I’ve found Kenshiro and had a conversation with him! He’s a cosplayer from Canada and he has an advice for you to make you become as buff as Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage. Here we go!
Part 1: DIET
Since I have a keen interest in nutritional science, I’ve read thousands of diets over the years. And guess what… most of them work, as they simply instruct you to cut down the amount of calories you consume. Consequently you lose weight, though at great cost since starving yourself and denying your cravings is stressful and physically hard. Problem isn’t that diets don’t work, the problem is that no normal human being can stay on a diet for long. Therefore the dieters pack on the weight they lost almost as soon as they end their diets since they simply return to their old eating habits. Therefore, you must chance they way you eat and make a permanent lifestyle change in order to control your weight once and for all. Who wants to be stuck in an endless loop of dieting and binging?
Most of the people trying to use diets fail because diets are simply too extreme. Living like a monk is simply not possible for most of us: it takes iron willpower to completely give up on your favorite foods. Dieting non-stop also requires almost completely stress-free existence, and I cannot remember a single year of my adult life that was not filled with enormous amounts of stress. So what is the way to keep your diet clean and stop your waistline expanding you ask? Here are Kenshiro’s top tips on how to change your diet and your lifestyle with maximum gain for minimum effort.
1. Eat six small meals a day instead of three big ones
There is really nothing complicated about this: Just cut your lunch and dinner into two smaller servings, and eat small breakfast and light evening meal instead of the usual three huge meals after starving yourself for hours that is the basis of the bizarre western tradition known as “three square meals”. There are many reasons why this will allow you to keep your fat under control: Eating several meals a day keeps your metabolism going, so you burn fat even without trying. Keeping the hunger at bay by nibbling at smaller meals every few hours means that the unstoppable craving to eat two tons of ice cream and sixteen cheese cakes is relatively rare as you are sated for most of the day. As for the content of the meals, you should favour proteins and low amount of fats over carbohydrates. Chicken, tuna, salmon, beef, turkey, eggs and beans are all your friends. Side salads with little dressing are great too, but piling ten kilos of potatoes and white rice on your plate will be your downfall (see below). Fruit in moderation, oatmeal, cottage cheese and cereals high in fibre are good to mix up your meals.
2. Find an exercise that you like and stick to it
It is no secret to my readers that I prefer lifting weights above all other exercises, but I definitely understand that this is not for everyone. Whatever it’s aerobics, bicycling, yoga, swimming, running or fencing, the most important thing is to do it regularly, at least three times a week. On top of this, use your legs whenever you are able. Walk to work, take stairs and travel to the shops on foot rather than taking a car. 10 000 steps per day is a healthy average for a human being. Buy a pedometer and find out how close to this you come, and adjust accordingly.
3. Banish the White Enemies from your diet
White bread, white rice and sugar are the bane of the waistline, the enemy of sane fat percentage and the nemesis of visible abs. Why is this you ask? Are fats not the real enemy? Well, not exactly. While eating tubs of butter with a spoon might indeed pack on the pounds, the “fast carbs” are the true villains of this story, and these three Great Whites are the reason of more obesity than all the fat in the world combined. White rice, sugar and white bread are highly processed foods that get converted to glucose faster than you can say “Mr. Creosote”. These nasty white things give you insulin spikes big enough to impale an elephant, and cause you to store masses of calories you consume as fat. Since I am self-confessed addict of all the above, I’ve had to find substitutes: Brown rice, black and brown bread, and moderate amounts of fruits tend to handle my cravings. Just this single change in diet is often enough to make an enormous difference in people’s weight. How do you achieve this, you ask? Very simple: do not buy any of the above for your home, save for a little sugar for your more festive occasions of cooking. If you have the willpower, try to keep the amount of potatoes you eat in reasonable levels, too. They are match even to the mighty sugar in their ability to cause insulin spikes and make you fat. Sweet drinks are perhaps most insidious of them all, for they are sugar in disguise: everyone knows that guzzling down enormous quantities of Coca Cola is bad for you, but fruit juices are almost as bad. Water should be your first choice of beverage whenever you can muster the willpower to avoid sugary drinks. Water has almost endless list of benefits compared to any other drink: it has no calories, it hydrates the body, and it drives the feeling of hunger away. 8 large glasses are the recommended minimum. A quick tip to burn a few extra calories with no effort: drink your water cold: body must expend energy to heat up the water, meaning you can spend fair few calories by just drinking water!
4. Do not measure kilos, measure inches
If you look good and healthy and, does your actual weight matter? I have always been a big believer in what appears in a mirror and a great sceptic when it comes to the scales. I pretty much believe that if you look good, you are doing good. Besides, if you do any heavier exercises (such as weights, power aerobics, gymnastics etc.), you will pack on muscle mass. Muscles weight more than fat. Therefore you can have tiny waistline and still dip the scales at ‘overweight’ levels. In fact, according to BMI (body mass index) rating, many of the really fit people are overweight, but they are not fat or out-of-shape. They simply carry more muscles mass than your average citizen. If you can see your abs clearly, you are not fat no matter what the scales say.
5. Give yourself a day off once a week
Once a week, pig until you burst. Pro athletes can handle a diet that is always super-strict. The lesser mortals like us have to give in to our cravings once a week. Eat pizza, chocolate, ice cream, crisps, hamburgers, and whatever else your heart desires, BUT ONLY ONCE PER WEEK! Following otherwise sensible diet will kickstart your body’s metabolism, and deviating once per week will not allow your body to shift gears into fat storing mode. Yes, you will put on a bit of weight, bit if it happens only once per week the damage is not uncontrollable, and your otherwise cleaner diet and exercise regime will keep you well under control.
Part 2: ABS
First thing to sort out is your eating and stick to it, or you will never see your abs. The good news is that ab training is pretty straightforward, does not need a lot of special equipment, and does not take as much time as some other bodyparts. Abs are divided into three areas: upper, middle and lower. To have a good abs, you need to hit all three areas. Not only will it look better, but it will also help with your posture, reduce back pain and support your spine. All the exercise programs below hit all the parts. In addition, the more advanced programs also hit obliques, the muscles that lie under the love handles. The programs below will work all of your abs instead of just a small portion of them.
I have divided the programs into three categories. Pick the one that fits your goals and your current fitness level. Try to do the program twice a week. Rest 30 secs to a minute between sets. Do not eat immediately before exercising. Do all the sets of the same exercise before moving on to the next set. I’ve included links to movies that show the correct techniques for the exercises in the programs.
1. GENIN ABS – BEGINNERS
It is pointless to jump straight into the hardest exercise program you can find if you have not done strenuous exercise in a while. This program will get you started. Once this feels easy, you should look at the more advanced programs.
– 2 sets of 12 Crunches
– 2 sets of 12 Reverse Crunches
– 2 sets of 12 Leg Pull-ins
2. BISHI ABS
This program is for those who want to have visible abs but not necessarily rippling with muscle. Most Anime bodytypes would fall under this category (think Sasuke, Light and so on). It consists of slightly lighter exercises with lots of repetitions.
– 3 sets of 30 Crunches
– 3 sets of 20 Alternate Heel Touches
– 2 Sets of 25 Seated Flat Bench Leg Pull-Ins
3. SEINEN ABS
If your Cosplay requires you to have a serious six-pack (such as Major Armstrong) and you can handle a pretty intense training routine, this is the exercise routine for you. (This is pretty close to my own abs exercise routine, if you were wondering what I do for my abs.)
– 2 sets of 20 repetitions of Ab Rollers
(Note: you need to buy an Ab roller for this exercise, but it costs less than 10$, and it is THE best Ab training aid in the world.)
– 3 sets of 30 Leg Raises
– 3 sets of 30 Crunches
– 2 Sets of 20 Jack Knife Sit-ups
Part 3: GLUTES
Training glutes is a double-edged sword: they are actually pretty easy to train since they are a large, powerful muscles, but on the other hand most people want to firm and reduce their butt, not to make it bigger -especially true with cosplays aside from a few more curvy female characters. Since very few people want to grow their butt, you should do all the exercises below WITHOUT any weights to avoid building too much mass. To see noticeable effect of this program, you should do it once or twice a week for at least two months, and of course you must control your diet, too: no-one can see your new miraculous butt if it is covered with too much fat!
1. SASUKE BUTT
If you are naturally thin, slender and scrawny (like Mana), and want to tone your butt without making it grow too much, then this program is for you. It is actually quite hard work, as the number of repetitions and sets are high. Alternatively, you can use this program to burn some fat since it is quite aerobic.
– Butt Lift – Complete 3 sets of 25 repetitions.
– Glute Kickback – Complete 3 sets of 30 repetitions (15 per leg).
– Lunge – Complete 3 sets of 24 repetitions (12 per leg).
2. ORIHIME BUTT
OK, so you want to keep your curves but you want the underlying glutes to be firm and strong? This exercise program is for you. This program requires less dexterity, so it is good for beginners, too.
– Bench step-up – Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions (10 per leg).
– Glute Kickback – Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions (10 per leg).
– Leg lift – Complete 3 sets of 30 repetitions (15 per leg). It is really important to flex your butt really hard when doing this, otherwise it will not work!
3. ARMSTRONG BUTT
If you want to have lots of rippling muscle, and balance a silver tray on your butt, this exercise program is for you! Incidentally this is my exercise program for glutes, except I of course use weights as well. Be warned, this is HARD!
– Sumo Squats – 3 Sets of 20 repetitions (10 per leg per set).
(Everyone will laugh at you when you do this, so perform them away from the crowds! These are extremely hard, but very effective.)
– Lunge kick – 3 Sets of 20 repetitions (10 per leg per set).
(Another exercise that you don’t want your friends filming. Very hard, but very effective.)
– Lunges – Complete 3 sets of 30 repetitions (15 per leg).
“Eat some protein-rich food within an hour after finishing exercising – this will allow your muscles to recover and replenish.”
A big thanks to Kenshiro-FDP for the tips!