Hero Training: Fulfill Your Fate of Fitness

Zelda: Link raising sword in victory

This is a guest post from Anthony Mychal.

Can you realize your own potential?

Will you be the one to wield the Master Sword?

Although there is a hero inside us all, nobody begins as one.  Captivating stories about average people growing up to save the world never get old — we’re all waiting for our inspiring moment, our moment of reckoning.

When Link pulls the Master Sword from the ground, it assures him that he is the one, and that he is capable of facing the challenges and expectations ahead of him.

Let’s learn how to find your moment of reckoning, and how to hold your wits as you face the frenzied world of fitness.


Triforce held in palm

Why fitness? Why weight loss? Why muscle gain?

Hint: big arms, a six pack, and impressing the ladies aren’t great answers. Link didn’t quest into Hyrule to wield the Master Sword. The sword was a consequence of his purpose.

Purpose is important. Do something that matters.

  • I got the Master Sword so that I can save Zelda.

Distinguish between a good purpose and a not-so-good purpose by writing down every fitness goal you have, and then tacking on “so that.” Answer each “so that” until you come to an honorable conclusion. Here’s an example:

My goal is to run a 5K so that I can prove possibility in something previously thought impossible so that I can build confidence so that it helps me grow into the person I want to be so that I’m happier.

When you lace up your shoes to train, it’s less about the 5K and more about you.

Specifically how accepting, battling, and overcoming the challenge will seep into and alter the very fibers of your being.

You’re more likely to follow through with goals that matter. When you dig deep into your initial goals, you reveal what can become as a result of your struggles. For instance, setting a goal of “running a 5K” is nice, but it doesn’t tell you what running a 5K will do for you. So instead of getting stuck with the mindset of, “I’m doing this to run a 5K,” remind yourself that “I’m doing this to make myself happier.”

Do it to save the princess, not to get the schwag.


Small Clay Link

Link is a nothing more than an average kid somehow destined for great things.

And he delivers. Always. (Unless you get fed up inside The Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple and gallantly hurl your controller against the wall.)

While Link doesn’t start out a hero, he becomes one by nature of his task and determination.

Link starts out as a Goonie.

Goonies don’t have experiences under their belt to aid in the challenge before them — they’re just regular people who realize they have the potential to do great things. Goonies find success simply because they don’t let anything get in their way of stepping one foot in front of the other.

Truly, we’re all Goonies, and we’re all in this together. The important part is accepting the journey and embracing the adventure, no matter what comes your way. That’s why Steve can travel across the continent and still find a way to stay healthy.

Learn from every experience, even if it’s negative.

  • Did you miss a workout you shouldn’t have? How did it make you feel?
  • Did you eat a whole cake and now bask in regret? What made you eat it? And what can you do next time to prevent it?
  • Did you get hurt lifting from sacrificing weight for form? What kind of mindset can you etch into yourself for future training sessions to avoid the same mistake again?

Responding to and conquering tough trials is what makes a hero. Heroes wouldn’t be very admirable without a hardship to conquer, and the tenacity to conquer it, now would they?

Heroes rise from the trials of Goonies.


Zelda themed wallpaper

Fitness journeys are powerful. More often than not, there’s something serious on the line—especially if you made it far in your “so that” drill. For instance:

  • Losing weight might mean years added onto a lifespan—a chance to see kids and grandkids grow.
  • A new body might mean a new life and a new happiness.
  • Running a 5K might mean a push towards self confidence.
  • Losing 50 pounds (or 130) might mean gaining the courage to get back into the dating scene.

No matter how serious the goal, there’s always fun to be had along the way. Enjoy it. Smile. Don’t let the magnitude of it all pound you into the ground 100% of the time.

Is your goal to lose 50 pounds? Great, but don’t approach it with an all or nothing mentality. Be happy about any step towards that goal. Losing two pounds in one month may not be as good as losing five, but by learning to celebrate incremental progress, you can enjoy leveling up. Always be leveling up, always be moving forward.

In other words, don’t approach your journey as a burden. Obsessively playing Zelda just to beat it quickly means missing out on the subtleties that make the game great.

Think long term. Explore the corners. Bomb the walls.

It might take you twice as long to finish compared to others. But that’s OK, as long as you’re still playing the game.


Zelda: Link lost in grass

Do you remember how frustrating the Lost Woods were? Yet that’s where the Master Sword is hidden. The Woods were there to test you, to see if you were worthy, if you were really the one destined to do the damn thing.

But here’s the hitch: everyone has what it takes to get through the Lost Woods.

Sadly, this is where most people quit — and it’s right before the moment they would otherwise recognize their greatness.

Most hurdles are similar: they’re easy to quit. People work so hard to climb 99% of the way up the hill only to give up hope right before the downhill slope.

Back when I was a primed skinny-fat ectomorph, I didn’t know which direction to take. For years I got caught up in trying to make things perfect.

Although you should try to do things the healthiest way you know possible, toss perfection aside. Years from now you will look back and think to yourself, “I did some stupid things.” But that’s OK.

Remember, heroes are born from Goonies. Getting lost is necessary. Getting things “right” the first time around is so rare that it’s almost a “wrong.”


zelda cartridgeMy brother once had a perfect Ocarina of Time quest finished and saved. He did this without cheating…and for Zelda fans, a saved slot like this is to be coveted and cared for like a virtual reality child.

My cousin and I, in attempts to have some fun, hooked this Ocarina of Time cartridge up to Gameshark one day. Floating around Ganon’s Castle was fun until the Gameshark glitched and erased my brother’s game.

Completely. Gone.

This is an important lesson. Almost any “cheat” you can think of won’t end well. Have you ever seen:

  • Supplements that claim to burn fat fast.
  • Special machines that claim get you ripped quickly.
  • Electrical devises that contract muscles so you don’t have to.
  • Abdominal training contraptions that guarantee six-packs.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Game over screen

As ludicrous as it sounds, what makes Zelda great is that you’re probably going to die at some point. You may get frustrated and want to quit. That’s because the game isn’t a breeze. If it were, it wouldn’t be nearly as great.

It’s a daunting image, but the “Game Over” screen is likely in your future. It’s is admission for playing the game.

You might…

  • Get an injury
  • Lose motivation
  • Relapse on your diet
  • Mismanage your time
  • Be torn between relationships and fitness goals
  • Come to a halt in progress

“Game Over” moments aren’t pretty,  but they shape who you are. And the best part is that you always can continue.

As long as you learn from the Game Over, you probably won’t die in the same place again. You will have the firsthand experience and know what to do in the face of the challenge.

So although you may see the screen, don’t turn the console off in rage. Simply press continue.


Zelda: Link in Grass

None of us are born heroes. We’re born Goonies. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t destined to be the one.

The important part is just taking the journey. Enjoy it all. Enjoy the bumps. Enjoy the game. Don’t stop when you get lost. Often, finding your way out of these mazes leads to the ultimate reckoning. So don’t quit. The Master Sword is likely just around the corner.

But most importantly, answer why. Why are you embarking on this journey? Answer that and you will go far. And remember, the only thing really needed to beat Zelda is knowing how to turn the game on.



Anthony Mychal exists at the crossroad between fitness and athleticism. As a professional, he’s a writer appearing on the likes of STACK, T-Nation, LIVESTRONG.com, and Greatist. As a dude, he’s a self-proclaimed performance junkie that practices martial arts tricking. He splatters his ideas down weekly at both AnthonyMychal.com and Trick Training.

Photosource: triforce, lost link, victory link, zelda wallpaper, link in grass, small link, zelda cartridge, game over

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41 thoughts on “Hero Training: Fulfill Your Fate of Fitness

  1. finally i can read the post idk if its my comp or ur website but when i clicked keep reading it took me to the Get the **** over it post… It finally worked. My monday is back in order =)

  2. this was an excellent post – it speaks to me more than any other posts so far. partly because it is Zelda-related, and partly because you emphasize that temporary failure is a huge and necessary part of achieving your goal. but it’s not TRUE failure if you get back up and try again! everyone starts somewhere, and you have to learn from mistakes if you hope to get anywhere in life 🙂

  3. I loved point #1: have a purpose. Make a goal that matters!

    I always tell people that having a goal to get a six pack or look like a supermodel isn’t really a great goal, and definitely won’t be motivating in the long term.
    Doing resistance training and keeping up your cardiovascular health so you’ll be able to ward off osteoporosis and keep up with your grandchildren late in life… now that’s a goal worth having.

  4. Thanks for the great post. I like the part about the Gameshark because really, we have to get past the “fix it fast” mentality and accept that regaining health is a long haul but so worth it. I watched that movie, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” last night and wow – what a hero that guy Phil is. I mean, Joe, the guy who made the movie, is a hero, too, but he is also a millionaire who was able to make a movie about himself as he juiced and exercised his way to health. Phil was a truck driver, for God’s sake, who weighed 429 pounds and was of pretty modest means. He had little hope at first. But when it came down to it, he DID it – he did not get caught up by Gamesharks or naysayers – he decided to change and he did it. Phil is a total Goonie Gone Hero and a great example to people everywhere that we are all capable of being heros, if we just commit to the process of bettering ourselves. So thanks for the great Monday morning boost. And see that movie if you haven’t – it is incredibly inspirational. (and on Netflix!)

  5. I like having both types of goals to rely on. Shorter-term goals like “beating my training partner in our next race” are hugely motivating when it’s 4:30am and I’m heading to the gym in the dark. But they tend to wear off – it’s hard to keep going, season after season, with those types of goals. Longer-term goals, like playing with grandkids who are 15-30 years away from being born, are like slow-burning fuel – they get me out the door when I’m not feeling 100%.. ***

    I love the Game-Over section, too. Setbacks are inevitable, whether it’s from an injury, illness, or just the blahs and lack of motivation. The sooner you get back in the game, the sooner you’re back to improving yourself. (“leveling up”, as you like to say..)

  6. Anthony, you really did hit it for me anyways there no reason you should not use hacks or stuff like that in real life BUT without long term gain it all meanless.

    1) have a purpose: to create a business system that people can understand and work to create bad ass business that make money.

    2) began as a goonie: Yep i was the noob on the block still am with some things but i feel comfortable giving people advice now.

    3) love the process: I love the journey i have had so far it been like a rpg not sure how to sort everthing into game terms oh

    4) getting lost: I love getting lost in fact i scheduled that into my system to get lost in fact business wise i schedule time to find new business models (new to me) using youtube etc

    5) beware of bad cheats?: Oh lord do i have stories about wasting money having people well lets just say not act like people. the add usally read someone like make money fast make money quick etc.

    6) game over man: Meh, i have seen the game over screen so many times that it more than likely i will say what can i learn from this now. Besides i like hard games dark souls……im such a sucker for that game

  7. Oh, I LOVED that documentary. Phil made me cry so hard. A total “take it one tiny step at a time until you’re running” story. It’s for free on Hulu as well (well, Hulu Plus.)

  8. Thanks for the kind words, casama, While failure shouldn’t be sought out, it almost always happens. And like you said, getting back up is the most important part.

  9. Thanks for the kind words, Chris. Yeah, short-term and long-term goals are apart of the overall plan. But I feel most people rely on terrible short-term goals and no long-term goals. Your short term one is a good example for quick motivation.

  10. Nice to see you replying Anthony! Just went over and checked out your site, be prepared for a traffic spike!

  11. Anthony, I was so excited to see you have a post on Nerd Fitness. My parents actually wanted to know what I was yelling about; they normally don’t ask.

    What you said in the “Getting Lost” section is like what Sean Croxton says; as soon as you meet resistance (whether it’s internal or external), you’re on the verge of a breakthrough. You’ll never get through the Lost Woods taking the same incorrect route repeatedly; you have to recognize when you need to change the way you do things.
    Every time you get lost, it’s a chance to prove to everyone else (not important) and yourself (important) how bad you really want to make it. If you do, I don’t think you necessarily become a hero. You sort of look back and realize that you’ve been a hero the whole time, now you have your tools, and it’s time to save Hyrule/your body/your self-confidence/your bank account/etc.

  12. This is one of the best damn articles I’ve read in a long time. Needed this one ATM. Great stuff Anthony!

  13. I had a “game over” moment some years ago when I seriously tore my hamstring. I had to basically start from scratch in all my fitness goals, but now I feel better than ever! Thanks for this inspiring post.

  14. “Game over is admission for playing the game.” I love this! It’s so easy to want to give up when things aren’t perfect. Looking at it this way, just means we’re playing. Fabulous. Seriously. This blog is like being in church, I feel like you’re always preaching at me!

  15. When you said ”
    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” in 5 , wouldn´t it be ”
    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably not”?

  16. I really disagree that wanting to look better is a bad goal. It’s kept me going for two years at getting better at exercise. There shouldn’t be judgement on why people get fit.

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