How to Become a Comic Book Hero

Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a super hero.

I used to dress up like Superman far more often than was considered socially acceptable.  I thought the cape on my back would allow me to fly when jumping off things in my backyard.  For as long as I can remember, I was always the small and weak kid.  I got cut from high school basketball team because I didn’t have an ounce of muscle on me.  Getting pushed around while playing any sport was a regular occurrence.  However, the thought of becoming incredibly strong and powerful was something I left to my imagination while reading books, playing video games, and watching movies.

A few years back, I finally took steps to get stronger and more confident in my abilities, and became addicted to learning about fitness.

Nerd Fitness was born.

So, when I started this community, I wondered what I could do to actually BECOME a real life super hero – maybe not in the sense of mutant powers or special abilities, but an alter-ego that was a more badass, confident, and powerful version of myself.

My super hero would get to have his own persona, special abilities, theme song, code of honor, and more.  It would be through this alter-ego that I could shed my day-to-day life for a few hours and become somebody new.

Up until recently I thought I had all of the components of a real life super hero figured out.

As it turns out, I was leaving out a key piece to the puzzle.

Here’s how you can become a comic book hero yourself…and the one element that will propel you to even greater heights.

How to Become A Super Hero

Alright – let’s turn you into a super hero!  Much easier said than done, I know.   Although, I’ve already covered many aspects of the super hero lifestyle in  previous posts, here’s a quick overall recap on becoming superhuman:

1) Define your origin story.  What’s that you say?  You’re 400 pounds, out of a job, and living in your parent’s basement?  Congratulations – that is your origin story.  Here at NF, it doesn’t matter where you start, only where you’re going.  You get to decide what kind of hero you want to become and how you’ll get there – you get to write your own epic destiny.  You might not get bitten by radioactive spiders any time soon, but you can still decide that one day you’re going to do something great.  And you ARE capable of great things.

For example, here’s my epic storyline: a humble boy from a sleepy fishing village is going to alter the course of history.  (sounds way cooler than “a nerd from Sandwich, MA, started a fitness blog because he didn’t wanna be weak anymore”, right?)

2) Decide your super power. What do you want to be good at?  Do you want to have super human strength?  Lightning quick reflexes?  How about an acrobat with the skills of an assassin?  Maybe you want to leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Whatever it is you want to do, that is now your super power and the skill that you will build your training around.  If you need more direction in  creating your own super power, I’m here for ya.

Personally, I want to be freakishly strong at body weight exercises, able to work out anywhere and everywhere around the globe.

3) Pick your alter-ego.  This is the fun part – you get to decide what your super hero character will be called and your persona.  Do you wear a cape?  Do you smile?  Do you jump around or scream and yell?  Whatever it is that you want to become, make a conscious effort each time you work out to go through the physical and mental transformation:

  • Play your theme song each afternoon as you start your transformation – it’s like a real life montage!
  • Take the time to visualize your workout and how you’re going to get stronger.
  • Change out of your work clothes and put on your super hero uniform.
  • Look in the mirror as your new self, pump yourself up, and then go to “work.”

You truly get to decide to be whatever you want here – you can be somebody completely unlike your regular personality.

By day, I’m Steve Kamb, a full-time blogger and all-around goofball who smiles way too much and spends too much time at his computer.  Every afternoon though, I transform into the rebel version of myself: a Vibram-wearing, ripped t-shirt-uniformed machine of a rebel that will exercise anywhere and everywhere in a city.  I wear a permanent scowl on my face, I jump around like a crazy man in between exercises to psych myself up, and I generally weird everybody out within a 50-foot radius.  It’s probably best not to disturb me when I’m rebel mode.

4) Decide your code of honor. What are you fighting for?  Are you fighting for your family’s health and safety?  Are you fighting to become an inspiration to those around you?  Do you fight for a better life for yourself?  Are you fighting to battle injustice and the overwhelming forces of Overlord Obesity, Captain Corpulent, and The Sloth?  Whatever it is – you need to decide why you’re doing this.

Super heroes don’t exist for the fun of it – we exist because we are needed.  As my buddy Mars says, “the world needs you.”  It’s up to you to start making a difference on this planet – you might not have aspirations to change the world, but you can certainly change your life and influence the lives of the people closest to you.

It’s your responsibility to step up your game and become the hero we need.

The missing piece

If every comic book and super hero movie was just hours of “rah rah! you can do it!” back-patting and cheering with no challenges or enemies, they would suck:

  • Oh awesome, he saved a cat from a tree!
  • Oh great, she just received the key to another city from the mayor!
  • Weeeeeeee! Another fun montage of jumping over buildings.

Okay, that last one is always awesome…but the other two will get very boring.

Fortunately, there is always ONE element in a super hero story, book, or movie that keeps things interesting.

An arch-nemesis.

Batman had to rise to the occasion to defeat the Joker.  Superman constantly battled Lex Luthor.  Captain America had to take down Red Skull.  Professor X constantly played a metal chessmatch with his friend-turned-enemy Magneto.

These super heroes and their arch-nemesis are often cut from the same cloth; two peas in a pod that have gone down separate paths.  Each super hero’s arch-nemesis usually knows the hero’s weakness and exploits it whenever possible.  Arch-nemeses always force the good guy to think differently, try new tactics, and push to better themselves in order to prevail and save the day/town/planet/galaxy.

Yeah, these are often terrible people who do terrible things.  However, they also advance the plot, constantly create new scenarios that require the hero to increase his skillz, and ultimately leave the hero a superior and wiser man/woman.

It’s time for you to find your own arch-nemesis.

My arch-nemesis

I want to introduce you to my friend and arch-nemsis, Joel Runyon (he’s the goon sitting next to me in the picture above).

Joel runs JoelRunyon.com (how original!), where he blogs about doing “impossible” things.  Joel is also fascinated at becoming a super hero, and some of his readers have even started calling him Mr. Impossible.  About a year and a half ago, I “met” Joel when he emailed me out of the blue to say he was a fan of what I was working on with Nerd Fitness – I checked out his site and found that we had a lot in common (just like most hero/arch-nemesis connections):

We were both huge nerds who have big lists of things we want to accomplish.

Somewhere along the way over the past year, Joel and I started making fun of each other on twitter, in email, on Gchat, and on the phone…all in good fun.  We’ve become good friends, but we also “hate” each other.  And it’s tough for me – I mean how do you insult a guy who consistently posts pictures and stories of himself looking stupid?  If you’re looking for some useless entertainment, check out our latest battle on twitter where we’re trying to determine who is the world’s least interesting man:

  • @stevekamb still believes there’s a monster under his bed
  • @joelrunyon When Joel does yoga, he spends the entire time in child’s pose.
  • @stevekamb ‘s favorite movie is “The Adventures of Mary Kate & Ashley: The Case of the Fun House Mystery”
  • @joelrunyon’s two favorite colors: beige and off-white.

Now, although I make fun of Joel as often as possible (my one of my favorite “avoid doing work” activities), I also really respect him and always look to get his opinion on the direction of my blog, my training, and/or any new projects I’m working on.

Why?  Because I know Joel will tell me like it is without the candy coating.

I remember calling Joel from New Zealand back in February to ask him about a possible direction I was thinking of taking with Nerd Fitness.  Most folks would have probably sugar coated their response to not hurt my feelings or blindly say “great idea!”; Joel told me straight up it was a bad idea – and it was!

Now, besides blogging advice, I also look to Joel for some personal fitness competition.  I know that I need to stay in peak physical condition at all times, because I know I’ll never hear the end of it from him if out of shape the next time we hang out.

Back when we went skydiving in Portland in June, the group was given the opportunity to go up to 17,000 feet (though it was more expensive and we had to wear oxygen masks) – Joel and I looked at each other and both decided that we had to do it – we both knew that if the other said no, it would have been years of torment and insults…so we both said yes.

We constantly try to one up each other, keep each other on our toes, keep each other in line, and we tell each other like it is.

Find your own arch-nemsis

In my opinion, the world has gone soft these days. 

You’re supposed to coddle people, tell them it’s okay to be lazy and blame their problems on anything and everything other than themselves.  When people say “it’s too hard” or “but it’s different for me” or “I don’t like my job,” you’re supposed to give them an out and say “it’s okay, at least you tried your best (even though it wasn’t your best)” or “be thankful you have a job in this economy!”

Not on this site, sucka.

I believe everybody needs an arch-nemesis – that friend that will ruthlessly ruthlessly tear you apart instead of just telling you what you want to hear.  You need somebody that will yell at you when you’re lazy, tell you to suck it up when you complain, and insult you mercilessly when you’re not living up to your potential.  Personally, I’m a big fan of tough love – we all need somebody to slap us in the face and tell us to “get your sh** together!”  We are all capable of great things, so it’s time to start acting like it.

Here’s what you need to look for in your own arch-nemesis:

  • Somebody who is at a relatable level in their physical or professional lives.  It doesn’t matter if you need to lose weight and your nemesis is trying to gain weight, or one of you is self-employed and the other is climbing the corporate ladder.  What’s important is that you’re both interested in bettering your life.
  • Somebody that is driven and competitive – it’s no use having an arch-nemesis that is content with sucking at life.  You need somebody that desperately wants a better life for himself/herself and his family.
  • Somebody that knows your kryptonite we all have faults that keep us from leveling up our lives.  Make sure your arch-nemesis knows what you struggle with so they can call you out when you’re using it as a crutch.
  • Somebody you trust to tell you the truth.  You probably already have plenty of people in your life who will support you no matter what and keep you happy.  You need somebody that’s gonna tell you that you’re not living up to your potential, that you’re getting complacent, that your idea is pure crap! Tough love for the win!
  • Somebody you can have fun with – although this arch-nemesis will keep you honest and call you out when you’re slacking, it’s also important that you can have fun with them – unless you’re really crazy and want to pick somebody you REALLY hate…that might get interesting.
  • Somebody you can stay in close touch with – at least once a week.  Tell your arch nemesis to hold you accountable for your goals.  Tell him/her that you’re going to work out three times this week or you will pay him/her 50 bucks and run around your neighborhood in a pink speedo.  Your nemesis exists to hold you accountable for your actions or inaction – back when Saint transformed himself, we would talk DAILY about his goals and struggles.

What if you don’t think you have anybody in your life you can turn to for a “kick in the pants” nemesis?  Check out the NF message boards – over 2200+ people all trying to level up and become super hero versions of themselves – if you can’t find a friendly rivalry in there to push you and want to be better…you’re not looking hard enough!

The Comic Book Contest

You’ve got your super power, you’ve got your alter ego, you’ve got your call to action…and now you have your arch-nemesis that will push you to level up your life.  Don’t ever stop pushing for a better existence.

Are you up to the challenge?

With Nerd Fitness hoodies coming out (we’ll start taking orders next week), I figure now is as good a time as any to give one away!  To answer your first question, yes wearing a Nerd Fitness hoodie will let you control fire and shoot lightning out of your hands.

I want to hear your super hero story:

  • Who is your alter-ego?
  • What is your super power?
  • What’s your theme song?
  • What do you fight for? How will you change the world?
  • Do you already have an arch-nemesis?

You have until 11:59PM EST on Sunday night to leave a comment with your story – it’s okay to get indepth, but please don’t leave a novel – we have to read all of them after all, and I’ll be jet-lagged like crazy as I leave today for Ireland 🙂

Feel free to post your super hero story on our boards as well. 

The world needs more heroes.

-Steve

PS – All photos in this article (except for the one of Joel and I) were shot and edited by Will Byington while I was in Chicago yesterday…these are just a small sample of the ridiculousness that transpired – more coming next week.  Wanna know something crazy? Will managed to do these after effects on the photos in just a few minutes COMPLETELY on his iPhone.  I think I’ve convinced Will to start a “how to be an awesome photographer, even on an iPhone” blog/site soon…so I figured putting this in the article will really force him to do it (because he is DAMN good).

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