Getting Started With Nerd Fitness: Ready Player One.

Camp NF

Life is an adventure game, waiting to be played.

I’ve been running Nerd Fitness since 2009, helping people live better lives any way that I can. The NF tagline has been “Level Up Your Life” since then, and Team Nerd Fitness has been focused on finding ways to inspire, educate, and entertain with the help of our favorite movies, books, games, and comic heroes.

Maybe this is your first day ever seeing Nerd Fitness, and you’re trying to figure out what the heck this site is all about, and if it’s for you.

Maybe you’ve been reading for years, but you’re still learning and interacting with all the different aspects of our community.

Either way, I’m glad to have you here. Now, I tend to be wordy, and with over 650 articles published on the site, it’s tough to encapsulate what Nerd Fitness is, what the Rebellion is, and what we stand for.

Today, I’m presenting you with the “too long;didn’t read (tl;dr)” version of Nerd Fitness to share with friends, or help you dive in if you’re interested in learning more about what we do.

Here’s Nerd Fitness, in a nutshell.

Life is a Game

quest map

Life is an adventure game waiting to be played.

I mean that literally.

I was born and raised on Nintendo, and spent many of my formative years getting lost in role playing games, fantasy novels, adventure movies, and comic books.

In grade school I spent my afternoons playing Legend of Zelda, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, and Final Fantasy. When I got to high school, I spent nights and weekends dumping 40+ hours into Everquest, a nerdier (and more archaic) massively multiplayer online predecessor to World of Warcraft.

If I wasn’t gaming, I was burying my face in strategy guides, reading Harry Potter or watching Lord of the Rings, grateful for the chance to escape briefly from a life that wasn’t nearly as exciting as the stories.

If you grew up with a passion for books/games/comics, I’m sure you can relate when I say that I spent far too much time dreaming about my nerdy pursuits, getting more than a few strange looks for being so passionate about them.

Heck, to this day I still continue to look at the characters in these adventures as a fun escape from reality: 

  • I dreamt that I was big and strong like Captain America
  • I wished I went on adventures like Link from the Legend of Zelda.
  • I thought it would be cool to escape like Jason Bourne and take over a room like James Bond.

Up until a few years ago, reality could never match my imagination. The games, books, and movies were far more exciting…until I decided to turn my life into a giant adventure game – I called it my Epic Quest of Awesome.

This idea of life as a game stuck, and I was fortunate enough to give a TEDx talk on how I turned life into a game a few years back:

I then wrote a best-selling book, Level Up Your Life, about how you can turn your life into a game too:

We look at life like a game around here, because it’s meant to be fun and full of adventure. We love the idea of leveling up our lives just as if we were leveling up a character. Exploring far off lands, or even exploring our backyards and getting smarter, stronger, and faster. We love gaining strength by doing more push ups or by deadlifting slightly more weight than last week. Or earning stamina points by running farther and faster.

Believe it or not, we humans are biologically designed to love leveling-up psychology, instant gratification, and challenge that video games provide.

At Nerd Fitness, we look at those games (and books and movies) not just as an escape – but rather as the very inspiration and education to help US live better. Our secret weapon.

We apply the mechanics from our games, and apply them to our exercise strategy. We take those same games and movies, and use them as the inspiration to get us off our asses and outside doing stuff.

It’s how I was able to do the following:

You see, although “nerds” and “fitness” don’t seem like they belong next to each other, it’s actually the opposite.  We’re tailor-made for this adventurous, forward-moving life, complete with a healthy body and a happy existence.  We’re more than capable of becoming real-life versions of our favorite superheroes and characters.

Nerd Fitness isn’t just a workout plan, or a 30-day diet that temporarily gives you superpowers. Our goal is to turn you into a permanent superhero. The leveled up version of you.

Let me tell how you we’ve helped thousands upon thousands of people do that.

Small Changes Create Long Term Results

Storm Troopers workout with Darth Vader watching, small exercises

We are not fans of diets.

We’re not fans of 90 day “get shredded!!” workout plans either.

They might work in the short term, but that’s not what we’re after.

We ARE fans of creating long term, gimmick-free, antifragile success for our Rebels. There’s no such thing as a get-fit-quick scheme, or the perfect workout plan, or a pill that will solve all of your problems.

In order for us to create this long term success for you, we focus on rewiring your brain (don’t worry, no surgery required) so that you can build permanent (and small) habits that result in long term success. It all comes down to understanding how our brains work, and how habits are formed.

We’ve written about this stuff extensively in the following articles, which we encourage you check out when you get a chance, but I’ll give you a quick abridged version too after:

The tl;dr version: We are creatures of habit – what we look like and how we act is a result of hundreds of tiny habits built over many years. If we want to start losing weight, looking better, or feeling better, we need to start by building tiny new habits and adjusting our old habits to set us up for success!

Want to lose weight? Don’t go on a crash diet and starve yourself – after a few weeks you’ll be so miserable that you’ll go right back to where you started. I’ll cover diet more below.

Want to exercise more? Start by building the habit of exercise. Just got for a walk, every day, for 10 minutes. After a few weeks you can increase the challenge and type of exercise, but its the HABIT we want to build. As they say, “appearance is a consequence of fitness.”

Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, it’s important to know that we have a limited amount of willpower in which to change how we live daily – think of it like your health points in a video game. If you want to build new habits, pick ONE or TWO habits to change, and make them small. Attack too many new habits too quickly, and your willpower will rapidly deplete, and you’ll lose.

This is why everybody gives up on their New Year’s Resolutions within two weeks! They attack too many problems at once, instead of focusing on building one or two tiny habits at a time.

After you’ve investigated why habits are so important to our long term success, it’s time to apply that to our training philosophy so you can actually start looking like the superhero of your choice.

A strong nerd is a healthy nerd


We believe that a strong nerd is a healthy nerd.

To borrow from Henry Rollins, author of the amazing Iron and the Soul (MUST READ),  “We have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect.”

Being strong makes every aspect of life better, from how we carry ourselves, to our personal health, to our confidence, and even our performance in any other activity we look to complete.

On top of that,  we love strength training because it gets you to your goal no matter your gender or age. If you’ve been spending miserable hours on a treadmill and not seen results, it’s time to try another path. Strength training is simply the most efficient way lose weight and achieve that ‘lean’ look that you are going for.

Yep, even if you’re a lady trying to get “toned.”

Staci (now a full time NF team member) pictured below loves The Legend of Zelda, her pets, and old school barbell training. We receive dozens of emails a week from women asking how to look like her. The answer? Smart eating and heavy lifting.

Staci can now deadlift 430 pounds!

staci screenshot

Staci’s story should put ANY fear you have to rest about getting “too bulky” with strength training – but if not, make sure you also read these 7 Strength Training Myths Every Woman Should Know.

For the reasons above, strength training is the foundation of our training philosophy – again for guys AND girls.

We also believe that physical activity should be done because you enjoy it. That’s right, if you don’t enjoy running on treadmills, we’re not going to make you! Whether you like to do yoga, hike, run marathons, perform martial arts, or partake in live action role playing, do the stuff that makes you happy.

If you’re ready to get started with strength training, we recommend you begin with our beginner bodyweight circuit, and to read through our Strength Training 101 series if you’re interested in training with weights.

Real life role playing

Real Life RPG

Remember earlier how I talked about how life is a game?

We’ve taken this to a whole new level with Nerd Fitness, and have actually segmented our message boards and training into role-playing archetypes. You can decide what TYPE of character you want to be in the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, and craft your adventure around that! We could use members of every class!

And you can create your own character here.

Here are our Role-Playing Game archetypes. Which do you most identify with?

  • Warrior – powerlifting, general strength training
  • Scout – Endurance training, running, biking, swimming.
  • Ranger – cross training (think Crossfit) or a mix of Warriors and Scouts.
  • Assassin – gymnastics, parkour, bodyweight training
  • Monk – mixed martial arts of any variety
  • Druid – tai-chi, yoga
  • Adventurer – general wellness and fitness

What’s that? You’re not sure if you fit into one in particular? Or you want to try a few different ones out? That’s totally fine too! We just think this is a fun way to look at how we train and exercise.

On top of that, when you look at your training as if you’re a character, playing a role, that needs to improve…it sets off these signals in our brain that LOVE progress. Seriously – we are wired to level up.

Luckily, there’s all sorts of ways to level up, and we’re excited to help you reach those goals.

Speaking of reaching fitness goals, what you eat is the most important part of the equation. Seriously!

Nerd Fitness Nutrition


Your nutrition will be responsible for 80-90% of your success or failure when it comes to getting healthy.

Let that sink in for a second.

There’s no avoiding it: you can’t out-train a bad diet, and you can’t outrun your fork.

No amount of exercise will allow you to eat poorly and still look the way you want to. If you care about your health, the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do is to devote significant effort and brainpower towards eating better!

Fortunately for you, eating healthier is not rocket science – though I know we have a few rocket scientists in our community! Let me break it down into a few key points.

  • Processed foods, sugar, and junk food are ruining our waistlines, our hearts, and our bodies. Seriously, sugar is worse than darth vader.
  • We need to stop eating like idiots, and start taking a more active role in what we eat! Eat real, whole foods and eat mindfully.
  • We also need to stop chugging liquid calories. They don’t fill us up, but they can certainly expand our waistline!
  • Although not all calories are created equal, eating fewer calories is the first step towards taking back control of our health. After that, it’s a matter of eating the right kinds of foods.

We’ve covered how to eat properly here on Nerd Fitness extensively, and I’d recommend you read the following articles when you get a chance:

If you’ve read up to this point, and you’ve thought…”hey, that doesn’t sound too bad. Plus, I like games and I’m kinda nerdy,” I hope you’ll go one step further and join our little ragtag band of underdogs.

Join the Rebellion


Welcome to The Nerd Fitness Rebellion, your new home.

We’re a group of misfits and goofballs that are fed up with the status quo, and we’re excited to do something about it.

If you’ve ever felt like the odd man out when it comes to what you’re looking for in life, or find yourself heading down a path that involves both nerdy pursuits and an active life, we’re here for ya.

Heck, if you’ve ever been burned by sleazy informercials, you’re sick of the conflicting information, and you just want to feel better, we’re here for ya.

You are not alone.

Although you might be the “only one” in your group that wants to get healthy, we encourage you to embrace the weird…and join us. Like when Wolverine discovered there was a school for ‘mutants’ like himself.

If you’ve failed to get healthy in the past following fitness magazines or trying the latest products/pills/machines – don’t beat yourself up – those things are designed to make companies money, not get you healthy!

That’s where the Nerd Fitness Rebellion comes in. There are hundreds of thousands of members scattered across every country in the world, excited to share their own stories and what has worked for them.

Paying homage to Star Wars, we decided that we are building a rebellion as we level up our lives:

  • We’re rebelling against conventional wisdom that actually does more harm than good.
  • We’re rebelling against sleazy companies telling us we need supplements, ab machines, and expensive plans to get healthy.
  • We’re rebelling against a fitness industry that we don’t fit into.
  • We’re rebelling against stereotypes that nerds have to be unhealthy.

If you want to know more about what we stand for, check out our Rules of the Rebellion!  Here are a few ways to get involved:

1) We have our free email list, which I strongly encourage you to sign up for to get started. We’ll send you six daily emails walking you through your first week, and then we’ll  send out two articles every week that will inspire and educate you on the path to a better life.

2) We also have a message board community, with over 30,000 members who are excited to support each other and newcomers on their journey. It’s absolutely free, and in fact, we’re getting ready to launch our next 6-week challenge, which I explain further below.

3) On top of that, you can join us through Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and Instagramwhere we share interesting info, connect with rebels, share fun community photos, and have a damn good time doing so.

If you’ve looked through all the above options and are looking for something a little bit more, let me tell you about the Nerd Fitness Academy.

The Nerd Fitness Academy

Academy Banner

While we’ve published over 800 free articles in the last few years, we kept getting request from Rebels for everything they need to know in one place – exactly what they needed to do, exactly what to eat, how to workout, and how to progress to the next step in the process.

So we built this thing called the Nerd Fitness Academy, and we’ve had just under 40,000 Rebels join us since we opened it!

In addition to getting specific workout and nutrition plans, private forums, and step-by-step instructions and videos – this group has been the first to test our new character leveling and experience system. Yup, now you can actually level up your life!

If you’re interested in this aspect, check out the walk-through video on the information page.

We just added two new quest lines to the Academy (for Druids and Monks), with more meal plans and recipes getting added soon.

If you’re somebody that wants to get fit and wants to remove all fo the guess work, consider joining us in the Academy so we can walk you through your first year of getting fit, including meal plans, recipes, workout plans, and exercise demonstrations.

Not interested in the Academy? No worries! We’re just glad to have you here, and hope that we can help you get fit in any way possible!

Nerd Fitness TL;DR


We want you to start today, and we want to make sure Nerd Fitness is for you.

If you haven’t already noticed, I can be a bit wordy – hell, I managed to make an article about how I write too much, and it turned into a monster post! I’m not very good at tl;dr I guess.

So here’s the ACTUAL tl;dr version of the entire Nerd Fitness philosophy:

Life is a game, find a way to be active doing things you love.

Strength training is the foundation of a healthy body. Follow our free plans to get started.

Habits make us who we are. Understand how habits and willpower work, and you can permanently change your life.

Diet is 80-90% of the battle. Eat real foods. Sugar is the enemy, not fat.

Our supportive community is ready to help you get started. We even have a new 6-week challenge starting on January 5th. Join for free.

If you want specific workout plans, meal plans, and want to level up a character, check out the Nerd Fitness Academy – lifetime access for one fee, and a lifetime money-back guarantee. Lifetime!

The most important thing is for to take action.  Get started today – go for a five minute walk. Swap out a soda for water. Do SOMETHING that proves to yourself that you’re making changes to your life.

So, join the Rebellion! The world needs you. And the world needs the BEST version of you can build. No matter your shape, size, or age, we would love to have you. Thanks for being a part of it, and thanks for putting our words into action.

What sort of questions do you have about Nerd Fitness that I can answer? Let’s hear it!




photo source: the grocer: veggies

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