Another DragonCon has come and gone in the blink of an eye. For those of you who don’t know DragonCon is held every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, GA. It’s a fun-filled geek fest full of wizards, orcs, superheroes, video gamers, D&D competitors, craft makers, leather workers, podcasters, and so much more. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, draws to DragonCon is the numerous costumes everyone builds throughout the year to wear, enjoy, and be photographed in through the 5-day festivities. One such group I joined in the last 2 years was the DC300 cosplay group (think the movie 300 with all the jacked, almost naked guys slashing and dashing with swords, spears, and shields). In essence, this group (and myself included) is really just a group of geeks/nerds who like to workout and found our niche within the cosplay community. Not only do we spend the time and money investing/building our costumes (yes, there’s a lot more to a 300 Spartan costume than you might think) but the bulk, pun intended, of our work is done in the gym and in the kitchen. In simplest terms, we combined our love of cosplay and our love of fitness into one.
Why am I writing this article? It’s not to convince you to become a cosplayer or join the DC300 (it is open enrollment time so let me know lol). It’s to point out how anyone and everyone can find their own reason to be fit and healthy through life. The cosplay example is meant to highlight how a group of individuals who are not generally associated with fitness can be when they find their “click.” This is where groups like the DC300 come in to help pave the way for uniting cosplay and fitness. Since joining the group I’ve seen numerous cosplayers join with the intent on improving their health and fitness levels. While most members of the group are well conditioned and look the part of a 300 Spartan, not all of them started this way. Many saw most of their improvement after joining the group and learning from fellow fitness nuts within the cosplay group. I’ve also seen non-members of the group ask members questions and seek advice on how to improve their fitness journey. This has lead to a number of people gaining a better understanding of their habits, lifestyle, food choices, activity levels, etc. One such example is a Superman aficionado who has lost over 30lbs in the last 3 months by making simply adjustments to their diet and daily physical activity. At DragonCon, many friends of this individual noticed and he received many compliments with regards to his improved healthy, energy levels, and smaller waistline. And this was someone who never even joined the group! They simply saw us as an inspiration and knew what he had to change in order to see progress.
While seeing a group from a distance and being inspired is helpful it is far more affective if you join said group. I’m not talking about a fitness cosplay group (although we could always use more lol) but any fitness group that appeals to you. Some people love to join so they join running groups. Some like intermural sports so they join an adult kickball league. Other like adventure and join obstacle-racing groups. Even if the activity itself might not seem that difficult it helps to be more fit so you can enjoy those activities even more. No one wants to be the slowest person in a run group so guess what the slowest members of the run group do on their off time? They train. Guess what the weakest person on the obstacle racing team does on their off time? They train. The point is the group doesn’t matter because there’s a common denominator: training (and nutrition if you really want to improve performance and aesthetics).
So, what’s your drive? What’s your interest? If you love sitting on your butt every evening and doing nothing but watch TV or play video games then you’re not hopeless. You just haven’t found your group…yet. Keep your eyes and ears open. But don’t wait around too long. Before you know it you’ll be much older and sitting in a doctors office telling you some very bad news about your health. Bad news that could’ve been avoided with a little better diet and a little more exercise. Don’t wait for that day. Start now.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!
The ironic part about being a cosplayer and being a fitness nut is that these two genres rarely go together (that is slowly changing). When most people picture cosplayers they picture some 20-something overweight nerd living in their parents basement playing video games while eating pizza and drinking beer. While there are members of the cosplay community who fit this description most do not and even fewer take their health and wellness seriously. Another reason fitness and cosplay rarely go together are because the cosplay world is extremely open and welcoming for people who would otherwise not feel accepted into many other social circles. The cosplay world, especially at an even like DragonCon, is one the few times cosplayers can be themselves. It doesn’t matter how tight, revealing, or unflattering your costume is because everyone accepts it. More often than not it comes down to the originality and quality of the costume despite, and sometimes in spite, of your physical shape. But, there seems to be a growing number of cosplayers who want to physically represent the characters they love.