The Oath of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion


I’ve been thinking a quite a bit lately about honor, brotherhood, and duty.

Right around the time I came up with the idea for Nerd Fitness, 300 had just hit the big screen and I was captivated by the cohesive heartbeat of the Spartan Army.

I felt the same way as I watched Spartacus lead his rebel army in the epic Starz series that left me teary-eyed by the end.

As this Nerd Fitness evolved from part-time blog to full time community, I was devouring page after page of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Series, recently brought to life in the TV series.

In each of these cases, “the cause” becomes something greater than the person fighting.  They become greater than the sum of their parts.

As funny as it sounds, these awesome and epic stories seriously relate to the goofy, rambunctious underdogs here in the growing Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Let’s find out how.

Struggling to Start? Pick One of These 5 Quests.

I love quests, missions, and goals.

It’s no surprise the tagline for Nerd Fitness is “level up your life” – it’s something that’s been part of Nerd Fitness since day 1, and we’re only gonna quest out more as we go along.

We love helping people who are brand new to fitness get started by using quests, remove the mental barriers to getting started, and encouraging people to just TAKE ACTION.

If questions like these sound familiar, today is for you:

  • “Do I start running every day? What about push ups?”
  • “Should I eat low fat? Should I count calories? Try Paleo?”
  • “I hear yoga is good. But so are bootcamps. And what about those dvds?”

There’s about a bazillion different ways to get started, and as a result its damn easy for us to do nothing.  We call this “paralysis by analysis.”  I was actually afraid of writing this article for that very reason.

Instead, we’re going to break the habit, and build a healthy cycle.

The Happiness of Pursuit: How a NYT Best Selling Author Took Over the World

In April 2013, my friend Chris Guillebeau landed in Norway.

This one instance is nothing remarkable; lots of people fly to Norway!  What made it remarkable was that it was Chris’s 193rd country visited.

On his 35th birthday, Chris was able to complete one of the most epic quests I have ever heard of: he had visited every single country on the planet before turning 35.

About five years ago, I remember discovering Chris’s blog, “The Art of Noncomformity,” reading his free ebook, “279 Days to Overnight Success,” and telling myself two things:

  • “Hey, this Chris guy likes to help people and built a business around it, maybe I should build Nerd Fitness around helping people.”
  • “Hey, this Chris guy is on an epic quest, maybe I should go on one too.”

Since then, I’ve followed Chris’s journey, begun my own, and in many ways, followed in his footsteps.  He’s been an incredible inspiration and one hell of a mentor, and I’m excited to share his latest project today.  I remember meeting him for the first time at his first ever event, The World Domination Summit, and thinking how “normal” and “everyday” he seemed.

As we’ve come to learn from our favorite books and movies, normal, everyday people can still accomplish great things :)

Launching today, “The Happiness of Pursuit” is now available and sure to be his second New York Times best seller. 

What makes this particular book even cooler is that Chris featured my James Bond adventure and Epic Quest in the book!  He was nice enough to sit down with me for a kickass interview that is well worth a watch/listen.

By the end of this article, we’re going to have you building your own Epic Quest and get started TODAY. 

Vegetable Haters: How to Start Eating Vegetables

“Hey Steve, I want to start eating healthy, but I don’t like vegetables.  Can you help me eat healthier without having to eat vegetables?  Actually, I love corn, so can you tell me how to make more foods with corn?”

“Hey man, hate to break it to you…but corn is actually a grain.”

“Well shit.”

I’ve had some variation of this conversation with more people than I can count.  Many people like the IDEA of eating healthy, but eating vegetables feels like Superman eating a bowl full of Kryptonite (hey, they’re both green!).

Whether it’s the taste, texture, or just the mental block, veggies consistently prove to be a challenge for many Rebels.  Considering we recommend filling up at least half of your plate with vegetables, this is a serious problem.

I didn’t start eating vegetables regularly until I was probably 22….and even then it was a challenge. If you are like I was, fear not!

By the end of today, I’m going to have you excited to eat vegetables, and ready to take the NF Veggie Challenge.

If you’re someone who doesn’t eat vegetables because you don’t like them, don’t know how to buy them, or don’t know how to make them, this article is for you.

Lean In: Lessons From My Croatian Adventure

I recently spent a few weeks in Europe crossing a some things off my Epic Quest of Awesome.

This all started few years back when I decided to stop living through a computer screen and start looking at life like a giant video game. Since then I have done everything I can to become a real life Indiana Jones (and occasionally a real life James Bond).

Welp, my latest adventure took me to the turquoise lakes and waterfalls of Croatia and the miraculously blue waters of the Adriatic (…at the bottom of which is where my phone currently resides).

What started out as a fun vacation and a chance to unwind actually seriously challenged my thoughts on fitness, business, and life.

Steve Finally Does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (Also, We’re Hiring!)

Hey guys!

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, your social media has been taken over by people dumping buckets of ice on themselves in the name of raising money for a cure for ALS.  I’ve been challenged a few times from friends, teammates, and rebels, but due to travel, I haven’t been able to get in on the action.

You can stop asking, because I finally took the challenge, and had a bit of fun with it.

Yesterday, equipped with help from a few of my childhood heroes, a camera, a few buckets of ice water, four hours of amateur video editing (and no shame), I put together a quick, corny, and hopefully funny video for such a great cause.

Nerd Fitness will also be matching a big chunk of donations that come into the Nerd Fitness page!

Check it out:

Steve does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Big shout out to my buddy Adam Moore for selflessly throwing ice cold water on me four times. A true humanitarian.

How to Make Chicken Veggie Kabobs

This is a post from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

Well Rebels, winter is coming. It’s August and (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), summertime is nearing its end. Soon it will be time for stews, squashes, and Paleo comfort foods.

But I’m ready for one last hurrah of summer: Outdoor cooking. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, you have this to look forward to! You lucky dogs.

If you already have burgers and dogs down, it’s time to level up your grilling game. Today I’m gonna show you how to make some super quick and easy Greek-inspired chicken kabobs.  You can get tons of veggies into your meal, and you won’t have to heat up your kitchen by turning on the oven or stove.

If you want to watch a video of this recipe get made, check it out here!

Lets get started!

Days of Future Past: How to Use Time Travel for Success


One of the hottest movies so far this summer has undoubtedly been X-Men: Days of Future Past.

It combined the best of the new X-Men films with the best of the old X-men films (though sadly no Nightcrawler), and stuck them in one giant blockbuster.

How can you have young wolverine and old wolverine, young Magneto and old Magneto, young Charles Xavier and old Charles Xavier?

Time travel!

Everybody loves a good time travel story – from Star Trek to Looper to Chrono Trigger – it’s so much fun to think about what could happen if we could go back into the past, talk to our younger selves, and rewrite our own history.

Today we’re going to join Charles Xavier, and use time travel to level up our lives.

Proper Gym Etiquette: How to Not be a Newbie in the Gym

I remember the first time I ever set foot in a gym.

I was 16, a day removed from getting cut from the basketball team, and I planned on getting “big and strong.”  The problem, was…I didn’t know what I was doing!  I sheepishly wandered from machine to machine, doing a set of this, 10 reps of that…and then I tried to do the ONE exercise I thought I knew: the bench press!

After loading up more weight on the bar than my total weight, my spaghetti arms shakily removed the weight from the safety rack, and I proceeded to drop it directly on my chest.  Panicking, I slowly rolled my body to the left, and watched as the weights spiraled off the end of the bar.

BOOM!

The weight hit the ground and sounded like a gunshot. My entire body (now lopsided due to only having weight on ONE side of the bar) drastically shifted to the right. Those weights spun off and hit the ground too. Another gunshot.

I quickly raised the bar to the safety rack, and hoped nobody noticed…until I saw about 40 pairs of eyes staring at me.

That was day 1.

Fortunately, since then, I’ve made every mistake known to man when it comes to training in a gym over the past fourteen years. Today I’m going to review all of the fundamentals of gym etiquette to give you the confidence to get out of my dreams your head and into my car the gym!

Let’s take a field trip to the gym.

How to Become a Morning Person

I have been on Team “Night Owl” for as long as I can remember.

Sure, I remember waking up as a kid to watch Mr. Wizard before taking the bus school, but as I grew older I shifted my daily routine further and further back.  By high school, I was struggling to get out of bed to get to school on time, and all through through college an “early” bed time was 2 am.

Even in my adult life I struggled to get to bed before 1 am.  During my nearly six years of writing articles for Nerd Fitness, I’d guess that 90% of my writing was done after 10 pm.

And I wanted to be a morning person, but I just couldn’t do it.  I remember asking on Twitter:

“I can’t seem to get myself to focus during the day, and do my best work at night. How do I become a morning person?”

And the responses all came back saying the same thing: “You’re a night person, just learn to live with it.”

But as we explained in our comprehensive article on sleep, just two in ten of us are true “night owls.” The rest of us are morning people (larks) or somewhere in the middle (hummingbirds).

Little did I know that I fell where most people do – somewhere in the middle! I wasn’t a true night owl – just someone with bad habits! And I was missing out on all sorts of stuff as a result – namely quality sleep, sunlight, and a social life!

So, I stopped making excuses, and over the past six months, I’ve turned a corner. 

Today, I’m going to talk about HOW I became a morning person and why you should consider it too.

If you’re somebody working weird hours, don’t worry, we got you covered there too.

Limitless: What if you could access more of your brain?

“You know how they say we can only access 10% of our brain? This lets you access all of it.”

And just like that (with the help of a tiny myth), the plot for the book/movie Limitless was established, and my brain started to go absolutely bonkers thinking of all of the possibilities.

I know I’m not alone.  Although this novel came out years ago and the movie came out in 2011, I’ve continually heard it mentioned in excited conversations amongst my friends.

It’s no surprised it garnered so much attention – it’s a story that we’ve all probably dreamed about for years:

Limitless Trailer

A scatterbrained writer, down on his luck, takes a pill that gives him unlimited brain power, allowing him to write a book in four days, learn new languages, stop smoking, lose weight, get healthy, and even conquer the stock market.

As a guy who’s turned his life into a video game, and taken inspiration from fictional characters to have real world adventures (like that time I became James Bond), I figured it was my duty to explore the nuances of Limitless and find out if it’s truly possible to become more productive, without the use of medication.

Shall we see how deep the rabbit hole goes?

Stop Delaying the Inevitable

“Do you hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.”  – Agent Smith, The Matrix

Whether it’s the Matrix, Terminator, or just about any comic, inevitability is a pretty awesome plot device. But it’s also a whole lot more than that.

Without you realizing it, “inevitability” can govern our lives, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fortunately, we get to choose the ending of this prophecy:

Person A: Blah, I’m just going to end up fat and sad and have blood pressure problems like my dad.  It runs in my family and I’m going to become him.  No wonder I keep failing.

Person B: I’m going to break this cycle.  My kids are going to be the first in my family who grow up with a healthy dad and healthy habits.  It’s gonna happen.

Person A: I’ll just fail at losing weight like I did the last dozen times. I’m stuck at this weight and I’m not going to win against my genetics.  Why bother.  What’s the number for Voodoo Doughnuts?

Person B: I’m going to get healthy.  This is a long journey and I’m going to hit some rough patches, but my success is mine for the taking.  I know that as long as I put one foot in front of the other, I’m going to get to where I want to go.

If you associate more with Person A, today we’re going to take the first steps towards making you into Person B.

After all, it’s inevitable, so you might as well just go along with me :)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Workout

I grew up with Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

Not literally. That would have been sweet, though.

But I did spend the formative years of my childhood wondering what it would be like to be part of the Ninja Turtle team: learning from Master Splinter (aka Mister Miyagi in Rat form), sneaking around, saving the world, and eating pizza ALL DAY. Wow, did they really nail the trifecta.

In fact, I think my entire existence is a combination of the following:

With Michael Bay taking a crack at rebooting this franchise (which I’m not sold on), I thought I should at least pay homage to the original Ninja Turtles who inspired me to run around my house in TMNT pajamas, swinging plastic swords and nunchucks made out of sticks, and fighting an imaginary Shredder to help save New York City.

To go along with our other nerdy workouts (Legend of Zelda, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars), today I’ve created a workout designed to turn you into a legitimate ninja. I can’t do much about turning your skin green though.

How Anthony the Developer Lost Over 200 Lbs…in ONE year.


Anthony is a 30 year old application developer out of Raleigh, NC, and one of the most amazing transformations I’ve ever seen.  He dropped 210 pounds in one year as part of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, and documented the entire process along the way!

I’ve been watching Anthony since he first shared his journey with me months ago, WAITING for the day to finally share it with you.

Let’s meet Anthony!  He describes his old self as an “elite” gamer as depicted by South Park (NSFW language…obviously). Anthony used video games (specifically World of Warcraft) to retreat from the world:

I would get up in the morning and put back two bowls of cereal and an easy 12 -14 ounces of coffee loaded with sugar and milk or creamer and begin my day of gaming.

Whenever I would get hungry I would snack on chips of some form. Lunch and dinner were frozen foods or takeout. I would continue to play video games until I had to go to work, and then until 3 in the morning after I get home. If I did not work I would play games straight through the day. And to top all of that off I could easily crush a 12 pack of soda a day, MT. Dew, Dr.Pepper, and Orange Crush were my poison.

Video games and our favorite sci-fi and fantasy series have the ability to inspire us to explore new things and push our limits. Unfortunately, many of us, myself included, have used these awesome nerdy resources to withdraw from leveling up in real life (leaving us happy and unproductive).

But one day, Anthony realized that he needed to do something more than level up his World of Warcraft character – he needed to level up his real life too.

Today Anthony’s life is completely changed – he’s no longer living someone else’s life, but has used his nerdy powers to write his own epic story.

Let’s take a look at how he did it.

The Improved Nerd Fitness Academy: Literally Level Up Your Life

DING!

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of Nerd Fitness leveling up.

And the sound of YOU leveling up.

When I started Nerd Fitness 5.5 years ago, I created the tagline “Level up your life, every single day.”

I wanted to encourage people to look at life like a game, and look at themselves as the main character. I wanted to gamify how we changed and grew in our lives.

About four years ago, I created “professions” based on different methods of exercise and video game archetypes:

  • Warrior - power lifting
  • Ranger - cross training
  • Scout - endurance training
  • Assassin - bodyweight and gymnastics
  • Druid - yoga and tai chi
  • Monk - martial arts

At the time, I had this vision for a massively mutliplayer online fitness “game” in which Nerd Fitness Rebels could select their classes and start leveling up by completing health and fitness quests. The game was called “Rising Heroes,” and we even spent over a year and significant resources trying to bring it to life.

Ultimately, the timing wasn’t right, and I had to put the project on hold.  This broke my heart, as I knew the NF community was as excited for it as I was!  However, I knew there would be a way to eventually make this massive dream a reality.

Nerd Fitness started as just a blog, then it became a community, and now it’s evolving even further to literally turn life into a game.  Although we have been around for five years, I feel like this is a new beginning.

The start of a new phase in our Rebellion’s history.

Rising Heroes isn’t a reality quite yet, but today we get to take a giant step closer to building the perfect platform for this “life is a game” vision.

After years of idea mapping, planning, and building the right the right team around us to make it happen, we’ve overhauled the Nerd Fitness Academy, our online fitness course and community that’s been helping over 5,500 people get fit just this year.

After months of behind the scene work, we can finally announce all of the epic and awesome changes that have come to the Academy.  

Including, yes… the ability to track quests, earn experience, and literally level up your character on your way to a healthier life!

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