Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n06)
FitLit - by Laura Minor - Fitness for Nerds!
posted: Mar. 17, 2017
Hello readers. Sorry I took a break last issue but I had a great excuse! I traveled to Boston for a few days and then went straight to Colorado for a family ski trip.
The Boston trip was to participate in a convention called NerdCon. This event is a gathering of thousands of people that call themselves Nerdfighters and it includes panels, discussions, Q&A, activities, fan-led programming, concerts, live podcasts, and fan activism. According to its Facebook page, NerdCon is a giant celebration of all things nerdy, creative, educational, fun and weird.
This doesn't necessarily pertain to fitness per se, however in this case it does! I recently collaborated with local author John Green and his best friend Chris Waters in a YouTube project called 100 Days in which they embarked upon a journey of that length to improve their health and fitness. They call it their attempt at a "healthy mid-life crisis". The filming has been over for some time, but at the time of the convention (Feb 25-26) the airing of the show was about halfway through at day 50.
When they invited me to come out to Boston to put those brave nerds through a workout mimicking several of the exercises that they have been following along on the show I thought "How cool!". But I had a challenge on my hands; no equipment. All I had was a large convention room and a mic set.
When I got to Boston I wrote out a large amount (I think around 40) body-weight-only moves and planned to put the group through them twice or so, and that would be it. I wasn't really sure what kind of draw this kind of event would have at such a convention since it was pretty far off of the spectrum from the other things going on at NerdCon.
Boy, was I wrong!! As I left my hotel room in my ridiculously nerdy workout get-up, my phone starting blowing up with texts from the film crew of the 100 Days show. They were saying that the line for "Fitness for Nerds" was insanely long and that at least half of the people would have to be turned away. I was like "What?!" and a surge of nerves swarmed over me. When I turned the corner toward my convention room I saw the extremely long line that had formed probably an hour previously and I was amazed and, honestly, impressed. Walking by the hundreds of people donned in my fire-red tights, argyle socks, a big hair bow, I didn't even blush as I'm sure this group knows I'm basing my outfit on one of John's most popular YouTube videos called (of course) "Fitness for Nerds". I couldn't resist snapping a photo of the line and sent it to my family with a text reading "eek!".
Now, let's be clear... the huge draw was wayyy more due to the fact that these people would be working out with John (literally their idol) and Chris (a new idol), than with me; but it was still pretty cool that I was going to be teaching the largest group in my life by far! And it was also kind of sad that many of those in line wouldn't get the experience. I offered to do two 30 minute classes, but logistically it wouldn't work.
After filing in about 300 people and spacing them apart not even a foot, I had to rework some of my moves in my head so that no one would get sucker punched! The three of us were in the back room and John entered; the crowd erupted and my nerves once again soared...but in a good way. He introduced Chris and I and we all were instructed to perform on a raised platform.
I had made a playlist for the workout and it started with the song by Weird Al Yankovic called "White and Nerdy". They all erupted in laughter and the workout began! I led them all through the moves including jumping jacks, squats, planks, high knees, lunges, abs and a whole lot more. And I tell you what; they worked it!! Obviously for some it was harder than others but the effort was clearly there. Oh, and for those so-called turned away folks? They were in the hallway following along by the sound of my microphone; I saw a picture of the hall nerdfighters that was posted on twitter. That's dedication :) It was truly awesome!
Afterward was probably my favorite part though. John had to run off to get ready for a panel so Chris and I hung around. We were swarmed with people that wanted to tell us how much the show had impacted them personally and inspired them with their own fitness journeys. Several told us how much weight they had lost, others had signed up for their first race, one girl told us that it helped her conquer an eating disorder. It was quite touching and such a great feeling that the show was not just for entertainment value but also to encourage people to try new things and improve their fitness, by watching John and Chris bravely do so as well.
After taking dozens of selfies with my fellow nerds and even signing some autographs (lol), I headed out for a run in Boston with some familiar sights from previous marathons there. It was so peaceful and comforting. Just an awesome experience, and hands down the best of my career. Oh, and I LOVE Boston!
Laura Minor owner and operator of So.Be.Fit. Personal Training and Fitness studio located at 54th and the Monon. She is passionate about teaching others how to "FIT" exercise and physical activity into their daily lives, and have fun while doing so! Visit her website at www.sobefitindy.com or e-mail laura@BroadRippleGazette.com