What Is Creatine? How to Start Supplementing with Creatine

Most supplements in the fitness world are a complete waste of money.

Some supplements aren’t even absorbed well, making for some expensive urine![1]

Others, like “weight loss pills,” can actually be outright dangerous.[2]

However, there are a few supplements which could be an exception to this rule.

And one of those supplements is creatine.

Creatine is one of the most popular and tested fitness supplements on the market.

Technically, it’s an amino acid derivative, but you don’t really need to know that.

That is, unless you are a chemist.

We get loads of questions here at Nerd Fitness on using creatine correctly, so today I’ll jump right in and give you the low down.

We’ll discuss everything you need to know about this supplement:

  • What exactly is creatine?
  • If you were to take creatine, how much should you use?
  • What time of day is best for taking creatine?
  • What are some of the best creatine supplements on the market?

Let’s go!

How Jennifer the Photographer Discovered a Love of Strength Training, Lost 20 Pounds, and Leveled up Her Life.

“This is why we do this.”

When I heard Jennifer’s story, I knew I had to share it.

She’s a member of the Nerd Fitness community who for years struggled with things most of us can relate to:

  • Seeking comfort in sugary foods and alcohol.
  • A lack of energy and all around feeling of fatigue.
  • An eating disorder as a teenager that created an unhealthy relationship with food.
  • Not knowing her next step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Jennifer found herself stuck in this pattern until rock bottom presented itself: divorce.

When bad times strike, it becomes easy to slip further into bad habits and vices.

Jennifer knew this and realized she had to turn her life around.

Six months ago, she did just that.

Today, Jennifer loves strength training and is the strongest she’s ever been. She changed her views on food and nutrition and is no longer intimidated by the kitchen. Jennifer recently completed her first 8k, something she couldn’t have dreamed of doing before.

And oh, Jennifer just came back from an epic photography trip where her new found stamina and strength allowed her to hike mountains to capture some awesome shots:

That’s her!

I’m honored that Jennifer has been a member of our 1-on-1 Online Coaching program since August, and has used our guidance to level up her life!

While strength training and getting comfortable in the kitchen are important, the real success for Jennifer has been with her mindset. She knows she can’t change everything at once and is using one small change to spring into another change and then another, using each as a stepping stone to the next.

This new frame of mind is something we can all learn from.

It’s how Jennifer was able to transform so quickly and lose 20 pounds in a healthy, sustainable way. While it seems like changing everything at once is the quickest way to success, it’s often too stressful and thus abandoned.

However, if you do what Jennifer did, and start with one simple habit like a food journal – it can start improving other areas of your life too.

You don’t need to hear it from me though…

Let’s bring in Jennifer!

How to Eat a Plant-Based Diet: A Scientific Look at Going Vegan Safely

So you’re interested in eating only plants, eh?

Well, you’ve come to the right place to learn all about it. I’ve seen many people over the years have success with a Plant-Based Diet.

Truth be told though, I’ve seen many people also struggle with it too.

(After all, donuts are “plant-based” and pizza just got declared “a vegetable”).

There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to embark on eliminating animal products from your diet.

Today, I’ll share with you how to safely and correctly follow a plant-based menu and still hit your goals.

Now, although I’ve been running this site for 10 years, I may be drawing a large target on my back by diving headfirst into a topic I’ve thus far avoided.

As a blogger, if you want to tenfold your hate mail, take a stance on a Plant-Based Diet.

And saying ANYTHING about veganism – for OR against – is an easy way to get virtual produce tossed at you.

Although most people discover Nerd Fitness through our guides on Paleo or Keto, we get SO many questions on how to eat a Plant-Based Diet that I figured I’d give my two cents.

With pop stars and famous directors advising folks to try veganism, these inquiries are only going to increase.[1]

So today, we are going to talk about how to eat a Plant-Based Diet safely.

The right way, and the wrong way, to go vegan or vegetarian.

BIG ASS CAVEAT: I’m not going to try to convince you to give up meat. If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re here because you’re interested in doing so, and want to know the best path through it.

The politics, controversy (yes, I’ve read the China Study[2]), and geopolitical impact of veganism are beyond the scope of this article. I’m just a nerd who studies the hell outta health and wellness and sometimes wears pants.[3]

So setting all the controversy aside, I want to explore the science and the “how to” for people who are heading down this path.

  • If you are going to eat a plant-based or vegan diet, what’s the best way to do it?
  • What are tips and tricks to make it sustainable?
  • Is it as easy as “stop eating meat?”
  • Is there any unsafe way to eat only plants?

Let’s goooooo!

“Why Can’t I Lose Weight?” Great Question. Here’s the Truth.

“Steve, why is it so dang tough to lose weight?”

This is the question that has consumed my brain for the past decade of running Nerd Fitness.

Just eat less and move more” is nice in theory…

But it comes across as an insult to people who KNOW this, who try their best, and yet the scale just doesn’t budge.

As a business owner in the health and fitness industry – who also happens to hate the health and fitness industry – I get to see both sides:

  • A society full of people desperately trying to do the right thing and feel better about themselves.
  • An industry designed to prey on insecurities, make you feel terrible, and take your money. Results? Probably not.
  • Companies that try to razzle dazzle you with “exciting, new, and innovative” when “boring, time-tested, old school” is what actually works!

Today, we’re gonna deep dive – Scuba Steve style – into nutrition and why it’s so tough to lose weight, and what you can start to do about it.

Fell Off the Wagon? How to Get Back on Track, Step-by-Step.

So you fell off the wagon already.

Welcome to the club.

It’s called “being human!”

There are like 7 billion of us.

So how did I know you probably fell off the fitness wagon already?

Because statistically speaking, MOST people have already abandoned or missed out on a lot of the resolutions they’ve set for 2019. Seriously.

As somebody who has fallen off the wagon many a time in the past, but managed to stay ON the wagon this time…

Here’s my step-by-step guide for you to get back on track.

Can You Lose Weight and Gain Muscle at the Same Time?

There’s an argument in the fitness world that you can either choose to lose fat or you can choose to gain muscle.

You just can’t do both at the same time.

The claim goes something like this:

  • To lose fat, your body needs to be in a caloric deficit. This deficit allows your body to use up pre-existing fat stores.
  • To gain muscle, your body needs to be in a caloric surplus. This surplus provides the energy your body requires to repair and build bigger muscles.

How could one possibly do both?

Great question.

Let’s answer it.

Today we’ll discuss losing body fat and building muscle at the exact same time. To see if one can tighten their belt, while simultaneously building strength and gaining muscle.

To help on our journey, we’ll rely on science, studies, and Harry Potter references.

This is Nerd Fitness after all.

First, we’ll talk about the science of losing body fat.

Second, we’ll discuss how you build muscle.

Then, we’ll tie it all together with a bow and chat about if you can lose body fat while building muscle, both at the same time (spoiler alert: you totally can).

Let’s go!

Strength Training 101: How to Do The Deadlift

Deadlift day is my favorite day of the week.

And soon, it will be yours.

There’s nothing more satisfying than picking up a ton of weight off the floor and holding it in your hands.

Jón Páll Sigmarsson, the Icelandic Strongman/Powerlifter once said (while deadlifting 1005 lbs), “There is no reason to be alive if you can’t do a deadlift.”

Now, that may be a bit extreme, but deadlifting is truly a romantic lift.=

On deadlift day, I don’t need assistance or a spotter – it’s just me, the barbell, and the weight. I love nothing more than to put my headphones in, put on a favorite playlist, and focus on nothing but me and that weight.

This is the next article in our strength training from our lead female NF Coaching instructor, Staci, covering all things strength training.

As for her story, she went from this to this thanks to heavy strength training:

And for her credentials, here she is easily deadlifting 400+ lbs at bodyweight of 150 lbs:

A post shared by Staci Ardison (@staciardison) on

Staci has been part of Nerd Fitness for the past 7 years, and is now the lead female trainer in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program!

You might be reading this article, or on the hunt for strength training basics, and you’re overwhelmed:

  • Am I doing my deadlifts correctly?
  • What kind of workout should I follow?
  • How often should I train?
  • What if I’ve never worked out in a gym before?

Deadlifting in itself is not dangerous – but like with any movement, deadlifting incorrectly can be. Properly executing the deadlift will allow you to build a stronger posterior chain, less fragile joints, and a body that can handle whatever life throws at you.

We love the Deadlift more than any other exercise at Nerd Fitness, but it’s also one of the more intimidating exercises out there. It’s also easy to get wrong, and easy to injure yourself if you start to develop bad habits with it!

Many people are afraid of the deadlift and avoid it at all costs, because they’re afraid of splitting themselves in half or getting injured in another way.

Strength training and fear of injury can be scary enough to keep MOST people from starting, which is actually why we created our 1-on-1 Coaching Program. Your coach gets to know you, builds a program based on your experience and goals, will check your form on each movement (via video), and keep you accountable and on track!

You can learn more about our coaches and schedule a free call with us by clicking the image below:

Okay, today we’re going to fall in love with the deadlift, and make sure you can do them right!

21 Basic Yoga Poses for Beginners: Plus Videos of Complete Routines

WTF is a “downward dog” anyways?

Is there a downward cat?

Do I have to shop at Lululemon now?

When somebody mentions they practice yoga, these might be some of the questions that enter your mind. I know it’s what I thought about!

Although I was initially afraid of getting on the mat for years, I now freaking love it and flow through some yoga poses whenever I can. It’s my favorite solution for improving mobility and flexibility, staying injury-free when strength training, and even quieting my overactive mind.

And I want you in on it.

We have 21 yoga poses outlined below so you can start your yoga journey. We’ll begin with a complete video routine from our Nerd Fitness Yoga course, so you can see how they work. We’ll then go over the yoga poses in detail. And we’ll end with a couple videos going over some key stretches designed for desk workers.

All because I like you so much.

Our yoga poses are broken out into three levels, for you to progress in difficulty. What can I say, we love leveling up here at Nerd Fitness. Most of our poses are basic, Level One, in case you are completely new to yoga. However, we’ll include a few more advanced poses for further advancement.

How To Build Your Own Workout Routine

I get an email at least once a day that says the following:

“Steve, what should I do for a workout?”

After all, many people are interested in getting started with strength training and want to know what workout routine to follow.

Considering that a program should be developed around a person’s biology, age, goals, diet, free time, etc, there’s a lot of factors I can’t get in through email that would allow me to tailor a program specific to that person.

It’s really easy to overcomplicate this process as there are an infinite number of exercises, sets, reps, and programs to choose from.

And yes, we have a solution for people that JUST want to be told what exactly to do: Our uber popular 1-on-1 coaching program pairs you with your own Nerd Fitness Coach who will get to know you, your goals, and your lifestyle, and develop a workout plan that’s specific to not only your body, but also to your schedule and life.

We take the guesswork and uncertainty out of this process for hundreds of people – and we’d love to be able to pair you with a coach who can do the same: click the image below and speak with our team to learn more:

Coaching Workouts

How Fahad the Computer Repair Technician Lost 50+ Pounds and Changed His Life from the Inside Out.

“Whoa. Fahad! You could fit another Fahad in your old pants!”

Not every Nerd Fitness success story comes with a jaw-dropping transformation.

But in Fahad’s case, it totally does.

And not only does this story come with the physical transformation of Fahad (duh), but it comes with a mental transformation too. Which, in my humble opinion, is his true BIG win. Fahad’s new frame of mind is the secret to all of his later and physical success.

Even more impressive? Fahad’s story has all taken place in the past 6 months! Who knows where he’ll be 6 months from now!

I recently had a chance to interview Fahad, a computer repair technician from Los Angeles, who flipped his internal monologue to create new healthy habits for himself.

Habits that made him drop a few pants sizes….and habits that changed him inside and out.

I’m honored that Fahad’s transformation began with his investment in the Nerd Fitness Academy, our flagship online course and community.

Regardless of whether or not you’re a member of our Academy, I have a huge hunch there will be a ton from this story you can relate to and a lot of lessons you can apply to your everyday life.

Let’s bring in Fahad.

(Pretend like the audience just went wild on a talk show as Fahad walks out on stage.)

Should You Try The Carnivore Diet? 5 Questions Addressed

If you want to get some concerned looks from your friends and family, tell them you are following an all meat or Carnivore Diet.

It seems to fly in the face of common sense to eat meat, more meat, and nothing but meat.

Yet I see a growing trend of eating a carnivore or “zero-carb” diet. To eat meat, and solely meat, in the name of health.

The popularity of eating only meat made me curious enough to explore the topic. It might be completely and totally insane, but if there are health benefits to eating steak all day, I vow to get to the bottom of it.

So today, Nerd Fitness looks at:

  • What is the Carnivore Diet?
  • What are the claimed benefits of an all meat diet?
  • What do you actually eat on a Zero Carb Diet plan?
  • Is the Carnivore Diet safe?
  • Would I recommend anyone actually try this?

Alright, fire up the grill. Let’s talk meat.

Are Personal Trainers a Waste of Time? How to Hire a Good Personal Trainer.

Globo Gym employs a highly-trained, quasi-cultural staff of personal alteration specialists. And with our competitively-priced on-site cosmetic surgery, we can turn that Frankenstein you see in the mirror every morning into a Franken-fine!

Of course you’ll still be you in a legal sense, but think of it as a thinner, more attractive, better you than you could ever become without us.

-White Goodman, Dodgeball: The Movie

There are some REALLY bad personal trainers out there. Conversely, there are some AMAZING trainers out there, and they can be the missing link between you and sustainable, consistent progress (or even an elite level of athletic performance).

Back in 2002, I thought I knew everything there was to know about working out (I had been training in a gym for 6 years by then).

Back in 2002, I was also an idiot.

But when I joined a gym that gave me some free personal trainer sessions, my world suddenly got a lot larger. After talking to the trainer and being handed a complete workout and nutrition strategy that was drastically different from what I had been doing for the 6 years prior – and having more success in a month than I had ever had before – I had an epiphany: “I am an ignoramus and a doofus, and I have a lot to learn.”

As I transformed personally and started formulating the ideas that became Nerd Fitness years later, I took a weekend-long personal trainer certification class as required by my local gym, and saw first hand all these soon to be “trainers” that were about to get certified. The range of experience, education, enthusiasm, and professionalism varied DRASTICALLY from person to person.

I came to realize that this particular certification (as with many others) was more of a “start your fitness professional journey” rather than a test of actually qualifying whether you knew your stuff. In short, many certifications are just the tip of the iceberg when determining if your trainer is worth a damn.

A good trainer is worth every penny they charge. (I know my current virtual coach is the best money I spend each month!)

A bad trainer is not only a waste of your time and money, but can set you back months or even years in your training. You’ll get no results, and waste valuable time/money in the process.

Unfortunately, many trainers just don’t give a damn; they’re going through the motions, not providing a program that provides lasting results.

Today, I want to talk about how you can avoid the bad trainers and find the good ones. They’re not cheap, but the amount of money you spend doesn’t always determine their quality.

Speaking of trainers, I want to quickly share why we have our own coaching program. There’s nothing worse than spending 6+ months in a gym and doing what you think you SHOULD be doing, only to step on the scale and realize that you haven’t made any progress!

If you’re somebody that’s worried about wasting time, or you want to have an expert hand craft a workout and nutrition program that’s based on your current situation, consider checking out our really popular 1-on-1 Online Training Program!

I’ve been training with an online coach for the past 4 years and it has been the biggest boost for me in the world.

Click on the image below to schedule a free call with our team to see if online coaching is the path that could work for you!

If you’re going to hire a trainer, here’s how to find a good one.

Strength Training 101: How to do the Bench Press

Walk into any gym on a Monday, and there’s a good chance not a single bench will be open.

Because Monday’s are National Bench Press Day.

At least, that’s what it seems like!

For many years now, bench press has been considered by many to be the most important exercise in the gym, so many people put the bench front and center in their training program, before all else.

For the last 30-40 years, the bench press has become the universal lift for bros everywhere to determine out how strong someone truly is. The questions are things like:

How much do you bench?

Do you even lift??

As popular as it is, the bench press in its current form is really less than 100 years old.

In fact, until the 1930’s, people did a movement called the “floor press”, which was similar to a bench press only done from the floor.

In fact, at first many people did a movement called a “belly toss” – where the bar would come down and bounce off the belly to help the lifter get it back up.

The three movements – bench press, belly toss, and floor press were all popular until the 40’s and 50’s, when the bench press started to become more and more popular, as bodybuilders liked how the bench worked their pecs better than the other two movements.

As the bench press became more and more popular, powerlifting emerged in the 1970’s and separated itself from weightlifting as a sport of its own.

And to this day, the bench press is still a somewhat controversial lift.

How’s that for a history lesson! I’ve asked Staci, our lead women’s coach from our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program to help teach how to bench.

If you’re somebody interested in powerlifting but not sure on your form, afraid to go to the gym, or just looking for the confidence to get started, sign up for a free call with Team NF to learn about how our coaching program could help solve those problems!

You can schedule that call by clicking in the big yellow box right below here. Otherwise, keep reading this post for more killer content on how to level up your bench press!

A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit

CrossFit is EVERYWHERE these days.

If you have friends or coworkers that enjoy working out, you might have even heard them talking about the newest CrossFit “box” (gym) that just opened up down the street.

You see CrossFit themed Reebok shoes.

You see Crossfit on ESPN.

And you’re wondering:

“Hey Steve! What the hell is CrossFit, and is it for me?”

If you ARE wondering that, my response is “Wow, I’m good at reading minds.”

If you WEREN’T wondering that before, you are now…which means I’m good at mind control.

You see, either way I win.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Anyways…I’ve been talking with Team NF’s Staci (a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and our head female instructor for our 1-on-1 Coaching Program) about how we couldn’t find a decent “Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit” anywhere on the Internet that wasn’t heavily biased – in either direction.

On top of that, any time there’s an article that mentions the word CrossFit, a quick trip to the comment section reveals so much support or hatred that it’s almost comical.

Well, rather than wait for that beginner’s guide to CrossFit resource to get written, I figured why not write it ourselves? (Note – if you already worship or loathe CrossFit, this article won’t change your mind.)

Let’s figure out what CrossFit is, who it’s for, how it works, and if you should join your local CrossFit gym.

WARNING: At 6,000 words, this is the longest post that has appeared on NF to date. If you have NO interest in CrossFit, check out our Strength 101 series.

By the way, if you’re interested in CrossFit but are worried about looking foolish, or you’re unable to find a great CrossFit gym in your area, you’re not alone!

As you’ll see in this article, CrossFit can either be AMAZING or TERRIBLE! It depends on how you like to be motivated, if there are competent coaches around you, what your goals are, and if you actually enjoy exercise.

If you are excited about the idea of getting started with weight training but overwhelmed or nervous or unsure, we have a 1-on-1 online coaching program where you get paired with a member of the NF Coaching staff who builds a workout program and nutritional strategy just for you.

You can book a free consultation with our team by clicking the image below to see if our coaching program is right for you.

Now back to CrossFit!

How to Do A Proper Push Up

I need to share something very important with you:

I’m 95% certain you’re doing your push-ups incorrectly.

I’ll explain why shortly.

Let’s start here: push-ups are one of the best exercises ever invented (thanks random fit caveperson, whoever you were).

They require zero equipment, build strength in all of the right places, have hundreds of variations to keep things fresh, and are easily quantifiable so keeping track of progression is a breeze.

Push-ups and push-up variations are a HUGE part of Nerd Fitness and things that we encourage you to have in your routine. That’s why I’m so damn glad you’re reading this article – because push-ups are AMAZING.

I’m going to answer every question you have about push-ups and give you the confidence to do them correctly.

To answer that first question: want to know how I know you’re probably doing push-ups incorrectly?

Because pretty much EVERYBODY does push-ups incorrectly! 

I see it every day in the gym.

Don’t worry though, I ALSO used to do push-ups incorrectly, and did so for YEARS without knowing any better.

They say ignorance is bliss, but that does not apply to getting stronger and healthier – I spent years doing push-ups and training in a gym and saw no results – it’s because I was following the wrong workout and eating strategy.

I seriously wasted 6 years doing this! Doh.

There’s nothing worse than training hard, dutifully doing your exercises and strength training – or even doing exercise you HATE – and seeing NO results after months (or in my case, years) of hard of work.

We want to avoid that scenario like the plague! We also want to avoid the plague.

If you’re somebody that doesn’t have time to waste and just wants to start getting results, or if you’ve struggled to get in shape for years, consider checking out our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program. 

You’ll get form checks, nutritional guidance, and a custom workout program from a coach that gets to know you and how to fit all of this into your busy life! You can learn more about schedule a free call with our coaches by clicking on the image below:

Okay, let’s dig into the ins and outs – or ups and downs, I should say – of how to do a proper push-up!

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