This is the tale of my Hero’s Journey – not the Cambellian kind but the fitness kind. It’s a free 60-day role-playing bodyweight exercise program from Darebee.com.
The program consists of simple, graphical PDFs with daily exercises and a light storyline. Every so often, you will have to make a choice that will make that day’s workout feel even more meaningful and epic.To modify difficulty, you can pick between levels and side quests. There’s even a suggested diet plan, though I just supplemented my usual terrible eating habits with (aptly named) Quest protein bars and scoops of protein powder thrown in my brownie batches.
Darebee just released Hero’s Journey 2.0 with more weapons, a points system, and clearer workouts, so this may no longer accurately reflect the program, but I want to share some highlights of my own journey. SPOILER ALERT for those who want to attempt it themselves.
Day 3 – “The Armory”, aka Choose Your Weapon
I select Bow and Arrow since jogging/sprinting is already part of my routine thanks to “Zombies, Run!” Now each run is a double whammy of geeky role playing goodness. I also choose Magic Ring, which I come to dread since it usually means planking right after a ton of push-ups. I avoid Sword because I can’t do pull-ups, and Ribbon because what kind of weapon is a ribbon?
Day 9 – “Collapsing Bridge”
I create a slightly embarrassing instrumental playlist for motivation, which inspires me to both shuffle across the bridge AND clear it in one leap.
Day 26 -“Warrior Spirit”
The caption says one word: “Endure”. Level II adds up to 315 burpees (!*@?). I endure, but not without a lot of sweating and swearing. My arms give out at around 100 so I have to drop the push-up, and my jumps and overhead claps become increasingly feeble, but dammit I endure.
Day 31 – “The Town Burns”
Normally I stick with Level II, but there are virtual villagers’ lives at stake here, so I do Level III. It still bothers me that even with all that effort there are still 20% losses, but even a hero can’t save them all.
Days 33-36 – “Journey to the Mountain” to “Peace on Top of the Mountain”
I find it fitting that this coincides with my literal trip up the mountains to Whistler. However, doing the guru’s trials after a day of skiing is a pitifully half-hearted workout.
Day 43 – “The Betrayal”
The tagline for this one says “Nothing ever goes according to plan” and that applies here. My business trip to China breaks my 42 day streak. It turns out twelve hour workdays, illness, and hotel rooms do not go well with floor-pounding workouts. Getting back into a routine on my return two weeks later is difficult, and I never regain the shape I was in before my self-betrayal. For shame.
Day 60 – “Boss Fight”
My laptop plays a medley of Legend of Zelda boss battles while I sweat my way through all 10 sets to victory. It isn’t a very difficult finale, though my legs complain from those 400 calf raises for the next two days. I’m grinning with triumph at the end – I’m a mother-flippin hero! – until the dreaded question looms – “Now what?”
- Hero’s Journey by Darebee
Try the visual workout program for yourself! Hero’s Journey still being improved with a lot more exciting role-playing elements. I also suggest exploring the rest of the site. It’s full of geek fitness goodness.