A Geek's Quest for Fitness: 8 Tools to Get from Nerd to Jock

Ryan McRae


Health, Strength Training

When you think of geek, you think of the woman or man who is hooked onto their Xbox like a newborn onto a teat. The geek is out of shape living on a diet of chips and Mountain Dew. The only locker room experiences geeks have are the ones where they are shoved into the locker. So they grow up thinking, fitness is not for me.


I was that geek.



I was the kid who was picked last at kickball, couldn’t lift weights and couldn’t catch a ball if it was covered in glue. That’s because I received a message over and over: you aren’t an athlete. You can’t be a geek and have athletic skill. I was the Forrest Gump of the gym. Seat taken. Can’t sit here.


So I resigned myself to my Xbox and sci-fi books, my board games and comics. I ate what I wanted and then last year, after nearly drowning in a SCUBA accident, I realized something:


I was killing myself.


So I did what every geek would: I turned to the internet for the solution. I researched blogs and websites trying to find how I could get into shape. Because I knew this simple fact: joining a gym would be a mistake. I would do the minimum input to get the greatest psychological result. I would just be overwhelmed by the choices, do the smallest little thing to help me feel better, and walk out.


I would fail. And fail hard.



But the one thing that kept coming up was CrossFit. I joined one CrossFit gym and after three weeks of puking, the trainer told me I wasn’t fit enough for his gym. I think after I tried to do 60 jumping jacks and vomited it might have clued him in.


I pressed on, found another CrossFit gym, and after I told my coach about my first experience, he said, “That’s horrible! I’d never give up on you. You just have to show up.”


And show up I did.




A couple of the guys actually guessed how long I’d last. You have to understand. I never lifted weights. I didn’t know anything about anything in regards to fitness. And it’s been over a year. I have a little weight left to lose, but this geek is now much more fit and I know how you can get your fellow (or inner) geek to get fit.


1. Set tiny goals: Don’t say you are going to work out every day. It’s a lie. Set out to work out just today. Go for a walk. Throw a ball around. Jump some rope for 5 minutes or even 2 minutes.


2. Write it down: We geeks like to look back and see what we’ve done. Keep a journal. Decorate it Superman style, but write down every attempt. (I take a picture of myself after every CrossFit workout and post it to my Facebook.)



3. Discover why: You have to find out why you are embarking on this quest. Health? Show up your high school reunion? Make your eHarmony picture better? If you don’t know why, and you start hating it, you will instantly give up if you don’t have a reason.


4. Reward yourself: If you can workout consistently (however you define that), reward yourself with some Xbox time or a book.


5. Limit yourself: I swear, your PlayStation is your nemesis in regards to fitness. Make sure you limit your time or you will sink, literally, into the couch.


6. Morning: I hit the gym at 6:00am, three or four times a week. Why? Because I have the most energy and I save the evenings for my veg time. Speaking of veg....


7. Purge the house: Listen nerd, I know you like chips and dip and candy and Mountain Dew, but if you want to control your diet, you have to get rid of that stuff. It’s not easy, trust me, but if it’s in the house, its siren song will ruin your workout. Give that crap away, set it on fire or just toss it. Trust me, it’s worth it.


8. Combine your loves: If you don’t have time to read, get on that treadmill with some Robert Jordan (a fantasy author, non-geeks) and start walking. You love the Internet, so do I! Sign up for fitocracy.com and record your workouts and level up.


You have to integrate fitness into your geeky lifestyle. I have shattered the myth that a geek can’t be fit and can’t lift weights. I back squat 325 pounds and I don’t throw up anymore.


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