Train Like A Secret Agent: Becoming Bond and Bourne

In honor of my “How to Blog like James Bond” post over on CopyBlogger (hey CopyBlogger readers!), I figured I’d keep the good times rolling and teach you how to train like a secret agent.

When you think of any movie featuring James Bond or Jason Bourne, you know what’s coming: a mysterious plot, espionage, incredible skills, risky maneuvers, great chase scenes, and a bucketful of action.  Whether you’re a guy or girl, it’s practically impossible to leave the theater and not say “damn that was cool, I want to be able to do that!”

I’m obviously not talking about the assassinations or constant risk of dying, but rather the way that these two characters carry themselves: they are in peak physical condition, prepared for any situation, comfortable in any environment, and ready to to kick ass at a moment’s notice.

Let’s do this!

Be a jack-of-all trades

James Bond isn’t some scrawny dude that only runs marathons (my apologies if you’re a scrawny dude who only runs marathons).  He can crank out twenty pull ups, sprint a mile, kill a guy for the fun of it, and then do fifty push ups without breaking a sweat. Similarly, Jason Bourne spends his free time scaling buildings, swimming through rivers fully clothed while being shot at, speaking 15 different languages, scuba diving, and karate chopping bad guys.

Bourne and Bond are good at LOTS of things that allow them to never get caught in any situation unprepared.

How to be like them: Acquire new skills, diversify your fitness portfolio, and be ready for anything.  As you become proficient at one skill, your training will carry over to the next one making it less difficult to get started.  Here are some ways for you to become more well-rounded:

Train with conviction, and train quickly

Jason and James exercise consistently because they know it can mean the difference between life and death out in the field.  They don’t cut their workouts short when they’re tired or skip a day because they’re lazy.  They train hard, they train with purpose, and they train as if their lives depended on it (because they do).

Secondly, they train quickly: secret agents don’t have time to go on four-hour fun runs or spend seven days a week in the gym.  They have other sh** to do – assassinating bad guys, drinking martinis, flying around the world, gambling in Monte Carlo, and so on.  Their workouts are quick, intense, and designed to build functional strength for real-world use.

I prescribe to the “train with conviction” method, which is one of the cornerstones of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.  My workouts last less than 45 minutes, involve compound exercises that work out my entire body, and prepare me for any situation.  I can bench 200+, deadlift 300+, do 15 pull ups, and run a 5k tomorrow if you need me to – nothing to write home about, I know, but I exercise less than four hours a week and I’m getting stronger every day.  The rest of my time is spent doing stuff I love: writing articles, traveling, answering emails from NF readers, reading books (currently Atlas Shrugged), and playing video games – I got sucked into four hours of Halo Reach the other night…oops.

How to be like them: Challenge yourself with each workout – try to spend LESS time and push yourself HARDER.  Yeah it’s less fun than “working out” while chatting for two hours, but it’s a lot more effective and efficient.  The best part is, after you’re done training, you don’t have to kill anybody!  You can come home to your wife/kids/family/dog/imaginary friend and do the stuff you enjoy.

Remember: fitness can be part of what you are, but not at the expense of who you are.

Take calculated risks

When Jason Bourne jumps off a building, he knows he’ll stick the landing.  When James Bond drives his Aston Martin at 100 mph on a windy road, it’s because he’s done it before.  These agents take risks that would make most people poop their pants, but it’s just another “day in the office” for them because they’ve been there and done that.  What would scare you and I hardly bothers them because they’re built up their risk tolerance.

How to be like them: Start doing one thing every day that scares you.  Take risks, both with your workouts and your life – they don’t need to be life threatening, but they do need to be outside of your comfort zone.  For some people, that might be skydiving out of an airplane.  For others, it might be doing a triathlon.  For you, it might be building up your confidence by finally approaching a cute girl in the coffee shop.  For me, it’s traveling outside of North America – I’ve never been.

Do things that are slightly more risky than where you feel comfortable – adapt, grow, survive.

(Just don’t take any really stupid risks, I don’t need any Darwin Awards on my conscience.)

Have a mission

Bond always has some awesome objectives: fly to the Bahamas, gamble at this casino, win this game, beat up that guy, and save the girl.  Bourne, on the other hand, creates missions for himself on the fly based on his predicament.  Both of them always have a plan A and a plan B. They know exactly what they have to do, and then they go out and do it.

How to be like them: give yourself daily missions to stay on track.  If you’re going to work out in a gym, make sure you do so with specific goals and a routine (you don’t want to suck at working out).  If you’re going to start training for a half-marathon, don’t just start running without a plan – take the time to actually plan things out.

When I go for a walk every morning, I come up with three manageable missions for the day that I need to accomplish.  I come home, write them down on a post-it note, and hang it above my computer until I’m complete them all or die trying (so far so good).

Today’s a rest day for me, so here are my three non-fitness missions for the day:

  1. Finish a guest post that’s been sitting in the draft stage forever.
  2. Record a video talking about the Rebel Fitness Guide to put a face and a voice behind the product.
  3. Start posting my DVDs on – I have over 100 that I need to start selling!

Start Today

Your mission is to start being more awesome today. Train hard, train diversely, and do more of the stuff that you love.  And take a risk every once and a while dammit! It’s good for you.

So let’s hear it: What are your three missions for today, and who’s your favorite: Bourne or Bond?


PS – Speaking of becoming more awesome, I have a big announcement on Monday, where I’m going to need your help designing something epic.  It will involve exotic locations, risky maneuvers, a ridiculous amount of fun, and all kinds of ACTION.  I’m excited.



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