What Ironman can teach you about building a lean, strong, healthy body

I was watching Iron man the other day. Fantastic movie.

Iron Man is in my top 5 favorite Superheroes of all time.

My list? Dang man, that’s putting me on the spot a bit, but here goes:

1. Superman
2. Iron Man
3. Batman
4. Captain America
5. Thor

I’ve always been a superhero geek. Never got so much into the comic books, just obsessed with the concept of superheroes.

Truth is, most of my life I’ve felt like a colossal failure. I wasn’t great in school.

I was always kind of the ‘awkward’ guy socially (even though most people perceived this as me being an asshole, truth is, I just had a lot of anxiety).

Superheroes gave me hope that I could be more. That I could overcome my insecurities and shortcomings and do something great and make a dent in the world.

Bruce Wayne can turn into batman. Maybe I can turn into my own form of a superhero?

That was my hope. And so, as a kid – and still to this day – I’ve always been drawn to anything that has to do with Superheroes.

Which brings us back to Iron Man.

In one scene, Tony Stark is dancing with his assistant, Pepper Potts, and they’re talking about how Tony wouldn’t survive a week without her because of all she does for him.

​​​​​He doesn’t even know his social security number.

You could look at this two ways:

1. He’s a loser. A grown man that needs to get his life in order.

2. Dudes a genius. He let’s someone else take care of the details of his life so that he can focus his time and effort on doing what he’s best at: creating awesome shit and being Iron Man.

I think he’s a genius. And I think you can apply this same idea to your fitness pursuits as well with massive positive turnaround.

Here’s how…


If you can look past the specific situation of Tony Stark and identify the underlying principle of what he’s doing, you can extract all kinds of meaning from his apparent dismissal of seemingly important information – like knowing his social security number.

In the pursuit of a stronger, leaner, more muscular body – the kind of body that will give make you a more confident and capable man in every day life – there are a few things that matter and a lot of other details that will distract you.

I’ve said it time and time again, but it bears repeating: we’ve known what it takes to build muscle and lose fat for a long time – and very little of it has changed.

In other words, there’s a “short-list” of must-do’s that will be responsible for 95% of your results; and an encyclopedia of tips, tricks, hacks, and other advanced strategies that are, at best, going to be responsible for 5% (or less) of your results.

Your goal is focus on the few things that are responsible for the 95% of your results and leave the complicated fitness jargon for the masses to argue over on bodybuilding.com.


1. Decide which muscles you want to get bigger.

2. Pick exercises that target those muscles.

3. Train each muscle (or muscle groups) 1-2 times per week, using weights that are challenging in the 4-15 rep range.

4. Progress over time (lift more weight, do more reps with the same weight, get better at creating intramuscular tension with the same weight).

5. Sprint or do 10-minutes of intervals 1-2 times per week (or just go do something fun that gets you moving at varying intensities).


1. Drink water

2. Eat meals containing lean protein and veggies/fruit.

3. If this is your first meal following a workout, add some starch to your meal (rice, oats, pasta, etc.)

4. Break the rules above 10% of the time (if desired)


1. Prioritize sleep and aim for 8 hours per night.

2. Do things for fun that get you active (play a sport, chase your kids around the park, go for bike rides and walks).

3. Take steps to reduce stress (yoga, meditation, laughing, spending time with people you like).

What should you do with all this?

The “short-lists” above are the things that will be responsible for 95% of your results. Do them consistently day after day, year after year, and you will build a badass body that looks and performs well.

And all the rest? The tips, tricks, and advanced workout and diet strategies – the 5% that most people focus on?

That stuff is details. It’s like Tony Stark’s social security number – something important, but a distraction from what is MOST important. Don’t even worry about it until you’ve mastered the things above, first.


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