The 10 Things Perpetually Healthy Nerds Do that Unhealthy People Don’t.

We want weight loss to be effortless, exciting, and entertaining:

“One simple trick to lose 50 pounds!”

“The superfood that burns fat!”

“How Hugh Jackman got in shape to play Wolverine in just 12 weeks!”

We want that one workout that scientists hate that finally melts the fat off our midsections and tones our arms and makes us look like Wonder Woman. We gorge on acai bowls and omega-3s and get excited about the latest article that says red wine is a health food as we polish off another bottle.

Like Monty Python searching for the Holy Grail, we go through a series of follies in search of a nice idea that never actually comes to fruition.

Get On With It from Monty Python

Right, right.

Reality paints a much different picture:

Weight loss comes from habits that don’t grab headlines.

Boring, dull, and oh-so-incredibly effective.

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

At the same time, I have also seen hundreds of thousands of people make dramatic grand declarations about the latest trend or fad, lose a few pounds, and end up right back where they started. If that sounds like you, you’re in good company.

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

So what gives?

What’s the difference between the Try-Try-Agains and Perpetually Healthy Nerds (PHNs, for short)?

With over 40,000 students now in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, I created this monster resource that dives deep into the 10 most crucial habits of Perpetually Healthy Nerds.

How many of these 10 can you check off? Be honest! Santa is watching.

The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting – 2017 Update

“…But Tony the Tiger tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Grrrrrreat!”

And Tony the Tiger would NEVER lie…

Right?

This adage about breakfast has become commonplace that it’s readily and unquestionably accepted as fact:

“Want to lose weight? Make sure you start off with a healthy breakfast, so you can get that metabolism firing first thing in the morning!  “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”

“Want to lose more weight? Make sure you eat six small meals throughout the day so your metabolism stays operating at maximum capacity all day long.”

There are even studies that show those that eat earlier in the day lose more weight than those who ate later in the day or skipped a meal. [1]

So, eat breakfast to lose weight and obtain optimal health.

Case closed…right?

Maybe Not.

Maybe there’s way more to the story: what if there’s science and research that shows SKIPPING BREAKFAST (the horror! blasphemy!) is can help with optimum human performance, mental and physical health improvement, maximum muscle retention, and body fat loss?

After firmly being on “Team Breakfast” for 28 years of my life, I’ve skipped breakfast for the past 3.5 years and will most likely never go back!

I want to share with you a concept about skipping breakfast (and other meals), and how your health can benefit as a result.

I’m typing this from a secure location, just in case Tony the Tiger, The Trix Rabbit, and Toucan Sam come to beat me up.

After all, I’m going to rain on their breakfast parade with science today.

This is a topic that is controversial (which is funny – you’re just skipping a meal) as it turns a LOT of conventional wisdom on its head.

This is why this article is filled with more sources and citations than the normal Nerd Fitness article.

Let’s gooooooo!

That Time I Worked For the Sugar Industry…

Hey, I was young. I didn’t know any better!

And the money was good. So, how could I turn it down? As a high school kid, you make money any way you can, even if it’s something you’re not thrilled about.

And that’s how I ended up spending two summers with my older brother Jack working for Coca-Cola, which I talked about on Steve’s Instagram:

17 year old Stevie-boy here on Instagram

That’s right, your boy Steve – a guy who once wrote an article explaining why Sugar is Worse than Jar Jar Binks – used to work for the enemy!

For two summers, my brother and I would wake up at 5AM, put on the sweet Coke polo shirts pictured above, hop into our Coca-Cola cars (old station wagons with Coca-Cola logos on the side), and stock shelves full of Coke products for 50-60+ hours a week on Cape Cod.

Now, hopefully you know that the above “enemy” comment is in jest.

If you happen to be currently employed by Coca-Cola or a company that sells products or services that are unhealthy, I don’t mean to pick on you or your employer…kind of. After all, Coca-Cola is a company that aims to make a profit by selling products that are delicious. I get it. Give me an ice-cold Mexican Coke made with real sugar in a glass bottle on a hot day, and it’s heaven. I also know they donate lots of money to charity, employ thousands, and do plenty of good things, and blah blah blah.

Okay! Now that that’s out of the way…

Twelve years after working indirectly for Big Sugar and seven years after starting Nerd Fitness, I now know just how detrimental sugar can be to our health, and it brings me to the point of today’s article!

We know sugar is bad for us (right? I hope?), but I wasn’t aware just how insidious this stuff has become in society and until I learned the history behind sugar’s rise in our day-to-day lives – and the rise in our obesity rates.

A Nerd’s Guide to Mindfulness: Be More Mindful With These Steps

This is an article from Team NF’s Mental Health Professional (and father of 3), Dan Schmidt. 

Ever heard of “living in the moment,” been told to “stop and smell the roses,” or to just “go with the flow”?

Nothing but a bunch of tired clichés, constantly reworded slightly to clog up our Instagram and Facebook feeds by old acquaintances and weird relatives, right?

Perhaps, but there may be much more to these trite sayings than we think.

Do you ever pause a video game in the middle of a crucial point or battle just so you can “gather your thoughts” and “calm your nerves”? Just silencing your mind and focusing for a brief moment can really help you out.

You may not know it, but in a situation like this, you’ve just practiced something called “mindfulness,” a mental technique which enables you to handle problems better and reduce stress through balancing your emotions and mind.

Mindfulness is all the rage at the moment, but is it simply a cleverly marketed fad fuelled by hashtags and dodgy life coaches, or something that can perhaps help us on our quest to level up our lives?

So, if you don’t mind (get it?), let’s find out.

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!

Positive Peer Pressure: How to Leverage Your Squad to Get In Shape

“Just beat Level 8!”

“UGH, NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

A few months back, a group of my friends and I engaged in a digital arms race. You see, I made the horribly amazing mistake of downloading the brutally difficult and perfectly balanced mobile game, “Geometry Dash.”

Your goal is to get your automatically moving square to hop over increasingly challenging triangles and boxes by touching the screen. I know, squares hopping over triangles sounds like thrilling game mechanics.

No joke, I’m warning you to NOT download this game:

You’ll swear words you’ve never said before, you’ll pull your hair out, and then you’ll say “one more try.” And you will do this thousands of times When you finally beat a level, the sheer joy you’ll experience is unparalleled, only to repeat the process on the next level.

Although the game took over my life for a few weeks, it taught me a valuable lesson about the positive benefits of peer pressure. Today, you’re going to learn how to enter your own arms race with your friends and use peer pressure to positively level up your life.

With us opening the doors for a few days to our monthly team-based, story-driven, habit creating fitness adventure Rising Heroes today, I want to talk about the power of teamwork and peer pressure!

Calling all Misfits and Mutants: Welcome Home.

Welcome to the quirkiest, most supportive community on the Internet.

If you consider yourself a nerd, misfit, mutant, oddball, goof, or somebody that doesn’t quite fit the mold, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re interested in living a better life but can’t seem to find others that think the way you do or want the same things you do, I want you to know two things:

  1. You are never alone.
  2. Welcome home.

Whether you’ve been reading this site for a day or 8+ years (hi mom), I appreciate you. Whether you just want to eat better and learn how to do pushups, or you’re interested in deep diving into a community that encourages both healthy and nerdy behavior equally, I’m thankful you’re here.

Actually, the fact that anybody is here is very exciting to me. I started this site in 2008 simply because I couldn’t find anything like it on the internet: a home for nerds that provided no-nonsense, unbiased fitness information. Since then, Nerd Fitness has taken on a life of its own and I couldn’t be more proud of the quality and caliber of the people who embody the NF philosophies and ideals.

This past fall, we had 450 misfits and mutants from 10+ countries attend Camp Nerd Fitness (our big in-person event), and it felt like a giant family reunion. Whether it was people that had been to Camp NF previously, or newbies meeting other members of the community for the first time, it cemented how powerful this community/force-of-nature has become.

People have gotten married as a result of meeting at Camp NF. At least 4 people have the NF logo tattooed on themselves (shout-outs to Amanda M, Chris J, Chris P, and Hannah P). There are 100+ member-led Nerd Fitness groups throughout the world.

I feel very fortunate to be part of such a special group of people, and today I want to invite you to get more involved. I know only good things can come of this 🙂 

The Ultimate Guide to Quit Smoking, Permanently.

This is an article from Team NF member Staci Ardison

Two thousand, two hundred and fifteen days.

That’s 316 weeks. 72 months. More than 6 years.

What’s the significance of these numbers?

This is how long, as of the time of my writing this, that it has been since I have smoked a cigarette.

We spend a lot of time talking about diet and exercise here on Nerd Fitness, but if you’re a smoker, quitting smoking is the best thing that you can do to level up your fitness.

Walking out of the gym and lighting up a cigarette (which I did more times than I’d like to admit) is definitely the opposite of the “post workout” recovery we are going for!

Now, I know what you’re saying: “Oh, please, not another boring article telling me the same things about how smoking is bad for me and that I should stop.”

I’m not going to do that to you.

It’s not a secret that smoking is bad for you. The box is littered with warnings and it’s not a disputed fact that smoking causes a magnitude of health problems, including 90% of all lung cancer. It’s also not a disputed fact that it’s expensive and that it makes everything around you reek.

I could write an article all about all of the negatives of smoking, and it would only cover the very tip of the iceberg. And I wouldn’t be teaching you anything new.

So if there are so many negatives about smoking, we are all very well informed about them, and we all know that we should quit, why don’t we?

Why did I chain smoke for years, even though I knew better?

That’s what I’m going to talk about today.

The majority of smokers don’t actually WANT to be smokers, have tried to quit, and have failed multiple times. It’s not easy, and what a lot of people don’t realize is that being a smoker isn’t as much of a choice as we think.

Today, we’ve got a big time post for you: The Ultimate Guide to Quitting Smoking.

We’re going to go into why you’re struggling with quitting, and how to put steps in place to help you stop for good. Like everything at Nerd Fitness, this isn’t a prescription, but rather “this is what has worked for me, for many members of our community, and we’re here to help you if you want to try.”

Note: This is not medical advice, but you knew that, right? These below are suggestions on how to quit smoking from someone who has gone through it and wants to help. If you are quitting smoking and have any medical concerns, or experience extreme depression, please contact your doctor ASAP.

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).

I know how intimidating a gym can be, and how overwhelming it can be to start with strength training. It’s why we created a free guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know, that covers ALL the questions you might have!

If you are looking for more specific instruction and want to walk into the gym with confidence, sign up in the box below and we’ll send you the guide free.

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.

Previous View Archive