The Truth About Acai Bowls: Read this first!

These days, Acai bowls are the hottest thing on the streets.

It’s been called “the healthiest breakfast on the planet” by some news outlets.

The hype machine is operating at full capacity for this South American berry. It’s a superfood that will help you lose weight, extend your lifespan, and help defend your body against aging!

Are these claims true?

Clearly the people marketing acai berries and bowls don’t care – as long as they can hype the crap out of it, there’s money to be made.

Hell, I walked down the street the other day and saw a place named “Acai Ya Later.”

If you’ve been reading Nerd Fitness for a while, it’s no secret I’m a fan of a well done pun, even if they need to mispronounce “acai” to make it work.

Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of bogus health claims, even if there are puns involved!

So today I’m gonna dig into the facts about acai berries, acai bowls, and eternal life from fruit.

No hype.

No acai supplement to sell you. No “superfood” claims.

Just the truth. And funny gifs. Always gifs.

Does the Military Diet Actually Work?

There are a million and one diets out there.

A million and two if you count your mom cutting the crust off your sandwiches as a kid. Or as an adult. I’m not judging.

With all these available options, picking the right diet is tough.

And at some point in your search, you stumbled upon the Military Diet….which HAS to be amazing.

Come on. It’s a diet, so it helps people lose weight. And folks in the military are super fit, which means the Military Diet must be great for quick weight loss.

Even better, the whole diet only lasts a week!

Surely this is a recipe for success, right?

Not so fast there, cadet!

Although this diet is crazy popular thanks to, sigh, the Kardashians (I promise this is the last time you’ll ever hear their name on Nerd Fitness), we’re here to offer a very different opinion than what you’ll find out there on the internet.

Depending on how long you’ve been reading Nerd Fitness (if today is your first day, welcome!), We’ll give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on this trending diet.

And of course, gifs and jokes.

So let’s dig into the Military Diet:

  • What the #$%! is it?
  • Should you drop everything and try it?
  • Are there any better recommendations out there?

Now step in line!

The Beginner’s Guide to the Mediterranean Diet. Opa!

If there was a high school yearbook of diets, The Mediterranean Diet would certainly win “most popular:”

U.S. News tied it #1 in their “Best Overall Diet” category.[1].

Fitness Magazine calls it the “The World’s Healthiest Diet.” [2]

WebMD flat out said they “love” the Mediterranean Diet. [3]

As far as mainstream media goes, you can’t get much better coverage than that.

Impressive? Absolutely.

Accurate? Maybe.

Here at Nerd Fitness, we love nothing better than digging into popular trends to give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And LEGO photos and cute animal gifs.

So you’re here full of questions, which I bet go something like:

  • Steve, what is the Mediterranean Diet?
  • Can I lose weight on the Mediterranean Diet?
  • Why is this diet so popular?
  • Can I do the Mediterranean Diet wrong?
  • Can I eat pasta and pizza on the Mediterranean Diet?
  • Will you buy me a plane ticket to Santorini?

These are all great questions (though maybe not the last one), and I have no doubt I can help you make sense of this and start changing your nutrition today.

Let’s get weird.

The Beginner’s Guide to Handstands: Journey to the Upside-Down

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

It’s okay, you can admit it.

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

How do I know this? Because I’m typing this while in a handstand RIGHT NOW. Okay, I can’t do that. But Jim, Master of the NF Fitness Universe, and our lead trainer for our 1-on-1 coaching program) can:

jim typing

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

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

6 Real Life Superhero Origin Stories from Our Community!

“I wanna be a strong princess, like Wonder Woman!”

“I wanna be able to run really fast, like the Flash!”

“I wanna climb all the monkey bars like Tarzan! ”

“I should lose a few pounds off my love handles.”

One of these things is not like the others…

When we’re little kids, we swing from monkey bars and run up multiple flights of stairs and climb trees and chase imaginary bad guys and crawl through mud and we love every second of it.

We try new things because they seem fun (and nobody is telling us that we can’t). Or, we try new things specifically because we’re told we can’t!

We never once think “oh I wonder if my body is capable of such a thing….” We just DO. We fall down and pick ourselves back up and laugh it off and each day learn more and more about how we interact with the world around us. It’s awesome. And fun.But then…over the next 15-20 years, life happens.

Schoolwork. A job. Chores. Bills. Mortgage. Responsibilities. Kids! Late nights at the office. More and more meals from a drive through window.

As our responsibilities (and the scale) goes higher and higher, we set our sights lower and lower:

  • Instead of wanting to run fast like the Flash, we just want to not get winded going up the stairs.
  • Instead of being strong like Wonder Woman, we just want to not be sore after don’t want our arms to hurt from carrying in the groceries.
  • Instead of swinging like Tarzan, we avoid activities that are new because we don’t think we can, and we don’t want to look foolish.
  • Instead of wanting to climb mountain or run a 5k, we instead set the goal of “winning a solo Fortnite battle” or getting more instagram followers because the first goal seems entirely unrealistic.

It’s no wonder our expectations continue to wither as we age: growing up can suck. Sure we had dreams and goals and hobbies as a kid, but now that we’re adults, our goal has been minimized into a single sentence:

“Lose weight and don’t hate what I see in the mirror.”

Brutal? Yup.

Honest? Yup.

And that’s okay.

Not liking what I saw in the mirror is why I started exercising, and the reason I started Nerd Fitness 10 years ago. After all, wanting to look better and feel better is a powerful motivator, and that usually involves weight loss.

All of these thoughts above sprung from a conversation I had recently with our head of Coaching, Lauren – who I’ve known for like 13 years and I was a bridesboy (you heard me) in her wedding, but that’s besides the point.

I asked her about success stories we’ve had from people who have been in our NF Coaching program for 6, 9, or 12+ months and actually kept the weight off, and I started to see a pattern:

They all set out to lose weight as an initial goal, and many of them DID lose weight.

But a recent study showed: “The chance of returning to a normal weight after becoming obese is only one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women over a year.” [1]

So what was different with these clients?

Why are they having success with losing weight and KEEPING it off!?

Although they all succeeded in their own unique way, they did have a common element to each of their origin stories:

It started with weight loss, but as they started to lose the weight, they got back to trying new activities they could do and feel as a result of that weight loss:

  • Doing pull-ups.
  • Going on hikes.
  • Getting back to martial arts.
  • Dunking a basketball (video proof below)!

In other words, these people reclaimed a childhood sense of joy and wonder that comes from asking “what can I try to learn today?” and “what can I do today that I couldn’t do yesterday?”

And in many instances, they all had activities they thought they could NEVER do. And six months later, they had already done it and were setting even bigger goals!

You’re damn straight I’m proud these people are all coaching clients of Nerd Fitness, but I don’t care if you ever spend a dollar with us.

I want you to learn from their stories and remind yourself WHY you’re here working hard to better yourself!

If you can shift your mentality from “when I lose the weight, then I’m done” to “I’ve been building this new body, what is it capable of? Let’s find out,” that’s how you find long term, permanently improved healthy success.

And that’s when you become a superhero.

From Couch to 5K: 5 Crucial Things to Know Before You Start Training

Running.

Some people live for it, chasing faster times and that unbelievable “runners high.”

Others despise it with the passion of a thousand suns (which is an excessive number of suns).

As somebody who used to run cross country in high school, and will probably never run a mile again, I have strong opinions on this stuff.

Today we’re going to cover it all: running your first 5K, if you even SHOULD run a 5k, and all the details of the famous Couch to 5K program.

After all, Couch to 5K is the most popular 5K running program since “run for your life” invented by a human like 150,000 years ago.

“Don’t run for your life” was equally popular, it just…didn’t last long.

Quiet, I know. This was a way better gif than a human being chased by a wild animal.

Plus, dinosaurs.

Anyways!

You’re here because you wanna know if you can build up to running a 5k without losing your breath or having to stop.

So here’s what we’re gonna cover in this article:

  • What is it about Couch to 5K that makes it so dang popular?
  • Does Couch to 5K actually work?
  • Will I lose weight training for a 5K?
  • How do I not hurt myself running a 5K?
  • What if I own a futon, but like, it’s a nice one. Can I still do Couch to 5k?

If you’ve been reading Nerd Fitness for longer than this article, you know my thoughts about running for weight loss (spoiler: I think it’s an awful way to lose weight).

HOWEVER…

I also think running can be a fantastic activity (for the right person if they do it the right way)!

So, are you that person?

And what is the right way?

Keep reading and I’ll tell ya.

In exchange, I can promise hilarious gifs.

And maybe also Michael Jackson.

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?

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