Judging by the numbers of people coming in and signing up with our personal trainer Santa Monica lately, it’s not just kids that find superhero movies inspiring. Although the nobility of the characters and their relentless pursuit of justice gets us all misty, we have to admit that we’re also quite impressed by the physique of the actors. And the best news? You don’t have to be a Hollywood A-lister (or the son of a deity from another planet) to train like one.
Train Like A Hero
You’ve seen the evidence in photos and on the screen: actors in superhero movies put on serious muscle to play their parts. It can be tempting to write this off as a product of their privilege and wealth, and say that there’s no way the average person can build that same kind of fitness level. While we agree that it would be nice if your job paid you to work out, the truth is that almost everyone can drastically improve their fitness levels. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re crafting your workout:
It’s not news, but all of us need reminding now and then: it’s not possible to see significant improvements in your body without consistent attention to training, nutrition, and recovery. Doing something half-heartedly might get you a certain distance, but if you want to look like a Spartan warrior, you’re going to need to commit to a regular training schedule. What does this mean? We don’t advocate an unhealthy, unbalanced approach to training. (If it’s your mom’s birthday, do not skip her party so you can go train.) What we do recommend is that you make going to the gym your “default setting”. That is, any time it’s a toss-up–”I could go to the gym, or I could watch this movie I’ve seen before”–you go. That kind of dedication pays off.
We mentioned it above, but you can’t build muscles if you don’t eat enough to fuel their growth. We’re exercise professionals, not nutritionists, but we can (and do!) recommend that you eat a healthy diet with plenty of protein, carbs, good fats, and fruits and vegetables. If you need help figuring out what that looks like for you, please talk to a dietician or nutritionist.
Consider this the opposite side of the “dedication” coin. Some folks get so caught up in the fun of training that they have a hard time knowing when enough is enough. Dedication is great, but if you find yourself training multiple times per day, training when you’re sick, or missing important events so you can go to the gym, that’s a clue that there’s something out of balance in your life. It can also be counterproductive: you don’t actually get stronger when you’re training. Rather, your body adapts and gets stronger and more shapely when you’re resting/recovering. So take your rest days!
While, unfortunately, we can’t all look exactly like a Spartan or an Amazon warrior, with discipline and smarts we can all make ourselves at least a little better. Come to think of it, we’re not so sure that muscle adaptation isn’t a real superpower.