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NOTE: I had originally started writing this as a comment on my blog post “Come in From the Cold” but I wound up typing so much I thought it would be better as a standalone post. Also of interest is my more recent post, “The Value of Small Groups.”

Just about everyone has been really, really great with comments and interaction on the blog lately. Thank you guys so much for being part of the big push to build the community here.

A lot of people are interested, but some seem to be doubtful about whether we can build the TYPE of community that I’m looking for…that neighborhood feel where everyone kinda knows each other.

I got an interesting email that I thought I would share with you. Check it out.

Hey Roman,

I was going to comment on your last blog, but I didn’t want to ruin the vibe I know you’re trying to create. I wanted to let you know that I think you’re right on most counts and that having more people post will make the blog more successful. I don’t know how much you can expect people to really bond though. Chances are they will respond to each other’s comments on the blog posts (although a forum type set-up might be better) but I think it probably isn’t going to be the kind of environment you say you want…people aren’t going to friend each other on Facebook and probably won’t correspond outside of the blog. It would be cool, but we’re not going to become friends. Although I guess we’re all friends with YOU and that counts for something.

 

I’ll definitely comment on the blog posts and I respect that you want to help people, I just don’t want to get your hopes up.

Cheers!

==========================

Well, I guess I sort of asked for some people who disagree to come out of the woodwork.

First and foremost: I think you have a point that forum lends itself a bit better community experience, if only because it allows members to create threads and topics and sort build interaction without me. I will, if there is enough interest, I’d love to build a forum section of this site.

Now, regarding building relationships in general, I have a story to share with you.

I want to point out, it was on a site very much like this that my passion for training was fueled, and through which I actually met some of my best friends in the world.

A little less than 10 years ago, T-Nation.com was called T-Mag.com, and the forum there was like a second home to me. As a young up-and-coming trainer, I loved that the magazine was full of innovative training ideas and cutting-edge nutrition information from some of the most prominent strength coaches and fitness writers in the world. In fact, it still is; I’m lucky enough to now count myself amount them, and write pretty frequently for the magazine.

However, the value of the site was not just in the articles—the forums were a huge help. It was a place where other fitness writers and trainers were hanging out, discussing ideas, and contributing to the knowledge pool. The articles were incredible, but very static; the forum, on the other hand, was active—it was dynamic and living, constantly being updated and added to by the authors, editors and readers.

At that time, the articles (and studies they sited) were probably as helpful to me as my official academic training for fitness (meaning both university courses and self-study and certification materials), but the forum really contributed to shaping my ideas and geared my thought process in an entirely different direction.

Threads on that message board were like conversations, and in such conversations with a few other frequent forum posters, I learned and shared some ideas.

Eight years ago, through that site, I made contact with a few of guys you may have heard of: Joel Marion, Eric Chessen and Eric Cressey.

It turned out Joel lived in New Jersey, and Eric Chessen and lived I on Long Island, so we decided to meet up in NYC one day, and history was made. We became friends instantly. A few months later, we met up in Maine with Cressey, and the four of us have been friends since then.

A quick reminder—this is 8 years ago, before things like “meet-ups” and “tweet-ups” were popular, and before Internet culture had really taken root to the degree it has now. At that point, it was still very much ‘weird’ to make meet people you met online. However, despite the fact that it was considered a bit unusual at that time, we were all so into what we were learning from each other that we put aside convention and just went with it…which turned out to be one of the best decisions any of us has ever made.

Since that time, we’ve all helped each other in many respects, both personally and professionally as we’ve all grown.

Of course, we’ve all taken different paths—Joel went into tradition publishing at first. Tremendously successful, his first book was published when he was 24. He’s still one of the youngest fitness authors ever published.

I wrote here and there, but did some fitness modeling, and then dedicated my business to training up and coming models and actors.

Cressey decided to focus on athletes, and later, to narrow his focus more on baseball (he currently runs a facility in Hudson, MA, and is one of the most sought-after baseball experts in the world). I’ve told you about him recently. (His recently released training program, “Show and Go” is one of the most valuable training recourses you can get your hands on. I posted an interview with him about it here).

Chessen went a completely different route, and now is the preeminent expert in the world on fitness for the Autism population. His website has tons of information for people involved with or affected by Autism, and he’s more of a resource to those people than nearly anyone else.

So first we were a bunch of weird kids into weights who became friends on the Internet. I assume some people thought that was silly—just as the person who wrote the email implies that some of YOU might think its silly to become friends with other members of this community.

Well, going back to my little example, now, we are some of the most popular fitness writers, bloggers and trainers in the world. More importantly, as we’ve helped with each other’s successes, we’ve also built strong personal and professional networks.

Will that happen to all of you? Possibly. I’m not sure. What I AM sure of, though, is that the more you participate and get to know each other, and the more you get emotionally involved in the success of this community, the better off you’ll be and the more help you’ll give and get.

My point is this: you have no idea just HOW POWERFUL taking part in this community can be. You don’t realize how much impact you can have on the lives of others, and how much this site can have an impact on yours—how much a part of your life it can become if you let it.

Sure, you may not meet your best friend, but I know for a fact that you can find people with common interests, and start building relationships with each other that WILL help you achieve your goals.

So start talking. Please know that I’m behind you, and here to help facilitate your fitness goals, as well as give you a place to help others. And a place to build the relationships that will carry you well beyond your immediate goals.

So…what do YOU think? Is it possible for most people to build helpful and important relationships over the internet, or are myself and myfriends are an exception?

Have you met friends (fitness or otherwise) online?

I need your help! Post below* and let me know if I’m right about this!

*NOTE – keep in mind what I discussed in “Come in from the Cold” – I need your help. We had an agreement, so drop some comments!

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • For me, it's important to have bonds with the people in the internet who are important to you. Especially, nowadays you could easily contact or chat with them at a social networking site.

  • Sheryl

    I think a lot of the posters here are sort of missing the point.

    Roman isn't suggesting that this (or any online community) become a *replacement* for real-world friendships; he wants to build this into a central hub where like-minded people can chat about this or that.

    I'm not one to use the term “friend” overmuch – in fact, I think I might have 4 actual friends. But I accept that society at large uses “friend” much more loosely now than pre-web.

    — Is it possible to develop close friendships with people online? — Absolutely. I have a friend in Romania I met via a MUD (yay Roman!) in 1993 and though we've never met I consider him to be a very close friend.

    — Are online (or online-only) friends the same as offline friends? — No, and that's ok. It's not necessary to limit yourself to having just one kind of “friend” – and nobody does that anyway. You have close family, distant family (who are often more like friends), school friends (who you may not have anything in common with anymore), college friends (ditto), friends you've worked with (sometimes), friends from your hobbies (in the gym, at a club….and online) – friends everywhere! And all of these types of friendship have something different and special to offer.

    Stepping down from my soapbox – Roman, I think it's a great idea, but I think a forum is required. As Patrick said above, right now you have topics chosen by you and we respond with our thoughts – primarily directed to you, the author. A forum works just like this, but allows anyone to be the author. You'll get a wider array of subject matter with multiple contributors, and you'll also get more traffic because people will feel they can ask questions and get answers about whatever their problem is, whereas now if their question isn't related to your topic, they probably don't say anything.

    more information + more traffic = more interest = community

    When people start chatting about multiple things online they often discover they have other interests in common: I knew Roman and I both like RPGs, but now I also know we both like MUDs. (I personally find MMORPGs boring because I started with MUDs…on telnet.) These additional interests lead to more one-on-one messaging, which leads to closer communication, and eventually might end up with face-to-face meetings, and possibly offline friendships.

    This is what I sense Roman is hoping for, and what I think he should definitely go for.

  • Without a doubt!

    I have only had my site for a short time and because of a full-time job can't dedicate as much time as I would like–but in that short time guys like you, Dave Ruel, Nate G., ETC have all reached out.

    Of all people I have interviewed, I keep in touch with all of them and constantly pick their brain for advice.

  • Steve

    Hey Roman,

    Just my two cents and throwing myself out there… Before I got interested in training I was uber heavy into RC airplanes, some of the best friends I have I met through RC websites, blogs, etc. Most I have met, grabbed a beer, flown with at their home field and even crashed at there house (and vice versa) during the flying season. So, YES it can work like you are wanting your site to go and I for one think it's a kick ass thing you are doing, great vibe @ here!! Looking forward to posting more and learning/hanging out with everyone in virtual training land.

  • Hey Irene,

    As I mentioned a few posts back, this is exactly the kind of thing we're looking to help with!

    So, here is the question: how can we help you remain consistent so that you get better results? This is why communities exist, after all.

    Just let us know what you need!

  • Irene

    I find this all inspirationall. I will probably not contribute as i'm not sufficiently consistent in any programm anymore and subsequently don't get a consistant result. After consistently trying through all sort of things with no consistent result one becomes a bit jaded. However and more importently, this site and others like it are good inspiration preventing me from totally giving it all up. It inspieres me to do some effort on training and regulating my diet-it do help. Thanks for keeping it up

  • Hey Roman,

    in 2008. When i needed help on my shoulder i sought out Eric Cressey and became an online client, his advice and training program helped me instantly and i use the same training style today with great success.

    Forward to summer 2010 and im up ai Cressey Performance busting out a strongman cicuit with EC himself… the farmers walk picture i got alone was worth the trip!

    If you ever want to visit the middle east, i will show you around Bahrain and Dubai no worries.

  • Fred

    Of course the Internet and social media is always going to be a relatively poor substitute for real world interactions, in the same way that a theory is always going to be a relatively poor substitute for reality.

    The question is whether it help us or not.

    This being said, the Internet is a fantastic way of buidling relationships that probably never would have happended in the offline world. The main point is probably that it's so easy to get involved. I recognize myself in countless of the above comments, and even though I haven't met any of my best friends over the Internet (this far) I definitely wouldn't be where I am today if not for the multiple influences I have had the good fortune to come across whilst surfing; everything from fitness-related stuff to book-forums and business-building strategies.

    I'll give you that I probably wouldn't do dinner and a wine tasting with my best pals over a Skype-teleconference session, but in my opinion online relationship building or maintenance is becoming exponentially more important as the technology used to facilitate it becomes better. Especially as friends and family spread out to various parts of the world.

    Like many of you have said previously, you get back what you put in. And if you don't believe this is going to work for you, you are probably right.

    Roman, great post my man, feels like the blog is taking a turn for the better.

    Stay frosty,

    /Fred

  • When I first started out exercising on a regular basis, I felt pretty much alone. The friend I joined the gym with wasn't as enthusiastic as me so I had to look for fitness enthusiasts elsewhere.

    I browsed several local fitness blogs and forums and hit it off with like minded souls there.

    To say that we're best friends is an overstatement, but they're always there if I want to discuss any fitness related stuff. And that's much better than talking to a non-committed personal trainer.

  • Jessica (Aust)

    While I don’t want to play devil’s advocate per se I hope you don’t mind my tempering this (mostly) wonderful, exuberant enthusiasm with a slightly different perspective that is more inline with both Chris G and Joshua above.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that people can make genuine, long lasting friendships over the internet, meeting through websites/forums/blogs relevant to shared interests. Really in many ways it is the modern form of traditional letter swapping penpals only more immediate and on a significantly larger scale. However I also think there’s the risk that if we are not vigilant internet or online contact can make us lazy in our “off-line” relationships.

    Human relationships require nurturing and that must include quality face-face time and that takes both time and energy. In our “time poor” world we now for example, instead of making the effort to catch up with friends and show them our latest holiday photos we simply post the photos on our Facebook pages, send out a status upgrade announcement to all 1342 of our “friends” and somehow that is an appropriate substitute. It may be “staying in touch” but it is not “nurturing the relationship”.

    There is also so much important subtly in human communication that is contained in both non-verbal signals (facial expressions, body language) and tone of voice that is missing from online posts. You can see misunderstanding and arguments erupting in online blogs/ forums all the time because how we read someone’s written words, which are entirely devoid of tone and non-verbal signals, may be entirely different from what was going on in the head of the person writing them.

    Perhaps it is because I live alone that real contact with my friends and actually BEING in their company is something that for me is non-negotiable. For those with partners and children perhaps the need for contact with others outside their family unit is less and therefore taking the “convenient” online option is good enough. Personally I disagree to some extent – while friendships can be forged online there is no substitute for real contact.

    By the way Roman I came across this quote (from someone posting online – Ha!) and thought, as someone who eschews the use of multiple explanation marks, you might enjoy it. The marvellous Terry Pratchett once wrote – 'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.'

  • Joshua

    I'm going to have to be a naysayer here, sorry guys. I don't think the internet is sufficient as a tool for building a true relationship. I suppose if you use it solely to orchestrate meeting people then it is possible a real friendship can be formed, but I don't think it can be used as the primary mode of communication. I find it is barely sufficient as a means of maintaining an already strong friendship.

    I believe that like everything else in life, friendships require attention, a lot of it. The internet is a cold medium for the most part. Gaming has been mentioned here a bit so I will use that as an analogy. I grew up playing pen and paper RPGs, as everyone in my circle of friends grew up, we tried to maintain a game and found it to be significantly less enjoyable.

    The internet is excellent for exchanging information, despite its seemingly endless versatility, I think in the end it falls short as a social medium. The activities most people think of as social I would still classify as information exchange, for example, Facebook: most people use this to gather information on others, not interact with them directly.

    Just my 2 cents, I've been active in various forums for several years and I've never made a *true* friend from any of them.

  • Dear Romaniac, (Great name, BTW. It's a keeper for sure.)

    As awesome as the Interwebzsz can be, I think we (the collective “we”) shouldn’t overlook a happy medium.

    The Web can be a valuable asset, for networking with geographically-challenged peers, developing a wide-reaching “presence”, etc., but I have to think that overemphasizing the online world at the expense of live meet-ups will ultimately slow down your professional (and personal?) growth.

    Those live opportunities, whether it's a training seminar with 270 colleagues or a simple man-date for coffee at a bookstore to talk business, might be harder to schedule compared to flipping open a laptop and logging on, but I have to believe that there's still something *different* about meeting a person face to face, compared to any number of e-mail exchanges.

    I guess that's one of the benefits that Roman, Shaun, Derek, Tracy, Glenn, and others have seen though initially sparking a connection online, and then solidifying it further with offline interactions.

    I'm in NY and I've had clients and peers in Oklahoma, California, Canada, and the UK whom I've never actually seen. Our relationships have been successful and productive, but (to me, at least), they always had that asterisk if we haven't also connected in the offline world… * – This is Velma, my online client/buddy/associate.

    Eh, guess that's all a bit of a rant and it might not actually have had a point. It could be that I’m just not 100% in-tune with the 21st century business world, but I am working on it. ;)

  • Hey Roman,

    YES and YES!

    Of course it is possible to meet and become REAL friends with people from interacting on the Internet. I have definitely became friends and business associates with many people, fitness and otherwise, just from starting a conversation on someone else's blog or website.

    It is just like anything you do in life…you get out of it exactly what you put into it.

    Plus, interacting over the Internet is really no different than interacting in real life. You have people you only communicate with socially, some only for business, some are your coaches, some you might cosider a mentor, some are only on-line friends, some you meet in person and become best friends. Some fit into several of these categories at the same time or grow from one to another as time goes by and the relationship changes.

    So, don't close yourself off to the possibilities of becoming friends with someone you meet on a site like yours.

    Thanks bro!

    ~ Pete

  • Dean Leach

    Hey Shaun,

    Your band isn't H is orange by chance is it? I know that's how Sam got the band together. That's very cool though to hear that's how you met your bandmates. Also, H is orange is an amazing band from LA. They're GREAT. And, Sam is the son of legendary Rick Nelson. Cool stuff.

  • Dean Leach

    I agree with the guy who wrote you the letter to you. IF we happen to live near someone else than I see it being possible to get togethers, etc.

  • John

    Hi Roman,

    Great idea – you're right on the button with developing an on-line community, and you're just the person to make a real go of it – too many become ordinary, even a bit dour. Your sense of fun brings out similar responses from contacts already.

    Friendships can be forged – even be re-established after one or other friend has moved to the other side of the world! If people want to make something work they will put the effort into it, as you would in a real face to face situation …. that said the development of video calls now brings contacts even closer to the real life position.

    Keep it going with that marvellous touch of the idiotic from time to time.

    All the best,

    John

  • Michael

    Lo Roman & Community,

    If the purpose of this forum is to enable like minded people a chance to meet virtually and exchange ideas hopefully for the mutual benefit of all the members then yes I can see how that would work; however I think that to try and portray the membership as friends is definately stretching the term friend as I understand it.

    I am more inclined to hope that this forum will operate along the lines of a loose knit band of fellow fitness travellers who can choose to peruse the site and take on board what information is of use and disgarding that which is not and without having to feel that they owe some sort of emotional commitment.

    If I require a Kum-ba-ya moment, I very much doubt that I would look for it on the internet, no disrespect intended to anyone who has forged deep and meaningful internet relationships.

    regards

    Michael

  • Ylwa

    I could not agree more with you, and I do believe that it all comes down to what Doug says, you get from it what you put into it.

    Being a small-town, small country (Sweden) girl, it may sound sad, but I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for the web. I've met incredible people on the way. Some of my oldest “online” friends I've known for more than 10 years. Some of them I've met, which has meant awesome trips as well.

    Internet isn't really that different from real life when it comes to friendship, it's all about putting yourself out there. Except for that the possible “return on friendship investment” (and business if you want to as well) is thousandfold bigger.

  • Zac

    Of course, the internet is just another medium through which we find and explore relationships. Like any it has the potential for these relationships to be superficial or exploitive yet, if you’re honest and committed (I know I sound like a marriage counsellor) then such relationships/friendships/acquaintances will work. For instance 10 years ago I made a friend over the internet in Holland (I'm in New Zealand) and since then we've grown up together, becoming more in touch as the technology developed before we met finally in my hometown. I can say without a doubt, that he is one of my closest friends.

  • @ Tracy – I'll take the advice on the bull-riding. And of course I'll have a video taken. Glad to know that there are professionals out there =)

    @Mazikeen – Ha! Pretty crazy to have jacked up video gamers running around. It's bad enough you've got former D&D guys like me and Tim Ferriss pulling big weights.

    @Cory – Good point about the dating sites. I think “meeting online” is actually the second most common way to meet your spouse, right after “friend of a friend.”

    @Josh – I'm curious to see how the game turns out!

    @Patrick – You make a good point about the forums. Something to keep in mind.

    @Joe – yeeaaaahh JETS!

    @Justin – exclamation points notwithstanding, I'm glad to now you appreciate the blogs!!!11! (irony).

    @Chuck – Nice to talk to you, man! Of course I remember meeting you in Tampa. I hope things are well. I think we will probably do it again next year, but

    not this year. We've all got so many projects upcoming, plus everyone's wedding and everything…next year it'll be awesome.

    @Dan – good point. Common interest is what it's all about. I think that overall, we've all got a fitness interest, so this is all getting off to a good start.

  • Dan

    Hi Roman, I think it is very possible to meet and maintain friends online as long as a strong common interest exist. I have a number of friends in the united states along with one in Turkey and one in Brazil that are classic car enthusiasts. These people I have bought and sold parts from and to. They are interested in my 57 chevy restoration and I am interested in their projects. Although I like watching and listening to you I am not sure how a forum environment might help me. myself being a novice type training person. You have a common interest with Joel and Vinnie etc and that works for you.

  • Chris

    @Ted

    My story's similar to yours, only that I'm a console gamer (don't play much anymore). But, about 5 years ago when I was a freshman in high school my real-life friends and I would be playing good ol' Halo 2 through Xbox Live (way before I even cared to know what fitness was), when one day my brother and I met this hilarious kid who loved the rocket launcher. That was all we knew about him But game after game we learned more. He spoke perfect English, but we were amazed to find out he was from Denmark. Anyway, of course, because he was such an entertaining kid, we all started gaming together at the same time and, subsequently, we all got to know him. Eventually he decided he wanted to come to America and, of course, we were all so excited. Anyway, after about a month of traveling couch to couch among our houses mixed with a lot of partying, he didn't hesitate to call Boston his new home away from home and we all definitely found a new friend.

    The next few years he has always made his was back and is always welcome as one of our crew.

  • Hey Roman, I think it is a great ideal like I would have never met you guys through the internet and all the different fitness forum. I met you in Tampa earlier this year at a fitness seminar. I think that a forum would be great with all your fit tips and people can respond to it. Just curious if next year you guys are going to get together again and have another seminar Vince,Joel, Dr. K , and of course you! (lol)

  • Justin Earl

    Hey Roman! Would absolutely love a forum section of the site! I absolutely love reading your blog posts too! Every time I get an email from Roman Fitness Systems and it's a blog, I make it one of my top priorities to at the very least, read the blog! Thanks for being such an inspiration in so many areas of my life!

    -Justin

    ps: I bet you just loved all those exclamation points ;)

  • Joe

    A few years ago I belonged to a site that had a great forum. Although I never met any of the people we became good friends online. We would e-mail, phone calls back and forth about anything and everything.

    Then for one reason or another people started leaving and the new one's that came in just didn't get involved.

    I guess what I'm saying is it's like anything else you get out of it what you put in. If people get involved and contribute yes this could be that kind of community.

    Oh and by the Way Jets 38 Bills 14

    J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS

  • I think a forum is different from a blog comment section like this, and forums lend themselves to better communities.

    Forums encourage more open-ended discussions, and the topics come up more organically. I ask the community what they think about foam rolling or low carb diets, and I get a lot of responses from different people. For a comment section on a blog like this, Nate Green's, or Tim Ferriss', the Topic X is brought up by the author, followed by a question like “so what do you guys think about Topic X?” and then we all respond, hoping the author reads and acknowledges us, without much regard for the other people writing in their feelings on Topic X. I think we are responding to YOU and not to others reading .(I notice it the most on Nate Green's blog, where everyone desperately tries to tell him what coffee or microbrew they are currently drinking, or how much the foam roller kicked their ass that afternoon). There's nothing wrong with that, that's just how I view a blog. I go to get information from the author and (maybe, like now for instance) hopefully have them acknowledge my comment.

    In a forum, like JP Fitness, there is a real dialogue because no author is hanging above it. When people come to a forum, they expect to get information from the others.

    That's not always how it works, obviously, but most of the time that's what I see.

  • Yeah, I totally think it's possible to make friends online,m especially if people are willing and open to make it happen. I've made a few friends through email. And Ted, I'm down to play SC2 as soon as I get my new laptop and 60 bucks for the game. UNtil then I'll be getting down with SC1.[:

  • Cory

    It's totally possible to make friends over the internet. I met one of my closest friends on a P2P network called Kazaa when I was broke freshman in College. We became roomates the following year. I don't live very close to him anymore. But I do go to some of his house partys and make it a point to see his band play in Brooklyn when I can.

    It's certainly not uncommon to make real friends through this medium (the internet). Hell, there seems to be about a thousand dating sites where people are trying to meet their next girlfriend/boyfriend/fling.

  • Mazikeen

    Yes, it's possible. I have met several people online whom I consider friends. Some of them I have met face to face at some point. There is definitely an advantage into being able to talk openly with other people without being self-conscious.

    @Ted – gamers lifting weights? Nowai! Everyone knows that gamers are fat kids living in their mom's basement! I don't play WC3, but I play SC2 and generally spend stupid amounts of time playing computer games (but that's ok, because I work for a game developer, so let's call it research).

  • Tracy Gunnels

    GREAT idea for all you guys to guest post on each other's blogs! I purchase a lot of ebooks but I also get more info from all the other stuff… blogs, articles, etc.

    Thanks for all the great info.

    I am able to stay a lot more focused and dedicated to working out since I can stay connected to all the fitness pros every day.

  • Tracy Gunnels

    Roman,

    I don't actually ride bulls myself. Just have friends who do and have bull riders and fans for friends.

    Do it! But, hurry… before you get to old! LOL! Be sure you find a good place to ride with someone who knows what they are doing.

  • @Andy – thanks, sir! I appreciate the praise. I'll do my best to keep it growing. Glad you're getting a lot out of the blogs. I'm going to try to get Craig and Vinny to do some guest blog posts over here. I think it would be cool if we all posted on each others blogs.

    @Ted – good point! I think having subsections (muscle gain, fat loss, diet, off topic) is what makes certain forums so successful. It's a good thought.

    It's cool that you've met friends gaming. Years back (like 1995-98) I played some online RPGs. (Specifically DragonRealms–which was a text based game, falling under the category MUD for Multi-User Dungeon, as it pre-dated graphic online games and the terms MMORPG).

    I was also into Diablo 2, so if I pick up D3 and wind up playing on battle.net I will let you know.

    As a funny aside — I used to train a big wig over at Blizzard, he as in charge of acquiring new intellectual properties. I got LOTS of free swag back in the day (can you say WC3 WEEKS before it came out!?) and even got to beta test some stuff.

    Sadly I don't train him any longer, and in fact he no longer works for Blizzard, but it was cool to have an inside look at the development of WoW.

    I recently read a funny article about StarCraft teams in Korea, pretty nuts.

    Thanks for the added dimension to the conversation, and for posting so frequently in general.

  • Ted

    I agree. I've met several people through the interwebs that I have grown rather close to in the past 10 years. Most of these friends unfortunately live on the east coast (I'm in Wisconsin). We've traded phone numbers, skyped, facebooked, made plans to visit when we have the spare cash for a flight. Difference is that most of the friends I've made have come through multiplayer gaming (via computer, not console games)… These friends have helped me through anything from personal issues to homework, and you can never have enough of them.

    Roman, I think you have a dream worth pursuing here. There's one thing, however, that I would like to suggest. It may be helpful to somehow facilitate the creation of smaller sub groups (the easiest method to this may be via forum sub-topics). As you've said before, you have thousands upon thousands of people reading your blogs. It's intimidating. We all have something in common – fitness. But we can't form that closer bond with thousands of others all at the same time without spending an enormous amount of time on the blog. We need to start by finding others who have more in common with us than just fitness, then grow from there.

    On a similar note – anyone here play Wc3 or Sc2? ;) I'd love to play a game or two whilst rattling back and forth about various fitness topics…maybe even brag about our bench press feats to a few of the opposing gamer-nerds. :P

  • Hi Roman

    Great post and I think you are bang on with trying to build an online community as it is a fantastic way not only for you to be able to reach out and help/connect with so many more people without this medium but actually your followers may crucially be able to help/support each other also.

    Form a personal point of view, starting out last year in the industry, coming across your blog along with Vince Delmonte, JM, Craig Ballantine etc has been the real education as opposed to the text book learning that of course everybody must go through. It is both inspirational and motivational to read all of the work by you guys and being able to get in touch to ask any questions via this platform or facebook etc is very cool.

    It makes the World a smaller place which is pretty awesome in my opinion. Keep up the awesome work man.

  • @Tracy – J-E-T-S!

    Secondly, you RIDE BULLS? That is effing *sweet*! I was just saying that on my “bucket list” is to try to ride a bull. Crazy!

    Glad you were able to make friends with fellow crazy people =)

    @Glenn – A poker player! Well, why didn't you say so!? I was at the WSOP this year, I played in one of the small events.

    I'm going back next year.

    It's awesome that you were able to make friends on the forums. I love the internetz

  • @Don – Thanks for sharing, man! When you and Andy finally, meet, I'm certain it will be epic. I'm even more certain that we'd all love to hear about that meeting when it occurs!

    @Doug Wilson – Good point. Twitter and Facebook are definitely changing things. It's a lot more common now.

    @Shaun – That's awesome. Imagine that–15 years ago, bands barely used the internet for anything, even advertising. Now, not only is most music purchased through the internet, but now bands are meeting online. That's crazy. I love it.

    @Derek – my main man! Derek speaks the truth! Dr. Derek was a big part of our little online fitness group, and added insight and wisdom coming from both age (he was a few years older and at the time the age gap was bigger) and also his medical training. Derek is an awesome guy and I'm happy to know him. We DEFINITELY need to meet face to face asap.

    @Dietrich – Great post. Vince has told me a lot about the MYM forums (I'll have to ask him for access so I can pop over there) and he's talked about how great the community feel is over there. Definitely something to aspire to. I'd encourage you to keep friending each other on FB and Twitter, and continue helping each other with fitness, which will just encourage your friendship overall.

    @Wendy – thanks for the kind words =) I'm looking forward to helping you more as we develop the community over here. As for a forum, it's an idea that is definitely germinating in my mind.

    @Carolyn – Glad you're liking the new logo! Thanks for the input. The rules keep people in line in theory, but in practice it's the mutual respect that works, I think. Overall, as long as people learn and are respectful, we all benefit.

    @Clement – You are EXACTLY right. I hope we do get to meet, but you have it perfectly. I'll probably steal that and repost it!

  • Glenn

    Roman, you are 100% on the money. I have made friends through a poker forum that I never would have met otherwise. Such good friends that I'm making a trip to the States (from New Zealand) next year during the WSOP just to meet them.

    Of course, I had to throw some touristy stuff in there or the wife never would have agreed to go, but the principle reason is to meet these people I only know online, but know better than a lot of my “in the flesh” friends!

  • Tracy Gunnels

    Roman!

    1st of all GOOOO J-E-T-S!!!!!

    I definitely believe that friends, great friends can be made online. I met a bunch of people on a PBR (Professional Bull Riders) website in 1999. Most of us have been lucky enough to actually meet face to face. I speak with one or two of them at least once or twice a week, every week, and keep up with others online. I also met a bull rider friend who ended up living only about 20 minutes from me. We become really close friends and still keep in touch today.

    I spend way more time on fitness websites today. I haven't met up with any personally yet, but sure hope to in the future.

    I have also made a few friends with Jets and Falcon players and fans via Twitter.

  • Hey Roman, personally, I do count you as both a mentor and a friend, as do anyone else I friend on Facebook from the fitness industry and other areas of the virtual world. You've helped me a lot with my fitness and nutrition goals and I enjoy discussing all things fitness with you guys. I'd even love to intern at these facilities like CP, MBSC and IFAST. However, the fact is that I'm not even from America. But even though we will probably never get the chance to meet, it really doesn't mean that friendships cannot be forged through borders and knowledge cannot be shared. This is what the Internet is for, no?

  • Carolyn

    Hi Roman,

    Great new logos, by the way. I think you are right! People can bond on a site like this. I usually feel somewhat alone as a fitness obsessed female, so places like this give people like me/us a place to dig into our passion. If luck should have it and people connect, then you're stoked! If not, it is still a great place to learn and get advice. I do appreciate your rules…even adults get mean when no face to face interaction is involved. If we remember why we read your blog–because we love fitness–then we may just find what you and the superboys did!

  • wendy

    yeah- its all good. I agree that a forum method would be best to start with. Is this kinda like a forum?? I learn more on the net than I ever learned in school. I love being able to communicate with people I would never in a million years get to talk to and learn from – like you Roman. Thanks for this effort and Im with ya.

  • Dietrich Marquardt

    Yup. I'm one of Vinny D's MYM members, and the community all of the MYM members have on the forums is pretty tight. In fact I've 'friended' a couple of facebook, allowing for more non-fitness related chit-chat, and a few of us are corresponding via email. It allows us to communicate on a more personal level and be more open I guess. Since we have similar goals, or ambitions, we sort of form our own little groups.

    It definitely works :)

  • Derek

    Funny that you posted this today as I was just thinking about this sorta thing. I should have posted on “Coming in From the Cold” but this will do as an intro and testimonial.

    I've known Roman, Joel, and the Erics for about the same period of time. Pretty sure we all became aware of each other on the same website around that time. The only difference is that you guys lived in fairly close proximity, and I was pretty far away. That led to you guys meeting in person, while I've still yet to meet any of you.

    Having said that, I've kept up (poorly recently) with everybody via the internet, so much so that Joel asked me to write the foreword for his book.

    I drifted away from this portion of the fitness world for a few years, but I find myself drifting back and reconnecting. The difference in social media is amazing after only a few years. Given what connections could be made back then, I can only imagine the possibilities these days.

    Anyway, just putting myself out there for anybody who sees me commenting (often sarcastically or commenting on Roman's sexiness) either here or on Facebook.

  • Oh it's completely possible. I actually did meet my best friend(s) via a band search website, where we initially got together to make music (we still are!). Now getting into fitness for the last two years finding your blog and other fitness experts blog has completely changed my life.

    I also find it interesting you can be more open if you will via internet or text rather than in person so right there you can build a deep bound making it easier to meet in person. By that time you'll already have inside jokes or something stupid/wacky.

    I'm looking to do the same here and anywhere else really. Like our roundtable of fitness blogging we talked about previously or just a whole community of people who like to live well and do it up right.

    The q&a is a great idea and a great starting point.

  • Doug Wilson

    Interesting read. My belief is that you get out of something, what you put into it. If you really don't think you or anyone you know will start talking, then you won't. You already made up your mind. Others will want to, and they will, as described by Roman. It seems to be a big part of society currently, as most folks have heard of Facebook and Twitter.

  • Don

    Yes its possible to meet and maintain relationships on the net. 20+ years ago I met an individual from Boston Ma named Andy. We grew through each others marriages, divorces, kids, passing of parents and life. We stiil call each other, have vid calls and maintain that friendship. Ironically we have never met face to face but to this date consider each other good friends. I live in Canada and the opportunity to meet my friend in “real time”has not happened yet. It will some day and while having a couple well deserved drinks together, I am sure it will be something we never forget.