Life is a Game: Level Up!

Motivation is not my strong point. This time of year, the world likes to remind us that it’s time to get off our butts and work off those holiday pounds. I don’t normally make new year’s resolutions, but I have a big-ish birthday coming up, so I decided it’s time to do more adulting.


Started by Steve Kamb in 2009, aims to motivate those of us who prefer spending our times absorbed in games and books to adopt a more healthful lifestyle. Want to make changes? Level up your life! From the site’s About page:

“My goal is to inspire the Hell out of you to make positive changes and live a better life. I want to educate you on how to work out properly, cook a decent meal, and consistently improve your health and well being.”

NerdFitness has managed to find a gracious balance between accountability and pressure. It’s all about small goals here; Rivendell wasn’t built in a day. Subscribe to their e-mail list, and you’ll receive a starter’s pack of messages from Steve himself, and updates on future articles. The motivational messages remind you to take things one step at a time; change one thing about your diet this week, and do 5 more pushups tomorrow. And of course, everything is written in nerd-ese; I’ve found articles on how to become a real-life superhero, how to walk to Mordor, all written in a way that non-nerds probably wouldn’t grasp. Want to be a real-life badass? NerdFitness will show you the way.

The best part? You get to pick a class. Want to be a hardcore warrior with the strength of Thor? Strength training is your focus. Do you want people to cry “Assassino!” when they see your face? Parkour is for you, my friend. I’m personally working towards the Ranger class, which involves a mix of endurance and strength training.  If you want to start leveling up your character, you begin by participating in a 6-week challenge. The more challenges you complete, the more you’ll level up. The site is packed with hundreds of articles written by fellow nerds and fitness enthusiasts in a language that will appeal to your inner adventurer.

My favorite thing about this program is the friendly, encouraging atmosphere. The focus doesn’t have to be on losing weight–instead, you’re encouraged to work towards gaining stat points, similar to the way most RPGs (particularly D&D) are played. So, instead of going to the gym tonight focused on getting an hour of cardio in, my goal is to increase my STR (strength) and DEX (dexterity) by completing a beginner’s body weight workout and doing some stretching.

NerdFitness operates by eleven core principles. My current favorite of these: instead of using my books and games purely as an escape, allow your heroes to inspire you to greatness. Someone I greatly respect once said that he thinks we love awesome movies because they make us feel like we’re the one’s doing great things, while we’re really sitting on our butts being entertained. I want to fight like Tauriel, travel across Westeros like Arya, ride like Aragorn, and be like a Dovahkiin.

So far, I’m two weeks into my first challenge. The workouts are easy, yet powerful. I’m aiming to do semi-frequent updates here, both to keep myself accountable, and to show you guys how awesome this program is. Stay tuned!