How a single busy mom lost 100 pounds with Nerd Fitness

Meet Leslie:

A single mom who works long nights and has a long daily commute, found Nerd Fitness, and also happens to be one of my favorite people and one of our best success stories.

Leslie was playing the Game of Life on Nightmare Difficulty with multiple time-sucking jobs, a brutal commute, and a love of fast food, all while being a single parent.

Since joining the Nerd Fitness community, she has become a powerlifting, handstand-practicing, gymnastic ring-wielding, extroverted, cross-country-moving, happily-in-a-relationship supermom.

While Leslie’s transformation started in her fitness, you’ll see below how quickly it spread to almost every area of her life. No matter what situation you’re in, we can all learn something from her powerful story.

I’m extra proud today to be sharing Leslie’s story, because she’s one of the longest running members of our 1-on-1 NF Coaching Program. As a member for well over a year, she’s not shy in sharing about how her personal coach helped her on the journey.

At the end of the day though, it’s Leslie that deserves 100% of the credit for her success, her transformation, and her new life. And we couldn’t be more proud of her.

Let’s see what we can learn from Leslie’s story!

5 Hacks to Effortlessly Build Healthy Habits in 2018

At some point in the past few weeks (or five minutes ago after a Google search), you’ve made a resolution to change your life:

  • I’m going to exercise every day!
  • I’m going to start flossing!
  • I’m going to start eating better!
  • I’m going to quit smoking!
  • I’m going to stop wearing jorts!

That’s awesome, and I’m very excited for you.

No, seriously! I want to see how this turns out – I love a good redemption story.

Maybe you told some friends, or posted it on your blog, or shared your experience on Instagram, or started a club at work with coworkers about your goals.

Although I’ve railed against resolutions and big audacious declarations in the past, this year I’m changing my tune.

If you set resolutions or goals this year, whether in January and you’re in on “new year, new me,” or you just had a big life event (birth of your first kid, scare at the doctor, etc.) and decided: “This is the year I get in shape!” – I’m here to help.

Everybody has goals – it gives us something to aim for.

They just need to be done right.

I want you looking back in 6 months and not recognizing the “old you,” instead of looking back and asking yourself “what the hell happened? Why am I back where I started?”

With over 40,000 students in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, 200+ 1-on-1 coaching clients, 1000 people in our monthly team adventure Rising Heroes, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, we have a damn good track record at helping people build permanent habits.

This resource dives deep into the key habit-building techniques that will actually help you get in shape this year.

How Kenney the Tabletop Gamer Lost 120 Pounds and Found His Voice (Literally).

“There’s no way that’s the same person, right?”

Admittedly, that’s what I first thought when I saw Kenney’s before and after photos. There was just NO way that this Tony Stark looking dude on the right was the same person as the man in the other photo, right?

And then I saw his other photos. And then I heard his story.

And then I teared up.

Shut up I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Today, we’re going to be talking about Ironma—-Kenney Frazier, an IT systems administrator from Alabama, a gamer, and an opera singer who has had one of the most dramatic transformations I’ve ever seen. It’s no exaggeration to say that Kenney clearly saved his own life. Not just in terms of life expectancy, but also quality of his life.

Kenney is a proud member of the Nerd Fitness Academy who made some key changes in his life that helped him succeed. We’re going to dig deep into those major and minor changes Kenney made and how you can be like him!

After years of struggle, starting and stopping, a switch flipped and he has lost over 120 pounds in the past 15 months.

Here’s his origin story.

The 10 Key Differences Between Weight Loss Success and Failure


At some point in the past two days, you probably said something like the following:

  • “Alright, time to lose this gut. “
  • “This year I’m gonna tone these arms and fix these love handles.”
  • “Holy crap I really let myself go. Is that Cheeto dust…on my forehead? Yikes.”

And thus, we begin our search for the promised land of effortless, enjoyable weight loss:

We want that one workout that scientists hate that finally melts the fat off our midsections and makes us look like Wonder Woman.

We gorge on acai bowls and omega-3 supplements and get excited about the latest article that says red wine is a health food as we polish off another bottle.

We go through a series of follies in search of a get-fit-quick fantasy that never actually comes to fruition, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Reality paints a much different picture:

A flat stomach doesn’t come in a bottle or in a workout DVD.

It comes from boring consistent action over months and years. Gross.

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

At the same time, I have also seen hundreds of thousands of people chase the latest health fad, lose a few pounds, and end up a year later right back where they started. Every year, I have seen packed gyms in January become ghost towns in February.

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

So what gives?

This year, what will separate the people who make new years resolutions and STICK with them, and those that give up after a few weeks?

With over 40,000 students in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, 150 1-on-1 coaching clients, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, I created this monster resource that dives deep into the key habits that will actually help you get in shape this year.

Here are the 10 key strategies that separate the Healthy from the Unhealthy – start doing these things today and you’ll actually make progress that lasts:

How Many Calories Do You Burn While Walking?

How many calories do you burn while walking? 

It’s a simple question, but it inevitably leads to a series of other questions too:

  • Can I lose weight just by walking?
  • Is there a right way to walk? How about a wrong way?
  • How many calories do you burn walking a mile? A marathon?
  • Can one simply walk into Mordor?

Okay, so maybe you didn’t ask that last question, but as a guy that runs Nerd Fitness, I certainly wanted to know the answer to that (spoiler: you can).

I’ll be addressing each of the above questions in this monster article about walking, including everything you need to know about the most natural activity we can do as human beings.

Walking is not only a great way to burn calories and stay active, but it’s an incredible stress reliever and gives you a chance to explore your surroundings in much more detail than through a car window.

For starters, YES, you absolutely can lose weight just by walking! Here’s a Nerd Fitness success story from Tim, who got hurt and could only walk for exercise.

50 pounds later (and another big change I’ll get to below), I’d say he succeeded!

Tim burned a LOT of calories while walking and lost 50 pounds

But I’ll get to Tim’s story shortly. Instead, Let’s talk about the second question…

The Beginner’s Guide to Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph

We are all unique.  

Yes, even you. Your mom was right!

And you’re here because questions about your body type and genetics:

What body type am I?

How does it affect my training and diet?

I have bad genetics, how screwed am I?

I am a [body type]. Does that mean I shouldn’t do [activity]?

We all have different bodies, genetics,reactions from certain foods, strengths, and weaknesses, and thus we each have different activities and behaviors that we’re predisposed to be good at (or struggle with!).

The standard way of thinking tells us that we have three main “body types”:

  • Endomorph
  • Ectomorph
  • Mesomorph

(Don’t worry we’ll get into each of those below too.)

HOWEVER, when it comes to your genetic benefits and shortfalls, there is way more to it than just which category your body fits in.

As you’ll soon learn, just because you’re predisposed to be good at one thing or terrible at another doesn’t mean you should be pigeonholed or limited with what you can do.

With a bit of help from our favorite Role Playing Games, we’re going to dig into body types, character classes, and ways to buck the genetic lottery.

Whether or not you know your body type, or you have never heard those terms above before, I got you covered!

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

I LOVE spaghetti. 

Growing up, I would get made fun of by my family for how much of it I would eat (seriously, two or three massive platefuls in one sitting).

Not enough of a visual?

How about this: as a toddler, I’d run into the dining room struggling to rip my shirt over my oversized head so that I could eat my spaghetti as fast as possible without getting sauce on my clothes.  After dinner my parents would have to practically hose me down in the backyard I was so messy – totally worth it.

Now, in my quest for a healthier lifestyle over the past few years, I’ve learned that…gasp…gallons of pasta at each meal isn’t the healthiest thing in the world!  So, I’ve cut back drastically on my pasta intake – I probably eat pasta once every few months now, when I’m out at an Italian restaurant with friends and feel like letting go for a meal.

If you are a paleo person but love pasta, I feel ya.  This could help.

Maybe you’re not paleo, but you’re looking for an alternative to carb-heavy pasta.  This will help you too.

Today, you’re gonna learn how to cook Paleo Pasta.  Now, this recipe takes a little longer and is a little bit more complex than the easy Chicken Stirfry I taught you how to cook before.

If that was level 1, this is level 2.

Yeah, eating a small portion of regular spaghetti every now and then ain’t gonna kill ya, but I found preparing paleo spaghetti and meat sauce to be a fun challenge, it took me out of my comfort zone in the kitchen by making me do new things, and actually turned out to be freaking delicious and nutritious.

Let’s level up your cooking.


The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting – 2018 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…


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’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.

You see, we get more questions about Intermittent Fasting than any other topic at Nerd Fitness. People who are looking for the key to their weight loss struggles or who have heard about it from a celebrity or friend or on the news and want to know what it’s all about:

  • Should I do 24 hour fasts occasionally? What’s this 16/8 protocol people are on?
  • What if I work weird hours and train in the morning? Can I fast still?
  • Does fasting affect men and women differently?

These are all great questions, as this stuff can be complicated and overwhelming. If you have been struggling with weight loss all your life, Intermittent Fasting can HELP, but it needs to be part of a well balanced approach that works for your lifestyle, body type, lifestyle, experience and goals.

A big problem with Intermittent Fasting is knowing how to make it work for YOUR life. Depending on when you work, when you exercise, if you have a family to prepare meals for, it can get tricky to navigate. Not to mention that Intermittent Fasting is just a piece of the puzzle – you also need to eat better and make exercise a priority!

For that reason, I’ve done two things:

In addition to this MONSTER article on Intermittent Fasting, we ALSO offer 1-on-1 Online Coaching to help busy people like you trying to make Intermittent Fasting, exercise, and eating better fit into a chaotic day-to-day life!

You can learn more about how our online coaching program can help you, and schedule a call to see if we’re a good fit by clicking on the image below:

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!”


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.

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