Category: Superhero Training


Squirell-ator

During a long workout or on days when you’re just not inspired you may be tempted to read, watch television or talk while you workout. Yes this may keep your mind busy and trick you into thinking your workout went by faster than normal, but what you may not know is that you are actually causing more harm than good.

The mind-body connection is always strong, but never as strong as it is during exercise. Exercising with your mind detached from the activity makes just as much sense as eating bag of potato chips then going for a walk. Why is it such a bad idea? Several reasons:

  1. If your mind is focused on the television, book, phone, or friend on the treadmill next to you, your body is not in proper form. Improper form leads to injury.
  2. Mindful exercise is more effective than when you “zone out.” According to a recent study published in the New York Times, participants who were mindful during physical activity had lower blood pressure and lost more weight than those who worked with distractions.
  3. If you’re distracted, then you’re not operating at maximum output. Half-ass effort yields half-ass results.

So how do you practice mindful exercise?

  1. Before you begin your workout take stock of your mental and emotional state. If you’re feeling

    Via Woman's Day

    blah, sad, or otherwise less than grand an attitude adjustment may be in order. Your attitude has a major impact on the effectiveness of your workout. This post from Mindful Muscle goes into greater detail about state of mind and its effects on workouts, but I doubt anyone would disagree that attitude is a big part of any endeavor, exercise or otherwise.

  2. Eliminate all unnecessary distractions. I find that listening to music helps me focus and block out everything, but for others it’s a distraction. You know best what makes your mind wander.
  3. As you work out focus on the muscles you are targeting. If you’re doing a triceps press, focus on isolating the muscles as you contract. Concentrate on your breathing, making sure to exhale on exertion. You will notice that you feel the contraction deeper in the muscle and that you will feel a higher level of exertion than when you workout with distractions.

Try it for a week while also tracking how you feel before, during, and after your workouts. Trust me, you’ll notice a major difference.

Rise of the Anti-hero

People have been fascinated with heroes since the dawn of time. The Greeks and Romans had their pantheon of heroes, as did the Celts and Native Americans (among others). Often those heroes represented a perfect ideal, the ultimate vision of our human potential. Usually this meant a hero free of flaws–a one dimensional 1950’s boy scout who loves his mother, is ind to animals, and helps old ladies across the street. A worthy image yes, but terribly boring and unrealistic.

Enter the Anti-hero.

The anti-hero often lacks grace along with a few other desirable qualities (like tact or sobriety). They represent a less than perfect ideal, a more realistic picture of a hero who may not do everything right–despite their good intentions, who may not have a handle on his personal life, and who deals with other issues such as unemployment. The anti-hero finds a soft spot in heart because even though they screw up most of the time they come through when it matters most. They are also more interesting to watch (because you really aren’t sure if they’re going to come through) and are more dynamic than the perfect superman, which means they can actually grow and change.

I’m sure we all have our favorite anti-hero. McClane from Die Hard, Tony Stark as Iron Man, Hellboy–the list goes on and on. I fall into this category. I know I’m not perfect. I’m a little messy, have a temper, and I don’t always react the way I should in certain situations, but I like to think that when it matters most I come through. So I may not be a 1950’s Girl Scout–at least I’m not boring!

So here’s to the anti-hero. May you not destroy more than you create, may yo always come through in a crunch, and may you please work on the relationships that matter most

As a superhero you are naturally inclined to help people. You see someone struggling with their groceries, you run over and help them. Someone is having a tough month so you offer to take them to lunch or bring by some extras you made for yourself. Sometimes people appreciate it, but other times they are offended by your gesture.So how are you supposed to know when someone truly needs help and if they are willing to accept it?

Unfortunately, we live in a society (I’m speaking to the West, primarily the U.S. here) where people are expected to always strive and struggle alone. Where needing  help or asking for it are considered sins and where helping people is an altruistic duty–but only so long as those people are willing to refuse that help. It makes no sense. Everyone struggles at least once in their life. Stuff happens outside of our control–layoffs, accidents, death–and once in a while we need a hand. It doesn’t make a person less hardworking, less noble, less anything. The only requirement in my mind is to pay it forward.

There is no shame in asking for help, nor is there anything negative about offering assistance (no-strings attached of course). I say that a hero should always try to help, even if it means facing ridicule. It’s better than the alternative–pretending everything is okay and ignoring those in need.

What about you–would you offer your help even if it meant facing ridicule or scorn?

Why do superheroes need to wear masks? Typically masks are a symbol of shame, but often the hero chooses to wear a mask in order to protect his or her identity. It is that need to wear a mask–that fear of being known and putting yourself and loved ones in danger–that keeps most from ever attempting a superhero life. Very few ever own their superhero status. Tony Stark felt no shame or fear when he said “I am Ironman,” but most superheroes find it difficult to tell even the people closest to them that they are indeed a hero in disguise.

Fighting crime incognito wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t make things hard for the hero. How many dates did Peter Parker miss? How hard was it for Bruce Wayne to keep a girl? Why did no one ever figure out that Clark Kent and Superman were never in the same place at the same time (wrong post–another question for another time). Of course there is always the alternative–a laundry list of villains who not only know who you are, but where you live, work, and who you care about most. It’s sad that heroes have to wear masks, and it’s sad that we live in a world where we need heroes at all but I am glad heroes do exist. Hopefully one day more will be able to live in plain sight.

Here’s to a world full of people willing to proclaim “I choose to be a Hero!”

Being a superhero can easily become a full-time job. If you don’t watch it, you can find yourself spending so much time-saving the world that you ignore the ones who love you most. Like Peter Parker flaking out on Mary Jane and Batman losing girl after girl, a hero who doesn’t make home a priority ends up a tortured soul. Saving the world is a noble thing, but taking care of your obligations and honoring the ones that matter most to you is nobler.

To keep family and friends a priority and still meet your superhero obligations, follow a few guidelines:

  1. First Come First Serve: The first one to ask you for your time should get it. So, if you already have plans with your wife and the charity you volunteer for needs help they’ll just have to wait until next time. Of course, emergencies take precedence and sometimes things happen, just make sure you don’t always have an excuse for not spending times with the ones you love.
  2. Keep Your Obligations to a Manageable Number: The more you put on your plate, the harder it is to keep up with everything. To keep from going insane and to make sure you can always meet your obligations only commit to a few (this way you also ensure you have some time for yourself).
  3. Learn to Say No: This is an exceptionally difficult thing for some people, but a true superhero masters the art of saying no. At first it may be hard, and you may think people hate you for it, but in the end you will see that they appreciate your honesty and your commitment to keeping your priorities straight.
  4. Reflect: It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, which is why you need to stop every once in a while and take stock of what matters most, compare it to your daily activities, and make sure that the choices you make are in-line with your values.

Remember, the best thing you can do for the world is to love and cherish the ones close to you. A good world starts with a happy family, strong friendships, and safe communities. That’s why superheroes know that the first rule of being a superhero is to put loved ones first.

We’ve already talked about how heroes come in many shapes and sizes, but superheroes also become heroes for different reasons. The reasons are as varied as the type of heroes they become, but for the most part they can be broken down into two groups: proactive and reactive.

Proactive Heroes

Proactive heroes have a strong sense of justice and humanity. They see something wrong with the world and go out and look for ways to fix it. They have no other motivation than the fact that something in their heart is compelling them forward. It’s just something they have to do.

Reactive Heroes

The reactive hero, as the name suggests, becomes a hero in reaction to something. Usually it’s because of an injustice they experienced or one that was done to someone they care about. They react in a positive manner, doing everything they can to make sure that no one else has to endure the hardship they endured. It’s not that they were uncaring before, it’s just that now it is a personal mission and a way to take charge of the hurt inflicted on them.

Both heroes are noble and valuable even if they adopted their missions for very different reasons. So long as they are out their advocating for a better world it doesn’t matter why they became a hero. What does matter is that the world is better because of them.

Trust is a rare thing nowadays. Who can blame us with government and corporate corruption, scams preying on the elderly and unemployed, and crime television showing the worst for the worst in our society. What we don’t see are the millions of good, honest people who deserve trust and respect in return. It’s time to start rebuilding a culture of trust, but before you can learn to trust someone else you must first learn to trust in yourself.

You may not think its important but it is. A person who doesn’t believe in their own abilities cannot believe in someone else. Unfortunately, not everyone has a support system, a person or group who believes in their abilities and supports them in the journey to reach their potential. You have to believe in yourself if you ever want to have the life you want and if you ever expect someone else to trust you.

Start today by learning to:

  • Trust in Your Abilities: Each of us has a unique set of skills and talents. No two artists paint the same way, no two business men approach business the same way. What you have no one else has and no one else can give what you can give. Trust in your ability to provide something wonderful to the world.
  • Trust in Your Heart: You know what’s best for you. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Trust in your heart to tell which path to take.
  • Trust in Your Power to Learn and do Better: We all make mistakes, but even a terrible mistake isn’t the end of us. Trust in your ability to learn from your mistake and to use that knowledge to improve and do better next time.
  • Trust in Your Value: You matter. Despite your faults, mistakes, or even if anyone else recognizes it you matter. Trust that you bring value to this world, significant value, that cannot be replaced.

There will be times when your belief in yourself falters. You will have to remind yourself of your abilities, your heart, your ability to improve, and your value but you must if you ever want to achieve the superhero life.

We’ve all been there. Those moments when your behavior or performance is less than stellar. When you strut across an open bar not realizing your skirt is tucked into your underwear. When you attempt a feat of athletic skill only to end up in a firm faceplant on a gravel road while the Adonis or Aphrodite of your dreams looks on. The reply all button on a private email, the off color comment, the costly mistake on your quarterly report. Yeah, we’ve all been there.

What sets the hero apart is how they react to those less than heroic moments. No two heroes handle a bad situation the same way, and what works best for you depends on your comfort level and the severity of your infraction, but for those moments you don’t know what to do here are a few ideas:

  • Take a Bow: Make light of the situation and accept the sarcastic and well deserved applause. Whether you like it or not, your mistake just made someone’s day. Might as well take credit.
  • Assume Responsibility: Heroes aren’t perfect. In fact, it’s the imperfections that we love most. When you screw up–and yes you will on many occasions–accept responsibility and do everything in your power to rectify the situation. We respect those who falter and remedy the situation with grace more than the perfect specimen who never makes a mistake.
  • Move On: When something goes wrong, don’t dwell on the situation. Obsessing only makes things worse and keeps you from moving forward to bigger and better things.
  • Learn From It: We don’t learn from our success. We learn from our failures. Assess the situation with an objective eye and see which insights can be gleaned from your misstep.

Above all, take your bad moments with grace and keep plowing ahead. We can’t be perfect all the time and lets face it. Perfect is boring, and heroes don’t do boring.

We’ve all heard that a diet rich in fiber helps promote weight loss and fight disease such as cancer, but exactly how does fiber do that?

First of all, its important to understand that there are two different kinds of fiber—insoluble (dietary) and soluble. Insoluble fiber cannot be absorbed into the blood stream. Instead it promotes your digestive health by speeding up the removal of material in your digestive tract. By removing waste, insoluble fiber helps reduce the risk of such diseases as colon cancer and helps minimize discomfort from an unhealthy digestive system. Sources of insoluble fiber include whole grain cereals, wheat bran, and the skins of fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fiber is fiber that can be absorbed. This type of fiber has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (which reduces your risk of heart disease) and helps with weight loss. This is because soluble fiber makes you feel fuller longer, causing you to eat less especially when paired with lean protein. Good sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans and legumes, oat bran, barley, and citrus.
Health professionals suggest that the average adult consume 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day. This goal can be met with a well-balanced, varied diet consisting of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and at least 3 servings of whole grains.  A serving of a fiber supplement such as Metamucil 30 minutes before each meal will also help you get enough fiber and curb your appetite so you can avoid binging during meals.

Heroes know that an active mind is crucial to your daily superhero activities, but did you know it can also help prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s,  and other age related mental illness? Activities such as reading, doing puzzles, playing an instrument, or learning a new skill all help keep the mind active, sharp, and young. According to an article in Time Magazine, regularly challenging your mind with activities such as a crossword puzzle can reduce one’s chances of developing dementia by almost 50%!

It’s difficult to reverse mental illness once the first stages set in, so prevention truly is the best way to combat an aging mind. Activities for developing and keeping a young and healthy mind include:

  • puzzles
  • reading
  • playing a musical instrument
  • learning a new skill
  • problem solving such as math
  • gardening
  • art

Basically anything that engages multiple parts of the brain in an active manner. Of course, just like your body needs both exercise and a healthy diet, so does your mind so be sure to consume lots of water (to flush out impurities and stay hydrated), fruits and vegetables (full of powerful antioxidants), healthy oils like omega-3 (for brain development), and lean protein.