Summer approaches, and if you’re like me, the life of a geek tends to make thoughts of stepping out in front of other people in your bathing suit a little terrifying. Wii Fit aside, many games (*cough*DragonAge*cough*) play to our obsessive sides, and make it so easy to spend hours with our rear ends parked on the couch, which doesn’t exactly help when it comes to losing weight.
But if there’s one thing we geeks are good at, it’s attaining knowledge. We know how things work, scientifically, right? So being fit should be easier for us than the general public… or something.
Well, not exactly. Getting in shape is difficult, there’s no way around that. But the health benefits really outweigh those difficulties. I mean, sure, you might not want to be ripped—but living longer, being stronger, and having fewer risk for disease isn’t something to thumb your nose at.
I’ve recently started a new fitness regime, and I thought some of my geekier tips might be of use to any other geek looking for good ways to lose weight, or just get more active.
1) Find a good gym. This is really important. You want to find gyms that cater to all sorts of people, all ages. Because, honestly, some gyms are high-school gym class nightmare inducing. A good chain around here is Lifestyle Family Fitness—which I can personally vouch for. Many YMCAs are great places to look, too. Too many gyms are meat markets, and are disheartening just to walk into. You don’t want to feel bad for being out of shape to start with.
2) Get a personal trainer—or a personal evaluation. While not everyone can afford a personal trainer (though in some cases they’re a lot cheaper than you’d expect) getting a full health evaluation is really important. You can’t make progress if you don’t know where you started. Blood pressure, body fat percentage, heart rate—all these things are indicative of your current state of health (or, in some cases, lack thereof). Sometimes a good wakeup call is helpful, too. As far as a personal trainer is concerned, figuring out what kinds of exercise are best for your body type and fitness goals may help you achieve your goals sooner.
3) Love your stats. It’s amazing how many tools there are out there for fitness people. Heck, there are entire mp3 players built around fitness now. Keeping track of your fitness stats is a wonderfully geeky way to stay on top of things. There are a hundred different options as far as tracking is concerned, but I use the one at my gym. I can access it anywhere, and I’m able to take measurements there rather than at my house. Making little challenges for yourself, too, is a great way to stay motivated: track miles run, calories burned, and time spent working out!
4) Write down what you eat. I’m not even talking about counting calories. But all-night raids and dungeon crawls might have you scarfing more chips and soda than you think. Write it down, get perspective; then, just try to eat less. I’m addicted to DailyBurn and use it to catalog everything I eat… most days… except when I’m at conventions… DailyBurn is free, and it syncs with my iPod.
5) Educate yourself. Learn about where your food comes from. Suggested books include The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation. Knowing is half the battle. You’re smart enough to draw your on conclusions.
6) Cook your own food. Even good restaurants serve humongous portions and can often slather their entrees in oil and other huge calorie bombs. Cooking at home isn’t just fun, it’s an extremely useful skill to have. Also, you know exactly what’s going into your meal from the get go. Studies indicate that people who eat good, home meals are less likely to be obese than those who eat out. Not surprising.
7) Get the iPod rockin’. If being at the gym is boring, load up some of your favorite shows and movies on your iPod or other portable device. It’s one of the best ways to make working out tolerable and even, dare I say it, enjoyable!
8) Don’t just go to the gym. Get into other activities. Consider fencing or archery, both of which we geeks tend to know a lot about to begin with. If you don’t want sports, consider hiking like a hobbit or maybe even starting a garden. Just getting up and moving is a great first step!
9) Drink lots of water. Blue Warrior also needs water! Too much caffeine and caffeinated beverages does not do good on your system. If you can’t stand plain water, consider adding lemon to it, or even some flavored drink mix. We are over 70% water—so if we skimp on that, we’re in dangerous territory! Not to mention, too much caffeine can interrupt your sleep patterns, and sleep is essential to good health, not to mention good mood.
10) Ramp up your geek esteem! It sounds corny, but learning to accept yourself—faults and all—is a great way to start toward a healthy life. Because, honestly, if you can’t be happy where you are right now, chances are 20 pounds isn’t going to make a difference, either.
Whatever you do, now is the time to do it. With the weather (in this hemisphere, anyway) finally getting warmer, the world is ready for exploration and the sun is shining!
Have any geeky workout tips or weight loss success stories to share? Let us know about them in the comments!
[Editor’s note: The picture you see on the top right of this post is of personal friend and [GaS] reader Phil, who proudly wears one of our official t-shirts while burning calories on a threadmill.]