100 Ways to Join the Nerd Fitness Rebellion

Nerd Fitness Pumpkin

Holy crap!

At some point last week, we added our 200,000th rebel to the Nerd Fitness email list. That is a lot of rebels

About five and a half years ago I had a simple idea: “hey, I’m a nerd and I like fitness, maybe there are other nerds who want to get fit too?” 

Nearly 600 articles later, from the Angry Birds Workout to explaining the science of cholesterol, we’ve tackled any topic that can help people live better lives.

But one email we commonly get is, “Uhf, okay where do I start?”

So, because we have so many articles and workouts, we wanted to make things easy for you. I know, I know, we’re THAT nice.

If you haven’t yet officially joined the Rebellion, here are some of the best ways to get started in your Epic Quest to get healthy and level up. If you HAVE joined, check out some of our favorite articles, success stories, and achievements that you may have missed.

Remember – you don’t need fancy equipment, a personal trainer, or thousands of dollars to get healthy.

All you need is the start button.


Ready, player one…

10 Core Nerd Fitness Articles


If you’ve failed to get healthy in the past, you may already know that the problem often isn’t knowledge, but the ability to follow through on your goals. The problem is your mindset.

Check out some of these core Nerd Fitness articles which outline a mindset that will keep you on track:

  1. Rules of Rebellion:  People often ask, “why is it a Rebellion?” and “what’s your fitness philosophy,” so we’ve boiled it down to 11 key rules that make up our community here.  
  2. What is your profession?: Time to turn life into a video game. Learn exactly how here.
  3. Make Optimus Prime Proud – Start Transforming Your Life: Making huge changes in your physical activity or nutrition can be overwhelming. Learn from Optimus Prime about how you can go about changing your life in a completely manageable way.
  4. How to NOT Suck at Building Healthy Habits…FINALLY!Behind every success story is an unsung hero: the rewired brain. If you’ve failed at getting healthy before, be sure to check out this article so next time will be different.
  5. Rage Against the Machine: How to Switch from Exercise Machines to Free Weights: Are you using machines because you think they are safer and more efficient in getting you healthy?
  6. Everything You Need to Know About Your Genetics: Don’t let your genetics be your excuse.
  7. A Nerd’s Guide to Success and Happiness: We want to keep you healthy AND happy.
  8. A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating: As we say, your diet will determine 80-90% of your success. Build a strong foundation and the rest will fall into place.
  9. What’s Your Main Quest?: As we venture off to fight bad guys, save the world, and get healthy, we encounter new challenges, bosses, and more. But without a main quest we have no purpose, no direction.
  10. Strength Training 101: It’s no secret that we’re a big fan of strength training. Take a look at the first installment of this ongoing series, and start lifting!

10 Best Success Stories


If there’s anything that makes me cry like a baby, it’s The Notebook getting emails from readers who found Nerd Fitness and transformed their lives.

Success stories are my favorite type of articles. Take a look at some of favorite our success stories over the past few years:

Staci Before After

  1. Staci: Ladies, meet your new hero. Men, prepare to be humbled. If you’re curious what
    happens to a girl who packs on twenty pounds of muscle and starts lifting heavy
    weights, you’ll find your answer here.
  2. JoeMove over Optimus Prime: have a new favoritejoe
    transformer. His name is Joe, and he has one of the best Nerd Fitness success story I have EVER seen, dropping 130
    pounds over 10 months!
  3. Tony: Meet Tony, a Nerd Fitness rebel and the man behind another kick-ass success story that needs to be shared with the world. In just a few short months, this dad went from an overweight chain smoker to a superhero that dropped almost fifty pounds and quite smoking for good!
  4. Veronica: Check out Veronica’s 28 lb weight loss over a few months without touching a treadmill. Oh yeah, and she’s a super mom of two!
  5. Wes: Wes, a certified Mac Tech, found himself spiraling out of control and eventually landing at 325 lbs. Armed with a support team and an exercise routine he actually enjoyed, Wes lost over 115 lbs!
  6. Anne: Anne was a slave to games like World of Warcraft, playing them in ever spare moment she had.  Fortunately, Anne eventually discovered that the secret to getting healthy was right under her nose the entire time. Let’s learn how Anne did it!
  7. Jake: Through strength training, Jake lost over 70 pounds (32 kg) in 9 months! Jake, like many new Rebels, once lived an entirely sedentary lifestyle.
  8. Saint: After making a bet that he would cut his body fat percentage into the single digits by Memorial day, Saint had the motivation he needed to make this time different. Check out how Saint went form overweight to 6-pack abs.
  9. Bronwyn: Rebel, powerlifter, and mother of two (four and six years old). Bronwyn lost over 40 lbs and became a superhero for her friends and family.
  10. Ryan: Ryan was studying to become a catholic priest when he went down the path of weight loss as well. With overall weight loss of 115 lbs, he has a tremendous story.
  11. Robin: Robin was 267 lbs, unhappy, and in emotional pain. After diet pills and get fit quick schemes didn’t work, she used her love for Everquest to get healthy. Check out how she gamified her life and lost over 100 lbs.

10 Most Popular Nerd Fitness Articles

storm troopers

Every day, 500+ people who are sick of conventional wisdom and bad advice from the Dark Side (booooooo, Dark Side) join the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Here are ten of our most popular articles according to number of visitors:

  1. The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet
  2. Everything You Need to Know About Body Fat Percentage
  3. Strength Training 101: How to Squat Properly
  4. Real-Life Role Playing: What is Your Profession?
  5. A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit
  6. 5 Ways to Instantly Appear More Confident
  7. The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting
  8. Meet Staci: Your New Powerlifting Super Hero
  9. Can’t Do a Pull Up Yet? Here’s How to Get it Done
  10. How To Build Your Own Workout Routine

10 of our favorite Free Workouts


Remember, you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get healthy.

Whether you are looking for a workout with just your bodyweight, or something that allows you to nerd out on your favorite fantasy lore, we’ve got you covered!

These workouts are all full body routines that can be completed every other day.  Pick one, and get started.  Need more specifics? Start with the 1st workout, the “Beginner Bodyweight Routine,” until you feel comfortable to level up to another workout:

  1. Beginner Body Weight Workout: Burn Fat, Build Muscle
  2. Advanced Body Weight Workout
  3. Star Wars Workout
  4. The 20-Minute Hotel Workout
  5. The Lord of the Rings Workout
  6. The Angry Birds Workout Plan
  7. The Nerd Fitness Playground Workout
  8. The Batman Bodyweight Workout
  9. The Arrested Development Workout Plan…COME ON!
  10. The Greatest Workout Ever Created

10 of my Favorite Articles

Steve Ostrich

We’ve published 600 articles on Nerd Fitness, and some definitely stand out more for me than others.

It’s funny; up until starting this site I had never truly enjoyed writing. Now, I love sitting down with a cup of green tea, some great music, and cranking out thousands of words full of corny jokes, education, inspiration, and lego photos!

Notice I didn’t include last year’s April Fool’s article, which resulted in approximately 1000 people unsubscribing and sending me hate mail who didn’t realize it was a joke…but that’s one of my favorites too 🙂

These are my 10 favorite articles:

  1. Why you should level up, and how to crush 2014
  2. What kind of Nerd are you? Stand and be recognized!
  3. A Nerd’s Guide to Success and Happiness
  4. How to look like Famous Celebrity in BIG ACTION MOVIE!
  5. What if the Princess Doesn’t Need Rescuing?
  6. How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse
  7. The Matrix Guide to Rapid Skill Acquisition
  8. Hope + Action = Win
  9. The Greatest Skill You Can Learn to Level Up Your Life
  10. For the Love of the Game

10 Article “Explainers”


We know health and fitness can be a muddled, convoluted industry. 

Everywhere you turn there is another product out to defraud you, or bad advice that will only derail your quest for a healthy life.

Here at Nerd Fitness we love breaking down BIG topics into tiny, nerdy bites. 

Take a look at some of our favorite articles that dig deep on really complex subjects:

  1. What the Hell is Gluten?
  2. A Healthy Nerd’s Guide to Alcohol
  3. Is Cholesterol Killing Us? A Beginner’s Guide to Cholesterol
  4. How to NOT Get Scammed By Food Labels
  5. Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Sleep?
  6. The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet
  7. How Much Water Do You Really Need?
  8. How to Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
  9. Why Sugar is Worse than Darth Vader
  10. What Supplements Should I Take?

10 Favorite adventures on my Epic Quest

SteveUnderwater Running

Four years ago, when I quit my amazing job to focus on Nerd Fitness full time, I knew I had an opportunity to do something ridiculous (and hopefully inspiring) with my life.

I figured I had always looked at life like a video game, so I might as well start LIVING life like a video game, which turned into my Epic Quest of Awesome.

As a picky-eating, constantly worrying, adventure was something that didn’t come comfortably…which is exactly why I needed to do it. After booking an Around the World Plane ticket for $418, I embarked on a global adventure that I chronicled in my video: Exercising Around the World:

Mobile viewers or if you are in a country in which the video doesn’t work, click here

Below are my favorite adventures that I’ve had in the past few years while running Nerd Fitness:

  1. How to live like James Bond for a Weekend
  2. Holy Crap I flew a Stunt Plane
  3. The Adventure Begins: Visiting Machu Picchu
  4. How to dominate 23 Hours in Alaska (and not die)
  5. Finding Nemo on the Great Barrier Reef
  6. Skydiving and Bungee Jumping in New Zealand
  7. Bittersweet: Visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  8. That time I gave a talk at GOOGLE
  9. TEDx: Life is a Game
  10. Steve Watches the Sox win the World Series

10 Favorite Community Moments

Steve Q&A

Without a doubt, the Nerd Fitness Community is what makes Nerd Fitness great.

We have some of the most supportive, intelligent, and hard working people on the planet in the galaxy, and I am honored that Nerd Fitness is a place so many can call home.  I’m glad to be just a small part of it.

Over the past few years our community has celebrated many awesome wins and fun moments, here are just a few:

  1. Let’s Build a Freaking Library! (Spoiler Alert: We succeeded!)
  2. The Top 10 (Over)Reactions to Yesterday’s April Fools’ Joke
  3. Nerd Dash 2010 = WIN.
  4. The No Excuses Challenge (Check out the “Shed Your Excuses” doc!)
  5. A Hobbit’s Guide to Walking
  6. The Biggest Announcement in NF History?
  7. Nerd Fitness Just Got Nerdier…
  8. Nerd Fitness is All Grown Up
  9. Would You Join A Nerd Fitness Message Board?
  10. Friday Nerd Alert: Our Official NF Mascot?

top 10 Nutrition Articles


Looking for diet and nutrition advice can be tricky: it seems like EVERYTHING you eat will kill you (if you believe everything you read)

To make matters worse, if you haven’t ever cooked a real meal before, the prospect can be a daunting one…dooming you to microwave dinners and food from a drive-thru window! Doh!

Fear not, for we have assembled some of our favorite articles to get you eating right, and some recipes you can start making tomorrow:

  1. A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating
  2. What the Hell is Gluten?
  3. How to Saute Kale, Bacon, and Tomatoes
  4. 10 Minutes of Prep: 10 Amazing Meals
  5. 5 Ways to Spice Up Eggs and Bacon (And a Request)
  6. How to Make the Easiest Chicken Ever
  7. Why Sugar is Worse than Darth Vader
  8. The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet
  9. How Game of Thrones Can Make You A Better Cook
  10. How to Cook Chicken Stirfry

top 10 motivational articles


Our goal with Nerd Fitness is to eliminate every potential excuse you have for not getting healthy.

We’ve covered everything from nutrition to squat form, but we understand that one barrier stands above all:

“I can’t get motivated…”

Well, you’re in luck. If this sounds like you, be sure to read some of our popular motivational articles:

  1. Iron and the Soul – Henry Rollins
  2. What the Hell Are You Waiting For?
  3. The 20-Second Beast Mode Berserker Challenge
  4. Who You Were, Who You Are
  5. Earn It.
  6. The World’s Quickest Advice Column
  7. The World’s Quickest Advice Column, Part 2
  8. Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today.
  9. It will never be…
  10. Hope + Action = Win

top 10 awesomely nerdy articles


We’ve all felt alone and different, especially when we’re the only ones who happen to love Deadlifts and The Walking Dead, or Lord of the Rings and Olympic Rings.

The quest for a healthy life can often feel that way too – just by trying to get healthy we’re defying conventional wisdom and going against the grain.

It’s time we stood tall and realized that this is not our greatest weakness, but our greatest strength:

  1. What if I Am the Only One?!
  2. Hero Training 101: 4 Steps to Save the Galaxy
  3. How to Write Your Own Epic Destiny
  4. Are You a Mutant? Embrace it.
  5. Lessons Learned from an Assassin: Train with Deadly Precision
  6. Which Ninja Turtle Are You?
  7. 5 Lessons I learned from Karate Kid
  8. Embrace the Weird
  9. Are you Dragonborn? The Dangerous Power of Words
  10. The J.R.R. Tolkien Guide to Fitness

top 10 favorite rebel hero Photos (BONUS)

Chicago Meetup

A few years back, we started selling shirts with the NF logo on them because people kept asking! 

Since then, we’ve received photos from Rebel Heroes from ALL over the world, rocking their NF Battle gear in epic locations while doing epic things.

These are our favorite 10 photos!

Denny, the lead guitarist for Tim McGraw, who rocked his NF shirt while on the Today Show


Dajve, who rocked his NF shirt under his Tux at his WEDDING!


Dani at Crossfit Hell’s Kitchen training with Holley Mangold!

Dani and Holley

Thomas Frank, rockin’ a NF shirt in Japan!


Dominic who visited Hobbiton in New Zealand!


Bronwyn, breaking a personal record and deadlifting 110 kgs!

Brownwyn 110kg

Brian, rockin’ his NF shirt at his standing desk at work!


Michelle, reppin’ NF in Costa Rica hiking around a volcano in the rainforest!


Ginger, who just got her first NF shirt to celebrate her progress – 22 lbs of fat gone, 3.5 of muscle gained in just 6 months!


Amanda’s Nerd Fitness tattoo – which she got to celebrate her new, leveled up life!


We’re always looking for more photos to share on our Nerd Fitness Instagram and at the ends of articles, so send us a photo of you in your battle gear to Contact@NerdFitness.com so we can make you the next Rebel Hero!

Thank you.


Damn, what a ride it’s been…so far.

I truly feel honored that I get to wake up every day and spend my time helping others get healthy.  I am excited to be part of a great team, and proud to a small part of such a supportive community.

Nerd Fitness doesn’t work without you, so thanks for being here.  Thank you for putting my words into practice, and thanks for sharing these articles with people who you think could benefit.

If you’ve ever bought a shirt, if you’re one of the 4,000+ that have joined the Nerd Fitness Academy, or you’re joining us at Camp Nerd Fitness this fall, thanks for supporting the cause; it’s these few things that allow us to remain ad-free and give away 98% of our content for free.

We started as a small ragtag group of underdogs who wanted to get healthy.  Now over 200,000 strong, we’re making waves and building up some serious momentum.

And never underestimate the power of momentum 🙂

I look forward to the opportunity to write another 600 articles for you.  And I hope we get a chance to meet some day – I expect a great high five and a big hug.

For the Rebellion!!!


PS: My friend Chris Guillebeau is having his 4th annual World Domination Summit this July in Portland, and he asked me to put together a fun Nerd Fitness event as part of his WDS Academy. 

If you are attending WDS, or if you live in the PDX area, I’d love it if you came to the event Thursday July 10th.  We’ll spend half a day going through the NF philosophy, completing a fun workout, and eating a healthy meal.  Space is SUPER limited (and spots filling up fast), so grab a spot!


photo source: JD Hancock: Storm Troopers, Aristocrats-Hat: Landscape, Nancy Regan: Veggies, Dennis Hill: question mark cloud, Sharron Drummond: Exclamation Point, Brefeto: Rebel Stormtrooper, Jay Springett: Start

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14 thoughts on “100 Ways to Join the Nerd Fitness Rebellion

  1. Since I joined rather recently about 9 months ago I really appreciate this article highlighting some of the greatest, older articles.

  2. Newbie to NF and the academy (day 4)! This was a great article…looking forward to reading some of the older articles as I start my journey!!

  3. Watching your Google talk cleared up why I have such a hard time creating/sticking to a program. The appeal of gaming, for me, is not having to think about the goals or progressions, or any time designing the game! I don’t like character development (one of the biggest reasons I don’t join the BF’s tapletop RPGs), I never spend time fiddling with a Mii or character design in Rock Band or anything. I want someone ELSE to give me the challenges, the steps required to get there, and then leave me to grind it out, essentially. Even as a member of the Academy I found everything just overwhelming – which workout do I use? Which version of the exercise do I start with? By the time I finish randomly throwing darts I’ve injured myself trying to do eveyrthing listed in the initial assement workout and still have no idea how I need to modify the Level 1 Bodyweight workouts to actually make progress.

    The “Choose your own workout” idea triggered a thought – if there were a simple multiple choice/yes-no workout builder (Do you want to train for strength/hypertrophy/weight loss? Can you do a [Exercise X, with demo link]?) we could use to answer simple questions, and have it spit out a level-appropriate, individualized workout, that would be AMAZING! My UX class this past semester used the book “Don’t Make Me Think!” about web design, and really, that’s what I’m looking for in video games, too. I want clearly defined goals and pathways, clear and obvious mechanisms for success, and maybe some fun plot en route. Mystery stories are fun, but if I’m left guessing about what the goal is, what the rules of the game are, or how to achieve success, I’m not having fun. With fitness, having to define goals and break them down into daily routines is the HARDEST part for me, and I hate it. And when I half-ass it because I suck at it and hate it, then following my half-assed routines is unfulfilling because there’s no success feedback loop…

  4. This article is full of win. I subscribed about a year ago, and the updates never fail to disappoint. Keep it up!

  5. Steve,

    This post is a great portfolio of a lot of work. You are the Neil Strauss of the health/life bloggers. The ecosystem of you has tremendous biodiversity, and I think that is the key to your strength and why I trust your opinion the most. Keep up the great work!

  6. Hang on! I hope that you mean the updates never fail to please/uplift/make you feel awesome.

    If the updates are disappointing you I feel sorry for Steve 🙂

  7. Thank you for providing all this awesome content! I haven’t been working out much recently, but have been hiking. Where, I do get into the ‘I look forward to working out!’ mode. Looking forward to bringing this feeling to other fitness realms with the help of your site. Cheers.

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