How Star Wars Made Me a Better Person

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….”

Every time those words pop up on a screen, my spine tingles. Excitement swells in me as the text fades to a starlit sky.

That fraction of a second before the horns blare the Star Wars theme… my heart skips a beat.

And then it happens.

Trumpets blare and I’m instantly transported to another galaxy.

Any time I watched Star Wars as a kid, it was like hitting the pause button. The homework I had due or the big Little League game I lost disappeared. The complexities of junior high (and figuring out how to navigate awkward hormones) took a back seat. The acne and braces stopped feeling so overwhelming.

This past weekend, I was one of the millions who saw the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, and life paused again. I was giddy through the entire movie. Several scenes filled my arms with goosebumps and I’m not afraid to admit I even teared up once or twice. Sitting there watching at 31 years old, I felt five again sitting on my living room floor. For a brief moment, nothing else mattered. I was on an adventure in galaxy far, far away.

Here’s the thing, though: my relationship with Star Wars is more than just a boyish crush. This saga has helped shape and mold the person I am today. It’s made me a better person.

Today I want to share this magic with you.

How to Make Six-Ingredient Sesame Chicken Wings

When some people start eating healthier and eliminating junk from their diets, they miss things like pasta, bread, and cheese. Personally, I pine over Americanized Asian foods. Deep fried chicken smothered in sugary, sweet and sour sauces with mountains of rice and fluffy steam buns were staples of my childhood. My grandfather knew the owner of every Chinese restaurant in my home town because all he ate was Chinese food (sometimes he let us eat pizza).

Unfortunately, now that I know what goes into that kind of food, though delicious, it’s definitely not great for you. Even vegetable stir fries at Chinese restaurants are tossed in sauces that will crash your blood sugar and cooked in stuff you probably don’t want going into your body regularly.

So what’s an Asian food lover who also loves feeling well to do?

Americanized Chinese food is a tough thing to master without those mystery oils and sugary sauces, but we do our best. Here’s a healthy recipe that takes about an hour, has only 6 ingredients, and might just satisfy your craving for a vinegary, spicy Asian dish.

Announcing the Level Up Your Life Pre-Order Bonuses (and Book Tour!)

For seven years we’ve been building a Rebellion.

We started in our small corner of the internet, quietly exchanging messages, trying to figure out how to get healthy on our own.

In this humble HQ, our Rebels began to stir. Our forces grew. A Rebel Army formed.

Now, everything is about to change. And yes, obviously I’m partly talking about the impending release of the new Star Wars film.

But maybe more importantly (gasp), the Rebellion’s time to strike has come. Our team has been furiously working behind the scenes to prepare a multi-stage battle plan to strike at the heart of the Empire.

And I need your help.

In Defense of a “Paleo-ish” Diet

I don’t follow the Paleo Diet.

Weird, I know. A majority of people who stumble across this site through Google come from our article, “The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet,” which has been viewed millions of times and shared 40,000+ times on social media. Actually, other than a 30-day full Paleo experiment years ago, I’ve never been 100% full-Paleo.

“But Steve! You run Nerd Fitness! Isn’t this a Paleo Site? You even have a (now free) Paleo iPhone app! You are living a lie! You eat food that is poison. Shame! Loud noises!”

I see you yelling at your computer right now, and it makes me chuckle (like an evil villain).

Here’s the truth: I might not follow the Paleo Diet religiously like many do, but I do follow a “Paleo-ish diet.” I’m healthy, stronger than ever, and found a healthy balanced relationship with food that works for me. I bet it would work for you too.

Time to go ALL IN on moderation! SUPER MODERATION! Radical moderation!

A Fitness Epic: Your story of love, health, and self-discovery.

Your name is Megan. Or Paul. Or Peggy. Or Michael.

You’re twentysomething. Or thirtysomething. And you’re tired. Tired of another month of looking in the mirror and being unhappy. Tired of another night where you feel exhausted yet wonder why you couldn’t get more done. Tired of getting burned by another weight loss scheme your friend told you about. It was wraps this time, or weight loss pills, or the ab coaster. It doesn’t matter. None of them have worked, and you’re just freaking tired of it all. You just want to smile and feel good about yourself, and that hasn’t happened since you were younger.

But there’s a teeny tiny part of you that doesn’t want to give up yet.

After all, why keep trying new schemes unless a part of you still believes you have a chance to turn things around? Finally, you let go of the idea that losing weight and feeling good about yourself is found in a pill or bottle, or in five minutes a day on a machine.

So you forget everything you’ve heard, and you just go for a walk.

You figure that if Frodo can walk to Mordor, you can at least walk around the block. You strap on your old sneakers that don’t get much use anymore, zip up your hoodie, and put one foot in front of the other. You make it approximately twenty feet before you start to breathe heavily, and you curse yourself for living at the bottom of a hill. But you make it a whole half mile out, and a half mile back. “That wasn’t the worst thing in the world,” you tell yourself. Maybe you can do it again tomorrow.

And you do.

Winter is Coming: Join the Holiday Watch and Defend the Realm

Winter is coming.

Today, in households and offices all across Westeros the world, unstoppable forces are planning to wreak havoc on waistlines and stop momentum dead in its track.

We have been fighting hard to level up our lives all year long, dutifully exercising regularly, walking further and getting stronger, making healthier food choices, and building great habits. But the most important 6 weeks of the year are now upon is.

Winter is coming, and it is bringing with it an army that will attack us on many fronts:

A holiday designed around overeating, with a culture to encourage you to keep going until you pass out. A long weekend! Leftovers! Netflix!

A shopping sale made from black magic that will delude you into buying shit you don’t really need: Black Friday and Cyber Monday! That thing you’ll never use! That other thing that will break in two days!  I imagine this plays out like this South Park Episode.

Office parties and home parties where you will drink far too much and eat junk food, or face the wrath of co-workers and friends telling you to “live a little.”

The week of the dead: The days around Thanksgiving when nothing is going on other than football and video games. Lots of time to sit on the couch and eat junk food.

Enabling friends and family: People who let themselves go and beg you to do the same with them (“it’s the holidays!”).

Winter, literally: Snow, rain, drastically lower temperatures that will have you dying to stay inside on your couch watching Netflix rather than braving the elements any more than you have to.

As we stand here, bracing ourselves for the holiday season, we are just like the Night’s Watch as they are stood on the Wall watching giants, mammoths, Wildlings, and freaking White Walkers approach the Wall.

If you’ve seen the most recent season (5) of Game of Thrones, you’ll be familiar with this fan-favorite scene involving a giant. (if you haven’t seen it yet… you’re missing out!).

This is what’s at stake over the week, and why I am laying down a challenge. 

While the rest of the world willingly eats, drinks, buys, and sloths themselves into a momentum-paralyzing funk, you are going to defend The Wall, and hit January 1st with a full head of steam.

Your Holiday Watch begins now.

How Fat Acceptance Doesn’t Have to Glorify Obesity and Shame Fitness

This is an article from NF Chief Wordsmith Taylor Share.

Before we jump into this hugely controversial subject, I wanted to lay out some facts. And also put on my Kevlar armor:

There aren’t many things that matter on this scale. That’s why it is especially crappy when nearly every article, debate, YouTube video, or reddit thread on this subject is the same: people talking past one another instead of working with each other.

I believe there is a perspective most people on both sides can embrace, without betraying the values that originally had them at each other’s throats.

Bear with me while I dig in to this. We’re going to put the nerd in Nerd Fitness.

Cooking 101: How to Navigate a Grocery Store

This is an article from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

For some of us Rebels, a grocery store is a lot like a video game dungeon. It’s dark, wet, oozy, and full of giant spiders…Okay, well maybe not the spiders part. But sometimes it feels that way.

It reminds me of a level from Legend of Zelda! Whenever you, Link, entered a new dungeon, whether it was the Deku Tree or the Water Temple, after wandering around for some short amount of time, inevitably, you found a map and a compass. The map and compass helped you find your other necessities to complete the dungeon: Hidden doors, boss keys, and hook shots. Today, games just have this stuff built right in from the start.

You walk into the store, and you’re overwhelmed. You know not to shop in the middle aisles, but you’re trying to eat healthy and cook for yourself for the first time in your life. You walk around the perimeter a few times and find things like butter, eggs, meat, and vegetables, but there are some things on your list that are missing (coconut oil? bag of almonds?).

Not only that, but every time you find something and move on to seeking out the next item on your list, it seems like you have to walk back across the freaking store to find it, or up and down 2-3 aisles until you by some miracle stumble across whatever you’re looking for. (Or if you’re like me, you walk around until you’ve completely forgotten what you were looking for in the first place!) I know, guys, it’s freaking hard!

If you’re one of those people who gets a mild panic attack when the bright florescent lights of your local supermarket hit you, if you get attacked by a horde of skulltula immediately upon entering, or if you just need a little help figuring out how to wheel your cart around the place without walking the length of The Shire to Mordor, this article is for you.

Once you’ve got the sections of your store down, it’s a breeze. So don’t feel intimidated just yet. We’re going to help you dominate the supermarket sweep and shop like a boss.

A quick note: Nerd Fitness Yoga is available at a reduced rate until tomorrow night (Tuesday)! See the PS in this article for details.

Nerd Fitness Yoga Is Now Available!

It’s back, baby!

Earlier this summer, we launched Nerd Fitness Yoga here on Nerd Fitness, and 2,000+ rebels took the plunge. Over the past few months, it’s been an absolute blast interacting with them on the NF Yoga Facebook Group and watching them become more flexible every day.

Well, after closing the doors for a few months, I’m excited to announce that we’ve reopened enrollment today, this time for good! In case you didn’t join us back in August, I wanted to tell you a bit about Nerd Fitness Yoga today and encourage you to check it out!

This is, by far, the most polished product we have ever put together, and I couldn’t be more proud of it.

Why is yoga so important?

Mobility and stretching are huge components of living a leveled-up life. After all, what good is a strong body if you can’t move properly to take advantage of it, right?

Over the years, I have attended my fair share of yoga classes and found them to be incredibly beneficial to improving my day-to-day life, not to mention helping me recover from intense strength training sessions.

Yoga + Strength Training = the perfect c-c-c-c-COMBO!

However, yoga classes can be incredibly intimidating. I remember sitting in a car, forcing myself to work up the courage to attend my first yoga class. I worried about things like:

  • What if I don’t know how to do a move?
  • How do I know I picked the right type of yoga class?
  • What if I look like an idiot and I’m surrounded by really flexible people?
  • What if I rip a fart by accident and earn the nickname Fartman?

I worried about all of these things, and I RUN A FITNESS WEBSITE! So, I set out to create a course that would help Rebels of all ages, shapes, and sizes get started with yoga without having to deal with the problems of trying to find a great studio and work up the courage to join a group class.

That’s where NF Yoga comes in!

What’s In Nerd Fitness Yoga?

Yoga Set

I’ll tell you about what’s in the course quickly:

  • With Nerd Fitness Yoga, we’ve leveled up our quality big time. We have hours of high quality footage, filmed in a studio that looks like a Super Mario Brothers level, and we’ve optimized the experience for viewing on any device (mobile, tablet, desktop). Seriously, it looks fantastic on any device you’re using.
  • All the videos can be streamed to any device, or downloaded to any device when you don’t have access to the internet!
  • Moving through the course and knowing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing is a BREEZE.

Now, I’m not going to go through alllll of the benefits, features, and bonuses that come with Nerd Fitness Yoga, as all of that stuff is listed out in detail right here!

Yes, it will help you get more flexible.

Yes, it’s the perfect complement to any strength training routine.

Yes, it features plenty of corny jokes by yours truly.

Yes, it will make practically every other aspect of your life easier.

Yes, it is all done in a way that makes yoga approachable and fun.

Yes, I want you to check it out! 

I will tell you that it was really fun filming this course alongside professional yoga instructor Kate Marolt and NF Rebel Staci Ardison. I’m so happy that it’s been received so freaking well by members of The Rebellion who have tried it out.

What NF Yoga students are saying

Now, it’s easy for me to say, “NF Yoga is awesome!” but I’m slightly biased… like a parent who thinks their kid is the best at everything.

So I want to share some success stories and testimonials from your fellow community members who have been using NF Yoga for the past few months:









And to be honest, these are just a handful of the hundreds of Facebook comments and emails we’ve seen come in over the last few months.

We’ve captured more feedback right here from people from all over the world, young and old, and even families and young kids who are doing yoga with their parents throughout the week. This gets us so fired up!

Discounted Price – This Week Only

We don’t sell a lot of things at Nerd Fitness – in fact, this is only the second course we’ve put up for sale in the past four years!

That means when we do release something, it’s something I have put everything into to make sure it exceeds your expectations. It comes with a 100% money back guarantee, in case you’re still on the fence, as I want to make sure it gets you results like the people above!

So, check it out.

Starting right this second, Nerd Fitness Yoga is available for purchase at a discounted rate. This special pricing will run one week until Tuesday (the 17th) at 9 p.m. EST. Then we will be increasing the price to its normal rate and leaving it there.

You can get the basic level (with full access) and save $12 this week. And if you’re interested in a custom yoga mat (comes with our plus level), you’ll save $22 this week. We even have a payment plan for our basic level if you’d rather spread out the payments over 3 months.

We know the more people who get excited and get started together, the more accountability and momentum we’ll find in the private Facebook group to rally together throughout the holiday season.

If you’re one of the 2,000 Rebels who have already joined us, thanks for taking the chance back in August, and get ready to welcome all of the new students that join us starting today! 🙂

If this sounds like a community you want to be a part of, but missed your chance in August, this is your window. Get started right away (and save a decent chunk of money) by joining THIS week.

See you on the inside!


P.S. We’ll be back to our normal, free weekly articles helping you get stronger, stay fit, and level up your life starting next week! Let’s all finish 2015 strong!



Stuck at the starting line? Find your “gateway” change.

“Greatness from small beginnings.” -Sir Francis Drake

Frodo, before he became the savior of Middle-Earth. Katniss Everdeen, before she became the Mockingjay and toppled Panem. In every great story – especially those of heroes – there’s always a call to action in which the future of a character is changed with a single plot point. More often than not, it’s not something monumental, but rather a personal decision that ultimately results in amazing changes on a grand scale:

  • Katniss didn’t set out to start a rebellion; she simply wanted to protect the life of her sister.
  • Frodo had no plans of saving Middle-Earth, he just wanted everybody at the Council of Elrond to stop fighting!
  • Harry Potter had no clue what he was getting into, he just wanted to get out of that darn house!

This is a crucial point in any Hero’s Journey. It’s fun looking back now at each of those moments and wondering “how would the story be different if they hadn’t done [a seemingly insignificant task or decision]?”

As I’ve looked back over the hundreds and hundreds of success stories in the Nerd Fitness community (a few dozen are here), I realized that almost all health and fitness journeys have that moment too. Maybe we don’t have a dramatic, life-changing visit from an owl or Hagrid, but very often we discover something – an exercise, an activity, a mindset that becomes our “gateway” into finally becoming someone who values health and fitness. Permanently.

Can You Complete The Green Arrow Workout? Save Star City!

Star City is in trouble.

With masked supervillians like Deathstroke, Merlyn, Deadshot, and the League of Assassins terrorizing the population, it’s up to the our friend, Oliver Queen, also known as The Green arrow, to set things right.

Thanks to the popularity of the surprisingly fantastic (and only kinda hokey) show Arrow, Oliver’s battle with the enemies of Star City have been brought to the limelight. If he was a member of the NF Rebellion, Arrow would most definitely be an Assassin.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the Green Arrow comic series until I started watching the show; Stephen Amell’s portrayal of the Green Arrow and his training regiment (filmed here at the Parkour gym I’ve visited in California) got me hooked instantly:

Arrow Off Screen Training

And it was his on-screen training with the Ninja Warrior obstacle (the salmon ladder!) that turned me into huge fan:

Arrow On Screen Training

Today, I’m going to take you through a workout that would do the Arrow proud, and make his enemies think twice about once again kidnapping his sister, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

We’ve taught you to sprint like The Flash, and train like Batman, now it’s time to dominate life like the Arrow.

Want to live longer? Try building a guild.

As the saying goes, “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”

Wait. Not that saying. This one: “Happiness is only real when shared.”

We all know that having friends and solid relationships is brutally important to our mental wellbeing, but just how important is it? How about decreasing your odds of mortality by as much as 50%?!

As researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discovered, those with poor social connections had on average 50 percent higher odds of death in their study’s follow-up period (an average of 7.5 years) than people with more robust social ties.

So what the hell does that mean? As we are working hard to improve our lives with diet and exercise habits, it’s also damn important to focus on something that can so easily slip away from us thanks to the rise of the internet: social interactions!  Obviously the study isn’t saying that finding a friend will turn you immortal, but it is saying that there is a strong correlation between improving your social connections and improving your chances for a longer, healthier, happier life.

To do that, we’re going to explore a very specific strategy: building a guild. Because it can be tough making friends once we get out of high school and college (or even IN those locations), we’re going to intentionally build a social network.

So, where do we start? We need to create a Round Table like King Arthur.

7 Tips For Parents Dealing with Fussy Eaters

Steve here! I wanted to introduce Dan Schmidt, our newest contributor and wizard. Dan is a long-time Rebel and fatherhood specialist, and will be sharing his expertise in raising healthy and happy Rebels! Take it away Dan!

What have we always said is the most important thing? Breakfast. Family.

As parents who want the very best for our kids, we try to fuel their growing bodies with the best food possible. But as any parent of a toddler, pre-schooler, or even adolescent knows, our kids aren’t always on the same page.

The toddler years especially can be a challenging time for feeding. All of a sudden, a previously easy-going infant who ate anything, begins to reject the same foods being offered.

Don’t panic. This is a completely normal, albeit difficult, stage in your child’s development and we’re here to help you through it.

Let’s jump into looking at why children become fussy eaters, and examine some strategies you can implement today to lighten your load.

2 Big Reasons Why Cheat Meals Are Worse Than Darth Vader

“I’ll take two giant pretzels, oooh and that macaroni and cheese too. Aaand I’ll take two slices of the deep dish pizza, a dozen pigs in a blanket, a chicken parm sub, and a tall Sam Adams. Don’t worry, it’s my cheat day!”

I get asked all the time about my eating habits… ESPECIALLY when I’m out with friends or at a Nerd Fitness meetup. They wonder if I’m going to pick the chicken and broccoli with iced water, and are often curious when I stray outside of the expected norm. In their minds, it’s probably like watching a Jedi stray from the Light and cannonball into the Dark Side.

Speaking of Star Wars…how about that Force Awakens trailer? Holy crap.

But I digest (get it?!).

Anyways, some would look at me, the leader of Nerd Fitness, and ask what my reasoning is behind my meal choices. What’s that? I’ve strayed from the Paleo Diet and decided to eat a bacon cheeseburger with fries? I can see their minds trying to compute: “How can you eat that garbage and then turn around and tell people how to be healthy? Isn’t that hypocritical?”

Others who know I run a fitness site might say something like, “Oh, is this your cheat day?” or “Are you having a cheat meal?” What they’re really asking is “Let me guess, you’ve eaten really well all week and then reward yourself with an unhealthy day of eating whatever you want…aka a cheat day.”

So I tell them: It wasn’t a cheat meal. In fact, I never use the term “cheat meal” or “cheat day.” I think we should all stop using this term!

Just like the Dark Side can appear to solve all of your problems (Cast lightning from fingers? Do a force choke? I look better in black any way), cheat meals can seem like a harmless way to “stay on target.” However, the Dark Side has its own powerful agenda, subtly working its evil behind the scenes to take over your brain, and “cheating” can sabotage your efforts to stay healthy too if you let it take over.

Change CAN happen in an instant. Has it happened to you?

Have you ever had a moment – maybe a conversation, event, or even reading a book that felt like a “moment of insight” – and it literally changed your life?

As we all know, the problem in adopting healthy eating habits, making a lifestyle or job change, or even starting a vigorous new exercise routine usually isn’t the knowledge that we need to do these things (that’s just collecting underpants), but the ability to set ourselves up to actually follow through.

We often think change only happens over a long period of time. And yes, when it comes to changing physically, that’s often true. However, leveling up mentally or making life changes can in fact, happen in an instant. But only if action is taken that solidifies this new life you want to live!

How can we make sure that these moments of “holy crap, things are gonna be different” actually result in permanent, positive changes in our lives?

After all, epiphanies are only life-changing if you apply what you’ve learned.

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