What does Comic Con have to do with fitness?


Vinnie Tortorich and Serena Scott Thomas jog along a popular southern California trail.

If you ask me, Comic Con has everything to do with being fit. Let’s take a closer look at the obsession with comics.

I have a girlfriend who I think is the most beautiful woman on the planet. I’m not the only one who thinks this. A lot of guys feel that way. A lot. How many? I’ll tell you. A lot.

Serena Scott Thomas has a rare title. She’s a Bond girl. Am I telling you this because I’m bragging? Yeah, a little. But I’m mostly telling you that to tell you this: I didn’t always have a Bond girl as a girlfriend. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have a girlfriend at all when I was growing up. I couldn’t get one. Back in school, girls were all too busy goofing on me. Why? I had a speech impediment. When I tried to talk to girls, they would mimic my voice, laugh and walk away.

Boys were no better. They used to treat me like a punching bag. Just like Rodney Dangerfield, I got no respect.

Most nerds like me would retreat to their bedroom or basement. They would either become like Travis Bickle or Rupert Pupkin when they grew up. That’s right, I just used a couple of Robert DeNiro references, but that’s what nerds do. We also blog. Nerds would read comic books and look to characters with imaginary freakish muscles and super powers, like Green Hornet, Superman and many others.

I didn’t become that guy. Instead of reading about superheroes, I set out to become one. My goal was to build a shield around me. I began working out when I was only 10 years old. Technically, I was too young to work out at such an age, but I did it anyway. It paid off, too. I became so intimidating to kids that they quit beating on me. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I didn’t know how to fight. All I had done was change my physical image.

This would be a good spot to define fitness as I see it. What does fit mean? Obviously a guy who spends all of his time in a gym and becomes a bodybuilder could never run a marathon. Yet, Deena Kastor, an Olympic marathoner, couldn’t be expected to fare well in a weightlifting competition. But they’re both very fit. It’s all about being fit for an activity, whatever that activity may be.

I became fit enough to play college linebacker. I then dropped about 100 pounds to become an ultra-marathon cyclist. The one thing that my level of fitness in both directions has never been able to do is get rid of who I really am: the nerd who would still live in his parents’ basement at 47 years old. I don’t have to go to Comic Con. The difference between me and most guys cooped up in a bedroom is that I chose to live in reality instead of a fantasy world.

So what does Comic Con have to do with fitness? In my eyes, everything. This weekend my super sexy girlfriend will be at a signing in Los Angeles where nerds with greasy hair, pocket protectors and sweaty palms pay good money to put an arm around her and take a picture. Little does she know, she lives with one of those nerds. Just don’t tell her that.

Serena Scott Thomas and Vinnie Tortorich