If you’re currently at NerdFitness.com, you’ll notice a nifty sign-up box for the Rebel Army over in the right hand column of the screen. If you’re reading this in a feed reader or through the previous email sign up, stop on by the site and see what you’re missing! Okay so it’s not that exciting, but still.
What’s the Nerd Fitness Rebel Army?
This email list/newsletter is reserved for people who are really passionate about the Nerd Fitness community. I realized that after a year and a half of running this site, I didn’t really have a good way to get a message to Nerd Fitness readers. Some are on RSS, some stop by the site occasionally, others subscribe via the previous email service. Whenever I wrote a new article or found something awesome to share, my only options were to post it and then wait for it to get spread through these various channels.
As Maximus once said, “the time for half-measures and talk is over.” After months of dragging my feet, I finally did something about it!
Now, whenever I post a new article, stumble across something cool to give away, or have important information regarding all things related to the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, I can get a message out to all rebels in a matter of minutes. God bless the Internet!
Why You Should Enlist
This will help the rebel movement function far more smoothly, and I want you to be a part of it. Here’s what you’ll get when you sign up for the Rebel Army:
Emails from me twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) with the latest blog post, sent out minutes after I finish posting it.
Occasional messages from me when I receive cool stuff to give away.
Insider information and special offers regarding future Nerd Fitness guides, products, t-shirts, and more.
Don’t worry, I effing hate spam. I promise to never give your email address out to anybody – can’t have important info like that falling into the wrong hands! I plan on running things like stated above for a few weeks, at which point I’ll send a survey out to subscribers and see how things are going, what I need to change/improve, and then go from there. Everybody suffers occasionally from growing pains, and I imagine building a worldwide rebel army of super-strong nerds will be no different.
If you’re not happy with the emails, simply go ahead and unsubscribe – it’s pretty freaking simple.
Now, I know there are quite a few readers out there who read Nerd Fitness through the previous email service. I’ll be switching over to this new service, but I won’t be shutting the old one down for a while. If you want to be part of the cool kids club, I’d recommend making the switch over to the Rebel Army newsletter and unsubscribing from the old service.
I might consolidate the lists eventually, but until then you can be ahead of the curve.
Rebel Fitness Guide
The rough draft for the Rebel Fitness Guide is DONE, and I hope to be able to launch this sucker in the next few weeks. Obviously it has to go through a bunch of revisions, get sent off to the designer, and all that jazz, but we’re getting down to crunch time! I’ve dumped some serious hours into this thing and I can’t wait to get it out the door.
I had a great long weekend with friends, now it’s time to get back to work and down to business.
Other than Top Gun, no movie molded my childhood moreso than the Karate Kid.
Thanks to Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi, I spent a good portion of my early years attending Karate classes, practicing the crane kick in my back yard on tree stumps, and cleaning the windows of our house only using the “wax on, wax off” motion. To say I was obsessed with the Karate Kid would be an understatement.
Why did this movie leave such a lasting impression on me?
Let’s see: a skinny, out-of-shape kid goes against the popular crowd (Cobra Kai), trains in an unorthodox manner (thanks to Mr. Miyagi), and ultimately levels up his life while winning the girl of his dreams (and kicking the crap out of the town bully).
Although they’ve recently remade the Karate Kid with Will Smith’s kid and Jackie Chan, nothing will ever top the original in my eyes. Here are five life lessons we can learn from Mr. Miayagi, Daniel-san, and the Karate Kid.
“Either you karate do ‘yes’ or karate do ‘no.’ You karate do ‘guess so,’ *squish!*”
When Mr. Miyagi asked Daniel if he was ready to learn Karate, Daniel’s response of “I guess so” pissed him off to no end. The old man compared Daniel’s half-assed response to walking down a road: walking on the left side of the road is fine, walking on the right side of the road is fine, but walking down the middle of the road will eventually get you squished.
Like Yoda has taught us, “Do or do not. There is no try.” The people who “try to get in shape” or say “I guess I’ll get in shape” will most likely fail. If you want to lose weight and level up your life, you need to attack it with 100% of your heart and mind. Giving it a shot for a week or two isn’t going to get you results, and thinking about it only half of the time isn’t going to get you where you want to be either.
This journey needs to become part of who you are:
Mentally, you’re focused. You have specific goals in mind that you want to accomplish, and then you set out to do them. Whether it’s win the All-Valley Karate Tournament, lose 50 pounds, and/or run a marathon, you must recognize the fact that every day is an opportunity for you to get one step closer.
You’re not “on a diet.” Instead, you’re making conscious decisions every day to eat healthier food and follow a plan that you can stick with indefinitely.
You’re training with conviction. Half-assing it on a treadmill while chugging a Gatorade doesn’t count as a workout. When exercising, be focused and efficient – if you pushed hard enough there should be sweat dripping off of you by the the time you’re done.
“First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule, Daniel-san, not mine.”
Daniel desperately wanted to learn how to do the crane kick after just a few lessons. Miyagi responded that there’s a specific order of things in Karate just like in nature. It is nature’s progression that allows animals to survive in the wild, and it’s Karate’s progression that would ultimately allow Daniel-san to succeed as a student.
Had Miyagi put the kid up on the stump and forced him to learn a Crane Kick before anything else, he might have failed miserably and given up. Instead, he taught Daniel progressively more difficult strikes, balancing techniques, and blocks, built up his confidence, and only then did he allow Daniel-san to learn the Crane Kick.
Your life is no different.
If you’re 200 pounds overweight, don’t try to run a marathon tomorrow. Instead, you must learn to walk a mile, then two, then learn to run a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and finally a full marathon. Baby steps!
If you want to get stronger, don’t go into a gym and load 300 pounds onto a bar to bench press. Instead, start with an small amount of weight, learn the proper movement, and progress steadily each week, getting stronger and building momentum until you reach your goal.
If you want to acquire a new skill – Parkour, Capoeira, Rock Climbing, whatever – check your ego at the door. Take the beginner class, don’t overestimate your skills, and advance from there. Who cares if you’re taking a Karate class with a bunch of 6-year olds, at least you don’t have to wait for your mom to come pick you up after (hopefully).
“In Okinawa, all Miyagi know two things: fish and karate.”
Growing up in Okinawa, Mr. Miyagi learned two things from his father: fishing, and karate. How did he find time to become a great Karate master AND a great fisherman? Because he found a good balance in his life and recognized the importance of having both.
[Side note: a great fisherman who happens to also be in incredible shape...sounds a lot like my Ninja Warrior hero, Makoto Nagano!]
Personally, I enjoy fitness and exercise, but I am no gym rat. In fact, I only go to the gym three times a week for about an hour each time. Being in shape is part of my life, but it’s not the only thing that makes me happy. I consider myself more of a gamer/nerd/writer/piano player/gambler/artist/reader who happens to also be in pretty good shape.
I encourage you to find that balance in your life as well. You can still be a great…
father, husband, wife, mother, friend, employee, and/or boss while having fun…
playing video games, taking photography classes, and/or going to the movies…
while ALSO living a healthy lifestyle.
Good time management and a solid balance of work and fun is crucial to your happiness. As I’ve said previously, find a way to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into what you are, but not at the expense of who you are.
Mr. Miyagi said it best: “Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance, everything be better.”
“Hey, what kind of belt do you have?” “Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?”
When asked by Daniel-san what kind of belt he had, Miyagi gave a smart-ass answer that was also quite deep philosophically. How the hell does one of the best Karate teachers out there not have any idea what level belt he is?
Because at the end of the day it just doesn’t matter.
Competitions, contests, and achievements are great motivators to help you move forward, but never forget that the only person you’re really competing with when it comes to your health is yourself. Who cares if you ran in a 5k race and got beat by a 10-year old girl? Who cares if you can only bench 20 pounds while the cute girl next to you is putting up 135 for a set of 10? After you’ve checked your ego (a common theme today), think of it like this:
So you got beat by a 10 year old in a 5k. Suck it up, remember your time from this race, and make sure you run your next race at least one second faster. If you’re getting faster, that’s all that matters.
So you’re getting ‘outlifted’ at the gym. Suck it up, remember how much you lifted and how many times you lifted it, and then next time make sure you either lift more weight or the same amount for more repetitions. If you’re getting stronger, that’s all that matters.
So you only lost one pound this week while your cubicle-mate lost 5 pounds. Suck it up, remember that you still lost weight, and continue to find ways to level up your life and the success will follow. If you’re making progress, that’s all that matters.
Having a class system to determine your level is nice, but don’t let it be the only benchmark you use to determine your success. No matter how big, slow or weak you are compared to those around you, it really only matters if you’re getting healthier, faster, and stronger compared to the You from yesterday.
“You mean there were times when you were scared to fight?” “Always scared.”
Mr. Miyagi, the guy who could single-handedly defeat six Cobra Kai at once, was always scared to fight. And yet, he still took care of business when necessary. This might be the most important lesson of all and one I’ll always remember.
We’re surrounded these days with images and movies of heroic men who march bravely into battle without an ounce of fear:
Thanks to these heroes, it’s tough to not feel inadequate when that initial fear sets in, no matter how inconsequential the action you’re afraid of might be. Maybe you’re scared to go to the gym for the first time, try rock climbing, eat sushi, wear a bathing suit, run a marathon, ask out that cute waitress, whatever. Don’t worry; it happens to everybody. What’s not okay is to allow that fear to become so irrationally over-sized in your mind that it paralyzes you from taking action.
Courage is not being fearless, but rather carrying on to perform the action despite being afraid. As Miyagi said in Karate Kid III: “It’s okay to lose to opponent. It’s never okay to lose to FEAR!”
Unless it’s going to actually kill you, sometimes you just have to get out of your head, turn off your brain, and go for it.
What movie defined your childhood?
Hopefully I’m not the only one around here that practiced the crane kick in his back yard. Sure The Karate Kid Parts II and III weren’t nearly as good, but Part II gave us Peter Cetera and The Glory of Love, and Part III gave us the psychopath that is Terry Silver. What’s not to like!
This is one movie from my childhood that I’ll never forget.
What was yours, and what did you learn from it?
PS - I bet more than a few NF readers will say “The Goonies.” Don’t worry, I’ve already started planning a Goonies article.
It’s house cleaning time over here at Nerd Fitness HQ!
My first week of working full time for the Rebellion went incredibly well; now that I’m settled in, this is the week where I really start to step on the gas pedal for my whole “this is my future” thing. This is what went down since we last talked.
New How-To Video Page
If you’re on the site now, you’ll notice at the top of the page that there’s two new tabs, one of which is “How-To Videos.” Under this tab, along with links to the two “Body Weight Circuits” that I posted earlier this year, you’ll also find links to almost 100 videos of me doing various exercises out in a local park.
Why did I video myself doing 100 exercises?
These are the exercises that I use in the upcoming Rebel Fitness Guide available for sale through the site (hopefully out by early to mid July). Rather than trying to find a way to password protect these instructional videos and only give them to people who buy the guide, I decided instead to just put them up for free on YouTube. Of course, the four months worth of routines (with specific numbers of reps and sets) will only be available in the guide; but the videos will always stay free.
(Not so) funny story: It took me forever to edit these damn things, and then after uploading all of them I realized that I had only exported them at standard resolution. Suck. So, I spent an extra four hours this morning re-uploading all videos in 720p HD so now you can actually tell me what I’m doing in each one.
I’ve also added a “Start Here” page for people who are just discovering Nerd Fitness for the first time. Finding a new blog with a ton of posts can really be overwhelming, so I put together this page as sort of a primer for what to expect when reading: instructional and inspirational posts surrounded with nerd humor. Hopefully this will help new readers become quickly acquainted with the Nerd Fitness philosophy and community.
And last but not least, I also went ahead and updated the “About” page to reflect my recent decision to throw caution into the wind and dive headfirst into the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. Not too many changes, but it’s definitely been beefed up.
In case you’re not already doing so, consider following Nerd Fitness on Twitter! I realize the numbers are completely arbitrary and ultimately pretty useless, but NF is only 4 people short of 1000 followers and four digits is WAY better than three.
Also, there’s been some good debate recently over on the Nerd Fitness Facebook page, including discussion on Universal Studios’ decision to turn certain fans away from the new Harry Potter ride from being overweight. Why not join the party? I’ll bring Twister.
How Was Your Weekend?
Other than the US choking in the World Cup, I had a pretty damn good weekend. My first week of the 4th 28-Day Challenge was a big success too, and I’m looking forward to building on that momentum.
How did YOU do with your first week in your challenge? Make sure to post your progress in the Roll Call thread on the boards!
PS – Now that the US is out, who should I root for? Tell me who and why in the comments and then I’ll throw my irrationally passionate support behind them.
What do Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Biz Stone, Mark Zuckerberg, and Matt Mullenweg all have in common?
They’re all geeks – wildly successful and accomplished geeks!
Geeks are creative problem solvers. They perceive and interact with the world differently. They have seemingly divine abilities to conjure remarkable solutions that improve the lives and capture the imaginations of millions. This power is born from challenging conventional wisdom, exploring the boundaries of what’s possible, and taking risks.
And they’re changing the world – from communications, to philanthropy, to publication, to activism, to education, and beyond.
What does this have to do with designing a healthy lifestyle?
First, you can learn from their examples and apply their creative philosophies to designing a fulfilling and healthy life. Second, you can (and should) use the clever creations of the geek-community to empower your healthy lifestyle. Remember, geeks are creative problem solvers. And simplifying the process of getting healthy in a fun and practical way can be tricky.
So, here are five geeky wonders to conquer your heath:
1. DailyBurn – Your One-Stop, Personal Health Headquarters
DailyBurn will mesmerize you at first use. This web-based application has a ridiculously simple and almost game-like user interface. You’ll get hooked. Trust me.
Why give DailyBurn a go?
Because you have access to over 244,000 foods and recipes
Because you can track what you eat with a few, simple clicks
Because you can record your workout data in minutes
Because you can compete in fun, health challenges with your friends on DailyBurn
Because you get motivation and support from the entire DailyBurn community
Because you can easily track your progress with idiot-proof and insightful analytics
Because it’s FREE
But wait, DailyBurn doesn’t stop there.
They also have a revolutionary mobile application for the iPhone – FoodScanner. It allows you to retrieve the nutritional data of any food item with a UPC barcode. You can enter how many servings you ate of that food after a scan, which automatically updates your food journal in DailyBurn.
2. SparkPeople.com – America’s #1 Weight Loss and Fitness Website
SparkPeople is a jaw-dropper. It’s bursting with information and tools on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Whatever your healthy lifestyle passions and goals, you can learn more and find like-minded friends at SparkPeople.
They aim to “make healthy living fun & easy with our tools, content & community.” This fits perfectly with their mission “to help millions of people live healthier lives and reach their goals”.
Why should you fancy SparkPeople?
Because over 7 million people believe in SparkPeople and have joined the movement
Because they offer personalized diet and fitness plans
Because they provide calorie calculators, fitness trackers, and instructional videos
Because you can connect with certified dietitians and fitness trainers
Because the supportive community will help you on your quest to greater health
Because it’s FREE
3. Twitter & Facebook – Life 2.0
What else could possibly be said about Twitter and Facebook? Not much. If you don’t know about these two social network juggernauts I’d check your pulse to see if you’re alive.
But emphasizing Twitter’s and Facebook’s contributions to radically evolving the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle cannot be overstated.
At no point in human history has it been easier to build, connect, and grow communities of supportive and compassionate friends – thanks largely to Twitter and Facebook. Such social relationships are vital to consistent healthy living. Why? Because of the motivation, inspiration, and sense of belonging they provide.
But there’s more.
Twitter and Facebook grant unprecedented access to premier healthy lifestyle experts. You can “friend” and follow renowned nutritionists, acclaimed trainers, brilliant doctors, distinguished healthy publicists, professional athletes, etc. Their wisdom is at your fingertips.
This isn’t about sharing what you ate for lunch. It’s about learning what you should eat for lunch. And so much more.
So get social and join the Healthy Lifestyle Design Tribe on Twitter and Facebook! And if you haven’t already, enlist in the NerdFitness Rebellion on Twitter and Facebook too!
4. FitBit – The Intergalactic Pedometer from the Future
Are you familiar with pedometers? That’s right. Those goofy things you attach to your belt to track your steps.
FitBit is a pedometer, on steroids and from the future.
The FitBit device automatically collects your fitness and sleep data. Specifically, it accurately tracks calories burned, distance traveled, and hours of quality sleep. Seriously, it monitors your sleep – time you went to bed, time to fall asleep, times awakened, actual sleep time.
How can it do all that? According to FitBit, it “contains a 3D motion sensor like the one found in the Nintendo Wii.”
You guessed it, there’s more.
The FitBit device easily syncs with FitBit.com, providing you the ability to track and analyze your daily activity data. Merely walk within 15 feet of the provided docking station and your data will be automatically uploaded.
Oh, and FitBit tracks your steps too.
5. HealthCentral.com – Your All-Knowing Personal Physician at Your Call 24/7
HealthCentral is akin to having unfettered access to a prestigious medical library. It offers intuitive information on copious health conditions, diseases, symptoms, and more. While it has parallels with WebMD, I enjoy HealthCentral for it’s simplicity and quick answers.
What else is special about HealthCentral?
You can perform a self-examination of various symptoms
You can watch videos of medical experts
You can find a therapist in your area
Everything is FREE
Disclosure - I had the privilege of meeting HealthCentral’s CEO Chris Schroeder at a 2009 conference on how social technologies are changing the future of healthcare and healthy living. Chris was the keynote – a brilliant and impassioned person with a genuine vision for helping others via social technology innovation.
Bonus: Withings – The OMG Scale of Your Dreams
Scales are boring.
Not this one.
The Withings scale revolutionizes the whole idea behind weighing yourself. With old school scales you hoop on, grimace at your weight, hoop off, done. Weighing yourself was an episodic event with no tangible output or call-to-action. And it definitely wasn’t fun.
With the Withings scale, those days are gone. Welcome to new school.
The Withings scale captures not only your weight but also calculates your lean mass, fat mass, and body-mass-index (BMI). It then transmits that data to the Internet via an encrypted WiFi signal where it is accessible via the Withings.com system.
Once online at Withings.com, you can monitor the historical progress of your body composition measurements. According to Withings…
“The web dashboard offers a rich graphical interface with easy browsing over time and allows you to zoom in on the date ranges of your choice. You therefore take pleasure in observing the evolution of your fitness in a simple, intuitive environment.”
It can also integrate with your DailyBurn account or others like Google Health.
They also offer an iPhone application so that you can access your data while mobile.
These geeky wonders are just the tip of the iceberg. Many more abound on the Internets. Feel free to look around.
But don’t overwhelm yourself. These technologies (or any other) should make your healthy life easier, not harder. Forcing yourself to adopt anything doesn’t work. So don’t do it.
And when in doubt, do as the geeks – challenge conventional wisdoms and use/create remarkable solutions to transform your life.
Now go forth and geek-out your healthy lifestyle!
What other geeky creations do you use to manage your healthy lifestyle?
What healthy lifestyle challenges are you encountering that warrant a new geeky gadget?
Matt Gartland is a healthy lifestyle geek extraordinaire, blogger, world traveler, lifestyle entrepreneur, coffee fanatic, web techie, lifelong kid, bookworm, and more. He writes at Healthy Lifestyle Design (HLD), where he unleashes his passion for remarkable and unconventional living propelled by amazing health. Follow Matt on Twitter and join the HLD Tribe on Facebook.
Today officially marks the first day of the rest of my life.
After getting home from the wedding/birthday celebration/vacation last night, I went to bed and told myself I was going to wake up without an alarm for the first time in a long time. Of course, I woke up an hour earlier than I used to wake up when I had a job, COMPLETELY WIRED. I guess my body was just ready to get started down this new path.
Today also marks the first day of the 4th NF 28-Day Challenge.
I’m in. Are you?
28-Day Challenge #4
If you’re new-ish to Nerd Fitness, every month we have a new challenge on the Nerd Fitness message boards, where you make a pledge to do three things to the best of your ability that will level up your life. Whether it’s lose 5 pounds, give up soda, stop smoking, bench press 150 pounds 6 times, and/or run in a 5k race, pick three challenging quests that you think you can accomplish in four weeks if you push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
I’ve found that once you put something in writing, and send it out to the world (or the NF Community in this case), you’re going to be far more likely to push yourself to actually succeed on your goals. At the end of each month, we’ll nominate a a guy and a girl who leveled up his/her life the most. Once I actually get around to making NF t-shirts, I’ll be sending them out to previous winners and future winners.
Although I completely tanked the 3rd challenge due to everything that had been going on in my life at the time, I’m looking forward to rededicating myself to getting in the best possible shape for this 4th challenge. Here are my 3 goals for this upcoming challenge, beginning today and ending on July 19th:
Gain at least 5 pounds, hopefully mostly muscle. Ultimately, I’m at a weight that I’m really happy with, but I’d like to get stronger and a little bit bigger. If I’m going to get in the best shape of my life, I’m going to need to pack on some more muscle. This will be done with a heavily-focused strength and mass-building routine – three days a week in the gym, doing super-intense workouts that only last for about an hour.
Eat enough calories every day – In order to build some muscle over these next 28 days, I’m going to need to eat more calories than I burn daily. This is going to require 4 or 5 healthy meals to get enough protein, good carbs, and good fats in my system. Luckily, now that I’m at home I”ll have the opportunity to save some money by cooking all of my own healthy meals right here in my kitchen. I have a feeling I’ll be eating a lot of my Go-To Meal.
Sleep – Sleep is one of the most important things when it comes to staying healthy. I’m going to do what I can to make sure I get at least eight hours of sleep a night, because my average over the past six months has been FAR less than that and it really affected my training. No more getting sick, no more wasted days in the gyms from being too tired, I’m actually going to take care of myself.
My Business 28-Day Challenge
Now, outside of my goals for my personal health, I also have 3 big goals for the next 28 days for Nerd Fitness:
Finish writing and launch the Nerd Fitness Rebel Fitness Guide: This will be my first paid product available for purchase on the site, and the first step I’m taking to make NF into a business. If I get my act together I should have it done and launched by the end of this challenge.
Launch the Nerd Fitness Rebellion Newsletter: After seeing the great success that Baker and Chris (my heroes) have had with their free “newsletters,” where along with their bi-weekly articles they give away cool stuff and announce special early offers to their insiders, I feel it’s finally time to launch my own service.
Write At Least Two Guest Posts: I had a lot of fun writing guest posts for World’s Strongest Librarian and Art of Manliness, and those articles allowed me to connect with a whole new audience. I’m looking to write a few more posts for other sites to further grow the NF Rebel Army. Now that I have time to actually write more often, I’m excited to get in front of some new readers!
It’s going to be an action-packed 28 days over here at Nerd Fitness HQ, and I can’t wait to get started. Make sure to sign up for the 28-day challenge over on the NF Boards!
Today is certainly one of the most important, exciting, terrifying, and bittersweet moments of my life. A few weeks back, I informed my company Sixthman that I would be leaving the company to work on this website full time.
That’s right, I’m devoting all of my time and energy to Nerd Fitness and the Rebellion.
Today will be my last day of work here in the office, and then tomorrow I depart for the Bahamas along with a dozen of my college friends for a wedding on Harbour Island. That day of the wedding also happens to be my 26th birthday; I’ve enjoyed the first twenty-five years on this planet; I’m eager to see what’s I’m capable of in the next twenty five and beyond.
Why I Made This Decision.
Nerd Fitness has become something bigger than just a guy and a blog; it is now a full-blown community of people turning their lives around and helping others do the same. After many sleepless nights, I came to the realization that the longer I waited on putting my full effort behind this site, the tougher it would be for me to eventually take that leap. I told myself, “if you’ve found what you’re meant to do, why wait any longer?”
Since starting Nerd Fitness sixteen months ago, my excitement for this site and its future has grown with each passing day. Every new email, every new member to the NF message boards, and every new comment on the site makes me smile just a little bit bigger. I know I’m doing something right.
There were a few other reasons that I really wanted to free up my time:
I want to see my family more. My brother lives out in California, and my parents and sister live up in Massachusetts. With me being down in Atlanta I only get to see them a few times a year, and often only for a day or two. I want to have the freedom to go spend an expended period of time in both locations because I really do miss them.
I want to travel more. Ever since discovering Chris Guillebeau’s Art of Nonconformity blog two years ago, I’ve become addicted to the concept of travel hacking. There’s a whole world of travel hackers out there that I didn’t even know existed! I now have 120,000 American Airline miles and 110,000 British Airways miles, enough for a few round trip flights to some pretty exotic locations. I’ve already begun planning trips to Australia/New Zealand and Europe. Why those locations? Why not!
I want to acquire more skills. Yeah, I realize I sounded like Napoelon Dynamite there. My hobbies are incredibly varied and mostly ridiculous; I want to learn more stuff and get better at the stuff I already know. I want to get better at the piano, better at the guitar, start taking Capoeria classes (yup, breakdance fighting), become a better break dancer, go rock climbing and hiking, try out hashing, learn how to cook, take a kettlebell class, acquire more personal trainer certifications, read a lot more, etc.
I want to volunteer more. I’ve been volunteering at the Children’s Hospital here in Atlanta for the past year and a half and it’s usually the most fulfilling part of my week. I plan on identifying some other great organizations here in Atlanta that could use some help and go spend time with them. If you live in Atlanta and are associated with any volunteer programs, let me know!
I want to sleep. The past six months have been incredibly challenging for me as I’ve been truly burning the candle at both ends for my day job and Nerd Fitness. Sleep and my own personal well-being have taken a backseat to everything else in my life and it’s really caught up to me recently. I’m looking forward to actually taking care of my body, eating well, and getting more than a few hours of sleep a night.
What’s the Plan?
You’re probably wondering, “um, Steve…how is this a company if you’re not making any money yet?”
Great question. Ultimately, I have big plans for this site and I can’t wait to get started on them (beginning with the Nerd Fitness rebel guide) – the only thing I’ve been running terribly short on lately is time. I believe so strongly in this site and this community that I’m willing to “risk” my future for it. I put risk in quotations because I believe strongly enough in myself to do whatever it takes to make this plan work.
When failure is the only other option, I will do whatever necessary to succeed.
In the meantime, I’ve got quite a few things in the works to cut my expenses way down until I’m turning a profit. I plan on channeling my inner Baker by selling all of my crap that I no longer use – my digital piano, electric guitar and amp, old video games, dvds, and books. I plan on channeling my inner Everett and Leo by living far more minimally than I’m used to. I have some great contacts here in the Atlanta area and a few backup plans to help pay the bills until I’ve established a positive cash flow.
I am incredibly sad to be leaving Sixthman; coming to work for this company has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. If you EVER get a chance to go on a Sixthman cruise, I guarantee you’ll have the time of your life. I told myself the only way I’d ever leave this company would be to go work for myself – that day has finally come.
Hope is a Good Thing.
I’m headed to the Bahamas tomorrow, where I’ll be completely unplugged from the world for a few days. I’ll celebrate my 26th birthday with my friends on Saturday, return to Atlanta on Sunday completely recharged and refreshed, and then Monday morning I’ll be putting on my “hard hat” and going to work for Nerd Fitness.
I leave you today with a slightly modified quote from my favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption:
“I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope Nerd Fitness will be successful. I hope to see my friends and shake their hands. I hope the Caribbean is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”
We geeks have an unfortunate dilemma when attempting to go from geek to super awesome fitness geek of infinite power.
Our hobbies — gaming, coding, reading, correcting people on the internet — tend to be measured in hours and days of time commitment and normally involve some sort of social commitment as well — guild raiding, project deadlines, book club meetings, a lot of dumb people on the internet that need to be corrected. Adding a new heavy time commitment like proper nutrition and exercise seems like an impossible thing to do with all of our other interests and commitments.
But don’t feel like you don’t have time to get fit, and don’t feel like if you dive in to fitness, you will have to leave your geeky hobbies behind. There are so many ways to merge fitness into your geeky lifestyle and incorporate your geeky lifestyle into fitness. And that is exactly what this list is intended to help you out with.
So dial in the 9th chevron, because we are about to open a gateway to new fitness worlds…
Note: the goal of this list is not to get you to peak physical performance (I’ll leave that job to Steve and the Nerd Fitness Rebellion), but rather to give you fun ways to kick start the transition to a healthy lifestyle.
Put down the the controller, take off the headset, and get thee to a paintball field! You may think nothing is more fun than owning newbs on the console, but wait until you pull off a double kill of colorful bliss with your semi-automatic paintball gun.
Note: I do not claim responsibility for you lack of leet-ness on the paintball field. Not only do you get to have fun fragging your friends, but a half day of paintball is one hell of a workout. You will be running, squatting, crawling, and more!
Some estimates show that ~400 calories are burned during an hour of paintball. The best part is, the adrenaline from the battle keeps you from feeling fatigued like individual exercises might. This means you often get a 2-4 hour workout without even noticing it.
2) Martial Arts
Two words: Cobra Kai. Who wants to let those tools run the place?
I sure don’t.
That’s why martial arts is number two on my list. Whether you focus on Jujitsu, Karate, or Taekwondo, practicing any form of martial arts is a fantastic way to get fit — build strength, master body control, and boost mental focus — you will get it all.
Most schools that teach martial arts have fantastic programs and classes that accommodate for novices and experts alike for a reasonable cost. You even get colorful belts as you level up – that’s right, a real-life achievement reward. Plus, who doesn’t want to be a ninja? So find do some dojo research around your town and find your very own Mr. Miyagi – and get one of those cool spinnung hand drums while your there.
While there is not anything inherently geeky about hashing, the open and social atmosphere makes it a perfect gateway activity for anyone with an adventurous side and a good sense of humor to get into running. Hashing is basically a bunch of people following a leader down a trail, normally non-established (through urban areas, woods, etc.), that usually ends at bar serving some good brew.
The trails are often set up so it can accommodate all fitness levels and running speeds, though don’t think it is just a walk in the park. Some clubs even celebrate the person who comes in DFL (Dead F-word Last) with extra booze… and who doesn’t love extra booze. Find a local hash near where you live!
4) Disc Golf
You might be asking how disc golf made my list. Well, because: I love disc golf!
I suppose I relate disc golf to geeky activities because this was where my computer science buddies and I would go to blow off some segmentation fault steam. The game is simple, get the Frisbee in the basket in the fewest tosses possible and repeat. All you need to get started is a basic Frisbee or you can spend a little extra to get specialized disc made for long distances or slower discs for putting.
In the past, there were only a few dedicated courses to play disc golf on, but there has been an explosion of new, free disc golf courses: on university campuses, in parks, on green-ways. One rule my friends and I like to add to is no walking. Run everywhere — after drives, between holes,everywhere. Doing this always adds enough movement to the game to get a great workout and have a great time by yourself or with friends.
5) Zombie Walk
Zombieland Rule 1: Cardio. Rule 19: Blend in. Well you can knock out two birds with a single stone by going on a zombie walk. Zombie walks have been gaining popularity over the last few years, and I think that’s awesome-sauce.
Zombie-fy yourself and then go for a long walk with hundreds of your un-dead kindred. Zombie walking not enough for you? Some places have even been starting up Zombie 5k’s. I can’t think of a better time than running my ass off while dressed as a zombie Vanilla Ice.
Ice Ice Braiiiinnnnssss.
I have never been live action role playing (LARPing), but I will be the first to admit that it looks freaking fun.
Now, I know this activity is considered by many to be radically geeky (Lighting Bolt!), but who wouldn’t want to don some epic armor and smash some skulls? Many approaches can be taken for a LARP event, from a theatrical event to a full fledge role playing game with quests, boss fights, and mass battles.
Most LARPing events take place in a large open field or wooded area, so there is plenty of room to run, duck, jump, and fight — the perfect way to get a full body workout. The cost of LARPing can vary. The upfront cost of buying a costume can be a big expense, but most events are relatively cheap – between $5 and $50 normally.
If you are a big RPG fan, I highly suggest searching for a local LARPing group. Stop sitting at a table rolling dice or clicking a mouse and start running through the wood swinging a mace! +5 to Dexterity. -5 to Flab.
So I have mentioened ways to become a ninja. And I given you tips on how to become a zombie… What’s next? You guessed it:
The internet and GPS enable smartphones have brought treasure hunting back to the masses. Geocaching is basically a game of high-tech hide and go seek. People plant hidden treasures (caches) and provide clues on how to find the treasures. Your mission is find the caches with the help of GPS and good ol’ fashion brain power.
While some geocaches will take you across a city, some are localized to a smaller area, which is great for running and biking from treasure to treasure. The Groundspeak iPhone app for geocaching is a great tool to get out and find caches near enough to walk, run, or bike, making for a great day of fun physical activity. So get out there and hunt some treasure (you get bonus points if you do it with a parrot on your shoulder).
8 ) Kendo/Kenjutsu
While Kendo technically falls into the category of martial arts, I had to list it separately because of it’s incredible radness.
I spent upwards of 1 trillion hours watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I was a kid, and I loved Leonardo. Why? Because he was the leader, and leaders carry giant swords. Like Master Splinter taught the turtles, Kendo teaches you mold the mind and body and always strive for improvement. It is a great way to get fit while learning fun skills at the same time.
I only caution you to wait until you have trained a few months before moving to a real sword. You have been warned. Cowabunga.
9) Wii Fit
And, of course, a list of geeky things to help get you fit is not complete without mentioning Wii Fit. Play video games and exercise at the same time. You can’t beat that. ‘Nuff Said.
What geeky things do you do to get fit?
The list doesn’t stop here. I’m sure there are things that you do every day that I haven’t even thought about. So please post a comment and tell me and the other readers your favorite geeky activities that launched you into the world of fitness.
What else would you YOU add?
George Titsworth is a father, MMO geek, and software developer who is in the process of converting his flabby software into rock solid hardware. He blogs at GeekIntoShape.com and you can follow him on Twitter @geekintoshape.
May ended up being really freaking crazy: I spent ten days at sea on two different cruises for work, while also managing to raise over $3,300 with my friends for Camp Sunshine by running in the Warrior Dash dressed up like cavemen. I didn’t sleep much, I didn’t get to update Nerd Fitness nearly as much as I would have liked, I missed a bunch of workouts, and I often forgot to eat (oops).
Still, I survived, and I’m ready to get back on the horse. Or wagon.Or whatever.
A few big updates today, so let’s get to it.
End of 28-Day Challenge #3
Yesterday marked the end of the third Nerd Fitness 28-Day Challenge. How did you do? Last month was a complete wash for me, and I didn’t even get a chance to compete in my own challenge (insert sad face here). In fact, I’m so far behind that I still haven’t picked our winners from LAST month’s challenge.
I’m getting there, I swear.
If you participated in the challenge and made it all the way through the 28 days, go ahead and post on the NF Message Boards how you did and give yourself an honest grade. Later on this week I’ll take a look through the grades and pick two winners to get NF t-shirts (which are ALSO coming soon, I swear).
The next 28-day challenge will begin on Monday, June 21st. Why two weeks away? Because I actually want to participate in this one alongside you! I’ll be out of the country on vacation for almost all of next week, so June 21st will be a good starting point for me to get things going again.
Oh, and speaking of message boards, have you been over there yet? There are 249 people helping each other kick ass and level up their lives. It’s pretty freaking awesome.
Nerd Fitness Rebel Fitness Guide
I spent a good portion of my weekend working on my first paid product, the Rebel Fitness Guide! It’s really starting to come together, and I get more excited with each passing day. I also made a big decision over the weekend – instead of finding a way to password protect the individual videos of me doing all of the exercises used in the guide, I’m going to give those away for free.
Starting tonight and continuing throughout the week, I’ll be uploading to the Nerd Fitness YouTube Channel over one hundred different videos of me doing all the exercises that will be used in the Rebel Fitness Guide.
Yeah, I said “hundred.”
I’ll also be adding a new page to the blog for these videos, with it broken down into different exercise sections like “chest, shoulders, legs, biceps, etc.”
Now, the 4 months of daily exercise routines USING these exercises will only be available in the guide which I will be selling for a still undetermined price (but I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll charge). This is a project that I’ve been working on for months, a project that I’m extremely proud of, and one that will hopefully really help a lot of people turn their lives around.
Thanks for your support, hopefully these videos and this guide can make a difference.
Big announcement coming next Monday
The rest of my week will be consumed with editing, posting, and hosting exercise videos, but you’ll still get a new article here on Thursday. Next week is huge for me in so many ways, and I can’t wait to tell you ALLLLLLLLLLLL about it…but I can’t tell you til then.
Keep kicking ass, keep leveling up, and get ready.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, the Jedi helped keep the peace.
Today, they’re going to help you level up your life.
How? By teaching you to surround yourself with the right people! If you spend your days sitting around listening to lazy bums who eat poorly and make fun of you for exercising, you’re going to struggle in your quest to a healthier life. Conversely, if you surround yourself with positive people who are constantly doing things to better themselves while encouraging you to do the same, you’ll be influenced and far more likely to actually make changes in your life.
Alrighty, let’s build you a council!
Why have a Jedi council?
Having your own Jedi council will put you in the right frame of mind. The people on your council can offer advice when you are confused, support you when you’re down, encourage you when you need encouragement, and provide you with a constant source of motivation, inspiration, and education.
In fitness, finances, business, and life, having a Jedi council has pushed me to become a better person. On days when I feel like sleeping in, on afternoons when I feel like skipping the gym, on weekends when I feel like stuffing my face with terrible food, my mind always reverts back to the lessons and words of wisdom I’ve learned from my “council.” Even when they’re not there to inspire me directly, I can always feel their presence.
The Force is strong with them.
How to pick your council
It’s time to start assembling your own personal Jedi council. You want to pick people that have already had the type of success that you’re after and have shared or are willing to share their wisdom on how they did it. These can be authors of how-to books, bloggers, TV stars, your local gym trainer, a friend of yours, whoever. You don’t need to personally know the people on your council; they can still be a mentor to you. Here’s what you’re looking for in a potential Jedi council member:
1) They are true masters of their craft. The 12 members of the Jedi council put in the work, did their time, and worked incredibly hard to rise to the highest level of the order. People looked to them for advice and guidance because they were truly the best of the best.
You need to pick people who are masters of their respective craft too, whatever that may be.
If you need to lose a lot of weight, choose people like Tyler over at 344 pounds to be on your council, because he’s BEEN there and DONE that, while writing about it the entire way. If you are trying to pack on muscle, pick guys like Jason Ferruggia who has made a living from transforming people into athletic powerhouses. Select people who have already traveled the path that you’re beginning to walk, and follow where they lead. You’ll soon have a chance to venture on your own path, but when starting out why not learn from the best?
2) They are honest and just. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of crap information, false advertising, and useless products out there (I’d guess 90% of fitness stuff you see on TV/read on the internet is effing useless or dangerous). Don’t pick people that have sites loaded up with ads for diet pills and/or achieved success through questionable means. If a fitness guru makes an outlandish statement or promises incredibly results in a short period of time, he better back it up with scientific evidence and personal proof.
It’s okay to be skeptical. Unless you have a medical condition, the only things you need to get in shape are diet, exercise, and willpower. That’s it. Anybody who tells you otherwise is probably a Sith lord in disguise. Booooo Dark Side.
3) They are constantly vigilant, always learning, always improving. Jedi never stop training and never stop learning. Even Jedi Grand Master Yoda continued to train, mediate, and learn new things until he died at the age of 900. You need to learn from people that never want to stop learning and improving themselves. The fitness industry is constantly evolving as new discoveries are made and studies are concluded – you need people who are excited to learn about all this new stuff and share their theories and opinions with you.
4) The force is strong with them. Everybody learns at a different pace, has different starting points, and different goals. Do you need to be yelled at to work harder, or do you need to be encouraged? Do you like a straight forward approach or do you need your fitness information disguised as something else before you’ll actually read it? Are you a self-starter or do you need constant sources of inspiration to stay on target?
I can’t tell you what will work for you; you need to figure that out for yourself. Find what works for you, and find council members who resonate with your beliefs and training styles. Determine if you need daily reminders, weekly reports, humor, etc. whatever to be successful. The internet is a big place, which allows you to be incredibly selective on who gets to give you advice.
Your attention is the most important currency of all – spend it wisely.
My advice - subscribe to the websites of authors you enjoy, and sign up for email updates from authors that you never miss. Instead of skimming 100 fitness blogs a day, pick a dozen that you really truly love and concentrate on learning as much as possible from them.
Who’s on MY Jedi Council?
Below are the people who have qualified to be on my Jedi Council. These are people who have earned my trust and thus get my undivided attention. I’ve haven’t met most of them (yet), but that doesn’t diminish the impact they’ve had on my life. They all do things differently, but one thing is certain – the Force is strong with all of them:
Craig Ballantyne – I consider Craig to be the Yoda of the online fitness industry. He’s one hell of a guy and gives away a RIDICULOUS amount of free workouts and instructional videos. Don’t let the infomercial-style approach of some of his products fool you, this guy knows what he’s doing and gets results.
Jason Ferruggia – I’m a huge fan of Jason’s site and his training philosophy. Sometimes foul-mouthed, often politically incorrect, Jason tells it like it is with a no-BS approach to packing on muscle and improving athletic performance. He’s one of the strongest dudes I know, and he’s a vegan!
VIc Magary- Vic runs GymJunkies.com and puts himself through Hell with each workout. This dude pushes his body harder and farther than most would even dream, which is why he’s a constant source of inspiration to me. Vic’s also a former US soldier; I have the utmost respect for him and the the other members of our armed forces. Thanks for your service Vic.
Mike Rickett- Mike is my personal Yoda, and actually the only guy on my list that I’ve actually met. Mike was the teacher of my personal trainer certification class a year and a half ago, and since then I’ve gotten a chance to really get to know him. He’s easily the most knowledgeable fitness expert I’ve ever crossed paths with, which is why I’m so excited to work with him on creating the Nerd Fitness Rebel Guide (like the Death Star, it’s not fully operational…yet).
Mark Rippetoe – If you want to get really strong, you need to be doing squats, deadlifts, presses, pull ups, and chin ups. If you want to do those things well, you need to read Starting Strength (affiliate link) by Mark Rippetoe. I completely restructured my workouts and my form on almost all exercises after reading this book. If you’re serious about lifting weights, I can’t recommend Starting Strength enough.
Mark Sisson – Mark runs Mark’s Daily Apple, a site dedicated to living a primal lifestyle. After reading a few books on the Paleo Diet, I stumbled across Mark’s site and I’ve been reading it ever since. As far as a diet is concerned, the Primal/Paleo diet makes complete sense to me, which is why I endorse it and try to abide by it when possible. Mark’s site is a daily reminder to improve the quality of food that I’m shoveling into my mouth on a regular basis. Thanks Mark!
Mark Twight – Mark is the man who trained all the actors for the movie 300. Mark’s also the guy who said “appearance is a consequence of fitness,” something I repeat to myself daily. I’m trying to pack on some muscle (going for the Ryan Reynolds in Blade 3 look), but I’m not doing it with iso-dumbbell curls and calf raises. I’m just concentrating on becoming stronger by lifting heavy weights and letting nature do the rest.
Because I’m trying to pack on muscle, get strong as hell, and improve athletic performance, my Jedi Council is composed of people who are really good at doing those things. If you’re more like Jabba the Hutt and you want to slim down, your Jedi Council should have at least a few people who have had specific success doing exactly that.
Who’s on your council?
I’ve showed you mine, now show me yours. Where do you get your inspiration and motivation from? Who am I not learning from that I should be? Share in the comments below and we can put together a resource of great books, guides, sites, and sources for people getting started in the whole level-life journey.
If you’re forming your Jedi Council now, hop on over to the Nerd Fitness Rebellion message board and share your findings with your fellow rebels. This is a battle we’re all fighting as a group, and the more we can work together and inspire each other to level up, the better chance we’ll have at success.
To say Nerd Dash 2010 was a success is an understatement.
We had a freaking BLAST running in the Warrior Dash dressed up like cavemen. Even better, we managed to raise $3,395 for Camp Sunshine, enough money to send half a dozen kids with cancer to summer camp. If you want to see the rest of the pictures, head over to NerdDash.com.
Honestly, it was already a day I’ll never forget, and then it got even better. Zack (Zac? Zach?), a Nerd Fitness reader, tapped me on the shoulder after the race was done and told me that he was a fan of the site! This was my first ever encounter in real life with somebody who knows about me just through Nerd Fitness. It’s maybe the coolest thing ever.
So Zack, thanks for making my day man, and thanks for reading!
This weekend marked the end of a few pretty important things. I’m a big Lost fan (hopefully not a surprise), and I have to say that I was actually really pleased with how it all ended. I won’t spoil anything in here, but given the scope and often convoluted story lines involved with the show, I think the creators did a fantastic job tying up the series and doing the show justice with its finale. If you want to talk Lost, we can hop onto the NF Message Boards and debate there (spoiler warning).
This weekend also marked the end of my crazy Spring: we’re done with the Spring season of cruises (I went on five of our six events), and the next one isn’t until early September. I sure do love the cruises, but they’re quite exhausting and certainly throw off my sleep/eat/exercise schedule, so I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine, putting some muscle back on, and maybe sleeping every once and a while!
Now that I’m done with Nerd Dash, I’m already starting to think about how to make Nerd Dash 2011 even bigger and better. Cooler/funnier costumes, more sponsors, more runners, more support…it will be epic. Details to come in early 2011.
And now it’s time to put on that hard hat and get to work on finishing the NF Rebel Fitness Guide.
Once again, thank you all for your support for Nerd Dash, and thanks for reading Nerd Fitness. I’m grinning from ear to ear this morning.