Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Nerds Should Lift Weights Pt 2

 One of the neat things about blogger (the tool Chelsea and I use to make this site) is that you can view all kinds of cool information about who's reading your blog.  There are stats that break down what countries this blog's readers come from, lists of sites that have links to Frakking Shiny on them, and my favorite- a list of terms and phrases people searched for via Google that brought them here.

Some common search terms that bring up Frakking Shiny include "Frakking Shiny", "What made Firefly so awesome", "gifts for nerdy girls" and "Christina Hendricks".  Recently, this phrase by some anonymous person caught my eye:

i am weak and embarrassed to lift weights in school

My guess is, they found this entry

I hope that that entry was all of the encouragement this person needed to overcome their embarrassment and hit the gym.  Because they should.  Everyone should exercise.

But I certainly understand embarrassment, and shame caused by physical weakness.

When I was in High School, I was 5'7" and weighed (roughly) 120 pounds.  I was short, scrawny and weak.  In spite of this, I played ice hockey.  What's more, I played defense.  Now normally, defensemen look like this:

Massive, hulking giant human beings.  Titans.  Ogres.  Monsters.  I, on the other hand, was much more....let's say elven.  I was physically equipped for trivia contests, cobbling shoes and reading comics, but not knocking nearly grown men on their posteriors.

And much like you, oh random internet nerd, I was embarrassed by my complete lack of physical presence.  Whoever heard of a tiny defenseman?  I remember specifically one day, the principal of my school, Mr. Newhall, walking up to me and a group of my friends in the hallway and telling me that I was too skinny and  that I needed to hit the weights if I wanted to compete on the hockey team.  I was fairly mortified.

But I did resolve to start lifting weights.  We didn't have a school gym, and I couldn't afford a gym membership.  Even if I could have afforded one, I would have been too scared to actually go. So, I asked my parents for a weight set, and I got one for my birthday.

I couldn't have been more excited.  I set up my weights in the basement, and bought a Gold's Gym strength training book with pictures of different exercises and descriptions of how to do them.  This was back in the early days of the internet, so there weren't online weightlifting resources available like there are now.  I looked through that book at the muscular fellows gracing the pages and imagined how great it would be in a year or so when I looked just like them.

For a few weeks, I religiously lifted weights in my basement.  When I didn't see the results I was looking for, I kind of started to work out less.  And then less.  And then not at all.  Then I gave up, quit playing hockey and started doing theater.

What's the point? Basically, I totally understand how you feel, random person.  And I don't want you to quit before you start, so I'm going to tell you all of the things I wish I'd known when I was 14.

1.  Lifting weights is important, but nutrition is even more important.  If you want to get stronger, you need to eat.  You need to eat lots of good stuff like protein, and complex carbohydrates.  Eat chicken.  Eat sweet potatoes, eat salad and then eat some more of all of it.  Don't eat crap like candy and Doritos.  I had no idea that nutrition was so important in high school.  I just assumed that if I lifted weights, I would build muscle.

2.  Don't quit when you don't see immediate results.  You won't see tangible results for awhile, but you need to stick to a routine.  Workout everyday after school.  If you miss one day, don't worry, just get back to it the next day.  The day you quit is the day you lose.

3.  Don't be afraid of the gym.  Most gym-goers are super nice and helpful, or at worst indifferent.  Chances are, no one will tease you about lifting a small weight.  Alot of people at the gym will be at the same level you are- beginners, so you won't be alone.

4.  Pay attention to form.  Watch videos online of the exercises you do.  Make sure you're doing them right.  Proper form is WAY more important than how much weight you lift.

5.  I didn't have this available, but there are TONS of fitness resources online.  My favorite is  The site has tons of videos, workout plans, diet plans, and other great sources for information on working out.

Overall, don't be afraid to start, and once you do, don't give up.

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