Two weeks ago, you vowed all sorts of changes to your habits and your lifestyle. And right about now, those New Years Resolutions might be starting to crumble, under the weight of everyday life. But luckily, there are some alternatives to the boring grind of "hitting the gym" and "doing crunches." You could be swinging a bat'leth or lightsaber instead.
Here are some of the best geeky workout routines that you could take up, instead of those doomed new year's resolutions.
Obligatory disclaimer: We haven't tried all these workout methods, and they could in fact be great ways to injure yourself. Proceed with a modicum of caution here, folks.
Top image: Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images.
The Bat'leth is a noble weapon used by generations of Klingon warriors. It's also a heavy sucker with a metal blade, so you have to be careful with it. The good news is, swinging a Bat'leth is really hard because of the aforementioned weight, so you could get a lot of good aerobic and upper body exercise out of it. There are various instructional videos online showing how to train with a Bat'leth at home, although I'm not sure how helpful they would be. But if you're lucky enough to be in Minneapolis, the Geek Physique Meetup claims to have Bat'leth fitness classes. And here's a very, very comprehensive guide to how to organize your own Bat'leth class in your own town, complete with what sound like some very hard-won lessons.
Given that half the most popular geek heroes right now are shooting bows and arrows right now, this seems like a good hobby to pick up. And archery is actually pretty great exercise — it's strength training, because pulling that bow is actually hard work, and you have to maintain the proper stance for a long time. And there's also a lot of running back and forth to collect arrows. And so on. Bonus points if you actually try to run and shoot arrows at the same time, like Oliver Queen. Here's a list of resources to find an archery club or class in your area.
A lightsaber isn't as hard to swing around as a Bat'leth, but you can still get a really great aerobic workout swinging one. We attended a big lightsaber fight in a park a while back, and also featured a lightsaber instructor on the io9 TV show. But there might well be a way to learn lightsaber combat in your local area. For example, in New York, there's the New York Jedi, in their seventh year of lightsaber classes and "illuminated combat" performances — including Saber Academy. Plus here's an online guide to the Physical Routines of the Jedi, including Jedi Yoga. And here are some Jedi-themed workout tips.
What is savate, you ask? It's basically "French kickboxing" — but it's better known to comics fans as one of the squillion martial arts that Batman mastered before he became the best fighter on the planet. And in fact, a shocking number of comics heroes seem to have mastered savate, and it gets mentioned a lot here and there. If you want to be Batman, you'll have to learn every martial art on the planet — but savate is a bit more off the beaten track than karate or gongfu, and it includes a lot of Batman's showiest moves. And the good news is, there are savate classes all over the place. In Seattle, in Maryland, in Sydney, in L.A.... And it's French, so it's a romantic way to beat people up.
No clue whether this is actually a good exercise routine or not — but it's fairytale themed, there are a lot of squats. Plus the video has awesome leg warmers, which might remind you of Jane Fonda, who was Barabarella after all.
Want to be like Gandalf? Do you feel the need to tell people that they shall not pass? Gandalf doesn't exactly use his staff like a bo staff, but you can still learn some cool moves with one. There are bo staff classes in Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, and Dallas.
And finally, there's the obvious... if you want to be a fantasy hero, you have to be able to wield a longsword. And as Neal Stephenson has proved recently, proper sword-fighting technique is a lot more complicated and also way more badass than most of us realized. And there's no question that sword-play training is an amazing work out — it's like a bat'leth, only not for Klingons. And luckily, it's even easier to find sword fighting classes in your area than it is all this other stuff — your local chapter of the SCA probably does a bunch of stuff, but you can also just plug "swordfighting classes" into Google and get a huge list, including various places with names like "Academy of European Martial Arts" and "Academy of Arms."
So what's your favorite geek-oriented exercise routine? Share it with us below!