My Story

The Be More Shonen Philosophy - The importance of fiction in goal setting (for anime weebs)

My name is Chris ‘Cosplay’ Minney and it’s my goal in life to help a million people like myself unlock their final form by combining the stories of anime with solid self-help principles and proven exercise science. I call this philosophy Be More Shonen and ten years ago I used it to save my own life. You might be wondering: What the hell is a ‘Shonen’?!
Stories shape who we are and shape our society, without them we’d still be living in trees. ‘Shonen’ is a modern genre of story which is directed at young boys in the form of anime and manga with protagonists that are an embodiment of physical fitness, will-power, being yourself, fighting for what’s right, and forming close relationships with the people you love. Whilst the entire time not taking themselves too seriously and keeping their sense of adventure and humour in the world. They are utterly amazing role models to live our lives by which is why they are aimed at young kids. 

Fat weeb gets himself into shape using shonen anime and one piece cosplay as motivation

As a child I was that fat kid who was always picked last for the team and placed last in every sporting event. My grades were never anything to shout home about and I was bullied every day for the majority of my school years. The story I chose to tell myself was that I was a dumb fat waste of space that couldn’t change a thing, and that’s what I embodied. 

So to escape my reality after school I’d watch a shonen anime that changed my life forever called Dragon Ball Z. 

As a child I looked up to the character Goku. He was awkward, dumb, and naive which at the time I found super relatable. However, despite all that, he wasn’t ashamed of who he was and he was the strongest person in the world with an unrivalled passion for strength and self-improvement. It’s easy to see why so many people including myself lived vicariously through this character.

But what Goku is arguably most famous for are his transformations. When Goku can’t defeat an enemy he becomes a Super Saiyan and transforms into somebody who can.

Transmutation: Weeb gets ripped using anime heroes as inspiration (Whilst cosplaying Alphonse Elric from FullMetal Alchemist)

In my early 20s my life was no better, in fact it was measurably worse. I was the heaviest I had ever been, I was throwing my education away after multiple failed attempts at getting to university, I had started smoking, and I drank heavily.

Before I was 22 I had tried around 20 different drugs and my life was simply slipping away from me. It wasn’t like I was living fast, I just wasn’t living at all. I still didn’t have the power to change a single thing and I couldn’t imagine my life going any other way.

After one come down too many, lying in bed with a cigarette in my hand, I had such a vivid moment of clarity I still feel it now. I saw two choices ahead of me: Carry on the way you are now and die young and miserable or transform into the hero you need to be to save yourself.

Like a Super Saiyan, I transformed.

How to use anime to save yourself: Goku cosplayer uses DragonBall Super to get ripped

Modelling is a technique in the self-development world where you create a version of yourself by modelling somebody who already has what you want. Instead of choosing to model a real world person, I chose to model Son Goku.

Like a Super Saiyan, I would transform into somebody who could defeat my demons and rise above the hole I had made for myself by training my body and mind.

I set a goal for myself; in a years time I will have to cosplay the half naked version war-torn version of Goku where he first goes Super Saiyan at a comic con. I chose this version for two reasons:

1.It would quite literally expose my results

2.It would metaphorically resemble my real world transformation

I don’t think I did too bad! I had lost 20lbs, started hitting the weights, and took my nutrition very seriously.

One Piece cosplayers as Doflamingo and Rebecca use anime as inspiration to improve their lives

Using this same philosophy I then quit smoking, I quit drinking, I quit taking drugs, I abandoned all of my unhealthy relationships, I graduated university with a 2:1, I started my own business, I became a cosplay guest speaker, I won my first deadlift contest, and alongside the love of my life I became the United Kingdom representative for 2018’s World Cosplay Summit in Japan and 2021’s Clara Cows Cosplay Cup in the Netherlands.

Not too shabby for somebody who only started living around 10 years ago right? I feel like I’m just getting started at 30 years young!

The biggest take away from my story is that if you believe yourself to be somebody who can’t change anything transform into somebody who can. Level up your life in the same way your favourite anime characters transform time and again.

The challenges and struggles in life can be a beautiful adventure and that’s how you should be living, living like the hero you were always meant to be.

Jotaro cosplayer from Jojo's bizarre adventure uses the joestars as motivation to improve his life

My anime-inspired life is far from over and the story is on-going. Right now it involves cosplay, my powerlifting training, learning Japanese, and managing my online presence and this website.

The purpose of this website is to cut through the noise surrounding the fitness industry, and simplify it for people like me so they can build a stronger body, eat healthier, and craft the life that they actually want to live.

I wish to provide you with awesome articles, videos, and books about training, mindset, nutrition, and cosplay whilst also creating epic anime inspired clothing/decor fit for a protagonist.

Goku vs Vegeta cosplays from DragonBall Z

If you wish to embrace the Be More Shonen philosophy, first you must ask yourself: if your life was an anime what type of character would you want to be? Pick a handful of characters who inspire you as a goal and embody the will-power of those heroes to keep pushing forward.

Embark on training your body along with your spirit, maybe even consider cosplaying, and with patience and hard work you will completely transform your life given enough time.

Everyone needs a hero to look up to, so give yourself an advantage by making it a superhero. Look up to them, but don’t become them. Become you. The best version of you.

Be More Shonen 💪