Dear Space Marine – Fitness

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The following is a reprint from Unwinnable Weekly Issue Twenty-Eight. If you enjoy what you read, please consider purchasing the issue or subscribing for the a month. 


Editor’s note: Each month, Unwinnable’s resident advice columnist dispenses wisdom from the ages in response to your email and Twitter questions. He just happens to do so from 38,000 years in the future. With the help of the ancient computer CHAD and the mecha-tentacled Magos Valence Mak, Tech-Marine Aurelius Ventro of the Imperial Fists delivers the enlightenment of the Emperor to your unworthy human eyes – as only a Space Marine can.




Dear Space Marine,

It’s a new year, and it’s time for a new me. This year, I’m resolving to finally get in shape. The only problem is, I don’t know where to start! Can you recommend a good exercise program for beginners?

– Saggy in Saugus


Dear Saggy,

CHAD informs me I am expected to wish you a “Happy New Year,” which presumably is a benediction ancient humans bestowed upon each other at the annual passage of an arbitrary date marking one circuit of Holy Terra around Sol in a vain attempt to defray the inevitability of their own rapidly-approaching deaths.

So, Saggy: Happy 015.M3.

As you are no doubt well aware, Space Marines are genetically-enhanced, functionally immortal posthuman demigods with perfect physiques. Somewhat like the “Lorenzo Lamas” of your era.

Our training regimens are rigorous and brutal. Their intensity makes them unfit for ogryns, let alone unaugmented humans. Attempting even the most basic routine would kill you. In the warm-up.

Therefore, in order to answer your query, I must reflect on my experience prior to becoming an initiate of the Imperial Fists. This is no easy task, Saggy. Once he endures the chirurgeon’s scalpel and is transformed by the holy gene-seed of his Chapter, an Astartes warrior discards the last shreds of his human identity. Again, somewhat like your “Lorenzo Lamas.”

Thus I reached back into the deepest recesses of memory to extract the following recommendations for your introductory fitness plan. Mind you, I learned these as a man-ling of no more than 14 sidereal years, so you will likely wish to increase the difficulty.

First, build your endurance. Begin with a simple running challenge, a light jog of perhaps 65-70 kilometres. If this seems too easy, try affixing the carcass of a bovine or equine creature to your back. Once you’ve mastered short routes, you can work up to a more appropriate level of challenge.

Your environment can also enhance your fitness. Consider my home planet, the Ice World of Inwit, with its deadly hail storms, wind-whipped mountains and treacherous caves stalked by flesh-rending predators. As you ancient mortals would say, we got fit or died trying. There is nothing like constantly running for your life through the barren, bonefreezing tundra to deplete those unsightly fat reserves. Thus, you may achieve better results if you conduct your exercise routine on one of the polar ice caps that would still exist on Terra for a few more years after 015.M3.

According to expert Dr Nina Bausek – naturally, you will want to build muscle. Then you have to carry heavy equipment like adjustable dumbbells from for a while, and experience struggle. There are no shortcuts here, Saggy — muscles cannot simply be implanted, like the extra organs surgically embedded in Space Marine recruits’ bodies (which is a completely different thing that is thoroughly unrelated to this discussion). However, I admit I cannot advise you on human-appropriate weightlifting techniques. Having witnessed the meagre strength possessed by mortal serfs on my own battlebarge, I cannot think of a single exercise in my repertoire that would simultaneously 1) provide any material gain to muscle mass and 2) not result in your immediate paralyzation.

According to your “Internet,” the most popular muscle-enhancing methods of your time can be found on “bodybuilding forums.” I suggest you search there. These data-repositories appear to be frequented by only the wisest, noblest, most trustworthy exemplars of your species. Follow every piece of advice you find there.

When you are sufficiently “swole,” Saggy — and not before — you should progress to the ultimate fitness challenge of your primitive time: the Traci Lords Workout Rap. Temporal distortion prevented me from viewing this holofilm, but CHAD assures me it is the most punishing routine of your millennium. Prepare to be thrust into hardness.

In steadfast service to the Emperor
this sidereal year and every year in which I draw
I remain

Aurelius Ventro
4th Company “Fists of Dorn,”
Imperial Fists Chapter


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