The making of a super hero
So, I’m a self-professed nerd.
I have been playing with Batman toys since I was 5,
I’ve watched nearly every superhero movie that’s come out since ’94,
And most recently, I have gotten into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in a big way.
So much so that I have watched each of the 21 movies at least 5 times.
Which is one hell of an underestimation…
But, no one needs to know the actual number.
(Cough cough…I’ve seen Iron man over 20 times).
Anyways, with the opening of Avengers: Endgame around the corner,
I am obviously pretty psyched.
And most of my thoughts are on what this movie will bring.
Since my other favourite thing in the world is health and fitness,
I thought it would be fun to combine these two things and write an article about it.
More specifically, what mental and physical qualities make up some of our favourite super-heroes and how can you work to be like them.
So, here we go…
Here’s how to make yourself into a real-life superhero.
Captain America’s commitment to getting better every day
Ever since taking the serum, Captain America has been a beast.
And you can actually see him get stronger with each movie.
He starts by taking on Hydra agents and the Red Skull,
To jumping out of planes without a parachute,
To jumping stories above the ground through a plane of glass,
To fighting a super robot,
To holding back the punch of one of the strongest beings in the MCU.
So, obviously, this guy hasn’t been sitting on his ass.
He’s been consistently getting better each day.
And don’t get it twisted,
He isn’t making huge changes once or twice,
Just small improvements often.
Small, manageable changes that add up to big changes over time.
That’s what development is all about.
Doing the little things every day that will make you better.
Can you plan your meals a little better?
Can you have one more serving of lean protein?
Can you make your push-up form just a little better?
Can you try a different colour of vegetable at supper tonight?
Cultivate an attitude of getting better every day,
And those little changes will lead to big changes over time.
Iron man’s resourcefulness
The all-or-none mindset is all too common in our world today.
You’re either 100% on or you’re 100% off.
But, looking at things as black or white can lead to over-eating,
And getting out of shape.
That’s why you need to look at things on a continuum.
Tony Stark’s suit is obviously the pinnacle of weapon technology.
But when his suit is down and he’s stuck in Harley’s shed in Tennessee,
He could have just given up because he didn’t have the perfect situation.
But, he instead looked at what he had,
(A few spare parts from the hardware store)
What he knew,
And did the best he could with that.
The world is never going to be perfect.
Every situation will likely produce some sort of challenge.
But, it’s crucial to look at your options on a continuum.
If eating a homemade roasted chicken salad with slivered almonds and balsamic vinegarette is the absolute best,
And eating deep-fried chicken with biscuits and gravy is the absolute worst,
What lies in the middle?
A salad from the deep-fried chicken joint?
Some fruit from 7-11?
A pre-roasted chicken from the grocery store?
What if you can’t get in your full workout?
What’s the next best option?
Going for a walk?
Doing some push-ups and bodyweight squats at your desk?
It’s not all or none.
Not every situation will be perfect.
Use your own resourcefulness and look at things on a continuum.
Ask yourself “what’s the best I can do considering what’s available right now?”
Thor’s strength and power
One look at Thor and you can clearly see that this guy doesn’t mess around.
A ripped-out bod,
Holding the forge open on Nidavellir,
He’s obviously strong and powerful.
And not just in his chest and arms,
In his total body.
To gain total body Thor strength,
Throw down some squats,
And work in a rep range of 5-8 reps for 2-3 sets of each exercise.
Aim to do this 3 times per week.
This will build up strength and muscle to look and perform like the Demi-god.
To get powerful, you need to move stuff…fast!
Keep the reps short – about 10s each
and focus on high-quality explosive action for 2-3 sets of each movement.
Here is a sample Thor workout
A1. Medicine ball rotary throw 2-3 sets x 3 reps per side
A2. Deadbug 2-3 sets x 6-8 reps per side
B1. Trap bar deadlift 2-3 sets x 5-6 reps
B2. Dumbbell flat press 2-3 sets x 6-8 reps
C1. Dumbbell 1-arm row 2-3 sets x 6-8 reps
C2. Goblet front-foot elevated split squat 2-3 sets x 8 reps per side
D. Suitcase carry 2 sets x 20 seconds per side
Black Widow’s conditioning
When you consider that Black Widow has no enhancement except for some specialized training,
The extended fight scenes where she dominates some of the major players in the MCU are incredibly impressive.
And these fights would not be possible without her incredible conditioning.
Conditioning is basically sustainability,
The ability to go for miles and miles,
Hours upon hours,
Bad guy after bad guy,
Without any substantial drop in effort and intensity.
Well, Black Widow is the physical embodiment of this.
And the added benefit is that I’m sure her heart is healthy,
And her blood sugars are under control.
So, for super-hero cardio,
Try a blend of aerobic conditioning and alactic conditioning 2-3 times per week.
This can include:
10–20 minutes of high resistance intervals on a sled (push the sled for 5-10 seconds, bring the heart rate down to 120 beats per minute then repeat),
30-45 minutes of circuits, jogging, biking, playing soccer or playing ultimate,
Or 10-20 minutes of high-intensity continuous training on a bike or using step-ups.
There is no doubt that Spiderman can get himself out of some tricky situations,
And into some wacky positions.
Whether it’s scaling walls,
And whipping his total body as he slings his webs,
This guy has some serious mobility.
Mobility is the ability to move joints through their full range-of-motion safely
And without tearing a hammy.
To move like Peter Parker,
Work on opening up the hips,
The upper back,
And the groin.
Or use some combination moves to really take it to the next level:
Pick a few moves,
Do 8-10 reps of each,
and run through them for 10 minutes on most days.
Well, I don’t think it gets any nerdier than that.
Now you know how geeky we really are.
But, seriously, one of the reasons why I love super-heroes is because they represent excellence,
A commitment to mastery,
And a relentless pursuit of making the world a better place.
And isn’t that what we’re all here trying to do?
Do good work,
Be competent in the things we do,
And make the world a better place for us and the ones we love.
Do this by becoming your own kind of super-hero.
Go get it, super-dude.