How 20 Seconds of Courage can Change Your Life.

20 seconds.

Today I’m going to issue you a challenge, and it will only require 20 seconds.

And you’re going to do it. And it’s going to change your life.

Yup. 20 seconds doesn’t seem like a lot of time. But I’ve come to learn that when it comes to getting healthy, taking risks, and living a life worth living, twenty seconds is often more than enough to change one’s life.

What began as a fun mental strategy to overcome fear has since become a rallying cry for our community here at Nerd Fitness. 

And today, I’m gonna help you do that thing that scares the crap out of you.

Jaime lost 135 pounds, and I seriously didn’t recognize her.

Meet Jaime.

Apologies in advance if her story makes you cry.

But don’t worry, it’s not the ugly crying from watching Inside Out or Toy Story 3. The inspiring kind of crying that makes you go “there’s hope for humanity yet!”

I met Jaime in person at one of our big events we’ve done in the past, Camp Nerd Fitness, and I remember two things specifically: she was very nice, and very shy 🙂

Little did I know that event would be the “radioactive spider” that bit Jaime and gave her permission to transform herself into a real life superhero.

I’m proud to say that Jaime is a member of our Nerd Fitness Academy, but I guarantee this story is full of information you can start to implement TODAY.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking: Everything You Need to Know

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.

I’m going to make a bet with you.

By the end of today’s article, I bet I can convince you to say the following, “Damn Steve! Now I want to go hiking. FINE.”

After all, Hiking is one of the greatest things you can do for your health, both mental and physical:

  • It’s amazing way to get off your ass and explore your local surroundings.
  • It requires next to nothing to get started.
  • It’s a great bonding activity with friends, family, and significant others
  • It’s a great date idea for the right person!
  • You already have everything you need to get started.
  • It’s free. As in, zero dollars.
  • It’s a great reminder that this world in which we live is pretty amazing.

Our community members love hiking too. In fact, one of our recent success stories specifically cited hiking as one of the fun activities she loved to do to help her lose 50 pounds.

Today I’m going to teach you how to hike with a little help from our furry-footed friends.

By the end of today’s post, my goal is convince you to have picked a trail, picked a date, and identified a fella or gal to join your fellowship (galship?).

I took the above picture while hiking through Killarney National Park in Ireland many years ago, and every time I look at it, I couldn’t help but think of Tolkien’s middle-earth masterpiece, so I apologize (not really) for all of the Lord of the Rings nerdery running throughout this post!

Let’s get you hiking.

8 Steps to Determine the Perfect Workout Program (For You).

I get multiple emails per day asking me advice on what workout plan they should follow:

“CrossFit sounds really tough, but people that do it LOVE it. Should I try?”

“Should I be doing P90X or Insanity? I’m supposed to confuse my muscles, right?”

“I want to look like this particular person, what’s the strategy I should be following?”

“Should I do 3 sets of 5? 5 sets of 5 reps? 4 sets of 4? Ah!”

These are all great questions.

It shows that people are taking matters into their own hands and trying to figure out the best strategy to get in shape. And that’s amazing!

After running Nerd Fitness for the past 9 years, I know how confusing it can be for people to try and navigate a hundred different workout options, each claiming to be the newest, greatest, or quickest.

Ask yourself enough questions and visit enough websites, you’ll freak yourself until you become Tweek from South Park:

Poor Tweek.

I’ve seen people spend months and years trying to lose weight, jumping from one program to the next, and getting no results.

This makes me a sad panda.

I’ve ALSO seen people struggle for years only to turn their lives around permanently in a matter of months.

This makes me happy as a clam.

What separates the second group from the first?

The right mindset, the right community, and the right strategy for finding their PERFECT workout program.

This is the exact strategy we guide our 1-on-1 coaching clients through, it’s the mindset we teach in our online courses, and today I’m going to walk you through it, step by step (“day by dayyyyy”)!

Did you just start singing the theme song to “Step By Step?” You’re welcome.

Okay let’s get weird and help you find your perfect workout program.

How Christina Lost 50 pounds, 31 Total Inches, and Did Her First Pull-up

I love inspiring success stories.

I especially love sharing stories from real people with busy lives who have struggled in the same way most of us struggle:

  • Multiple failed attempts at weight loss.
  • Mental baggage and challenges to overcome.
  • Negative self talk.
  • Yo-yo dieting.

Christina, a years-long member of the Nerd Fitness community, is somebody who has gained and lost the same weight more times than she can count. She grew up with negative self-talk, chased lose-weight-quick strategies, and struggled to love herself through the ups and downs.

After her husband stumbled across Nerd Fitness (smart fella), he told her to consider joining our community, and I’m so thankful she did!

Two years ago, we launched a beta version of our super fun 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program, and Christina was one of our guinea pigs that signed up!

In those two years, she has transformed inside and out, and I’m so excited to share her story today. In these two years, she has had this great level of success without access to a gym without crazy dietary restrictions or calorie starvation, and finally loves herself in the way she deserves to be loved!

Although I’m very proud of the fact that Christina has invested in herself through coaching program month after month, I know you’ll learn a lot from her story.

At the end, I’ll share with you EXACTLY how to make your changes today. No more negative self-talk, no more reliance on motivation or willpower, but a focus on systems and progress and accountability!

Let’s see how Christina transformed…

The Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet

“Wait, so butter is good again? And cheese too? But now fruit is bad? What the hell!”

Keto is the hottest trend in health and fitness these days – move over cavemen, sorry Dr. Atkins. There’s a new low carb sheriff in town.

So what’s up with Keto?

You heard from your coworker that his friend’s neighbor’s girlfriend’s dog walker that they “went Keto” and lost crazy weight and feel better than ever.

Which led you to this article, asking: “Steve, Is Keto worthy of the hype? Tell me more!”

Depending on who you talk to, Keto can help you lose weight, fix a litany of health problems, make you smarter, help you build more muscle, grant you the power of levitation, and also do your taxes.

Next year’s taxes.

Of course, you might talk to others who say the diet is brutally restrictive, difficult to comply with long term, and just doesn’t work in today’s modern world.

In fact, U.S. News ranked it 39th out of 39 diets for these very reasons![1]

And thus, you have questions:

  • What are ketones?
  • Can I go half-Keto?
  • Can I strength train on Keto?
  • Can I do the Keto Diet wrong?
  • How do I know I’m in ketosis?
  • Got some sweet-ass Keto recipes for me?

And I got answers.

I also have plenty of corny jokes that will make you both groan and smile.

In exchange, I’ll share cute animal gifs to make sure you’re still paying attention, like this one:

I know what you’re thinking:

“Steve, animal gif bribes? That’s low, even for you. And that carrot will surely knock that adorable bunny right out of ketosis because of its high carb content.

Both accurate statements. But let’s get back on track.

If you want to avoid making incorrect food choices when it comes to going Keto (like Thumper above), you gotta make sure you’re doing things right!

In this Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet, I did my darndest to bring together advice and information that will apply to 95% of the population.[2]

I am saying all of this because the Keto Diet is one complex mofo.

It has a ton of rules, can make you feel like crap before it makes you feel amazing (maybe), and it’s tough to stick with unless you have a plan to follow.

Okay, let’s get into KETOOOOOOOO

Keto? Paleo? Slow Carb? Vegan? How to Determine the Perfect Diet For You.

Today we’re gonna get down and dirty and dig into the big diets:

Keto. Paleo. Slow Carb.

Intermittent Fasting.

Vegetarian. Vegan.

Twinkie (yes this is a thing. I’ll prove it below).

Every day, we get multiple emails from people that say something like:

“I know you guys are a paleo blog, but…”

I guess that doesn’t really surprise me.

In addition to our big ass “Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet,” our “beginner’s guide to the Paleo Diet” has been viewed like 25 million times since I first wrote it.

I have a confession to make. Outside of a 30 day experiment back in 2011, I haven’t been Paleo. or Keto.

[AUDIBLE GASP]

Seriously, I just heard you gasp.

I have three more truth bombs for you:

  • I don’t care what cavemen actually ate, nor if the Paleo Diet is historically accurate.
  • I don’t think it works for a majority of people.
  • I LOVE the Paleo Diet and have seen it help hundreds of thousands.

I know. “What the hell, Steve!?”

Am I a walking writing contradiction?

Am I flip-flopper who can’t commit?!

For starters, when it comes to health and fitness, flip-flopping is a good thing. It’s called “getting smarter undumber when new information comes to light.

But that’s irrelevant here.

Why? Because it literally DOESN’T MATTER what a caveman actually ate!

I don’t care if a caveman once ate wheat 30,000 years ago—this is what people rage about on the internet because they need to be angry at something and it’s fun to point out holes in a dogmatic popular approach to nutrition.

So, why do I like the Paleo Diet?

Because of “reality” and “human behavior.”

I like the Paleo Diet, just like I like the Keto Diet.

And Intermittent Fasting, and the Slow Carb Diet.[1]

I even like the vegetarian diet or vegan diet for the right people (with some caveats, which I’ll explain below).

I don’t actually think of the diets above as “diets,” but rather as a Mental Model for how to understand and navigate the food choices we make every day.

And mental models can be the difference between effortless weight loss and frustration.

Today I’m gonna teach you how to determine the diet that is perfect for you.

This is one of the most important articles I think you can read on Nerd Fitness, so make sure you set aside the time to dive in!

Quick note: This MASSIVE article is actually the exact philosophy we incorporate into our uber popular 1-on-1 Coaching Program. We cut through the crap, learn your situation, and then help you adjust your nutrition each month until you reach your goals.

Read this monster article, and if you want expert guidance and accountability, click on the image below to schedule a free call with our team to learn more.

Overwhelmed? Here Are the 8 Things I Do to Get Unstuck.

“Why is my eye twitching?!”

It’s 5:45AM, and I’m lying in bed with my eyes closed. I’m exhausted because I managed to have one of my recurring nightmares the previous night where I dreamed my bed was covered in spiders—this happens once every few months, especially when I’m overtired.

It’s real enough to me that about 50% of the time I actually jump out of bed and run into the other room.

And yet, despite being sleep deprived, there’s no WAY I can go back to bed either. Because I have far too much on my mind. It looks something like this:

“ACK! I was supposed to call the dermatologist yesterday to schedule an appointment—it’s been on my to-do list for 10 days weighing me down and yet I can’t get myself to pick up the phone. Why am I so averse to talking to a human on a telephone? Just do it, idiot! Call them today at 9AM.

“Why the hell did I dream about spiders again last night? I have to write thousands of words today. And I have that awkward meeting planned stressing me out. OH **** I forgot to send my mom a mother’s day card! I did send her flowers. Is that enough? She loves cards. Can I express ship one in time? AHHHHH!

“Is that networking event I agreed to tonight or tomorrow night? Why did Past Steve commit Future Steve to that? I hate that guy! Wait, is today Wednesday? Sonofa, today is a training day at the gym too. Good luck finding time for that. Oh GOOD, I’m out of clean underwear. And the fridge is empty. And how do I have a pimple inside my nose? I would like to curl up into the fetal position and opt-out of all responsibilities today.”

They say depression is worrying about the past, while anxiety is worrying about the future.

Like many who read this site, I’m quite good at both of those things!

Even though I’m generally a happy person with a very positive outlook on life, life can get overwhelming at times and my brain likes to take over and shut everything down.

What the inside of my brain looks like: take my crazy stream of conscious above and read it in the style of slam poetry, while a Tasmanian devil plays the bongos with no discernible rhythm in the background. He then eats the bongo and starts Irish step dancing. To salsa music. While setting off fireworks.

The days where this happens are shitty.

And many shitty days in a row only seem to compound the problem.

I can get so overwhelmed that I can’t seem to make any progress on anything, and yet I know making progress on stuff is the fastest path for me to escape this maniacal prison my brain has trapped me in!

I am a logical, rational, scientific person, which means thinking through this logically, rationally, and scientifically makes sense to me.

And yet in those moments, emotions sit in the command chair and start calling the shots.

At this point, you are either nodding your head going “Steve, WTF are you talking about?” orrrrrr ”OMG I totally know what that feels like.”

I’ve been running Nerd Fitness for close to 10 years now. I’ve seen and heard it all, and been through some shit.

In that time, I’ve come to a few universal truths:

“Busy” and “overwhelm” are serious problems that don’t go away without a plan to tackle them. Having a Strategy Guide to deal with these scenarios can be huge.

Knowing that, I’ve created a personal checklist (yes, a real checklist) for myself of things I can do when I can’t seem to get out of my own head.

These ideas help me break through overwhelm—and get back to a more natural state where I can start making progress on tackling what I need to for the day.

And today, I want to share that personal checklist with you!

Ready Player One: 10 Tech Hacks to Lose Weight and Level Up Your Life

“Taaaaaaaaake onnnnnnnn me,

Taaaaaaaake meeeeee on!

I’ll beeeeeeee goonnnnnnne,

In a day or TWOOOOOOO!”

What the hell does that mean? Who cares!

All I know is that I can’t get a-ha’s “Take on Me” out of my head. It’s been there ever since the trailer dropped for the nerdy nostalgia-bomb that is Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” a blockbuster movie out now, based on the best-selling book of the same name:

As a child of the Oregon Trail generation[1], I thoroughly enjoyed all of the pop culture and nerd references throughout the novel and could certainly relate to the main character Wade Watts, an overweight awkward teenager who loves 80’s pop culture and escapes a crappy existence by spending most of his time in virtual worlds.

It had me thinking deeply about how technology is creeping into every aspect of our lives, in both good ways and bad.

We can’t not check our email every 3 seconds. We can’t stop watching Netflix. We can’t stop scrolling through photos on Instagram. We can’t sit through a conversation with a person in front of us without habitually checking our phone every time it buzzes.

And then we all wonder why we are too busy, distracted, unhealthy, unhappy, and can’t get our shit together.

These days, it’s becoming more and more commonplace to use technology for convenience and quick bouts of entertainment and happiness to shield us from the reality that there are parts of our lives or our health we’re unhappy with.

In Ready Player Onewe get a very plausible look into a dystopian future where those societal trends have continued: technology gets better and more convenient, and people spend more and more time escaping into more exciting virtual lives online.

And society has nearly collapsed as a result.

Although this book is partly a cautionary tale about where we’re heading if we don’t change our behavior, it’s also a charming Hero’s Journey, deep fried in neon-tinted nostalgia, that I couldn’t put down.

As a gamer who thinks about life like a game (and even wrote a book about this very idea), every page of this book had me grinning from ear to ear.

Today I want to quickly discuss the pitfalls of technology and then share my 10 favorite ways to use technology to get ourselves to actually do the stuff that matters every day.

This is Nerd Fitness, after all.

So…ready, player one?

How a single busy mom lost 100 pounds with Nerd Fitness

Meet Leslie:

A single mom who works long nights and has a long daily commute, found Nerd Fitness, and also happens to be one of my favorite people and one of our best success stories.

Leslie was playing the Game of Life on Nightmare Difficulty with multiple time-sucking jobs, a brutal commute, and a love of fast food, all while being a single parent.

Since joining the Nerd Fitness community, she has become a powerlifting, handstand-practicing, gymnastic ring-wielding, extroverted, cross-country-moving, happily-in-a-relationship supermom.

While Leslie’s transformation started in her fitness, you’ll see below how quickly it spread to almost every area of her life. No matter what situation you’re in, we can all learn something from her powerful story.

I’m extra proud today to be sharing Leslie’s story, because she’s one of the longest running members of our 1-on-1 NF Coaching Program. As a member for well over a year, she’s not shy in sharing about how her personal coach helped her on the journey.

At the end of the day though, it’s Leslie that deserves 100% of the credit for her success, her transformation, and her new life. And we couldn’t be more proud of her.

Let’s see what we can learn from Leslie’s story!

5 Hacks to Effortlessly Build Healthy Habits in 2018

At some point in the past few weeks (or five minutes ago after a Google search), you’ve made a resolution to change your life:

  • I’m going to exercise every day!
  • I’m going to start flossing!
  • I’m going to start eating better!
  • I’m going to quit smoking!
  • I’m going to stop wearing jorts!

That’s awesome, and I’m very excited for you.

No, seriously! I want to see how this turns out – I love a good redemption story.

Maybe you told some friends, or posted it on your blog, or shared your experience on Instagram, or started a club at work with coworkers about your goals.

Although I’ve railed against resolutions and big audacious declarations in the past, this year I’m changing my tune.

If you set resolutions or goals this year, whether in January and you’re in on “new year, new me,” or you just had a big life event (birth of your first kid, scare at the doctor, etc.) and decided: “This is the year I get in shape!” – I’m here to help.

Everybody has goals – it gives us something to aim for.

They just need to be done right.

I want you looking back in 6 months and not recognizing the “old you,” instead of looking back and asking yourself “what the hell happened? Why am I back where I started?”

With over 40,000 students in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, 200+ 1-on-1 coaching clients, 1000 people in our monthly team adventure Rising Heroes, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, we have a damn good track record at helping people build permanent habits.

This resource dives deep into the key habit-building techniques that will actually help you get in shape this year.

How Kenney the Tabletop Gamer Lost 120 Pounds and Found His Voice (Literally).

“There’s no way that’s the same person, right?”

Admittedly, that’s what I first thought when I saw Kenney’s before and after photos. There was just NO way that this Tony Stark looking dude on the right was the same person as the man in the other photo, right?

And then I saw his other photos. And then I heard his story.

And then I teared up.

Shut up I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Today, we’re going to be talking about Ironma—-Kenney Frazier, an IT systems administrator from Alabama, a gamer, and an opera singer who has had one of the most dramatic transformations I’ve ever seen. It’s no exaggeration to say that Kenney clearly saved his own life. Not just in terms of life expectancy, but also quality of his life.

Kenney is a proud member of the Nerd Fitness Academy who made some key changes in his life that helped him succeed. We’re going to dig deep into those major and minor changes Kenney made and how you can be like him!

After years of struggle, starting and stopping, a switch flipped and he has lost over 120 pounds in the past 15 months.

Here’s his origin story.

The 10 Key Differences Between Weight Loss Success and Failure

“NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!” 

At some point in the past two days, you probably said something like the following:

  • “Alright, time to lose this gut. “
  • “This year I’m gonna tone these arms and fix these love handles.”
  • “Holy crap I really let myself go. Is that Cheeto dust…on my forehead? Yikes.”

And thus, we begin our search for the promised land of effortless, enjoyable weight loss:

We want that one workout that scientists hate that finally melts the fat off our midsections and makes us look like Wonder Woman.

We gorge on acai bowls and omega-3 supplements and get excited about the latest article that says red wine is a health food as we polish off another bottle.

We go through a series of follies in search of a get-fit-quick fantasy that never actually comes to fruition, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Reality paints a much different picture:

A flat stomach doesn’t come in a bottle or in a workout DVD.

It comes from boring consistent action over months and years. Gross.

I have seen tens of thousands of people collectively lose millions of pounds since I started Nerd Fitness almost a decade ago.

At the same time, I have also seen hundreds of thousands of people chase the latest health fad, lose a few pounds, and end up a year later right back where they started. Every year, I have seen packed gyms in January become ghost towns in February.

No wonder a 2016 British study declared, “We’re doomed to stay fat.”[1]

So what gives?

This year, what will separate the people who make new years resolutions and STICK with them, and those that give up after a few weeks?

With over 40,000 students in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, 150 1-on-1 coaching clients, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, I created this monster resource that dives deep into the key habits that will actually help you get in shape this year.

Here are the 10 key strategies that separate the Healthy from the Unhealthy – start doing these things today and you’ll actually make progress that lasts:

How Many Calories Do You Burn While Walking? A Hobbit’s Guide to Walking.

How many calories do you burn while walking? 

It’s a simple question, but it inevitably leads to a series of other questions too:

  • Can I lose weight just by walking?
  • Is there a right way to walk? How about a wrong way?
  • How many calories do you burn walking a mile? A marathon?
  • Can one simply walk into Mordor?

Okay, so maybe you didn’t ask that last question, but as a guy that runs Nerd Fitness, I certainly wanted to know the answer to that (spoiler: you can).

I’ll be addressing each of the above questions in this monster article about walking, including everything you need to know about the most natural activity we can do as human beings.

Walking is not only a great way to burn calories and stay active, but it’s an incredible stress reliever and gives you a chance to explore your surroundings in much more detail than through a car window.

For starters, YES, you absolutely can lose weight just by walking! Here’s a Nerd Fitness success story from Tim, who got hurt and could only walk for exercise.

50 pounds later (and another big change I’ll get to below), I’d say he succeeded!

Tim burned a LOT of calories while walking and lost 50 pounds

But I’ll get to Tim’s story shortly. Instead, Let’s talk about the second question…

The Beginner’s Guide to Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph

We are all unique.  

Yes, even you. Your mom was right!

And you’re here because questions about your body type and genetics:

What body type am I?

How does it affect my training and diet?

I have bad genetics, how screwed am I?

I am a [body type]. Does that mean I shouldn’t do [activity]?

We all have different bodies, genetics,reactions from certain foods, strengths, and weaknesses, and thus we each have different activities and behaviors that we’re predisposed to be good at (or struggle with!).

The standard way of thinking tells us that we have three main “body types”:

  • Endomorph
  • Ectomorph
  • Mesomorph

(Don’t worry we’ll get into each of those below too.)

HOWEVER, when it comes to your genetic benefits and shortfalls, there is way more to it than just which category your body fits in.

As you’ll soon learn, just because you’re predisposed to be good at one thing or terrible at another doesn’t mean you should be pigeonholed or limited with what you can do.

With a bit of help from our favorite Role Playing Games, we’re going to dig into body types, character classes, and ways to buck the genetic lottery.

Whether or not you know your body type, or you have never heard those terms above before, I got you covered!

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