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Year one: month one

Too often I see people who join up with a gym or start exercising with the best intentions, only to see them lose motivation after a short amount of time and quit.

It’s okay, because most of us have been there. But it always make’s me sad to hear when people, for whatever reason drop off and give up on improving themselves and fall back into old habits.

Don’t have time to read the full article? That’s cool. I actually did a recording of me reading the whole article out for you on the podcast! So check it out here.

Superhero Strength Podcast: Episode 30

You’re welcome!

The idea behind this series of articles is to help you set up a realistic and sustainable lifestyle, where you will learn new skills that can be introduced over the course of your first year of your superhero transformation. I want you to start off by learning and mastering the basic’s. Too many people jump straight in and want to do too much advanced stuff, before they even know how to do the basic’s. It’s like trying to run before you can walk, or crawl even!

The idea behind YEAR ONE was inspired by the classic 1980’s graphic novel, BATMAN: YEAR ONE, by comic legend, Frank Miller.

The Batman: Year one story line goes right back to Bruce Wayne’s first year as the Batman. It shows Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham City, after years of living oversea’s, where he was completely off the grid. It shows how he conceives the idea of using a Bat as his symbol and his first nights as the Gotham City Vigilante. He makes mistakes, he gets beaten up. He isn’t the Batman that we all know yet. He isnt the world’s greatest detective or the most badass Non-Superpowered hero on the planet yet. He’s still learning.

That is what year one is. It’s your first year on the job. You’re still a Rookie. You’re still learning and making improvement’s to become better. You aren’t quite at the level where you can be in the same ‘league’ as a Kryptonian, or an Amazonian, an Atlantean, a Martian or even a Lantern….. But you will be.

This year one series will continue for 12 articles, covering each month of your first year of transforming yourself into a Superhero. Follow the process’s that I lay out each month and I guaruntee you will see amazing results that will set you up to become an unstoppable Superhero just like the Dark Knight himself.



Build a foundation of strength.

You have probably heard this before, but I believe it bears repeating. A big, solid structure requires strong foundations.If you want to build a house, a skyscraper or any kind of structure. Then you need a strong foundation, right? It’s exactly the same thing with building a superhero physique. If you truly want to build a large, well rounded superhero physique then the first thing that needs to be done is to build a solid foundation of strength.

We do this by getting you started on building up your overall strength through the old school basic barbell exercises.
No doubt you have heard terms like, “back to basics” or “keep it simple”. The reason we have these terms is because at the end of the day, the basics are always the things that get the best results. People tend to over complicate things, especially in the beginning before they have mastered THE BASICS. That is why people always have to go back to them.

So what are the basics?

The basic’s are things like the bench press, the squat, the deadlift, the overhead press, the row. You know what these are, you’ve seen them before. These are the basics, along with their different variations of them. These are primal movements. BASIC movements. movements and basic motor patterns that you perform everyday throughout life. We use the squat to take a shit, we use the deadlift to bend over and pick something up. We use the bench press and the overhead press to lift things off us. They are basic primal movements, that every able bodied human being should be able to do. Especially a superpowered human being. Concentration curls? Lateral raises? Huh??…….
This is only the first month, so I do not expect you to become super strong in these movements after just one month. This is a lifetime journey where you are always learning and perfecting these movements and getting stronger in them. ALWAYS. You will never be a master, you will never be perfect. But you must always be trying to become the master of these movements. Month one is all about getting started and learning these basic movements. This is your main aim for the first month. There is no arm training day, there are no endless sets of calves, you need not bother with machines. These things will come later on, but not now. There’s no point in working on installing the dashboard of your car, when we havent even started working on the chassis yet….. (Ive got a tonne of these metaphors that I can throw at you!)

Train for only 3-4 days per week.

More is not always better.
I am not a fan of 6-7 days per week of training. I dont believe in training twice per day. I hate training for 2+ hours in the gym. That’s not to say that people who do any of these are wrong. For some high level athletes, they probably do have to train that often and for that long. But for a newbie in their first month of training? No way!
A training session ranging in length from an hour to an hour and a half is plenty of time in the gym. If your workouts are going for longer than that, then you are either doing far too many exercises or you are taking way too long of a rest break between sets and need to pick up the pace!
There are two reasons why you only need to train for a maximum of 4 sessions per week.
  1. Recovery.

Your body is probably not used to exerting itself to these kinds of exercises / movements with load. In the beginning you will likely feel very sore after some of these workouts, provided you are putting in some effort and pushing yourself. The body needs time to recover from these sessions so it can rebuild and come back stronger. If you were to start everything off by hitting the weights for 6 or 7 days straight, you MIGHT be able to keep it up and push through the soreness for the first week, maybe even the second week. But it wont be long before your central nervous system starts taking a beating. You will eventually find you are actually getting weaker, more tired and fatigued. Your sleep will be broken and you will just feel like crap. You also open yourself up to a much greater chance of injury and illness where you will have to take time off. Remember that we are playing the long game here. Dont try to win it all in the first few weeks, because you will lose.
  1. Sustainability and Consistency.

Going to the gym is a new habit that you have to somehow fit into your everyday lifestyle. It’s a habit that needs to become as natural to you as brushing your teeth in the morning and before bed. I like starting people out with just 3-4 sessions per week because it is much easier to fit those into someone’s lifestyle where they can remain consistent with it. These day’s we all live busy lives with work, friends, social commitments, family commitments, etc. Starting out your training career with a training session everyday is not sustainable for most people. The key to your success is to stay consistent with it all. You may be able to hit the gym everyday for a couple of weeks, but it wont be long before other lifestyle factors start getting in the way. Maybe you have a wife and kids. How long can you keep up going to the gym everyday and putting off those family responsibilities? How long before your family sits you down to have “the talk”? They never see you, because you are always either at work, or at the gym?  Is that sustainable?
How long can you put off ditching your friends in the afternoons or weekends because you’ve gotta hit the gym? How many weeks until they stop calling?
For me personally, I train for 4 days per week consistently at 6am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and one 10am session on saturdays. I do this so my training does not inhibit other area’s of my life. I can go for a walk with my wife and dog in the afternoons. I can catch up with friends on fridays after work. Doing this has allowed me to remain consistent with my training every week for the last 4 years. If I miss a training session on one day for whatever reason, no problem! I’ll just make up for it on another day.

Once you have been able to remain consistent with your 3-4 training sessions per week for a couple of months and going to the gym has become as natural as brushing your teeth, then you could consider adding in an extra day if you so truly desire.

Avoid doing countless hours of cardio.

With the exception of staying active with your lifestyle and doing things like taking the dog for a walk or playing any sport’s that you may be involved in, you really don’t need to be spending a lot of time doing cardio. In your first month, a few sessions of cardio here and there can be a good thing, but don’t over do it. The new weight training program you are doing alone is probably enough cardiovascular conditioning  to begin with.
A lot of this goes back to the sustainability and consistency thing from above. Maybe you can hit the gym for your weight training sessions at one time of day and then spend more time doing endless amounts of cardio or aerobic classes. But for how long? How long until your central nervous system is fried from this massive amount of intense work that is suddenly thrust upon it?

Dont make too many diet changes in the beginning.

If you start introducing too many lifestyle changes all at once it can become very overwhelming and difficult for many people to stick with it. Just introducing the training aspect alone for many people is a big enough change to their life. If you were then to throw a complete new diet and eating lifestyle on top of all of that at the same time, it may very well all come crashing down. I am much more of a fan of introducing different elements one step at a time.
Time for another life metaphor!
If you are building a house of cards and you have just built the first row of cards, what happens if you put the rest of the deck of cards on top? It’ll probably all fall down, right?
Same thing with adding in new lifestyle changes. If you try adding in too many, too quickly. The whole thing just falls down, like the house of cards.
In your first month, keep your diet pretty much the same, but just make a few small changes.

Clean things up by removing the obvious crappy foods.

Obvious foods are things like fast food, Mcdonald’s KFC, Dominoes, Meat Pies, Cakes, Donuts, Packets of chips. You more than likely know what the obvious stuff is. Either cut it all out or cut it in half. Depending on how much of it you already eat.

Add a bit more protein to your meals

I used to be the guy who would have Chips and gravy for lunch…. There’s no protein in that. It’s all carbs and trans fats from deep frying. I then for a little while became the guy who would get Ceasar Salads without any chicken breast added. There’s no protein in that lettuce or Ceasar dressing….. Add some chicken to that meal, man!
As we progress over the course of this year one, you will learn more about simple ways to optimize your nutrition. But for now in month one I suggest just focusing on these two steps. They may be easy for some of you, they may be difficult. If it’s difficult for you to make these diet changes, dont worry. You arent going to get it all perfect from the word go. Just keep trying.
Dont be hard on yourself if you do go back to the obvious bad foods every now and then. It happens, and all you need to do is move on from it.


Dont expect massive changes straight away.

In today’s world of fast internet, Video On Demand and thousands pieces of marketing material showing you how to get the “body of your dreams in just a few short weeks”. It’s no wonder people no longer have any patience.
Dont concern yourself with expecting to see massive physical changes in this first month. They will more than likely be very minimal. I can understand people’s frustrations and disappointment when they have been slogging themselves for 4 weeks and dont feel that there is anything to show for it.
This is the hardest test of all for a new Superhero trainee. It’s also hard for me to tell you that you shouldnt expect to see huge changes in your first month.
Who want’s to follow a plan that doesnt get results? It doesnt make any sense!
When you are playing the long game like we are, results will be slow. However they will be permanent.
How many people have you see over the years go on these radical transformation program’s that contain high amounts of training, high amounts of cardio, low calories, lots of supplements.
I bet you have seen a tonne of people do these programs and get some amazing results!
I have too!
How many of those people were able to maintain their results???………. (Did I just see a tumbleweed roll past?)
Once again it all goes back to the sustainability and consistency section above. In my time I have seen so many people take part in rapid body transformations and even bodybuilding contest preparations where they got insanely shredded for the stage. Just a few months later, they dont even look like they’ve ever stepped into a gym, let alone just recently stepped on stage as a bodybuilder!
 That’s a wrap for your first month of your Superhero Transformation. If a lot of these tactic’s that I’ve outlined here seem easy, then GOOD! Sticking to it should be easy for you then. But don’t skip ahead. Just stick with it every day and trust the process.
If it seems too hard for you. Don’t worry about it. Just do as much as you can. Cant train 4 days per week? train for 3 days per week. Cant cut out all of the obviously unhealthy foods? Just cut out half of them. The point is to just keep working to get better and improve yourself each day. Day one, may be the hardest day of them all for you. But if you stick with it, it’ll be so much easier by day 30.
Got any questions or feedback? comment below or throw me an email at

Looking for some further help to put all of this into practice?
Then sign up for the free Year One Program.
You will get a monthly training program and nutrition plan examples sent straight to you.
Plus any extra resources that I think will help you on your journey.

jamesYear one: month one