Batman had Robin.
Bert had Ernie.
Thema had Louise.
Who’s your sidekick?
This quest for a leveled up life is a difficult one – every day, it seems like the deck is stacked against you – unhealthy foods at every corner, a hectic job that pulls you in a million directions, and family and friends who might not be as interested in getting healthy.
For that reason, it’s easy to think of yourself as a lone ranger with the weight of the world on your shoulders – like Indiana Jones taking on the Nazis or Link taking on Ganon and his entire horde, it’s easy to see the task of getting healthy as an uphill battle with a less than a 32.3% (repeating of course) chance of success.
When you think about it however, all the greats never went it alone – they always had a partner to help push them to greater heights! Rocky Balboa trained and befriended Apollo Creed to get the Eye of the Tiger. Frodo had Sam to help him walk all the freaking way to Mordor.
I want to talk today about the importance of having a sidekick, the qualities of this workout partner, and where to find one.
Why a sidekick is crucial
Let’s be honest, most people suck at getting in shape.It’s easy to make excuses and reward our bad behavior by allowing us to do unhealthy but enjoyable activities instead of actually making good choices:
- Skipping a workout in the morning to hit the snooze button.
- Skipping a workout after school to play videogames.
- Picking up an unhealthy meal at a drive-through rather than eating the healthy meal at home in the fridge.
We then spend the next day beating ourselves up for not having the self-control to make better decisions We need to put an end to this madness! Once you start looking at yourself as a Super Hero in Training (I’d advise against an acronym here), and identify your epic destiny, it’s time to find that person who will help you elevate your game. When you have a sidekick, you have:
- A built-in accountabili-buddy. You can’t sleep in today, because you’re going exercising with Frodo! You can’t skip a healthy meal tonight, because you’re supposed to be cooking food with Luigi and his family. It’s great to know you’re not the only one going through this process! You have somebody to turn to, someone who understands what you’re going through, and can offer up words of wisdom on the subject.
- Somebody to bounce ideas off of. If you have a sidekick who struggles with the same stuff as you, then you have a second YOU to learn from! What workouts work? What diet tips actually work? How can you make family dinners healthier? Two nerdy minds are better than one!
- A chance to grow and teach. When you have a sidekick, you get a chance to watch them learn from you, lean on you, and live better. Want to know one of the BEST ways to get better at something? Teach somebody else to do it!
- A built-in reality check. We’re pretty good at lying to ourselves. Whether we convince ourselves that we’ve been eating healthy (while sneaking in unhealthy snacks every few hours), tell ourselves that “hey, we’re good enough!” when we’re really not. Instead of coming up with excuses as to why we’re not actually getting results, a good sidekick can provide that ‘slap in the face’ that wakes us up that we often so desperately need.
The qualities of a good sidekick
Like finding your future wife/husband/robot, there are certain qualities you should be looking for when qualifying your potential sidekick in order to make sure you have the right person for the job:
- They are at a simliar level of fitness. They can be further along or further behind on their goals, but preferably somebody who is around the same fitness point as you.
- You can relate to them. If you have two kids, a mortgage, and work out at home, it’d be tough to relate to a single dude with no kids, a bunch of money, that loves to work out in a gym. Find somebody that has a similar lifestyle too, so you can compare notes on how to work out before the kids wake up, or how to eat healthy despite your significant other not being on board.
- They are real, preferably available in real life. I’m sure that your imaginary sidekick General Pants is a real go-getter, but he won’t get the job done. If possible, try to identify one of your friends in real life that can become your sidekick – somebody to exercise with and meet up with regularly to discuss next steps. If you can’t find somebody in real life, I can think of a community of folks where you could find somebody perfectly suited to your match
- You trust them. Although it’s good to have support and encouragement, you’re not looking for a yes-man cheerleader. You need somebody that’s gonna call you on your BS, because (as we all know), nobody believes your excuses except for you. They will push you when you need to be pushed, dragged out of bed when you need to be dragged out of bed, and held accountable when you’re slacking.
- They are driven. You don’t want an anchor of a sidekick. They are supposed to pick you up, not drag you down with THEIR excuses and complaints. If they are constantly telling you “let’s skip today and go to the bar,” you’ve found a good drinking buddy…not a great sidekick.
How to Use your Sidekick
Ew, no, not like that. Come on! Once you have your sidekick, lean on them!
Here are some examples:
- Accountability. Make a pact with your sidekick that every time you skip a workout, you will paypal him $10 dollars. Or make a pact that if you skip more than three workouts in a month, you have to pay for his next dinner with his significant other. Maybe if you don’t lose 3% body fat by the end of the month, you have to take a picture in a tutu on Main Street and send it to him. The more ridiculous you get, the more likely you’ll be to actually follow through with your habit building.
- Support. If your friends don’t exercise, they won’t care that you hit a personal record in deadlifts this morning, but your sidekick will. If you had a crappy day at work and just want to come home and eat a family size bag of M&Ms (damn you, coworker Judy!), your sidekick can talk you out of it. If you are considering a new workout or joining a gym, your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend might not have any insight, but your sidekick might!
- Friendly competition. Competition is fun. Even if you and your sidekick aren’t at the same level of fitness, it doesn’t mean you can’t compete for a small prize each week: Most miles walked. Consecutive days exercised. Number of healthy meals eaten in a row. Having somebody that challenges you to be better and push beyond “meh” is awesome.
How to find a sidekick
You know what you need: a sidekick! You know what kind of side kick: an awesome one! There’s just one problem….you don’t know where to FIND your sidekick. Fear not my friend! That’s what Nerd Fitness is for. Well…that, and comedic relief. Here’s are the best places to find your future sidekick:
- Your immediate group of friends. If you are lucky to have a friend that are ALSO interested in fitness, you’re golden. Ask them for advice on a workout plan or let them know that you’re looking for some accountability, and let the sidekicking begin! If you DON’T have any friends interested in fitness, ask and see if any of them would be interested in starting. Even if you’re not an expert, you can help them get started, which in turn will allow YOU to become better and stay on target (after all, you’re now a mentor!).
- Your office mates. If you work in an office, I bet there is somebody there who’s interested in getting healthy. I bet they feel the same way about their situation too: alone and looking for some guidance, help, and accountability. Can’t find anybody interested? Send out an email starting a weight loss competition at work; boom – you now have your pool of potential sidekick candidates. Feel free to put them through a rigorous interview, talent show, and swimsuit competition to decide.
- The gym or club/team you’re a part of. In a book club? Play in a co-ed kickball league? Hang out at a Crossfit gym all the time or notice the same people in your Yoga class? Put on your confident face and strike up a conversation. You don’t need to date the person, you just want somebody to keep you on track.
- Join the Nerd Fitness community! All the cool nerds are doing it! Post in the “looking for a sidekick” section with your basic stats, and we’ll see if somebody with similar stats who’s ALSO looking for a sidekick will get in contact with you! We don’t have fancy profile-matching software, but we do have a community of 7,000+ people who are damn supportive. I like your chances. Speaking of finding support online…
Join the Six Week Challenge
There’s no better way than to join one of the six week challenges over at the Nerd Fitness Community.
We’ve split up the challenges into groups based on common goals, and have over 500 rebels taking part! One of the participants in your group is bound to be local.On top of that, these challenges are a ton of fun and a great way to level up your life TODAY. And if you don’t end up finding your real life sidekick, you’ll have 500+ new friends to support you, encourage you, and help you out with your goals.
Oh, and it’s FREE.
If you’re new to how the challenges work, NF team member Staci created a video going over everything.
For more information or to sign up, head on over to the new six week challenge.
Fun fact: Staci really did find her sidekick on Nerd Fitness two years ago after realizing one of her challenge squad members was local. They now bounce ideas off of each other on a daily basis, attend each other’s competitions, and even train together.
Who’s your sidekick?
Yup, that’s Pooh dressed as Piglet and Piglet dressed as Pooh. Try finding THAT on a site written by somebody older than eight.
Why? Because that’s how we roll around here at Nerd Fitness.
I’d love to hear about YOUR sidekick!
Who are they, and how do they help you live a better life?
If you DON’T have one, where do you plan on finding one TODAY?