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typical role playing attributes

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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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.