Do you avoid photos? Announcing ZFG Day!

I want to start today off with a riddle:

“What is going on right now that hasn’t happened ever since the beginning of time, but is soon guaranteed to never ever happen again?”

Today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “today” lately, and all of the memories that can get made in a day. It’s kind of cool to think that what happened today will never happen again…but also kind of scary.

I remember watching people of all shapes and sizes be 100% themselves at Camp Nerd Fitness, and remembering “I’ll never forget today.” It was awesome to watch people who stopped worrying about how they looked or what others thought, because they were surrounded by people that didn’t care either!

Everyone was just being excited to be a part of something special…it was pretty freaking cool. Fortunately, we have a few thousand photos that allow us to immortalize these moments.

Nothing summed up this thought more than during our Rubik’s Cube night (pictured above), when we all traded clothes to end up the same color…ending up in some pretty ridiculous outfits.

Most of us would have been embarrassed to be seen in such clothes while in public, but at Camp it was simply another opportunity to make an unforgettable memory.

Which brings me to today.

You see, over the dozens and dozens of epic success stories we’ve shared (and hundreds of smaller ones), we’ve noticed a few recurring themes with Rebels that have transformed themselves: they all struggled to find candid photos of themselves from the “before” stage!

Not only did they wish they had more “before” photos to share, but also they realized that those are days, memories, and moments that they don’t have documentation of, because they were embarrassed to get in front of the camera.

And when we talk with Rebels who are just started on their journey to a healthier life, they explain their subconscious, self-conscious behavior when it comes to photos – somehow avoiding photos and staying out of the way.

No matter where you are on your journey, I’m challenging you to be happy. Right now. Be proud of your life AND where you’re heading.

How to Actually Become Jason Bourne. Seriously.

“I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside.

I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab or the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am?”

I remember watching The Bourne Identity years ago and instantly fantasizing about what life would be like as rogue agent badass, Jason Bourne.  Sure, James Bond is the man (and I’ve even lived a weekend like him!), but he’s got the power and pull of the British Government at his service.

Bourne, on the other hand, exists outside of the system, hunted by the very people who trained him. Ultimately, he’s a human swiss army knife:

  • He has multiple passports, and can go anywhere at any time.
  • He has the skills necessary to defend himself.
  • He can blend into any crowd and disappear.
  • He speaks multiple languages and can navigate any situation.
  • He’s in peak physical condition, prepared for any scenario.

If you’re anything like me, you read that and went: “holy crap, I wish I could do all of that!”  Well, as a professional nerd, I took it upon myself to find out just how much of this list can be completed in real life.

Other than the “assassin” part of Jason Bourne’s profile, all of the above can be done legally!  

By the end of today’s article, you’ll know the cost and time associated with becoming Jason Bourne. Seriously.

Just how deep down this rabbit hole you want to go is up to you.

Is Motivation Useless?

The day was May 6th, 1954, in Oxford, England.

A gentleman named Roger Bannister did the impossible: he ran a mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. For the nine years prior to this race, the world record had stood at 4:01, and it was widely considered that crossing that barrier was outside of human ability.

In just three years after Roger set this new record, an additional THIRTEEN people completed a mile in less than four minutes.

More recently, we saw the same big hullabaloo (what a great word) years ago when Tony Hawk first landed the 900 on a half-pipe. I remember watching this live and thinking it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. Since, then another 9 people have landed the trick.

It begs the question: Was there a sudden increase in ability during the 1950s when it came to running? Are skateboarders getting faster and finding better equipment?

Or, what if it’s something else?

Today I want to talk about self-imposed limits – our capacity to realize what’s possible instead of rationalizing what’s impossible.

Is a Calorie REALLY Just a Calorie?

This whole “nutrition thing” can be a confusing, contradictory mess.

Depending on who you talk to, you could get a few different answers on how to approach eating:

  • “I’m Paleo, and only eat meat, veggies, fruit and nuts – boo grains!”
  • “Well I just eat based on my macros (Protein, Carbs, Fats) – Paleo is ridiculous!”
  • “Whatever fools – a calorie is a calorie. I can lose weight just eating less.”
  • “I’m in incredible shape and all I eat is pizza. Hell, I’m a freaking wizard!”

Whoever you talk with, you can get a pretty different picture of what it means to “eat healthy.” To make things more confusing, each of these perspectives are backed up with plenty of anecdotal evidence and scientific studies.

I wanted to cover our thoughts (and yes, my humble nerdy opinion) on this great nutrition debate, starting with the question: 

“Is a calorie really a calorie?”

How to Make Pan Roasted Pork Chops

This is a post by Rebel Chef Noel.

I don’t know about you, but where I live, changes are happening. The leaves are turning, the air is a little crisper, and it’s finally cool enough to turn on the oven!

The weather getting colder also means my appetite for warm comfort food is in full effect. Usually, the colder weather means tons of sweet treats and unhealthy meals – but not for Rebels!

Fear not, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean we have to give up comfort food all together. We have the power to make hearty meals that are not only delicious, but will also nourish our bodies and make us stronger. Win-win (win)!

I don’t want you go get the wrong impression. When I say comfort food or “pan roasted” it might sound intimidating, but I assure you, this is a level 2 recipe. If you can make paleo spaghetti, you can absolutely do this.

These pork chops take 20 minutes, only need 5 ingredients, and have minimal preparation.

Let’s get started!

Life is a Game: A Major Epic Quest Update (Plus, a Request!)

As kids we have all sorts of dreams and fantasies…defeating the dragon, visiting far off lands, going on grand adventures.

As adults, we continue to dream, but more often than not, we never act.

This was me, five and a half years ago when I started Nerd Fitness with the tagline “Level Up Your Life.”

Having never traveled outside of North America, and being generally risk averse, a picky eater, and quite shy…I decided to turn life into a giant video game.

I wanted to prove that any regular Joe Steve could improve their life by applying game mechanics to it and having fun along the way.

That’s the idea behind my Epic Quest of Awesome, to send myself on epic adventures and challenges, and inspire other desk jockeys to leave our cubicles and create unforgettable experiences.

So, what’s going on with my epic quest these days? I’m glad you asked!

Seeing as I went and had crazy adventures in Croatia this summer – where I completed three quests - I figure today would be a good day to talk about my making a game of life, how it works, and what’s next for me.

On top, of that…I have a request for some help on a super secret project I’m working on!

Shall we?

Does it REALLY Matter?

“I have a WHAT!?”

“You probably have an ulcer. It’s like a small hole in your stomach.”

“Yeah, but I’m 27. How the hell can I have an ulcer?!”

It was 2012, the day before I was getting ready to move to Ecuador for a month.  I had just hired my first full-time team member for Nerd Fitness (Hi Staci!), and I got some news from my doctor after having stomach pains for the previous three weeks.

Now, I know there’s no TRUE evidence that says stress causes ulcers, but all I could think of was how stressed I had been for the previous few months: working 16-hour days, freaking out about the tiniest things, having absolutely no balance, etc.  I had started Nerd Fitness to help people get healthy, and I was driving myself to an unhealthy existence.

It was a wake-up call.  

Until now, I haven’t told many people about the ulcer – in fact, I’m not even sure I told my parents.  Ooops, sorry Mom!

At the time, this inspired some serious self reflection: What was I doing? Were my priorities right? Why was I so stressed?

This all came back to me just a few weeks ago when tragedy struck a close friend of mine, reminding me what’s truly important in this big game we call life.

Lessons Learned From Camp Nerd Fitness

“Holy crap, did that actually just happen?”

A few weeks ago I sat in my car, tears streaming down my face, as I reflected on what had transpired over the previous 72 hours. After two years of planning, months of late nights and early mornings, and more than a few “are we crazy for doing this?” thoughts…we had just completed our first ever Camp Nerd Fitness.

Roughly 200 rebels came together in the mountains of Clayton, GA, for a weekend of community, education, inspiration, and late night dance parties.  Oh and parkour, and kung fu, and yoga, and deadlifts.  Because, deadlifts.

It was like an awesome culmination of our online community, blog posts, the NF Academy, and 200 of my closest friends all together for a weekend.

Although we hit a few snags along the way, Camp Nerd Fitness was a resounding success, and the first event of MANY MORE TO COME that brings together our our online community in real life.

We’re already planning for next year’s event, so make sure you sign up on the interest list to be the first to receive more info!

If You Start, Go All the Way

I want you to think back to the last time you truly threw yourself 100% into transforming your life (which is different than this transforming).

If you’re like me, that might be difficult. You see, I don’t know what it is about us nerds, but we’re often afraid to try with all of our effort. We’re afraid of failing, that giving our all and not succeeding is a knock against who we are at our core. If we don’t put it all on the line, then “we” are protected.

So, instead of going all in, of giving everything we’ve got…we kind of half-ass it. We give half an effort, and then when things fail, we’re quick to say “this system doesn’t work,” “well I didn’t really try,” or “I knew it would fail.”

Well, Charles Bukowski has something to say about that.

If you watch one thing today, let it be this (hat tip to Anthony):

Charles Bukowski: All the Way

Although Bukowski probably wasn’t talking about physical fitness and training, I think it’s perfectly applicable to everything we do at Nerd Fitness.

Strength Training 101: The Deadlift


This is a post by NF Team Member Staci Ardison, who recently deadlifted 405 lbs at Camp Nerd Fitness.

Deadlift day is my favorite day.

And it’s Piglet’s too. 

When my story came out in July of 2011, I said that I’m simply happier on days that I deadlift – and that holds true to this day.  There’s really nothing more satisfying than picking up a ton of weight off the floor and holding it in your hands.

Jón Páll Sigmarsson, the Icelandic Strongman/Powerlifter once said (while deadlifting 1005 lbs), “There is no reason to be alive if you can’t do deadlift.”

Now, that may be a bit extreme, but deadlifting is truly a romantic lift.

On deadlift day, I don’t need assistance or a spotter – it’s just me, the barbell, and the weight.  I love nothing more than to put my headphones in, put on a favorite playlist, and focus on nothing but me and that weight.

But even with so much going for it, many people are afraid of the deadlift and avoid it at all costs, citing fear of injury.

However, deadlifting in itself is not dangerous – but like with any movement, deadlifting wrong can be. Properly executing the deadlift will allow you to build a stronger posterior chain, less fragile joints, and a body that can handle whatever life throws at you.

We love the Deadlift, and it’s a key component of the Barbell Battalion section of the Nerd Fitness Academy.

Today we’re going to fall in love with the deadlift, and make sure you can do them right!

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