I am on vacation this week and since I promised my wife I would not work I asked a couple of friends to contribute some guest posts while I am away.
Before I left, I got to spend a few hours playing through the brand new Batman Arkham Knight game on my Xbox One.
SOOOOOO FREAKING GOOD!
Honestly, there is nothing more badass than jumping off a building, calling in the Batmobile, and then dropping into the seat like the badass Batman is.
Almost 98% of my podcast guests answer my question of “what superhero would you be” by answering that they would be Batman. It makes sense to be honest, a rich guy with cool toys who stands for justice and tries to right the wrongs of the city he loves. Batman makes more sense then some dude who can only can be defeated by some rock that doesn’t exist naturally on Earth (suck it Superman).
My good friend and former two time podcast guest Tanner Baze lays out how you can train to become Batman yourself below.
There’s a scene I love in Batman Begins. Ra’s Al Ghul has just made it known that he’s there to ruin Bruce Wayne’s birthday party. Wayne knows why Al Ghul is there, and promptly kicks everyone out.
Not long after Al Ghul sets the place on fire and knocks Bruce Wayne out, leaving him to die. It’s poetry in motion, since Wayne left Al Ghul to die in his own home. Alfred, being a great Butler, busts in and tries to get a fiery log off of Wayne.
Alfred is old, and when the most strenuous thing you’ve done for thirty years is watch over a family of billionaires, moving a log is tough business. Wayne is wallowing in self pity and lamenting the fact he’s probably going to die right there when Alfred takes a shot right at Wayne’s dignity with the line, “What’s the point of all those push-ups if you can’t lift a bloody log?!”
I love the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale version of Batman. He’s imperfect. He’s tortured. He’s got his demons, and he’s so fucking determined it’s unreal. Batman never stops getting back up.
Batman also has a body that we can achieve. He doesn’t have some ridiculous over developed look. He can’t fly. He can’t run like Flash. He isn’t Aquaman. Batman is human. Batman can run, jump, and lift. Batman exhibits what every man wants to be. Strong willed, dogged determination, excellent shape, and a billionaire playboy.
How exactly do you do that though? I can’t help you with the billionaire playboy part. I’m still trying to figure that one out. But the Batman body? It’s tough, but not impossible.
The guide to getting built like Batman.
Recomposition is key:
Recomposition is difficult shit. Working to build muscle and shed fat at once isn’t easy. When training to look like Batman, you don’t have the luxury of time. Batman sure as hell didn’t, and it’s important for us to get in character.
This is why recomposition is important. Recomposition allows the Batman to make the best use of his time, and get his body where it needs to be as quick as possible.
If Batman took too long to get in shape, Gotham would burn to the ground.
But how do you recomp?
A Batman worthy recomposition program is going to take about 4 months of hard-hitting Batman like training and nutrition.
The first 6 weeks: The beginning has an intense fat loss focus. Before getting going with fat loss, you need to know your maintenance. Here’s a great guide.
Calories, especially carbs are going to be much lower than maintenance. This helps get insulin sensitivity back up to par, which is a major benefit later in the program as we add in more carbs to start building lean mass.
For 6 weeks calories are 300-400 below maintenance. Most of those calories will get removed by dropping starchy carbs aside from post workout. Examples of starchy carbs include: potatoes, rice, bread, and grains. Starchy carbs will be kept to only after workouts, and no more than 125g per day.
That’s extreme, but so is the Batman.
After those initial 6 weeks, overall body fat levels should be drastically different. Insulin sensitivity will be improved, and you’ll notice you’re starting to look much leaner.
Next 10 weeks: This is where the real building takes place, thanks to carb and calorie cycling.
Carb and calorie cycling involves eating more carbs and calories on the days of your intense workouts, and eating less on your lighter days or rest days. We’re using this method in order to fuel performance and build as much lean muscle mass as possible while still keeping body fat low.
On workout days you’ll bring calories up to 100 calories above maintenance, and carbs up to 2g per lb of lean body mass. If you’re 200lbs, and 10% body fat, you have about 180lbs of lean body mass. That means that you’ll be eating about 360g of carbs per day.
On off days you’ll drop down to 400 calories below maintenance, and keep carbs at about 1g per lb of lean body mass.
These measures are extreme, but we’re talking about the GOD DAMNED BATMAN HERE. If some extreme measures aren’t for you, then your city should be happy they’re safety isn’t resting with you.
The Batman would love the opportunity to spend most of his days holed up in his bat cave weight room. Unfortunately, shit just doesn’t work out that way when you’ve got a city to protect.
Because of this, the Batman has to plan his training intelligently. A 4 day a week split that involves a mix of compound movements, two strength focused days, two hypertrophy focused days, and some sort aerobic conditioning each day is ideal.
This set up allows Batman to make the greatest use of his time, and build a body that not only looks like a superhero, but also performs like one.
The Batman Training split:
Upper body strength day.
Keep the exercise selection basic, and sets/reps low. Use 4 exercises, and use 3-4 sets of 6 reps. These lifts allow awesome overall muscular recruitment, as well as maximum weight moved. A perfect blend for strength and size.
My favorites are:
30-40 minutes of trail running
Lower body strength day.
The same can be said about the lower body strength day. 3-4 sets of 6 reps a piece.
These exercises are the best “bang for your buck” exercises known to the entire lower body. The Batman needs a badass lower body base to fight people like Bane. Simply put, without squatting or deadlifting, Gotham would be fucked.
My favorites are:
30 minutes of slow and steady swimming
Upper body hypertrophy day:
The focus is to build more size in the upper body, so traditional body building moves will come into play. The overall load isn’t as great as the strength days, so sets and reps go up. I don’t suggest anything over 12 reps, and for only 3-4 sets.
Tempo is an important part as well. The Batman needs to be as efficient as possible with his time, and using time under tension training allows him to get great size gains with less time input.
I enjoy using a tempo of 3-0-3 on almost every single exercise in this type of program. Essentially, 3 seconds down, and 3 seconds back up. This causes serious microtrauma to the muscle, which leads to some nasty ass DOMS, and sick gains.
My favorite exercises are:
Incline bench press
Close grip bench press
20 minutes of rowing
Lower body hypertrophy day:
Tempo and exercise selection get more liberal here, just like the upper body day. The same rep and set rules still apply, especially because this is a lower body day. The Batman spends a ton of time working his lower body, so there’s no sense in pummeling it unnecessarily.
I enjoy trying to use the same 3-0-3 tempo, though towards the end of the workout that tends to get really freaking difficult. Then again, so is a Joker who wants to watch all of Gotham burn. So suck it the fuck up.
My favorites are:
40 minutes of cycling.
Optional accessory day:
On this day you can perform some sort of skill work, like using the grappling hook to climb up walls, throwing ninja stars, fight training, or just general mobility work. Don’t worry about any dedicated lifting though. This day is all about getting yourself combat ready.
This day is a long slow slog. It’s not meant to be a day that completely beats you to hell. It’s meant to be a day where you exercise for an hour either running or biking. It shouldn’t be so tough that you can’t finish, it should be a slow pace meant solely to bring about some sort of aerobic adaptation.
The mental side of training:
As the Batman, it’s not enough to be physically ready for all that gets thrown at you. You’ve got to be mentally ready as well. Being strong mentally is pretty fucking important when you’re faced with a Joker who is crazy enough to light an entire pile of cash on fire, or a Bane who isn’t afraid to blow up an entire football stadium WHILE THE GAME IS GOING ON.
This is why meditation is key. A few minutes of meditation each day is enough to center yourself, allow you to be mindful of all that is going on, and prepares you to look within yourself when times are tough. Without meditation, all the physical training in the world wouldn’t do the Batman a damn bit of good.
Mediation is simple, but it isn’t easy. 10 minutes a day. First thing in the morning. The Batman gets his water, places himself on the ground, and begins to intensely focus. He allows thoughts to float into and out of his mind, and consistently brings himself back to the present. Focusing only on what is happening in that very moment.
Bruce Wayne winds up lifting the log off of him after Alfred takes a shot at his dignity. Wayne digs deep and benches a burning log, which is obviously more badass than any regular barbell bench press. Wayne couldn’t have done this had he not struggled, had he not prepared himself physically and mentally. You may not have a burning log on you at some point, but you will have your own version of a burning log. And when that time comes, if you’ve prepared yourself like Bruce Wayne, pushing it off of you and conquering your demons will be possible because you’ll be built like Batman.
Next week stay tuned for how you can build your own Batcave Gym at home. I will be back with articles from me the following week July 14th with some exciting news for all of you!