When you think about comic books, video games, role-playing games or science fiction, you probably don’t immediately associate its fans with fitness.
Seven years ago Steve Kamb, BA’06, set out to change that, combining his love for geek culture with his longtime interest in fitness to create NerdFitness.com, an online resource for deskbound geeks like himself who wanted to get in shape.
Featuring exercise programs structured like video games (“The Angry Birds Workout”), moves pulled from science fiction (“Jedi High Jumps”), and inspirational advice taken from cartoons (“Transform like Optimus Prime: one step at a time”), NerdFitness helps geeks everywhere get fit and level up their lives.
Ready to join the Rebellion, too? Start here.
1. Eat real food.
“Your nutrition is 80 to 90 percent of the battle, which most people don’t want to hear,” says Kamb. “You can’t outrun your fork.” Kamb says we already know what we need to do: Eat real food, stop eating junk food, don’t eat too much, and cut back on sugar and refined carbs. Kamb’s a fan of the principles of the Paleo diet (only meat, fish, eggs, veggies, and some fruit and nuts) because it’s easy to understand. However, the best plan for you is whatever you’ll stick to.
2. Enjoy your exercise.
“When people say they don’t like to exercise, they think they have to go to the gym and run on a treadmill for two hours a day,” Kamb says. In fact, all you need to do is find something physical you enjoy so much that you lose track of time. Maybe that’s practicing yoga, learning judo or riding your bike. Or maybe it’s playing Ultimate Frisbee, swing dancing, or geeking out in the park with Styrofoam swords and homemade armor.
3. Body-build anywhere.
“Regardless of what else you’re doing to get active, and however you spend the rest of your day, getting strong will make every other aspect of your life better,” says Kamb. He’s a big fan of simple body-weight exercises you can do anywhere, like pushups, pullups, squats or lunges, rather than machine-based exercises that isolate muscle groups. Alternate your strength-training days with your fun-activity days.
4. Hack your habits.
Start small, like doing 10 minutes of exercise a day or only eating dessert on weekends—things you can follow no matter how tired, busy or unmotivated you are. The flip side of this advice is to make bad habits harder. “When you increase the number of steps it takes you to practice a bad habit and decrease the number of steps it takes to build a good one, it’s infinitely easier to make changes in your life,” Kamb says. For example, sleep in your gym clothes or prep a week’s worth of healthy lunches on Sunday.
5. Hold yourself—and others—accountable.
Social support and reinforcement are key to success. (Just ask NerdFitness’ 300,000 members.) Join an online fitness community, link up with a workout buddy, or ask a friend to be your “accountability partner” to whom you honestly report your exercise every day—or else. “If I don’t call my friend and tell him I worked out, he’s going to donate $100 that I’ve already given him to a political cause I can’t stand,” Kamb says. “So I might as well just do the workout.”
Text by Liz Entman