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What is Heroes of Fitness?

Heroes of Fitness is a philosophy, a community, and a system for getting the results you want without having to sacrifice what you love in life (food, hobbies, relationships, gaming, booze).

  • You don’t have to eat rice cakes or boiled chicken and broccoli with salad everyday and never have bread ever again…
  • You don’t have to never have another gram of sugar (delete cookies??!!)…
  • You don’t have to spend hours every day in the gym or going for runs all the time…
  • You don’t have to be afraid of past injuries or your old mentality around exercise…
  • You don’t have to delete all of the games off of your computer and try to be a “new you”…
  • You don’t have to stop going out with friends…
  • You don’t have to cut out all alcohol…

You just have to implement the right systems until you have the right habits and then it’s no longer hard work.

Now, depending on your goal and the timeline you want results within (more muscle, lose fat, an athletic or life event you want to prep for) you’ll train and eat differently. But my whole point is that you can do all that and still live your life and have fun.

I’m Tim Spencer, Senior RKC Kettlebell Instructor and Personal Trainer. I am a former PE teacher, Special Ed instructor and Psychiatric Technician. I’ve co-written high-level training manuals and coached at more than 50 workshops and certifications, helping to certify hundreds of fitness professionals all over the world. I’m also a lifelong gamer and massive sci-fi and fantasy geek. (Jean Luc Picard is a personal mentor of mine.)

I started HoF from my pretty standard idealist point of view, thinking “how do I be a beneficent weirdo and try to help everyone?”

I thought to myself long and hard, “If I could consolidate everything of value I know about training and truly make a program for the everyman, you know, if I could take my stab at curing the ills of society, what would I put into a training system?”

But I quickly realized, if I was going to do it right it wouldn’t appeal to the generic everyman because they don’t play games.

They’re boring and have no sense of humor.

My methodology would make crystal clear the hardcore concepts of fitness by making them fun, rewarding, and easy to learn.

It would be designed for people like me: it would be designed for gamers, geeks, fantasy lovers and so forth.

And exercise wouldn’t be done for some lame reason like “working out is good for your health!”, but because each rep is an innately evil being trying to threaten your life and you have to kill the goddamn sonofabitch!

So I came full circle from wanting to help everyone to wanting you help you, me, my friends and family, and people like my friends and family, to slaughter the forces of evil.

Because that’s what it’s really all about.

The slaughter of innately evil beings.

And those evil beings can manifest themselves in the form of our own:

  • psychological barriers…
  • self doubts…
  • internal criticism…
  • bad habits…
  • negativity…
  • lack of confidence or self-belief.

Conquering all of this crap is pretty much what HOF is all about.

None of it is easy but we try to get better at it, get better at life.

Become heroes.

And I don’t want to go around trying to butter you up about it. Make NO mistake, I’ll hold you accountable and call you on your shit. I simply want to help you improve and make progress no matter how small the step, and if that doesn’t appeal to you, then by all means, DO NOT read any further and definitely do not buy my stuff.

Heroes of Fitness is as much a philosophy as it is a system and methodology.

It takes two great passions in my life — fitness and gaming —  and brings them together to get results in a fun and rewarding way.

I saw a need in what was lacking for my friends and clients alike. It’s too easy even for people who have a decent idea of what they’re doing to just putz along and not get anywhere. Motivational posters on the wall or desktop of a ripped Arnold or Frank Zane (or now maybe someone like Chris Pratt) become just that, something to be motivated by and not strive for. But you can and should strive for it because that’s how you ultimately achieve it.

That’s why HoF has built in systems that can take you from absolute beginner, to fit, to freak athlete if you so desire.

Think of it like following a character build designed by a pro: It’s easy to waste time out there, go down the wrong road. It’s hard to refine, hard to conquer the challenge presented by your own body, by weights, by distance…

Unless someone has laid it out for you, in a fool-proof way.

The system I use is designed like a high end game — it’s not a monotonous app that arbitrarily pats you on the back for time and money wasted — but instead it borrows from the fun and learning potential from game design so that you can finally master the concepts of training and take them forward with you in your life.

Let me tell you some things in the gaming industry that piss me off: Free to p(l)ay, overly monetized DLC, the complete departure from quality gameplay and story for graphics and gimmicks to get you to buy. Does any of that resonate with you?

Now let me tell you some things I’m personally sick of in my career in the fitness industry: infomercials, “get rich quick” fitness DVDs and gimmick meal plan products (or worse, pills), people being misinformed about their bodies, magazines or online article hubs that regurgitate the same info slightly differently every time without delivering results to anyone.

You may not be much into fitness yet, but you can see the parallels there because everyone’s seen the commercials and the magazines and wondered, just like when trying a new game, could this be the one? Will it be fun? Worth my time? Will this product take me there?

Mine will.

Because I, too, am tired of all of the crap.

I’m just ready for what’s good, like you.

I’m ready to BE the role.

—Tim Spencer, Founder, Heroes of Fitness

About Tim & The Origin of HOF

I’m Tim Spencer, Senior RKC Kettlebell Instructor and Personal Trainer. I am a former PE teacher, Special Ed instructor and Psychiatric Technician. I’ve co-written high-level training manuals and coached at more than 50 workshops and certifications, helping to certify hundreds of fitness professionals all over the world. I’m also a lifelong gamer and massive sci-fi and fantasy geek. (Jean Luc Picard is a personal mentor of mine.)

The first thing I want to get across is that I’m not like most “fitness experts”.

I don’t believe in the “all-or-nothing, become self-obsessed” approach to getting in good shape.

I also don’t believe you have to totally change your lifestyle, never eat pizza again, never play games again, and never have another BEER in order to be confident whipping your shirt off and looking damn good and feeling strong.

(For as Arnold once said, “Milk is for babies. When you grow up, you have to drink beer.”)

I know this personally because over the years, I’ve actually been through it and subjected myself to the Spartan-like depravity deemed necessary in the pursuit of a six-pack. I’ve also been a hardgainer. I’ve guzzled gallons of milk (sorry Arnold!) and eaten massive steaks on the quest to gain muscle.

On the flip-side, I’ve also shut myself away from EVERYTHING to play MMO’s for days on end or kept playing a game over and over again, trying to outcompete other players online or unlock that stupid achievement/level/bonus already!!

Now, I’m also not like most gamers.

Yeah, I’ve been a hardcore gamer at times, but I don’t have all day, every day to just sit and play games anymore. Sure, I can fit in a marathon session here and there or a weekly WOOT Wednesday with my friends — you know, crush some whiny kids online — but I’ve also got a demanding job and all of that boring grown-up stuff to do along with wanting to spend time with my significant other (who luckily loves games as much as I do) and see friends in real life.

Playing games for me is also another way to get to hang out with my friends who are living all across country, it’s social and keeps us connected. Other than that, I enjoy picking a good new game or an old favorite and just playing it to death. I love the mastery aspect of getting better, the strategy aspect of competing to win, the challenges or puzzles in-game that can take hours of thought or tries to get past, and the process of communicating and working together as a team.

Gaming in all forms — online computer, console, strategy board games — is something that I would never want to be forced to give up again. Because I did give up gaming in the pursuit of my fitness goals years ago and it was never necessary. (We’re talking deleting all characters and accounts kind of a thing, stopping playing games altogether and trying to turn over a “new leaf.” That was how badly I wanted to get serious about fitness.)

BUT, I learned a lot.

I’ve been through the extremes on BOTH ends. With gaming, with fitness, with diet. From abstaining, then binging (including overtraining), then finally to a happy, healthy medium.

And as with most things in life, it’s finding balance, moderation, and most of all it’s consistency that actually leads to sustainable, achievable success.

Oh yeah, and having FUN!

Because you’re always more likely to do something that’s fun than something that’s not (obvious, I know).

But now, through a lot of trial and error, and through all these experiences (and those of my clients), I truly know what works.

I know what IS and IS NOT sustainable in the long run.

While I have worked with some impressive athletes and fellow trainers, you may guess from my background that I have a soft spot for helping people who need it — that’s what sustains me. What I find truly rewarding is taking those people who’ve never felt comfortable — or who don’t currently feel comfortable — working out and motivating them to get the results they’ve always wanted.

Maybe they’ve never been athletic and lead a sedentary lifestyle…

Maybe they used to play sports or bike everywhere back in high school but are struggling to find the time and the motivation to get back to the body, stamina, or energy they once had…

Maybe they are just confused and daunted by the overwhelming and conflicting information on health and fitness out there and don’t know where to start…

Maybe they DO know what to do and what to eat but finding the motivation, the willpower, the time to actually make it part of their life and a consistent routine is the obstacle…

Maybe they have gotten injured in the past and are worried about training safely and correctly so they don’t get injured again…

Maybe they just need someone to keep them accountable and on track…

Maybe one of the above is you?

Be honest with yourself…

It would feel good to look good, right?

To know that you’ve got the motivational habits and the systems that make it so your stats not only look good when you have a physical at the doctor’s office (healthy bodyweight, BMI, good fasting blood sugars, etc.), but so you actually LOOK like you work out.

And side note: There is NO shame in wanting to look good — it doesn’t make you a shallow person or some gym-rat bro. In fact, it actually tells other people that you respect yourself enough to take care of yourself and have pride in the health of your body. This greatly increases your chances of continued success in your career and in your relationships.

I’ll be honest, being confident taking my shirt off during my RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certification) workshop when I had to is actually part of the story of how I met Nicole (my now wife):

Tim Spencer Heroes of Fitness RKC San Diego 2009 Dragon Door

Photo source: Nicole Du Cane, soon to be Mrs. Spencer. August 2009, RKC Certification in San Diego.

But sometimes, just keeping your health in check feels like doggy-paddling to keep your head above water, let alone getting a body you’d feel comfortable being shirtless in front of people.

Wouldn’t it be nice to strive for a goal and actually show some tangible results?

Wouldn’t it be nice to not just get 70% of the way there, but to actually sustain your fat loss results so that you don’t just rebound and gain all the weight back?

Wouldn’t it be nice to break through that perceived barrier you’ve had since your heyday when you couldn’t bulk up and finally pack on those 10+ pounds of muscle?

Look, there’s a lot of good stuff out there and there is a lot of bad stuff out there.

It can be absurdly confusing.

I know what works for the different types (including different body types) of people I’ve trained as well as what really skyrocketed my results. The path I will take you down is one that can forever make your life better by making lifelong fitness an attainable goal.

Who is The Tim?

I’ve been a gamer since about age 4 when I would first turn on my older brother’s Atari to play Pitfall and Choplifter, as well as to flip out at what a terrible game ET was (just terrible…). As time moved forward I started to like RPG’s in particular (anything with swords or armor really) because I love the idea of building up a character and acquiring shiny things and optimizing stats.

With an equal parts interest in strategy and history, I began to fancy the image of the medieval knight. My friends and I would create game after game revolving around the Tolkien universe and medieval fantasy, going so far as to make cardboard armor and wooden swords spraypainted silver that we would quest around the neighborhood with, slaying ice dragons, ogres, and orcs. We were so cool.

However, by age 13, I was overweight.

Riding the release waves of consoles and early amazing PC games while eating absolute junk all the time was not helping.

When fitness testing came around in junior high I couldn’t do a single pullup and I was the type of kid picked last for sports in PE class.

Then, in highschool I shot up into the clouds, 6’2″, 6’4″, and eventually 6’6″ and weighing in at a scrawny 165lbs (I got that thin on what I called the “Counter Strike Diet”) with bad posture from years of sitting around in school and at home.

I did, however, have the good fortune to begin enjoying physical activity, playing soccer, ultimate frisbee, volleyball and was given my first weight set for Christmas before the end of high school.

Finally there was a connection – I could feel my real life character, my body, getting stronger each week as I moved the weights. And I would notice how all those activities suddenly felt like more fun as my condition improved.

Like most guys, I had always felt strong on the inside and like there was this heroic feel to my life. Like I would do the right thing in some serious situation. But I knew there was a disconnect between who I was inside and what I was physically capable of. I wanted to look like AND have the abilities of the heroes from the movies I loved or from the games I played. I guess that’s why I have always liked Role Playing Games.

Over the next few years I learned about weightlifting avidly, studying books and other resources (along with eventually deciding to study exercise science and physical education and getting certified as a personal trainer) and I packed on over 50lbs of muscle while getting ripped to show for it.

I transformed myself from a slouched and skinny gamer and former fat kid into what you see before you:

Tim Spencer Heroes of Fitness Ripped Shirtless

Although I have romanced athletics and sports several times throughout my life (played some amateur rugby, plenty of pickup games of volleyball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, other sports), fundamentally I am the type of person who likes to play games with my friends and I train and eat well to stay healthy. Ok, and to look good for my lady.

Fitness is just an awesome side activity that keeps me healthy and is fun to do. It enables me to do cool stuff in real life like go for walks, go hiking/kayaking, climb a tree if I feel like it (basically live out being a member of the Fellowship of the Ring in reality) and in general be able try new things.

Being fit is not my be all, end all.  

And it’s not a punishment or penance.

It’s something I do because I enjoy it and, more importantly, it improves the character that I walk around this earth “playing” as.

And I just want to see others get better and be proud of their body and the strength they’re capable of, without having to sacrifice what they love in life.

Because then what’s the point?

I don’t sit around in a gym or run on a treadmill all day and neither should you!

I’m the first to admit that it can be HARD to find a way to be healthy, to manage stress and a job, to have the body you want, to still play games for a few hours at a time, to see friends or spend time with your significant other, and to just have a life.

It’s challenging.

It’s something that I have struggled with at times and have worked on over the years.

It’s easy to use gaming as an escape from it all, to unwind after a shitty day at work, but sometimes those few hours turn into all of your free time before your next obligation and that is just not manageable day after day.

And that’s what HoF is all about, making fitness easy and manageable.

It feels that way for me now and I want the same for you.

I want to lead you to results without the hardship.

That’s the path I lead people down.

Tim Spencer and Nicole Du Cane Heroes of Fitness Thumbs Up Over Shoulder

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