The Hero’s Abs are Irrelevant


I will preface this post by saying “hero worship” is obviously bad. But, if that means you can’t learn something from Mufasa or Albus Dumbledore or General Maximus, then I’m sad for you.


Bruce Wayne has a 46 inch chest.

Katniss Everdeen’s rear delt definition is pure sex.

Arms like Maximus.

Serratus like Durden.

Each of these fictional characters has a rocking body.

But that is not why we admire them

We live in a world where vanity gets attention.

A world where half naked, photo shopped bodies taunt us in checkout lines. A world where Iggy and J-Lo can shake their asses, call it music and rack up 100 million youtube views.

But I know you.

I know you, because I know me.

And I know that our admiration for Katniss or Batman is based not on their physique but rather on who they are.


We admire how they treat people. We admire their values and their actions.

Risking your own life to save your little sister is love.

And converting the pain of your parents’ death into the courage to save your city is a one helluva life mission.

Alright alright, Mike. I get it.

Do you though?

Do you get it?

Because I see you pinching at your stomach fat every 12 minutes.

I see you frustrated near tears that the scale swung two pounds heavier than yesterday.

I see you endlessly googling solutions to your perceived lack of triceps definition.

Your mark on this earth is not determined by the tenths place in your bodyfat percentage

It is not based on whether you have 4-pack or 6-pack abs.

It is not based on having 2cm or 4cm or zero centimeters of “gap” between your upper legs.

It is determined by what you do and who you impact.

How big you can love and how much good you can provide.

It is measured by the number of lives you can improve and inspire.

So fitness does not matter??

C’mon bro! How can you say that? You are RIPPED!!

Ha, why thank you fictitious reader created by the author to service author’s ego.

But I am not saying fitness doesn’t matter.

What I am saying is the result (hot body) is just a sliver of the total benefit.

The abs or the booty are not what elevate you to new heights.

It is what you learn about yourself through the process.

For example, Bruce Wayne does not do pushups every morning for a quarter inch larger chest circumference. He does it because it builds discipline. It builds strength. It builds the attributes that allow him to save Gotham.

You aren’t training and counting macros because the flicker of a shoulder vein makes you a hero.

You do it to develop confidence and instill self-belief

You do it because a physical change elicits a mental change.

To develop the tenacity and audacity to take action. Patience and empathy to do right and good. Focus and drive to accomplish anything.

Remember that.

Remember why fitness stuff is part of your life.

And when you draw inspiration from Brad Pitt, don’t do it because you want his abs – do it because you admire his ideals.

tyler durden

Thanks for reading. If you want to hear from me more often, I’ve been told my VIP newsletter is the best in the entire fitness community. You can sign up here.


Comments for This Entry

  • Vinny M

    Great Article! As someone who is a HUGE super-hero geek, I can definitely relate...

    January 31, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jess P

    Mike, I loved this article. I just recently (like 2 hours ago) was brought to your site by a friend. Love what you have to say about making fitness about bettering yourself, not just your body. I'm still a bit lost on how to figure out an individualized macro plan, but I'm hoping I'll stumble on the knowledge some day. Keep up the great work!

    February 1, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Tina

    This hits the nail on the head. Great inspiration to keep the ego in check and to remember what the true goal is. Thanks for posting!

    February 2, 2015 at 11:49 am | Reply to this comment

  • John

    This post is *almost* as good as your abs, brh. True story.

    February 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Cassandra

    I am so happy i came across your website a few weeks ago; the information you have on your page is great. But what i love the most is how true you are... you get back to all my comments even if you are thinking "ugh this person again" or "what kind of question is that" haha. Thanks Mike for this article as well... coming from someone who KNOWS the outside isnt what defines you.. i have a hard time sometimes following it myself and findign my own self-acceptance. i love to read more and more about tips and just different knowledge from a different mind set to view me in the right direction. thanks :)

    February 2, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Dominique

    Fuck. Yes. Right on the money, amigo.

    February 2, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kourtney T

    Yes. Yes x 1000. Thanks for a great post.

    February 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jenni

    I love your page! This article is exactly how I feel! I have lost 153lbs now and more then my body changing my mind has changed. I'm a more positive person and have a much better outlook on life. Just recently started counting macros and I love the freedom of it! I can still be social and go out once in a while!

    February 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Liz

    Great post, great message. I went from exercising almost never to running a marathon in less than a year about 2 years ago, but it was more an expression of turning personal hardships and pain from my past into positivity and self-confidence. The fitness was just a side benefit of totally changing my life. And it's so important to remember that our worth isn't contingent on maintaining a certain fitness level, because that can change. I'm 7 months pregnant, so I'm pretty limited to "don't eat crap" and "don't sit around too much." It's really hard to feel like I can't do what I could do before (like comfortably put on my own socks), but I know that it's not a measure of my personal value. Thanks for the great post, I have enjoyed reading your blog. PS, I used to work with you at the EAC, circa 2006! I think I still have the lifeguard tan line.

    February 4, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Mike Author

      Liz *Strawbridge* - of course I remember :) I'm super happy you can relate to the post on that level. And obviously, that training helped you change your life for the better. Really great to hear from you, Liz. And congrats on the soon-to-be little one!!

      February 7, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Matija

    The more I read your post the more I like you man. What you are saying is completely true. Year 2013 (not lifting) - dates: 0, talking to girls: very rarely. Year 2014 (started lifting in january) - dates: 8, talking to girls: everyday. Being active totaly changed my life. Those girls didn't go out with me because of physique but because I actually "grew b*lls". As you said in article. Other guys only see your body that why they say "its easy for you. You work out" but nah. It's about self-improvement on psihological level. I found out about your site 2 days ago. Since then I count my macros and I come back every day :). Your humor is amazing. Have a nice day Mike!

    November 19, 2015 at 7:42 am | Reply to this comment

  • Kati

    Great perspective - always nice to remember what really matters in life and the impact you can make. Now, if you look good doing it, just bonus, right? haha.

    January 6, 2016 at 11:36 am | Reply to this comment

  • Vanja

    hey i have neva cum across a better fitness website like this....i was actually looking out for one on google for ages, finally cuming across this>>>already i have told my friend and she looks keen:) another thing is that you actually answer back everyone which is not what all fitness websites do...and that totally makes you happier and feel better and GET RESULTS thx for the positivity and all the great posts <3 them!!!!

    March 31, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Carleigh

    Mike, I absolutely love this article and it is a constant reminder of why I am training. It's not because I want the "best body" it's because I love the routine and the way it makes me feel. Sometimes I feel i need reminding of this because im not getting where I am fast enough or my training isn't going the way it did last time. This article I show all my friends because sometimes we just get caught up in how we look instead of how it makes us feel. I love reading everyrhing you write but this one really gets me.

    November 23, 2016 at 11:03 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Lisa

    Brilliantly put Mike!! I was sucked in last year about trying this new diets my friends were on, it worked for them they are bean poles! But I came to the realisation that i needed to be healthy and fit, thank you for getting the message out there!

    February 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Sophie

    Great post! It took me getting out of shape to realize what I missed the most about it; the self-confidence, the feeling of having a strong body and having more mental energy to deal with other stuff in life. I’m keeping this firmly in mind while counting my macroes and getting my ass kicked by the gym!

    May 13, 2018 at 9:16 am | Reply to this comment

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