When you make a living impersonating the world’s biggest heroes, there’s really no way to fake it. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, people aren’t going to line up to see a skinny Superman.
Fortunately for Chris Stanley, he’s put in the work, carved the superhero body, got the nobility of Clark Kent, and now spends his days playing the biggest, bad-assiest, and most admired superheroes of our time. Welcome to the world of a Cosplayer.
For the uninitiated, Cosplay is a creative hobby that involves creating costumes, building props, and replicating the looks of famous comic book characters. Australia's biggest hotspot for Cosplay sightings are events such as Oz Comic-Con, where Cosplayers big and small celebrate their love of comics and their characters.
“I knew I wanted to get into it [Cosplay] when I saw Christian Bale in Batman Begins,” says Stanley, referencing Bale’s body transformation from The Machinist to Batman. Since then, Chris has become a professional Cosplayer, appearing as everyone from Captain America to Wolverine, delighting audiences the world over.
Whilst chasing down Batman’s physique is an elusive hobby for most of us, the pursuit has resulted in a lucrative career for Stanley, who gets paid appearance fees at Comic Cons, trips around the world, and has a legion of fans. And the fans are all his own, followers of his hit YouTube channel, who turn out in the thousands to meet him, not of the characters he plays.
Chris’s journey towards Cosplay started as a mission to get healthy, and the fame, top rig, and superhero costumes came as a bi-product of his new lifestyle. “I did it [started working out] just for the health benefits,” Stanley says.
Nowadays, Chris changes his training and dieting depending on the hero he wants to emulate, however as his motto goes, “always go for bulk. I always want to look like Hercules, put on as much muscle as possible,” he says.
To get in superhero shape, Chris hits the gym 5-6 days a week. He starts his sessions with heavy compound lifts, isolating larger muscle groups, before heading into more functional movements such as sprints or weighted cardio.
As for his diet, Chris adheres to ‘flexible dieting’ approach, trying to eat as clean as possible but still loving the odd burger and pub schnitty (chicken schnitzel for the non-Aussies).
If Cosplay sounds like your dream career (and honestly, working out for a living is about as good as life gets), you can start by chasing your own superhero pump with this arm workout direct from Marvel’s head trainer, Luke Zocchi. "Be careful leaving the gym," warns Zocchi. "You may get caught in the doorway. For your own safety, exit all doorways in a parallel manner."
Thor's Arm Pump
Perform all sets as supersets
A superset is when one set of an exercise is performed directly after a set of a different exercise without rest between them. Once each superset is complete, then rest for one and a half to two minutes to recover before repeating 4 times.
Superset A (complete 4 rounds)
15 x Standing cable bicep curl
15 x Standing cable tricep bar push down
Superset B (complete 4 rounds)
15 x Standing dumbbell curls
15 x Bench tricep dumbbell skull crushers
Superset C (complete 4 rounds)
15 x Seated dumbbell incline curls
15 x Cable tricep rope push downs
Oz Comic-Con hits the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on the 9th and 10th of June, with tickets available online at http://ozcomiccon.com/tickets/