How to Stay in Shape While Traveling

Everybody travels.

Whether it’s for business, pleasure, vacation, or world domination, at some point in our lives we all depart from the comfort of our personal “Shire” to visit another location.

It might be a quick trip to the next town over for a business conference or a massive adventure halfway around the world for months at a time.

No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing is certain:

Our normal routines get completely thrown out the window when traveling:

  • If you work out in a gym, suddenly you might not have access to any equipment.
  • If you run around your neighborhood, suddenly you no longer have a familiar path to follow.
  • If you usually prepare your own meals, suddenly you don’t have a kitchen or fridge.
  • If you’re used to a good night’s sleep, suddenly you’re sleeping at odd hours in different time zones.

We are creatures of habit – while working a normal day job, we can stick to a routine pretty easily (wake up at the same time, eat all meals at the same time, work out at the same time, go to sleep at the same time).

However, when we start traveling, absolutely nothing is familiar and the slightest speed bump can be enough to screw things up.

Luckily, there is hope! 

It’s time to get you a specific action plan that you can take with you on your next trip.

This is the philosophy we teach to all of our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Clients. Many travel quite a bit, so having “worldwide accountability” and a specific plan for travel has been a game changer for these Rebels.

Are you trying to learn a new exercise, lose weight, or build muscle, but find doing it on the road a challenge? Let us help you – click below to learn more.

Is Fruit Healthy For You?

Seriously, what’s the deal with fruit?

It’s gotta be healthy.

It’s natural, came out of the ground, off a vine, or fell out of a tree…

“Eating your fruits and veggies” is common guidance given by mothers, doctors, and governments agencies.

Doesn’t this have to be sound advice?

Well, fruit is also often loaded with sugar. And sugar is bad news bears.

So is fruit good for me? Bad for me? Somewhere in between? And is juice good? Because I like juice!

Welp, the answer is…it depends.

Today we’re going to dig into the question “is fruit healthy?” and give you the Nerd Fitness take. Plus, a video of a cat getting his head stuck in a box.

You’re welcome.

If you’re curious about where fruit and other foods such as potatoes fall on the healthy spectrum, you should check out the Nerd Fitness Diet guide and cheat sheet. It’s a level up system designed for you to adopt new healthy habits, that will stick, by slowly progressing you from a newbie to an expert.

You can check it out for free when you join the Rebellion!

The 20-Minute Hotel Workout

If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, is your training routine doomed?

Should you just turn on HBO and get back to exercising when you’re home?

Not so fast! If you have 20 minutes, and a cozy hotel room, you can still get a great workout in!

I have a simple routine that I use when I’m stuck in a hotel room, and you can try it too!

Let’s get your heart racing and roaring, and then you can get back to complimentary cable.

Also, if you’re prioritizing working out while traveling because you don’t want to lose momentum on your fitness journey, you’ve come to the right place!

We have tons of resources for you to check out. If your hotel does have a gym, we have a Strength Training 101 guide that will show you exactly how to use it. If your diet suffers when you’re traveling, our healthy eating guide will provide tips on what to keep in your mini-fridge. And if you want more exercises to do from your hotel room, our Beginner Bodyweight Workout will walk you through another full routine you can do from anywhere.

You can grab them, and our other free guides when you join the Rebellion below!

The Beginner’s Guide to Building Muscle and Strength

So you want to get bigger and stronger, like this guy.

Leopard print leotard optional.

Maybe you’ve always been the skinny guy and can’t gain weight to save your life (trust me, I’ve been there).

Maybe you’re a bigger guy and you’d rather have broad shoulders than a broad waistline.

Maybe you’re a female, and you’ve realized that lifting weights with the right diet will give you that “toned” look that everybody is after.

Maybe you just want to be stronger and faster.

No matter who you are or what your starting point is, I want to help get you where you want to go.

Building muscle is something I’ve been obsessed with since high school (okay, not obsessed, but it’s where the majority of my fitness research and experience has taken me). After struggling with building muscle for close to a decade, I’ve made significant progress in the past few years, packing on 20+ pounds of muscle, learning handstands, and adding 200+ pounds to my deadlift.

If you’re looking to start building muscle, getting bigger, and becoming stronger, these are the things you need to do:

  1. Lift heavy things
  2. Eat a diet based on your goals
  3. Rest

I realize doing those three things is much easier said than done – I struggled with progress for a decade and know exactly what you’re going through.

After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than putting in effort for months (or years) and not seeing results. And unfortunately, this is what I see from most people: Lots of well-intentioned but misguided effort in the gym and no changes.

You probably don’t have years to make the mistakes that I did, and you just want to start getting results today. In addition to the free resources below, we also offer 1-on-1 Online Coaching, where you’ll get personalized instruction for your body type and goals, and professional accountability from a Coach on Team Nerd Fitness!

But enough of that, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to get started with Strength Training!

Can’t Do a Pull-up Yet? Here’s How to Get it Done

Pull-ups are my favorite exercise of all time.

They work all of the “pull” muscles in your body – your back, biceps, forearms.

They are indicative of your level of fitness – anybody that can do a pull-up is in pretty good shape.

And anybody that can do 10 or more is clearly in great shape.

Lastly, pull-ups make you feel like a badass after doing them.

However, pull-ups are also hard as hell, especially if you’re just getting started. Unlike other exercises that can be completed with just your body weight (like squats, lunges, and push ups), pull-ups and other exercises that strengthen your pull muscles require at least one piece of equipment or something to hang from!

On top of all of that, if you can’t do one yet, how the heck are you supposed to work on them to get better?

I’ve recently received thousands of emails from fellow rebels who are working towards their first pull-up but aren’t there quite yet.

Whether you’re 300 pounds overweight and can’t even look at a pull-up bar without freaking out, or you’re half an inch away from finally being able to do your first pull-up, this article is for you – sorry it took so long for me to write!

Pull-ups are quite the intimidating exercise, but like Optimus Prime has taught us, we can make small changes and improvements over time that will result in the ultimate goal:

One. Freaking. Pull-up. 

It will take a combination of two things to get your chin up over that bar:

  • Decreasing body fat so you have less weight to pick up!
  • Increasing strength to pick up your bodyweight and move above the bar!

I realize doing those two things is much easier said than done.

What most people don’t realize is that they spend too much time on the strength part, not realizing that decreasing their body weight is as important and impactful (if not more so!).

Which is why most people never get to do a pull-up!

After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than putting in the effort for months (or years) and not seeing results and getting demoralized. And unfortunately, this is what I see from most people: Lots of well-intentioned but misguided effort in the gym and no changes.

You probably don’t have years to make the mistakes that I did and want to skip this problem, and you just want to start getting results today.

In addition to the free resources below, we also offer 1-on-1 Online Coaching, where you’ll get personalized instruction for your body type and goals, and professional accountability from a Coach on Team Nerd Fitness!

You can schedule a free call with our team to learn more about coaching by clicking on the image below of Christina! She’s one of our coaching clients who went from 0 pull-ups to now doing sets of 10!

But enough of that, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to get your first pull-up!

How Emily Started Picking up Barbells, Learned to Meal Plan, and Lost 65 Pounds!

“She is seriously crushing it.”

When you speak with Emily, it doesn’t take long to realize how proud she is of leveling up her life.

And she should be proud! What she’s accomplished is simply amazing.

Emily, a dog walker from Chicago, had been obese her entire adult life – and it wasn’t like she didn’t try to lose weight.

Emily had attempted:

  • 1,200 calorie diets (too low for her)
  • 1,500 calorie diets (still too low for her)
  • P90x and TurboFire (both way too difficult)
  • Jillian Michael videos (boring)
  • An abandoned Planet Fitness membership (“I hate treadmills and elliptical machines with the fire of 1,000 suns!”)

Such start and stop patterns continued for years.

Then things changed.

Emily saw that Staci, our head female trainer for our 1-on-1 Online Coaching program, was accepting clients.

She knew it was time to try something different. And this time, things were different.

For starters, Emily, for the first time in her adult life, is no longer obese.

And when she heads to the gym, she crushes it, rocking 195 lb squats, 225 lb deadlifts, and 110 lb bench presses.

Awesome.

While all this is indeed super amazing, the thing I really want to highlight today is Emily’s mindset change.

Because she had tried getting in shape, multiple different ways, in the past.

However, a trap of “perfectionism” saw Emily abandoning all these earlier efforts.

But you don’t need to hear it from me. Let’s bring in Emily!

Buying a Gym Membership: 6 Things to Consider Before You Purchase

So you’re gonna buy yourself a gym membership?

Great! I have one too!

Having access to a dedicated place to get stronger and train can be really helpful for leveling up your life.  

So if you want a gym membership yourself, I support your decision 100%.

However, there’s a lot to consider when thinking about purchasing a gym membership…

These are great questions!

Let’s make sure you have answers to all six.

And if you’re joining a gym for strength training purposes, make sure you download our massive guide: “Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know.” Gets yours free when you sign up in the box below:

Losing “The Last 20 Pounds” – 7 Lessons Learned While Still Eating Carbs

The past 7 months have been really eye-opening for me.

In May of 2018, after spending the past 33 years of my life trying to get bigger…

I decided to go in the other direction:

I was going to make a concerted effort to get as lean as possible while still having a life.

After 6 weeks of very focused effort (counting calories) and seeing NO progress, I made a few key adjustments.

Since then, I’ve lost 22 pounds AND hit strength training personal bests:

Sure, we’ve featured success stories from people in our community who have lost 100+ pounds in a year, 50+ pounds in a year, and other amazing transformations.

So, who wants to hear about an in-shape guy who got more in shape?

BORING!

However, I want to share my story for a few reasons.

For starters, I want to show that 15+ years later, I still practice what I preach and I’m still learning every day.

Next, I want to share the things I did that might seem counterintuitive:

  • I still ate carbs while losing weight: rice, potatoes, and oats.
  • I did ZERO hours of “cardio,” and zero “ab” exercises.
  • I got stronger, setting numerous personal bests in the gym.
  • I never felt like this was unsustainable.

Whether you have those final stubborn 10-15 pounds to lose, or you have 80+ pounds to lose, I promise the lessons I share here can help you level up.

Note: We all have our challenges, and we all find certain things easy and other things brutally difficult.

As you read, you’re NOT allowed to say the following:

  • “Must be nice, Steve.”
  • “This won’t work for me because…”
  • “I will never get there because…”

And instead, you’re ONLY allowed to say:

How can I make this lesson work for me in my situation?

Also: this is just ONE way to lose weight. I know some people will operate better on a lower fat diet (like I did), while some will find it easier to lose weight following a low-carb diet. 

You do you, boo.

Here are the 7 biggest lessons I learned while losing 22 pounds and leveling up my workouts…

How Many Calories Should I Eat Every Day? A Look at Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

“Steve, how many calories should I eat every day? I got goals, son!”

Great question.

Knowledge is power, so today, we are going to make you more powerful.

First off, we’ll discuss your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which are fancy terms for how many calories you require on a daily basis to exist.

I’ll even give you two calculator options below – to determine your personal BMR and TDEE – plus I’ll show you how to use this information.

We’ll end today’s article by giving some practical advice on calorie requirements and weight loss, including a step-by-step plan, because I’m nice like that.

Let’s do this!

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 to Stretch After A Workout

Today, you’re going to learn how to stretch.

Why?

Our mission here at Nerd Fitness is to keep you safe and healthy on your quest to live a better life.

Stretching correctly is so freaking important that if you are tight on time, I’d suggest you cut the workout short – just not the warm-up before or cool down after.

Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Today we’ll share with you why you should stretch after your training, plus provide multiple routines for you to try out.

Because I’m nice like that.

Also, if you’re stretching as part of a strength training routine, you might be interested in our free guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It walks you through every aspect of starting a strength training practice, from beginning weight recommendations, proper form to prevent injury, and even MORE stretching exercises for you to try out.

You can grab it free when you join the Rebellion below:

I told you I was nice.

How to Warm Up Properly and Avoid Injury

Getting hurt sucks!

We exercise to lose weight, build muscle, and feel better about ourselves, right?

Well, it’s pretty tough to do any of those things lying on a couch with a pulled hamstring/groin/face.

Okay you can’t pull your face, but I’m trying to prove a point here so shut it. 

Every day I cringe as I watch people wander into a gym, immediately lie down on a bench, and start cranking out their workout with a heavyweight within seconds.

These are the people that end up hurting themselves and missing weeks/months due to ignorance/apathy.

Joke time: Which is worse, ignorance or apathy?

Don’t know, don’t care! ZING!

Luckily, you’re smarter than the average bear, which is why you’re reading Nerd Fitness.

Today, you’re gonna learn all about the importance of warming up BEFORE every workout. On top of that, I’ll even teach you HOW to warm up.

My guess is that you’re warming up because you want to make sure you don’t injure yourself while training.

In addition to warming-up, there’s another key component to injury prevention: doing the exercises correctly and having a good plan to follow!

If you’re not sure how to strength training yet, or you’re looking to start with bodyweight training and graduate to weight training, I’m here for ya!

We made this massive free guide that covers all of this in-depth so you have all the answers and confidence you need to get started.

Check out our free guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know when you sign up in the box below and join the Rebellion!

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 Start Powerlifting as a Female: Staci’s Story

Ladies, meet your new hero.

Men, prepare to be humbled.

My friend Staci, or Spezzy as she’s known around the Nerd Fitness community, has one of the best transformations I’ve ever seen:

  • Working a sedentary desk job, Staci slowly packed on weight and ate like a typical unhealthy American. She also smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.
  • She tried to get in shape doing what many people start with: she ran a lot and essentially starved herself. She dropped to an incredibly low and unhealthy weight and developed an eating disorder.
  • She fell in love with barbell strength training and started lifting HEAVY weights.
  • She’s now in the best shape of her life, healthier and happier than ever before, regularly competing in powerlifting meets and deadlifting 430+ pounds!
  • Now in 2019, her journey continues to inspire MILLIONS around the world.

For the women out there who are scared about “getting too bulky when lifting weights,” this article is for you.

If you are intrigued about powerlifting and don’t know where to begin, this article is for you.

If you’re curious what happens to a gal who packs on 40+ lbs of muscle and starts lifting heavy weights, this article is for you.

Staci has transformed inside and out over the past 8+ years, and I want this story to inspire you to go pick up a barbell the next time you’re in a gym. It’s been a privilege to watch her journey day in and day out for those 8 years: Staci actually joined Team Nerd Fitness in a full-time capacity in 2012!

In fact, she’s now our lead female trainer in our 1-on-1 online NF Coaching Program!

Without further ado, here’s an interview/8-year-retrospective/how-to juggernaut of an article on my hero and yours, Staci Ardison!

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!

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