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Gaming your physique - how to get a body like Batman, Kratos, or Nathan Drake

Everyone wants to get in shape and the fitness industry has never been bigger than it is in 2019 - there’s a diet and workout routine for however you'd like to look.

There are even articles that recommend the pizza diet for getting big and ripped. I would advise against that, but you’ll never know until you try… (don’t try).

The best way to achieve any goal when it comes to your physique, however, is to have a visual goal in mind. Fortunately for us, video games have plenty of reference points to choose from. It’s beyond easy to be in peak conditioning when you’re a fictional character who can get their abs drawn on by an artist, but there are things you can do if you want to get Bat-body-ready. This is what we shall focus on today which will – hopefully – allow you to look like your heroes at some point in the future. The dream.

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*I could explain every exercise to you, but it’s a waste of time when typing it into Google will also give you a lovely picture so please do embrace the internet.

How to get a body like Batman

Forget video games. Everyone secretly wants to experience what it’s like to be The Dark Knight, even if that ends with them getting stabbed in the chest the first time they swoop in to stop a robbery. Spoiler: actual human beings can’t survive being mortally wounded.

Getting into Bruce Wayne shape, however, is far more realistic, even if it does take some dedication. There’s numerous versions of The Caped Crusader, ranging from lean and quick to big and bulky, but for the purposes of this feature we’ll look at Rocksteady's vision of the burly bat.

Instantly there is a snafu, mind, because you can look at the suit and go, “The f**king thing has muscles built into it!”. If you were a billionaire who was a bit nuts and therefore had to try and convince people you weren’t Batman, you’re going to add a hench quality to your high-tech body armour. That way, when you’re running around as your normal human self, society won’t realise you’re one and the same.

In terms of what it would take to get in that shape, I’d recommend the ‘stereotypical bodybuilder plan’. Before that sends alarm bells ringing in your head, try not to panic. It doesn’t mean you’re going to wake up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, although I will say if you do, I would strongly advise that you enter the competitive world instantly. It means you have amazing genetics and I hate you.

Taking the size out of it, it’s all about engaging your entire body’s muscles weekly using a very easy routine that would look something like this.

  • Day 1: Legs
  • Day 2: Chest and push exercises
  • Day 3: Back and pull exercises
  • Day 4: Rest
  • Day 5: Shoulders
  • Day 6: Arms
  • Day 7: Rest

Throughout you’d need to follow a basic plan, too, where you do four exercises per bodypart with four sets for each. It’s always smart to have a warm-up routine where you get yourself feeling ready to lift weights, even if that’s just 5-10 minutes of cardio followed by another 10 minutes of stretching. You may not see any benefit now but future you is already saying thank you.

In terms of the exercises themselves, it’s a matter of simplicity once again.

  • Legs: Squats, leg press, quad raises and hamstring curls
  • Chest: Bench press, cable flies, body dips and press-ups
  • Back: Pull-ups, lat pull downs, barbell rows and shrugs
  • Shoulders: Dumbell raises, lateral raises, rear delt raises and upright rows
  • Arms: Bicep curls, hammer curls, tricep pulldowns and overhead dumbbell extensions

You may read some articles that suggest doing more, but if you’re a beginner who wants to have the frame of Batman as well as his flexibility and speed then you need to start slow. Furthermore, doing so leaves more room for experimentation down the line. If you do everything off the bat – which is a hilarious pun – you’ve got nowhere to go.

It’s the same with rep ranges and weight. 8-12 reps will see you right at first, and finding a weight that works with that is down to the individual. You’ll need to marry this up with a healthy diet as well, but it’s the same thought process. Get rid of what you know to be junk and start eating well with an emphasis on increasing your protein intake. That’ll help fuel your muscles and before long you’ll have a base to sculpt and punch would-be criminals in the face. Batman definitely uses the MyFitnessPal app to track his calories and macros.

How to get a body like Kratos

God of War

Kratos looks a lot like Batman, except for having no hair and no need for clothes, right? He’s arguably stronger than Mr. Wayne, though, which is the main twist here. Increasing your strength is different from developing muscles, even if they follow similar protocols.

It benefits the Ghost of Sparta, since he spends most of his time taking heavy weapons and sticking them through monsters, or using his fists to punch his foes into dust. I don’t know whether you’ve ever tried to reduce bones to molecules, but it’s not easy - you’ve got to be really, really buff.

So here’s the idea. Taking everything you’ve learned about becoming Batman – complete with not letting anyone into your life apart from aging butlers – you simply have to focus on heavier lifts with fewer reps. For example, when it’s time to do bench press, instead of aiming for 8-12 reps, drop it to 6-8 reps while never losing your form. You don’t want to be the person who turns up at the gym and loads up a bar far too heavy before dropping it on their neck. That makes you more annoying than Atreus, who for a good 10 hours in God of War learns absolutely nothing. Kratos should’ve chopped off his head and been done with it.

You’d also benefit by adding in more compound exercises - a must down the line, even if Batman’s body is your ultimate goal. Deadlifts, squats and military presses not only work their respective muscles - back, legs and shoulders - but they also trigger stabiliser muscles which not only mean you’re more developed, but also make you stronger. It’s like creating extra padding and support for your body.

What’s good to remember is that while Kratos is jacked and lean, that’s not always possible. It is for some, but if strength is what you’re most desperate for then you’d be best getting ready to say goodbye to any abs and accepting that you’ll look awesome in jumpers. Plus everyone in the gym will love you, because we all know deep down that’s what matters in the weight room. Big humans lifting big things. We’re an odd species...

The TL:DR version of this is to eat as much as you can and train as heavy as you can. You may have a higher body fat percentage than the man from Greek mythology, but when you get ripped you’ll also look better.

How to get a body like Nathan Drake

“What if I don’t care about big muscles?” I hear you cry. Well, first and foremost we’d likely never be friends, but you’re also not alone. It’s why Nathan Drake came along in the first place: a more realistic, in-shape dude that could jump really well. The 2019 equivalent of this is crossfit: a routine that takes aerobic exercises, body weight exercises, olympic lifting and merges them into one. It’s also incredibly popular these days, meaning there’s likely a crossfit gym mere minutes from your house. If there’s not, don’t worry - just whisper the word and one magically appears.

It’s far more concerned with improving overall fitness as opposed to completely shifting your physique, even though that will happen by proxy. Built around ‘WODS’ - or ‘workouts of the day’ - each session usually consists of multiple exercises that you do back-to-back in order to work up a sweat while also pushing yourself hard.

So, a starting workout may see you do the below with as much rest in-between as you feel necessary:

  • 10 kettlebell swings followed by 10 dumbbell thrusters, working your way down to zero. So after 10 you do 9 of each, then 8 of each and so on
  • As many burpees as you can in 8 minutes
  • 3 rounds of 10 reps for squats, sit-ups and press-ups doing all with as much intensity as you can
  • 3 rounds of 12 squats, 10 pull-ups and 8 press-ups. Some people will also do a brief 5 minute-run afterwards before the following round
  • 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 burpees and 10 pull-ups
  • 15 lunges with each leg followed by 60 seconds of skipping
  • 8 minutes of box jumps
  • 21 reps of pull-ups and burpees working down to 0 if you can.
  • 5 sets of 5 push-ups, followed by 5 burpees, then run in place for one minute

Sounds like a lot, right? Well, it’s because cardiovascular fitness is at the core of it. You can obviously start this at home and see how it goes, but going to a local class will help no end as an instructor can walk you through it.

It is a great approach if you’re looking to be physically fit enough to jump and swing through forests or climb up a train hanging off a mountain. I don’t think it helps your smack-talk, although you’ll probably meet at least one dick at your crossfit gym.

How to eat well, like Kirby

Kirby is a round pink ball. In terms of exact physical appearance, you’re not going to achieve this without some serious non-fitness work.

The reason he appears here is because you have to focus on diet in any list like this, and Kirby is the ideal way to do that given he literally couldn’t be any rounder if he tried. While it’s always important to stress that being happy should be your number one priority, if you are looking to shed a few pounds, you’ve got to watch what you eat. As we know and have pointed out, Kirby doesn’t. He eats Waddle Dees...

Just know that when you first start out, as mentioned, keeping it basic is going to help no end. ‘Cleaning up your diet’ can work wonders, even if it’s just cutting out one item you know is bad, such as fizzy drinks. These contain so many calories that even ignoring them for a month or so is a big step to getting in better shape, and it’s the same with alcohol.

There’s no point abstaining entirely if it’s going to make you miserable, but if you’re not in the mindset where going teetotal is an option, reduce your intake by half. It means you can continue to eat what you want while still making a serious change.

Eventually you will have to look into more sweeping shifts, and these are what you see and read about all the time. Don’t be scared of carbs or fats because you need both for energy and to stop your body shutting down, and increasing your protein is only going to help your muscles grow or shape up. You also want to eat little and often to ensure your metabolism is constantly in use, because the more you burn those fires the better it runs and operates. In that sense Kirby has this down because he does it from the start of any game till the end. It’s likely why he nevers gets bigger or smaller. He sticks to what works.

In terms of food, it’s more of the obvious. Eggs, chicken, fish, soy (yes, don’t listen to those idiots who think ‘soyboy’ is a clever insult) and quinoa are all good sources of protein, whereas oats, sweet potato, brown rice and even healthy bread – yes, bread – are solid carb choices. On the subject of bread, just find one that digests better than the norm. Looking into Ezekiel or Vogel bread will blow your mind.

Make sure you plan in an evening where you give yourself a break, too. The mental game is far harder than the physical, so knowing you get to eat your favourite foods on a Saturday evening will help to stay on plan through the week. Don’t call it a diet either. It’s a word drowning in negative connotations. You’re just smashing it. Easy…

And don't forget to have fun, like Wario

Wario is a wall of a human. He probably eats what he wants and goes to the gym every now and then because he enjoys it. Don’t tell me he doesn’t either. Look at him:

That’s a man who at least overtrains his arms. Overall however, he’s not that fussed and does what he wants. This is okay.

While your overall health is the real crutch of the matter – you work out to make yourself feel better and make sure you don’t fall ill – at no point should you force yourself through any kind of exercise plan that you’re hating. That’s the perfect way to fall off the wagon, and again, look at Wario: he revels in being a right twonk, but is clearly happy doing it. Balance is key.

The point is to never follow one singular routine because you think that’s what you have to do. It’s not. If you try weights and it’s not working, try crossfit. If that’s not enjoyable, try a gym class like ‘combat’ or ‘bums and tums’. There’s yoga, boxing, MMA, mountain climbing, marathon running, hiking, group walks and even pro-wrestling. I do the last one and it’s the best thing in the world, plus you get run ragged. Eventually you even get to bodyslam another person. That ticks a lot of boxes.

It’s imperative to discover what actually works for your brain so that you feel like you’re adding to your life and not suffering. Doing the opposite isn’t going to get you where you want to be, and that just results in another setback when you don’t reach your goals. Be smart with it and try not to buy into the social media fitness scene which can be full of hyperbole and over the top messages.

It’s what Wario does after all. He’s been on his own path and hasn’t swayed since 1992. The only time he falls slightly is during his losing animation in Mario Party. So – if you took nothing else away from this – be like Mario’s archrival and remember that if something isn’t working for you, then it’s not for you. Sounds overly simple, but there’s a reason for that. Usually because it works.

I send you nothing but good luck on your journey to becoming a fit and healthy video game character. That isn’t weird at all…

You can currently get the Batman Arkham games and Lego games for free on the Epic Games Store.

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