Become a Superhero

With superhero movies hitting our screens left, right and centre, people wonder what these actors must do to reach the level and shape required for their upcoming big film. It might not be quite as far-fetched as you may think.

Granted, they have help and a team of advisors. Almost certainly they’ll have a nutritionist who will create a strict plan to either get the actor lean or looking mean (or both), a personal trainer and maybe even a life coach so they’ve got themselves in a good mental position. Having the right mindset goes a long way if you want to achieve your goals.

Taking not having access to this kind of support team, there are still things that regular people can do and still achieve awesome results. We’re going to break these down into three categories: training, nutrition and mindset.

In terms of training, it’s not that complicated. Simply do the majority of your work on big compound lifts with smaller, accessory lifts being just that – an accessory. Moves like the squat, deadlift, bench press, bent over row and shoulder press being the big ones, so work your program around these and you’ll be good to go. Now for the number of reps/sets you want to be doing, this can change somewhat, as a general rule of thumb though 6 – 12 reps is optimal for muscle growth and for the purposes of this we’ll assume you want to pack on size!

Become a superhero and lift heavy weight like Short Motivation trainer, Olly

Nutrition is a key part of your journey towards your superhero physique and is easily overlooked! For someone looking to put on muscle mass, which again we’ll assume is what you’re looking to do, you need to be in a caloric surplus. This simply means you need to be eating more calories than your burning every day. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can simply eat rubbish all day just to bulk up – focus on nutritionally balanced wholesome food that enhances your training programme.

To work out how many calories you need in a day you can simply search online for “calorie calculators” and you’ll probably find a number of options. As a quick and reasonably accurate guide, you could use this: body weight (in lbs) x 18-20. This will give you a total calorie figure, make sure you’re reaching this every day and be eating 1g per lb of bodyweight in protein and the gains should follow.

The final part in this is your mindset. At Short Motivation, we’re not big fans of the “cookie cutter” approach to reaching your goals (whether this is getting lean or building muscle) as we’d recommend you use personalised nutrition and training programs. This would be the same for your mindset.

If your personal trainer, or the company who has set your program, requires a 6 day-a-week training schedule, where you know that would be a struggle in the first place, you might wonder how you’ll even get going. This can lead to fear of failure, resulting in a mind complex where you’ll feel bad and end up in a downward spiral.

The solution is that you need to do something that is sustainable, you enjoy doing, that way you’re a lot more likely to stick to the plan and reach your goals. One option is to rope in a friend who has similar goals. Research has shown that the benefits include:

  • Fewer missed workouts. You agree to meet your training colleague at the gym, so more inclined to turn up
  • Push yourself further, particularly if you find a training partner who is slightly stronger than yourself or has less body fat if you want to get leaner
  • You are more like to try new challenges. Each partner has different life experiences
  • You workout for longer. no-one wants to be the first to give up, so you keep going

Whatever your goal, keep positive. If you slip up in your training or nutrition, simply draw a line under it and get right back on track – once you have a positive mindset around your training and your food, it’ll make it far easier to reach and achieve that end goal. It may take a few months of solid training, but becoming a superhero is not outside the realms of impossibility.


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.