Skip to main content

Mass Effect: The Commander Shepard Workout At Rich Man's Gym


More From Rich Man's Gym

The Commander Shepard Workout

I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite workout on the Citidel. You're Commander Shepard! You're an Alliance Marine. Your default male image is based on Mark Vanderloo. Which means in addition to saving the Galaxy, you also have the body of a male fashion model.

How do you stay in shape while saving the Galaxy from the Reapers? Never mind the Reapers for a second, you got to look your best if you're gonna hook up with and then keep up with Miranda Lawson!

Me? I've played and loved all 3 games. I'm also a fitness nut. You wonder what does it take to be in the condition of someone like Commander Shepard. So, I did a little looking around and came up with an exercise plan and some nutrition tips to keep you in fighting shape to save the galaxy from the Reapers, Geth and Collectors!.

Who can do this workout?

Glad you asked! Everyone. There is no gym or equipment required at all. Every exercise or drill I'm listing is basic and simple and can be adjusted for any fitness level. For example, if you've spent the last 5 years as a desk jockey by day, hard core gamer by night and have been on the Dennis Nedry diet plan, then this workout may require a break in period. Good news for you is I'm going to list alternative exercises to get you started if you need to. Just keep in mind the prescription I'm listing here is your target, not necessarily the starting point.

SUCCESS TIP: Keep a workout journal to record your workouts. Track and measure your progress.

TRAINING FREQUENCY: Ideally, you want to train every other day. In the beginning, twice a week might be a good start, then go to 3 times a week. Once you're at every other day, you can start looking at and tinkering with 2 days in a row followed by one day off then 3 days on with one day off. Really up to you and your level of conditioning here...

TRAINING INTENSITY: It's OK to push yourself. Do a little better each time. You also do not have to go from sedentary to &@77$ to the wall in the first workout. Go hard. Your hard. George St. Pierre and you will have different ideas on what going hard means and that's OK.


My Two Favorite Warm Ups

The Paragon Workout

This workout will work on speed, agility and crank up your metabolism. You are to perform these 3 drills in a circuit with little to no rest (think 20 seconds or less).

  • 50 yard dash
  • 50 yards walking lunge
  • As Many Push Ups As Possible in good form

So here's how it plays out. Go find a park where there's 50 yards of open space. Soccer and Football fields are great for this.

Plot out your 50 yards.

SUCCESS TIP: Spend 10 - 15 minutes warming up. Off to the right are links to my two favorite warm ups, but also for this I want you to do something else like jogging in place or shadow boxing to get your heart rate up a bit, blood flowing and break a sweat. If you don't do this, you're begging to pull a hammy!

After you're good and warm, set a timer for 30 minutes and get to work. Start with the 50 yard dash. Dash means dash, so run like a Thresher Maw is on your tail. Once you've hit the 50 yard mark, turn around and perform walking lunges back to your starting line. As soon as you reach the starting line, drop and give me a bunch of push ups. Do as many as possible in good form. Any time you feel like you're about to hit failure, stop.

I want you to be able to work for the whole 30 minutes. That's the key here. Get to fairly close to exhaustion, recuperate and catch your breath, then start over.

ENTRY LEVEL ROUTINE: If you're just starting out and trying to do something active to get off the couch and reclaim the endurance of childhood where you could run all day and your hips weren't all tight from too much sitting, here's where you want to start.

  • 50 yard jog or brisk walk
  • 50 yard wide stride walk
  • Push ups on an incline or on your knees.
Scroll to Continue

It's OK to start at 15 minutes too. Work up to 20, then 25, the 30. Once you're good with 30 minutes, start increasing the intensity of the jogging to running then sprinting. With the walking lunge, work up to that too. Long strides followed by half a lunge to the whole thing. Push ups... same thing.

That being said, your fitness level is your fitness level. There is no shame AT ALL where you'e at now. If you're out of shape and have decided to reclaim the real you, CONGRATULATIONS! You've taken the first step and the only thing that matters now is taking the next step and then the one after. Move forward at all times!

After this workout, cool down for about 10 minutes with some light easy stretching and maybe a few sit ups if you have any gas left.

Good Investment or Expensive Coat Hanger?

Tips and Tricks

Solid Read For Fitness Foundation

The Normandy Workout

What to do when you're traveling between planets and are confined to the Normandy. You need to maintain your strength and endurance. Here's the plan!

Again, no gym is required for this workout. If you've got a park that has pull up and dip bars, you're good. If you don't, we'll address that shortly.

Here's your target:

Strength Circuit:

  • Pull Ups - start with 3 repetitions and work up to 5 total
  • Dips - start with 6 repetitions and work up to 10 total
  • Push Ups - start with 9 repetitions and work up to 15 total

In the beginning, start off with 3 rounds of this circuit and then work up to 5 rounds of 5,10,15 total respectively.

No gym? No park with pull up and dip bars? Couldn't do a pull up or dip without a biotic lift? No Problem!

Off to the right are links for you to learn and understand how to perform these drills and/or work up to them.

Body Weight Exercise Success Tip: For the grand daddy of body weight training books, get and use a book called Convict Conditioning. This book will start you off doing push ups and rows off a wall. Starting progressions for any fitness level! The bonus here with this book is that you will have lots of mini victories along the road to total strength and conditioning. I would recommend this book to any man or woman at any fitness level.

In the absence of exercise equipment like pull up and dip bars, you can look at getting yourself a power tower or you can use Olympic Rings that hang from a thick tree branch. Keep in mind, the rings will add an extra degree of difficulty, but will also come in handy for developing the strength to do full pull ups and dips.

Pull Ups can also be substituted with any rowing type of drill. You can do pull ups between two chairs with a broom stick and the same goes for dips and push ups. You can go a long way this 2 sturdy chairs and a solid broom stick. Pick up a copy of Arnold's first book, Education Of A Body Builder for some great tips on working out at home and building a foundation of strength with just your body weight.


Kettlebell Swings or Burpees:

  • 12 minutes of as many repetitions as possible

If you buy one piece of equipment, get yourself a Kettlebell. The Kettlebell Swing is the the best exercise for explosive power and endurance. You will shed excess fat, strengthen your core, and develop long haul endurance.

Do not underestimate the power of the Swing. It's been around for a long time because it works. It's a simple exercise, but not easy. It will toughen you up and prepare you for any Geth assault or Collector attack. Warriors need to exert maximum force for as long as possible. A kettlebell will help you do that.

When you find yourself sans Kettlebell, the next best thing for total body annihilation and cardiovascular development is the burpee.

The burpee can be done anywhere. In your quarters, in the engineering deck or anywhere you do a push up.

So after you do your strength training, let's work on your conditioning. If you have a Kettlebell, do 12 minutes of Kettlebell Swings. If you're not ready for a Kettlebell, then it's 12 minutes of burpees. How many can you do in 12 minutes? That simple. Record your best and try to beat it next time. The 12 minutes can be broken down anyway you want. Set the time for 12 minutes and get to work.


  • Do as many sets of 5, 10 or 15 as possible in the 12 minutes
  • Do descending sets of 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 in the 12
  • Do a pyramid: 2,4,6,8,10,10,8,6,4,2

Be creative, just work and work hard for 12 minutes and try to increase your volume each time by at least 1 repetition.

When you're done, take some time to cool down and recover before plopping down somewhere. Stretch out a bit and return your heart rate to normal.

The Renegade Workout

In the Paragon Workout, we started with the sprint, in The Renegade Workout, we're going to finish with the sprint.

The concept will be the same, perform in a circuit with little to no rest between drills and get as much work done as possible in 30 min.

  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 50 yard dash

As you develop into this, it's OK to cut the Jumping Jacks and Mountain Climbers in half and work your way up to to the 30.

You remember Jumping Jacks right? So I don't really need to go into them...

Mountain Climbers, however, are part of this workout for one main reason. We spend a majority of our time sitting. Our hip flexors tend to weaken. Along with the walking lunge, mountain climbers are good for the hip flexors to keep them loose and strong. Also good for the quads and core.

As soon as the Mountain Climbers are handled, it's time to book it! Not the standard Shepard jog through the Citadel, but the sprint to cover type. Follow?

Again, work up to this. These are your targets and your challenge. Start at 15 minutes and work up to 30 minutes if you have to.

Prepare For Any Atmosphere (only for the serious Renegade/Badass)

The mask to my right is to simulate training at different altitudes. This challenges your body to use oxygen better. You down? Well, if you're not in good shape to begin with you will be! On the floor that is!

Basically this mask mimics the effects of training at high altitudes. When an elite MMA guys of Olympic swimmer or runner for example want to take their performance and the training to a whole different level, they train at higher elevations where the air is thinner and the body must utilize O2 better.

This mask can aid in conditioning the lungs and pulmonary system. And if you're Commander Sheppard dropping in on planets with varying degrees of atmosphere, you'll want to make sure you have a strong lung capacity, serious anaerobic thresholds, use oxygen efficiently, have solid energy Production and that your mental and physical focus and stamina is at it's full potential.

Nutrition Info On The Cheep!

Eat Right!

Eat Right!


What do you eat? If you're not in control of your diet, then that leather jacket from Mass Effect 3 will never fit right! Well, when you look at the diet of a male model, your options are not all that fun. When you consider the diet of an MMA fighter or US Marine, it's a little funner, but...

So, here's a few tips and tricks to fuel your body.

1. Have 5 - 6 small meals throughout the day rather than 2 - 3 big meals

2. Eat breakfast and do it with in 30 minutes of waking

3. Keep sugar to an extreme minimum Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, feel free to treat yourself.

4. Eat more protein and veggies than starch. Here's a menu for the day just to think with

  • Breakfast: Protein shake with Chocolate Whey Protein and Coconut Milk
  • Meal 1: 3 scrambled eggs, hamburger patty, 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • Lunch: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Snack: Protein shake like the one above
  • Dinner: Lean meat (chicken, fish, beef) with asparagus or broccoli.
  • Before Bed: Protein shake
  • At least 96 ounces of Water per day.

5. Splurge once in a while. If you've been good all week and want to go nuts at 7-11 around 11:30 am and then have a Taco Bell orgy, with Pizza Hut for desert, why not? It's all good once in a while. Everything in moderation as they say. Just eliminate it from the daily routine.

6. Again, ease into it. No need to go all in at once. When I made some serious changes to my nutrition I did something like this: Fast food and soda on Sundays only. Protein shake for breakfast first thing in the morning. Do just those two things and see what happens!

7. No more white flour based food. Switch to whole wheat bread, pasta and brown rice. It's an easy adjustment. In 3 weeks regular pasta will taste like crap. Trust me.

8. C'mon! You know what to do!

"I should go..."

OK, so there you have it! I want to open the comments section up now. If you have a question or need clarity on something, leave a comment below...

Otherwise, enjoy, have fun, train hard and push yourself.

Looking forward to your feedback, results and success stories!

Comments: I want to hear what you have to say! Will you give this routine a try?

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on July 28, 2013:

UED343, thank you for yiur service as a first responder! I say mix it up. Paragon on Monday, Normandy on Wednesday and Renegade on Friday. That will keep you strong and conditioned at once. Let me how you progress.

UED343 on July 28, 2013:

This is awesome man! I've got to try this. I'm a fireman, so it's part of my job to stay in shape. Annnd I'm also obsessed with Mass Effect. One quick thing, you said "you're default image" when you mean your! Anyway, do you recommend doing a different workout each workout day? As in, alternate between paragon, Normandy, and renegade? Or change workouts week by week?

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on April 08, 2013:

Yes, but will you try the workout?

djb2 on April 06, 2013:

I really like it. Especially the simplicity and that its for all levels. I like the simplified eating plan as well! Still won't play the games though

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on February 11, 2013:

CarNoobz, so glad you stopped by and kept reading! Really appreciate the comment - let us know how the gymless training goes - totally do-able

CarNoobz from USA on February 11, 2013:

When I first started reading, I was like, "What the heck?" But I'm glad I kept reading...

I had to cancel my gym membership, so I'm really looking forward to trying out these routines. Thanks for the info.

Related Articles