Gamer nerds, in general, are considered to be generally non-athletic and un-healthy.
What if I were to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case and give you the tools to find a manageable balance between your geek lifestyle and healthy living / being active?
Well that is exactly what I am going to do, because I am living proof that you can be a giant nerd of Potsie-like proportions and still be in shape and lead a healthy life!
Throw away your pre-conceived notions!
If you get those out of your head, and set the excuses aside, I promise I can help you!
All through High School I gamed and read comic books.
I was an art nerd, and pretty damned skinny. Don’t get me wrong, I was active back then – I ran cross-country (slowly) because a few friends did, I wrestled (very poorly) and I skateboarded (also pretty poorly) every spring and summer.
What I didn’t understand back then though was that being healthy and in-shape did not mean being super muscular or a gym-rat!
Over the years it became clearer and clearer (especially once middle age set in) that being in-shape and healthy didn’t mean being ripped with muscle or being able to run a marathon. Those images that were in my head were just as false and unproductive as the image of a stereotypical gamer geek were to the jocks of the world.
The topic of stereotypes is one I will tackle in a future article, but the reality is that we all know they exist whether we agree with them or not…
“Being fit and healthy does not mean being super muscular or ultra-thin!”
So how do you blend your gaming interests with an healthy lifestyle?
Oft-times people say they want something, but then their actions seem contradictory. One of my biggest revelations from my many years of teaching martial arts, and just observing people, was my realization that people are inherently lazy.
This isn’t a judgement, I promise!
Am I lazy by nature? Totes McGotes! (“I Love You Man”? Anyone? Bueller? Dammit…) I think anyone who participates in physical activity will tell you that if the activity was not mentally stimulating to them in some way, that they would A) not enjoy it and B) probably not do it for very long.
So what’s the solution?
I believe it is finding a hobby/activity that already matches your existing interest. Like I said, we are all lazy by nature. So every obstacle we a remove between us and our supposed goals just makes them that much easier.
One of the major obstacles to starting a new hobby is the question “Will I really enjoy this?”
If you already know you enjoy a facet of an activity that question is addressed before even taking your first foray into that new endeavor. So what exactly am I talking about? Let me give you a few examples:
You play a lot of console fighting games – Go join a martial arts school. Learning to throw, choke and kick people in the spleen is quite satisfying and it will give you a greater appreciation for the crazy moves you make Yoshimitsu pull off while playing Tekken.
You pwn newbs playing FPS shooters on your PC – Go paint-balling when the weather permits. BOOM!HEADSHOTing people and then ridiculing them is fun over TeamSpeak or Ventrilo, but it is infinitely more satisfying in person when you see a paintball explode on their mask on the field.
You play a ton of RPGs – Take up fencing, or go join your local chapter of the SCA . Actually learn to use a sword, or research some medieval zweihander manual and club some poor fool like a baby seal. The workout is great and you can be more descriptive next time you are fighting a horde of goblins with your friends when playing D&D.
The other obstacle the subversive lazy part of your brain will throw up is going to be the excuse that you don’t know how to start, or that you won’t know what you are doing and therefore will make a fool out of yourself.
That is something I plan on tackling in-depth in an ongoing series in the near future, but for now let me assure you that 90% of the time the real world is more accepting of failure and mistakes than the geek world believe it or not. I can’t remember the last time someone ran over and tea-bagged me on the paintball field while insulting my mother (maybe because I blocked it out, but I think you get my point).
Whatever it is you decide on doing, go out and do it and experience some healthy living. You won’t be sorry!
Thoughts, comments or “your mom” jokes anyone?
PS: Make sure to get your free e-book, “The 7 Fitness Obstacles Newbies Face” by subscribing to our newsletter… no spam, I promise!
I’m glad you asked! A “Jerd” simply put, is the combination of a jock and a nerd. To explain this better I have to tell you a little bit about myself first.
At different points in my life I have been:
a RPG geek (Random Jerd trivia – My first brush with publicly merging interests came when I was thanked in Steve Long’s “Ultimate Martial Artist” for Hero Games)
an avid comic book reader (Marvel, DC and independents)
a clerk in a comic book store
a fan of trading card games (Who had a first edition Black Lotus? This guy.)
a PC gamer/user reaching back to the dark ages of the Atari 800
a console gamer on many platforms (I will prepare to offend Nintendo fans in another post)
a huge cinephile
a fitness club owner
a martial arts instructor
an IT consultant
I have never felt like I fit in firmly in any one circle of friends.
I had my nerd friends – RPGs, trading card games, console and PC gamers; my martial arts friends – traditional, sport and MMA fighters; and my sports friends – skateboarders, triathletes, wrestlers, etc… and I stood with one leg firmly in each circle. (That’s right ladies, I said three… Think about it).
For the longest time I never let those streams cross (#EgonSpenglerProtip) and went as far as making sure to never speak about my martial arts at work or my massive geekiness with my training partners. Why I was adamant about keeping my life so compartmentalized is a topic I will tackle another day, but I lived my life religiously by the first rule of Fight Club.
After years and years of this it started to become tiring; not to mention I was noticing friends and acquaintances here and there that also lived in multiple circles of influence. Rare as they were, they existed nonetheless. How was I to compartmentalize them?
It was a dilemma I was growing weary of!
So a couple of years ago I was in Tampa on a consulting engagement. All I did while living down there for six months was work and train. I was away from my family, living in a hotel, and to be frank, it sucked. So I spent my time training. Hard. I would always come into the office battered and bruised, often with a blackened eye.
After one particularly bruising evening I rolled into the office looking like a prison-rape victim, and one of my co-workers started grilling me about how I spent my free time; so I let the fact that he lived in a different compartment than my martial arts go and I just told him.
Surprisingly to me, he wasn’t dismissive or condescending at all!
There were no cheesy karate chop jokes or Bruce Lee impersonations, he was genuinely curious about my training, exercise regimen and whatnot and expressed a desire to be motivated enough to pursue something like that in his own life. At the end of the conversation he looked at me and said “You’re a jerd.” He could tell I had no clue what in the hell he was talking about, so he clarified for me.
“You are a jock. And a nerd. You’re a ‘jerd’.”
What neither he, nor I, realized at that moment was how impactful that word would be. It has rolled around in the back of my cranium for a couple of years now coalescing into this idea that is starting to manifest on the keyboard in front of me.
Despite what popular media implies you can be a nerd, a geek and a jock at the same time. It just takes a little bit of motivation for the geekier and a little less self-consciousness for the jockier, that’s all.
Although no-one will read this for a few days (or let’s be honest, maybe never), I am sitting on the airplane returning from the San Diego Comic-Con 2012, my feet sore and my mind filled to the brim with ideas.
While waiting in the airport I started jotting down things on my trusty iPad, and due to a flight delay I managed to have the time to register some domains, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages.
That’s the time to make sound decisions right? Sleep deprived, on a nerd-high at the airport?
Yeah, I thought so too.
Anyway, as I type I am mentally asking myself things like – are they realistic? Is this really the creative outlet I have been looking for? Is this sustainable or will I burn out? Do I even have time for this??
Indulge me for a moment for a little self-reflection. Here I am, a guy who:
has a full time job and family
is a member of a serious sports program
just turned *cough*40*cough*
set this up about one day after the idea hit with no clue as to what the hell he is doing
is pretty damned awesome
Just listing it out casts a shadow of doubt over my semi-coherent, yet optimistic, thoughts.
Be that as it may, if there is one massively abused Internet quote that immediately pops to mind it’s “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I guess I should back up a bit and clarify my ramblings a bit. Just as a note, it’s okay to stop me and say “Hold on Jerd, what hell are you babbling about?” I won’t be offended in the least. Knowing me, I will probably give you aspiring “Jerdlings” (Did I just coin a term on my first post you ask? Damned straight I did… Booyah!) reason time and time again to question and ridicule me.
So after day one of Comic-Con I was sensing that familiar feeling crawling up my spine; that longing to be artistic. To be a part of something outside my current paradigm.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful life: A beautiful wife, healthy and talented children, and a successful career but every few years I get the urge to do something new.
I grew up wanting to draw comics for a living, wanting to act, wanting to do voice work, wanting to do nature photography but instead I work in IT and dream of dabbling.
But after listening to very inspiring talks by Felicia Day, and by the end of sitting through a live taping of Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman doing their Hollywood Babble-On podcast on Saturday night, I knew I had to do something to scratch this proverbial itch.
I had to create something.
Maybe no-one will read this (or watch it, once the webisodes get rolling), but at least my forty year old nerd ass will have taken the shot. And hey, maybe it will inspire some people along the way?
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