An Interview with Ryon Day

Editor’s Note: This interview is long. So hella long in fact, that I almost thought about splitting it up into two or three parts; but I decided against it. You get it all at once! And if you just want to listen, the podcast version is embedded all the way at the end of the article too… enjoy!

Whenever possible I like to bring other people in to discuss their fitness philosophies with you, my fine readers. I do this for three distinct reasons:

  1. My views on fitness are just that, my views. I want to showcase as much positive stuff as possible
  2. I want to give you guys an occasional break from my awesome sarcastic ramblings
  3. Because I selfishly like hearing what other people have to say…

I say this because this week I sat down with Ryon Day, of Geek & Sundry and #TeamHooman notoriety.

I was lucky enough to meet him briefly at San Diego Comic-Con this year and he graciously agreed to sit down with me for what I thought would be a simple chat about fitness; and while we definitely talked about working out, and eating right, it turned into a wonderful discussion about what it means to be a geek, how to positively affect change in those around you, and how to love yourself.

So sit back and enjoy this very long, but fascinating, look into the geeky mind of a fit, and healthy, geek!

(Also, the full NSFW audio interview is available as well for those who want our voices in their ear-holes… see below!)

The Jerd – Readers of the site know how huge of a influence Geek & Sundry has been on me, and how proud I am to be a part of that community. Simply put, if it weren’t for Geek & Sundry, this website wouldn’t exist… I would have never written my books… and I wouldn’t have helped the people I have improve their health and lives.

So it’s a definite pleasure to sit down tonight and chat with someone who has really become an integral part of that online community. And someone who exemplifies both halves of the Jerd equation… jock and nerd. Of course I am talking about Ryon Day! Thanks for joining me man, I really appreciate you taking the time.

Ryon Day – Good evening Jeff, how are you tonight?

The Jerd – I’m doing alright…

Ryon Day – It’s a pleasure for me to be here. We spoke at Comic-Con some months ago and we went back and forth a bit, and we had a couple of vacations in there; you on yours and mine on mine, and we finally managed to make our schedules work and I couldn’t be more happy to talk to you tonight.

The Jerd – I appreciate that! So yeah, how was Comic-Con for you? A good experience?

Ryon Day – It was… It was a mixed bag.

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – Like a lot of our ilk, I don’t do too well around large crowds… and it’s hard to find a larger crowd than Comic-Con.

The Jerd – Yep.

Ryon Day – It was a touch commercial for my taste. The best times I had were at the Geek & Sundry area there at Petco Park stadium, and what they call the artist alley…

The Jerd – Yeah.

Ryon Day – Which is where they stick all of the comic book artists who actually go to Comic-Con, and it was really cool. The stand-out for me was talking to the guy, and his name escapes me right now that I am on the spot… but he, he wrote the Sam & Max comic! The old school comic that the Lucas Arts Games did, Sam & Max.

The Jerd – Oh yeah… okay.

Ryon Day – Yeah. And he’s basically like a legend in the comic book world and he just shot the s**t, to be honest with you, for two or three minutes and it was really, really great. Um, I got a couple of pieces of artwork commissioned, it’s always good to throw some Ds at the independent artists…

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – When all of the attention was going to the more commercial booths for the large production companies, and things like that. You can actually sit and talk to the people responsible for making the content that we all love so much. That was a privilege. So those two things were the stand out things for me.

The Jerd – That’s cool. Was this your first Comic-Con in San Diego?

Ryon Day – Mmhmm. Yeah it definitely was.

The Jerd – Oh… no way!

Ryon Day – I mean I’ve had the opportunity to go before but things have always popped up, you know? I work a full-time schedule, a fairly intensive job in the IT software engineering industry, and so it really rare that I can get periods of time off… but I made it work this time and it was really a great experience, and I would do it again!

The Jerd – Well, obviously Geek & Sundry fans know who you are, but for those who maybe don’t follow that particular community, would you mind telling my readers a little bit about yourself before I start winging questions at you?

Ryon Day – I mean… my sister is Felicia Day, so the last name isn’t a coincidence. We do a show on the Geek & Sundry network called “Co-Optitude” which essentially is where, well it originally started out where she and I got together to play the console games that we never got to play as kids, because we didn’t have console units.

The Jerd – Right…

Ryon Day – We just had PCs, and other home PC-like computers. So it started out as us playing console games and it kind of branched out more into newer indy games and things like that, so the show uh… the show has kind of transmorgified to more showcase the relationship between myself and my sister, as well as guests we have occasionally such as Game Grumps, and iHasCupquake, and of course Wil Wheaton was on the Nidhogg episode, and that was tremendous fun too.

Ryon Day – Other than that we also do a live-stream on Sundays when she’s not on a book tour… (laughs) So the Sunday Twitch stream has been on hiatus since the book release (Editors note: He is referring to Felicia Day’s new book… get your copy here!), but it should be returning at some point, and I also stream on Twitch uh, I aim for once or twice a wekk, but that has gone by the wayside because I started a new job back in April.

The Jerd – Okay…

Ryon Day – But things have settled down a bit so that should start up again imminently. So, that kind of covers the geek content.

The Jerd – Nice! We’re definitely going to talk about fitness, and how it plays a part in your life, but I wanted to start by getting to know the geeky side of you a little bit.

Ryon Day – Sure!

The Jerd – Have you always been someone who is into nerdy stuff? You mentioned that you and Felicia had PCs, and whatnot, growing up… was that always a part of your life?

Ryon Day – Absolutely. Yeah, you know, my grandfather was kind of an interesting dude; he was a nuclear physicist, so he used PCs a lot in his work. He had a very early, you know, he was a very early adopter of PCs, and things that were going to change the world. So he actually gave our mom a Compaq PC, and so from that point on we were more or less hooked on the damned thing. And so, my sister actually learned to program before I did… um, but I’m the one who followed that as a career path.

The Jerd – Mmhmm.

Ryon Day – But we were both quite well-versed in computer-nerd type stuff from very early ages, like mid to upper single digits in years.

The Jerd – Oh that’s awesome, that’s about the same time I got into computer stuff too… yeah, that’s a good age for that I think. And you were home-schooled, correct?

Ryon Day – Yes, myself and my sister were both home-schooled from an early age, so we never set foot in a real public school classroom. The first time I set foot inside a classroom was when I went to community college at age eighteen. That was the first time I had ever been inside of a school classroom. So you can imagine the kind of dearth of social interaction, but also the kind of opportunities that you have to be more introspective and to pursue the kind of geeky pursuits, you know, that might have not been possible had I have had a social life. (laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – Not that I am bitter or anything like that!

The Jerd – Right, right…

Ryon Day – Every experience you go through makes up a little bit of who you are, and as long as you are more or less happy with that, then what do you have to complain about really? So, you know, me and my sister were both very bookish from a very early age. We would both devour countless sci-fi and fantasy novels. She was more into the fantasy realm than I was; I remember her reading the interminable “Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan at the time. And I was kind of enamored with the kind of pulp-fiction type novels that were written in the 40s and 50s, up to the Destroyer series, which were written in the 70s, and those were a martial arts kind of pulp, action series that I really loved.

And stuff like role-playing games, uh, things of that nature. We were both very enamored of computer role-playing games, as well as pen-and-paper RPGs, from an early age. Playing online through bulletin boards usually.

The Jerd – Nice! Well I guess my question about the home-schooling, and why I asked that… did you identify as being a geek growing up, or was it just who you were? I guess what I am asking is, did a lack of that public school experience change the concept of cliques and how you identified yourself?

Ryon Day – Yeah! You know, you’re at a very big disadvantage when it comes to dealing with social groups right? Because you’re unfamiliar with how to get along with people right? Because you have the different conventions of social interaction which don’t… they don’t come except through exposure to that. It’s very mystifying when you are really young, and people insult you… you know, cutting other people down and stuff like that when you’re kind of virginal in terms of that mentality, where you believe the best in people and you haven’t been…

You haven’t been been melted in the crucible of childhood cruelty and reformed, hammered out into something strong and brittle… (laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – You know, like so many people get, and you kind of maintain that idealism. I still believe the best in people when I probably shouldn’t sometimes, it’s kind of my reflex. And the really interesting part of your question would be “do you identify as a geek?” But when you are home-schooled you don’t have a basis for comparison.

The Jerd – Right!

Ryon Day – Right. You don’t have a true North, so to speak, that’s been drilled into you. It’s weird, you know? You take a lot of social cues from movies and media that you digest, like acting or internalizing the virtues from something like the Origins Systems Ultima games, for instance, which has an ethical system laid out. You grab what you can, and you grab what’s available to you and you make that a part of who you are.

You don’t say that “I’m a geek,” or “I’m this or that,” because you’re just the way you are. You have very few basis for comparison apart from that until you get out into the wide world, and you start comparing yourself to other people, right? So that’s a really interesting question, it’s like no. You’re just you.

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – You are what you are. And then you begin to refine your internal concept of who you are as you finally begin to interact with other people.

The Jerd – So have you always been comfortable with yourself, and your interests, or when you made that transition to college were you kind of in shock? And did you suffer from any sort of nerd-shame? I ask that because I ran through that; there was a point in time where I had nerd-shame bad, and I didn’t want anyone to know or to admit to people that I loved the things that I love.

Ryon Day – No, I mean it’s true. You find it difficult to get a word in edgewise, you see other people talking and socializing, and you get an odd feeling of otherness. To the point where you don’t even want to broach a conversation because you can kind of get the sense that you don’t have very much in common with these other people right? And to the adolescent, young, mid-teenager, mind it’s very damaging I think. It’s very easy to be very hard on yourself.

You’ll be like “Oh, I like that girl so much. She’s so pretty that she’ll never want to talk to me.”

The Jerd – Right.

An Interview with Ryon Day - The Jerd 2Ryon Day – Like that kind of thing, which is like the most cliché thing in the universe, but it is absolutely true.

The Jerd – (Laughs) So true…

Ryon Day – (Laughs) There’s a reason it is a cliché, right? And this hits guys, young men and young women, who are normally socialized! “Oh she’ll never want to talk to me,” much less, imagine that it hits someone who already feels conspicuous because they didn’t have the benefit of the same kind of socialization that the people you’re crushing on did. (Laughs) 

The Jerd – (Laughs) Right, right…

Ryon Day – So, you know, I had a very strong sense of otherness, and to some degree that follows you throughout your entire life I feel, right? Because you get used to having these non-mainstream activities, and these non-mainstream hobbies, and it’s hard to find your tribe I guess is the way to put it. I think that if you look at the high school, or even college, situation there is always the chess club, or whatever, and there is always a group of outcasts that you can join…

The Jerd – Right…

Ryon Day – But if you’re home-schooled you don’t even have that, you know?

The Jerd – It’s true… it’s true.

Ryon Day – And that’s kind of where the online thing comes in. And that’s where that was an incredibly valuable tool for socialization for me personally. My sister got to college at a very early age; I think she went to the University of Texas when she was like sixteen, or something like that, and I was still kind of like… moribund, for several more years after she was. She started having college friends very early on, and she had social pursuits like acting, and stage plays, and musicals, and things like that.

I was always far more introverted in terms of my pursuits than she was, and so I had it kind of a lot worse than she did even. You know? And when she did go to UT, she got a dial-up Internet account through the university; and immediately I became the primary user of that f$#&ing thing, I’ll tell you right now!

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – And so that’s kind of where I got some of my earliest, and strongest social groups. People I still talk to, to this day, and this has been well over twenty years I think…

The Jerd – Wow.

Ryon Day – It’s over twenty-one years since I got on the Internet. Some of the very first people I started hanging out with I still talk to, to this very day. I’m going to one of their weddings here in a month or two.

The Jerd – Oh, that’s awesome!

Ryon Day – Yeah! So, you know, the spread of online communities was very, uh, very nascent when I first got online. And it has just expanded rapidly so that anybody, with any interests, can find a strong social group, and strong social proof, these days I feel. And that’s really great, to people who don’t have access to that, if they live in a small town. The reason my sister and I were home-schooled was that our dad was in the military, and we moved around quite a bit.

And predominantly the places we lived, we were in small armpit-like communities in the southeastern United States. No offense to any of your readers out there, but it’s true having lived it. (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – You get very little socialization for people who were interested in geeky pursuits at that time. So for people who are in that situation, the Internet is an amazing relief valve to meet those needs. You know?

The Jerd – Mmmhmm. No, definitely. It makes complete sense. I mean, I remember getting on the Internet back in its early days through things like Compuserve and Prodigy bulletin boards and things like that…

Ryon Day – Yep.

The Jerd – And it was amazing to find people that.. that were like me!

Ryon Day – Yep!

The Jerd – It was freeing in a sort of way. You know?

Ryon Day – Sure, for sure.

The Jerd – So, the entire point of me talking to you was the fact that you seem to exemplify what I’m trying to do with TheJerd.com, which is bridge the gap between geekdom and health and fitness.

Ryon Day – Yeah…

The Jerd – So what was the impetus to start working out for you? What brought you to that? Was it always something that was part of your life, or did you discover fitness later on in life?

Ryon Day – Well, I gotta tell you I kind of admire that attitude of yours greatly because there’s always this, uh, there’s this false dichotomy between you know, you can be good at physical pursuits or you can be good at intellectual pursuits, right?

The Jerd – Yeah.

Ryon Day – And it’s a very false dichotomy, right?

The Jerd – Totally.

Ryon Day – Even if you look at the stereotypical high school, or college, jock they have exceptionally high graduation rates and exceptionally high GPAs; student athletes do. And we’re not talking about people planning to go into the NFL, we’re talking about people who do crew rowing or they do s**t like fencing, like I did, and they’ll never have a chance at making that a job in the real world. But being physically capable leads to a certain mental resolution, and mental toughness, that is universally applicable to all of life’s tough situations, right?

The Jerd – Mmhmm.

Ryon Day – I’ve been physically active from a very early age. I’m quite stereo-typically ADHD. And I’ve always found it very difficult… you can see here as you’re looking at me in the camera, I’m constantly fidgeting and switching hands with my teacup here, and constantly being kinetic. And that’s an important outlet I think and, for me, that was an outlet at an early age because my mom decided that, well, we have to do something physical, right?

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – So she gave me a choice between Boy Scouts or Tae Kwon Do.

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – Yeah. So I ended up choosing Tae Kwon Do, and that kind of led to a lifelong pursuit of martial arts, which continues to this day.

The Jerd – Awww, we could talk for hours on that, let me tell you! But keep going…

Ryon Day – Yeah, you know, that’s been an important and vital part of my life… and one of the only social outlets I had as a kid, was being in karate class as well. So that was an extremely important, formative, part of my life. And it’s continued non-stop throughout my entire life; I don’t think there’s ever been more than a month or two stretch when I’ve gone without exercising in some form. And usually that because I’ve been injured, quite seriously, and I’ve stopped.

To me, it’s as natural as breathing, and I understand that for many people it’s not… and that is often a source of shame, or something of that nature, because we invariably tend to compare ourselves with others. Which is an unhealthy practice most of the time.

The Jerd – Definitely.

Ryon Day – But yeah, to answer your question, I started at a fairly early age and never stopped… and I don’t feel that it’s ever been a choice that I’ve had between one or the other. To be smart, studious, and academic or to be well-versed in physical arts as well. I don’t feel that I’ve ever had to choose between those two things in order to reach a goal, or to be something. Right?

The Jerd – Mmhmm.

Ryon Day – I think that we have a false concept, I don’t know if it’s cultural or if it’s natural that way, that there’s this mind-body duality thing, where there’s a brain and a body… and if you feed one you starve the other, right?

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – And it’s not true. The brain and the body exist as an integrated whole, together, right? And in fact they find that your performance of intellectual pursuits increases with your performance in physical pursuits as well. So supporting one invariably bolsters the other as well. It’s a unity, and they are intertwined.

The tapestry of your life is woven between your physical capabilities and your mental capabilities.

You can ask any smart person who died too young, because they neglected that… or don’t ask them, I mean look at any case study.

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – And I’m not sure where your passion for this came from, but I first started putting the pieces together around, if I get the year correctly, around 2008 when I got a phone call from my grandfather to tell me that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. I think it was 2007 actually… and then he passed away in mid-2008.

It was a very fast decline.

He was a person who had struggled with a pathological relationship with food for most of his life.

The Jerd – Gotcha.

Ryon Day – And he had not taken care of himself physically, but he was an absolutely brilliant physicist, and a brilliant man with an amazing life-story… who would still be around today, I feel strongly, to give myself and the rest of his family the blessing and the benefit of his presence throughout the years had he minded more of the physical part of his life.

So that is kind of where I started to put those two pieces together, and that’s where my passion for the same thing that you have came from. So… that’s that.

The Jerd – Yeah, and readers of the site know this, my passion for this came from… actually, I started this site because of your sister. I went to a talk she gave a couple years ago at San Diego Comic-Con, and I’m in the IT industry as well… slaving away on a regular basis…

Ryon Day – Sure.

The Jerd – I’ve done martial arts my entire life, and that’s kind of been my thing. But that was always a personal thing, that I did myself, I didn’t really talk about it to anyone else. It was my home away from home, so to speak. And I was listening to your sister and some other people she has worked with, like Sandeep Parikh, give talks about pursuing your passion.

And just creating something that you can be proud of, and I started thinking about my job… and while I do enjoy my job, and I’m very good at it…

Ryon Day – Sure.

The Jerd – It doesn’t really… I don’t see the benefit of it helping other people, and then I started putting the thought together in my mind. I have so many nerd friends I grew up with, and we are all in our 40s now, and they’re all complaining that everything hurts, and they feel like crap, and they are telling me this while popping another 2-litre of Mountain Dew and my head wants to explode!

Ryon Day – Yeah.

The Jerd – So I said “Why not try to help these people?“And it’s difficult to through to people! You mentioned it earlier, and it was one of the questions I definitely wanted to ask you… this geek vs fitness barrier.

Ryon Day – Yeah, there is!

An Interview with Ryon Day - The Jerd 4

The Jerd – Why do you think that so many of our nerd brethren are so opposed to developing their bodies alongside their minds? What is that resistance?

Ryon Day – You know, I actually got a private message on Reddit awhile back asking the exact same question, and it is very, very good. I think there’s an almost pride, and willful ignorance, and I think we see this in the intellectual sphere right? People are pridefully ignorant about things, so they don’t want to follow evidence. That’s certainly a huge problem.

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – You see it every single day, people who don’t want to follow evidence. People who don’t want to look at facts and figures, so they follow a blind ideology instead of following where research could lead them. You know, good faith research that could help them figure out something, right?

It’s so ironic that geeks consider themselves all so open-minded, and they consider themselves so bookish, and yet they are just as prone to hold onto positions out of pure ideology as anybody else is. We’re all susceptible to this attitude. I certainly am. I’ve seen it myself…

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – You have to see it in yourself in order to guard against it, because if you think that you’re special, things can start to happen that are very bad if you start thinking your special somehow, right? And we’re all special, but … (laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – But that’s not the kind of ‘special’ I am talking about.

The Jerd – Right, right…

Ryon Day – I’m talking special as in better… and that’s the mindset you have guard against right? Thinking you’re better than other people. And I’m not talking better at something too… because that’s objectively measurable, right? But if you think that you’re better in an ethereal way somehow, or … you know what I am saying right?

The Jerd – I do!

Ryon Day – To me there’s this thing where the geek pursuits have been marginalized, and looked down upon in a stereotypical way for so long, that you have a doctor’s mallet to the knee reaction at the prospect of fixing… not fixing, that’s a bit of a harsh way to put it, but pursuing physical interests. You say “I don’t want to be like that, because I’m going to mistake correlation for causation… by saying that being interested in physical pursuits makes you a jerk.” (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – “Instead of those things being strongly correlated sometimes, I am going to assume a causal relationship between the two. I’m going to say that you are at dire risk of being a jerk if you are into physical pursuits…” Right? So this is inculcated into you from a very, very young age; and you kind of live with it, kind of marinate in it, for decades. And you turn a blind eye to the benefits, the salubrious effects, of doing physical activity.

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – Because you don’t want to act like those people who might not have been that nice to you as a kid, right? That’s certainly one thing, right?

The Jerd – Mmhmm.

Ryon Day – It’s also that working out is exceptionally difficult! I mean, it’s so f$#&ing hard, and it’s miserable sometimes when you’re doing it; and it only feels good after you’re done. And, you know, (laughs) it’s really hard to say the future-me is going to be really happy that I did this, and to stay the course on it, when present-me is saying this is some s**t I don’t like doing right now.

The Jerd – (Laughs) 

Ryon Day – Right? And there’s no acute misery like there is acute physical misery, of any sort, whether it be wet, cold, shivering or halfway through a squat and you’re running out of fuel. Intellectual pursuits are certainly painful in there own way, but…

The Jerd – Definitely.

Ryon Day – … it’s a different kind of pain, in that it doesn’t bring us an immediate of a reward as like solving a math problem “Oh s**t, I got it!” Instead, you finish a super set of squats and you feel like you’re going to die, and you’re panting on the floor, and I’ve had people ask me “Why the f@#& do you do that? It doesn’t look fun at all…” And, well… it’s not. (Laughs) 

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – It’s really, really not fun. It’s a hard to explain feeling of accomplishment, that’s harder to explain than the the accomplishment of having completed a coding assignment well or having squashed a bug in your software, or having figured out a logic problem, right?

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – Or even a puzzle or a crossword, right? And that’s an enormous barrier; to get people enthusiastic about that feeling and to say this is the way you feel reward, and this is the way you feel righteous almost for doing this difficult physical activity. It’s a huge barrier!

It’s still a barrier for me. I go into the gym all the time and I’m like “Boy, I really don’t feel like doing this… what if I skip this last set?” You know, you start bargaining with yourself. “What if I just take it easy this week?” or what if I do this or that instead, right?

These activities… you have to look at things through the eyes of future-you, almost exclusively, right? Because it’s not going to pay the bills for me to complete this squat. I don’t want to write 50 unit tests for every line of code that I write, but I wont get aid if I don’t. But I won’t not get paid if I don’t do this set of squats. So it’s a different motivation that you have to have. It has to be the future-you motivation; looking at you askance if you don’t do it, or giving you the thumbs up if you do it.

The Jerd – Definitely!

Ryon Day – So it’s such a huge barrier to overcome to get started.

The Jerd – I agree, I agree. Nerds are… okay, here’s the problem I see with geeks and nerds. We’re smart. So we’re really good at rationalizing with ourselves.

Ryon Day – Oh yeah! That’s why it’s so hard to take the S.A.T. when your old… for those f@#&ing analogies. It’s like oh, you know, cardboard is to wind… I can say battleship is to schooner, I can rationalize that right? But when you’re 16 and taking the S.A.T. there’s this one answer that is very concrete, but if you’re 30 and taking the test…

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – … then you go “Yeah, this is a valid answer. I can rationalize this.” You know? And then you get a lower score on the S.A.T. than like a 14 year old. And then you’re like “Well…” (laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – You’re like “Well, the S.A.T. doesn’t measure life skills… that’s the excuse that I will give.”

The Jerd – There you go. (Laughs)

Ryon Day – Yeah.

The Jerd – So you had mentioned about getting started… I’m a huge proponent of finding ways to bridge the gap.

Ryon Day – It’s the hardest.

The Jerd – Especially for people new to getting fit. It is! You know, we mentioned it briefly, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time practicing martial arts as well so I always recommend things like… if people are into martial arts movies, or into playing Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, that they go take a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and get in the best shape of their lives…

Ryon Day – Sure!

The Jerd – Or if you like zombie movies, go run the Walking Dead Escape at Comic-Con like I do every year. But what about you? What are your thoughts on what people can do to start off if the thought of going to the gym gives them a panic attack?

Ryon Day – Yeah… the thing, more than any other, that I have noticed talking to people is that they’re incredibly afraid of the judgement of others. If you’re very unfit, it’s a loathsome idea for you to even set foot in the gym and risk being seen.

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – And if being seen by another human being in your current state is that big of a hurdle… that is a gigantic hurdle to overcome, right?

The Jerd – It is.

Ryon Day – I think the fear of judgement is the number one thing; the number one obstacle, that I’ve ever seen, bar none. It’s like “What will they say when they see me?” or I take a guy to free guest day at my gym with me… I say “Come work out with me man, I’m completely non-judgemental,” and there is this incredibly fit girl. An incredibly gorgeous woman, she’s actually a fitness model, but she actually prepares for her figure competitions by doing power-lifting.

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – So she’s there dead-lifting double body weight or something like that, and this is far, far more than this friend of mine could ever dream about doing right now. And it’s that abject feeling of humiliation that comes from comparing yourself to other people, right?

The Jerd – Mmhmm.

Ryon Day – So I always say, just go out and walk and walk for 15 minutes. Start slow. You know, that’s the key. No-one hates walking, we all do it every day. Just walk. Listen to a podcast while you walk, but just get out there and walk for 15 minutes.

That’s your daily does for right now. 15 minutes. If you’re starting at the bottom… you know, I’ve worked with so many people who’re starting at bottom… don’t go do the bootcamp thing, just walk for 15 minutes and listen to a podcast. Just get the ball rolling! Then walk for 20, and then if you’re interested in keeping with it I’m going to boil the fog and be like “Come to the gym with me one day and I will show you one thing, and then we will go out and eat fajitas afterwards… without the tortillas” right?

The Jerd – Yeah.

Ryon Day – It’s like “Come do this with me, we’ll have a good time. I will laugh along with you. And I will be doing everything alongside you as you do it…” You have to lead people by the hand. You have to be exceptionally gentle, and empathic, because it’s the hardest thing to be empathic when you’ve been working out your entire life, and it comes natively to you as a fish breathing underwater. And you say “Come jump into this water that I’m breathing… just take a deep breath when your face is underwater. You’ll be fine.” And it’s hard to see the collection of anxieties and feelings that are going through people’s heads when they’re beginners at this thing that you’ve been doing for so long.

So, for me, the trick has been empathy. Being able to speak to these feeling of anxiety of shame, deep shame sometimes…

The Jerd – Yeah. Definitely…

Ryon Day – Because they know… and it’s not a matter of being shredded, it’s really not. Not everybody is meant to be shredded, it’s a genetic thing. I’ll never be as shredded as I want to be because I’m from big, stocky, Polish farmhand class right? I will never shoot hoops. Ever! I’ll never sprint, I’ll never be a long distance runner. I’ll never be any of those things.

But I can pick up a motherf@$&er and put him down on the ground real hard. And I can put my knee on his belly, real hard. And then I will choke him out real hard. Right? Because that’s what I’m built to do. Is to cause people discomfort.

The Jerd – (Laughs) Right…

Ryon Day – But I will never dunk a basketball, I’ll never run a marathon, I will never do any of that stuff and I don’t feel shame because of it. Because that’s who I am right now, and I’m not interested in doing any of those things. But I am interested in living a long life. I am interested in being there for my family, and friends, and the people that I love… indefinitely into the future. I am interested in having the physical capabilities to help out people in need.

The Jerd – Yeah…

Ryon Day – I’m interested in helping people out who can not help themselves. And I can only do that if I am in good shape. And I can only do that if I have done everything that I can to stay there. Right? Those are my motivations, and those are four common motivations that anybody can understand. Not get your six-pack abs… right?

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – That’s a losing proposition. Instead it’s about being able to speak to the deep feeling of otherness that people feel in the gym, and the deep feeling of shame that they might feel for inside knowing that they might not make it to that 60th birthday, as my other grandfather didn’t because he had a heart attack.

The Jerd – Man…

Ryon Day – And it’s about not having the physical capability to be there for the people that you love; and understanding that! Saying “Let’s just start slow, and let’s see where you go…” You know? “Let’s walk down this road together and let’s not think about some indeterminate future state where you can dunk a basketball, or six pack abs, or single digit body fat. How about lets just enjoy something together, as friends, and I’ll show you something that has brought a great deal of joy and happiness into my life. And I’d really like to share that with you. But let’s just start off doing this one tiny, simple little thing, and let’s see where it goes from here?”

Right?

“And if you’re not interested right now, I’ll back off and I will still be your friend. I’ll still adore you as my friend, as much as I ever have. But like, man, sometimes I look and sometimes I’m worried that I won’t have you in my future. And sometimes I worry that we won’t be able to…”

Here I am sitting here tearing up because this is how strongly I feel about this stuff.

The Jerd – No… preach it. I’m right there with you!

Ryon Day – It’s like sometimes I’m afraid I won’t have you to, like, laugh along with when we’re old people… so let’s do this man! Come one! 15 minutes… I’ll even walk with you.”

The Jerd – That’s a great approach. I love that.

Ryon Day – You don’t have to be a sportsman. No-one has to be a sportsman. But you do have to be able to be there for people. You have to be able to have that relationship and you have to be able to keep those relationships for as long as you love… and being physically healthy is incredibly important in that.

If you can get people to understand that. Get them saying “yes,” and get them to nod along as you talk about this, then you’ve got them! Then you find something that they will like. Do you like upper-body stuff? Then let’s go kayaking on the lake, let’s slather on the sunscreen and let’s have a conversation, and let’s row a couple of miles. And I will do most of the work on the way back… f@#& it, you know?

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – But we’re just going to have a lot of fun together doing this new way of spending time together. Right?

The Jerd – Right, right…

Ryon Day – Not everyone is meant to play a sport. So don’t sell it to them like that. Instead, just be really earnest and say “Man, I would really like us to be friends for… ever…”

The Jerd – That’s a great way of putting it, I love that.

Ryon Day – “… because I look at how you struggle sometimes and I really worry that is not going to come to pass. So will you let me sell you on something? Just let me tell you about something.” And then it is up to them. You know?

The Jerd – Dude, that is fantastic. I love that philosophy. And you mentioned something that I’ve always struggled with, which is the fact that people who are severely out of shape… or just were bullied so much as children… they suffer that innate shame of walking into a gym. And I want to just tell them that everyone that is there working out is just focused on themselves…

Ryon Day – Yeah.

The Jerd – No-one gives a flying crap about you, and most of them are going to be encouraging. And sometimes I wonder if it’s almost the one bad thing about the Internet world nowadays. The Internet is a vile place, where everyone just tears down everyone else, and I think a lot of geeks think that happens in real-life in the gym… and it doesn’t!

Ryon Day – No, I’ve never… I mean it has happened to women, guys who say “Oooooh, you should squat this way… or that…”

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – But in my gym I have never come across a single example of shaming. People are there for themselves, and themselves only. No-one cares. If anything… if anything they’re admiring you if you’re in bad shape.

The Jerd – Yes.

Ryon Day – They’re like “F@#& yeah dude! You’re going places… so give me a high five.” Right?

The Jerd – Exactly!

Ryon Day – And, the other problem, is not only is the Internet a vile f@#&ing place, but the Internet is a wonderful f@#&ing place where at the touch of a few keys you can see the best person in the world at a certain activity…

The Jerd – Yeah… (laughs)

Ryon Day – … doing that activity, and then you’re s**t compared to this guy. It’s like I will go search some Marcelo Garcia videos and learn something and…

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – … then I’m like “Oh no… he’s like 130 pounds and…”

The Jerd – “Why isn’t my single leg X-guard that good? Dammit…” (laughs)

Ryon Day – I know! Then I’m like “I never want to watch another video because I will never be as good as Marcelo Garcia.” But that’s not the point of watching a Marcelo Garcia video.

The Jerd – (Laughs) We are going deep into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu nerd cave here…

Ryon Day – Yeah. It’s like if your searching how to do anything, there’s always going to be someone who lives for it and then you’re going to be all [dejected voice]”I’m never going to be that good… I might as well not do it at all.”[/dejected voice]

The Jerd – Ugh, I hate that mindset… but it’s valid! They get that “If I can’t be the best, why do it at all?” mindset, they just get demoralized at the get-go and it’s a shame.

Ryon Day – Yep.

The Jerd – So you keep mentioning going to the gym, and kayaking, and stuff like that. What is your fitness regimen like now? What do you personally to stay in shape?

Ryon Day – My fitness regimen is surprisingly minimal.

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – I predominantly… oh, I’m not doing BJJ right now because I was recovering from a shoulder injury; I should be going back imminently. It was actually weight-lifting injury, but I almost exclusively do resistance training and I do cardio in the form of jump rope. Which is my very favorite cardio, bar none, speed rope. Love it. And mountain and road biking. That’s really it.

I live about, well, I live close to a major mountain bike park here in Austin, Texas. So I’m within a few minutes ride from as much as I want to ride.

The Jerd – Awesome.

Ryon Day – I’m blessed. And with my work being the way it has, I’ve been exclusively resistance training for the past two or three months, and I just do a split where I… because of my shoulder injury, where I had two separated AC joints, several years ago. Both of them were between grade 2 and grade 3 separations. Courtesy of Crossfit.

The Jerd – (Sympathetic sigh)

Ryon Day – So I couldn’t do anything with my upper body for two, three years? So as a result I do power-lifting moves predominantly. Deadlifts and squats with my lower-body. And I do a machine based protocol for my upper-body…

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – And I also do weighted chin-ups as well for vertical plane pull. For the upper-body stuff I follow the super slow protocol laid out in Doug McGuff’s “Body By Science” using machines. Because I honestly can’t handle free-weights with my upper-body anymore unfortunately.

The Jerd – Gotcha.

Ryon Day – But I do love deadifting! And I do love squatting, they’re just two of my favorite things to do.

The Jerd – And how often during the week do you work out?

Ryon Day – The lower-body slow lifts I do once per week, each. So I do squat and deadlift one day a week each. I work shoulder press and bench press twice a week each, with different patterns. I do super-slow once per week each, and I do a max-load based protocol on the week I do the other.

So a super-slow bench press for example and then a super heavy shoulder press machine, or super slow shoulder press and then super heavy bench.

The Jerd – Okay…

Ryon Day – And then I’ll do the nautilus pull-over machine, I’ll do a row, and I’ll do weighted chin-ups on the day I do squats. Very simple.

The Jerd – Simple is good.

Ryon Day – If you count it I do, I think, five distinct movements. That’s it. Nothing fancy; no kettlebell swings, nothing ballistic, just good form and solid technique first and then slow, steady, progress. So, very simple.

The Jerd – Nice. One of the questions I get a lot, is how to stay on track with fitness… but more importantly, eating right at conventions. So since you seem to do a lot of conventions with Geek & Sundry, now do you have any tips on that front?

Ryon Day – Yeah, um, you have to do what Lyle McDonald, and Alan Aragon for that matter, you have to be willing to accept a lifestyle of, and I think this is Lyle’s wording, “Flexible Dieting.” You can’t think that the war is lost because of a single bad meal, or even a short series of bad meals. The war is won through a long campaign; it will go better and then it will go worse sometimes. Right?

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – That said, the key is of course Chipotle. (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – You know Mexican restaurants in general, I would feel, offer a very good possibility for eating well. If you can’t, you have to pick your battles. If you’re at a convention for a week you should probably have a plan of some sort, but if you;re there for just a weekend, go nuts dude. It’s fine.

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – You’ll just have to make up for it, and get back on track, once you get back into town. But we’re all adults here, you can take personal responsibility for your decisions, right? But just remember that future-you is staring over your shoulder, looking at what you’re doing, and he’s got a disapproving look on his face; future-you does. And then present-you is just this petulant little child going “I wanna!”

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – And sometimes you have to indulge your inner child a little bit…

The Jerd – Definitely.

Ryon Day – But there’s always future-you to contend with, and soon enough future-you is going to be present-you, looking back at past-you going “What the f@#& was I thinking?” You know, don’t have a full dessert, have two or three bites of the dessert. Right?

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – Get a small, instead of a medium or a large. And you need far less food than you think you need.

The Jerd – That’s an important point too, definitely.

Ryon Day – Yeah, it’s like we have a moralistic way if looking at ourselves… being overweight, or out of shape, is a moral failing of some sort; and it’s just not true. It’s not a moral failing. It’s not a failing at all. It’s just a natural response to an environment that’s energy-rich and with increasingly fewer opportunities for energy use.

So you have an energy-rich environment, and you have an environment that is increasingly less energy-use, right? So you have an imbalance between the available energy and the energy you burn, and you have to compensate for that in your diet. Because naturally humans are, evolutionarily speaking, designed to exist in times of famine.

So when you have a smorgasbord of cheap energy available to you, it’s like “Oh well, winter is coming…”

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – (Laughs) “… and I won’t be able to eat.” So you consume. It’s not a moral failing, it’s how you are wired as an animal, and if you weren’t wired that way then you would not have made it to this point as a species. So you;re just being you. Being the animal. The human animal.

So in terms of strategies for eating at cons, I am as prone as anyone to gorge; but the secret is that the food is really not that good. I remember at BlizzCon, there was a Sbarro and a Del Taco.

The Jerd – Ugh.

Ryon Day – That was the only two food choices… (laughs)

The Jerd – Oh dear lord. (Laughs)

Ryon Day – … in like the entire Anaheim Convention Center. A Del Taco and a Sbarro. And I’m like “Well, here’s a Sophie’s Choice…” (laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – “… which way do I want my soul to die today?” But, the heartening thing was that the line in front of the Del Taco was far longer than the one in front of the Sbarro, because people know a better deal when they see it. Del Taco is not great but it’s still Mexican food, which is better whatever Sbarro is. (Laughs)

The Jerd – Right, right.

Ryon Day – So I kind of ate spaghetti and meatballs from Sbarro because [dejected voice] “I don’t have the time to wait at Del taco” [/dejected voice] And you know, sure enough, future-me as like “You’re going to feel like s**t.” and the then minutes later present-me was future-me and I was like [dejected voice] “I feel like s**t.” [/dejected voice] (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – “Past me? Why did you do it?” You know… “Past me, I am tremendously disappointed in you.” (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs) I’m pretty sure that’s the mental dialogue everyone goes through that’s ever eaten at a Sbarro.

Ryon Day – (Laughs) That’s probably true… I know I am being really tongue-in-cheek here with the shame, because it’s not a shame thing… you’ve got to eat. It’s just that this is really bad food, you have to have energy to take you through the con, and it’s better than starving. You gotta do what you gotta do!

The Jerd – Definitely.

Ryon Day – Just be cognizant of what you’re doing. It’s “Well I’m really hungry right now, so I am going to do this” not “I’m really craving Sbarro.” (laughs) You know? This is a necessary step to my convention experience, and the enjoyment thereof. (Laughs) 

The Jerd – (Laughs) Well that makes a lot of sense, and I appreciate that because that’s one of the things I always struggle with. I literally think that is the biggest question that I get…

Ryon Day – Yeah!

The Jerd – It’s people saying “I just started, but now I have three conventions coming up, what the hell do I do?” I think that’s a really reasonable way of putting it so I appreciate that man…

Ryon Day – Count your calories! Don’t be shamed. Love yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Be understanding with yourself when you slip. Don’t be sitting in moral judgement like eating at Sbarro means something about your essence as a human… well no, maybe that is! (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – Sbarro is a bad example. If you eat at Sbarro you are a bad person! (Laughs)

The Jerd – Now I’m never going to get that Sbarro sponsorship I wanted! (Laughs)

Ryon Day – Exactly, there will be a Sbarro patch… (laughs) like the Mighty Jerd, by Sbarro.

The Jerd – Yeeeeaaaahhh…

Ryon Day – No, um, so never sit in moral judgement of yourself for having slipped up a little bit. Tomorrow’s another day, every day is a clean slate, you’re going to have to compromise when you are in a convention center and all the food is made to be cheap and easily ship-able in mass quantities. You’re not going to be getting some hipster, big-bushy-bearded dude, making you a bespoke meal out of healthy, farm-fresh ingredients. It’s just not going to happen. You’re setting yourself up for failure.

So just know that you need to make the best choice you possibly can, err towards the side of high protein, and you know… look at the menu, find the highest protein thing on the menu… and during con season I would go high protein, high carb, low fat.

I’m generally in the low-fat camp myself, for weight loss, in general because that’s what works for me, with my activity level.

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – Yeah, just don’t sit in negative moral judgement of yourself because of a failing you might have. Just love yourself and be gentle with yourself. We’re all human here. We’re all in it together. The harder you are on yourself, the more likely it is that you are going to fail; if you see it as some moral failing in yourself.

Just say “I’m a human animal and I ate the tasty, processed carbs, because that’s how we’re wired.”

The Jerd – Can’t argue with that.

Ryon Day – Yeah.

An Interview with Ryon Day - The Jerd 3

The Jerd – So we have some questions from the Geek & Sundry community that I want to get to, but before we do… you obviously have a successful career as a software developer, so what brought about your show on Geek and Sundry, Co-Optitude? Which is fantastic by the way! I absolutely love it…

Ryon Day – Thank you, thank you very much…

The Jerd – … and the urge to Twitch and all that, where did it come from? Was that your sister’s influence, or did you go to her and say “Hey, I kinda like what you’re doing can I get in on this craziness?” Where’d it all come from?

Ryon Day – So to be honest, the Twitch thing is completely separate to the Co-Optitude thing.

The Jerd – Hmmm, okay.

Ryon Day – I was visiting Los Angeles for holiday… it might have been Thanksgiving, I don’t even remember at this point… and she was filming a show, The Flog, which has just returned… and I was just hanging around doing nothing, and she and Sean Becker, who directed The Flog… and The Guild by the way! Sean’s brilliant.

And they were like “Let’s just play a video game on the Flog, we’ll make a small 3 minute segment…” And people really liked it.

“Achievement Unlocked – Street Apple”

Ryon Day – So we did it again on The Flog, I think we had two episodes on The Flog. One was Golden Axe, that was the first one I think, and I believe the other was Battle Toads. I might be mis-remembering.

Editor’s Note – He was.

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – People liked it! So we just spun it off onto it’s own show. So that’s been going for over two years now, geez that’s so hard to think about. It’s been almost three years we’ve been doing this show. It’s amazing! It’s been really, really fun. Over 100 episodes now, can you believe it?

The Jerd – Really? I didn’t realize there were that many, that’s crazy.

Ryon Day – They’re easy, and cheap, to film! Every two months I go out and we spend a weekend filming 8 episodes and that’s that. So that’s where the show came from, Twitch is an entirely different animal. I was on, and I have to just pat myself on the back here, I have been on my sister’s ass to do Twitch for years.

The Jerd – Really? Okay…

Ryon Day – Oh yeah! I’ve been watching Twitch streamers, you know, just because it’s like you’re talking to someone. I’d put a Twitch stream on when I was working, because I had a work-at-home job at the time, and it was like having someone in the room with me talking. So I would just leave a stream on while I worked, it was a great background filler.

And some of the Twitch streamers were generally great entertainers. So I was like “You should do Twitch, you should do Twitch, you should do Twitch…” and so, I think it was last October, it’s coming up on the one year anniversary of our Twitch streams, we got together and we did… and this is where Team Hooman comes from of course.

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – We did a game called Damned, and we played with some of the viewers, and I guess I ad-libbed the word “Hooman” and the people who were in the audience ran with it and it is what it is today, which is an amazing, wonderful, accepting community full of awesome people. So that’s kind of the Twitch story.

It’s a bit of a chaotic one; I would like to do it far more than I do, and I am trying to wrestle the time to do so…

The Jerd – That’s always the struggle, isn’t it?

Ryon Day – It is. It is the struggle. So that’s the Twitch stream story.

The Jerd – That’s interesting, because one of the things I have always admired about your sister, and the entire team behind Geek & Sundry, is their ability to surf the fickle nature of online communities; so Twitch, I don’t know, it seemed like the natural progression of things almost, so it that’s interesting…

Ryon Day – It is very interesting; because Twitch is particularly, and uniquely, toxic. YouTube comments are a cesspool.

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – But Twitch… is it Tolstoy, I think? One of the opening lines of one of his books is that “All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own special way” or something like that? Maybe it’s “Anna Karenina”? Like, you know, Twitch and YouTube are toxic in their own special way.

Twitch chat is unbelievably toxic, and edgy, but the Geek & Sundry community just isn’t, because we are selective. Everybody says “Come one, come all” but the least common denominator will generally win in those situations, so we unapologetic-ally cull the audience. Like I know if someone is toxic in my chat, my mods have full carte blanche to just (snaps) cut them out immediately.

The Jerd – Yeah, I can’t remember ever seeing anything negative in any of your Twitchs… or your sister’s. It’s shocking, to be honest.

Ryon Day – Yeah, no, it’s done two things. One, it has drastically limited the size of the audience (laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – And two, it has drastically increased the diversity, and the quality, of the audience. Right? And that’s just personal feeling. Other people may disagree, particularly those who have been kicked or banned, but this is my hope for it… if it is not this, if I am just being Pollyannaish, then pleas just send me a Twitch message and set me straight and let me know what I can do… but it has become a safe-haven for a very diverse group of people who might otherwise have shied away from interacting with other people online like this.

That is kind of my mission statement to be honest with you, if I had to say that about my Twitch stream. I can absolutely not speak for Zach or Geek & Sundry, you know?

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – But speaking for my own Twitch stream, I greatly value the mods who seem to be in lock-step with my own manner of thinking, even though I’ve never formally briefed them on anything, or my thought process, they just seem to be psychically linked to me somehow in terms of what kind of audience I want to cultivate.

And everyone in my audience has just been supportive of each other, and empathic and compassionate in the extreme, and that is exactly the kind of thing that I am looking for in an online community; and I hope that it is the kind of thing that many people who have not been able to find their tribe, maybe if they are looking for that they will stumble upon us as well.

So that’s kind of where I am with Twitch.

An Interview with Ryon Day - The Jerd 5

The Jerd – Yeah, they are the nicest people. Everyone I have ever met that is a part of the Geek & Sundry forums, or Team Hooman, or anything else… the literally nicest people I have ever met in my life.

Ryon Day – For sure!

The Jerd – It’s just a fantastic group. And speaking of that group! (Laughs)

Ryon Day – (Laughs)

The Jerd & Ryon Day – [sings]Segueway![/sings]

The Jerd – There’s a lot of questions…

Ryon Day – Yeah.

The Jerd – So I’m going to fire some of these off, now… I’m not going to get to them all because I want to be respectful of your time. So I am going to start out with TorontoGal who is a fantastic mod…

Ryon Day – Yes.

The Jerd – She’s wonderful. So a couple questions she had… and this is an interesting one… “If Ryon didn’t end up being home-schooled in what ways does he think he’d have turned out the same, and in what ways does he think he’d be different?”

Ryon Day – I don’t know… in jail or something? (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – I don’t know! I feel that it could have gone either way; I could have either done really well in school, but given the quality of the schools where we were, which was one of the impetuses behind home-schooling me and my sister, the quality, or lack thereof, of the schools in the poorest states in the union. Specifically Mississippi.

So, the schools there were less than good. If I was exposed to that environment I am not sure what would have happened to me. I doubt it would have been anything good. I might have found a tribe of people who would have fostered the same kind of enjoyment, but given that it was Mississippi in the 80s and 90s? No, I don’t think so.

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – I’m not sure what would have happened to me. I’m sure there are lovely people who come out of that environment, but I am naturally defiant. I have a very oppositional personality. I have a very dim view of most most authority figures. Not that’s not a very good combination in public school. I like to be the gadfly, you know?

I typically don’t put up with bulls**t from people. So I think that I probably would have been expelled or something like that because there’s nothing I hate more than authority figures that misuse their positions, right? And that is kind of what public school is for, doing rote, stupid, retarded s**t.

And please excuse me for using the word “retarded,” that’s not a good thing to say. But you’re just doing meaningless, rote activities to keep kids busy so their not causing trouble, and I think I probably would have acted out a lot. So, that wouldn’t have bade well for my public school career.

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – I ended up getting my G.E.D. at 17 and going to community college. So… (laughs)

The Jerd – There you go. And she also wants to know “Is there any genre of video game that you simply can’t get into, or don’t enjoy very much?”

Ryon Day – I’ll tell you something… I was one of the best Doom players in the country in the 90s. If there were e-sports back then I probably would have made a name for myself. Um, I used to love first-person shooters… Team Fortress II, Unreal Tournament, what were some more? Battlefield II was one of my favorite games of all times, bar none, just because of the teamwork and the different roles you could play like medic, and things like that.

But man, I’ll tell you what, these days? I just cannot do first-person shooters.

The Jerd – Really?

Ryon Day – Just can’t do it. Yeah. I mean Mass Effect is a notable exception, but that’s not really a first-person shooter I don’t feel.

The Jerd – Right.

Ryon Day – Right? Things like Call of Duty, um, in general I just don’t like gratuitous bloodshed, and I don’t like gratuitous killing these days… as much as I used to. If it’s in service to story-line, or if it’s in service of telling a story, or things like that? Yeah, sure! But if the object of the game is to kill endless waves of humans, particularly if they are somehow the enemy flavor of the week; be they middle eastern, or probably Chinese coming up here in the near future… and if the game is a thinly veiled advertisement for jingoistic escapades in different parts of the world, I can’t be onboard with that anymore.

I don’t like Grand Theft Auto either. I don’t like open-world havoc simulators. If you like it man, more power to you, but it’s not my cup of tea.

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – I don’t want to be able to beat up a prostitute, just because I can beat her up. It’s just not something that I see as something that I would want to do in my spare time outside of work… beat up a prostitute, or steal a car, or be a bad person. I don’t… like that game Postal. Or that game, what’s the new one… uh… that just got released that’s specifically about killing innocent people?

The Jerd – Oooh… I can’t… what’s the name of it? I don’t remember. But I don’t want to give it press; I know the one you’re talking about.

Ryon Day – Yeah. Man, if you like it go for it. Whatever nurtures your soul, but that’s stuff I don’t have time for anymore. And no, I do my fair share of killing in video games… don’t get me wrong! I’ve got a very high body count, but there’s some things that I just don’t want to do.

The Jerd – Gotcha.

Ryon Day – And havoc simulators, and the latest generation of FPS’, just seem to me to be turned up to 11 too much. It’s too edgy! Like, how awful can we be? How awful a person can we put people into their shoes? How awful of a person can we make your avatar?

It’s a losing proposition for me personally; it’s just me. No judgement on anyone who likes it, so…

The Jerd – Sure! Well, PotterNatural67 wanted to ask… “How would you describe…”

Ryon Day – Oh, he’s the one who had the pink comic sans font, didn’t he?

The Jerd – Yes!

Ryon Day – I read these last night…

The Jerd – I’m trying to read it but my eyeballs are bleeding right now.

Ryon Day – (Laughs) Yeah. I could tell you had difficulty and that’s why, yeah!

The Jerd – (Laughs) “How would you describe yourself in three words?” Three words Ryon!

Ryon Day – (Laughs) Um, “I’ll try harder.” (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs) Perfect.

Ryon Day – (Laughs) No, seriously, that’s exactly it. It’s like, man you failed every single day of your life… and everybody does. It’s like “Oh f@#& dude, I could have done that better.” Or like “Oh man, that was a s**t show. Better luck next time!” If it was four words it would have been “Better luck next time” but since I was down to three “I’ll try harder” fits the bill. Yeah.

The Jerd – I like it!

Ryon Day – Because every day you’re going to fail, and every day you have to try harder instead of giving up. Every day.

The Jerd – That’s deep… deep.

Ryon Day – Yeah. (Laughs)

The Jerd – He also wants to know, “What is your biggest dream about the future, or if you could change something about the past, what would it be?”

Ryon Day – I’ll address the latter question first. The thing is, you can’t go through life believing that your success or failure hinged on one pivot. You know, certainly… there’s like the billiard ball analogy. Where it’s like okay, you have a long shot down a billiards table. There’s the ball, right in front of the pocket. You hit the cue ball. The cue ball hits the 8-ball, and so on. And if you have a small error in aiming your cue ball, it will magnify across the distance of the table; so you wildly miss your target.

But life’s not like that! Life is an infinite series of intermediate steps, and by the time that you live another year… or live another day… well, you might not want to hit that ball into that pocket anyway. So yeah, I don’t believe in this one, single, decisive moment analogy of life.

Life doesn’t hinge on… I mean, yes, there are things like car wrecks or these big moments, right?

The Jerd – Definitely, sure…

Ryon Day – But by and large, it’s a series of intermediate steps where your refine your aim towards intermediate goals. If you’re trying to shoot a long shot down the billiard table of life, chances are your interests and your goals will have changed by the time that shot became relevant… um, what was the first part of the question again?

The Jerd – He wanted to know what was your biggest dream about the future?

Ryon Day – I mean, quite honestly, when I was younger… when I was a teenager… I honestly never believed in myself enough to think that I would have made it to the point where I am right now. I’ve achieved far more already than I ever thought I would when I was fifteen or sixteen. You know?

I never thought I would get to the point where I am now. Being interviewed by someone?!? What? (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined this being something that would happen! And it’s like, every day is a blessing. And none of the dreams I had when I was sixteen or seventeen, or my mid-twenties, are even relevant now. To be honest with you…

The Jerd – Sure, sure…

Ryon Day – That’s kind of why I say… I’ve had more than my fair share of letdowns, I’ve had a a lot of tragedy and bad situations in my life, a lot of them visited upon myself by me. Ultimately a lot of them have come out in the wash as life has gone on though.

I’ve never held onto that single, decisive dream about what my life should be or become; other than generalities, like to be happy, to be long lived, to be surrounded by people who I love and cherish, to be kind and nurturing towards others. And even those dreams have been of recent vintage. I used to be a very self-centered person. I used to be kind of a prick, not just kind of a prick, but a total prick to other people! I used be a very typical online troll like you find these days, although they’ve become far more toxic and harmful than they were when I was a teenager.

And even these dreams, these generic dreams, of health and wealth… in terms of friends and family, and relationships that are meaningful… these are things that have appeared in my life in the last five or six years, you know?

The Jerd – Hmmm… gotcha.

Ryon Day – And that’s the things that have made me more happy than any materialistic dream, or any sort of shallow dream, that I might have had two decades ago. You know what I mean?

The Jerd – I do, I do…

Ryon Day – So your perspective on life should change, measurably, every year that you are on the planet! That’s certainly been the case for me.  So there’s a long-winded answer to that question.

The Jerd – (Laughs) It’s fantastic.

Ryon Day – And if you listen to my answer, if you listen to my interview with Stephen over at Geek Apocalypse, my answers are equally as long-winded when he was interviewing me as well, so… there’s no such thing as a simple answer.

The Jerd – I will track that down and put a link to that then (and here it is, give that interview a listen after you are done here!) in the article.

Ryon Day – Stephen’s wonderful, yes.

The Jerd – Spectacular! Well BlairBeveridge wants to know “Why are you so good?” (Laughs)

Ryon Day – (Laughs) I guess some things do come naturally, and not through hard work. (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – It’s been being responsive to feedback that other people have given me throughout my life, like “Hey man, you’re really f@#&ing up” or “Hey man, you’ve really offended me with this statement” or “My life situation has changed in a way that you find very challenging to accept, can you still accept me?” And being able to say yes, and look inside, and shift the right gears int he right way and thereby improve myself in positive, and measurable, ways every single day of your life. To be able say “Well,” and here’s the decisive question that I should ask myself at any given juncture… “is this going to result in net happiness for myself and those around me? Am I going to be more accepting and compassionate to those around me by making this change? Am I going to understand understand other people and myself better as a result of trying to change my thought process?”

Being good isn’t an event, being good is a process.

So I guess I have a good process, and if other people think that I’m so good… and I realize that Blair is talking about an inside joke that I am taking entirely too seriously, but there’s the answer.

The Jerd – (Laughs) Another question he asked about fitness is “What type of exercise do you particularly hate?” You’ve already talked about the exercises you love, but are there any you just can’t stand?

Ryon Day – Like I said, I will never dunk a basketball… I will never run a marathon… and I am far more interested in dunking a basketball than I am running a marathon. I’ll never swim really well. I’ll never run a triathlon. I guess I am not that drawn to long-distance type activities. I like kind of bursty, sprinty, quick movement type things.

And I am not drawn to things like marathons or tris… but hey, some of the best athletes on earth right there… bar none.

The Jerd – Mmhmm.

Ryon Day – A guy that can run 22.6 miles about as fast as I can ride my bike… that’s awesome. Good for them, but that’s not me! You know what I mean?

The Jerd – I do know what you mean, I’m right there with you. Running? Yeah, not my thing. But I know Blair is an avid runner so you probably just crushed him. (Laughs)

Ryon Day – Good for him man! He’ll outrun my ass, that’s for sure! But that’s good, by all means, do what nurtures you.

The Jerd – Next up Yakumo_Fujii asks “What is the single most defining moment in your life?”

Ryon Day – Already covered!

The Jerd – (Laughs)

Ryon Day – I mean, maybe the decision to take Tae Kwon Do instead of joining the Boy Scouts like I referred to earlier?

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – That was pretty f@#&ing instrumental. Um, I said to myself that if I’d gotten to UT, after I got my GED and went to community college, and I did end up going to the University of Texas… if I had not, it was actually the only school I applied for… (laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs) 

Ryon Day – I put all my eggs in the cheap, state school, basket and I got in. It’s actually a very difficult school to get into. If I hadn’t have gone to community college I wouldn’t have gotten in… because I didn’t go to high school, and UT is required to accept the top ten percent of all Texas high school students.

The Jerd – Oh, okay.

Ryon Day – And that doesn’t leave many open positions after those slots are spoken for.

The Jerd – Gotcha.

Ryon Day – So I said i would have joined the military if I hadn’t gotten accepted. I mean, that was pretty pivotal… getting accepted to UT.

The Jerd – Okay. Well Farlander wants to know “If you could hack the Matrix, to instantly download expertise in a martial art you haven’t previously studied, which would it be?”

Ryon Day – Oh, that I haven’t previously studied…

The Jerd – Yes… haven’t.

Ryon Day – Oh. Man, that’s a pretty good one. I mean, I’ve waxed poetic at length about Brazilian Jiu jitsu… if I could download Marcelo Garcia into my head, you know? That would be awesome. But you put the qualifier on there… I mean, I’ve always been interested in kendo, that stuff is really, really cool.

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – Iaido. Those guys are really neat. Judo, judo would be good. Like Ronda Rousey you know?

The Jerd – Oh yeah, yeah, yeah…

Ryon Day – She’s a judoka, so who can deny the efficacy of her stuff in mixed martial arts. I would say one of those. Judo, iaido or kendo.

The Jerd – Nice! Okay. And the last one… this one is from Agarcia0730, “Are you fluent in any language, and if not, which would you choose to learn?”

Ryon Day – I can kind of get by in Spanish, and I know a very little bit of Portuguese because my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor is Brazilian. I would really love to be able to speak either of those two languages fluently. I live in Texas, I consider myself a Texas native, I’ve been here about 23 years. And we have a very rich Hispanic heritage. Our state was once Mexico, of course we took it from them…

The Jerd – Sure.

Ryon Day – And we have an absolutely incredible heritage from that province, from being a former Mexican territory. And it would be really, really cool to be able to partake in that more deeply than I do now. Same thing, I would absolutely love to be able to speak Portuguese. I mean it would really be cool to be able to read “100 Years of Solitude” in Spanish, in its original language. It would be really cool, to read Pablo Neruda as well.

So I would say Spanish or Portuguese, and German is pretty sweet too. I really do like German.

The Jerd – Okay.

Ryon Day – Probably Spanish. It would be of amazing use to me seeing that I live in Texas, so…

The Jerd – Right. And he also says “Thanks for time and energy spent with the Hooman community.”

Ryon Day – Oh! My pleasure. Absolutely. If anything, they have enriched me far mor than i have contributed to them so…

The Jerd – And I always like to play a quick flash round of nerd questions with people before I wrap things up, are you game?

Ryon Day – On the spot, yeah… let’s go!

The Jerd – Alright! Let’s do it man! Star Wars of Star Trek?

Ryon Day – Star Trek.

The Jerd – Favorite superhero?

Ryon Day – Green Lantern. For sure…

The Jerd – Nice! Playstation or Xbox?

Ryon Day – Playstation. I don’t own one, but I would just saying to Burrs… Ian… on Team Hooman, he was puzzling over this and I said I own a 360 and an Xbox One, and I spent a lot of time at Animagus’ house on a PS4, so I gotta say Playstation. (Laughs)

The Jerd – (Laughs) Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter?

Ryon Day – Um… Street Fighter.

The Jerd – American or Japanese RPGs?

Ryon Day – Oh man… American. Just because of Ultima. That’s where I come from.

The Jerd – Dragonball Z or Pokémon?

Ryon Day – Pokémon, just because of the videos my sister and I did. (Laughs) Which mortify any real Pokémon fans, so consider that a tongue-in-cheek answer.

The Jerd – (Laughs) And speaking of your sister, Felicia Day or Jace Hall?

Ryon Day – Um, I gotta go with the blood. Blood is thicker than water.

The Jerd – What a cop out!

Ryon Day – (Laughs) Maybe she’ll see this and not beat me up, so…

The Jerd – (Laughs) And to bring it back around to fitness one more time, your favorite single exercise?

Ryon Day – My favorite single exercise is probably, bar none, the squat. Properly executed, parallel squat with heavy weight. none better!

The Jerd – Can’t argue with that. Well, you’ve been so generous with your time…

Ryon Day – Well, this has been a long time coming and I really enjoyed it. If you;d like to collaborate on anything in the future, just please look me up man. It’s been a real pleasure, and it sounds like you and I have identical thought processes in terms of this stuff so… It’s been a huge pleasure talking to you, and I really do appreciate your time.

The Jerd – I appreciate that man… before we wrap it up, do you have any final words of encouragement for the audience? Whether it’s about fitness, life-balance or some creative endeavor? Anything you want to leave them with?

Ryon Day – Yeah. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Be accepting of yourself and who you are. That doesn’t mean you have to be completely happy with yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to be happy with where you are at right now, but you should definitely love yourself… take care of your own needs, practice self-care, be compassionate, kind, and empathetic towards other people… and success will follow.

That’s really all I have, is be loving and kind to yourself no matter where you’re at. No matter what physical condition that you’re in. And no matter if you are in a bad place in life, always be kind to yourself and others, because they are fighting their own battles too. And that’s that.

The Jerd – That is fantastic stuff. Well that’s it folks… that’s a little bit of a look into the geeky life, and mind, of Ryon Day. I hope you guys got some inspiration out of it, I know I did. You all already know how to get a hold of me on the social media… I’m @TheMightyJerd pretty much everywhere. But make sure you are following Ryon across… basically across all of the Intergoogletubes, because supporting people who promote a positive and healthy space on the Internet is important.

So where can people find you Ryon?

Ryon Day – I’m probably most active on Twitter at @Ryon_D, I’m on Instagram… you can find all that stuff linked on my Twitter account. Just tweet at me. I read everything I get. Every single Twitch message, every single tweet, I read. I don’t have time to respond to them all, but I do read everything. The place I am probably second most active, is on my Twitch channel and yeah, that’s probably your best bet.

Tweet at me, let me know what’s the haps!

The Jerd – Well, you heard him folks. Tweet at him!

Phew! There we go! Did you make it through this entire interview?!?

Did you like what Ryon had to say?

Do you have questions for either of us?

Let us know in the comments below!

PS – If you want to join the Geek and Sundry community, check it out here or on their Facebook page, or if you want more fitness ideas inspired by them then check out this article!

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