6 Real Life Superhero Origin Stories from Our Community!

“I wanna be a strong princess, like Wonder Woman!”

“I wanna be able to run really fast, like the Flash!”

“I wanna climb all the monkey bars like Tarzan! ”

“I should lose a few pounds off my love handles.”

One of these things is not like the others…

When we’re little kids, we swing from monkey bars and run up multiple flights of stairs and climb trees and chase imaginary bad guys and crawl through mud and we love every second of it.

We try new things because they seem fun (and nobody is telling us that we can’t). Or, we try new things specifically because we’re told we can’t!

We never once think “oh I wonder if my body is capable of such a thing….” We just DO. We fall down and pick ourselves back up and laugh it off and each day learn more and more about how we interact with the world around us. It’s awesome. And fun.But then…over the next 15-20 years, life happens.

Schoolwork. A job. Chores. Bills. Mortgage. Responsibilities. Kids! Late nights at the office. More and more meals from a drive through window.

As our responsibilities (and the scale) goes higher and higher, we set our sights lower and lower:

  • Instead of wanting to run fast like the Flash, we just want to not get winded going up the stairs.
  • Instead of being strong like Wonder Woman, we just want to not be sore after don’t want our arms to hurt from carrying in the groceries.
  • Instead of swinging like Tarzan, we avoid activities that are new because we don’t think we can, and we don’t want to look foolish.
  • Instead of wanting to climb mountain or run a 5k, we instead set the goal of “winning a solo Fortnite battle” or getting more instagram followers because the first goal seems entirely unrealistic.

It’s no wonder our expectations continue to wither as we age: growing up can suck. Sure we had dreams and goals and hobbies as a kid, but now that we’re adults, our goal has been minimized into a single sentence:

“Lose weight and don’t hate what I see in the mirror.”

Brutal? Yup.

Honest? Yup.

And that’s okay.

Not liking what I saw in the mirror is why I started exercising, and the reason I started Nerd Fitness 10 years ago. After all, wanting to look better and feel better is a powerful motivator, and that usually involves weight loss.

All of these thoughts above sprung from a conversation I had recently with our head of Coaching, Lauren – who I’ve known for like 13 years and I was a bridesboy (you heard me) in her wedding, but that’s besides the point.

I asked her about success stories we’ve had from people who have been in our NF Coaching program for 6, 9, or 12+ months and actually kept the weight off, and I started to see a pattern:

They all set out to lose weight as an initial goal, and many of them DID lose weight.

But a recent study showed: “The chance of returning to a normal weight after becoming obese is only one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women over a year.” [1]

So what was different with these clients?

Why are they having success with losing weight and KEEPING it off!?

Although they all succeeded in their own unique way, they did have a common element to each of their origin stories:

It started with weight loss, but as they started to lose the weight, they got back to trying new activities they could do and feel as a result of that weight loss:

  • Doing pull-ups.
  • Going on hikes.
  • Getting back to martial arts.
  • Dunking a basketball (video proof below)!

In other words, these people reclaimed a childhood sense of joy and wonder that comes from asking “what can I try to learn today?” and “what can I do today that I couldn’t do yesterday?”

And in many instances, they all had activities they thought they could NEVER do. And six months later, they had already done it and were setting even bigger goals!

You’re damn straight I’m proud these people are all coaching clients of Nerd Fitness, but I don’t care if you ever spend a dollar with us.

I want you to learn from their stories and remind yourself WHY you’re here working hard to better yourself!

If you can shift your mentality from “when I lose the weight, then I’m done” to “I’ve been building this new body, what is it capable of? Let’s find out,” that’s how you find long term, permanently improved healthy success.

And that’s when you become a superhero.

Mark loses 50 pounds and Falls in love with Gymnastic Rings.

No, Mark isn’t levitating in that second photo, he’s jumping rope.

But damn that would be really cool if he discovered his hidden superpower was levitation.

In his words, here’s how Mark’s mentality shifted over the past 6 months and 50 pounds of weight loss:

“Success to me was just about losing weight when I started. I also wanted to get to a place where just standing wasn’t painful. I joined the Coaching program because I needed to be held accountable, to make sure I didn’t lose momentum and slip back into my bad habits.

Since I started losing weight (now down 50 pounds and showing no signs of slowing down), there are so many things I’m capable of now: Deadlifting over 200 lbs (90kg), farmer walks of 80 pounds (36kg), PUSH UPS!

I NEVER thought I would be so consistent in going to the gym and eating healthy food. I’m also really enjoying using the gymnastic rings in my workouts.

They add so much variety to workouts, which brings new challenges all the time and keeps things interesting.”

Narayan lost 50 pounds and Now crushes pull-ups

Narayan has overcome some mental hang-ups he’s had since a kid about both the gym and exercise. It only took 44 years, but it’s ALWAYS better late than never.

In his words, success to him started with weight loss: 

I was really into the Nerd Fitness Academy and had great success with it, but I knew I needed something extra and additional 1-on-1 help to maintain my weight loss and get stronger.

I was thinking of hiring a trainer in my local area but I loved Nerd Fitness and wanted to stay active with that community. So I was really excited when I learned about the coaching program.

I have very vivid memories in grade school and on up of never being able to do a chin up.

I just sort of assumed it was something I was not capable of, like running a 4 minute mile.

And yet, after a few weeks in the Coaching program, I was able to do my first chin up with decent form.

It was exhilarating.

I was 49 years old and doing something I never thought I could do. When I got home from the gym that night I thought maybe I should keep working and try to do 5 chin ups in a row.

Coach Jim reviewed my videos of gave me some tips and was very encouraging.

Eventually I was able to do 5 chin ups in a row in 2 sets!”

And now Narayan LOVES the gym. How the HELL did that happen!?

“Another mental hurdle I overcame: I never imagined myself as a regular visitor to the gym. Ever.

I thought that was for other people who had the physiques of bodybuilders. Now I go 3 times week and it’s something I really look forward to.

I was invited this week to go out for Happy Hour but it was when I had planned on going to the gym so I declined the invite. I didn’t really reflect on it until the next morning when I realized that was something I never would have done just a few months ago.

There are definitely times where I am not feeling it but I go to workout anyway just because it is so ingrained. I have never left the gym regretting that I went.”

Heather earns her black belt And inspires her teenage sons.

When Heather started her hero’s journey, she wasn’t even sure what success looked like:

“I really liked the idea of being a person who makes good choices when nutritionally and rarely misses a gym day. And getting in shape would help with that.

I grew up here in the South and now I’m raising boys here: It’s pretty old fashioned in a lot of ways and gender roles are a few decades behind.

It’s important to me that my kids see women as strong and capable all by themselves and that women have every right to be where they damned well please: the weight room, or the office, or the home, or in the great outdoors.”

Like many superheroes, Heather has learned to embrace the great responsibility that comes with her great superpowers, inspiring those around her: 

“I get to be a role model to all the girls where I teach karate.

I’m the only female instructor at our location and I want those girls to see a grown woman who can be a black belt and be strong. It’s also a good lesson for mouthy teenaged boys from time to time. The best compliment ever was when one of my teenage boys said that he joins me at the gym because he wants to be strong like his mom.”

And she’s still uncovering more super powers every week:

“What superpowers have I discovered? Hitting a 200 lb. deadlift is up there. Chin up progress – it’s slower than I had hoped, but there was also a part of me that never thought I’d get this close.”

Oh, and she’s proven the adage “appearance is a consequence of fitness:”

“Here’s a interesting side effect I hadn’t even considered until it happened: buying a size Medium shirt AND wearing it in public without feeling self conscious.”

Chris lost 50+ pounds and can now dunk a basketball!

Chris came to the program with a vague goal of wanting to dunk a basketball but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. He was a big guy and moving around that much weight makes many bodyweight achievements difficult:

“When I joined coaching, success was achieving my specific goals that I was unable to achieve by myself (one chin-up, one pull-up, and dunk a basketball which I hadn’t been able to do since high school). If I could meet those goals, then I would consider coaching a success.”

As he started losing weight, his vague dreams became concrete realities:

“I am now capable of doing a chin-up and a pull-up. Honestly, I never thought I would reach it, even when I was a teenager I couldn’t do a chin-up or a pull-up. Now I can. I love that I can.

Oh, and now I can dunk a basketball:

As he lost the weight, Chris’s mentality changed about prioritizing his own development as a real life superhero:

“I love taking the time to work on myself. With having a wife, kids, family, work, etc. it’s hard to take the time to work on yourself. It is awesome to set personalized goals that I wanted and work with my coach to get there.”

Henry Completes a Tough Mudder Like a Badass

Henry started out wanting to actually enjoy the outdoors, something he didn’t do at all at the beginning:

“For me success was just the ability to be more active and have fun outside without getting too winded very easily. The goal was to obviously lose weight which I have done, and I’m comfortable with where I’m at right now.

I’m more active and far more knowledgeable about what I put in my body.”

He then discovered something interesting about himself through the journey:

I never thought I would be capable of managing my diet so well in terms of what I ate, when I ate, and how much I ate.

I have a self discipline I never knew I had, especially when it comes to eating out and not giving in to every single craving.

What makes me so happy: Henry discovered a mental fortitude and confidence inside himself that that led to one of the most difficult obstacle races out there:

“I never ever thought I would be capable of doing an event such as the Tough Mudder but I did it and saying it was awesome is pretty much an understatement and now I want to do more OCRs. What a feeling!”

Sandra Summited Kilimanjaro

Sandra spent months building her new superhero physique and then set out to conquer one of the tallest mountains in the world, Kilimanjaro!

It started with overcoming some mental hurdles too:

“I had been working my way through the NF Academy bodyweight workouts for about 5 months. I was pretty consistent about doing the body weight work outs 3 days a week.

As for my goals, my expectations were low: I thought being able to do more than a couple of push ups with good form and not on my knees was great. My pie in the sky goal was an unassisted chin up.

The problem was that I was afraid to start REALLY strength training: I had a squat rack still in boxes in my garage for someday.  I wanted to learn to lift, eventually, but had no idea where to start. I had been in coaching for 6 months, gotten a lot stronger and more confident, before I actually told my coach about this! She helped me overcome that fear, finally build the rack, and get started.”

As she became more confident, she started setting her sights on a goal that still seemed far fetched but plausible: summiting Mount Kilimanjaro:

“I like to challenge myself to big things when I am in the mood to try to get myself out of whatever rut I invariably find myself when I take stock after going through weeks, months, years of default living. Years ago, I biked 100 miles, and ran a marathon.

Then life happened, and I was back to being VERY sedentary and just trying to get through the day.

Over my time with Nerd Fitness, Kilimanjaro became less and less “outrageous” and more “possible.” I believed I could do it because at the time I signed up I had been consistently training for a year I had seen myself become a lot stronger and I knew I could continue to be consistent.

I looked at the recommended training schedule and it was stuff that I could already do, just more of it. I also knew that my awesome coach (Staci!) would help me work it into the training I was already doing and it was a goal we could reach together.”

3 Lessons you Can Learn from These Real Life SuperHeroes.


Whatever got you here to Nerd Fitness and this article, GREAT!

Weight loss as a goal is a fantastic place to start.

Now, what’s going to help you succeed and stay successful is having a good reason why you’re doing all of this.

Every success story above features people who end up doing wayyyy more than they ever thought they could. From dunking basketballs to completing Tough Mudders and even climbing mountains.

Some of these goals were unexpected, or seemed so far off that they didn’t even seem realistic for the people above. But with each tiny victory, a small amount of confidence and momentum gets built.

And amazing things can happen.

I promise you, regardless of your thoughts on exercise or certain activities right NOW, if you can stick with this journey you will be capable of amazing things.

The weight loss is a goal, but it’s what you get to DO with your new body after the weight loss that will drive permanent progress.


Narayan thought that gyms were just for bodybuilders and not people like him. Then he got over his insecurities, acknowledged how to make the gym work for him, and now says no to happy hours to make sure he doesn’t miss his workouts

Heather loves martial arts and is teaching young women that they can be strong badasses.

Mark fell in love with gymnastic rings and deadlifts.

When you build a frame that’s capable of anything, it gives you a chance to try everything!

You no longer have to say no due to your size or lack of fitness: you get to say “yes” and try new activities.

It’s time to question the long held beliefs you had as a kid about exercise. Or the self-imposed limitations you’ve put on yourself for the past decade.

Go back and reread the words of these super heroes. Every single one of them has a thing that they “never ever thought” they could do.

And 6 months later, they blew past that limitation and had to set new goals!

Once you start doing things you never thought you were capable of, this attitude becomes contagious and you start to question every other assumption in your life too.


Our goal with Nerd Fitness is to not help you lose weight as fast as possible.

Our goal is to get you healthy and happy in a sustainable way, and make sure you have fun along the way.

That’s the ONLY way this progress you make will stick.

I have no doubt every story above will succeed in the long term, because they have the right mentality: it’s about more than just a number on a scale for each of them.

These 6 superheroes know they don’t get to be done, and they never get to go back to how they used to live. And none of them would WANT to.

For the first time in a long time, they have come back to life.

Ben Franklin said it best: Most people die at 25, but aren’t buried until 75.

As the heroes above started to lose weight, they started exploring and asking the question “what am I capable of?” They picked activities that seemed challenging and exciting, not just because it would shred another pound of body fat.

Counterintuitively, by focusing on getting better at these activities, it actually helped them lose more weight and do so in a sustainable fashion. WIN.


Success looks different to every single person


You can’t get where you need to go if you don’t take that first step, so why not take your first step today?

I’m proud to be able to share these stories, because they show you can be any size, be any age, fall in love with any type of activity, and become a superhero in a way that brings you to life.

Every superhero has a different superpower, and that’s what makes them interesting. They also have insecurities and flaws and obstacles to overcome, and that’s what makes them relatable.

Above, we have 6 real life superheroes from all walks of life, who have found a path to their own superpower that fits THEIR life.

Some people love the gym, while others will never set foot in one. That’s great.

We’re all on a journey, just like the six people above, and we are all writing our own story. OWN IT.

Yes, I’m proud to share that these are stories from our 1-on-1 coaching program, but they’re also people who live and breathe the Nerd Fitness lifestyle:

  • Having fun.
  • Developing functional strength.
  • Trying and finding new activities.

I know how tough it is to figure this stuff out on your own (I’ve actually had my own online coach for the past 4 years!), and it’s tough trying to figure out which activities to try (or how to start!).

That’s where a coaching program can really come in handy.

We speak on the phone with every potential client to learn their story and make sure we’re a great fit for each other, and you can schedule your call by clicking on the image below!

Regardless of whether or not you check out the program, I want Nerd Fitness to be the community that helps you realize:

  • You’re capable of more than you realize.
  • Trying new things is amazing.
  • If you don’t get to be done, you gotta enjoy the journey.

I’d love to hear from you below:

What’s something you currently think you’d NEVER be able to do, but it would be cool if you could?

What does success mean for you BESIDES just weight loss?

I can’t wait to hear your answers!


PS: I remember talking to Narayan (the 2nd story above) back in January when he called to learn about the Coaching Program. It was really fun to hear his story and it makes me so damn happy to be able to share his story in this article.

If you’re looking to build your own hero’s journey, want to learn how to become a real life superhero, I’d be honored if you scheduled a free call with us to see if our coaching program is a good fit to help you reach those goals!


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