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Yatta-Tachi’s Summer Exercise Challenge Week #1: Getting Started

Definitely not an April Fools Joke. Get ready to sweat!


Here’s the link to the anime workout playlist we came up with for this week’s routine. Some of them are covers because apparently, Spotify is not really into anime songs.

Here’s the explanation on how to perform each exercise correctly. [Punches, dips, sit ups, crunches, squats, push ups]

When I was a kid in gym class, there was something that made me crazy: teachers would tell us running 50 laps was a piece of cake, but they were sitting at their desks while we were out there sweating. True, they didn’t HAVE to run, but most of them couldn’t, even if they wanted to.

I think it wouldn’t be fair to ask you to do something I myself cannot, so to prove this challenge works, I’ll be doing every exercise myself, right by your side. Wait, not literally. That was a metaphor. I won’t be touring the world getting people in shape with anime. Not yet. Anyway, are you ready to start?

I’m assuming you all did your homework. You got clothes for exercising, you took the photo and kept it to yourself, you downloaded Spotify, and you tried to run a small distance.

Some people asked me why they had to run. It’s easy. A casual run down the grocery aisle makes your blood flow. It gets your heart pumping, and shows your brain that you can do it. You are physically capable of it. At the end you might smile like a kid who just misbehaved, or put your hand on your heart saying you’d rather die quickly than run away from the zombies in Highschool of the Dead.

"Running is a thing? I thought it was some kind of leg magic." -The Dog, Jake.
“Running is a thing? I thought it was some kind of leg magic.” -The Dog, Jake.

I’ll give you all the benefit of doubt and think everybody tried running at least once this week. Keyword here being ‘tried’. Which leads to our first point here. Slow and steady.


Day 1: Slow and steady

We are spoiled brats. Whenever we want something, we want it now. We just started drawing, and expect to be animating the next Gundam in a month or so. We should always remember that things take time, and a shortcut is always the longest way to get somewhere. When it comes to physical activity, it’s important to avoid “taking it the extra mile.” Going from zero exercise to a pro-wrestler workout routine without day offs will probably get you injured in less than a week, and the feeling of failure will prevent you from ever trying it again. As our fellow contributor Detrop commented on last week’s article, it’s a good idea to try exercises that are just a bit above your fitness level. That way you are still improving and exercising, but you’re avoiding feeling like a failure, let alone potentially getting injured.

Take the time to perform each repetition well, and don’t rush through the series to get it done as quickly as possible. Doing it that way won’t give you the results you’re hoping for.

  • 15 squats
  • 5 push ups
  • 10 sit ups
  • 20 punches

You may have noticed this sounds more like a warming up than an actual plan to get fit. Pat yourself on the back while you can, yeah.

Notes:

  • If you can’t do a proper push up, you’re allowed to use your knees.
  • When performing a crunch, you only lift your upper back off the floor. In a sit up, you go all the way.
  • 20 punches means you’ve got to throw 10 with each arm. Unless one of your arms is robotic and obviously doesn’t need to build muscle.

Day 2: Avoiding a Genjutsu

Unless you’re seriously out of shape, you won’t wake up feeling tired at all. Remember to eat breakfast -and please, don’t make “late to class with a toast” a habit- and get ready for Round 2:

Today we will start covering your exercising habits. It’s very, very important for you to make a schedule out of it and follow it religiously: set a time each day and do it, no matter what. No “I’ll skip today and do it twice tomorrow”. This varies between schedules depending on your daily routine, but whatever time you choose, keep it. Remember that you showed yourself you are physically capable of doing this and much more. The biggest barrier you have right now, is your brain. To put it in weaboo terms, you’re trapped inside a genjutsu.

You’re lying on the couch, picking Doritos crumbs from your pajamas and watching Junjou Romantica. A cat curls into your lap. Outside is windy and it’s probably going to rain, and you’re glad you don’t have to work on Saturdays.

Except you’re not. You’re on your couch, picking Doritos crumbs that don’t really taste like Doritos anymore. You’re probably watching something terrible just out of boredom, and the cat is sleeping because that’s what cats do. The weather outside is not that bad at all and you’ve been trying to convince yourself that it might rain and you’d better not risk it. Also, it’s Wednesday.

But if it happens, seek medical help asap.
Don’t get fooled: This isn’t happening.

Break the genjutsu in Itachi’s face. Get up, and don’t give yourself time to smooth talk yourself out of it. Get changed, and go exercise. This is your mission for today.

  • 25 squats
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 sit ups
  • 50 punches
  • 5 dips

People tend to ask which time of the day they should exercise, and my answer is that it probably doesn’t matter. There are studies that say that muscle building is probably better done around midday, while running should be left to twilight hours, but different people have different bodies. You probably already know when you want to exercise, and don’t worry: Not everyone is cut out to sweat at 6 AM. In case you’re wondering, I do it first thing in the morning for two reasons:

  1. I’m lazy, and busy. If I let my daily life get the best of me, I’ll probably never exercise at all. If I do something soon, I already have it off my schedule.
  2. Like I said, I’m lazy. And working out -except for running- is hard for me, too. I feel good when I’m able to overcome that feeling, and there’s nothing better than to start the day with a victory.

Day 3: A grim reminder

“Hey, getting in shape is quite easy!”

NO ONE. EVER.

“Get in shape” is the Queen of New Year’s Resolutions, left unmarked on lists for decades by millions of people around the world. If you want to conquer it, get ready to make some sacrifices along the way.

Get your shoes. We’re going running, baby.

Titans eating slow people. Or people, in general.

Today we won’t be doing the actual exercise routine on top of running. It can be done, yes, but it doesn’t have to. The purpose of this guide is to be easy and approachable to every anime fan out there who wishes to get in better shape, not to turn you into a pro athlete in a month.

Warm before running. Pay special attention to your toes and ankles, as well as shoulders and lower back (your feet are more prone to injure, these last two are more likely to hurt later).

As much as our playlist is good, if you go running after dark, maybe it’s better to leave the headphones home. It can be quite dangerous and you’d better have your ears open.

The reason this day is named after an Attack on Titan quote is that you should treat running as if Titans were after you. Run. Period. There’s probably going to be a time when you think you can’t do more, but you actually can do much more. Keep breathing and focus on your legs and feet: When we are tired, we tend to hit the ground with more strength than it’s needed, letting our weight do the rest. This is actually worse fo you, as you end up feeling heavy and sluggish.

When that happens, focusing on your body can you help you realize that you’re not over yet. Feel the way your feet touch the ground, the way your muscles tense when you run, how your hip keeps your balanced, and the movement your arms make back and forth. Your head may feel heavy and hot, but feel the wind on your face. You’re tired, yeah. But you’re JUST tired.

  • Walking: 5 minutes
  • Running: 20 minutes
  • Walking: 5 minutes
  • Sprinting: 40 seconds

After you’re done, stretch again. We will be going deep into the benefits of stretching next week, but in short, it’s great for your muscles.

Notes: Be silly. I use “Zombies, Run!” for my running sessions, because it can be pretty immersive. I like to play around and imagine things as I go, and sometimes I’m so caught up in it, I don’t even notice how time passes. Pick a fun route, do the “Naruto run”, or whatever you come up with.


Day 4: The Beach Episode

Being lazy feels good, indeed. Enjoy it!
Being lazy feels good, indeed. Enjoy it!

You escaped Wall Maria doing the Naruto run (Yeah, of course I know you did). You deserve a rest.

Take this day completely off of any kind of exercise. You’re allowed to be lazy, sleep a little more, and don’t feel guilty about it. Rest days are a thing here.

In fact, these day offs are just as important as your routine. Taking time to let your body recover from the strain is essential, and you should never, for the sake of anything, skip rest days. I mean it.

Sleep! Getting 8-9 hours of sleep is going to do wonders to your body. This doesn’t count as being lazy, don’t worry.


Days 5, and 6: The days you’re going to wish didn’t exist

A day off feels good. You have time to catch up on your anime and feel like a character from a nice slice-of-life. Like Yotsuba!. Except you’re in pain. And it’s not nearly over.

Be warned, days 5 and 6 are the days when most people quit. They are tired after running, the day off feels great, and the increasing workload feels like too much to handle. It’s surprisingly hard to exercise at this point. If you quit here, you’ll be just another one. It’s just two days. Hold.

  • 35 squats
  • 15 push ups
  • 20 sit ups
  • 70 punches
  • 20 crunches
  • 10 dips
  • 20 biceps curls
  • 10 leg raises

Notes: If it proves to be too much, divide and conquer. Doing part of the work in the morning and the rest of it after lunch is a valid solution to this problem.

This is the last day of the challenge we are doing a “general workout.” By this time, you already picked up the pace of things and are ready to get into specific work. Your homework for next week is to pick two zones of your body you’d like to change, as next week’s entry in the series is going to teach you how to approach each muscle group differently.

I know, I know, you wanna get abs.
I know, I know, you wanna get abs like Haru.

Day 7: The Naruto Run is not allowed anymore

The final day before we enter Phase 2 is tough. You’re probably feeling sore after yesterday’s beat-up, and I come here telling you you need to run for your life again. Go on, you can hate me. Wait, no, you can’t. The heck, man. I’m here to help you!

  • Walking: 5 minutes
  • Running: 15 minutes
  • Walking: 5 minutes
  • Running: 10 minutes
  • Walking: 5 minutes
  • Sprinting: 45 seconds

Notes: You know, the Naruto run is still allowed, it’s just not useful. But go on, you can do it if it makes you happy. I won’t be the one judging you.


This is it for this week! Next Friday you’ll see how to control your diet without going crazy, and techniques to work each muscle group. I’m eager to see your comments before/after a day of sweat and tears, but remember! It’s not as painful as it sounds: you’re just doing everything you can to stop sweating.

Feel free to post your progress or you trying out the routine, by mentioning us on Twitter or Instagram and using the hashtag #yattatachisummerchallenge! See you next week!

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About the Author

Gregory Vendramini

Translator, author, and piñata enthusiast. Greg currently writes about anime, videogames, and pop culture while working on his next books, "A Long Halloween Night" and "The Fifth Archangel". He avoids social media a little, but is very open to exchanging ideas through emails or comments. Or in person, if somehow you find his house in the woods and get past the cat guards.

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