Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy highlights a ragtag group of new superheroes that come in all different shapes and sizes, proving you don’t necessarily have to possess special powers to be a true hero.
Using some of our favorite big-screen comic characters as examples, here’s a quick guide to how you, too, can become a superhero.
Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Role: Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord)
Most Heroic Trait: His sense of humor
How He Became Super: Exercise, diet and lots of motivation. As Pratt mentions in the interview below, “…if you just bust your ass and get after it, all it takes is about 6 months really.”
Pratt’s Best Tip: Stop drinking beer, as per his Instagram.
Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Most Heroic Trait: She’s a lethal warrior, but one with a sense of righteousness
How She Became Super: Saldana took the unusual approach of studying bullfighters in order to emulate their gracefulness in battle.
Saldana’s Best Tip: “There are sacrifices that go into it, but at the same time too, you can't forget that you only live once, you have to enjoy the pleasures of life and you also have to enjoy the work in life,” Saldana told Oprah.com. “That means that if you like to eat, then work out, be healthy. Keep that heart strong and healthy!”
Henry Cavill (Man of Steel)
Role: Clark Kent (aka Superman)
Most Heroic Trait: His commitment to protecting the citizens of Metropolis
How He Became Super: In order to become Superman, Cavill had to bulk up and gain a lot of mass. To pull it off, he worked out two and a half hours each day for six total months.
Cavill’s Best Tip: “Don’t just stick to one thing. Keep pushing yourself. And most importantly, your perceived boundaries are not your actual boundaries,” Cavill advises in this video. “You can push way beyond those.”
Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises)
Role: Bruce Wayne (aka Batman)
Most Heroic Trait: As Bruce Wayne, he’s smart and business savvy, but as Batman he’s committed to ridding his hometown of the villains that terrorize it.
How He Became Super: Bale had to gain a staggering 100 pounds in only a few months to play Batman, a transformation even he wouldn’t recommend. “I felt absolutely fine in losing the weight. It was putting the weight on too fast that I felt that I was pushing things too far,” he said in this interview of his Bat-prep.
Bale’s Best Tip: “You have to look like you can be a brawler. [Batman] has no super powers and so he has to look like he really can do what you see him doing.”
Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers)
Most Heroic Trait: He’s incredibly noble and treats those around him with the utmost respect.
How He Became Super: In order to transform into a god, Hemsworth packed on 20 pounds of muscle by lifting weights 7 days a week while training with a former Navy SEAL.
Hemsworth’s Best Tip: “Rest and exercise were equally as important," he advises.
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Role: Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man)
Most Heroic Trait: His wicked smarts. Much of Spider-Man’s coolest tricks were born from equipment Peter made at home in his bedroom.
How He Became Super: Unlike his superhero brethren, Garfield didn’t need to get bigger to play Spider-Man, just stronger. Using Bruce Lee as an example, trainers brought Garfield down to around 100 pounds and then built him back up in core strength.
Garfield’s Best Tip: “It’s all about finding your own personal style and what your body likes,” he told Total Film. “Just identify that and do it, even if it’s not cool. If line dancing is your thing, go do more line dancing.”
Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Role: Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow)
Most Heroic Trait: She’s a straight shooter (and kicker)
How She Became Super: Since Black Widow’s main weapon is her body, Johansson not only worked out multiple times a week for two months straight with a trainer, but she also incorporated a lot of mixed martial arts (MMA) into her routine. “You get beat up a lot,” she told Vogue. “It’s painful.”
Johansson’s Best Tip: “Boring, get up at 5, go to the gym, you know, all that stuff that’s horrible,” she revealed earlier this year at a press conference. “Train like a dude and eat a bunch of lettuce."
Hugh Jackman (X-Men. X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Role: Logan (aka Wolverine)
Most Heroic Trait: He’s got a big heart to go with some even bigger anger issues, but sometimes you need a little of both to save the day.
How He Became a Superhero: Aside from lifting weights, Jackman followed a unique diet suggested by his buddy Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that involved intermittent fasting. He would eat 6,000 calories over the course of 8 hours and then fast for 16 hours.
Jackman’s Best Tip: “For cardio, I dance, I ride my bike, I run and I have kids. There is a …lot of cardio just from being a parent," he told the L.A. Times.
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, The Avengers)
Role: Tony Stark (aka Iron Man)
Most Heroic Trait: His creativity and risk-taking, both of which get him into some trouble from time to time.
How He Became Super: For Iron Man 3, director Shane Black wanted Downey Jr. to be “lean and mean,” and that involved cutting back on lifting weights in order to focus solely on strength training.
Downey Jr.’s Best Tip: “I think that the power is the principle,” Downey once said. “The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you've done.”
Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Role: Steve Rogers (aka Captain America)
Most Heroic Trait: He’s just a nice guy. And super patriotic, to boot!
How He Became Super: Lots of time in the gym, and lots of chicken. Too much chicken, if you ask him. “You get to a point where you just can't even look at another piece of chicken,” he joked to The Hollywood Reporter. “You're just so bloated, but you just have to keep consuming protein, so that was tricky."
Evans’ Best Tip: “I am a big fan of Buddhism, Eastern philosophy, the notion of trying to be present in the moment, turning the third eye off and detaching from ego,” Evans says.