From Skinny Fat To Ripped: Jasper’s Journey to Real Life Superhero

Meet Jasper, a 30-year-old sports teacher (and basketball coach) living in the Netherlands. At the start of Jasper’s hero’s journey, he found himself in a place many Rebels can relate to:

Jasper wasn’t hundreds of pounds overweight, but he certainly wouldn’t describe himself as active or in shape.

He was just sort of… stuck. Stuck with a bad back from ignoring a problem for several years. Stuck avoiding everyday activities, and constantly making excuses. Stuck feeling lazy and never really knowing where to get the motivation or a plan to make a change.

And the most relatable part? He let one setback, one barrier in his life slowly become an excuse to live a sedentary existence. For Jasper, that was his back.

Everybody knew I had ‘a bad back’. I was in bad shape, because of my back. Coach, you want to play? Hmm… I’d better not. Carrying groceries? Careful! Run up the stairs? Better not! My best friend jokingly referred to me as an “old man.”

But enough was enough – after doing some research Jasper found the Nerd Fitness Academy, and was thrown into a pre-designed plan. He built momentum, found workouts he loved, and all of a sudden what seemed like an endless climb to the top of a mountain felt different. Instead he had the momentum he needed and found his groove, his path to a leveled up life.

Let’s hear from Jasper about how exactly he did it.

How to Fight the Tired Parent Syndrome

This is a post from NF Rebel Correspondent and Fatherhood Specialist, Dan.

Creating and shaping a little one’s life is full of wonder, amazement, joy and smells – a journey which is truly gratifying and unfortunately, bloody tiring.

Any parent will tell you that as soon as Player 2 or 3 enters the game, the sleep level difficulty instantly shifts from ‘tutorial’ to ‘expert’. It’s no surprise that you see new parents in the office stumbling around like zombies by the time 2 pm comes around.

New parents have to learn to function on much less sleep, which is why we’re going to delve into this topic a little further with some tips specifically for Rebels with young ones (but with some sleep tips applicable to everyone).

Let’s pick up the master controller to our slumber, and try to help all you struggling parents, shift workers, students, and Fallout 4 players.

Rey from Star Wars Deadlifted 176 Pounds. How Does that Make You Feel?

Last week we shared a video on Facebook that created more excitement and controversy than anything we’ve ever posted: A video of Daisy Ridley (Rey from Star Wars Ep VII) deadlifting with great form, 176 lbs/80 kilos:

This post exploded, with 1000+ likes and a few hundred comments. What we saw as the most “Nerd + Fitness” ever, combining two of our favorite things (Star Wars and Deadlifts), soon became a fascinating look into the psyche of society.

The wide reach of the post pulled in people outside of the Nerd Fitness community, and we ended up with responses that fell into a few distinct categories:

  • “Good for her! That’s awesome and it’s great to see a role model like that not afraid to strength train.”
  • “Hey I lift more than that, good for me!”
  • “Why are we celebrating mediocrity? She should be able to lift more than that. Anybody should.”
  • “That’s amazing and I hope I can get there some day.”

Obviously a HUGE majority of people fell into the first category, but a number of responses fell into categories 2, 3, 4. And that’s okay – we all have gut-reactions to things and it doesn’t make us bad people.

I bet you instantly had a reaction that fit into one of the above categories, good or bad. Let’s talk about these reactions, and challenge ourselves to fight back against them when they are counterproductive.

Create Your Free Nerd Fitness Character Now!

Life is game! Join me?

Almost six years ago I wrote an article called “Real-Life Role Playing: What is your Profession?” and then turned my life into a game, tracking my life quests with pen and paper (and text). I had so much fun, but I knew it was just the start. I had a dream that one day, you’d be able to log in to Nerd Fitness, create your character and your own Epic Quest list, check off those quests as you complete them, earn XP, level up, and share this profile with your friends.

We’ve been quietly (and furiously) working behind the scenes for the past year on this feature. You can now create a full Nerd Fitness Avatar and actually turn your life into an RPG! Now that my book Level Up Your Life is officially out nationwide, I’m so pumped that we can make this a big part of Nerd Fitness moving forward! This character is also going to tie into a big portion of the Nerd Fitness ecosystem over the next number of years.

Speaking of Level Up Your Life, if you’ve read the book, can you please go leave an honest review over on Amazon? More than ever these reviews can be the difference for somebody who isn’t familiar with Nerd Fitness or my writing! THANK YOU!

Note: This is a crazy, awesome, evolving platform; consider this current launch a version 1.0.

Level Up Your Life is Now Available! Here’s Why You Need to Buy It.

You are now free to level up your life! RIGHT NOW.

Today, right now, my first ever book, Level Up Your Life, is available online (at Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and in bookstores throughout the United States. Like, right now.

While you’re reading this, I’m probably running through New York City bookstores (skipping and giggling like a five-year old schoolgirl) and signing as many copies as I can. I might also be crying because this is really surreal. You can follow the adventure over on my instagram.

If you’ve been a reader of Nerd Fitness in the past, I’m just going to come right out and say it: BUY THIS BOOK. I’ve dedicated the majority of my last two years to writing this for you! I’m so excited to be able to share a physical guide to leveling up your life that can sit on your bookshelf (or kindle) for you refer back to as you begin to make changes and move forward.

You will be impressed with the quality and content of the book, I promise. I was blown away when I opened the first copy from the publisher.

Now, if you’re new to Nerd Fitness, I want to explain why today is such a big day, and why this book is going to help you do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Eight years ago I walked into a bookstore during my lunch break on miserable day at my day job, and purchased a book that altered the path for my life (Thanks Tim Ferriss!).

Now it’s my turn to pass along that feeling. I wrote this book to be that same “call to action” to spark change in your life.

The Year of Adventure Begins. Join me next week?

A lot can happen in 20 seconds.

The concept of “20 seconds of courage” has become a rallying cry of sorts for our humble Rebellion over here: it’s an idea that you only need 20 seconds to get yourself to commit to something you want to do but you’re scared to try. You can be scared as hell before and after, so long as you focus having insane courage for just 20 seconds.

Three months ago, I watched 300 Rebels come to Camp Nerd Fitness, using 20 seconds of courage to travel (from all over the world) and sign up for new activities and classes. We attempted our first rolls in parkour, struck our first pose in a yoga class, tried sword fighting for the first time, and more. This 20 seconds of courage helps us to jump in and commit, before we can get scared and back out.

After all, when we’re trying to learn new stuff, it can be scary… we don’t want to mess up, we’re worried people are watching us, we think people might be making fun of us, etc. It’s easy to avoid trying new things, to stick with the stuff we’re good at and avoid potential embarrassment.

Not this year! Not here in The Rebellion.

Imagine you just rebuilt an old car. Sure it was broken down, beat up and out of shape, but you dutifully spent months working on it in the garage: installing a new engine, replacing a dented fender, and giving it a brand new shiny coat of paint. What’s the next step?

Leaving it in the garage so only you can look at it? Hell no! You get to fire that baby up and take it out on the open road. After all, what’s all the hard work for if you can’t take it out and do what it’s meant to do, right?

(See what I’m getting at yet?)

It’s time to stand proud and find out what we’re capable of. That’s why I’m laying down a challenge.

Stop Making New Year’s Resolutions. Do this Instead.

Great Odin’s raven, please no more New Year’s Resolutions.

They’re about as useful as a flux capacitor on a car that can’t go 88 miles per hour (see what I did there?).

It’s that time of year again, and I want 2016 to be the year you actually accomplish stuff. Getting your first pull-up. Running your first 5k. Learning to play that piano that sits there unused. Taking that first trip overseas. And the way you’re going to do that is by saying no to resolutions.

Yup, the guy who built his life around goals (and wrote an entire book about it!)  wants to you stop making resolutions. Why?

Because New Year’s resolutions, as most people think of them, are hollow:

“I’m going to exercise every day.”

“I’m going to start flossing!”

“I’m going to eat better.”

Let’s be honest, we know these things aren’t going to become habit – we declare a random hodge podge of nebulous goals, and then we look back at year’s end and realize we never really got out of the starting gate.

Want to actually get stuff done? You don’t need resolutions.

Here’s exactly what you need instead.

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.

Previous Next View Archive