11 Most Common Workout Questions Answered

Why, hello there!

The goal of Nerd Fitness is to remove every barrier and excuse, both mental and physical, from helping you build a body you’re proud of and do the things you want to do.

Not that any of us would ever use excuses to skip exercise :)

A big part of that is having confidence: confidence to walk into a gym or start a workout and know exactly what to do. It means having the confidence that what you’re doing will help you reach your goals, and that the time and energy you’re putting in is worth it!

Think of this like the instruction manual that comes inside the case of a video game called Exercise.

Now available on all platforms!

Why you should do less. Or maybe even nothing at all.

We’re always encouraged to do more if we want to get ahead in life.

To run further. To work out longer. To work more hours. It’s freaking exhausting!

What if the solution to our problems is to do less?

I know, it sounds counter-intuitive. How the heck do you accomplish ALL THE THINGS you want to get done if you do less?

Our culture has become addicted to “more.” If we don’t feel busy, we feel like we’re not contributing. We feel the need to tell everybody else how busy and stressed we are as if it’s a badge of honor.

In fact, I’m a recovering addict of “more” and “being busy.” I never had enough time and proudly told people how busy I was. It wasn’t until I started doing less that I got my act together and got MORE important things done!

It started with, “DO LESS YOU IDIOT!”

We’re going to tighten up our workouts, our productivity at work, and our lives. Ready?

Let’s do less!

9 Mistakes Skinny People Make Trying to Get Bigger

I’ve been trying to get bigger for as long as I can remember.

It started when I was 17, days after being cut from the basketball team. What began as a simple quest to pack on a bit of muscle and feel a bit better about myself eventually evolved into a love of health and fitness (and ultimately, Nerd Fitness!).

We receive a few emails every day from skinny men (and some women) who are trying to get bigger. As a former very skinny guy, I’ve made all the mistakes one can make over the past twelve years.

In the past 18 months, after a decade of making inconsistent progress, I’ve cracked the code, and figured out how to finally gain some muscle. I’m still not big by many people’s standards, but I’m the Incredible Hulk compared to where I used to be.

Make sure you’re not making these mistakes!

In Case of Emergency, Follow This Workout Strategy

“Aw hell. I’ll get back on track when things settle down.”

Whether we have a sick kid who’s keeping us at home, or we go on a trip that’s crazy and our schedule is all over the place, or even just a stressful few weeks at work trying to hit a tight deadline, our personal health tends to be the first thing that goes out the window when the shit hits the fan.

And then we have our first day back to exercise. Ugh. We feel like crap, we have ZERO momentum, and getting back into the gym feels like walking into the depths of hell. On top of that, we’ve put on weight, our strength numbers are down, and we feel like we’ve backslid by months in mere weeks.

Well, I say NO MORE!

Today I’m going to give you an emergency plan to follow that will allow you to weather any storm, endure weeks of chaos, and get back on track with minimal backsliding.

Use this in case of emergency.

What’s the deal with GMOs? Are they ACTUALLY unsafe?

BOOOO GMOs!

Down with Monsanto!

These days, it’s quite popular to hate on Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs for short. From genetically modified crops to genetically modified animals, mentioning the term GMO is like discussing the intricacies of Soylent Green or a dystopian future in which everything sucks and we’re ruled by robots.

Like aspartame, GMOs have been widely banned and labeled as dangerous and unhealthy. This stuff is all over the news lately:

However, with us being both fans of the Paleo philosophy AND skeptics at Team Nerd Fitness, I too questioned my own personal anti-GMO bias and wondered: am I just falling in line with public opinion? What does the science actually say? Are we part of a marketing campaign, or is there truth to what’s happening?

If we’re going to question EVERYTHING, as the Rebellion Rules say, can we question scientific advancement as well?

Let’s don our sleuthing caps, Sherlock, and find the truth!

Quick note: I’m not a doctor or scientist, just a nerd dedicated to helping people find out what works for them. I have zero connection to ANY companies mentioned in this article. This post is GMO-free.

Too Lazy To Work Out? Try Temptation Bundling

“Damn you Netflix, how did I just watch 12 episodes of House of Cards! I have stuff to do!”

We’ve all been there. There are the things we know we SHOULD do, the things we NEED to do, and the things that we WANT to do.

More often than not, the WANT wins out over the NEED and SHOULD.

It’s like trying to win a tug-of-war against a tractor pulling in the opposite direction. It’s why you struggle to get to the gym after a long day of work. It’s why you opt for Taco Bell instead of taking the time to cook a healthy meal.

Today, we’re going to give you a quick life hack that can help you start leveling up your life and actually get things done that need to get done!

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!

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