How To: Get Convention Fit

There are 60 days left until San Diego Comic-Con. That’s:

  • 60 days to get your legs ready to lap the San Diego Convention Center a gazillion times.
  • 60 days to get your back ready to stand in lines; oh so many lines.
  • 60 days to get your shoulders ready to carry all your sweet swag.

60 days.

Not a lot of time when you really think about it, is it?

Luckily, even if SDCC has crept up on you, you still have time to get yourself in convention-going shape!

Here are my tips for getting in Comic-Con shape, and getting the most out of your SDCC experience.

Regular readers of this site know I tend to focus on long-term health & fitness solutions.

I am all about taking a heroic journey and turning yourself into a real-life superhero.

But that isn’t everyone’s goal!

So today we are going to look at the things you can do, right now, to help you survive what is a pretty exhausting five-day experience.

Get Thine Feet Moving

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I hope you like walking, because you are going to be doing a lot of it in San Diego!

Last year several of my friends mapped their daily steps using their nifty fitbits, and I saw numbers ranging from 5-8 miles a day. That’s upwards of 30 miles over the course of the convention.

More than a full marathon!

Now, this is nowhere as daunting as say walking from the Shire to Mordor, which has been figured to be about 1779 miles; but I digress, we aren’t carrying a ring of power and being chased by ring wraiths and orcs… so maybe that isn’t relevant?

Anyway, you need to get your legs ready for this.

If you spend your life sitting in front of a computer at work during the day, and on your couch in front of your X-box or Playstation at night, then I am going to go out on a limb and say your legs (and feet) are probably going to be getting mad at you around day two of Comic-Con.

So get walking. Right now.

Seriously, if you are not used to locomoting your legs on a regular basis then I want you to stand up and go for a 10 minute walk before you even finish reading this article.

It is that important!

If you show up to San Diego with legs like veal, your hamstrings and calves are going to get super tight and sore from the repetitive abuse that long distance walking incurs. You have two months, that is plenty of time to get ready!

Like I said, start with a 10 minute walk. Every day increase that a little bit more. Before you know it you should be able to crank out 3-4 miles like it is nothing!

Just make it part of your daily routine leading up to the convention (and don’t neglect stretching either) so that when you are there you can focus on all the awesome things going on, and the cool things you want to do with your friends, instead of:

  • Needing to take a rest every 20 minutes
  • Looking for a place to sit down because your calves are throbbing
  • Rubbing your sore feet
  • Wanting to go back to your room and soak in a hot bath
  • Missing out on all the awesomeness because you didn’t prepare yourself!

Trust me on this one!

Lift Some Stuff!

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While walking and running will definitely help condition your legs (and prepare your gas tank) for the miles of convention floor you are going to cover, it doesn’t address the other critical issue you will face…

Standing in lines holding all your sweet, sweet swag!

If there’s one thing San Diego Comic-Con has taught me, it is that if you love something enough you will stand in line forever for it.

And standing for hours on end with:

  • A backpack or purse over your shoulder
  • A bag full of awesome toys you just bought
  • An arm-full of comics you want signed
  • The bodies of your enemies slung over your shoulder

Well, that can ruin your day if your back, shoulders, arms, and core are not up to the challenge.

If you do nothing but cardio, you are just going to end-up “skinny-fat” in the long run. And while that might be a step up, it shouldn’t be your end goal. Especially getting ready for a convention.

I am not saying you need to start a serious strength training program (although if you are trying to look your best in some tight cosplay you might want to consider it,) but I do think that you should start preparing yourself for the stress your back and shoulders are going to endure.

This means getting started with some basic body weight exercises like – push ups, dips, pull ups, squats, lunges, crunches, and planks.

If you need a beginner program I suggest our Nerdcore Fitness 101 and 102 workouts.

Getting your legs moving and your muscles ready gets you 2/3rds of the way there!

Clean Up Your Diet

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I feel like a broken record sometimes, but I don’t think I can say it enough.

80% of getting in shape is shoveling clean and healthy food into your cake-hole on a regular basis!

If you aren’t fueling your body correctly, you will feel like doo-doo. If you feel like doo-doo you won’t have the energy to do a proper workout (or even worse, you won’t even feel like doing a workout at all.) If you aren’t working out regularly because you feel like doo-doo then…

You get the picture.

This means that 80% of the time you need to be focused on the quality of your food. Lots of lean protein. Lots of colorful vegetables. Lots of water.

Clean, quality calories in the right volume.

That doesn’t mean I am saying you have to give up tasty foods!

I am just saying you might need to re-write your personal menu with some healthier, tasty recipes; and that you need to be vigilant in only allowing yourself the occasional cheat meal.

Enjoy your grande Starbucks Iced-Choco-Frappa-Calorie-Bomb occasionally… have the occasional cookie… wreck the occasional plate of chicken wings.

Just remember the common denominator here; the word “occasionally.”

I tend to live my life by eating clean 80% of the time, and treat myself the other 20%.

That method works for me; and I am willing to bet, if you take the steps necessary to start eating healthy, it will work for you too!

Don’t Wait!

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If there is one thing that kicks my Jerd-Rage into over-drive, it is people who kick off their fitness journey by saying “I will start next week.”


Why put it off any longer?

Especially if the reason you need to get in shape is because you have years of Mountain Dew abuse and exercise avoidance under your belt.

What do you think is supposed to happen during those extra few days of slacking off? Seriously?

Are you magically going to gain some sort of superpower that is going to make getting in-shape any easier? Will you develop super-heroic willpower over the course of a few more days?

No, of course you won’t.

So stop waiting, get off your @$$, and get moving. Now!

The clock is ticking.

You have 60 days to get yourself in gear. And while it might sound like a long time, before you know it you will be checking into your hotel… and if you aren’t careful you might end up being really upset with yourself for not accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself.

So make every one of those days count!

Stay Motivated

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Even for a 60 day push, with a clear goal, staying motivated and on track can be difficult.

Now there are a lot of things I could say about staying motivated, but for this particular endeavor I want to focus on building up your support system.

Your accountabilibuddies.

Your personal Super-Hero Team of Awesome!

Finding a tribe of people with the same goal can sometimes be difficult, but you guys are in luck!

There is already a community of people, from all over the world, working towards this goal and keeping each other on-track and accountable on Twitter.

Search #SDCCfit and you will see people posting daily about their workouts, progress, hurdles, and more!

The movement started on the Friends of CC forums and the weekly Cup ‘o Tea Hangouts hosted by An Englishman in San Diego and has really blossomed into something amazing.

I can’t recommend it enough!

So join the conversation, ask for some tips, share your goals, and offer some motivation of your own to the group so you all can get in shape together for the greatest convention on the face of the Earth!

Now. Tell me. What are you going to do to get Comic-Con fit?!?

(Photo #1 credit, Photo #3 credit, Photo credit #5)

P.S. – Make sure to get your free e-book, “The 7 Fitness Obstacles Newbies Face” by subscribing to our newsletter… no spam, I promise!

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