Real-Life Role Playing: What is Your Profession?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Today, let’s delve deep into the nerd aspect of Nerd Fitness and turn life into a giant role-playing game.  Why?  Because it’s damn fun, nerdy, and quite applicable.  If you’ve played World of Warcraft, Everquest, Final Fantasy, or practically any fantasy-based RPG this article will feel right at home.

If you have no clue what I’m talking about, this will still be a fun exercise for you.

Let’s get started.

Your Race is Already Determined

Before you pick your profession, let’s talk about your “race.” Every RPG always has elves, hobbits, ogres, trolls, humans, wood elves, night elves, etc.  Each race has their own particular attributes that make them who they are.  Take a look in the mirror RIGHT NOW.  That’s your race.  300 pounds overweight, 50 pounds underweight, average, tall, short, beer gut, 6-pack abs, etc.  These are attributes about yourself that you cannot change immediately, so that’s your starting point.  Depending on your “race,” certain professions will be easier or harder for you to obtain.

Here’s an example: If you are an ogre (really tall and quite overweight), it’s going to be more work for you to become a really good Assassin (Parkour traceur), but if you’re willing to put the time in, anything is possible.  Maybe you’re an elf (incredibly thin) and you want to be a super-strong Warrior.  You’re going to need to spend months and months eating insane amounts of calories and lifting heavy weights to get results, but it is possible.

Make sense? Good!  Let’s check out the different professions.

Warrior

Lego Warrior

This tank is incredibly strong and powerful, pushing weight like it’s his job.

Which is good, because it IS his job.  If you ever see any battle, warriors are the first responders, defending their party while attacking the enemy.  Strong as an ox, Warriors constantly try to push themselves to be bigger, better, stronger.  Eating and lifting are the only two things Warriors worry about.  You do NOT want to go punch for punch with a Warrior.  You will get destroyed.

Primary attributes: Strength, power

Training: Pure strength-building weight training.

Real life example: Any World’s Strongest Man competitor.

Scout

Lego Scout

Scouts can cover great distances in a short amount of time.

Built for distance and efficiency rather than strength and power, these guys can outlast any animal on the planet.  They eat a diet higher in carbohydrates than most (though they can still be healthy carbs!) to give them enough fuel to survive these grueling treks cross-country, and their muscles are designed to last for hours rather than minutes or seconds (like a Warrior).  A growing contingent of scouts have moved to barefoot running, returning to their ancient ancestral roots.

Primary attributes: Stamina, endurance.

Training: Lots of distance training, long bike rides, high volume exercises with any sort of weight training.

Real life example: Marathon runners, Ironman athletes.

Ranger

Ranger Lego

Rangers are a hybrid of Warriors and Scouts, built for strength AND endurance.

A jack-of-all-trades but master of none, Rangers are well-equipped for any situation.  Their weight training revolves around varying the reps, sets, and downtime to continually force those body to adapt to new situations.  Usually Rangers follow a Paleo Diet, eating things that can only be found in nature.  Thanks to this type of training and diet, Rangers have incredibly low body-fat percentages.

Primary attributes: Functional strength, adaptability.

Training: Lots of weight training but with minimal downtime (think crossfit and 300 training).

Real Life example: Gerard Butler in 300.

Assassin

Lego Assassin

To assassins, the world is one giant playground.

Every building can be climbed, every gap can be jumped, every obstacle can be conquered.  Assassins spend most of their time training with functional body weight exercises as that’s usually the only thing they need to lift.

Fearless, calculated, and efficient, Assassins have low body fat percentages because extra weight could mean the difference between life and death on a mission.  They have solid endurance as well, allowing them to progress through an obstacle-filled environment without breaking a sweat.

Primary Attributes: Agility, stamina

Training: Parkour, free running, rock climbing.

Real World example: Parkour traceurs, free runners, most athletes on Ninja Warrior.

Monk

Lego Monk

This isn’t the type of monk you’d want to run into on a bad day…

These monks can kick your ass with their fists and feet, and they will do it before you even knew what happened.  Incredibly agile, lightning fast, and loaded with power, Monks specialize in martial arts to stay in shape and destroy the opposition.

Training is mostly spent in dojos and in the ring, with some weight training thrown in to help produce stronger punches and kicks.  Monks only carry enough weight and muscle to provide maximum efficiency with each attack.  Muscles are compact and powerful, core strength is high, and speed is favored over size.

Primary Attributes: Agility, power

Training: MMA, Capoeria, Muay Thai boxing, Tai Kwon Do

Real life example:Georges St. Pierre (MMA fighter).

Druid

Lego Druid

Druids are one with nature.

Oftentimes consuming a plant-only diet, they specialize in being one with themselves, finding balance in everything.  These peaceful folk spend a majority of their time training in the arts of yoga, meditation, and tai chi.  Strength training is only done if necessary, as  most druids aren’t interested in massive muscles or explosive power.  Druids also follow a minimalist diet, high in vegetables, fruits, and nuts.  Some eat meat, but only enough to get sufficient protein.  Processed foods are the enemy.

Primary attributes: agility, flexibility

Training: meditation, yoga, tai chi

Real life example: Yogis, tai chi instructors

My Profession

Lego Berserker

I was born an elf (thin, tough to build muscle), and I want to be a Warrior/Ranger hybrid…let’s call it a Berzerker class?

I’m generally a pretty happy, calm, goofy guy.  But when I’m in training mode, I turn on berserker mode: I start foaming at the mouth, I walk around with this crazy look in my eye, and I push myself hard than I ever thought possible.

I focus on lift like squats, deadlifts, presses, handstand push ups, pull ups, dips, and chin ups.  I vary my rep range and downtime between sets to build strength, power, and muscle size.  I mix in assassin (gymnastics) training and monk (capoeira) training whenever possible.

Sure, it’d be a much quicker path for me to become a scout (as I already have the body type), but I love getting stronger and training in things that I truly enjoy, so I picked a different direction.

Why?

Because I can, and because it makes me happy.

How About You?

Profession

Leave a comment with your current race and what profession you’d like to be. 

I picked six classes up above to keep things simple, but let me know if I left out one that should be in there.  Feel free to combine two classes like I did as well.  Just so we’re clear: all classes are gender-neutral, so you can be a female warrior or male druid.  There are no restrictions!

Once you have your profession selected, feel free to join us in the Nerd Fitness message boards (it’s free!) and join up with your guild!  

Want to take things a step further?  

Check out the Nerd Fitness Academy, where you can actually pick your class, complete quests, gain experience, and yes…level up!

So, I ask you: “What is your PROFESSION!?”

-Steve

###

Photo: KennyMatic, Lego berserkerWarrior Lego, Scout Lego, Ranger Legos, Druid Lego, Lego Assassin, Lego Monk, Lego Profession

Back from the Dead…Sorta

I’m alive!

Barely.

Honestly, I haven’t been this wiped out after a cruise in quite a while, so this week has really been a blur for me.  Sleep has been in short supply and high demand, my sentences don’t form properly when talking on the phone, and I’ve had a headache that’s been fairly constant since Monday.  My room’s a mess, I haven’t shaved in a week, I’ve run out of clean clothes, and I managed to fall asleep sitting up in a chair the other day while my roommates were playing Halo while screaming at the top of their lungs.

Despite all of that, life is pretty damn good.  I’m not gonna lie though; I can’t WAIT for this weekend to recharge and recover.

So what else is new?  Quite a bit.

May 28-Day Challenge

I haven’t been on the NF message boards since last week, so I haven’t got a chance to go over how everybody did in the last challenge.  Tonight I’ll get around to it.  In the meantime, I set up the new part of the boards for the NEXT challenge, which kicks off Monday, May 10th.

Join the 28-day challenge for May here.

Jillian Michaels

Part of the reason I’ve been so exhausted this week is because the day we got back from the cruise, we launched a new cruise here at my job – the Jillian Michaels Ultimate Wellness Cruise, sailing October 21st to 25th, 2010.

A few months back, my boss approached me and said that we had partnered with Jillian to produce a fitness and wellness themed cruise, the first cruise we’ve ever done that isn’t centered around music.  When he told me that I was going to be the lead ‘warrior’ for the event, I put down my box of donuts and tub of lard and said “HELL YEAH!”

So, I’ve been working on launching the cruise website for the past few months, and this week it finally went on sale to Jillian’s premium members.  It’s in the pre-sale phase for another few weeks and then it goes on sale to the public on May 25th.  Pretty damn cool stuff, so you can expect some fun updates from me about how this is going from now until the cruise.

Congrats to Tyler

Tyler over at 344pounds.com weighed in the other day at 199.8 pounds. Tyler has been dealing with quite a bit lately and managed to still continue his inspirational journey into the 100′s.  Tyler, congrats man.  You’re a hero to everybody and you’re changing lives.

Keep kicking ass dude!

Guest Posts and Emails

I probably received a dozen emails from NF readers who are interested in writing guest posts for the site.  If you’ve emailed me in the past week and a half, tonight and tomorrow I’ll finally get a chance to reply.  Thanks for your patience guys…didn’t expect to be still destroyed at this point in the week.

Oh, and I go back out to sea on another cruise next Thursday…won’t nearly be as crazy as the Kid Rock Cruise though, which is nice.

So, how YOU doin?

-Steve

###

If you want to stay up to date on all rebellion news, please sign up for the RSS Feed of Nerd Fitness, get NF posts via email, or join the kick-ass conversation over on the Nerd Fitness Message Boards!

photo: lrargerich

Back on Land: Worn Out, Beat Up, and Happy.

And I’m back!

Right now it’s early Sunday evening, but when you read this I’ll be departing from Kid Rock’s Chillin’ the Most Cruise down in Tampa, FL.  This was easily the craziest cruise we’ve ever done as a company, and words cannot truly describe what happened.

Didn’t stop me from trying though!

Here’s a recap of the second day of the cruise: The Most Memorable Night in Sixthman History?

If you don’t feel like reading and you’d rather watch a video, check out this quick video I put together from the first day of the cruise:


Kid Rock Cruise Day 1 Video

End of the 2nd 28-Day Challenge

The 2nd 28-day challenge has ended!

I don’t have time while sailing to do my complete report, but I’ll get to it as quickly as possible once I’m back in Atlanta.  After slipping two weeks ago, I got back on track this week and got in all of my workouts, including one in the Tampa hotel and one at the gym on board the cruise ship.

If you participated in this 28-day challenge, please go ahead and post how things went for you on the Nerd Fitness message boards.  Instead of me picking the winners this time, I’d like the community to decide by nominating a few candidates and then voting on the winners.

This is something new, and I’m coordinating it while floating at sea, so bear with me!

As for the next challenge, we’ll take a week to recover, reevaluate, and readjust, and then we’ll start the next challenge on MAY 10th! Stay tuned for more details.

Back to Work

Updates will be back to normal on Thursday, and I’ll be sending emails to all the people who inquired about guest posting.  There are some awesome ideas in there and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to sleep in my own bed tonight…and then it’s back to work at the office tomorrow morning.

-Steve

###

Kid Rock, Guest Posts, and a Pink Tutu?

By the time you read this, I’ll be out to sea on Kid Rock’s Chillin’ the Most Cruise for my job with Sixthman.

Hell yes, I’m serious.

Honestly, although this cruise will be 5 long days of hard work, I’m really looking forward to it.  Despite my article on Monday asking everybody to make Optimus Prime proud by taking things one step at a time, I managed to do the exact opposite of that Tuesday morning and stress myself out about Nerd Fitness.  This is what happened, and how it’s hopefully going to help both of us.

Here’s what I came up with!

I Need to Relax

I’m sure this won’t surprise you, but I am one ambitious s.o.b.

I’m also quite impatient, which means that I expect things to be awesome, and I expect them to be awesome immediately.  I started Nerd Fitness fifteen months ago with a goal to help a lot of people and eventually turn it into a business.

Recently, trying to balance work, my health, Nerd Fitness the blog, and Nerd Fitness the business has been pretty damn stressful.

Burning the candles at both ends for weeks on end finally caught up to me Tuesday afternoon, when I came home from work with such a raging headache that I skipped my workout to lie down…which turned into a three hour nap.  I can’t tell you the last time a took a nap (probably years ago), so I’m fairly confident that this was my body telling me that I need to slow down and freaking relax!

What you can learn from my chaos

Do you weigh yourself daily?  Do you compare yourself to everybody around you and how they look?  Do you agonize over every meal, every skipped workout, every piece of office birthday cake you eat?  Do you stress yourself out when your weight doesn’t drop quickly enough?

I know exactly how you feel, maybe we can help each other chill the eff out.

I do the same thing to myself when it comes to this site, and it’s draining me.  I compare my site’s web traffic and subscribers to my own impatient vision of where things should be.  I have 10 projects I’m trying to all do simultaneously and getting very overwhelmed.  I stay up until all hours of the night trying to get everything done, putting my own personal health at the bottom of the list.  I spend too much time stressing about the future, instead of just enjoying the moment.

We need to be having fun with this!

I’m not making Optimus Prime proud, so I’m going to make a few small changes to try and keep my sanity.

Moving Forward

For starters, I’m going to take this cruise to disconnect for a few days from Nerd Fitness.

Luckily, I’ll be on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean with limited access to the Internet, so that shouldn’t be too difficult.  Next week, I’ll come back fully recharged and ready to start kicking some ass again.  Here are the steps I’m taking to make life less hectic:

  • Concentrate on finishing the Nerd Fitness Rebel Fitness Guide. Due to the dozen projects I’m trying to juggle simultaneously, the fitness e-book/workout plan has been pushed to the back burner.  This is absolutely the most important project on the list, so this will be pushed to the front of the queue.  Which means…
  • Other projects will be set aside until that book is done. I’ve made the decision to put Nerd Fitness t-shirts on hold for the time being.  I’ve found a local printer here in ATL who can make the shirts for very reasonable prices, and they will start handling fulfillment as well within a few months.  I know I owe some of you shirts, but don’t worry.  When they’re available you’ll get them!

Your Help

I’m putting out a request to the Nerd Fitness Community for some guest posts! I’ll still publish original articles weekly, but I want to keep this community engaged while also working on the book, so a guest post here and there will certainly help.

If you have your own blog, or if you just love writing, and you’re interested in writing a guest post for Nerd Fitness, please shoot me an email with your idea.  If it’s an idea I think worth writing about, I’ll give you the green light and you can start putting it together.

Email me at [email protected] if you have any interest, and I’ll get back to you when I’m back on dry land.  I can’t promise that I’ll approve every article or idea, but if I don’t use yours I’ll let you know ASAP so you can post it on your site or elsewhere.

Nerd Dash 2010 Update

The Warrior Dash is in 24 days, and it’s time to bring out the heavy artillery.  If we manage to raise $20,000 for Camp Sunshine, my friends will dress up in Braveheart costumes…except for me.

I will run the entire race in a pink tutu and tiara.

Humiliating? Yup. Worth it?  Absolutely. Honestly, I can’t think of a better reason to dress in a tutu than sending a bunch of kids with cancer to camp.

If you’ve already made a donation to NerdDash 2010, thank you so much. If you haven’t yet, maybe this will put you over the edge.  Every little bit counts, so even if you only donate 5 bucks, it puts us one step closer to sending another kid to camp.

Please consider making a donation today.

This might be a long shot, but might as well ask: If you work for a company that you think would be interested in becoming a corporate sponsor of Nerd Dash (with logo placement on the tutu or something, ha!) email me at [email protected] and we’ll chat.

So that’s my life.  To see how things are going on the cruise, you can follow our adventures at sixthman.net/blog.

Catch you all back on shore on Monday…if I survive.

How are YOU doing?

-Steve

###

If you liked this post, please sign up for the RSS Feed of Nerd Fitness, get NF posts daily via email, or join us on the Nerd Fitness Message Boards!

Make Optimus Prime Proud – Start Transforming Your Life

“One shall stand, one shall fall!

Growing up as a little kid, I freaking LOVED Transformers.  A toy that could start as one thing and then…wait for it….transform…into something completely different – pure brilliance.  Hey look it’s a robot dude – oh wait NO it’s a car!

What’s not to love?

Fast forward to my freshman year of college: I bonded with three new acquaintances over the original Transformers movie on DVD. I now live with one of them, the other does the graphic design work for this site, and I’ll be attending the wedding of the third in the Bahamas in June.

To say that Transformers have played a major role in my life is an understatement.

Welp, today is the day that I give back. I going to teach you how to transform your life and make Optimus Prime proud.  He’s the leader of the Autobots, he protects us from the Decepticons, and he can turn into a mack truck!  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a guy I’d want to be proud of me.

Make Small Changes, Get Big Results.

I’m going to guess that you plopped down $9.25 to watch the new Transformers movie in the theater.

Sure it was poorly acted, had a terrible plot, and often didn’t make much sense, but damn it was loud, pretty, and fun.  If you try to tell me you didn’t get goosebumps and maybe even cheer out loud the first time you saw Optimus Prime transform (low quality, sorry) then you’re lying.

Optimus is not a fan of lying.  Stop it.

Now that you’re done lying, I want you to think back to that scene – the HELL did a massive truck transform into a freaking walking and talking robot?

Easy.

One step at a time.

It wasn’t one giant move that turned Optimus from shape A to shape B – it was really just one tiny process after the other.  The front grill receded, then his headlights inverted (sounds painful, I know),  then the windshield split apart,  then the  wheels tuck under, then the sides of the truck pulled out, etc.  14 million tiny processes later, Optimus had transformed (see what I did there) from a mack truck to a robot.

You will transform in the same way:

One step at a time.

1) Transform your mind.

If you weigh a lot more than your ideal weight, you might feel like one of the tiny Optimus Primes in this picture: overwhelmed.

That journey to the ‘finish line’ feels impossibly far away, the odds against you seem enormous, and your chance of success appears to be minimal.

That mentality will get you nowhere.

Don’t think about how big the gap is between where you are now and where you want to be.  Instead, concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, starting the next step in your process, and moving a little bit closer towards closer towards that goal.

Imagine a young Optimus Prime transforming for the first time – yes I know there was never a baby Optimus (was there?), but look at the tiny Prime at the VERY top and just pretend for a minute.

He was probably pretty intimidated, right?

However, by only moving one tiny thing at a time and making only change at a time, over and over and over, he eventually reached a result that was pretty damn awesome.

You need to transform how you look at each day. Don’t say “holy crap I have 200 pounds to lose, I’m screwed!”  Instead, say “This is the new me, and I’m going to make one change this week.  And then next week I will make another change.”  And so on…

Pretty soon, you will be a newer, upgraded version of yourself.

2) Transform Your Diet.

Make small changes to your diet that you can sustain for the rest of your life.

Here’s a simple example – I used to eat Skippy peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, every day of my life, since I was probably five years old.  After learning about how unhealthy white bread is, I made the switch to wheat bread.  A month after that, I made the change from Skippy to natural peanut butter.  After reading about how many types of wheat bread contain high fructose corn syrup, I went one step further to flaxseed bread.

I know for a fact that the old Steve never would have touched a PB sandwich on flaxseed bread. However, because it was just one change (white to wheat bread), followed by another single change (Skippy to natural PB)…my picky eating habits were okay with it. Bam!  My PB sandwiches have been completely transformed.

Take that Megatron!

Try making small changes to your diet too:

  • Switch from white rice to brown rice
  • Switch from white bread to wheat bread
  • Try ONE new vegetable a week.  They won’t hurt you, I swear.
  • Slowly cut back on the number of sodas you drink daily (liquid calories are brutal, get them out of your diet!)
  • Get grilled vegetables instead of fries as your side when going out to eat this week.
  • Skip the popcorn at the movie theater when you go see Kick-Ass (who’s seen it?  How was it?)

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  A robot doesn’t become a truck in one step.  You won’t lose 100 pounds overnight.  Slowly transform your diet, make changes that you can live with, and the new YOU will have a much better chance of fighting off the Decepticons and obesity.

I like our chances against both of those enemies.

3) Transform your workout.

If you’re just getting started on your weight loss journey, I’m going to guess that the first thing you thought to do was go for a run.  Maybe after a few weeks of running and a few pounds lost, you decided to join a gym…where you spend most of your time on the treadmill or on the elliptical.

You’re not alone.

Every time I work out, I have to walk through the overcrowded treadmills, ellipticals, and machines to get to my mecca: the free weight section.  Anybody who reads this site knows that I’m a huge fan of lifting weights over just cardio, and a strong advocate of free weights over machines.  [side note: unless you’re a vampire, walking on a treadmill INSIDE when it’s 70 and sunny outside should be illegal].

Sorry Optimus, your machine brethren can’t hold a candle to free weights when it comes to building strength and stability.

Now, I know just getting started with weight lifting is scary, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing and the free-weight section is loaded with roided-up meatheads.  If you’re a girl, this section of the gym can be downright terrifying (in which case, you should take notes from Moe).

Try this out: instead of jumping headfirst into the free weight section, try taking things one exercise at a time. Every week, set aside 15 minutes to learn about a new exercise, and then spend 5 minutes in the gym incorporating it into your routine.

  • Instead of doing the leg extension machine or any sort of leg machine, do squats (and go DOWN far enough!) or lunges with dumbbells in your hands.
  • Instead of doing the chest press machine, lie down on a bench and do dumbbell presses, or try dips. Push ups work too!
  • Instead of doing the lat-pull down machine, do pull ups! Too tough? try inverted rows.

A few months of just one new exercise a week will leave you with tons of options for a full free-weight routine, a lot more knowledge about which exercises work which muscles, and far more preparation for real-world situations than the machine-trained humans around you.

Here’s another way to look at things.  If you can only do one push up right now, how the hell are you going to do 50 in a row some day?  One at a time! Do two in a row this week, try for 3 or 4 in a row next week.  If you can do just one more, each time out, you will be getting stronger.

All of these “just one more’s” eventually add up to “holy crap look what I did!”

More than meets the eye.

If you’re trying to get in shape, whether its slimming down or bulking up, I know there’s a better version of yourself hidden inside you.  The great thing about being human is that you can really transform yourself into whatever you want if you’re willing to work for it.

  • If you want to be big and strong, start lifting heavy weights and eating lots of high-quality food.
  • If you want to be a great runner, start running and get faster every day.
  • If you want to be on Ninja Warrior, start doing a million pull ups and practice your Japanese.

Whatever you want to become, if you break it down into steps and get started TODAY on that first step, you can accomplish your goals and you will transform into whatever you want.

Now, go make Optimus Prime proud.

-Steve

Warrior Dash Update: We’ve already raised 1400 dollars for Nerd Dash 2010! If you haven’t visited the site yet, please go check it out, watch the (hopefully) hilarious video, and consider making a small donation: 5 bucks, 10 bucks, whatever.

Remember, small additions can add up to huge results…like sending 4 cabins worth of kids with cancer to Camp Sunshine!

###

Here are some other popular posts that will get you motivated:

photo:isayx3, shawnwarne_60000, kelvin255revlimit , boy wonder

Announcing Nerd Dash 2010 – I Need Your Help!

So I had plans to do a much bigger post over here about this, but I really just ran out of time!

Please visit NerdDash.com for ALL of the details about our fundraiser for the Warrior Dash.  I haven’t asked for much (well, anything) while running this site for the past 15 months, so if you get a second…check out NerdDash.com and consider making a donation.  Here’s the ridiculous video I made to announce the site.  This might be career suicide on my part, and now I’ll never be able to run for president (not that I wanted to anyways), but it’s for a really good cause so I’m okay with it.

Here it is:


Nerd Dash Announcement Video

I’m really excited about this project, and I really hope I can raise the $20,000 to send 40 kids with cancer to summer camp at Camp Sunshine.

Thanks for your support guys! If you have your own blogs and websites, I’d be eternally in your debt if you gave a shout out to the NerdDash on your site.  Anything and everything is appreciated.

Oh, and a BIG THANKS to my buddy Joe for doing all the design work for the site. He’s in the process of setting up his own business, so if you need any design work done, shoot me an email and I’ll put you in touch with him.  Joe is the man!

Thank you,

Steve

Now let’s take care of these kids!

The Best Show on TV You’re Not Watching

I have a new hero, and he is a shoe salesman.

No, I’m not talking about Al Bundy.  I’m talking about Yuuji Urushihara, a humble 30-something shoe salesman from Japan.  What makes this seller of soles so great?  He’s one of the rising stars on Ninja Warrior, a biannual competition that takes place in Japan.  There have only been three champions in the tournament’s twelve year history – that’s three winners out of 2300 total attempts.

If you’re not watching this show, you are doing yourself a disservice.

What the Hell Is Ninja Warrior?

Ninja Warrior is a competition where “100 determined athletes” set out to conquer a ridiculously complex and difficult obstacle course made up of four stages.

Everybody who completes Stage 1 moves onto Stage 2, and whoever beats that moves on to Stage 3, etc.  Each stage gets progressively more grueling and exhausting.  By the time Stage 3 rolls around (at which point there are only a handful of people left), incredibly insane feats of strength and endurance are required.  It’s one of the most inspiring and spectacular shows you’ll ever watch.  Watch this quick video profiling Yuuji’s, and then let me tell you why Ninja Warrior deserves your undivided attention:


Yuuji Urushihara Ninja Warrior Profile

1. These are ordinary guys doing extraordinary things.

These aren’t overpaid athletes with steroid problems.  These aren’t hired mercenaries who compete for endorsements.

They are teachers, fisherman, firefighters, students, gas station attendants, and SHOE SALESMEN who compete because they love challenge.  Despite the normalcy of their day jobs, Ninja Warrior competitors are some of the most well-conditioned athletes I’ve ever seen.  Due to the unique openness of the competition; anybody can attempt to qualify, and anybody can win.  This year’s victory is equivalent to a no-name Macy’s employee qualifying for and winning the US Open in Golf, except with less man-boobs (sorry Phil).

Every once and a while there are some famous Olympic or professional athletes that attempt to conquer Ninja Warrior, and 100 times out of 100 they go home empty handed.  It must be humbling for an gold medalist to fall on Stage 1 and then watch as a 30-something shoe peddler go on to “achieve total victory.”  I can’t think of a better example to show that anything is truly possible if you are willing to work for it.

Even if you sell shoes.

2. These athletes train with purpose.

Ever since I started watching Ninja Warrior a few years back, I have developed a serious man-crush on Makoto Nagano (pictured).

This humble fisherman was the 2nd Grand Champion of Ninja Warrior back in the 17th tournament and has since become the leader of the “Ninja Warrior All-Stars.”  He’s built like a machine, trains like a machine, and it shows.  Look at his picture, and then think about how he probably trains.  Which one of these sounds right?

  • A) “Well, I go to a gym once or twice a week, if I’m not feeling lazy.  I hop on the treadmill for a few minutes, I go do a few bicep curls, and then I work on my abs.  I almost broke a sweat this time – what a workout!”
  • B) “I wake up at dawn on my fishing boat out in the middle of the ocean.  I climb the various ropes attached the mast, up and down, until my arms are ready to fall off.  After putting in a full day of work, I dock my ship, come home and train on my homemade ninja warrior obstacle course until midnight so that I can prepare for the newest obstacles on Stage 3.  I need to train harder.”

As Mark Twight, the trainer who prepared the actors for their roles in 300, explains: “Appearance is a consequence of fitness.” If you spend your time working to become harder, better, faster, stronger, you will absolutely start to look better as a result.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to looking good, but make sure you are training with purpose to get there.  Every day in the gym should be an improvement in some way (even if by only one pound or one second) over the previous day.

Here’s a video profiling the man, the myth, the fisherman – Makoto Nagano:

Makoto Nagano Profile

3. They support each other.

I have never seen this level of camaraderie among such fierce competitors. Before taking on Stage 3 in this most recent competition, Yuuji was asked by a reporter what he was looking forward to after the tournament ended.  I can’t remember the exact quote, but it went something like “well, the tournament is great, but I’m really looking forward to continuing the great friendships I’ve made since joining Ninja Warrior.”  AWWWWWW.  And then to top it all off, after his run this year, a humble Yuuji simply remarked, “I owe all of my success to the competitors who came before me.  Without them this wouldn’t have been possible, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Yuuji, could you BE any more humble?

Here’s another great example of compassion – although Makoto Nagano was knocked out in the first round of Ninja Warrior 23, he stuck around to watch his friend Toshihiro Takeda, a fire fighter, take on the third stage.  When Toshihiro’s arms finally gave out and he fell into the water, a quick-cut to Nagano showed tears streaming down his face.

That’s how badly these guys want each other to win.

The men and women who compete in Ninja Warrior are all trying to better themselves.  When it’s not their turn, they become each others loudest and more encouraging supporters.  Hmmm, a group of people who are collectively trying to better their lives and elevate those around them…sounds verrrrry familiar.

4. They don’t whine when things don’t go their way.

Ninja Warrior is so enjoyable to watch because everyone competes on the same course with the same rules.  There are no referees to screw up a call, no teammate to use as a scapegoat, no “unlucky bounce” to blame a loss on.  After watching any other professional sport where multi-millionaires bitch and moan about ridiculous things, it’s a breath of fresh air to watch a competition completely devoid of that crap.  I don’t care what they say Ninja Warrior athletes are the ones who do it “for the love of the game.”

Imagine training every waking moment for a competition that happens only once every six months. During your first run, you finger slips accidentally 30 seconds in and suddenly you’re done.  I don’t know about you, but I would start letting the expletives fly.

Not these guys.

Considering how hard they train and how badly they want to succeed, it’s pretty incredible to watch an interview after somebody has just fallen.  The loser never says “I got unlucky” or “that shouldn’t have been there.”  It’s always something like this:

“I am disappointed, I guess I should have trained harder.  I will do better next time.”

Ain’t that the truth.  Sometimes you have bad luck; sometimes sh** happens.  Dwelling on it isn’t going to do anybody any good, so why bother?  Suck it up, move on, and start training for the next one.

Go Set Your DVR. Now.

I love this show, I love these competitors, I love how freaking inspired I get after every episode. If you have cable, run to your TV right now and set your DVR to record Ninja Warrior (it’s on G4TV, the nerd channel).  Re-runs of old episodes are shown pretty much every day, so you really have no excuse.  No cable?  YouTube Ninja Warrior, and kiss the rest of your afternoon goodbye.

If you’re REALLY crazy, G4 is currently hosting a competition this summer that will send a few Americans to compete on the next Ninja Warrior.  Who knows, maybe in a few years you’ll see me on Ninja Warrior…getting my ass kicked by a shoe salesman.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go do some pull ups.

-Steve

###

NF Site Update: T-Shirts, Warrior Dash, And Steve’s Life

Busy is good.

All kinds of crazy things are happening over here at NF Headquarters these days, so I figured today would be a great opportunity to bring you up to date: t-shirts, warrior dashes, my hectic life, and more info about the NF Rebel Fitness Guide (not fully operational).

Nerd Fitness T-Shirts!

Screen shot 2010-04-15 at 7.50.41 AM

After months of planning and 80,000 hours spent in design (not really), I’m ready to unveil the first official Nerd Fitness t-shirt!  Purdy, ain’t she?  I wanted to keep things basic, understated, and still remain kick-ass.  My initial plan was to go through a fulfillment company that would handle everything other than design for me.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a place that didn’t have unreasonably high prices, which doesn’t work for me or for you.  Here’s the new plan:

  • Plan A: order a few dozen t-shirts at a time through a local printer here in Atlanta
  • Plan B: order them from my back-up printer online if Plan A falls through

Once I actually have the shirts in hand, I’ll be sending them out via the Pony Express (that still exists, right?) whenever I get a few orders.  This really isn’t the most efficient way to do things, but it’s absolutely the most cost-effective way for me to handle things to start.

How Much? I haven’t determined the final price yet, have to wait on Plan A or Plan B, but I’m guessing it’s going to be something like 20 bucks with free-shipping – I just want to keep things simple.  I’d love to be able to charge less, but at the moment I just can’t afford to order in mass quantity yet.

Plans? Hopefully by next week I should be able to start accepting pre-orders (would help me with ordering if I knew your size and if you were ready to put up the 20 bucks to buy one).

Other Designs? Don’t worry – this is just the beginning.  I definitely plan on creating other shirts down the road too, this is just the one that will get the ball rolling.

Warrior Dash

Remember a few months back when I announced that my friends and I were all going to compete in the Southeastern Warrior Dash on May 22nd? Well, I’m getting close to announcing our official plans on how we plan to make complete asses of ourselves and raise some money for a great cause! Expect a full-blown announcement on Monday, but it’ll be something like this:

  • Steve announces fundraiser for kick-ass charity
  • Steve announces the amount of money he’d like to raise, broken down into 5 levels.
  • Steve announces 5 awesome/ridiculous costumes.
  • Depending on the amount of money raised for said charity, Steve and his friends will wear the awesome/ridiculous costume that corresponds to that amount.
  • Everybody wins.

Sounds like this race is going to be a LOT of fun, and I HATE running!  Plus, it’s for a cause that I think everybody will have no problem supporting.  Monday people, monday!

NF Message Boards

Wow.

In the six weeks since officially launching the Nerd Fitness Message Boards, we’ve had 2500+ posts, 325+ topics, and 185+ members join.  It’s honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of – nerds helping nerds, people answering each others questions, offering up encouragement, engaging in debate, and holding each other accountable for reaching their goals.

It’s awesome.

I’d like to draw your attention to my favorite post from this past week, written by DanBell.  He makes a great point that we’re all different kinds of nerds (hell, even the “cool kids” are nerds on the inside) and we’re all just trying to become better people.  I know these boards have helped me improve my life, and I know they’re helping others do the same.

If you haven’t signed up and and want to join the conversation, we’d love to have you.

Other News and Notes

Here’s what else is going on in my life:

  • I updated the About page here on the site. Check it out, and you can see a picture of me with a poodle for some reason, my favorite movie, tv shows, desired super powers, some of my hobbies, and why I got this site started.  Good times!
  • I finished filming all of the exercises for the NF Rebel Fitness Guide. Writing for the guide is progressing slower than I had expected, but I’m still plugging away.  I’m hoping it will be ready to go by next month!
  • I started my online $100 small business seminar with Chris Guillebeau and Pam Slim on Monday! I’m really looking forward to learning from these two how to successfully launch the fitness guide, develop a good system for selling t-shirts, and have a good direction for redesigning the website.
  • I’ll be spending my birthday in the Bahamas – two of my best friends from college are getting married on Harbour Island in the Bahamas on June 19th, which happens to also be my birthday!  A big group of my friends rented a house there for half a week, and I couldn’t be more excited.
  • I’m writing like crazy - I have a few guest posts in the works for some other websites, I have my next few article ideas lined up for this site, and I’m hauling ass to finish up this Fitness Guide.

How Are You?

So that’s my life – very busy, very short on sleep, and very happy.

How are you?  What’s going on in your world?  Any interest in a t-shirt?

-Steve

###

If you want to stay up to date on all rebellion news, please sign up for the RSS Feed of Nerd Fitness, get NF posts via email, or join the kick-ass conversation over on the Nerd Fitness Message Boards!

The 11 Rules of The Nerd Fitness Rebel Army

Welcome to the Rebellion, my friend.

With all this talk of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, Rebel HQ, Rebel Army, etc., I realized that I hadn’t exactly established what we’re rebelling against or what we stand for as a group.  No more!

Below are the eleven…commandments? rules? regulations? that make up the core of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. I apologize for the length of this article, but this is going to become a cornerstone of the NF philosophy so I wanted to lay it all out there and get your opinion.

Let’s get started.

#1. We don’t care where you came from, only where you’re going.

400 pounds overweight? Welcome aboard.

50 pounds underweight? Glad to have you.

This army doesn’t care where you came from or how you got here, as we all have different backgrounds, genetics, social statuses, and commitments.  Like creating a random character in a role playing game, we’re all “dealt a hand” that we had absolutely no control over – it’s now up to us to play that hand to the best of our ability.   We ask that you don’t complain about your past, and don’t use it as an crutch.

Don’t make excuses, offer solutions.

Everybody has baggage they’re dealing with (sh** happens, remember?) – luckily this is a kick-ass group of people pushing each other to level up our lives.  We figure out what went wrong, and then we work together to find a way to fix it.

#2. When you join, you’re in for life.

None of this “dieting for three weeks” crap and then going back to the way things were.  We promote permanent changes that can be sustained for the rest of your life; slow and steady will almost always win out over quick and easy.  Small changes on a daily basis can add up to incredible changes over time if you allow the momentum to carry you forward.

The rebellion is where the light is. Don’t fear it – embrace it.  If your friends won’t join you on your mission, then you’ll have to lead by example until they decide to follow.  It’s a heavy burden to bear, but one that will absolutely make your life more fulfilling.  You may be an army of one in real life, but here on this website you have over 1000 brothers and sisters who have your back, and a leader who wants nothing more than for you to succeed.

#3. We train as naturally as possible.

Bench press machines, squat machines, ab machines, inner thigh machines – forget them.

These are tools created by the empire to lull the uninformed public into a false sense of security. Weight machines only work your muscles in a straight line – forward and back, up and down, etc.  Because of this, there is NO opportunity for your muscles to build up stability and balance that you would get from using dumbbells, free weights, and body weight exercises.  You’re pretty much training your muscles for situations that don’t really exist.

Because of this, when you DO need to use these movements in life, your body isn’t prepared and you get injured.  Suck!  Luckily, stuff like this doesn’t happen around here because we train for the real world by training with real world movements.  It’s going to require some research on your part, but don’t be afraid of the free weights – they will keep you injury free, more in balance, and far stronger.  This is true for both men and women (pssst, ladies – here’s why you should lift heavy) Here are some changes you can make:

  • Don’t do squats in the smith machine, take the time to learn to do a real squat with the bar across your shoulders.
  • Don’t use a bench press machine, do some dumbbell chest presses or push ups (even if you have to do them on your knees).
  • Don’t do lat pull downs, do pull ups instead. If you can’t do pull ups, do inverted rows or assisted pull ups.

Here’s my complete stance on weights vs. machines.

#4. We understand that you can’t outrun your fork.

If you don’t change what you eat and how much you eat, there’s no amount of exercise that will get you where you want to be.

What we put into our system is 80% of the battle (sorry G.I. Joe) and will determine how successful we will be on the battlefield of life.  This is why the first thing that must change when joining the NF Rebellion is your diet.

Now, I’m not talking about switching to all salads and water, but I am talking about making small calculated changes to what you eat over a long period of time.  We understand that although the total number of calories we eat certainly impacts our health (eating less will make you lose weight), WHAT we eat is just as important, if not more so:

#5. We understand that fat is NOT the enemy.

Fake foods, sugar, high fructose corn-syrup, and simple carbs are the enemy, and here’s why.  We’re rebelling against the notion that low-fat meals are healthy for you, “healthy choice” meals loaded with chemicals are somehow good for you, and fat is bad for you.  The government has been telling us for years that fat is the enemy, and it clearly isn’t true.

What’s sad is the government and FDA know it, they’re either too stubborn or too scared to admit it.

Here’s my stance on fat, carbs, and food in general: How to Lose Weight Without Doing a Minute of Exercise.

#6. We train with conviction and intelligence.

When exercising, we have a plan for what we’re going to do, and we know how hard we need to push ourselves to be better than the day before.

Then, we do it.

The “do a few bicep curls, walk on a treadmill for three hours, and talk on my cell phone the whole time” doesn’t work for me.  Get in, take care of business, and get out.  If you’re going to the gym, you should leave drenched in sweat, knowing that you gave it your all.  If you’re going for a run today, you’re going to run at least one second faster than you did the day before.

Make sure you don’t suck at working out.

Plan out who you want to be, and work every day to become that person.  I have NO doubt in my mind that if you’re willing to dedicate yourself to the cause, you will accomplish your goals.

Settling is not an option, so don’t even bother trying to justify it.

#7. We exercise because it’s fun.

If the idea of spending two hours on a treadmill sounds like hell to you, don’t do it!  If you don’t like lifting weights (after giving it a FAIR CHANCE), don’t do it!  Find something that makes you happy, gets your heart pumping, and will keep you in shape.  There is something out there for everybody, so keep searching and keep pushing until you find something that drives you to succeed.

Luckily, because our diet is responsible for 80% of our success, this exercise is just the really enjoyable icing on the cake.  Yoga, karate, ultimate Frisbee, cycling, Belegarth, whatever it is – find it, and do it. A lot.

#8. We never leave our wingmen.

We’re all in this together, and we’re here to support each other.

Although we have friendly competitions on the site to see who can get in shape the fastest or lose the most weight over a certain amount of time, it’s all in good fun.  We have over 170 members now on the Nerd Fitness message boards, and everybody is extremely supportive of each other.

If you are training with friends in real life or online, pick them up when they’re down, motivate them when they’re tired, push them when they need encouragement, and yell when they need tough love.  They’ll do the same for you one day, and we’ll all be better off because of it.

Never leave your wingman.

#9. We question everything.

Just because the FDA says it’s good for you doesn’t mean that it’s true.  Just because you heard it on TV or read it in a magazine doesn’t mean it’s true.  Hell, just because it’s on Nerd Fitness doesn’t mean it’s true either!

I promise to continue researching every article and testing things on myself before I present my findings, but I’m just one man doing what I can with my limited time, experience, and resources.  I’m no expert, I certainly make mistakes, and I’m sure new studies will come out in the future that will make me rethink my stance on certain things.  However, I’m going to do my best to give you both sides of the story and then tell you my thoughts before opening the floor for discussion.

This is probably my favorite “both sides of the coin” article I’ve ever written: Is Barefoot Running Better For You?.

Nerd Fitness and the Rebellion exist to open our minds to a whole new world (You’re damn right I linked to Aladdin) of possibilities.  It’s then up to us to take what we’ve learned, question it, and find a way to apply it to our lives.

#10. We take care of business

Anybody who says they don’t have time for exercise is either lying or lazy. However, I don’t encourage people to shirk their other more important duties to make time.  You just need to get creative.

If you’re a gamer, keep gaming (unless your addiction has become truly unhealthy).  If you’re a family man, you better put your kid’s soccer game before a trip to the gym.  We all have things that we love in life, that are important to us, that make us who we are.  As long as these things aren’t detrimental to our health, then I encourage you to keep doing them.

Your exercise and diet can become part of what you are, but not at the expense of who you are.

#11. We take pride in ourselves.

Too many people blame their unfortunate situation on the government, the weather, their genetics, global warming, the economy, their parents, etc.  Not us.  We don’t expect anything to be handed to us on a silver platter; we are not owed anything by anybody.  We know that we can get in great shape without a gym membership, using just our body weight as resistance.  We want to be better people, we want to be stronger and healthier people, and we know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination to get there.

We welcome the challenge.

I want to be the best damn Steve Kamb that I can be, and part of that means I need to be in the best shape of my life and help others to do the same.  I’m building an army of incredibly intelligent, efficient, informed, and fit nerds.  Don’t worry Mom, when we take over we’ll be using our powers for good, inspiring others to transform their own lives.

Ultimately, we just want to make Optimus Prime proud.

So…

These are the eleven most important rebel rules that I can think of.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments on which ones you agree with, disagree with, and what I left out.

After that, I only have one question left:

Are you in?

-Steve

###

How to Cook Steve’s Go-To Healthy Meal

I’m about as useless in a kitchen as a chef is with a lightsaber.

Actually, that sounds awesome, so I’m way more useless than that.

I’m a picky eater, I don’t know how to cook anything, and I’m an impatient S.O.B.  Honestly, I’d much rather play video games than spend an hour in the kitchen making some delicious creation.  I imagine I’m not the only nerd who feels this way, right?

Now, as a 25 year-old living with college buddies, my options for dining are severely limited – go out and pick up something, eat in at a restaurant, or find a way to eat something at home.  Because eating out is expensive and usually unhealthy, I learned how to make a few meals that are quick, cheap, and easy.  [Insert immature joke here about "quick, cheap, and easy"].

teeheehee.

Steve’s Go-To Meal

Chicken, brown rice, and asparagus.

Win.

Protein, veggies, and a pretty dang good carbohydrate.  I went ahead and tried to film myself preparing the meal.  This might be a waste of time for most of you, but hopefully there are a few other clueless nerds out there who will get some use out of this.  Just a heads up, it’s kind of long – about 6 and a half minutes, but it’s worth a watch if you’re a complete n00b in the kitchen.

Yeah, I know there are ways to make this healthier, more complex, etc.  I wanted to keep it RIDICULOUSLY simple to start, and then you can start messing around with other options after that once you’re used to actually cooking yourself a meal.  Here we go:


Steve Cooks…Seriously

In case you can’t watch the video, here’s what I cover:

What to Buy

  • Tyson Frozen chicken tenderloins – Yeah, I know it’s not organic free-range, blah blah blah.  If you’re strapped for cash and need protein, a bag of these tenderloins is a perfect source and only like 8 bucks at any store.
  • 10 minute Boil-In-A-Bag brown rice – doesn’t get much easier than this.  Yeah you can go with a rice steamer, buy organic brown rice, etc.  However, if you’re new to this whole cooking thing this is a good way to get started.  Remember, brown rice – good. White rice – bad.
  • Asparagus - buy it in a bundle/bushel? at your supermarket.
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray – you can go with regular olive oil, but the spray just makes things so much easier.
  • Garlic powder – hit up the spices aisle in your supermarket, and look for one of these
  • Ground pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil

How to Cook It

Once you have all of your ingredients, it’s time to get started.  Here ya go:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and wait for it to get to the right temp.
  2. Wash your asparagus and dry off with a paper towel.
  3. Put down a piece of tinfoil on a cookie sheet, and lay out the tenderloins on the foil.  Spray both sides of each piece with the olive oil spray.  Sprinkle the garlic poder, ground pepper, and sea salt on the chicken, then stick it in the oven for 33 minutes.
  4. Put a pot of water on to boil.
  5. Pull the chicken out of the oven and stop the timer when there are 13 minutes still left.
  6. Take your asparagus, and break off the bottom of each ‘stem’ – if you grab towards the bottom, you’ll feel where it’s supposed to break.
  7. Put them on the cookie sheet next to the chicken, and spray again with olive oil spray.  Use your hands to roll the asparagus so they’re well coated with the stuff.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  8. Put the chicken and asparagus back in the oven, and restart the timer.  Drop your bag of brown rice right into the boiling water on the stove.
  9. With 3 minutes left on the oven timer, your rice is done.  Carefully empty the pot in your sink, then open the bag, and empty onto a plate.
  10. When the chicken and asparagus is done, put it on the plate with your rice, and EAT.

Thoughts?

Photo on 2010-04-07 at 21.21 #3I honestly have no clue how this is going to be received, but I figure we’re all friends here right?  I think it’d be good to have half a dozen meals on here so everybody knows how to make at least a few meals that are healthy.  In the future I should have some camera help so it’s not as awkward…can’t promise I’ll be any less of a tool though (exhibit A is pictured to the right).

I need your help though.  As I said in the video, I don’t know how to cook much, and because I’m a picky eater I don’t vary my meals that much.  I bet there are a few of you out there who LOVE to cook though, and probably know how to make some great healthy dishes.

If you’re one of those people, I’d really appreciate it if you posted your healthy recipe over on the Nerd Fitness Message Boards under the recipes section.  The Rebel Army is counting on you – proper nutrition is a key component of world domination (or so I’ve been told).  Maybe some day we can put out a NF cookbook.

A boy can dream…

Alright, let’s hear it. More food? No more food? Got some food ideas you want to share with the rest of the rebel army?  Hook a brother up!

-Steve

###

photo: Arbon

Previous Next View Archive