The Meathead Myth
If you were to ask somebody who falls anywhere onto the spectrum of geekery why they choose to avoid the gym, the answer would almost definitely include something along these lines – “I don’t like the kinds of people who go to the gym”.
It’s practically universal. There are two types of people, many would have us believe – the musclebound jocks, and the intelligent nerds who sit on the other end of the lunchroom. Most of us gamers grew up on the losing side of that lunchroom, and consequently picked up the obligatory bitterness against the “other guys”. You know, the ones who had the muscles and probably spent their weekends getting laid.
And yet, so many of our male protagonists fit into that exact same box – tall, muscular, handsome, swimming in women, and often more than a little arrogant. Hell, a lot of male characters are KNOWN for their excessive muscle. We despised those people in real life, and yet in our fantasy lives we were desperate to BE them.
I think this is mostly because we as gamers allowed the world to put us into a box for so long – “Gamers can’t possibly be healthy because they sit on their asses all day”. “Gamers all have horrific personal hygiene”. “Gamers are mentally unstable because of all the violence they’re exposed to”.
But now we’ve begun to spectacularly break free of our boxes, and show that not only can gamers succeed in the real world, but that someone’s life doesn’t have to be all about games in order to be considered a “gamer”. You don’t have to be male, you don’t have to be young or old, you can have a successful and fulfilling day job, and you can be fit and healthy. We don’t fit into that old box – and it’s time to accept that the “other guys” don’t either.
It’s tough to admit, but when I was a teen I put the muscular “gym dudes” into a box just as much as I myself was put into a box for being a gamer and a reader. I told myself that surely I was more intelligent than them because I spent my time on mental pursuits rather than physical. Surely I was more creative, more innovative. Surely I was better.
It took me a very long time to realize how far from the truth I was.
If anything, I’d been limiting myself for most of my life, shying away from bettering myself and reaching my full potential by saying that I was already better than most. It wasn’t until I started gaining more of an interest in fitness that I started paying attention to what some of the so-called “other guys” were actually saying. I was exposed to the professional athletes and coaches out there (like Mike Dolce) who were interested not just in muscle gains, but in bettering the lives of their audience and clients through improved fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
I listened to them trading information and techniques, having long and energetic discussions on the latest nutritional discoveries, and debating whether or not they agreed with the latest health trends. Not only did they pay attention to the scientific side of health, they wanted to test out the theories and ideas for themselves, and compare results to refine the methods for everyone else. They were geeks about fitness!
And so I was forced to admit something: we were wrong about them.
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be the stereotypical gym dudes who are only there to be seen, and to ridicule others for not being on their level. Ignore them. They’re an unfortunate by-product of the system, but the fitness community as a whole is changing. It’s growing, and becoming more fluid and accepting of us “normal” people, who haven’t been hitting the gym since our teens.
If you’re looking for more of a personal touch for starting your fitness journey than a website can provide, then I would really recommend you check out some of your local gyms. Read online reviews and see what other people think of them, then ask them which of their trainers or classes they would recommend for what you’re looking to accomplish. Most of them will happily give you a simple introductory course if all you need is to learn to use the machines.
So boldly go, fellow gamers and geeks! A brave new world of fitness awaits us!