The Justice League.
What do these groups have in common?
They’re composed of unique individuals with special talents that help everybody else get better (or stronger, or faster, or more badass).
Contrast this with a homogenous collection of clones where everybody has the same strengths and weaknesses.
Imagine having an army of 1,000 Supermans; pretty awesome right? Wrong! If we had 1,000 Supermans, it would still only take a wee bit of kryptonite to take them ALL down. However, when you have Superman AND Batman AND Wonder Woman AND the Green Lantern…suddenly picking apart your team’s weaknesses is far more difficult.
Long story short: Diversity rules!
NERD ALERT: It’s the same reason why a diverse raid party has a far better chance of success in a role playing game like World of Warcraft or EverQuest. A group full of Warriors won’t get the job done! But a group with a warrior a healer, a mage, troubador, and damage dealer will be prepared for any situation and conquer any foe.
Now, I’ve already taught you how to form a Jedi Council – those strong in the Force that you look up to in your life for guidance and wisdom.
Today, I want to help you assemble a group of people that you connect with on a regular basis who are going to push you to succeed in fitness and in life. If you’re part of the new 6-week challenge over on the NF message boards, this will come in handy.
So what are we creating today?
Why you need a team
“An army of one” was so 12 seconds ago.
Yeah, it’s cool to feel like being the one lone wolf taking on the world, training differently than everybody else in the gym, swimming up stream instead of going with the flow. I get it. I love being that mutant too…but it doesn’t mean I don’t also have a group of people to lean on while “going it alone!”
If you can build a diverse party of people of different levels of experience and success, you’ll be 63.45% (definitely made that up) more likely to get in shape, perform well at work, and level up at life.
It’s been said you are a combination of the 5 people you associate most with. I doubt there’s any science to back that up, but who believes in science anyways, RIGHT?
Just kidding, science, you’re cool in my book. Thanks for gravity.
Seriously though, look at the people who you hang out with all of the time - I bet your body composition, eating habits, overall health, wealth, and levels of success are all within percentage points of each other. What does this mean for you?
It’s not rocket science (see, told you I like science!).
It means you are who you hang out with.
Luckily today, I’m going to tell you exactly the types of people you need around you.
…and how to build your own Nerd-Team.
Who belongs on your team
Let’s build that Nerd-Team!
In this my humble opinion, there are four crucial people that you need to have on your team in order to level up:
The Mentor – This doesn’t need to be some all powerful Yoda that you worship; this is a guy or girl that you know that has had success in the areas in which you want to be successful. If you want to get stronger and bigger and you’re a skinny nerd, find somebody that used to be skinny that is now bigger and stronger and find out how they did it. If you want to lose weight or run a 5k, find somebody who has more experience and learn EVERYTHING you can.
The Brother-in-Arms (or Sister-in-Arms) – This is the guy or girl in the trenches with you, at the same level, struggling with the same things, working on the same stuff. When you have a crappy day, this person knows exactly how you feel. Because you’re both doing the same stuff and striving for the same goals, you have somebody to bounce any ideas, triumphs, struggles, or suggestions off of in your quest towards a better life.
The Student – Want to know the BEST way about to get better at something? Teach it to somebody else! Now, you’re probably saying, “but Steve, I’m not an expert, I shouldn’t be teaching anybody anything.” To that I say, “stop talking to your computer,” and then I would say: “think of teaching on a scale of 1-100…1 being a complete newbie and 100 being the greatest expert in the history of the world. If you’re a 5 on a scale of 1-100, that still means you can help out the 1-4’s! I still don’t consider myself a fitness expert (and never will), but I like to think I have a pretty solid grasp on helping folks who are getting started and looking to take those first few steps.”
Find somebody that needs help, maybe a coworker or friend who wants to lose weight or begin weight training, and teach them about how to get started. As you get stronger, and learn from your mentor, you can then compare are share this with your brother-in-arms and then help teach it to your “student!”
The Wildcard – So what the heck is a wildcard? He or she is the person in your group that is completely unpredictable. The wildcard constantly keeps you on your toes, pushes you outside of your comfort zone, makes you try new things, and even attempt new activities. He/she will make you say “WAIT, we’re gonna do WHAT!? Sigh, screw it, LET”S DO THIS!” If you’re not in at least one situation that scares the crap out of you while hanging out with a Wildcard, then you’re not saying “okay FINE!” enough.
Who’s on my Nerd Team?
These are the fellas that hang out my Nerd Team:
I turn to Vic Magary whenever I have a question about strength training or body transformation. In fact, for the six weeks leading up to the Rock Boat, I worked with Vic to create a fun weight training program and diet strategy that resulted in a few pounds of muscle gain and a 3% of body fat loss. Vic and I talk on a regular basis.
I’m moving to Ecuador on April 4th, where I’ll be without a gym again. Therefore, I’m going to train with Jim Bathurst (Beastskills.com) this week on how to improve my bodyweight-only, rings, and gymnastic training. I’m excited to be a student and JUST focus on learning about all of these new skills. I expect to fall a lot, get banged up, scratch my head and go “I’m supposed to do what!?” and then struggle to walk/move for a week. It’s going to be awesome.
I talk to Saint (who’s in the 6-week challenge this time) pretty much every day, offering up advice whenever he has questions on training, diet, or online business. Lately we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about a project he’s currently working on that explains how he succeeded in dropping below 10% bodyfat. Like the Death Star, it’s not fully operational yet….but I’ll post it here on this site when it’s done!
My wildcard is my buddy Cash. Cash and I have been friends since first grade (we were in Cub Scouts together), and thanks to his occupation as a pilot can often come join me (or convince me to go) on my worldwide adventures. It was his urging that got me to Peru, he who met up with me in Cambodia, and it was his last second email that convinced me to go spend two weeks in South Africa. He’s up for anything, he can convince me to try anything (like mountain biking through ancient ruins), and he always keeps me on my toes. He reminds me of Charlie.
Oh, and it’s a helluva good time watching him operate in a casino.
Who is on YOUR team?
Those are the 4 types that I like to keep in my company
How do you build your team, and who’s in it?
Is your team composed of real-life buddies, or are they online?
Thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet (thanks Al Gore!), your “group” can consist of people all over the world…and they don’t even need to know that they’re in YOUR team – you can have a mentor in Australia, a brother/sister in Germany, a student in Brazil, and the wildcard can be in Antarctica.
PS. I wanted to give a quick shout out to Grampa Dan, my grandfather who turns 89 years old today (and is a devoted Nerd Fitness Reader)! Happy Birthday Grampa!