Basically, we ask people to come play football, basketball, run, or even something easy like just throwing the frisbee around and no one can ever make it. They either don't respond at all, or have really really weak excuses. Like "3 loads of laundry to do" or "it's a little warm out today" when it's 72 and no wind.

These are all people who are in their early 20s and in relatively good health. Some married, some not. Most are computer nerds who spend the majority of their free time gaming(any kind) and typing on places like Stack Exchange. ;)

Any tips or tricks to get them to come outside and do something? Or should I just give up?

Also, maybe more on topic, any exercises that you'd recommend to get them active without it being too hard on "beginners"? Sports or general fitness is ok.

  • 1
    What is your relationship to these people? Mar 29, 2012 at 13:48
  • There are a couple of groups: Some are people we've met after we moved here, some are coworkers, some are wife's coworkers.
    – Matt
    Mar 29, 2012 at 14:19
  • If they're nerds, find or start a larp/boffing group.
    – DForck42
    Mar 29, 2012 at 15:27
  • Call them fatty
    – Chris S
    Apr 2, 2012 at 19:27
  • 1
    If the majority are gaming, perhaps you could try something like the games they play? eg. paintballing.
    – Burhan Ali
    Apr 7, 2012 at 11:46

2 Answers 2


You've got your work cut out for you.

Here's What You are Competing With

There's a concept called "gamification" which is really what social oriented sites use to keep people addicted. This site uses the concept:

  • You have a reputation score
  • That rep is improved or detracted by the voting process (up or down)
  • You can get badges for extraordinary events (the bronze, silver, and gold badges)
  • The reputation scores and badges help encourage the type of behavior you want.

This is a big component to why games hold the attention of these computer nerds, as well as sites like stack exchange. Since people like to protect and improve their reputation, this works well.

How to Use that to Your Advantage

There are some computer nerds who had the bright idea to apply the concept of "gamification" to fitness. A couple of sites that come to mind are:

The reward system on Fitocracy is much richer and more engaging for your typical computer nerd. Fitocracy also lets you run or participate in challenges. That is your "in". Throw them a challenge on Facebook or wherever they spend their time, and join them. As they log what they did, their Fitocracy rep increases. That can be the start of gaining an interest in different forms of fitness.

WeightXReps is really geared more towards weight lifters, and people who already have a bit of discipline. It has some useful tools like volume calculators, and intensity/effort tracking. However, it's not going to get someone who is sitting on their bum out of their chair.

  • 1
    Or earn reputation on Fitness.SE, just try beating Berin!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 29, 2012 at 17:44

The solution here is easier than you think, i do not want to sound poetic but let me explain some important things:

re-check the way you wrote your question title and details : "non-sports people (computer nerds specifically)".
You just stereotyped computer lovers to lazy non sporty people. The problem and danger of stereotyping is that extremely few people on earth rebel against it. Most people accept what they are given and tag themselves into it.
Explaining further, ever since computers were created and you had the image of the nerdy, big glasses,lazy anti social person given to people who like/work with computers.
for example if you consider software developers , what happened is that most of these guys just accepted that label and this indoctrination was stored deeply in their mind , and many of them now have an "inferiority complex".

@Berin Loristsch mentioned about the reputation thing, and it is so true since the inferiority complex makes them search to be superior in a virtual world.

Myself, am a software engineer, and am very far from being a nerd, i also workout daily (heavy training). This requires lots of efforts and discipline but can be done by anybody.

Thus, you have to start by not labeling them anymore and not showing them they are different. This is a small step but with huge impact and change:
once they feel equal to you, they will start listening to what you say and get interested in what interests you (outside the virtual world).

  • I definitely agree with this and see it as a major roadblock for most people in similar situations. I do just what you say and agree that it's the best approach. I simply label them as this in the question to make it clearer on what I'm dealing with. Thank you for the good response, though. I'm in the same boat as you: IT/sys admin, but daily lift/run/bike cardio and multiple times a week "real" sports like basketball/football/golf, etc.
    – Matt
    Mar 29, 2012 at 18:32
  • I work in an IT office with 400 people and there are only about 40 who are physically active. But out of those 40 it is quite the range - there's a guy who actually competes in body building championships and then there are those that just play bball once a week. As for me I'm somewhere in the middle, ex-track & field but doing more olympic lifts now and trying to increase mass, deadlift max 345 lbs. and sqat max 275 lbs :) Apr 3, 2012 at 16:01

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