Black Panther finally hit the movie theaters last weekend, and it was amazing! Not only did the impressive cast give stellar performances, but everyone was in diesel shape. Seeing all that sweet and beautiful melanin across the silver screen in 3D made me say "whoa" more than a few times.

I didn't grow up digging comic strips — or Marvel movies, for that matter — and so I initially was skeptical about the movie, but, boy, it more than lived up to all the hype.

After seeing the movie, one of my friends asked me what kind of workout she would have to do to get into Black Panther shape. Though I don't know precisely what the actors did, I imagine their training involved stage combat, gymnastics, capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art), boxing, and, of course, cross training, weight training, cardio, and dieting.

You simply cannot achieve the sculpted, powerful, strong, and agile bodies of this cast without serious cross-training workouts and a commitment to a clean, body-sculpting diet. That means eating five to six meals a day of mostly proteins, like fish and grilled chicken, and carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, asparagus, and spinach. And no fruit! Yep, it's common to  ditch fruit when you're trying to get seriously superhero jacked.

So, in the spirit of Black Panther, here are a few of my suggestions to shake up your fitness routine and get diesel by spring.

    1. Think like a Black Panther:  Above everything else, you have to  approach life with a can-do attitude.  Along with vibranium, the mythical folks from Wakanda were full of PMA (positive mental attitude), and failure was not an option. Building up your inner superhero requires pumping up your self-esteem and confidence.  Yeah, you can do it!
    2. Drink like a Black Panther:  As any superhero will tell you, you cannot maintain strength or stamina if you are not properly hydrated. Staying properly hydrated is an essential part of your training, so be sure to drink plenty of pure water throughout the day.
    3. Eat like a Black Panther: Getting a panther physique means paying close attention to the quality, quantity, and timing of your meals.  Sorry, you'll have to give up the pizza, cheesesteaks, and hoagies if your goal is to get into panther shape.
    4. Cardio up: To make those fight scenes look flawless, the Black Panther cast had to be in top cardiovascular shape. That means, in addition to stage combat training, they also likely performed a variety of high-intensity cardiovascular exercises, like running, jogging, biking, and climbing stairs.
    5. Strength-train like a Black Panther: It's obvious that the men and women in this cast committed to serious strength training to bring these vibrant characters to life. The male characters likely spent more time putting on mass with heavy weights and then leaned out just before filming. Though each surely had his individual routines, all likely participated in some type of cross-training strength routine as well. In addition to your weight-training routine, give the routine below a try. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds for three to four sets.  You'll be shaping your muscles and simultaneously be burning up the fat.
      • Jump rope
      • Push-ups
      • Alternating forward lunge with bicep curls
      • Crunches with a medicine ball
      • Bent-over row (use a barbell or dumbbells)
      • Jumping jacks
      • Triceps push-ups
      • Squat jumps
      • Alternating lunge with shoulder press (use dumbbells)
      • Planks
      • Stair climbing
      • Lunge with side raises (use dumbbells)
      • Squat thrusts
      • Pull-ups
      • Mountain climbers


    6. Get your ZZZs like a Panther: Don't try to burn the midnight oil and skimp on sleep. In order to maintain your superhero strength, health, and fabulous physique, you'll need to get proper rest and sleep. Inadequate sleep may cause your cortisol levels to rise, which spike blood sugar, which causes your body to store, you guessed it, fat. Who knew  getting proper rest can also help your body shed surplus fat?

So, are you ready to stretch beyond your limits?  Are you ready for the challenge? Who knows, you just might surprise yourself and get into Black Panther shape and health by spring!