Many of us have vowed to hit the gym after December’s month-long binge fest. Christmas cookies aren’t actual calories, right? But it’s halfway through January now, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the health kick is probably wavering. We’re enlisting the help of our favorite fictional characters to bust us through the plateau.
Warm-ups with Winston – 1984 by George Orwell
Be glad Big Brother isn’t watching you. If that were the case, this daily wake-and-stretch—or the Physical Jerks, as Winston calls it—would be 100% necessary. Still, you don’t have to live in Airstrip One to reap the benefits of getting your blood pumping in the A.M. Step one is to get your arms bending and stretching. Step two is to touch your toes. All the way down, now. Without a telescreen, only you can hold yourself accountable. Come on, comrades! One, two, three, four!
Upper Body with Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Katniss knows the importance of upper body strength. It’s necessary to escape fellow tributes by climbing trees, and even more vital when using a bow and arrow. Try overhead squats and bicep curls to help with the whole climbing thing. For shooting arrows, aim to strengthen the back and core. These exercises are your new best friends: cable rows, lat pulldowns, resistance bands, sit-ups, and planks. May the odds of total badassery be ever in your favor.
Bucky Bleichert’s Boxing Tips -- The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
Take it from Bucky—boxing can help you, a lot, and it’s great for cardio. With the correct stance, it offers you stability, flexibility, security, and balance. The basics are simple. Jab, hook, upper cut. Get a pair of gloves and find a punching bag. Remind yourself to have good form and keep your fists in front of your face for protection. And if you have the opportunity to take a cardio boxing class, do it, because it’s crazy fun. You get to punch things.
Frodo and Sam on Building Endurance – The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Long distance walking builds strength and endurance, and we say the best experts are the ones who have walked all the way to Mordor. We aren’t fortunate enough to have calloused hobbit feet, but a pair of sneakers is the next best thing. Invest in a solid pair. Your next task? Hit the treadmill or take walks around your town. Try four miles to start, followed by an easier day. Work in a day of cross training, and make sure to give yourself another one to rest.
Agility and Coordination with Wesley – The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Let’s talk agility and coordination. They’re skills you must possess in order to partake in epic fencing battles, avoid geysers of fire, and outsmart R.O.U.S.es. Clumsy doesn’t cut it. For this, grab a ladder and set it on the floor. Practice quick feet from one side of the ladder to the other. Or if you prefer, try it with tires! Speed is key, so keep it up until you feel ready to dance around your fencing opponents without ever looking at your feet.
Strength Training with The Mountain – Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin
Start off simple—do the “farmer’s walk.” For this exercise, hold an equal amount of weight on both sides of your body. Let your arms dangle at your sides and walk around a track. Make sure to keep good posture. And if you want to channel some serious Ser Gregor, take it outside and flip tires. We’re talking full on hulking out, Mountain-style.