Welcome to Meet Your Heroes, a segment dedicated to the wonderful members of the geek community. Today we’re talking to Jeff of The Jerd.com, merging geekery and fitness.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
Hello Internwebz! My name is Jeff Mueller (aka The Mighty Jerd) and I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland.
As far as what I do… well, I do a lot. I’m an IT consultant by day and at night I am a husband, father, martial artist, author, podcaster, fitness buff, gamer, comic book nerd and the driving force behind the geek fitness website, www.thejerd.com!
I get tired just thinking about it all!
What about being a geek and the geek community is most important to you?
Man, we are diving right into the difficult questions aren’t we? Growing up, in a time when being a nerd or geek was not as socially acceptable as it is now, the geek “community” was just my friends who I saw at the local comic book shop or at gaming nights. Now though, I see the community as just that. A large space where people of all ages, races, genders, and fandoms can come together and be themselves.
And for a lot of people who feel socially marginalized, that is super important!
How did you find yourself part of the geek community? What is your origin story?
Essentially, I have been a card-carrying geek my entire life!
At age five I saw the original Star Wars (in the theater even… #HipsterGeekCred), at age 7 I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons by neighborhood kids, at age 8 my father brought home an Atari 800 and taught me to program in BASIC, at age 10 I read the Hobbit and at age 11 I bought my first X-Men comic book.
I never stood a chance.
We’re all about being your own hero here. What is something about yourself that makes you feel powerful, confident, or courageous?
Honestly, it’s getting over my ‘nerd shame’. Like I said above, I have been a nerd my whole life… but there was a point where I tried to bury that so deep no one was ever going to find it. It was my dirty little secret, one I was always afraid non-geek friends would find out, and for many years I never felt comfortable with myself because deep down I knew I was living a lie.
Once I decided to adopt a ‘love me or leave me’ attitude, and stop hiding from my geekdom I found myself not only happier as a person, but also much more empowered and confident!
What’s your secret weapon against a terrible, no good, very bad day?
A good workout usually drops enough endorphins to cheer me up, but on days where I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders I usually turn on Netflix and binge some of my favorite TV comedies (The Office, Parks & Recreation, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The IT Crowd, Archer or Scrubs).
There is something very comforting about shows you have watched 100 times yet can still make you laugh.
Why did you decide to start The Jerd?
Even though I am a lifelong geek, I was always an active geek. Skateboarding, running, wrestling, etc… and while I was never really good at any of those things, they kept me in reasonable shape. All my geek friends? Not so much.
Fast forward 20 years and there I was getting fed up listening to these same friends complain how they were overweight, out-of-shape and feeling like crap all the time (and of course they were doing so while grabbing another bottle of Mountain Dew… arrrgghhh!!!)
So after a very inspirational experience at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, listening to Felicia Day and Kevin Smith expound on the virtues of being passionate and creative, I had three simple thoughts waiting for my flight home:
- I knew a decent amount about proper diet and fitness
- None of my geek friends knew jack about that important topic
- I wanted to help them!
So right there in the airport I registered the domain, came up with the moniker “The Jerd” (that’s Jock + Nerd), drew out a mock logo, and I was up and running! Not the wisest way to start, and there were a lot of stumbles that first year, but my life is nothing but a nonstop parade of poorly thought out, yet positive and successful, ventures… why should this have been any different?
What’s been the best part of running your website?
The success stories.
Whether it’s the guy who comes up to me at a convention telling me that he’s dropped a ton of weight and gotten his diabetes under control, the woman who never ran a mile in her life that now competes in hard-core obstacles races like the Tough Mudder, or the person who now feels confident enough in the way they look to walk around on the beach in their bathing suit…
Knowing that the sarcastic words that come out of my mouth or through my keyboard, can affect a positive change in someone’s life? That is by far the best part about it!
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! Any projects you want to plug? How can we find you around the web?
I am everywhere!
People can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube primarily but I also hang out on Google+, Periscope and Twitch too. If you really want to interact with me, and see what I am all about, definitely check out www.thejerd.com where my mission to help people go from geek to real-life superhero!
If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Meet Your Heroes.”