Lost at the Grocery Store? Try the Nerd Fitness Pantry.

This is a post from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

You ever get to the store and think to yourself, “I have no clue I doing here”? 

It’s okay. We’ve all been there. Buying food can be totally overwhelming. Every aisle is packed with different brands, fresh and frozen foods, and packaged and processed crap.

We’ve all wandered up and down the aisles wondering: What’s healthy? What types of food will last the longest? What tastes good? Which items are the best bang for my buck? And let’s not even mention what choices we need to make to put together an actual meal.

We don’t want you to feel overwhelmed or waste your time and hard earned money on stuff that sucks. A negative experience at the grocery store can leave a bad taste in your mouth (zing!) and discourage you from going back and developing a key skill to keep yourself healthy and strong.

That’s why we’ve decided to simplify the whole process. It’s time to introduce the Nerd Fitness Pantry.

How Steve the Software Architect Dropped 110 Lbs


When Steve hit 305 lbs on the scale, he was so upset he told himself something had to change.

He had always wanted to lose weight, but couldn’t get himself over the hump to actually make change. And then things took a turn for the worse: he got divorced. When his (now ex) wife left the house, something clicked inside of Steve:

“I was bored. I was sitting at home doing nothing, depressed, eating my feelings as usual. I kind of just said to myself, ‘well, you have nothing better to do, might as well work out or something’.”

So, in March of last year Steve went online and ordered an elliptical. After convincing his poker buddies to help him move a 400 lb box of elliptical parts into the house, he got started transforming his life.

After discovering the Nerd Fitness Advanced Bodyweight Workout, Steve incorporated strength training into his cardio routine, and changed his physique, his mentality, and his outlook on life.

Starting at an XXXL, Steve now wears a medium shirt. He’s down 110 lbs (and now gaining muscle!), and dropped his waist from a size 46 to a 33!

Here’s how he did it.

Why Having to Start Over – AGAIN – Is Great

I received an email a few months back from a NF reader that made me smile:

“I am going back to square one. I noticed the only habit that I changed and stuck with was drinking tons of water.

Have you ever started playing a game and get a few hours in and go “man I wish I knew these controls/tips from the beginning”? So you restart and the game just feels easier from that point on. You start finding items that you missed before.

I’m restarting my journey now that I have a better idea of the controls.”

This resonated with me, because when I first played EverQuest (similar to World of Warcraft), the first character I created was terrible. It took me forever to level up, I assigned my stat points poorly, I died frequently, and I slowly crawled my way up to the more difficult challenges

When I started again playing as a new character, I FLEW through the first 30 levels: I understood the controls, how the game worked, and what needed to get done; it was much easier the second time through!

The same is true for any boss battle you first encounter in any game. You struggle to learn the patterns, you lose most of your health, but then you crack the code. When you face that boss again later, you win easily.

Getting in shape is no different. Every time we try to get fit and fail, we learn a little bit more about how the controls work. Maybe we lost a few pounds with strategy A, but failed with strategy B. If we go to the gym for a few weeks and give up, when we come back next time we are familiar with the inner workings, and don’t need to get over the fear of exercising in a public place like the first time.

Each time you start over, you’re getting closer to that point of making things stick.

It turns out that this strategy might actually be crucial in giving us the motivation to push forward.

Is it Vain to Want to Look Better? How Far is Too Far?

Like most people, I started working out because I wanted to look better and feel better about myself. 

I was 16, had just spent four years with braces, had plenty of acne, and recently got cut from the basketball team. Let’s just say I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, and my confidence was certainly lacking.

So, I figured if I could build some muscle and get stronger, it would be an opportunity to change how I was viewed by others. I saw stronger, bigger people who had the confidence and charisma I lacked, and set my sights on becoming them through exercise. This is what got me started, and kept me going for years

Now, over my dozen years or so learning about health and fitness, and now 6+ years of building Nerd Fitness, it’s been a personal odyssey to learn what truly creates lasting healthiness, self-confidence, and happiness.

To say I’ve learned a lot would be an understatement. 

The World’s Quickest Advice Column: Hack Your Life

I tend to be wordy with articles on Nerd Fitness.

With now 680 articles published, there’s a LOT of information to wade through.

So every once and a while I like to change things up, and provide you instead with the world’s quickest advice column. If you’re currently struggling with leveling up your life, consider this your wake up call!

I’ve already done two of these on getting healthier (here and here), so here’s one on getting happier.

How to Make Pan Seared Salmon and Pineapple Salsa

This is a recipe from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

Today we’re going to be looking at a recipe that is super easy to make, but looks really elaborate and impressive.

Maybe you’ve invited someone special over to cook dinner with you. Or heck, maybe you just want to treat yo self to a nice meal because it’s Thursday, you work hard, and damnit, you deserve it.

Well, look no further!

I’m all about fancy-looking recipes that take a minimal amount of time. Most of us Rebels work a full-time job, some of us have families, and on top of all our daily responsibilities, we’re doing our best to get and stay healthy. Steve always says 80% of winning this game is diet, so why not make this part as easy as possible?

This recipe should take no longer than 30 minutes, depending on your knife skills. And you can get to dinner time even quicker by making the pineapple salsa ahead of time!

Have Your Parents Decided Your Fitness Fate? Happy Star Wars Day!

“[Luke,] I am your father.”

I bet you can remember where you were when you heard that famous line uttered by Darth Vader to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. I remember watching this as a small child and my jaw dropping at this revelation: holy crap! The bad guy is the dad of the hero! Han is frozen in carbonite! How the heck do they get out of this?

With today being Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you!”) and a recent trailer dropping that took the internet by storm, I felt like this would be a good chance to explore our fate and what we really get out of our time on this planet.

Ultimately, do we have to follow in our parents’ footsteps? Am I predestined to be like them? 

Star Wars explores this very question, and I want to talk about our own fate today. It’s probably best you listen to Duel of the Fates in the background while reading.

The Avengers Workout Challenge

The Avengers are in need of a hero.

Tony Stark created an artificially intelligent being by the name of Ultron, and Ultron decided to go off the rails and attempt to take over the planet. He and his minions have incredible intelligence, lightning-quick speed, tons of raw power, and are hell-bent on destroying his creator.

If the robots win, then we’ll end up in a future not unlike the Matrix. Suck!

Fortunately, despite dilly dallying across multiple movies and ridiculously fantastic plot points, the Avengers have assembled yet again, and are ready for the challenge to defeat Ultron and save Earth yet again from calamity.

Are you ready?

You have been presented with a unique opportunity to join the Avengers, but you’ll need to complete a trial to show the world you’re worthy of joining the cause.

Ultron is going down! Sorry James Spader.

What’s Your Avengers Superpower?

I freaking love the AvengersIf you’re reading this site, chances are you do too, and you’re probably freaking out with excitement for the release of Age of Ultron.

There’s something just inherently badass about taking a posse of amazing characters who have lead their own films and comics, and bringing them all together to take on an even greater challenge no one Avenger could defeat alone. Whether they’re facing an invading alien race, or artificial intelligence gone rogue, these heroes need to find a way to work together and become greater than the sum of their parts.

In the Game of Life, turning yourself into a healthy ass-kicking superhero can seem like a monumental task worthy of joining the Avengers. Having the right attitude, unwavering mental fortitude, and laser-sharp focus might feel impossible with our day-to-day responsibilities.

However, if you can take the best parts of each Avenger and apply each of their abilities to your own journey, I guarantee you’ll emerge a real life superhero yourself. Seriously!

And then you’re going to contribute your own super power and help The Nerd Fitness Rebellion take over the world.

Avengers, assemble!

Want to Crush Your Inner Demons? Use the Skywalker Strategy!

In most fantasy or sci-fi movies, there’s a big epic battle between the forces of good and evil.

However, before that battle can happen, an even more important battle must take place: between the ears of the protagonist. Oftentimes our hero or heroine has an inner demon to slay before he or she can go slay the dragon/save the princess/galaxy/world.

There’s probably no more famous nerdy example than Luke Skywalker in the Cave on Dagobah:

A few other great examples:

Often life is no different: getting healthy, like most other things in our life, is more about fighting our inner battles than anything else – that voice that tells us to eat bad food, drink and smoke, avoid confrontation, or skip our workout. Even when we WANT to do something like asking someone to go on a date, we must overcome the fear of rejection and that internal voice of insecurity.

Last week on Nerd Fitness, we featured one of my favorite success stories ever. Maya lost over 70 pounds and went from “not good enough” to practicing aerialist. She said something I will never forget:

“I’m much more positive now, and much more likely to take an optimistic outlook on things. I still struggle sometimes with my inner demons – who doesn’t? – but I’m better equipped to fight them now.”

Today we’re going to win some inner battles to kick some ass on the outside as a result.

8 of My Favorite Fitness Resources (40 Spots Left for Camp Nerd Fitness!)

I want to introduce you to some of my favorite resources on all things health and fitness. 

I’ve been running Nerd Fitness for over six years now (holy crap!), and along the way I’ve had a chance to meet and connect with some pretty cool folks: nerds who have inspired, educated, or motivated me to better myself and pass along that knowledge to the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Because the fitness universe is so massive, and there are so many different ways to get fit, it can be quite difficult to know where to get your information. Although we cover a wide variety of stuff here on Nerd Fitness, I can’t do it all.

So, I’ve put together a list today of my favorite resources – people who are incredibly knowledgeable in their respective fields. These people are online fitness coaches, gym owners, travelers, adventurers, and gurus in subjects that often go far deeper than I can cover with Nerd Fitness.

NOT COINCIDENTALLY, these coaches are all going to be coaching at Camp Nerd Fitness, starting September 29th! Even though the event is over five months away, we’ve already sold 260+ of our 300 spots and expect to sell out pretty soon. Hope you can join us!

Regardless of whether or not you can join us at Camp NF, make sure you check out our coaches below and their sites.

How Maya the Aspiring Aerialist Lost 70+ Pounds!

I want you to meet Maya, known as StarsApart on the NF Boards, a proud member of the Rebellion and one heck of a success story.

Like many folks, Maya was fairly fit her teens and early twenties, but when she entered grad school, that all fell apart. She graduated completely out of shape, and the weight piled up: 30 lbs, 40, 50, and beyond.

Maya got stuck in a cycle, and for years let a poor diet add pounds to her waistline. She was in a place in her life where she wasn’t happy with herself or her situation and had spent a year doing hours upon hours of cardio only to see no results.

Finally, after a contest at work (and becoming a Rebel armed with the right tools) got her kick-started, Maya began to turn things around.

Just over a year later, she’s accomplished a TON. In her own words, here’s what Maya has done:

  • I lost 70+ pounds.
  • I went from a size 14 in dresses/pants to a size 2.
  • I cut almost all processed foods out of my diet and began home-cooking everything.
  • I threw away my fear and tried parkour.
  • I balanced Crow pose. For a record of 20 seconds so far. With a freaking boot on my leg.
  • I can now deadlift 170 lbs. That’s more than I weigh.
  • I rehabbed a broken bone to almost perfect health (still a work in progress, but I’m at the tail end).
  • I tried aerial and discovered I love acrobatics.
  • I can climb a rope (or silks) up to a 25 ft ceiling. I could never climb anything before in my life.
  • I ran a 5k. Only a month after my foot came out of its brace.
  • I can go snowshoeing up a mountain in the snow for 2.5 hours without losing my cool – or my breath.
  • I have abs. They still shock me when I look at myself in the mirror. Actually, I’m just shocked by the person I see in the mirror.

Today she’s 70 lbs lighter, and a whole new person. Let’s take a look at how she did it.

What Can You Actually Get Done in Six Weeks? (A New Six-Week Challenge Starts!)

“30 Days to a Better Body!”

“I just did a 21-day Detox.”

“___ will get you shredded in 90 days!”

There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about what you can get done when it comes to transforming your body, and how long that transformation should take. We’ve already covered “How fast can I get the body I want?” in an article, along with “How fast can I build muscle?” – but today we’re going to talk about what you can expect to get done in 6 weeks:

  • Can you work on something every day for six weeks and build a habit?
  • How much weight can you drop?
  • Can you make any lasting changes?
  • What’s possible?

Why six weeks? Because today on our Nerd Fitness message boards, we’re launching the next Six-Week Challenge!

We’d love for you to join us, set some kickass goals, and make great progress.

Struggling to Reach a Goal? Turn it into a Boss Battle.

When was the last time you had a real boss battle in your life?

If you’ve played board or video games, it might seem obvious that competition and “survival of the nerdiest” can help us hone our skills:

  • Playing Call of Duty or League of Legends with an elite squad and watching your kill/death ratio climb.
  • Playing Mario Kart against friends and enjoying the rollercoaster of emotions that comes from climbing from last to first just before crossing the finish line.
  • Leveling up high enough in World of Warcraft to get to take on dragons and guild raids.
  • Playing chess online to see if we can rank up in our skills.
  • Playing Magic the Gathering, CarcassonneSettlers of Catan, or Cones of Dunshire with friends or in actual competition.

So, the idea of a boss battle might be something you are familiar, but as nerds, it tends to be with a controller or board game.

If you want to stay on target, and level up your life (and make some friends in the process), taking these boss battles into the physical realm creates the kind of positive stress that can lead to growth in our body and mind.

Boss battles (and the treasure that comes with victory) can help you level up your life.

How to Spice Up Any Meal. Literally.

This is a post from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

Remember those diagrams of the tongue that you learned about in school? They told you the tongue tasted different flavors depending on the section. The back tastes bitter, the front tastes sweet, and the sides taste salty and sour.

1. Bitter 2. Sour 3. Salt 4. Sweet

Most of us now know this is wrong. Your whole tongue tastes all flavors, and it’s not just your tongue! The roof of our mouth and your nose help out too! In fact, there are more than just the four flavors we learned about in school.

There is another lie that has been circulating the fitness world for years. It’s a lie that says healthy food is boring and bland. It drives me crazy. And in this nerd’s opinion, it’s one of the most damaging lies told about getting healthy.

We know diet is 80% of the battle when it comes to achieving our health and fitness goals. And when we tell ourselves eating healthy food is boring, flavorless, and downright gross, we put ourselves on the fast track to failure! Just like exercise can and should be fun, cooking meat and veggies should be delicious.

Just like the squat and deadlift adhere to the 80-20 rule, today we’re going over some basic skills that will allow you to see maximal benefit for minimal effort.

How? Simple flavors. Think of these like the compound movements of cooking.

Here are 6 fool proof spice combinations to help you level up your cooking skills, explore the world with your tongue, and (hopefully) get you out of your food rut!

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