My Upcoming Plans for World Domination

Yup, the next two months are going to be effing crazy.

Remember a few weeks back when I said that “everything happens for a reason”? It’s true.  I just had one of the busiest, most productive, and inspiring weekends of my life, and I’m really excited to share it with you.  The next few months of my life are going to be probably busier than they’ve ever been, and I can’t wait to dive right in.

Let’s go over what’s happening in my life these days.  Sorry for this post being kind of long – if you have to browse, read the first section “Rebel Fitness Guide” and the last section “Help Me Nerd Fitness Readers.”  I REALLY need your feedback on this.

Rebel Fitness Guide

This past Tuesday, I received a phone call from my mentor/yoda/fitness guru Mike Rickett. He told me that he was going to be in town this weekend and asked if I wanted to get together Thursday night to workout and grab some dinner.  Considering I would have been on a cruise had my vacation worked out and never got this phone call, I had a hunch that something great was going to come out of this meeting.

I was right.

After exercising with Mike, I shared a plan with him that I had been working on for months – a day-by-day fitness guide for Nerd Fitness readers.  I told him that I get tons of emails from people looking for super-specific advice on how to get in shape – what exercises, how many sets and reps, what kind of warm-up and cool down.  I explained that I had the passion and desire to help, I just didn’t feel comfortable creating workout routines for readers that would produce results because I didn’t have enough experience in training individuals.

I asked Mike if he was interested in creating some fitness routines for Nerd Fitness (backed by his 27 years of experience), which I could then nerdify and turn into a kick-ass guide. 

His eyes lit up and said “hell yeah, let’s do this.”

Mike and I spent two hours yesterday at a local park filming and shooting myself doing all of the exercises that we’ll be using in the guide – no gym necessary.  The only equipment I used was a set of dumbbells and some resistance bands, both of which I picked up at Walmart yesterday morning for CHEAP.  I wanted to introduce you all to Mike so you know where the information is coming from.  I trust him with my life, which is why I trust him to help you turn yours around.  This video was shot on the back porch of Nerd Fitness HQ (my apartment) in Atlanta, GA:


Mike Rickett and Steve talk Rebel Fitness Guide

As of right now, this is what we expect to have in the plan:

  • Three or four 4-week, day-by-day, exercise-by-exercise guides, each increasing in difficulty.
  • A few interviews in mp3 format between Mike and Steve discussing tips and tricks on how to best get in shape
  • A full diet plan, including insight from Mike and Steve on methods that will get results if you stick with it.
  • Videos, pictures, and description of every exercise used.
  • Full 100% money back guarantee.  If it doesn’t work for you, I will give you all of your money back.
  • No gym required – just your surroundings and some exercise bands and/or dumbbells.

That’s where we’re at currently. After fifteen months of writing for this site daily, I felt like this weekend seemed like the right time to take it to the next level by creating a product for sale that will provide people with a great way to get in shape.

Don’t worry, if you have absolutely no desire in buying this product or can’t afford it now, nothing else is going to change.  I’ll still be writing two articles a week, I’ll still be spending way too much time over on the Nerd Fitness Rebellion Headquarters, and I’ll still answer all of your emails (when I have time, sorry for the delays).  Hell, I’m even going to try and do more videos so you can get to know me more.  More pictures on the site too…get some personality up in this site.

This product is a long time in the making, it just took this weekend for it to finally come together.  I’m really excited about it and I really think it can help quite a few people turn their lives around.  Expect a lot more information and updates coming up in the near future.

New Design

Rebellion_CSo yeah, how BAD ASS is that new NF logo and color scheme?

I’ve probably spent a good seven hours (slight exaggeration) just staring at it because it’s so damn good looking.  When I told my friend Joe to help me design an NF logo with the rebellion in it, I never expected it to look THIS good.  Joe, you’re the freaking man, thanks.

Joe even redid the artwork for my Facebook Fan Page too. If you’re not a fan on there already, you definitely should be, because it would make me happy.  I’m going to work on incorporating this artwork and color scheme more into the blog on a short term basis until I can get the site fully redesigned, which should start happening in the next few months.

I’ll also be working with Joe to design some t-shirts that will be heavily influenced by this artwork. Unfortunately, the shirt plan has taken longer than expected to get off the ground, but I think I’ve found a solution that will keep costs down and allow me to actually afford to get the process started.

Stay tuned.

28-Day Challenge Winners

Last month, we had our first ever 28-Day Challenge, and to say it was a success is an understatement. I finally got a chance to read over everybody’s threads and picked my two winners.  Actually, I narrowed down to about four or five possible winners, after spending hours last night reading everybody’s stories and agonizing over the decision, and then had to pick two winners out of a hat because I just couldn’t decide.  Congrats to “Brendaisbored” and “RobotRogue” for winning the 1st ever 28-day Challenge!

  • Brenda managed to lose almost 8 pounds, most of which came in the last two weeks after switching her diet to be mostly Paleo.  She also bought a bike for the first time ever, discovered her passion for riding, lost a few inches off her waist, and blew straight past her goals of exercising three times a week.  Booyah.
  • RobotRogue has lost 13 pounds since March 4th (hope you don’t mind, I stole your stats from DailyBurn!), can now do four pull ups, and nearly completed all of his goals by the end of the month despite starting 10 days later than every else.  Freaking awesome.

Brenda and Robot, email me with your addresses and whenever I finally get around to making t-shirts (I swear they’re coming), I’ll be sending them to you.

The Next 28-Day Challenge

That’s right, people had so much fun with the first one that I had to do another one!  There are already 20 people signed up for the next challenge on the Message Boards here, so join the party!  There will be two more winners this month (who will get a NF t-shirt), but I have no idea how I’m going to pick them – if you guys have any ideas let me know…not that spending eight hours agonizing over message board posts isn’t the best use of my time, but I think we can do better.   I’m open to any idea that doesn’t require me to do what I had to go through last night.

Here are my goals for the next 28-days:

  • Gain another 5 pounds – It worked for me last month, let’s do it again – 5 pounds of muscle gain!
  • Work out 3 days a week – gonna stick with my plan from last time, heavy strength and power training to pack on some muscle.
  • Don’t fall apart! Honestly, the next two months of my life are going to be chaotic (and amazing).  I’ll be launching a new event at work, going on two cruises for work, attending three weddings, redesigning this site, taking a month long online seminar starting next Monday, launching the Nerd Fitness t-shirt line, launching and running a fundraiser for the Warrior Dash (details coming soon), and creating, building, promoting, and selling the Rebel Fitness Guide.  How I plan to fit sleeping, working out, and eating in there, I have no clue.

If you want to join in on the madness this month, head over to the Nerd Fitness Message Boards, and start a new thread with 2 or 3 things you hope to accomplish by May 3rd.

Help Me Nerd Fitness Readers, You’re My Only Hope.

Yeah, life is gonna get a little nuts until probably the end of June, and I’m fired up about it.  As you can see I’ll be quite busy, so if my email responses take longer than normal, please bear with me.  I do want your help though, specifically pertaining to the Rebel Fitness Guide:

  • What isn’t in this guide that you would like to see? 4 months worth of workouts, a full diet plan, videos of every exercise that you’ll be doing, and a 100% money back guarantee.  What else do you want in there?
  • How much do you think we should charge for it? I have a rough estimate in my head, but I want to see what it would be worth to you considering how much is going in it.
  • What should we call it?  Right now I’m going with Rebel Fitness Guide, but I’m not attached to it.  If you have any other suggestions, let me know!

PLEASE leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the guide and how we can make it the best effing thing you’ve ever bought.

For the Rebellion,

Steve

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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!

Meet Moe: The Powerlifting Gamer Girl You Didn’t Know Existed.

A few weeks back, a gamer/graphic designer by the name of “MoePower” found her way onto the Nerd Fitness Message Boards, and talked about how she got into the best shape of her life by lifting heavy weights.

ilovenerdsConsidering I get a few emails a week from female readers who either don’t want to lift weights because they’re afraid of getting bulky or just don’t consider lifting when it comes to losing weight, I was ecstatic to hear Moe’s story.  She was nice enough to answer a few questions for the first ever female Nerd Fitness reader spotlight!

Steve: Hey Moe, thanks for taking the time to answer a few nerdy questions!  Now, have you always been interested in fitness? Describe a typical day of exercise for you before you started lifting weights?

Moe: My interest in fitness throughout my life sort of varies from here to there. I was in to all kinds of activities as a kid but as a teenager, I became very stagnant. In High School I started gaming a lot more and I fell really far into an Anime fandom that consumed my life for several years. I started gaining weight because I just sat on my butt all the time and ate fast food.

It hadn’t been till now that I realized how chubby I was back then.

My exercise was button mashing my Playstation controller.  In college, I managed to drop close to 120lbs by simply not eating more than maybe once or twice a day.  I was very unhealthy and I could barely walk up the steps to my room without feeling exhausted.  When I DID start going to the gym though, I was nothing but a hamster…running on the treadmill for hours at a time because I thought that’s what women did to lose weight.  I saw no progress and was actually GAINING weight because I found myself eating more to make up for the lost energy spent constantly running.

Steve: That seems to be the belief from many females (and a LOT of dudes) out there who are looking to get in shape: just spend hours on the treadmill or elliptical and hope for the best.  Fast forward to today – what’s a normal day like for you now in the gym? What kind of changes have you seen in your physique since switching to your new program?

Moe: A normal day for me in the gym consists of mostly weight training that focuses on certain parts of my body. A really simple outline of my current schedule follows something like this:

  • Sunday: Chest & Cardio
  • Monday: Off Day
  • Tuesday: Triceps & Shoulders
  • Wednesday: Heavy Leg Day & Abs
  • Thursday: Back & Biceps
  • Friday: Cardio & Abs
  • Saturday: Light Leg Day

Once every few months, I’ll take a week off to really give my body a good rest. As for my physique, it has seen some really amazing progress from following a good weight training program and eating healthy. I’m stronger, first and foremost, which is what I was focusing on. Gaining muscle for a female is more difficult, naturally, then it is for a man. I’ve been at it for a good year and a half and I still have a LONG way to go before I tell myself “okay, it’s time to lean down.” There are hints of muscle on my body…my arms are more firm and my butt is definitively more perky thanks to walking lunges! However, I’m most proud of my back. I also find it has improved my posture. My weight hasn’t really changed much from the day that I started. I just simply replaced the fat with muscle. I am not afraid to tell you that I weigh 130lbs!

Steve: Congrats Moe, that’s awesome!  Were you scared on your first day going into the free weight section with all the beefcake dudes?

Moe: I. WAS. PETRIFIED. Thankfully, I had my fiance with me to ease my fears, but on the days he didn’t go with me, I couldn’t help but feel like I was being stared at like a lost puppy who had accidentally found her way into a big dogs only club.  The actual gym itself made a big difference too because it is a very popular gym in our area that we were new to at the time and I didn’t quite know my way around the machines or free-weights yet.

I was literally tossed into a snake pit.

I remember this one time…I sat down at a machine and not a second later some jerk came up to me and goes “ARE YOU DONE YET!? I HAVE TO USE THAT!” like I was just sitting there keeping the seat warm for him. It made me so insanely nervous then. Now (and I hate to toot my own horn) the guys in the weight room are so used to seeing me in there every day that they don’t dare talk to me disrespectfully because they know I’m serious.

Steve: That’s okay, please toot away.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.  Um, moving on!  So, did you have any reservations about lifting weights and “getting too bulky” like most women?

Moe: I did.  I think every woman who wonders about lifting weights gets scared because they don’t want to turn out looking like the She-Hulk and sounding like Arnold Schwarzenegger on helium.

However, that’s where the personal research I did came in handy. I ran across a lot of great articles on bodybuilding.com and read every single “Women’s Transformation Of The Week” interviews and they all looked fantastic! The consistent thing, sans the clean eating, was that all of these women lifted weights! Not only that but they lifted HEAVY weights! Women just simply aren’t going to get beastly and bulky from lifting weights. Our bodies aren’t naturally made to be that way. Some women may be thicker or skinnier than others, but the scary women you see that look and sound like men? They use anabolic steroids. On a similar note, a good documentary on steroid use in America is called Bigger, Stronger, Faster (Steve: this is an Affiliate Link).  I recommend that everyone watch it, but especially my friends who ask me about such subjects.

Steve: Great point Moe – it’s really really tough to get TOO bulky as either a guy OR a girl unless that’s what you’re specifically working towards.  What would you say to the female NF readers out there who are hesitant to start lifting weights?

Moe: Don’t be afraid of the free-weights! Do your research, know the good stuff from the B.S. and just get in there and go!  Steve has a LOT of information in his articles and NF is a great place for anyone to start.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most trainers or assistants at your gym will teach you how to use the equipment properly if that is what scares you.  Ignore the dumb dudes who may eye you a little. That sort of comes with the territory unfortunately, but you have to realize that guys do that to other guys too!

Start off easy and work your way up. Get to know what weight work best for you for each exercise. You want to make sure that you are giving your muscles a good workout, but don’t use too much weight so that you end up hurting yourself. There really is no reason that women and men shouldn’t do the same exercises…the only difference should be the amount of weight. There are some things that I don’t do, however.  I find that side-bends tend to make women look wider…especially if they carry their weight in the belly section.  I also never use the Inner Thigh machine!  Some women, such as myself, tend to carry their weight in the thigh area. If you are building muscle faster than you are losing the fat, you’re just making it seem thicker.

Fellow ladies, if you want to lose your cellulite – LIFT WEIGHTS!

Steve: Have you noticed a difference in the way people treat you now as opposed to before you started working out and getting fit?

preprom

Moe: Definitely. It’s sort of been like a double-edge sword, interestingly enough (though a lot more positive than negative). I never really had a boyfriend in High School and didn’t even get asked to my prom which, at the time, didn’t bug me so much (This is a pic of me from High School). Now that I look back on it, I regret not going and realized that the reason boys didn’t like me was because I really didn’t take care of myself! I was just the girl that “drew those Japanese cartoons”. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve had a chance to reunite with some old friends and schoolmates and have gotten some really nice feedback. On the other hand, I’ve gotten remarks such as “How can you live like that?” or “How can you eat the way you do?”. I just tell people that I don’t do it for others, I do it for myself and for my health. There are certain health issues that run on my Mother’s side of the family (Type 2 Diabetes being the biggest), so I’m really trying now to prevent any long-term health issues as I get older.

I’ll be bench pressing when I’m 80 if I can help it!

Steve: That would be amazing.  Now, you met your fiancee in the coolest, nerdiest way possible – how did it go down?

me&mikeMoe: Some years ago, he and I used to belong to the same internet gaming forum. We knew OF each other and played Halo 2 a few times on Xbox Live with our mutual forum buddies, but that was the extent of it. One summer, the members of the forum all decided to meet up and have a huge LAN party. That is when we met for the first time face to face…and he and I, at that point, had some negative feelings towards each other because I thought he was kind of a jerk. During that weekend, we ended up talking and worked out our differences.

Some time later, we decided to try and have a relationship. Problem was, he lived in Louisiana and I lived in Maryland. My previous relationship was long distance which sucked, so I really didn’t want to get into another. He ended up doing a college-related internship in Virginia Beach and stayed with our mutual friend which was perfect. Every weekend he would drive up to see me or I would drive down to see him (5 -7 hour drive depending on traffic). In December of 07, a few months after his Internship was up, he asked me to marry him…so I packed up my stuff and moved to Louisiana! We are FINALLY getting married on April 15th this year in New Orleans! (Yes, April 15th is Tax Day…)

Steve: Congratulations!  I’m definitely sending you an elaborate wedding gift (read: a Nerd Fitness t-shirt).  Okay onto the important stuff: If you could have any super power in the world, what would it be?

Moe: Definitely strength. One of my favorite Anime characters of all time is A-ko Magami from Project A-ko. She is just so bad-ass and can take down giant robots with one swing!

Steve: Favorite video game of all time?

Moe: People who know me pretty well know that my most favorite video game of all time is Toejam & Earl for the Sega Genesis. It’s about 2 hip-hop aliens who crash land on Earth and they are forced to deal with crazy Earthlings all while trying to find pieces of their broken ship. I spent HOURS trying to beat that game.

Steve: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a complete stranger?

Moe: As cliche as it is, treat others the way you would want to be treated. I really try my best to live by that motto, but sometimes people need a good verbal slap in the face! Hah!

Steve: Thanks Moe, you rule.

So there you have it guys and girls, don’t be afraid to lift weights!  Don’t know what exercises to do?  Learn how to develop your own workout plan here. Worried you’re going to do something wrong?  Learn how to NOT suck at working out.  If Moe can do it and see kick-ass results, you can too.  I’m a HUGE advocate of weight lifting (especially heavy lifting) for both men and women, so I’m really excited to share this story with you all.

Now, if this isn’t enough to convince you that women can and should lift weights, maybe this 70 YEAR OLD POWERLIFTING GREAT-GRANDMOTHER will:


70 Year old Powerlifting Great-Grandmother

If you want to hear more about Moe and congratulate her on her upcoming nuptials, she posts over on the Nerd Fitness Rebellion Headquarters as “MoePower.”  You can read her intro thread here.

Speaking of message boards and challenges (see what I did there?), because the first NF 28-Day Challenge was so damn successful, we’re starting up another challenge on April 5th!  Expect more details on Monday, but you can get a head start by signing up on the boards now.

Until Monday!

-Steve

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The End of a Challenge and the Beginning of a Rebellion

Done!

Today marks the official ending of the first ever Nerd Fitness 28-Day challenge.  What started out as a challenge for myself to get in great shape for a vacation quickly turned into something far bigger – 50+ people pledging to take the challenge along with me.  Well, my vacation didn’t end up happening (sh** happens), but I still took care of business and managed to get through the challenge.

Did you?

Steve’s Challenge

28 days ago, I put out a challenge on NF to pick two or three things and stick with them for the entirety of the challenge.  Let’s see how I did!  Here were the three things I wanted to work on for these 28 days and why:

  • Gain at least five pounds, hopefully all muscle – I know you’re saying “damnit steve you suck, who wants to gain weight?” Well, I’m a skinny mofo and I want to be bigger and stronger.  The only way to do that is by eating lots of good, healthy food over these next four weeks.  I’ve gained 18 pounds in 30 days before, but this time I’m going to do it in a much healthier fashion.
  • Hit the weights hard three times a week – If I’m going to get bigger, I need to lift heavy weights with consistency, so I’ll be working out at a gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Sleep more - I never sleep – I stay up way too late answering emails and writing articles (like this one), which is great for the site but terrible for my health.  I’m never going to get bigger and stronger if I don’t take care of myself.

Overall, I give myself a solid B+. I ended up gaining six pounds, which was more than I was hoping for.  I checked my body fat percentage this morning and it remained the same, so looks like most of the weight gain was muscle (woot).  I did hit the weights hard three days a week.  My schedule was supposed to be Monday-Wednesday-Friday, but for the last two weeks I ended up going with Monday-Thursday-Saturday due to life getting in the way.

There were definitely some days where I didn’t feel like going to the gym (early on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day comes to mind), but I got my ass out of bed, sucked it up, and pushed around some weight.  Why?  Because I knew that 50+ people were doing this thing with me – if I skipped a day then what would stop everybody else from skipping?  I looked at this as a team effort.  Woohoo for public accountability – it absolutely works.

The only thing I didn’t manage to do extremely well was sleep more.  There were a few nights where I managed to get some extra sleep, but too many nights where I stayed up too late for whatever reason and paid for it the next day.  I feel like this is something I will always struggle with I feel like.  Oh well, it’s still a work in progress

Your Challenge

So how did YOU do? Did you make it all the way through the challenge? Quite a few people were posting on their own sites, while others were posting on the Nerd Fitness message boards.  I think the best part about this challenge was that it gave the boards a great kickstart – now there are over 120 members, 1500 posts, and some kick-ass conversations going down.  I really want this community to succeed, as I think it’s doing a lot of good for quite a few people.

If you’re on there, thank you for helping.  If you’re not, why not join us!

I did say I’d be awarding some awesome(ly average) prizes for the winners of the NF challenge.  If you want to be considered for the prize, post in the comments your goals and how you did with them.  I’ll be checking the boards too, but it would be easier for me to hear if you made it all the way through instead of scanning the 50+ threads.

Make sure you leave your comment with your proper email address in case I decide you’re the winner.  I’ll be scanning everybody’s threads this week and I’ll make a choice before the weekend.

A Rebellion Begins

NF Rebellion2Last week, an idea popped into my head when talking about how I wanted to build Nerd Fitness into an empire.  Then I thought to myself, “hmmmm, maybe people would rather join a rebellion than an empire.”  Regardless of the name, I think we all need a flag to rally around, a cause that we can all support, and a unifying message that we can all believe in.

So, after asking “Rebellion or Empire?” on Facebook, Twitter, and in the comments section of the last post, the votes came in overwhelmingly in favor of joining a rebellion.  I feel like the NF crowd is a bunch of underdogs  anyway (I love a good underdog story) who are eager to prove typical nerd stereotypes wrong, which sets up quite nicely for a worldwide rebellion of epic proportions.  I’m gonna go all-out with this idea coming up in the next few weeks, so be patient.  Your rebel leader is working on a master plan, it’s just going to take some time to execute!

Even though it’s Monday, I’m feeling pretty good right about now. If you were in the 28-Day Challenge, leave a comment and let me know how you did, and also let me know if you’re cool with being part of a rebellion :)

Oh, and one more question: should I do ANOTHER challenge right away?  Have people to sign up for their own personal challenges on the boards?  What’s the best thing to do from here on out?  I want to keep pushing people to level up, and I want to keep the boards growing, so I think I’m going to start another one on next Monday, April 5th.

Stay on target.

-Steve
Rebel Leader of Nerd Fitness
(has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?)

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photo: Jayneannd

9.5 Reasons Why I Exercise – Your Help Required!

Why are you here?

Maybe your boss made a fat joke at work today that sent you over the edge.  Maybe you got dumped and you want to look good for the next time you run into the ex.  Maybe your wife just had a baby boy and you realized you won’t be around to see him grow up if you don’t start taking care of yourself.  Maybe your doctor told you that you need to get in shape or you don’t stand a chance of living to 2011.  Hell, maybe you stumbled over here by accident.

Whatever it is that got you here, thanks for coming.

Everybody has different reasons why they’re trying to get in shape, and that’s awesome.  I want to give you 10 reasons you why I’m here and why I decided to start a fitness website, and then I’d love to hear why YOU’RE here, what you hope to accomplish, and how I can help.

1. I exercise because there is a direct correlation between my success in the gym with my success in life. A great day in the gym makes me feel like I’m going to have a great day outside of the gym…and I usually do.  Establishing a routine that makes me stronger and faster has helped me make great strides in both my job and Nerd Fitness as well.

Remember: momentum is a powerful thing.

2. I exercise because one day I want to be on the cover of Men’s Health for building an empire of healthy nerds. Last time I checked, they don’t put people eating doughnuts on there.  I have no doubt in my mind that I am going to change this world for the better before I leave.  Whether it’s helping people improve their own lives, or helping out those who really could use it (don’t worry, I haven’t forgot about my pledge for the warrior dash, more details coming soon), I feel like I’m in a great position to really make a difference.  This is both scary and exciting.

3. I exercise because I don’t want to be the skinny, weak kid anymore. Growing up, I was always short, skinny, and weak.  After that, I was tall, skinny, and weak.  Once I got to college, I made the decision that something had to change.  I’ve been able to pack on some muscle over the past few years, and I want to continue that trend.  Although I have no plans on becoming the Incredible Hulk, I would still love to be strong as hell.  I’m not really that skinny any more (thanks to years of hard work), but I still have a ways to go before I’m where I want to be.

4. I exercise because it helps me forget the bad day I had. Everybody has bad days.  Life sucks sometimes, and sh** happens.  As Bruce Wayne said in Batman Begins, “It’s not who we are, but what we do that defines us.”

Amen, Bruce.

Whenever I have a crappy day or things don’t go my way, I choose to look at life like a challenge.  I can curl up on the couch and watch Arrested Development re-runs (actually, that sounds awesome) while drowning myself in a case of beers, or I can MAN UP and take that sadness and anger and channel it into something productive.  Ever pumped iron or gone for a run when you’re mad as hell?  Try it next time – it’s awesome.

5. I exercise because I’m inspired. After watching 300, I wanted to look like Gerard Butler.  After watching Blade 3 (which was awful), I wanted to be Ryan Reynolds.  Casino Royale had me sprinting to the gym to look like Daniel Craig.  I get inspired when I see somebody who has turned himself into a machine, and it makes me want to go and do the same.  I realize I don’t have the time, money, or resources that these guys do, but it’s awesome to know what’s possible if you are truly dedicated.

I know a lot of you guys are runners and don’t like lifting weights (or aren’t ready to start yet), but please take 10 minutes and read “Iron and the Soul,” by Henry Rollins.  This article is a constant source of motivation and inspiration for me, and will help you understand the appeal of pushing around some plates at the gym.

6. I exercise because I want to be around for my kids and grandkids. Now, I don’t have kids yet.  Hell, I’m not even married.  However, I do know that taking care of myself and creating good habits now will allow me to live a long and healthy life, raising children and grandchildren who have the same appreciation for this whole “living” thing that I do.

I love life, and I plan on sticking around for as long as possible.

7. I exercise because I freaking love you guys. I love getting emails from you (Big thanks to Pedro from Chile for one of the nicest emails I’ve ever received last week), I love reading your comments, I love answering your questions, and I love reading your posts on the NF message boards.  Although I’ve been fortunate enough to have never been overweight, I’m still constantly striving for a leveled-up version of myself, just like you – I’m just coming at it from the other end of the spectrum.

Every time I feel like skipping a gym workout, I know that there’s a NF reader out there who is toughing it out because they don’t want to let himself or his fellow nerds down.  Thanks for keeping me accountable.

8. I exercise because I want to look good without a shirt on. So I want to look good naked.  Shoot me.  I want to look good when I go down to our neighborhood pool this summer to play cornhole, I want to look good when I’m down in the Caribbean for work, and I want to look good because it makes me feel better about myself.  Self-confidence and high-self esteem are things that I’ve always struggled with in the past (hopefully you can relate), but it’s gotten much better in the past few years since I started exercising and filling out my frame.

Provided you’re doing it the right way and not putting yourself in danger, getting in shape to look better is okay in my book.

9. I exercise because I want to be an inspiration. I want people to come to this site and say, “that Steve character, he’s got this whole thing figured out.  I want to be like him some day.”  I have no doubt in my mind that there is a better version of yourself hiding within you – I want to inspire and motivate you to get to that level.  I feel more confident about my articles and my recommendations when I’m in shape, and I feel like my words and videos will make a bigger impact when they’re coming from the best “version” of Steve possible.

9.5. I exercise because I’m inspired by YOUR reasons for exercising. So, how bout it: what gets you going in the morning?  If you need some ideas, here are 32 ways to kick-start your life.

Let me know what your reasons are, and if there’s any way I can help.

-Steve

ALSO: Just out of curiosity, would you rather join the Nerd Fitness Empire and be able to give yourself some ridiculously awesome title like “Supreme Vice Chancellor of blah blah blah”…or would you rather join the Nerd Fitness Rebellion and stick it to the man?  Both names are awesome, both make sense, but I can’t decide which direction to go with it.  If your answer is “how about let people pick either, and then have competitions between the two,” yes I thought of that, I just have no idea how I could actually get that to work.

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Lessons From a Former Fat Guy

This is a guest post from my friend Jim Hodgson.  Jim went from being a really big guy to a really in-shape guy, completing a freaking Ironman Triathlon this past July.  When he asked me about writing a guest post about the fat guy perspective when it comes to food and fitness, I said hell yeah.  Here’s Jim!

This web site, Nerd Fitness, is great. I’ve known Steve in real life since around the time he started working on it, so I have a little real-life perspective to share. Here is why it’s good: because Steve really wants it to be good. He works very hard on it, and it shows.

However, for all his hard work and enthusiasm, Steve has never been, nor will he probably ever be, fat. He does not know what it’s like to hear Kool and The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” in his head every time he eats like I do. Oh yeah baby, food time is party time to me.

Yes, I have intimate knowledge of fatness and nerdy-ness, as I believe the following photo will adequately attest:

Note that not only am I one half of the above photo, my dad and sister taking up the other half, but I am wearing a Perl shirt to boot. I was around 320lbs at that time, and as of March of 2010 I was 210 lbs, so I’ve lost over 100 lbs since beginning my journey. I’m still working every day on eating right and being more fit, but this photo is pretty much a textbook case of fat nerd.

The thing is, I have a extremely slow metabolism. It seems sometimes that if I eat a single leaf of lettuce, I will see a pound on the scale as a result. Contrast that with Steve, who could probably eat pretty much whatever he wants and never gain a pound.

Fortunately, good advice on healthy living works for both the fast-metabolism-Steves of the world who wish to put on muscle as well as for the fat Jims of the world who wish to lose weight.  After all, being healthy is being healthy no matter what.  The challenges can be different along the way though, so I’ve talked Steve into letting me write a guest post from a fat guy’s perspective.

I believe that overeating is just like drug or alcohol addiction in that you never really shake it. What’s more, you can give up cigarettes or booze entirely, but you can’t give up food for long.

Keep in mind that I am neither a nutritionist nor a doctor, so you should ask licensed, trained professionals about everything I say to make sure you don’t explode or get a bad case of the farts or something.

You can’t outrun a bad diet

This is something I once tried really hard to do. When I started exercising to lose more weight, I bought a HRM (heart rate monitor). It tracks calories in addition to timing workouts, but no one’s really saying the calorie counts it keeps are exactly accurate, so I’d advise taking them with a grain of… caution, not salt, because we need to watch our sodium intake! Zing!

Anyway, when I got my HRM I figured a pound was 3500 calories, so I’d just do 3500 calories of cardio per week and lose a pound. Easy!

Well, that actually might work IF I ate the same thing in a week of no workouts as a week WITH workouts, but doing the equivalent of 500 calories of exercise a day is nothing to sneeze at. I usually burn around 1100 calories per hour running, 900 or so for an hour of cycling, and 6-700 for an hour of swimming, so any way you slice it that is a half hour plus per day, every day, for a whole week with no rest days.

The problem comes when I eat more because I have worked out hard and I’m hungrier, or worse, when I tell myself that pizza is okay because I just burned 1000 calories in a workout. Sometimes this is true, but it can easily get out of hand – running to the fridge does not earn me a burger.

If you are like me and you have a super slow metabolism, there is probably not a functional level of exercise where you will be able to eat whatever you want and be slim. To me that’s like saying there’s no such thing as true love — because believe me brother, I LOVE food — but that’s where I’m at right now on weight loss philosophy, or “weilossophy”.

I cut out alcohol entirely for nine months leading up to my race. I gave up sodas as well, even diet sodas. I believe that diet soda keeps you fat, or at least hampers weight loss, though I have no scientific data to support that belief.  I also used a food diary to calculate my intake of calories, and hardest of all, watch my carbohydrate intake.

Whenever I thought about cheating, or letting it slide just this one time, I said to myself “No, this time I’m going to do it right.”

Pick a course, stay the course, and do it for you

Life change can be a real pain in the hind parts. Sometimes it feels like you’re just slogging away with no measurable results, and for
what? Isn’t life too short to be miserable? Well, yes and no. Its my personal belief that some suffering is good for you, but you have to suffer smart.

I observed a big bump in people exercising alongside me in January of each year due to New Years resolutions. By June they were almost all gone. I knew I had been that person before, but not this time. This time I knew I had to stick with it.

110 lbs later, I am so dreaming of a cheeseburger here.

Originally I started losing weight because I wanted to have more success with girls. I’m ashamed to admit it because I should have done it just to be a better me, but that’s the truth of the matter. As time went on, other factors came into play. My mom passed away, and as a result I had a highly increased sense of my own mortality. I’ve always thought that I would someday lose the weight and become more athletic. I just finally realized that the time had come.

During the middle of this last summer I was fighting a severe case of burn out with only a few months to go until my Ironman race. It sucked. All I can tell you is that I just made myself do my workouts anyway. I had been working for it for a year, my dad was coming to see me race, as well as my sister, girlfriend, and a bunch of other friends. I couldn’t let them see me fail, but more importantly I couldn’t let ME see me fail.

I told myself, okay, if you’re hurting or tired or whatever, that’s fine, but you have to show up. Everyone has bad days or feels unmotivated, but I made myself show up every time.

I knew if I let myself skip workouts entirely I was finished, and I found that once I got myself to go I was usually okay.  Just moving my feet and starting the workout was usually the hardest part.

I think that is the biggest difference between me now and me then. I might not be at my best every day, but I’ll be on time and in the game.

Wow, if only there were a handy forum where people who are working on fitness and weight loss gathered to discuss these sorts of things. Oh wait, there’s one right here! My name is Jim on the Nerd Fitness forums, and I want to hear about your goals.

Be mentally ready for change

One of the things I noticed after I lost the first 60 or 70 pounds was that I was no longer invisible. I would say something in a group of people and someone would laugh or agree with me and I would be shocked. I hadn’t even realized until that moment how disregarded I was when I was a wobbling stack of ham.

I’m not sure if this happens to people who gain muscle or not, but I suspect that it does. I can only speak from my own fat experience.

Mind you, I am not a fatness apologist. I try not to tell people their business, and I believe that increased kindness and understanding between human beings is ultimately a good thing, but I also think that if I can lose over 100lbs, anyone can.

After all, in many ways I am a buffoon.

For better or worse, though, when you go through your body shape changes, people will treat you differently. Don’t let it shake you.

You picked a course for yourself and now you will stay on it. The people who love you for you are still going to love you when you’re more fit, and you’ll be alive longer to enjoy it!

-Jim

For more adventures and gripping philosophy, you can find Jim practicing the manly art of writing every weekday on his own blog. Check out the RSS feed or subscribe via email!

Stop Looking At Me, Swan – Life Lessons Learned From Billy Madison

I realize that my last few posts have been quite heavy and serious, but don’t think that means I’m all done with making ridiculous connections and analogies between healthy living and seemingly unrelated movies. For today’s article, I decided to draw inspiration from one of the funniest and dumbest movies of all time:

Billy Madison

If you haven’t seen this gem of a movie, well…shame on you.  Here’s a quick synopsis: Billy Madison (played by Adam Sandler) is waste of space 20-something who lives with his billionaire father in a mansion.  He finds out that his father had paid of all of his grade school teachers so that he could graduate.  In order to prove that he’s fit to one day take over the family business, Billy goes back to school and repeats each grade, first grade through twelfth, in the most comedic way possible.

I watched this movie for the eight-millionth time this past weekend, looking at it through the eyes of a motivational fitness blogger, and realized there’s quite a few lessons to be learned from Mr. Madison.  I’ve pulled my favorite quotes and turned them into motivational moments…because that’s what I do.

Here we go!

Stop looking at me, swan!

At one point in the movie, Billy is sitting in a tub and decides to yell at the swan faucet fixture for looking at him.  Now, what the hell does this have to do with self-improvement?  This.

Are you like Billy every time you go to the gym, paranoid that everybody around you is a staring ‘swan’? I get one or two emails a week from people who are either afraid to go to the gym, afraid to take a group class, or too afraid to use anything other than the treadmill because they’re worried people will stare at them for being out of shape or uncoordinated.

Don’t worry about the swan Billy!

Besides, they’re just people – you’d be surprised how many of them are so vain that they hardly notice anybody other than themselves anyways.  Or, they’re just like you and too busy being self-conscious about themselves to worry about you.  So, get out of your head, put in your head phones, and do what you need to do at the gym to take care of business.

If you want to try free weights, take a fun dance class, or go to yoga for the first time, do it because it makes you happy.  I guarantee the people around you will either:

  • Not notice you because they’re just as self-conscious as you.
  • Admire you for taking control and trying to better yourself.

If they ARE giving you funny looks, I’d recommend not free-balling it to the gym next time.

First and second grade were easy, but social studies, division? This is gonna be tough.

Sure Billy breezed through first and second grade, but as soon as he made it to third grade he instantly became nervous about all of the new things he’d have to learn.  Do you spend all of your time on a treadmill or elliptical simply because you’re scared to wander over to the free weights section?  Maybe you’re not afraid of ‘swans’ looking at you, but you simply don’t know what weights to lift or how to lift them.

It’s time to graduate sucka!

Weight training has been proven to be more efficient at burning calories than straight cardio. Don’t be scared, the weights won’t bite.  Unless they’re killer zombie weights, in which case you have bigger problems to deal with.  Let’s assume they’re not.  You can start here:

If you’re not ready for weight training, you can start with body weight training instead.  Think of this as grade 2.5:

Veronica, I thank you, for kicking the sh** out of me!

Every once and a while, you need somebody to tell you like it is.  After getting screwed over, Billy drank himself stupid and gave up on his quest to graduate high school.  It took an actual ass-kicking by his first grade teacher, Ms. Veronica Vaughn, to realize that he wasn’t living up to his potential.  Billy pulled his head out of his ass, stepped up his game, and ended up winning the competition.

I had a good friend last year who was overweight and had recently lost his job. This is one of my best friends and favorite people on the planet, so when he had started getting down on himself for everything that had gone wrong, I gave him a virtual kick in the ass and told him that he wasn’t living up to his potential.  Of course, I only did this because I knew he could handle it, and it was exactly what he needed to hear.

This same friend, now a completely different and improved person, recently yelled at me when he didn’t think I was living up to my potential.  I needed it.

I know for a fact there’s a better person hiding inside of you (not literally, that’s creepy) – it’s up to you to bring him/her out.  Be honest with yourself, or find a friend who is willing to be honest with you, and start taking steps to improve your life.

Don’t make me send Veronica Vaughn to kick your ass.

Of course I peed my pants.  Peeing your pants is the coolest!

While on a school field trip, one of Billy’s 3rd grade buddies accidentally peed his pants.  Suck.  Now, rather than rip on the poor kid, who’s already having the worst day of his life, Billy turned the situation around by “peeing” his own pants and then claiming that “you ain’t cool unless you pee your pants!”

Sure the quote might be random, but the lesson behind it is incredibly important: never underestimate how important your friends are!

They can pick you up when you’re down, make you laugh when you’re crying, motivate you when you’re lazy, and even splash water on their crotches when you’ve pissed yourself.  If you can find somebody to try this whole exercise thing alongside you, you’ll be far more likely to succeed and get better results.  I know this is absolutely true for me.  If you don’t have anybody local who can keep tabs on you and keep pushing you, join the Nerd Fitness Message Boards, where we’re all motivating each other.

Take care of those closest you, and they’ll take care of you in return.

You get your ass out there and you find that f***ing dog.

Remember when Miss Lippy read The Puppy Who Lost His Way to Billy’s first grade class – the kid in the story lost his dog, looked for a little while, and then gave up.  Eventually the dog found his way home, and everything was happy!  Not for Billy.  He delivered one of the funniest monologues ever:

The part of the story I don’t like is that the little boy gave up looking for Happy after an hour. He didn’t put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy’s gotta think ‘You got a pet. You got a responsibility.’ If your dog gets lost you don’t look for an hour then call it quits. You get your ass out there and you find that f***ing dog.

If you’re trying to get in shape, you can’t eat a couple of carrots, do two push ups, and then give up when things don’t go your way. Don’t just sit on the front porch like a goon and wait for your gut to disappear either.  It’s going to take hard work, consistency, strong will, and determination.  This ain’t no cake-walk.

You need get your ass out there, eat right and exercise, and turn your f***ing life around!

Hopefully this gave you a few laughs and the kick in the ass you needed to stay motivated.  Either that, or you thought this was one of the most insanely idiotic things you’ve ever read.  Fingers crossed for the former.

O’Doyle rules!

-Steve

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Here are some other ridiculous movie analogies I’ve made:

28-Day Challenge: We’re Halfway There…

And cue Bon Jovi

So here we are, two weeks into the Nerd Fitness 28-day challenge. Now, I initially created this as personal challenge for myself because I was going on vacation at the end of the month.  However, due to some unexpected circumstances I’m no longer going on that cruise (hey, sh** happens right?) – but there are now like fifty people leveling up their lives alongside me, so HELL YEAH I’M gonna keep this train rollin’.

Nerd Fitness Message Boards

Since officially “unveiling” them fourteen days ago, the Nerd Fitness Message Boards have had exploded (not literally), with over 100 members and 1,000 posts already.

I’m pleasantly surprised and incredibly excited at the amount of great content posted on there in such a short amount of time – I feel like a proud parent watching my fellow nerds helping out each other.  It’s awesome.  If you’re one of the people who has been posting on there, THANK YOU.  I have a feeling that this site and this community is going to become something pretty damn special, so thanks for hopping on at the ground floor.  Honestly, the sky is the limit.

If you haven’t got a chance to check em out yet, take a look and join us!

Steve’s 28-Challenge

So how am I doing? Let’s look back at my goals for this:

  • Gain at least five pounds, hopefully all muscle.
  • Hit the weights hard three times a week.
  • Sleep more.

As of this past Friday I’m already up three pounds – I’m on schedule to gain those five pounds of muscle by the end of this thing.  I’ve been better about eating enough calories on a daily basis – enough to build muscle but not too much to put on excess fat – and I’ve tried to be better about sleeping more.  I still spend too much time on this site and not enough time sleeping, but I am trying to be more focused in my writing so that I can get my work done more quickly and get to sleep earlier.  It’s a work in progress.

Now, I do need to pat myself on the back for this one – despite crappy weather, little sleep, an annoying cough that won’t go away, and one of the worst weeks of my life, I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed one single trip to the gym.  I knew I was being counted on for motivation and consistency, so I did what I needed to do to make it happen.  Yay for public accountability!  You can follow my 28-journey on this thread on the boards.

So, how are YOU doing? Still going strong? Struggling?  Talk it out!

-Steve

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photo: CogDogBlog

Becoming Superman: Kick the Krap out of Kryptonite

When I was a little kid, I went as Superman for Halloween probably five or six years in a row.  I’m not kidding.  I freaking loved Superman, watching all of the movies on repeat and wearing a cape as often as possible.  I even wore red undies on the outside sometimes.  Yup.  So, why did I love Superman so much?

Because he’s a total badass!

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound – who WOULDN’T want to be Superman, right?  Now, although the Man of Steel is pretty much indestructible, there’s one thing that can take him down quickly: Kryptonite.

Suck.

Pretend for a minute that you’re Superman in a quest for weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. I bet you’ve tried to get in shape in the past, you’ve probably even had some success and watched the number on your scale get smaller and smaller.  However, there’s that one thing (or two) that eventually always knocked you off your path and sent you in downward spiral back to complacency and unhealthiness.

This failure is your Kryptonite, and if you really want to become a superhero you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it.

Identify It.

If you’ve tried to get in shape before and failed, obviously something went wrong or you’d already be where you want to be.  Did you get sick and give up?  Did you drown your sorrows in a week long binge after your team lost in the playoffs?  Did you have a birthday at work and eat an entire cookie cake by yourself?  Maybe you just ran out of steam and lost your motivation.

Think about your past experiences with fitness and wellness and write down what went wrong. Usually there’s an event or two that you can point to as the cause of your downfall.

This is important – don’t beat yourself up about having a weakness.  If Superman can have one, so can you.  Now, Superman’s weakness is easy for him to identify: it’s green, it came from a meteorite, it glows, and makes him feel like ass.  Discovering yours might not be so easy.

These are mine.

  • Traveling for work. My job at Sixthman has me traveling quite a bit on cruise ships.  While on these ships, I take terrible care of myself.  I barely eat, I rarely sleep, and I usually end up sick as a dog for the week after each cruise due to my immune system being so worn down.  This derails my efforts to build strength and muscle, every time.
  • Absentmindedness at work. When I’m NOT traveling, I sometimes that I get so absorbed in work that I often forget to eat lunch or my snacks throughout the day.  If I’m going to build some serious muscle, I need to be eating great food, all day, every day.  Whether it’s muscle gain or weight loss, diet is the most important thing and I fail more often than I should.
  • Time management. I work on Nerd Fitness in my free-time, and I’m a terrible time manager.  I don’t sleep enough and I don’t get to work out as often as I’d like because I dump all of my free time into this website…which I don’t mind because I love helping people!

Make a Plan to Deal With It.

Once you’ve figured out your Kryptonite, it’s time to take care of business, put on your cape, and make sure your Kryptonite doesn’t take you down again.  The best solution I’ve found for setting new habits comes from Leo over at ZenHabits:

  1. Write down your plan.
  2. Identify your triggers and replacement habits.
  3. Focus on doing the replacement habits every single time the triggers happen, for about 30 days.

If you signed up for the 28-day challenge on the Nerd Fitness Message Boards (it’s where the cool kids hang out), this is a perfect opportunity for you to kick your Kryptonite to the kur…curb.

Here’s how I plan on dealing with mine:

  • Traveling for work. I need to take better care of myself on these cruises.  I have two more cruises coming up in April and May – and I need to take at least one night on each where I don’t stay out after a long day of work and just get some sleep!  Recharging my batteries once in the middle of a cruise should be enough for me to not get sick afterwards.
  • Absentmindedness at work. I’ve set a reminder on my computer to remind me every day to eat lunch.  Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but it works.  I also make sure I put a big bag of almonds on my desk as soon as I walk in the office so my brain remembers to eat them throughout the day.
  • Time management. I need to take care of myself.  I spend too much time messing around on the internet when trying to write these articles, so I’m working on writing shorter, more concise posts that still have the same impact with NF readers.  I will always battle to be healthy if I can’t find a way to get more sleep.  This is really tough for me, so any advice would be helpful!

What’s your Kryptonite, and how do you plan on dealing with it? There’s no reason we all can’t be superheroes, so let’s help each other out!

-Steve

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How to Deal With Life When Sh** Happens

Last week, I received this email from a Nerd Fitness reader:

“I am 33 years old, have recently gone through a divorce, lost my job, my house, and am in the process of putting my life back together. Despite losing so much, I have decided to use this time to perfect myself as a man.”

Wow.

Lesser men would drink themselves into oblivion, rob a bank, or just give up on life.  Nope.  This reader is taking his crappy situation as a challenge – “alright life, you might have knocked me down…but dam it you don’t get to win.  I’m getting back up, and I’m going to kick your ass.”

This reader is my hero. If any of you are also going through a rough patch in life, hopefully today’s post will help get you through it.  Here’s what you need to do:

Understand that Sh** Happens.

It does.

Whether your wife cheated on you, your husband divorced you, you lost your job, you ate six whole boxes of Girl Scout cookies and had to be rushed to the hospital, you got a DUI, whatever…these things happen, and they happen to the best of us.  It might have been your fault, it might not have been your fault.  It might have been something that has been building up for years or something that just happened yesterday.  No matter how it happened, when it happened, or why it happened, it happened.  You know the expression, “there’s no use crying over spilled milk”?

What’s done is done.

At this point in your “sh** happens” plan, you’re probably thinking that you’re the only person in the world that is dealing with this.  You’re not alone.  We all have baggage we’re dealing with – it’s how we deal with that baggage that makes us who we are.

Vent.

Get it out of your system.

Call up your best friend and bitch.  Go to a bar with some buddies and talk through it.  Cry, scream, yell, drop as many “what the f***’s” as you need.  Like the Hoover Dam exploding in Super Man, let it flow.  Go climb a mountain and yell profanities at the top of your lungs  Beat the crap out of a pillow.  Run sprints until you’re blue in the face.  Do whatever you need to do to vent, as long as it doesn’t put you in danger or the people around you.

Whenever I get angry or frustrated, I find that exercise is the best medicine.  In fact, I wish I could find a way to get angry more often because I can lift more weights, run faster and farther, and hit things harder whenever that happens.  If only they bottle this stuff up…oh right, it’s called steroids.

I think I’ll just stick with loud, angry music.

Realize That It’s Not That Bad.

Do you still have a pulse?

Good!  Things could be WAY worse.  Even if you lose “everything,” you’re still alive and you can still turn things around.  Please remember this: it is NEVER too late, and things are never as bad as they seem.  Everybody has crappy days, but few of us have real perspective on what a crappy day actually feels like.

I’ve been volunteering at the Atlanta Children’s Hospital on Thursdays for the past year, and it has been one of the most amazing and humbling experiences I’ve ever had.  Whenever I think I’m having a bad day, this place slaps me in the face with huge dose of reality.  If terminally or chronically ill children who can’t leave their bed can put on a smile and make the most out of life, you can too.

You woke up today.  Find a way to build on that.

Learn From It.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Whatever happened yesterday is now officially history – LEARN FROM IT.

  • Lost your job? Start looking for a job you actually love, or start your own company!  You have the unique opportunity to only pick something that makes you happy, while the rest of the world can’t get away from jobs that they probably don’t like.  You are lucky.
  • Got dumped by your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend? They didn’t appreciate you for who you are, and now you can find somebody that is 100% right for you.  And if it was going to happen, better that it happened today than years from now!  Learn why it fell apart, and use that information to make your next relationship better.
  • Maybe you’re the one who screwed up. Own up, take responsibility for your actions, and move on with your life.  Learn from your mistakes, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.  I guarantee it’s a lesson you won’t need to learn twice.

Whatever happened, find a way to make it a learning opportunity.  If you’re smart – and you are, because you’re reading this site – you can use your Sh** Happens moment to become a better person.

Put It Behind You.

It’s done.

You cannot change what has happened, you can only change how you deal with it.  In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne tells us, “it’s not who you are, but what you do that defines you.”

Amen, Mr. Dark Knight.

This is what you need to tell yourself: “This is the best f***ing thing that could have happened to me!”  Whether or not that’s true is 100% irrelevant.  Perception becomes reality, so your Sh** Happens moment suddenly becomes a welcome change.  The NF reader previously referenced is looking at his misfortune as a challenge and I find that to be extremely admirable.  He was fired from a job that he probably hated, and is now going to pursue a career as an actor, something he’s dreamed about since he was a little kid.

I’m a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason. I spent two years in California pretending like I was happy before realizing how important it was for me to have friends that I care about around me at all times.  I gave up that life out there and made the decision to move to Atlanta with two college friends, where I now work for the greatest company in the world.  I don’t look at those two years in San Diego as wasted time, but rather two years of my life that had to happen to get me exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.

Whatever has happened to you in your past, be it yesterday, a month ago, or a decade ago, it’s time to move on.  Whether it’s a lost job, broken relationship, tremendous weight gain, or anything else that is threatening to pull you down, know that it happened for a reason – it’s a step that had to happen so that you can eventually get to where you need to be.

It’s all in your mind – make that a positive thing.

Don’t Dwell On It.

Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself and playing the “woe is me” card certainly might make you feel better temporarily, but it’s freaking useless in the long run.  Don’t be a victim, and get creative

  • Pick up a new hobby.
  • Make a list of things you want to do before you die, and then start crossing them off.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter to get some perspective.
  • Get smarter.  Start reading books like crazy.
  • Start working out, and get in the best freaking shape of your life.

The more time you can spend improving yourself and staying busy, the less time you can spend on destructive thinking that will destroy you.  As an added bonus, you get to transform into a better version of you.  Once you start to see a positive change in yourself, you can build on that momentum and make positive changes in other aspects of your life as well.

Make Optimus Prime proud.

Man Up.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to level up your life, so get it done.

If you lost a job, dedicate yourself to finding one that makes you happy.  If you just got dumped, dedicate yourself to becoming a better person.  If you screwed up yesterday, learn from it and dedicate yourself to not making the same mistake today.  Whatever happened, learn from it, build on it, and move on with your life.

Now go do some push ups.

-Steve

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photo: FabioLuiz

How to Lose Weight Without Doing One Minute of Exercise

Screen shot 2010-03-04 at 1.16.53 AMThis picture has absolutely nothing to do with today’s article.  I just love Homer, and I wanted to get your attention…although you might be eating a doughnut right now as you read this.  Let’s hope not.

Before I start, I want to let you know I’m not condoning zero exercise.  In fact, exercise is freaking awesome and something you should try to do every day. However, I am here to tell you that if your primary concern is weight loss, exercise is merely the icing on the cake.  90% of your waistline battle is won or lost in the kitchen (or at the restaurant table, or at the drive-thru window, etc.)

Warning: this will ask you to possibly make some substantial changes to your diet – are you up for it?

Eat Real Food

I’m a huge fan of the food philosophy presented in books like The Paleo Diet, Good Calories Bad Calories, and sites like Mark’s Daily Apple. Why?  Because they make this diet thing so simple and logical even a caveman could understand it.  My apologies if you’re a caveman.  If you’re new to the “Paleo Diet” concept, here it is in a nutshell.  Rather than list what you can’t eat, here’s what you CAN eat:

REAL foods – veggies, lean meats, fish, eggs, fruit, and nuts.

Why does this work? Because you’re only eating foods that you’re genetically engineered to thrive on: high quality, high energy REAL foods.  Not from a box, not from a bag, not from a window.  Food from the earth.  Yay nature.

Cut Way Back on the Rest

Bread, cereal, pasta, fried food, rice, bagels, doughnuts, waffles, chips, tortillas, candy etc. – these things are all loaded with carbs (and if they’re processed – refined carbs and sugar), and I’ll bet a million Monopoly dollars they’re the cause of 99% of the population’s weight problem. I’m not telling you to give all of this stuff up completely – I’m just telling you that this is probably the reason the weight isn’t coming off of your frame.  Here’s why:

Most grains, refined carbs and sugar were nonexistent way back in the day, which means our bodies never quite adapted to properly process them.  If you want to understand more why our bodies have such an issue with grains and carbs, this is the best article I’ve readHere’s a great video to explain why refined carbs make you fat:


Video – Why You Got Fat

Today’s general recommended diet ratio of 50-60% carbs, 30% protein, 10-20% fat is so far off it’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, but it is.  This ratio has been pushed on the public for decades, and new “low fat” items continue to pop up every day…and yet the country continues to get wider and bigger and fatter.

Something’s not right.

How I Know it Works

Although I’ve recently added some grains back into my diet to bulk up (oats, flaxseed bread, and brown rice), I can attest to the fact that the Paleo Diet absolutely works.   In the four months that I switched to a Paleo diet (my ratio was probably 40% fat, 40% protein, and 20% carbs), my body fat percentage dropped from 12% down to 5%.  Besides myself, many NF readers have lost quite a bit of weight from making this change as well.

If you’re interested in giving the Paleo Diet a shot, check out this GREAT resource.  Pick a few things on the list, put together your meals, and you will lose weight.  If you’re interested in learning more about ‘going paleo,’ Mark’s Primal Blueprint 101 is a great place to get your feet wet.

Cut Out Liquid Calories

Soda, beer, juice, margaritas Gatorade, vitamin water, cappuccinos, fruit coolatas – avoid them whenever possible (except for beer on St. Patty’s Day…come on.) These beverages are all loaded with sugar which immediately turn to fat in your system.  And switching from a 12 pack of Coke to a 12 pack of Diet Coke might not solve your problems either.  Read my article why Diet Coke might make you fat. My advice: chug water like it’s your job.  It will curb your appetite, keep your insides running properly, and give you an excuse to get up and go for a walk to the bathroom every thirty minutes.

No Paleo? Eat Less Than Before!

Don’t want to change what you eat?  Welp, you’re just going to count calories (using a site like DailyBurn).  It’s a pain in the ass, but it works.  Here are the three equations you need to know:

  • Calories consumed > Calories burned = weight gain.
  • Calories consumed < Calories burned = weight loss.
  • 3500 less calories per week = 1 pound of fat weight loss.

As explained in the video above, the types of you food you eat is more important than these equations let on, but just creating a caloric deficit will still produce weight loss (although far less efficiently).  Tyler over at 344pounds.com has had incredible results by continuing to eat his favorite foods in moderation.  However, along with eating his favorite foods in moderation, Tyler also spends hours and hours in the gym burning off all of those calories, which is incredibly time consuming.  I just don’t have that kind of free time and I guess that you don’t either, so why not work smarter instead of harder? Rather than eating bad foods and spending hours working it off, instead eat GOOD foods, put in only 20-30 minutes of solid exercise, and then enjoy the rest of your day.  Life’s too short to spend it doing stuff that’s just not necessary.

The Choice Is Yours

I’m not going to yell at you and force you to only eat grilled chicken and steamed vegetables for every meal – I’m not your mom (phew, that would be weird).  Besides, you’re a grown individual and you can make choices for yourself.

I AM, however, telling you that if you want to see results without spending hours upon hours in the gym, you need to get your diet under control, and this is the most efficient way for you to get there.  The more you can change to what’s been listed above, the quicker you’ll get to your goal weight.  Switching to a 100% Paleo Diet after years of eating bad carbs is a recipe for disaster.  Instead, try finding a way to implement a change or two along the way until you start to see those results.

I realize this is much easier said than done, which means this isn’t really about your diet: it’s about your will power and finding a good balance of changes that you can successfully manage. Whenever somebody says “I can’t give up that food” or “I just don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal” all I hear is, “I don’t want it badly enough yet.”

I’m okay with that.

If you’re not at that point yet to take control of your life, I’ll do my best to inspire and motivate you to get there…but the desire to change has to come from within you.  If you ARE at the point where you really want to make a change, I’m here to help, along with a community of people on our message boards who are there to support you.

Do we have any Paleo Dieters here? How did you successfully make the transition from a modern diet to a healthy one?  Do you have concerns about giving up carbs and eating more fat? I’m only writing from experience and my own research, but would love to hear some stories on your weight loss successes or failures and I know others would too.

Let’s hear it!

-Steve

28 Day Challenge UpdateOn March 1st I put a call out for people to join me on a 28-challenge.  Over fifty new people signed up for the Nerd Fitness Message Boards and about a dozen bloggers signed up to post their challenge results on their own websites.  Sounds like a dedicated bunch of fools to me.  You can follow my challenge here – I’ll be writing every day throughout.  Join us!

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photo: Greg Easton Photography

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