There are many fitness articles that will give you the same advice on how to lose weight, gain muscle, transform your fitness and change your life. This post is taking a different route and will take the best lessons from your favourite anime shows in how to get stronger. I call it the Super Saiyan Workout Plan but there are lessons from a huge range of shonen protagonists.
These are points covered in this post.
- Keep It Simple like One Punch Man
- Build Endurance like Tanjiro
- Sleep deep like Luffy
- Go big or go home like Netero
- Trust in the process like Ippo
- Do Your Research like Izuku
- Invest in your training
Keep It Simple like One Punch Man
“100 Push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats and 10km running EVERY SINGLE DAY”
Firstly, I wouldn’t recommend these specific instructions as it doesn’t allow enough time for recovery and you risk overworking your muscles. Secondly, heavy training won’t make you bald like Saitama. The one thing you should take away from how One Punch Man got to such a high level is he kept it simple. A workout that is simple to keep, easy to implement and remember, is the best kind of workout. One of the rules of Atomic Habits is “make it obvious”.
If your gym is 30 minutes’ drive, in the late evening, after dinner you’ll probably find a million excused to not go. But if it’s first thing in the morning, it’s unlikely something or someone will pop up and disrupt your routine. For example, a girl at work recently told me she’ll rather travel 30 mins from her home to a £30 gym than pay £60 for a gym that’s 5 minutes from work. Want to bet how long she keeps up your gym routine in the new year? The journey to the gym is too complex. So, if you really care about losing weight, you’ll want to keep it as simple as possible — even at a higher price.
Build Endurance like Tanjiro
I’ve always wondered if Tanjiro gets a sore back from carrying Nezuko everywhere. Either way dude’s back muscles must be shredded! Anyways…It’s tempting to ask readers to carry heavy dumbbells in your work backpack for a year to see if you develop amazing back muscles and a six pack but I won’t. In reality your body does need more rest than what would seem reasonable to a glorified vampire hunter and it could also cause long term injuries.
But making your journeys that bit more difficult like Tanjiro carrying his sister everywhere can be beneficial. Endurance training by carrying weighted packs is common practice in the army. It’s not about building muscle or burning an extra few calories rather it makes you comfortable with straining your body. If you’re always walking up the stairs, food shopping by foot, taking the long way home you don’t get lazy.
Going to the gym or going for a morning jog doesn’t feel like a chore because you’re used to moving around. This concept is similar to Tanjiro learning he could only master advanced breathing techniques by learning to breathe day and night — Total Concentration: Constant. Constantly practicing is a sure way to get better, so you should be consistently training yourself mentally and physically to push your own limits in everything you do.
Sleep Deep Like Luffy
Sleep and rest days are underrated but Monkey D Luffy seems to take it very seriously alongside food. If you work your body hard, it needs time to recover and encourage muscle growth. This includes recovery weeks. I had one recently by accident (2 week holiday) and upon returning I was lifting heavier almost immediately once I got over the DOMS. So when you’re working hard remember you have a recovery week coming up in about 3 months.
Go big or go home like Netero
How did Netero become one of the strongest humans in Hunter x Hunter? Through boring repetition. He practiced throwing punches until he could throw 10,000 punches per hour. At first this would take him 18 hours. Have we heard this number before? Yes, the 10,000 rule of mastery. Mike Tyson also did something similar — he would train for 55 hours and complete 200 rounds of sparring in a week. Boring repetition is the key.
High numbers are intimidating but pragmatic high numbers are aspirational. Having a number to reach puts things into focus through simplicity of objective. Whether that’s 10k punches in a month on a punching bag or a 10k marathon run. Simply ask yourself how many reps will it take to get where you’re going? If you simply turn up to the gym 200 times in a year, there will definitely be visible progress. Another example, if you run a mile a day on average for 330 days in a year will you not burn enough calories to lose weight?
Another great thing about big numbers is that they are flexible. If you miss out on your morning jog on Monday you can do twice as much on Tuesday because the aim is 5 hours of jogging a week, not 1 hour every weekday. Making up for your off days keeps the momentum going and your morale high.
Trust the process like Ippo
What was the winning attribute that allowed Ippo Makunouchi to win again and again? Deliberate practice. As I continued to watch this show I realised this wasn’t just about the growth of the main protagonist but the amount of faith he placed in his coach. When he was knocked unconscious, it was his reflexes honed from hours of practice that allowed him to overcome. When he was being overwhelmed, he would shake off his emotions and remember his coach’s teachings. Expert advice drilled into you yields consistent results.
A personal trainer even for the initial stages is important for finding good gym form, getting a reliable workout plan and a professional introduction into your fitness regime. But this is 2019, the internet can be your mentor. It can coach you, fix your form and reinforce deliberate practice. Get feedback by posting up videos on Reddit, recording your form and cross referencing with images online or using AI to give you live feedback on your workout. Keep getting as much feedback as possible as you continue down the path of success and the results will come.
Do Your Research like Izuku
How is Izuku different from other shonen battle protagonists? He doesn’t rely on brute force nor possess an unlimited pool of stamina (hey Luffy). Instead a key factor is that he does his research. Instead of scrolling Twitter all day find time to visit a related subreddit, forum and an article on nutrition or workouts every other day. There are books on the perfect workout, apps with predefined templates for nutrition and exercise. Research on your cheat days so you’re constantly innovating your fitness routine and gym workouts.
Now it’s time to invest in your workout
How much money would you pay to reach your fitness goals? You can measure this in monthly instalments or a fixed yearly amount taken from your salary, either way you should write down a number.
- Now divide it into weeks/monthly/annual costs.
- Subtract your gym costs and weekly spend on healthy food.
- With what you have left you should invest in additional tools to ensure you stick to your fitness routine.
List of workout items to invest in for better results in 2020