As many of you might know, I’m a bit of a nerd. And by a bit, I mean a lot.
I also love to exercise. Lifting weights (especially), and running are a sort of Zen meditation for me, and it keeps me disciplined.
My nerdish drive and attachment to things that interest me, and my love of working out have led to [what many see as] a strange addiction: training to become like the superheroes/super soldiers of the books/comics I love. In fact, one of the factors (partially) driving my dedication to weight lifting in High School was my desire to be like Vegeta from Dragonball Z.
That’s right, Vegeta was my hero.
Think about it: Goku, Vegeta, Gohan – the entire Dragonball Z team – all pushed themselves harder, past their limits, to become faster, stronger, more agile, and better fighters.
Shouldn’t that be the goal of exercise? (It is in my opinion)
I caveat this post by stating I am not from another planet and a yellow sun does not give me superpowers, nor have I been doused with radioactive goo, I am not a Saiyan (OVER NINE-THOUSAND!), nor do I have the genetic-enhancement knowledge of Adeptus Mechanics (praise be to the Omnissiah), nor the genetic knowledge of the Clan Scientist Caste (continuing Kerensky’s vision).
If someone does have any of these things, especially the latter two, you are a jerk for not sharing, Mr. Jerky McJerkface!
The last few years I’ve been hooked on Warhammer 40k. It’s hard not to be. The universe is well established with a diverse, interesting background full of heroes, villains, and anti-heroes that are easy to love, love to hate, many times identify with, and look up to. Read Know No Fear by Dan Abnett and try not to idolize Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, or the warriors of the XIII Legiones Astartes as they face unbelievable odds, but never lose their courage. Even The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden has characters who, though they turn to Chaos, we get attached to and empthize with.
And for the longest time I’ve been a huge fan of Battletech, especially the Clans. Their eugenics program have bred a phenotype of warrior called Elementals: 7-8ft tall warriors that are pure muscle, and are the epitome of the infantryman in the 31st Century.
With these ideas in mind, I present you the following:
HOW TO BECOME A SPACE MARINE, or: ADEPTUS ASTARTES TRAINING
I provide a second caveat to this post that you may not want to be big like a warrior of the Adeptus Astartes. That’s okay . . . wuss. 🙂
1. Knowledge is Power
Training should begin with knowledge. Research the exercises and workouts you will be doing, the stretches needed to take care of muscles and tendons, and the supplements you will be taking. The internet provides a wealth of information. Be careful what you take as “fact”. As far as supplements go, many sites provide the ability to comment on them, and customers can leave their impressions and let other prospective buyers know whether or not a supplement is worth the money or not.
One of the books I recommend is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. In it, Arnold goes into the science and the form of lifting, whether the goal is an Olympian physique or pure strength training.
This is the book I’ve used for years, and it has served me well. It’s a single body of knowledge that is based on fact, not conjecture or opinion. It’s $30, but it’s $30 well spent, as opposed to buying Men’s Health every month (Men’s Health has also been known to contradict itself on nutrition and lifting, and steer people in all sorts of odd, and wrong directions).
Have different goals? Want something free, challenging, and different? try Crossfit, www.crossfit.com. I’m not a huge follower of this workout style. In the past I have done Crossfit for two or three months at a time, just to change up my routine, but I don’t swear by it. Crossfit does some things, and doesn’t do some things, that I disagree with – like the lack of chest development. But there are those that swear by it, and with their results as proof they may have something.
But knowledge isn’t just about knowing how to lift – that’s just the physical aspect. There is also a mental aspect. A warrior of the Adeptus Astartes also improves themselves mentally. Reading for mental and emotional self-improvement is also important. Books like Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Paul Sullivan’s Clutch, are great books to begin working on improving yourself mentally.
And of course, improving yourself in one area has cumulative effects in improving yourself in other areas.
That IS something I love about the Crossfit website: they have articles and videos on self-improvement that will make you think.
2. The Disciplined Mind
Working out, and self-improvement in general, begins with a disciplined mind. How does one gain a disciplined mind? For some it’s easier than others. It just comes naturally. They just do it. For some, though, it’s a battle of wills, an epic struggle, to put down the game controller, or the Dungeons & Dragons book, drag themselves out of the chair, and make their way to the gym – or even into the blinding light of the outside world, for that matter.
(Note: Part of this is that our culture has started to idolize the pasty white, anti-social gamer/nerd type. That’s sad. You can be a gamer, or tabletop gamer, and still get swoll. I have a friend who’s a beast in the gym, and is one of the biggest nerds I know.)
Working on being disciplined is just like working muscles: you have to keep doing it to strengthen it. Each day that you force yourself up and to the gym is a day you become mentally stronger. That is something someone from the intelligencia (normally self-proclaimed) will not tell you. Discipline is a mental exercise, and it’s one we must do daily. We must be dedicated to working out. Even when we’re tired and just want to lay around, we must fight the temptation to be lazy and hit the gym.
Of course, just like physical exercise, rest is required for our minds (we are not true Adeptus Astartes that can train daily without respite and recover in a matter of hours). I usually take Sundays off.
3. Strength of Arms
Then you actually have to lift.
That’s right. You have to actually do the exercises. Seeable results take a while – 3 to 4 months. That may seem like a long time, but if you never start, you’ll never see results. This is where discipline and perseverence come in.
With the knowledge dredged from Arnold’s massive codex, you now need to create a workout that fits your schedule, lifestyle, and goals. If you’re looking to be Adeptus-Astartes-big, you’re looking for the full Arnold workout. Arnold suggests 2 to 4 hours per day.
That sounds crazy, but that’s what Arnold did to get so big.
And, if you’re gunning for an Adeptus Astartes physique, that’s what YOU have to do.
A good schedule to keep is 1-2 hours in the morning before work, and 1-2 hours after work. This is, of course, dependent on your schedule and responsibilities. Some of us have families, and/or kids (in my case, I have a puppy). So working out for hours on end probably isn’t realistic. You have to find a workout program and schedule that fits your life.
Shorter, more intense workouts may be your bag. Crossfit markets itself on workouts taking no longer than 30min, and are usually only around 15-20min.
Strenght also comes through fighting/weapons training. Have a punching bag? 6x 5min rounds punching and kicking the bag will really smoke you. Sword? Axe? Get out and train with these, slashing, parrying, advancing and dodging, for 30-40min. Train with a friend. You’ll find that it’s an amazing workout AND you’ll be improving your martial abilities – just like a Space Marine.
4. The Ossmodula and Biscopea
In Warhammer 40k, initiates into the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes are implanted with an array of powerful, advanced organs that help them grow bigger, give them tougher skin, enhanced eyesight, allow them to defeat poisons in their system, and be able to learn information by eating the flesh of an enemy. They even receive a second heart and a second pair of lungs.
The Ossmodula strengthens a Space Marine’s bones, while the Biscopea gives a Space Marine their massive muscles and physical strength.
We don’t have these (yet . . . so, science world, get on this).
We DO have supplements. Supplements allow us to grow bigger muscles, have well oiled joints, and keep us healthy.
Or you could get into a drug ring like these yahoos: http://www.omaha.com/article/20120913/NEWS/709149921. Selling steroids that were 100 times stronger than normal steroids . . . Bane Serum? It’s a method, I suppose.
Look on www.tfsupplements.com, www.bodybuilding.com, or go to GNC, Complete Nutrition, or Vitamin Shoppe, and you will see an almost endless array of pills, powders, liquids, and bars that all claim they are the best, the only ones you need.
So what to use?
Remember point 1: Knowledge is Power. So do your research. Match your budget and goals with the products, and make sure to check the reviews by customers and industry specialists.
I use the following (ALL THE PILLS!):
GNC Mega Men’s Extreme Athlete VitaPaks – Multivitamins, creatine, joint support, and a thermogenic weight loss supplement. Best supplement pack I’ve ever taken.
Universal Animal Cuts – a series of weight loss supplements to help stay cut.
Universal Animal Flex – joint support supplement.
Vitamin Shoppe Omega 3 6 9 – supplement for heart health.
Complete Nutrition V Core Protein – PROTEIN!! I take this immediately after my workout mixed with a post-workout powder (below). I normally get vanilla.
Complete Nutrition Rezzerect – post-workout supplement. I normally get orange. The orange Rezzerect mixed with the vanilla V-Core protein (in water) tastes like an orange creamsicle. 🙂
Make sure you’re healthy enough to take some of these supplements, too. Space Marines have their Apothocaries. We have our doctors. If you’re concerned, get checked first. Don’t keel over and die due to stress on some organ from a supplement just because you wanna get swoll. Be smart about this.
5. Heresy Grows From Idleness
In many of the stories about the Space Marines, the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes put themselves through grueling training regimines. In Brothers of the Snake, Sergeant Priad sets squad Damocles running through the mountains of Ithaca, in arctic temperatures, with naught but loin cloths to cover them. In the Horus Heresy books, many of the Astartes warriors battle in practice cages with weaponized servitors that would cut a normal human to ribbons.
In Battletech both the Clans and factions within the Inner Sphere and Periphery are renown for their gruelling training. In the Magistracy of Canopus there is a world where the local infantry drop recruits into the snow-covered mountains with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a knife and require them to survive. Each Clan drills their sibkos, classes of children starting at the age of five, in unarmed, armed, and mechanized combat in all sorts of situations and terrain. Many Clans have their own rights of passage: the Ghost Bears have the Clawing, where Ghost Bear warriors hunt a 2ton Ghost Bear and take its fur – or die in the process; the Hell’s Horses have the Branding, where a team of warriors go out and try to capture and brand a carnivorous Hell’s Horse; the Goliath Scorpions inject themselves with Goliath Scorpion venom – actually that’s stupid.
The point is: it’s tough.
And that’s how exercise should be.
We need to do that extra mile, that additional five pounds, that extra repetition. We need to do more reps in less time, with shorter rest time. We need to go 0.5mph faster on the treadmill when doing sprints. Even though we’ve done five circuits, we need to do one more, and push ourselves harder this time. We ran 3.2 miles in 22min 30sec last time? This time we need to run it in 22min flat. Last time our friend beat us soundly dueling with swords, this time hey may beat us, but we’ll make him work and pay for it.
In order to become bigger, stronger, more cut, faster, we have to push ourselves that extra bit. In both The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and in the movie “Pumping Iron”, Arnold says that the one who wants to win is the one willing to spend more time in the gym, the one willing to do that extra rep or set. So it goes for our Adeptus Astartes training.
By NOT pushing ourselves, we are only cheating ourselves, no one else.
So we didn’t do that extra quarter mile sprint. So we cut an exercise out of our workout today.
We are only hurting ourselves when we do this, and we must fight the temptation to do so. When the little voice in the back of your mind tells you to slack off, tell them to stuff it, and go and knock out that exercise harder than you would have before. Remember: Heresy grows from idleness!
Exercise isn’t just to get big (though that’s the goal of this post, and my personal goals). Exercise helps us stay healthy and helps our bodies function properly. Getting out of the office chair or off the couch for 30-60min a day keeps us going and helps us live longer, healtheir, happier lives. With our sedintary lifestyles in this modern age of wealth and prosperity we tend to lounge . . . and do little more.
Why did I share my thoughts, and this post?
Exercise is very important to me. Like I said it literally has a calming effect on me once I’ve completed my exercise and cooled down.
Having been overweight and dealing with how unhealthy I was, I’ve gone nuts working to never go back to that again. I disagree with that stupid MTV/VH1/whatever-channel show that states, “Once you go thick, you never go stick.” That’s disgusting. What is wrong with them? Being unhealthy and fat is cool? Really? Is that really our society today? Them and Honey Boo Boo?
And I’d like to help others reach their goals and give them a foundation from which to work from. I’m always surprised at the number of people that strive to workout and be fit, but have no clue where to start looking. I hope this helps.
Like I said, you don’t have to get big and buff (like me), but hopefully, if you are looking to get into healthy shape, this post gives you a good basis to start at.
If you disagree with my opinions/methods in this post, well you are more than welcome to your own wrong opinion. 🙂
Until next time . . .