not awesome. Sounds like a win in to me!

If you are looking for ways to use up some stored glycogen, check out Part 2 of our Ebook series "How to Train for the Life You're Currently Living." Or you could inquire about our different programs!

 

 

 

  

Finding Your Accountabilibuddies

Finding Your Accountabilibuddies

Have you ever tried to do push ups, or planks, or squats, in the comfort of your own home? If you've been following our blog, or any other form of our content, you absolutely should have by now. They're free, they're simple, and they're essential to any form of movement outside of exercise and the gym. We often prescribe homework in our clients programming that contain language like "hold a plank during commercials while watching tv....NO FAST FORWARDING OR TIVO MAGIC." Or "Attempt a pull up or two every time you walk through a door frame in your home." Or "Practice your squat by not using your hands to get up and down from the couch." We use this style of language in our programming to focus on habit training, and to help eliminate the illusion of excuses. 

So as holistic personal trainers we recognize how important those two facets are to making sustainable changes, and how beneficial it is to know you can in fact exercise anywhere, anytime. 

However.

As fully formed adult nerds who built, live, and preach, a lifestyle on the tent pole principle of pursuing enjoyment, excitement, and wonder, we can also tell you how much it blows. It blows hard. On the scale of priority setting and procrastination, doing push ups in the comfort of your own home is the fitness equivalent of doing the laundry. You will feel good after doing it, but getting yourself to do it feels like pulling your teeth. In slow motion. While strapped to your couch.

90% of the success with "DIY" fitness programming we write for people stems from having us there. We are there to check in and remind them to do it. We are there to cheer them on when it gets done. We are there to point out and rejoice in the progress that would otherwise go unnoticed. We provide a sense of proof for accomplishments. We are there to point out each and every time they do something they said they couldn't.  We turn can't into won't, and won't into can, and can into will.

Rest assured, at no point does doing push ups on your home carpet become more enjoyable, or easier to make happen. The power of having proof for your effort, and a positive reinforcement for even trying, makes the teeth pulling tolerable. This is the power of the accountabilibuddy.

Just think, if the power of the accountabilibuddy is strong enough to get you to do and see progress from the most painstaking part of self improvement and habit training, imagine what it can do with things you actually enjoy doing!

What the heck is an accountabilibuddy?

It is a person, group of people, place, or environment, that holds you accountable and encourages your pursuit of self improvement. For a lot of people that feel stuck on a hamster wheel, or start and stop diets or programs frequently, not having an accountabilibuddy is most likely why. 

Sometimes it doesn't matter if you can ride your bike with no hands. It only matters if someone SEES you riding you bike with no hands. Especially if that someone is a person you respect or desire attention from. That's not to say you should be trying to improve your self for someone else. Because, don't. DON'T DO THAT. Your health and wellbeing should never be codependent on someone else, or worse, someone else's attention.

But. 

We are inherently social creatures. Even the most hermit based, prefer my dog to my neighbor type of person, enjoys having their effort noticed. Your accountabilibuddy is a sweet spot of social and variable pressures. Someone waaayyyy better than you or waaayyyy worse than you at something is not relatable, and will either fail to bring out your best, or make your climb seem insurmountable. A place filled with too similar of a struggle is a breeding ground for self loathing and victimising. 

Your accountabilibuddy will never be: 

- A person or place that claims you embarrass them, or makes you feel embarrassed.

- An environment that is angry when you try something new or different. 

-  Someone that lets you get away with giving up before you've tried.

- A group that tells you NOT to do something because A) You don't know how it will turn out. Or B) You have to get your shit in order first.

Your accountabilibuddy is going to support you in YOUR decisions, hold you accountable for what you say you want, be unapologetic with excuses, and pick you up when you fall. Because you will fall. Everyone does. You'll forget, or your motivation will waine, or you'll burn out for weeks at a time. 

Your accountabilibuddy is a force of positivity. Your defence against the unkown. Your super team in the battle of trying to give a fuck. So when preparing for a quest, always, ALWAYS, grab your accountabilibuddy!

What Super Power Do You Covet?

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What Super Power Do You Covet?

When you prepare for your crime fighting mission, what power do you expect to most rely on? The sheer amount of cardio you have to do will happen regardless. We discussed this in a previous post. But once you swoop into action, would you prefer to save the day as quickly as possible, pick something up and move it to safety, or deduce how the crime took place, so you can stop it from happening again.

Basically, would you prefer to have super speed, super strength, or super deduction?

All three skills, speed, strength, and deduction, are needed in some capacity for any hero. The super power describes which of the three you prefer to rely on, enjoy using the most, or use by default without thinking. 

For example:

You come to a stone wall. How do you get to the other side? Do you smash a whole and walkthrough? Do you run up and jump it?  Do you look for a door? 

Your instinctive answer is your super power. The primary gift you should look to hone and keep sharp in case of use. The other two skills are viable options you should always mix in, just in case. It would suck to rely solely on finding a door, only to determine there isn't one.  

Your super power is the anchor to your training. It's what you should resort to when you fall of the wagon, when you're feeling unmotivated, and what you measure and test your progress against.  

We are going to analyze and break down what parameters will be most useful for your desired super power.

 

Super Strength

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You are going to pick up anything that isn't strapped down. You are the one your friends call when they are moving. Some asshat parked their car in your spot? Move it. Locked yourself out of the house? Knock down the door. You prefer to wield giant hammers, clubs, axes, or two handed swords, swing them once, and go home.

The first rule of strength training, is that you don't get strong by being strong. You don't improve strength by trying to lift 500lbs that won't budge. You don't improve strength by always and only lifting your max. You can realistically hit your max lift once. It takes so much of your energy to do so however, that you can't do it a second time.  

To improve your strength you want to work in full body compound movements. You want weights heavy enough to tax your whole body, while at the same time being light enough that after you have set them down, you can still pick them up again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And then maybe rest.

 

Super Speed

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Lines are the worst. Walking in a pack downtown makes you want to pull the skin off your face. You can totally run faster than rush hour traffic. The fastest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line, walls and private property be damned. Your jab is your favorite weapon and your wit is quick.

Speed is most effective in short bursts. The longer you spend doing something, the more energy it takes to keep doing it, the more you slow down. So when training for speed really you want to focus on two things. 1) Your top speed being higher. 2) The amount of time you can maintain your top speed, or close to it.

Plyometrics are your best friend.  Sprints, jumps, and other short bursts of power are going get you going faster, sooner. 

 

Super Deduction

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You know who the killer is within the first act of the episode. Crosswords and sudoku are your jam. Getting a question to something you don't know the answer to is both exciting AND an excuse to jump down a rabbit hole of research and thought experiments.  Your quick thinking prevents fights from escalating in the first place. Your understanding of physics and obsessive nature help you excel at things like climbing, darts, and billiards.

Just like strength and speed, your ability to deduce information from observing the world around you is physically trainable. To make it a superpower you have to be able to rely on it when you don't have time to think. When panic sets in and the chips are on the table, being able to tell whether someone is left or right handed doesn't matter unless you can apply the knowledge at full speed.

To train your deduction you want stimulate your mind in between spikes of adrenaline.  Playing memory in between a tabata, or tick tack toe in between heavy lifts can scratch this itch.

Which  of these powers do you feel calling to you? Which of the descriptions best describes how you see or would prefer to interact with the world? Lets discuss! If you want to learn more about how to exercise for character type, make sure to check out "How to Train for the Life You're Currently Living Part 2: Superhero Special Moves," on the products page!

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Being a Superhero is Mostly Cardio

Being a Superhero is Mostly Cardio

As superheroes we know the importance of being able to lift tons of weight, hone our powers, withstand ungodly amounts of pressure, posses a relentless motor for getting through any situation, and the greek god like body that can come from training all those things. You know what no one ever seems to talk about? The amount of cardio required in superhero work. I'm not talking about training even, just the day to day job requirement that is high levels of cardio. 

You spend most of your time running to or away from things. Even if you're not dealing with a direct conflict, you're still walking during your patrol of the neighborhood. Quick question, how much energy do you think you would have left for bad guy shenanigans after forty five minutes of walking around the block, climbing buildings, and jumping from roof top to roof top? I'd say, rounded to the nearest whole number, zero. 

The trouble is, training cardio sucks. It is absolutely the worst. It is painful, and gross, and a great way for seeing the inside of your stomach. But if you plan on saving the day, you have to include it somewhere in your program. All the greats do. Even the strongest most super powered hero has to work on cardio. 

The Flash has super speed powered by the speed force, equally enhanced reaction and time perception, and has enough power in his sprint to bend, break, and travel through time. And he still had to practice running in order to do so because, cardio.

Superman is a Kryptonian alien with more powers, abilities and might, than most other teams of heroes put together. His power is fueled by our solar system's yellow sun. He has had most, if not all of his powers by puberty, and yet even he has to find time to huff and puff and hopefully not blow a house down because of accidental super breath.

Batman has every bat themed gadget you can think of, including an armored fleet of vehicles, and created a fighting system that requires one timely strike at a time to help him avoid as much cardio as possible. Yet he runs, swims, climbs, and of course conditions with sparring, you know, just incase.

Maybe, just maybe, it could be helpful to do a burpee, or run a sprint.

Somewhere The Joker is laughing.

 

How to Navigate Your Skill and Attribute Tree

How to Navigate Your Skill and Attribute Tree

 

When embarking on the heroes journey, you may find that navigating your user interface for your skills and attributes is rather clunky and not very intuitive. When possible, using a tutorial with the help of a guide can greatly improve your chances of success. At the very least learning how to read and understand your skill and attribute tree can set you in the right direction. So what are skills and attributes, and why do they even matter?

What are Attributes?

Attributes are your basic physical traits. Strength, speed, endurance, agility. Generally speaking when you are working out, you are attempting to improve one, some, or all of these attributes. They are the limits of what you can pick up or carry, how quickly you can get what you're carrying from point A to point B, how far a distance you can carry the object between point A and point B, and how many movements or changes in direction you can make while moving from point A to point B.

Most of the time if you find yourself using your attributes, the quest in question requires a mix of some to all of them. It is very rare that your quest simply requires you to pick something up and replace the object in the same spot you found it. However! When working to level up your attributes, you are best served by focusing on one attribute at a time. Whether it be through a full cycle of training that you spend on one specific attribute, or splitting up your workouts through out the week to focus on separate attributes.

The reason you want to focus on one attribute at a time is because they are applied generically to a variety of events, and trying to predetermine which events you're going to encounter is highly improbable. By linearly focusing on one attribute at a time, you can clearly see your progress as you level up, and have a better estimate of whether or not your current level can successfully interact with a situation. 

What are Skills

Skills are abilities that utilize your attributes. They are movement patterns, ranges of motion, or tool use. We use the word tool loosely. It doesn't have to be a crescent wrench or help you build something. It can be a toy, game, a weapon, or any other object that requires your interaction to be used. Your skills are the creative outlets for using your attributes. Much like with your attributes, you're best served by focusing on one skill at a time.

Not so much for keeping track of the linear progression, but more because of the time consumption required for success. There is a direct correlation between the amount of time spent practicing a skill, and the point at which it becomes an unconscious response. Leveling up a skill starts at the first point of it becoming unconscious. If you have to think about executing a skill before doing so, you have already been slayed.

By focusing on one skill at a time you can minimise the amount of time required to reach an unconscious response. You can further improve the time it takes to reach an unconscious response by practicing it everyday. While a given skill may get rusty if unused for too long, having it logged into your subconscious makes it much easier to pick up again when you need it. This allows you to focus on leveling up a new skill while merely maintaining your already developed ones. Maintaining your leveled skills simply requires applying their unconscious responses in your quests. In other words, keep going on quests.

Where do they fit into your heroes journey?

While your skills are purely technical, and until used, mostly theoretical, it is your attributes that dictate how long and with how much force you can execute them. You can't really succeed in any quest unless you build and maintain both of them. A skill without honed attributes will be weak, inefficient, lower your chances of survival, and eliminate any chances of escaping. Highly leveled attributes may allow you to survive longer, but leave you unable to complete any tasks.

The balance of trying to level up a skill and your attributes can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. The simplest structure is to focus on one skill and one attribute at a time and separately from each other. Your skill would be practiced every day, while fresh, and separate from or at least before your attribute workout. Your attribute workout would then focus on improving EITHER strength, speed, endurance, or agility. This allows you time to recover physically from each workout AND accurately track your attributes progress. If you don't have enough time or energy to switch attributes every day, you can instead focus on one attribute each time you work out and switch them out every month or so.

The relationship between your attributes and skills is built and maintained for the long haul. There is no point where you wake up and no longer have to work to at least keep your attributes at their current level. This is the biggest fallacy of working out. The idea that you've reached your goal, so you can stop. Or that you're done working out because you are already in shape. The most painful example is believing that you will pause your real life until you level up your skills and attributes to an acceptable level before returning to your previous ways.

The most crucial aspect of the heroes journey is adapting the lessons you learn to create a new you, understanding, and way of life. Peter Quill (Star Lord, and leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy) was once nothing more than a lazy dimwitted local government employee, that sucked at shining shoes.  He altered his beer intake, found his way to the gym after failing the police fitness test, and built in the day to day discipline required to improve his attributes to the level of a kick ass space pirate. He did so all AFTER turning 34. Peter didn't become a kick ass space pirate and then return to over consuming beer and getting high on shoe polish. He continued to maintain the required skills and attributes his new life required of him. Unfortunately for the fate of half the universe, he never really grew out of his over emotional dim wittedness.