Thursday, August 16, 2007

Get Fit, Fanboys!

Alright, so I've railed against the fanboy community twice now, calling them out as scruffy, overweight slobs compared to the considerably healthier-looking fangirl community. And it's all well and good to call attention to the problem, but it really doesn't do any good if I don't at least offer a solution.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is that people (in general, not just the comic community) are addressing the wrong thing. You always hear people talking about losing weight. That's the wrong approach. If you want to just lose weight, you could drop 20 pounds overnight by amputating an arm. If that's not enough, join the space program and get put into orbit and you'd drop down to a sixth of what you're at now!

Garfield used to say that he wasn't overweight, just undertall. But that's not right either. Some people are fond of using a Body Mass Index, thinking that's more accurate because it calculates your height into the equation. The problem there, of course, is that it still includes your weight in the calculation. Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was still competing in weight-lifting competitions, weighed in at around 235 pounds. At 6'2", that gives him a BMI of 30.2 which is considered obese -- but what that doesn't take into consideration is that most of his weight is muscle, not fat. I don't think anyone would argue that he wasn't "in shape" during his heyday as a body-builder.

So the issue, you see, is not so much that fanboys are overweight, so much as they're just not fit. There's more flab than muscle. You guys need a fitness and strength program, not a weight loss program.

Fortunately, I have the answer that will not only solve the problem, but do so in a way that fanboys can appreciate...
Back in 1976, Fireside published the above book under an agreement with Marvel and featured 128 pages of exercises and workouts. The program was designed by Ann Picardo and showed various Marvel characters demonstrating the techniques through the illustrative talents of Joe Geilla. (Stan Lee also added some character dialogue, which is why his name's on the book too.)

It's a slightly older book, kind of hard to find, but I see there's one on eBay right now for around $25. I'm sure they turn up in used book stores and comic shops from time to time as well. A modest investment of time and money -- certainly less than you'd spend on most gym memberships -- and you can help alleviate the problems caused by too many meals at Taco Bell.

"That's a good idea, Sean. But how do I know that I'll even be able to do the workouts? The most exercise I get any more is lifting the remote control!"

A fair question! I'll respond by actually posting a sampling of the many routines highlighted in this book. You can judge for yourself just how useful this might be...

Okay, okay! Maybe I'm being a little facetious with the examples, but I think my broader point's still valid. A lot of you fanboys -- and you know who you are! -- really could stand to work out. And I'm not suggesting you get some exclusive gym memberships or anything -- you can do quite a bit from your home or even your office. There's a lot of info out there on the Internet, available for free, and a lot of the workouts that you can do are classics that you already know like sit-ups, push-ups and jumping jacks.

Fitness is really the key to all of this, not weight. "Health" is more than just exercise, but also includes your diet. ("Diet" is, by the way, NOT a verb.) You know, I've joked about fat guys looking really bad in comparison to the women who show up at conventions dressed as Princess Leia or Lara Croft, but it's more than just looking bad. It really is just indicative of a larger health issue. And yeah, it could be just part of a broader problem with the world in general. But that's no excuse, as far as I'm concerned!

You -- yes, you -- need to take responsibility for your own body. We don't all need to look like scantily-clad extras from 300, but you're the cause of many of the health problems you face. The hight cholesterol and high blood pressure. The profuse sweating and body odor. The poor pulmonary and cardiovascular systems. Heck, even snoring can be corrected often just by getting rid of some of the flab around your neck.

Yes, I know, some health issues are genetic and some are inflicting on your from external sources beyond your control. But I think a vast majority of problems can be fixed by just trying to be healthier. Especially in looking at comics who showcase near-perfect specimens of the human body on a regular basis -- if dorky scientist Hank Pym can have six-pack abs, why can't I? You know?

C'mon, people! Look to your heroes to actually be your heroes. You might be able to write off Superman's physique on his alien heritage, but not Batman's. Or Green Arrow's. Or the Punisher's. Yeah, it's hard work, but just a different sort of hard work than playing Worlds of Warcraft for hours on end. Get off your duff and get fit, fanboy!

8 comments:

Col_Fury said...

I'm pretty happy that I've been able to drop fifteen pounds. Part of it was a light exercise program, the other part was I stopped snacking when I was bored. And now I'm saving money because I'm not going through as much food as I used to!

I haven't met my goal yet, I was thirty pounds overweight, now I'm only fifteen. Yay!

Sean Kleefeld said...

A testimony! Excellent! Thank you!

The added side benefit of having more money to buy comics is one that I hadn't even thought of! This is what I'm saying: being healthy just pays benefits all over! How could this not be a good thing?

Unknown Eric said...

Does anybody else read anything dirty into Medusa's comment on the cover?

DivaLea said...

Wow, the form on these is so bad!
I personally love the Step 1 of the Thing's exercise, which is, apparently, to grimace.

Fangirls and Fanboys might consider books and videos by Joyce Vedral. Her method is sensible, doable, and works.

Matt said...

I actually owned that book back in the day, probably when I was about 11 years old, and I actually did those exercises rather faithfully, probably for about two or three months. The irony is that, while there may be a problem with childhood obesity today, few of the kids the book was targeted at back then really needed it. As you point out, the book would be more useful to the over-sixteen crowd the superhero books are sold to these days.

Anonymous said...

Oh man. Oh man, that brings back memories. I got it, along with a set of weights, for X-Mas when I was like 8 years old. I actually did these excercises. I was able to curl 20 lbs.

happy said...

The importance of exercise is #1 in your way to the healthy lifestyle!

Psycho Pete said...

Hey I still have the book. My mum gave it to me at the weekend and said she was going to throw it out. I am just scanning the web now and found this forum (was trying to see if its worth anything!). Guess I will keep hold of it for a few more years :)
I really brings back the memories flicking through the pages and I always remembered the calorie counter at the back that listed Pigeon, and wrote - who could eat pigeon !! Classic !!