Get A Grip: How to Improve Your Hand Strength And Wrist Mobility

This is an article from NF Head Trainer Jim Bathurst

Do your wrists hurt during the day?

Do you find grip a limiting factor in the gym (I see you chin-ups and deadlifts) or in everyday life (looking at you, pickle jars)?

If so, don’t worry! We’ve got a handle on this (pun 100% intended). In today’s article, we’re going to outline a number of helpful, handy (sigh) stretches and exercises to help eliminate pain and build you some powerful, useful hands.

Like, Fists of Fury. Or…hands of Fury? Wrists of Fury?

Either way, today we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about hand strength. This is a favorite area of expertise for me. I’ve worked my grip for years and years, and recently won a local grip competition!

In fact, I’m currently typing this one handed while squeezing coal into diamonds with my other hand.

Not really, but I promise my grip strength is above average.

Now, it goes without saying that the hands and forearms are anatomically complicated areas. I am also not your mother, or your doctor. If anything in the article below causes pain, or your pain is not alleviated by these stretches – call in the pros! See a physical therapist or sports massage practitioner!

A Nerd’s Guide to Gaming with Kids

This is an article from Rebel Correspondent and Parenting and Mental Health Wizard, Dan.

Back in the early 90’s my older brother and I were playing Dragster on the Atari 2600 when our father walked in and looked over our shoulders for a minute. We expected the typical, “Alrighty boys, time to do something else,” but to our surprise, for the first time we got, “It’s my turn next.”

I remember him fumbling with the controller, blowing the Dragster’s engine several times, and explaining to us the best timing for gear changes.

The reason this sticks in my memory so clearly is because we were spending time together, learning and enjoying something different that we all loved.

Because home video games were so foreign to my father’s generation, gaming with your children was never seen as an acceptable pastime and way to spend with your kids.

However, those of us who grew up playing the Atari, NES and Genesis have come to see videogames, if facilitated properly, as another way to bring together generations and create some quality bonding time.

Like a lot of Rebels, I have always loved video games, and now that I’m a father to three, I’m beginning to see the wonderful benefits, along with the dangerous pitfalls, that gaming with my children has to offer.

Gaming and kids can be a controversial topic for parents – some are all for it, while others are dead against it. So today we’re going to weigh up benefits and problems on this issue, to help you make your own educated decisions with when it comes to your own kids, nephews and nieces, or any other children, be it now or in the future.

Can You ACTUALLY Banish Belly Fat? The Quest for a Flat Stomach

If I had to pick one question we get above all others at Nerd Fitness, it would probably be: “How to lose the fat around my midsection? I want to get rid of my belly fat.”

This makes sense!

After all, everybody wants a flat stomach, and we get sold every day on products that promise results with minimal effort:

  • “Use the ab-coaster 2000 and get a flat stomach in minutes a day!”
  • “One weird trick scientists hate to banish belly fat forever”
  • “Eat this super food to target belly fat and get toned!”
  • “7 minute abs. Who the hell has time for 8-minute abs?”

I have no product to sell you. Instead, I’m going to give you the ACTUAL truth about about 6-pack abs, targeting belly fat, and how to get a flat stomach.

I promise: by the end of this article you’ll know everything you need to know about a flat stomach, and a strategy to make it happen. The rest is up to you…

Gym Etiquette 101: Don’t Break These 29 Unwritten Rules

This is an article from NF Head Trainer Jim Bathurst

The gym can be an intimidating place.

Besides the grunting and the weights dropping, there is a secret code of conduct that is totally foreign to any newcomer on what to do and not to do.

Note: If you’re scared to even step foot in the gym, check out our Beginner’s Guide to the Gym to feel confident from your first gym tour to your first barbell squat!

Now, I’ve worked in a gym for over a decade and lifted in gyms for twice as long. I’ll say that these rules of etiquette aren’t just for newbies. I see a lot of “veterans” who completely disregard them or just simply aren’t aware of what they are doing. So whether it’s your 1st or 500th time in the gym, it would serve you well to peruse this article.

We cover a lot here, and this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but I don’t want you to get overwhelmed – don’t overthink every action you take at the gym. And you can’t use this article as an excuse for why you’re not going to the gym!

If I had to summarize every gym rule into three simple, guiding principles, they would be as follows:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Be cool
  • Act like it’s your equipment

Simple, right? Everything else is just a specific example of these three principles. Now, I’m not trying to be a Johnny Buzzkill with all these rules. Nobody Likes Johnny Buzzkill.

Instead, they’re meant as a way to keep you and other gym goers safe, help you feel more confident and comfortable, and get the most out of your gym visit.

If you have been going to a gym for a long time and find that you’ve done many of these things in the past (or you still do them) that’s okay! We all learn, and we get better. So just be better today, less Buzzkill, more Buzz Lightyear.

That doesn’t make sense, but you get what I’m going for.

Let’s defeat Accidental Assery!

The Wolverine Workout: Get Strong Like Logan!

This is a post from Nerd Fitness head trainer Jim Bathurst.

YES! Another Wolverine movie! LOGAN is now showing in theaters nationwide, and I couldn’t be more excited.

If you’re like many people, Wolverine is one of your favorite X-men (especially for short guys like myself!), and nothing is more awesome than seeing the Little Runt rage around and beat up bad guys.

To get you ready and pumped for the movie – more so than taping silverware to your hands – we’ve got a fun workout for you!

Now yes, you can absolutely find Hugh Jackman’s exact workout online. It’s excellent for what he needed to do to get ready for the movie role – a bodybuilding type workout that packed muscle where it mattered for film (chest, shoulders, arms) while giving a good strength base with squats and deadlifts (and making sure Wolverine wasn’t walking on chicken legs).

It WORKED:

Note: if you’re looking for the “How Hugh Jackman got in shape for Logan,” the article is right here: “How to look like Famous Actor in Action Movie!”

We’re assuming you’re not getting ready for a major Hollywood role, nor do you have 5 straight days to spend a few hours in the gym. No worries, we’re going to get a bit of the flavor of Jackman’s workout, and the Wolverine character in general, into our own Nerd Fitness Wolverine Workout!

A Beginner’s Guide to the Gym: Everything You Need to Know

“Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy” -Eminem.

Although Eminem was talking about being nervous before walking into a rap battle, that phrase perfectly described scrawny, terrified, 16-year old Steve the first time I walked into a gym.

20 minutes later I found myself seriously thinking, “Uh oh! Crap. Am I going to die?”

I knew “going to the gym” and “working out” were things that were going to make my life better. I just didn’t know what I was supposed to DO in the gym. I walked in with no plan and left an hour later with a bruised ego and bruised rib cage.

Maybe this is your first Nerd Fitness article. Perhaps you’re thinking about going to the gym but are afraid, you only use the treadmill in your gym, or you’ve been reading Nerd Fitness for years and finally decided, “I’m going to start going to the gym because I know ‘strength training’ and ‘lifting weights’ is good for me.”

Then, you hear that tiny voice in your head:

  • “You need to get in shape first before you go to the gym so you don’t look foolish.”
  • “Stick to the cardio section. Maybe the machines. Don’t go near the free weights though, that’s for bros and meatheads and bodybuilders.”
  • “As long as you don’t try anything new, you can’t mess up. Stick to what you know.”

And that’s what I’m going to cover in today’s article: how to not suck at going to the gym for the first time. This will apply if you just joined a gym this morning, or you’ve been a member at a gym for the past two years but are ready to venture outside of the newbie zone (what you know) and into uncharted territory (the free weights section or something else).

How Ruth the Physician Lost 10 Sizes and Renewed Her Life


Meet Ruth O’Mahony.

She’s a 49 year old physician-turned health content manager who struggled for years with unhealthy eating, yoyo-dieting, lack of movement, and a constant struggle to stick with anything for more than a few weeks before life got in the way.

This is something we can all relate to!

Although she found Nerd Fitness in early 2015, she spent months telling herself “I’m not ready yet, I’ll get started someday.” So she signed up for our email list, said “eventually!” and did nothing.

Sound familiar? 

After she could barely close the seatbelt on a flight to Disney (where just walking was a chore), her mentality started to change “maybe ‘someday’ will never happen…I need to change my strategy on this.”

Fast Forward 7 months…. and she had a support group to learn from, a basic plan to follow, and excitedly started her push towards a better life.

So WHAT happened?  Why, after 11 months of reading Nerd Fitness did she FINALLY take action? How did she go from “I’ll level up someday” to “I level up every day”? How did she drop 70+ pounds, go down 10+ clothing sizes, and radically transform her life?

Keep reading!

Shine a Damn Light

Time has no meaning in this godforsaken cell.

How long have I been sitting here?

Hours?

Days?

The windowless walls feel like they’re closing in around me. A single neon light above gives the room an eerie glow and makes every shadow a distorted monstrosity. There I sit, alone, nervously awaiting whoever comes through a lone door in the corner.

Next to me, a small table full of sharp and twisted instruments that will surely be used to inflict excruciating amounts of pain.

I tell myself to not look at them, and yet I can’t look away.

As I silently curse my predicament, I can’t help but think, “please get this over with.” After all, waiting is the worst part.

Actually, it’s the second worst. The worst, of course, is knowing that I have nobody to blame for this predicament but myself. Afterall, it was my choices that led me here.

The door opens and a woman enters. She quietly puts on a pair of rubber gloves and gives me a look that turns my blood cold. I am convinced her overly pleasant smile is hiding an absolutely masochistic psychosis.

“Hello Stephen. Shall we begin?” she says in an accent that I can’t quite place.

The metal chair activates, and slowly begins to recline into the floor.  

I stare up at the ceiling, slowly close my eyes, and quietly begin to panic.

For the first time in 3 years, I am at the dentist.

Staci’s dog has been dognapped! (No, not really.)

Team NF Member Staci’s dog Madi has been dognapped!

(Okay not really. Don’t worry, Madi is okay!)

But in the alternate reality world of Rising Heroes, poor Madi has been kidnapped by a nefarious shadow organization in retaliation for over 2,500 rebels working together last month to track down and capture a hacker operative with ties to the organization.

Alternate reality world? Rising Heroes? Hackers? Madi?

Steve, WTF are you babbling about? I’m lost.

Okay sorry, let me start back at the beginning.

You Are Flawed. And So Are Your Heroes.

My friend Mike was orphaned before he really got to know his parents.

Fortunately, he was was adopted and raised by a loving family. They didn’t have much, but they did whatever they could to provide for him. Despite growing up with these amazing people, Mike always felt like he didn’t belong.

He did what he could to hide his real feelings: that he’d never belong, that he’d always BE on the outside looking in, that nobody really appreciated him.

You see, the real version of Mike, the part he locked away inside, would terrify others. So he kept it bottled up and put on this act that everything is cool when inside he was deeply conflicted. I was fortunate enough to get to spend quality time with Mike, get to know him for who he really was, and I learned to accept all parts of him.

My other friend Jimmy is also an orphan surprisingly, though his path has been drastically different from Mike’s.

You see, Jimmy was born rich. Like, Scrooge McDuck rich. He WAS old enough to remember his parent’s accidental deaths, and it crushed him.  Although all of Jimmy’s needs were taken care of (thank you, life insurance policy), this environment and upbringing created some challenges.

I’ve known Jimmy for years, and it’s been tough to watch him work through layer up on layer of destructive, obsessive, rageaholic behavior.

Like many of us, Jimmy’s been searching for meaning his entire life – everything else has been handed to him, and it’s left him unfulfilled. Who could blame him? So he needs more, thinking this will fill the hole in his heart, at all times.

Despite all the money, and toys, and attractive women, and success, there’s one thing he’ll never have:

Enough.

He is hurting internally, and yet he feels like he can’t share this with anybody. After all, nobody wants to hear about the problems a very wealthy, good looking person has, right? “Those problems aren’t real! Try not being able to put food on the table for your family!”

I’ve known both Mike and Jimmy since I was a little kid, and have grown up with them.

Two orphans with tragic lives, two very different upbringings, and real internal pain and shame that they feel they can’t share with anybody.

These tales might sound vaguely familiar to you.

You see, Mike’s real name is Clark. Clark Kent. Better known as Superman.

And Jimmy? That’s Bruce Wayne. Better known as Batman.

How Tim Walked His Way to a 50-Pound Weight Loss. Wait. WHAT!?

“Holy crap! Seriously!?”

It was 1 AM, and I was sitting, bleary-eyed at my computer in a hotel room in Barcelona. Like many people, instead of sleeping I had been messing around on Facebook (oops!) and happened across a thread with a Nerd Fitness reader who said the following:

“Nutrition is 90% of the battle, right? Well I’ve seen that in action over the last few months. I was unable to continue workouts due to a health issue and have had to rely COMPLETELY on walking and nutrition to find results. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

I am completely sold on the principles of the Nerd Fitness Academy. Thank you, Steve Kamb for founding NFA!

I am not done, I have only begun, but now that I can (hopefully) begin workouts again after seeing my doctor in a couple weeks, I look forward to even greater results! Already I have lost over 50 pounds since starting NFA, I no longer need blood pressure medication, and I fit into size 34 jeans…a feat I have not done since grad school 20 years ago!”

What followed were the photos you see above… right!?

My jaw hit the floor when I saw Tim’s 7 month before and “during” photos. I seriously yelled out loud “Holy sh**!” when I saw them, and I couldn’t help but smile. I wanted to share Tim’s success story with you today, because I want YOUR success story six months from now!

Tim, a recovering gambling addict and single dad of 4 kids (!), is a proud member of the Nerd Fitness Academy and based his exercise, mindset, and nutritional strategy on the information presented there. However, I want to point out that Tim had NO gym membership, NO fancy trainer, NO magic bullet, and NO wonder supplements.  

I’ve been bouncing emails back and forth with Tim and noticed VERY interesting details in his success – tons of things that many would have seen as obstacles (or worse…excuses to justify inaction!). Tim, on the other hand, actually succeeded in part BECAUSE of these setbacks.

Today you’re going to learn how to surprise yourself 7 months from now – WITHOUT “EXERCISING”.  

Six months from now, I want you to look at your “before” and “during” photos with a shocked smile. (It would help if you took photos today!)

How to Increase Your Actions Per Day (APD)

This is an article from NF Rebel Writer, Daniel Thrasher 

Have you ever watched a professional gamer play Starcraft on the computer? Seriously, just watch a few seconds of this:

These guys are insane… their fingers fly over the keyboard like hummingbird wings, and their pointer finger taps the mouse button so fast it sounds like a machine gun going rat-a-tat-tat. When professionals play a real-time strategy game, they’re always doing something; usually they’re juggling five or more competing goals at the same time (attacking, defending, building, scouting, and so forth).

In fact, one of the most common ways to measure the skill level of a professional real-time strategy player is in “actions per minute.” In a game of Starcraft, it doesn’t matter whether the player is researching new technologies, issuing commands to their military units, or training a new worker – every click and stroke of the mouse or keyboard counts as an action!

These players usually hit hundreds of actions per minute, up to 300 (APM) being normal for pros and some even top out as high as 600 APM! That’s up to 10 actions per second in a typical game, which is crazy fast! (In fact, I strongly urge you not to try this at home. Your wrists will hate you…)

Professional or a newb, any player in a real-time strategy game cannot afford to be paralyzed by choice… sitting around in a state of inaction and thinking instead of doing something, right now, is going to get you clobbered.

Sound familiar?

Every action we take in these games, or on the quest to lose weight and gain muscle, takes us one step closer our goals. When we fail to take action, we slowly get overtaken by the enemy swarm of inaction, laziness, and a sedentary lifestyle.

You don’t need to be a fan of these RTS games to take advantage of this “actions per” mindset, and today I’m going to show you how it has been the missing ingredient from you taking action in your own life. 

Simply focus on raising your Actions Per Day, and start winning life. 

Camp Nerd Fitness 2016 Video… Okay, I cried. Twice.

Camp Nerd Fitness is the most magical week of the year around here.

The last Camp took place this past fall – and while over 400 rebels made the trip to Georgia from around the world – we know MOST rebels won’t be able to make it out to the live weekend.

I don’t think I can capture how powerful Camp is in words (campers usually make me cry several times a day at Camp with their stories). Luckily for me I don’t have to use my words. Today, I can show you.

Below is our official Camp Nerd Fitness 2016 video that was filmed and produced by the talented Grant Peelle this past fall in the mountains of Georgia.

It does an amazing job of capturing this indescribable spirit of camaraderie and passion. It also shows how Camp Nerd Fitness laid the groundwork and gave us the inspiration to push forward with Rising Heroes.

Why You’re Not in Shape (Yet)

“Why can’t I do this? I know what I need to do to get in shape, and I just can’t get myself to do it. I’ve yo-yo’d for years.”

I’ve been running Nerd Fitness for 8 years now (holy crap), and I have seen some of the most dramatic success stories from people of all walks of life that give me the biggest smile.

Single moms working two jobs, married couples that got in shape together, people who have been overweight their entire lives, and others who began powerlifting at the age of 50.

In that same time, however, I have seen tons of people who have been reading NF for years and struggled to find success. They might succeed for a short amount of time, or even a few months, before backsliding into old habits, and they just can’t seem to make things stick.

What’s interesting is that with both groups, they knew what they needed to do: more vegetables, more movement, less junk food, fewer calories on average, and a healthy exercise routine.

This wasn’t surprising: we all know what we need to do to get fit. So what separates the group of people who have fundamentally changed their lives and become new people from the other group who continue to struggle with little to no results?

I was curious, so about a month ago I sent a survey out to NF Rebels asking them for their honest answers on why they have (or haven’t) succeeded, and the responses really surprised me.

For starters, we had over 10,000 responses with people pouring out their hearts, proudly proclaiming their successes, or honestly sharing why they believed they hadn’t found their path quite yet.

About 25% of the responses came in saying they had made permanent changes, while the other 75% were still working on making enough progress and building enough momentum to make changes permanently.

So, why is it that some are kicking ass, and others are still warming up their kicking legs?

Is Seasonal Affective Disorder a Real Thing? How to slay the SAD Beast!

This is an article from mental health wizard and resident NF Family Rebel Correspondent, Dan Schmidt.

Brace yourself, it’s here.

Winter. Bigger jackets, colder mornings, mental health disorder subsets, shorter days, umbr- …wait… what was that last one? Umbrellas? No, no, the other one. Oh, you haven’t heard of SAD? Well, let me tell you all about this frosty behemoth.

Aside from being a really clever acronym, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that, spoiler alert, has a seasonal pattern. It’s also known as winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression. In a nutshell, SAD makes people with ‘normal’ mental health experience depressive symptoms at a specific time each year – most often winter.

SAD can be a cruel, powerful, and damaging arctic foe. But armed with the right weapons, we can ward off the winter monster, or even keep it in full hibernation.

Disclaimer: Today we’re going to be discussing some issues that may be difficult for some going through a tough time. If you (or someone you know) aren’t coping so well, PLEASE see the links at the bottom of this article with some resources from all around the world. Obviously, we recommend discussing this information with your health professional – none of this is a diagnosis, but rather a starting point for discussion.

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