The Winter Is Coming Workout

This workout was created by Nerd Fitness Team Member and Master of the Fitness Universe, Jim Bathurst. 

With zombie skeletons pounding at your door, you know what really makes me feel safe? Redundancy! If the wall doesn’t hold, the creatures have to go through metal bars. After that, another line of defense. And then another.

And you know what really makes me stick to my workouts? Redundancy. Multiple lines of defense against my own excuses:

Oh, you know what? It’s just too cold to walk or drive to the gym… “NO PROBLEM,” I tell myself, “I can do the workout right here!”

Oh, but I don’t have the right equipment. I probably need to skip it today… “NO PROBLEM!” All I need is my own bodyweight and a backpack filled with something heavy!

Oh, but the exercises at home aren’t right. They’re [too easy or too hard]… NO PROBLEM! Here are some backup exercises if I need a variation.

Today we give you the Winter is Coming Workout. In case of emergency, break the glass and do this workout instead of skipping the day entirely.

Do Season 1 to warm up (3x through), and then complete any season 3x through for your workout. If you are really ready to defend Westeros, try “binging” every season, doing the whole thing straight through! 

You ready?

Bum bum bah dah bum bum bah dah bum bum bah dah dah

Warning: If you don’t want to see spoilers, don’t do that season’s workout!

7 Emergency Hacks to Stay Healthy in the Winter

“Winter is coming”

– House Stark.

Like the White Walkers of the old stories our Gran used to tell us, winter is descending upon us mere mortals, and we must prepare! This endless onslaught of vicious attacks on our brains and our bellies will leave us ripe for slaughter if we’re not careful. What began as celebrations and a time to ‘bring together’ has been corrupted by evil forces:

Holiday parties tell us to embrace our love of engorging ourselves with so much food our belt buckles burst. We stuff ourselves like turkeys being fattened for slaughter. Eep.

Cold weather that encourages us to sleep in, avoid the elements, and say “maybe tomorrow.” A sun that rises too late and sets too soon means we often go days without seeing the damn thing!

These and more challenges are just begging us to go off the rails. And a built-in excuse called January 1st where we promise to “start over” helps us rationalize us acting like an ass until then. Black Friday has come and gone. Cyber Monday is now in the rear view. Thanksgiving is now a distant memory.

And yet…the challenges are still just getting started.

Like the divided houses in Game of Thrones, the White Walkers and the forces of winter in real life will pick us apart one by one while we pretend everything’s okay.

After all, it’s so much easier to give in, and say “I’ll wait until later” to deal with it.

To all that I have two things to say:

  1. I hear you.
  2. Bring it on.

If you’ve seen The Emperor’s New Groove, you’ll be familiar with this scene. This is how I want you feeling about Winter:

5 Important Truths About the Paleo Diet

“You won’t believe #4!”

No, I’m totally messing with you, hahahaha. But there are 5 things I wanted to get straight in regards to the internet’s favorite (or favorite to bash) diet.

The Paleo Diet has taken the nutritional world by storm over the past few years, and there’s a lot of misinformation and outlandish claims being tossed around about it, both for and against.

Speaking of which, did you know the Paleo Diet actually cures, err, I mean causes all diseases?

Being the nice guy that I am, I figured I’d take today to set the record straight on a diet that has changed many lives and earned itself a steady stream of critics and detractors along the way.

Our “Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet” has been viewed 10 million times by now, and we’ve received thousands of emails with questions, comments, concerns, hopes, dreams, and success stories with regards to this crazy, not-so-crazy way of eating. If you haven’t read our ultimate guide, check it out, and then come back and catch these five things you should know about the Paleo Diet.

The Ultimate Guide to Building Any Physique (or Skill Set)

Earlier in the year, I heard something that made my head explode.

The 2016 Summer Olympics had just ended. The internet was aflutter with a debate about Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet.

The debate was about how quickly Usain Bolt could run a mile.

Scientists, marathon runners, cross country coaches, Olympians, and others had one heck of a debate. People started calculating his pace from 100 meters or 400 meters and extrapolated that out over the course of a mile. Math geeks couldn’t get enough of the thought experiment.

So obviously this begs the question: “Well, how fast does he actually run a mile?”

There’s just one problem:

Usain Bolt has never run a mile.

WHAT?!

As pointed out by the New Yorker, “Usain Bolt’s agent, Ricky Simms, won’t say whether he believes that his client could run a mile in less than five minutes. But Simms confirmed that the world’s greatest sprinter has, in fact, never tried running that far: ‘Usain has never run a mile.’”

Let that sink in for a second.

The fastest man on the planet has never run a mile. In Usain’s mind and his coach’s mind, he’s built to run short distances quickly, so why even bother running a longer distance? He has built a healthy frame designed to do exactly what he needs it to do.

I thought about this, my own training, and the training of the people whose physiques/talent I admire… and it made me come to a logical conclusion:

For most people, training in a way that you enjoy will get you 90% of the way there (with a good nutrition strategy). 

However, if you want to LOOK or perform a certain way, how you train IS crucial.

And like Usain, it may not fit your typical idea of what fitness is. Instead, you’ll be deliberate with your daily choices, training and eating in a way to build the body (and physical performance) you want. 

Follow these 3 missions and learn how.

Exercise sucks. Here’s what to do about it.

Two weeks ago, I almost puked and it inspired this article.

My friend Noah was in town, and he invited me to join him in a special workout with some other internet dorks (that’s what I call affectionately those of us who make our living online). Noah lives in Austin, and I haven’t seen in him in a while, so although the idea of going out in public (yikes) and working out in a group setting (nope) are things I try to avoid, I figured I’d be a good sport.

Upon arriving at the gym, I walked into a room with 25 other people and an instructor who looked like he had been picked from a “good looking super jacked trainer” casting call.

What transpired was a 25-minute bootcamp style workout where we all did various things like burpees, box jumps, squats, dips, etc. There was no break, and we moved from one exercise to the next as thumping hip hop played, the training yelling louder and louder to encourage us to push ourselves.

I HATED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

I think I would rather get a root canal than go through that style of workout again. Or watch an episode of the Real Housewives of Rivendell.

Let’s be clear: I’m not saying this just wasn’t my cup of tea…This wasn’t mild-displeasure, but pure misery.

As I finished my gazillionth burpee, wheezing and out of breath, I looked at my friend Roman and we both kind of chuckled: “This is not my thing,” Roman said to me. Okay, actually what he said was more profanity-laced, but I like to keep things relatively clean around here.

When the workout was over, I glanced at some of the other people around the room, also drenched in sweat, but with smiles on their faces:“That was great!” and “I loved it, thanks man!” phrases were shouted.

Although I knew I probably wouldn’t enjoy this type of workout, after realizing just how much I hated it – I knew I needed to write about it.

“Just how many people hate these workout and think they hate working out?” I wondered as I pushed myself to the point of puking.

Today, I’m going to give you permission that you didn’t realize you needed.

Parents: How to Instill a Love of Fitness in Your Kids

This is a post from NF Rebel Family Correspondent, father of 3, and mental health professional, Dan.

One thing I’ve always loved about starting a new video game is the character creation and customization menu.

As a young gamer, whether it was Tony Hawk’s Underground, WWF (that’s right, ‘F’) Smackdown or a good old fashioned RPG, I would always spend ages on this screen deciding what I felt were the best attributes, selecting weapons that would complement their skills, picking out the raddest outfit, and getting them to look just right (yet still ending up with something like this).

But as I’ve grown, I’ve spent less and less time on this menu. Hell, with three kids, I’ve spent less time gaming all together (I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a console game).

I still love customizing characters though. It’s just these days, my characters are real life little creatures, in their prime stage for optimum customization.

I’m choosing to build their character traits around a love of fitness, fun and wellbeing. I think these traits work well with so many game paths that it’s a great choice for most parent character-builders.

Is it easy? No, but it’s vitally important to foster and ingrain these attributes early in order for maximum impact and longevity.

But how do we do it? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Rings and Handstand Superpack is Now Open (until Friday!)

It’s here! Pop the confetti!

dance_giphy

I’m super excited to announce that our new easy-to-follow bodyweight training system — The NF Rings and Handstands Superpack— is now open! 

I’d love for you to check it out and decide if it’s right for you! We’ll be showing you, step-by-step, how to gain complete control over your body, look like a gymnast, and perform like a Jedi — in your home or at the gym.

handstands-logo rings-logo

5 Common Push-Up Mistakes to Avoid

Push-ups!

Maybe the most primal and basic of all exercises. We all know what they are. We all try to do them and know they’re good for us.

But like squats and pull-ups, 95% of the people I see doing push-ups do them wrong. Ruh roh.

Right now you might be wondering whether you’re in the 95% or the 5%. You might also be wondering what the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is.

Well, I can help you with both of those. The answer to the second question is 11 meters per second.

As for the first question, I’m going to make sure you are in the 5% by the end of this article. Here are the five most common mistakes I see when people do push-ups. If you are concerned at all about your shoulder health or longevity of your muscles and building functional strength, read on!

Build an incredibly solid foundation, and you’ll be on your way to attempting more complex bodyweight movements in no time. But like the foundation of any house, you need to start with a solid base.

That solid base means doing functionally correct squats, push-ups, and pull-ups.

Let’s put the “fun” back in “functionally correct push-ups!”

(Yes I realize that’s not a “thing” but trust me, the jokes are only going to get worse from here on out.)

Steve Ostrich

Watch the video below, read the accompanying cues, and start doing correct push-ups today!

A Beginner’s Guide to Handstands

I bet you’ve always wanted to do a handstand.

It’s okay, you can admit it.

It demonstrates balance and control over your body, something we happen to put great importance upon here at Nerd Fitness. It’s also one HELL of a party trick, something you can work on without a single piece of equipment, builds functional strength and muscular endurance, and it’s a skill you can work on in just a few minutes every single day.

How do I know this? Because I’m typing this while in a handstand RIGHT NOW. Okay, I can’t do that. But Jim, Master of the NF Fitness Universe can:

jim typing

I love working with gymnastic rings, because they have such a great tutorial level. Handstands are exactly the same way: it’s a great skill to work on as a beginner, but also is infinitely challenging depending on your skill level.

Plus, in addition to Jim, Luke Skywalker does them. It’s time to stop looking at other people doing cool things and start today saying “hey, I can do that too!”

5 Common Mistakes When Doing A Proper Squat

Can you do a bodyweight squat? Great!

Now, can you do a PROPER bodyweight squat?

Right now you’re asking, “What’s the difference, Steve you weirdo?!”

Today I’m gonna drop some bodyweight squat knowledge bombs on you. Don’t worry, they don’t hurt! Instead, they’ll make your body feel good, and you’ll say: “OOHHHHHHHH, that’s what a squat is!”

Like other basic movements like the pull-up and push-up, most people think they know what a bodyweight squat is, and they think they’re doing them right… but are they?

Judging by the people in my gym, 80%+ of people are actually making some major mistakes in their squat, making the movement inefficient at best and dangerous at worst!

If you have any interest in ever being able to do a barbell squat, you need to first nail the mechanics for a proper bodyweight squat.

We got you covered: by the end of this article you’re going to know exactly what to do and how to remind yourself to keep good form.

We were recently at Camp Nerd Fitness, and NF Team members Staci and Jim along with myself put together a quick 5 minute video explaining the ins and outs of (and common problems people have with) bodyweight squats.

Watch the video and check out the mistakes most people are making with bodyweight squats below.

5 Common Mistakes When Doing a Pull-Up

Can you do a pull-up? How about a chin-up?

Whether you can or you’re working towards your first, are you suuuuuuure you’re learning how to do them the right way?

As someone who has been training in a commercial gym for the past 15 years, I see people every day doing “pull-ups” and “chin-ups” … but probably 90% are doing them wrong.

It’s like watching Joffrey sword fight. Yeah, he’s putting a lot of energy into it and moving around, but anyone with experience can tell that it’s not terribly effective.

Whether you can string together 10 pull-ups already or are still working towards your first one, today we’re going to cover all of the big mistakes people make when doing a pull-up or chin-up, and how to make sure you’re doing them right.

Your shoulders, back, and arms are complex pieces of machinery – do proper pull-ups and you’ll be building uber strength and mobility in all the right places. Do them improperly and you might be setting yourself up for an injury.

Zoinks!

I can tell you’re awesome, so I went ahead and made a video for you to walk you through all of this stuff. Watch the video below and read about the mistakes underneath it to make sure you’re training your pull-ups correctly!

Lord of The Rings: How to Get in Great Shape Using Gymnastic Rings

If I was stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one thing… it would be a Super Nintendo.

But if I could bring TWO things, the second would be a pair gymnastic rings.

(Apparently both food and water don’t rank high on my list; I’m cool with that.)

In this nerd’s humble opinion, there’s no greater piece of equipment for building strength, adding muscle, and gaining mastery over your own body than having the ability to do some basic moves on gymnastic rings. And the best part? ANYONE can learn how to use gymnastic rings to get in great shape.

(Yes, even you.)

In fact, it’s our opinion here at Nerd Fitness that building a great-looking, great-performing, great-everything body comes easiest as the result of three major training philosophies:

  • Barbell training with things like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses
  • Bodyweight training with core movements like pushups and pullups, and rings training training with muscle ups, dips, push-ups, and pull-ups.
  • Fun “cardio” – walks, dancing, ultimate frisbee, whatever you actually enjoy.

Show me somebody, male or female, who trains with their bodyweight, with rings and with barbells, and I’ll show you one healthy, bad-ass individual!

I used to think rings were only for gymnasts. But much like other bodyweight exercises, rings are great tools for beginners, too.

Young or old, male or female, big or small, you can start simply by spending a few bucks on a set of gymnastic rings and working on some very basic movements.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or a super-advanced fancy person (and it certainly doesn’t matter if you’re “skinny” or “stocky”, male or female, Gungan or Wookie): Anyone at any experience-level can train successfully — and safely — with rings.

“BUT STEVE I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TRAIN WITH RINGS, HALP” you’re probably saying to your computer right now.

Don’t worry boo, I got you covered.

Work Out At Home, At the Office, Or Anywhere You Want: How to Get Started With Bodyweight Training Today!

Today you take your first steps towards becoming a ninja/jedi/assassin/superhero, without needing to step foot in a gym.

Interested? Of course you are!

That’s 4 amazing things all combined into a nerd mecha-robot.

Here’s the deal: It doesn’t matter if you’re a 300-pound guy who wants to lose weight and get back in the dating scene; it doesn’t matter if you’re a mom of three who wants to drop a little fat and gain a little muscle; it doesn’t matter if you’re an in-shape twenty-something who’s just looking for a new workout challenge.

Right now — right in front of you— are all the tools you need to get into amazing shape and live a healthier, happier life.

So…just where the heck are these tools? Check the mirror! Seriously go look in the mirror.

Did you go look? That’s okay if you didn’t. But keep reading.

How a 330 lb High School Dropout Lost 140 lbs and Turned His Life Around

Talk about an Origin Story straight out of a comic book!

At 330 lbs, Joe was unemployed and a highschool dropout. Living rent-free with his grandfather, Joe would sleep all day and wake up at the start of the evening. Having grown up with unhealthy habits, Joe says he’d been binge-eating as long as he can remember. He developed a hypothyroid issue as a teen, and hadn’t bothered to take care of it.

Many of us feel trapped by our situations, and so we do what Joe did for years. Instead of using this as an impetus to change, we make ourselves feel better by falling even deeper into these negative habits. Joe says he would eat “entire loaves of bread with peanut butter or entire 2 pound boxes of chicken fingers” at night. “I’d have to use two baking trays to make them all. I’d stay up until 5-7am watching Turner Classic Movies or Buffy. Sometimes I had the energy to play videogames.”

He wasn’t taking care of himself physically, or mentally. Things felt dire: “Every night I went to bed thinking/hoping I’d die. I was a total wreck. It’s hard to remember.”

But – spoiler alert – Joe turned things around. This is a Nerd Fitness success story after all!

Joe is now 28 and has lost 140 lbs. Like many of our success stories, he used fitness as a gateway to change his entire life: Now he’s finishing a Masters in Library and Information Science and completing an 8-month work term in a special library dedicated to atmospheric and meteorological sciences.

Let’s hear some more from Joe to hear how he looks, feels, and acts like an entirely different person than he was a few years ago.

A Degenerate Gambler’s Guide to Effortless Weight Loss

Have you heard the story about the MIT Blackjack Team?

Made famous in the book, Bringing Down the House, it’s the story of an unlikely group of nerds who took casinos throughout the United States for millions upon millions of dollars back in the 90s by doing the unthinkable: they “beat the House” by playing perfect blackjack, counting cards, and knowing when to bet big and when to bet small. This story was then further immortalized in the Kevin Spacey flick, 21, and they will forever be remembered as “the group of kids who crushed the casinos.”

That… wasn’t supposed to happen.

Hence the expression “The House always wins.” You see, if you were supposed to have an advantage in Blackjack, the game wouldn’t exist in a casino! In reality, there is a series of small and seemingly insignificant rules that casinos employ to give the House a teeny tiny advantage (say 50.1% to 49.9%) in the game of Blackjack. They know that if you play long enough, statistics eventually kick in and they will take all of your money.

Just as the tiny percent “house edge” advantage results in enormous and consistent long-term profits for the Casino, a few “house edge” decisions we make on a daily basis result in long-term weight gain over the years.

It’s why we wake up a decade later, look down, and say “where the Hell did this gut come from?” Like a casino slowly bleeding us out of our chips, our weight slowly creeps up until we realize, “The house won. I’m fat.”

Today, we turn the tables and move that slight edge back in our favor.

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