I can tell you about what it’s like to be a guy who was once in shape and is not. When I was in my 20s, I was a slim yet hunky piece of man flesh. I had a defined jaw, broad chest, and a single chin. Now, however, at the beginning of my 30s, I find a second chin resting firmly between my face and neck. I do not like this chin, as it makes me look older than my real age. I also do not like that I’ve had to change my T-shirt size from Medium to Large. It is no secret that I keep from myself that I need to get back into shape. The research I’ve done on the perfect, lifestyle-compatible gear is what I am now going to share with you.
I’m going to be honest at the onset here, though: I have about as much business telling you how to get into shape as I do telling you about the afterlife and morality. That means zero. But what I do know is gear, so while I may not have actually used most of the things in the following story, I can sure as hell tell you what will work and what won’t. That should be good enough for you.
The key to getting back into shape is your mentality. Or so the sculpted Michaelangelo’s David of a man at the gym tells me. Easy enough for him, I think, he’s probably been working out and pumping iron since his teens. I’ve been playing video games and eating cheese on everything since mine. It’s not a balanced comparison. That being said, I see where he’s coming from. If I don’t want to do the work, I won’t force myself to do it. Deadlines, even self imposed, are important.
Now that the 110% stuff is out of the way, let’s get down to the goods. The first thing we need to consider is our goal: back into shape. That means losing the excess body weight you’ve picked up during those runs to White Castle before your WOW LAN party. That does not mean stuff that will make you ripped like Bruce Lee. We’re not about making you a hulking brute, we’re about making you less round. That is our goal.
The only way to reach this goal is by exercise and diet, two things we geeks generally shy away from (except you health geeks, you guys freak me out). First we’ll tackle diet, as the thought of eating food is more appealing than the thought of working out. And there are many fantastic ways to make low-cal/low-fat/low-carb/hi-taste foods with kitchen gear you can get on the cheap.
We’ll start with breakfast. I’m no dietitian, but I’ve heard (as have you) that it’s the most valuable meal of the day. It kick starts your metabolism, that system within you that burns calories, or packs on fat. You want it in calorie-burning mode. Something simple is all you need, and it’ll give you more long-term energy for the day than the Mountain Dew. Screw the Dew and make a smoothie. There’s a fantastic recipe for a Chocoberry smoothie that’s good for you and will get you going, and it’s fun to make. You’ll need something to make it, of course. Unless you’ve been under an internet rock, you’ve seen Will It Blend, the awesome viral marketing side of Blendtec. Blendtec works a series of home machines called the Total Blender, based on the same tech as the monsters used in the videos. Put in your favorite good-for-ya foods, blend them up, and there you go. You get the added Geek-cred of having one of those blenders.
But eating right isn’t enough. You gotta work it, geek. At night, during Battlestar Galactica, you see ads for things like Soloflex or AbLauncher or AssTonerMaxExtreme. These are great for people who lead an athletic lifestyle and want to keep in shape. These are not for a Second Life user trying to shed a few. You need something different, and you want it to work. Fortunately, there are simple ways to burn calories and melt fat with gear that’s not too pricey: walking. Of course, leaving mom’s basement is threatening and scary. So drive to the gym and get on a Life-Fitness treadmill. Why? Because the company’s treadmills incorporate iPod docks with stereo sound and large LCD screens. You can catch up to LOST while moving your feet. This burns calories. During a one-hour episode, you can burn 350 calories. Watch a season, perhaps 2 episodes 3 times a week, and that’s a pound. Mixed with the low-cal smoothie above, you’ll start seeing results in two weeks, while getting caught up on what insanity Locke is up to, to boot.
But you don’t have to leave the house. Get a Wii. The physically controlled game console from Nintendo forces you to move or get hit by enemy fire. That is rad. Those who own Wii’s will agree that during the first week of action, you’re sore in places you didn’t know you had. That means you’re using muscles, and burning calories. You’ve been fooled into doing exercise, and that’s the goal. In fact, playing Wii burns calories at a faster rate than the treadmill. One hour playing Wii Tennis will net you 525 calories (assuming 12 total games). That means that if you play for 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, you’re losing a pound and a half. It may not seem like much, but it’s significant, especially if you keep it up for a month. And telling you to spend 3 nights a week playing video games shouldn’t be a struggle.
So now we’ve got breakfast to keep your metabolism going and two different ways to geek out while exercising. Awesome. In games, you find multipliers that increase your rewards by a certain multiple. Find the x2 power-up, and all your points will be doubled during a certain period. That works here, too. Spend a few bucks and get some wrist and ankle weights. A ten pound set isn’t totally uncomfortable, and with them you can increase calorie burnage by 5-10%, based on your body weight. That means the more you lose while wearing them, the more effective they are. See where we’re going here?
As you lose weight, it becomes easier to lose. The overall best thing you can do is develop your program and keep with it. If you stop, it’s like a freight train. All that fat will crash around your middle again. So set a target weight, make the little adjustments above, and let’s get thin. Just think how much better your Optimus Prime costume will fit when you’re not shaped like Omega Supreme.