The State of The Rebellion: Nerd Fitness 2014 In Review


Whoa.

2014 was a game-changing year for Nerd Fitness. What started nearly six years ago as a simple blog to help a few people has transformed into something far greater than I ever could have imagined.

We’ve gone from a one-man-band (imagine this guy) to a team of full-time members working for the Rebellion. We had a freaking Summer Camp, and finally my dreams of creating a place for people to level up in real life has been realized (though we’re just getting started on that front).

While we’re gearing up for a monster 2015 (where the Rebellion truly takes steps towards world domination), I wanted to take a look back at 2014 and where we’ve been before we plot out where we’re going!

What do you bench? Strength Training 101: The Bench Press

This is an article from NF team member Staci.

Ahhh, Monday.  Walk into the gym, look around, and there’s a good chance not a single bench will be open.

National Bench Press Day. Every day.

For many years now, bench press has been considered by many to be the most important exercise in the gym, so many people put the bench front and center in their training program, before all else.

For the last 30-40 years, the bench press has become the universal lift for bros everywhere to determine out how strong someone truly is. How much do you bench? Do you even lift??

However, as popular as it is, the bench press in its current form is really less than 100 years old.

In fact, until the 1930’s, people did a movement called the “floor press” (which is still done today, and is pictured above), which was similar to a bench press only done from the floor. In fact, at first many people did a movement called a “belly toss” – where the bar would come down and bounce off the belly to help the lifter get it back up.

The three movements – bench press, belly toss, and floor press were all popular until the 40’s and 50’s, when the bench press started to become more and more popular, as bodybuilders liked how the bench worked their pecs better than the other two movements.

As the bench press became more and more popular, powerlifting emerged in the 1970′s and separated itself from weightlifting as a sport of its own. And to this day, the bench press is still a somewhat controversial lift.

How’s that for a history lesson! (Speaking of history, here’s a history rap battle between Thor and Zeus, because LEGO. You’re welcome.)

How to Make Paleo Beef Stew

This is a post from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

Hey Rebels! It’s been a while since we sat around the slow cooker and told harrowing tales of brave knights and powerful wizards.

(What? Do you not do that when you use a crock pot?!)

I think it’s just about time we had another slow cooking adventure, don’t you? The weather’s getting pretty chilly, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere, so a low-maintenance beef stew will do just the trick.

NINTENDO64--Legend of Zelda The  Ocarina of Time_Jan22 17_36_17Coming home to a ready-to-eat dinner is one of the best feelings (and smells) in the world, like finding a treasure chest in a dark, dingy dungeon.

This recipe comes with two choose your own adventure options.

  1. The first is a super easy chop, set, and forget recipe that takes about 15 minutes of active cooking time.
  2. The second option is a little more complex and takes about 25 minutes active cooking time.

Both recipes make an awesomely delicious crock of beef stew that will warm the weariest of warriors from the inside out. Plus, the recipe makes a decent amount of food so you can feed a group of people, yourself for several days, or you can freeze and warm it as needed!

Is Fruit Healthy For You?

Seriously, what’s the deal with fruit?

It’s gotta be healthy. It’s natural, came out of the ground, off a vine, or fell out of a tree…which means Joe Caveman would have eaten them! But…it’s also often loaded with sugar. And sugar is bad news bears.

So is fruit good for me? Bad for me? Somewhere in between? And is juice good? Because I like juice! 

Welp, the answer is….it depends.

Today we’re going to dig into the question “is fruit healthy?” give you the Nerd Fitness take. Plus, a video of a cat getting his head stuck in a box. You’re welcome. 

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing.


I have a confession to make.

It’s now been 6 years and 600+ published articles here on Nerd Fitness. I’ve spent the past twelve years of my life obsessed with health and fitness, muscle building and fat loss, and have even made it my sole life’s focus for the past three years.

But here’s the truth: I don’t have this all figured out.

Ok, true, I make my living helping people figure out how to live better lives.

But anyone who tells you they have figured out all of life is full of it.

Nobody has it figured out, not really. We’re all just working together with others and experimenting to figure out what we can, as we go.

And that’s awesome.

That’s what has lead me down a path in life I’m damn proud of, and why I’m proud to be a small part of a rapidly expanding community that focuses on the same thing.

This isn’t just a grand theory. For me, finally accepting that, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing” was the first step to actually achieving my goals.

Here’s why it can be for you too.

Fallen Off the Wagon? Today is National Respawn Day.

Be honest, you probably stuffed your face (multiple times!) over the past week.  Or maybe it’s been weeks and weeks of falling off the health wagon.

The holidays are often a perfect storm of chaos that can knock off us our footing when it comes to getting fit.

Maybe you made a declaration to friends earlier this year that THIS TIME was going to be different, and you’re afraid to tell them that you’re gonna try again.

Maybe you posted on the Nerd Fitness message boards with all the motivation in the world, and you’re afraid to come back and say that you have to start back at square one.

Maybe you REALLY thought this last try was going to be different, and now you feel like a loser because you can’t seem to get it together.

Whatever happened, you might be feeling down and out. If it’s not you, it might be a friend of yours who also started out strong, fell by the wayside, and doesn’t know how to start back up again.

Welp, you’re in luck.

Because TODAY is National Respawn Day.

Everybody waits for an arbitrary date in the future (specifically January 1st).

F*** that! Do you know how much you can accomplish in 30 days!? Everything! Enough to set yourself up for permanent success.

It’s time to come back to life!

Struggling to Get Fit? Add Potions Before Your Boss Fight.

Self improvement can suck.

Getting ourselves to do the things we know we need to do can feel impossible. We know a better life awaits if we can just get ourselves to “stay motivated” and “get focused,” and yet time after time we struggle to stick with anything long term, continually restarting from square one.

We ask ourselves, “What’s wrong with me?” And “Why do I suck? I know what I need to do and I just can’t get myself to do it.”

  • “I know I need to eat better, but after a few days of cooking delicious meals I get busy and somehow end up in the drive-through line at Arby’s.”
  • “I know I should exercise more, and after a kick-ass week at the gym, I find myself half-assing my workouts, not seeing results, and I get demoralized. Wait, how did I end up in the Arby’s line again!?”
  • “I’m in pretty good shape, but trying to level up to an elite level of fitness really just seems like an exercise in frustration. Where’s the closest Arby’s?”

If any of the above sounds like you, then today is for you.

Trying to change in situations like the above can be futile if you’re not adequately prepared. It’s like going into a boss battle with 50% health, crappy armor, and no healing potions.  

Yes, you CAN still win, but the margin for error is miniscule. Why not give yourself the best chance to survive?

Today, we’re going to talk about how to actually conquer the above situations by thinking of these challenges in terms of bosses, battle gear, and buffs. Let’s see how they can help you survive the first encounter with a difficult challenge, instead of a frustrating defeat.

It’s time to start using buffs and upgraded armor in real life too.

How to Make Healthy Holiday Sides

This is a post by Rebel Chef Noel.

Rebels! It’s time for a little roleplaying game. This is a solo adventure, and you’re armed with a few cooking skills that you’ve managed to pick up along your journey…

Situation 1: You’ve been asked to bring a side dish to a family gathering or workplace potluck. In years past, you’ve run out to the store last minute and picked up a bag of dinner rolls, a pre-made pie, or a few cans of creamed corn. But you’ve dedicated this year to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and you’re determined to stay focused during the holidays.

Situation 2: You’ve been invited to a gathering or party, and you know what they’ll be serving as a main dish. It works for you (turkey, ham, brisket, etc.). You’re armed with a battle plan for avoiding willpower-diminishing-foods, but you would still like to eat something besides a pile of meat while you’re there. You decide to bring a healthy dish to share so that you’ll definitely have something to put on your plate, and so you don’t show up to the door empty-handed!

What do you do?

First of all, remember you’re a hero!

Secondly, don’t panic! We’ve got you covered.

Today, we’re going to add two new side dishes to your arsenal. They’re both pretty darn easy, and both can be made vegetarian.

The holidays are already a stressful and busy time. The last thing we want you to do is worry about what you’re going to eat at or bring to a gathering. Here are two options for you to sink your teeth into:

Sauteed Green Beans and Spinach with Lemon and Almonds – Okay, so green beans are legumes and technically not paleo…But as far as legumes go, they’re not half bad. If you want to make this 100% paleo, sub broccoli for green beans and chop it fairly small (1″ or 2.54cm pieces). If you want to make it vegetarian/paleo, sub olive oil for butter/bacon grease.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts – I like to call these “Brussels Sprouts For People Who Hate Brussels Sprouts.” This will turn the most cautious sprout eater into a sprout lover. Seriously, my family has asked me to bring this and only this to holiday dinners for the past three years. You can eliminate the maple syrup in this recipe to make it no-sugar, but I highly suggest that you don’t. Use less if you want to go low-sugar. And, if you want to make it vegetarian, simply omit the bacon!

Get Healthy Like Mr. Spock

This article was written by NF Team Member Staci.

Five years and over six hundred articles published, and not a single one about Star Trek. Seems pretty inconceivable. But alas, it’s true. So today we’re going to change that by taking a look at one of Star Trek’s most famous characters – the green blooded hobgoblin, Mr. Spock.

Spock is one of the most interesting (and, in this nerd’s humble opinion, greatest) characters of of all times. You see, it’s easy to pick Spock out from the rest of the crew. He’s a nerd; he doesn’t fit in. 

If his pointy ears and upswept eyebrows aren’t a dead giveaway, his insides are pretty weird too. The blood in his veins runs green, as Spock is half Vulcan – a stoic species from the planet Vulcan, who follow a philosophy of logic, reasoning, and suppress all emotion.

Plus, Spock is a pretty awesome Rebel; he questions everything around him at all times, and never turns down a situation he can learn something from.

Fascinating Video

There are quite a few things we can learn from Spock and the Vulcan philosophy of logic and reasoning to keep us healthy in everyday life. Let’s take a look!

Ditch the Sorting Hat. Choose Your Own Adventure!

Imagine you’ve just arrived as a first-year wizard at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

You’re scared, you’re alone, and you have no clue what’s happening. At your first dinner in the Greart Hall, complete with four incredibly long tables, floating candles, and headless ghosts, you’re sheepishly lead to the front of the room where an oversized hat is placed on your head. You’re told you’re to join one of the four houses.

Whether you’re put in the house of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, you’ll spend the next seven years in that house, living with other members, competing against other houses, and so on. Ultimately, this initial selection is a BIG deal.

But, if we actually think, the Sorting Hat was only part of the equation. The Sorting Hat was seriously considering sticking Harry Potter into Slytherin, but sent him to Gryffindor because that’s what he chose – he wanted to be in the House of his parents. Hermione too, because of her intellect, was well suited for a different House (Ravenclaw). However, valuing friendship and bravery, Hermione also had her say.

When it comes to books like Harry Potter, video games, or real life, our “class” selection is a pretty big deal. It’s easy to end up heading down a certain path, thinking our decision is out of our control – that we fit in to a particular box because we think that’s what we have to do.

But today we’re going to learn from Harry and Hermione and challenge the “Sorting Hat.” Today we’re standing up for ourselves and choosing our own damn adventure.

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