The Superhero Experiment

In the spirit of learning and experimentation, I decided to HumanRefactor myself in a different way. In the past, I have dropped weight, slimmed up, increased endurance, increased speed and other things. What I hadn’t done before was get physically bigger.

Why would I want to put weight on and be bigger? When we compare this to software, it would be like stating “I want to have more lines of code!” That doesn’t seem logical. We might think though “I’d like to redesign this code base.” This is beyond what refactoring is. This is redesign territory.


Now, I wasn’t about to experiment with Gamma radiation but I was going to make serious changes to diet, exercise, sleep and my routine.

As I normally like to start things I needed a future goal. What better place to look then to superheroes. If you were ever a comic person then you probably still have a DC vs Marvel mindset. Personally, I’m a Marvel fan and one of my favourite heroes is Thor.

In the Marvel movies of recent years, Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, has been played by Christhor-chris-h-avengers Hemsworth. If you don’t remember him from other movies, he wasn’t always this big. He is a surfer, and was in good shape before he got the role but he had to make big changes to become worth of lifting the mighty hammer Mjolner.

This seemed like a good blueprint for me to work from. Unlike, Chris, I wouldn’t be able to focus all my time on this activity so I knew my results may not be the same.

My goal was to get to 220lbs and have 15% body fat. My technique was going to be a personal trainer, three days a week (one hour a day), and a serious increase in food intake.

At the start, I was 212lbs and about 17% body fat. My discussions with people taught me that measurements would be important as well as the numbers. A good reminder.

Body builders aim for 1g of protein for each pound of weight. As a geek, I can’t help notingdiesel-hot-choc that the ratio is partly metric (g) and partly imperial (lbs). If you want to be bigger, you need to eat more. I also started eating six meals a day. This seems fine over 24 but when you think about it, you are sleeping for eight which leaves 16 hours to divide these meals. 16/6 = 2.66. You need to eat about every two and a half hours. This means eating when you’re not even hungry. Harder then it sounds. Also, the food needs to be efficient. You need to be aware of how much protein, carbs and fat you’re taking in.

Over the next couple months I jumped past 220lbs and up to 230lbs. I probably could have gone even further. My body fat % also jumped up to 22% as I learned a common problem with gaining and loosing weight. A lot of body builders bulk up muscle (and get fatter), and then cut the fat (and loose some muscle). Then repeat the cycle.

This is a quick way to start disliking food. 

Another thing that was happening was three visits to the gym under a specific program starts to change your shape. The idea is to damage your muscles and then repair them. The more you repeat this the bigger you get (generally). It is vital that the right nutrition is in your system to take advantage of this. If you want to learn why people take steroids, it’s not to make them lift more. It’s to heal their muscles quicker so they can get back to the gym and get in more workouts. The human body takes time to heal, the older we are the slower the process. There is a lot to this so I don’t want to trivialize it. It’s important to understand that rest time is when we grow, not while we are in the gym.  This brings us back to sleep.

If you’re not sleeping, you’re not going to get bigger. 

Now, I’m still on my workout program. So far I’ve learned even more about nutrition, how to lift weights properly (avoiding injury), and the commitment it takes to develop large muscles.

I’ll write about this and more in my upcoming blogs. If there’s a certain question you have, or something you’d like to know more about, let me know and I can focus on that!

Here’s my current superhero look (comic book Thor) from a ComicCon event in Ottawa, putting on a show with Captain America. Current weight is 225 lbs at 20% body fat.




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