How Tiny Changes Transformed Me from Steve Rogers to Captain America

Hey, I’m Steve.

I’ve been running this site, Nerd Fitness, for about seven years now. Before that, I trained in a gym for six years trying to get in the best shape possible. But I struggled. Struggled to make consistent progress. Struggled because it always seemed like three steps forward, 2.9 (or 3.1) steps backwards, month after month, year after year.

Two years ago, my mentality changed. I stopped asking “when will I arrive?” and instead realized that I will never actually get there.

With this mindset I created a new strategy, and today I stand (well, sit) before you a changed person – physically and mentally. I’m 20+ pounds (of muscle) heavier, stronger and more resilient than ever, and believe that every day is an opportunity to set a new personal best.

I did it by refusing to focus on the “end.” In other words, I stopped worrying about “before and after.” Instead I just focused finding goals and quests that excited me each day.

In fact, I hadn’t noticed just how much I had changed until I looked at a video from Nerd Fitness from three years ago that made my jaw drop (picture above). It really hit home when I went to get fitted for a tux two weeks ago and the guy taking my measurements said “well, this won’t fit right because you’re built like Captain America.”

Excited Steve

Alarm bells went off in my brain: “HOLY CRAP. I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear somebody tell me that. And it happened after I FORGOT about this very goal.”

I don’t think that was a coincidence.

Here’s how I stopped worrying about my after and started living every day in the “during.”

There’s No “After.”

steve push ups

I imagine that nearly everybody who stumbles across Nerd Fitness is here because they want to change their appearance. It’s certainly why I started exercising! And I have NO problem with that.

After all, as the Rules of the Rebellion state: “We don’t care where you came from, only where you’re going.”

As a skinny, weak person for most of my life, I wanted to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin. Thanks to the BS found in magazines and other marketing tricks, I was convinced in my early years of training that I was only 30-60 days away from transforming. I thought I could “sprint” from where I was to where I wanted to be, and then I could settle back into a less crazy routine. Because I was in such a hurry to change from the “before” to the “after,” I would go ALL-IN on training and eating for a short period of time.

Unsurprisingly, this resulted in me burnt out or injured. If the changes did come, they didn’t stick for any long period of time due to “life getting in the way.”

It was only until I started of thinking of progress in “years and years” instead of “weeks and months” that my mentality finally shifted.

This was a tough pill to swallow. I had to put my “after” goals on hold, and instead just did what needed to get done every day. I had to change my mentality: there is no after, only “during.”

I initially thought “Ugh, Years!?! That’s gonna take too long.” And then I thought back to how little sustainable progress I had made in the previous 10 years and knew things needed to change. Today I look back and can’t be more relieved that I made this choice.

In two, five, or ten years, what choice do you wish you’d have made now? The one that puts you on a “30 day diet” or workout plan? Or one that instills changes for the long term?

There’s a reason why a recent study suggests we’re doomed to stay fat: temporary diet changes and temporary workout plans don’t work!

If you want to change your appearance in the long term, your normal life (how you live every day) has to change. Every day you are building a new normal: a sustainable way of eating, sleeping, and exercising that gets you a tiny bit closer to where you want to be.

Appearance is a consequence of fitness


Want to know how I was finally able to make progress and transform my appearance after 11 years of actively trying to change it?

By NOT focusing on it so damn much!

For the past two years, I have cared less about what the scale says or how I look in a mirror, and instead put my focus on one thing: am I stronger and more badass today than yesterday? Am I doing better this week than last week? Every week for the past two years, I have followed a workout plan that is incrementally more difficult in a tiny way than the previous week.

For example, here’s my last five weeks of work on overhead presses:

  • Week one: 5/5/5 x 136 lbs
  • Week two: 6/5/5 x 136 lbs
  • Week three: 6/6/5 x 136 lbs
  • Week four: 6/6/6 x 136 lbs
  • Week five: 5/5/5 x 137 lbs

Look how boring that is! Each week, I’m increasing this lift by ONE total repetition. After reaching a certain level, I’m adding just ONE pound to the bar (I bought these fractional plates so I can lift just one pound more).

The same goes for my deadlifts. Every week, I’m adding just one pound to my lift, before going for a 1-rep max once per month. As someone with splondylothesis, I used to think I’d never deadlift heavy again. In fact, I’ve had to yell at myself throughout this process to be patient and be okay with this pace. I knew that when I tried it the other way, progress just didn’t stick.

So despite the seemingly snail’s pace, I’m now stronger than ever and almost at my epic quest goal of a 405 deadlift (here I am in November lifting 385 lbs).

My progress on other movements is even tougher to see, but I’m now doing some really crazy and fun things like gymnastic rings work to muscle ups to front lever practice.

You see, appearance is a consequence of fitness. I just put my focus on getting stronger, and eating in a way to accomplish that goal daily. That “stronger” might be the teeniest of tiniest increments, but when done consistently, sustainably, over a long period of time… big permanent changes can result.

Accountability, priority, routine

Steve Front Lever

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention another crucial reason why I was able to make sustained progress over the past two years: I made my health a priority. I wrote about “why you need to be selfish sometimes” on Nerd Fitness before.

After years of starting and stopping, blaming it on Nerd Fitness getting too busy, or life being too hectic, I finally put my foot down. I made two crucial decisions:

1) I stopped trying to go it alone. That’s right. I found that when I had to program my own workouts, I would often skip the last few exercises that I just didn’t feel like doing. After all, who would notice! However, over the past two years I’ve been following workouts that have been created by somebody else, and I have to check in with that person! Suddenly I can’t use my old tired excuses, and I just do the work – after all, that’s why I pay for it!

If I miss a workout or take a week off “because life got busy,” I have somebody to answer to. It sucks, it’s embarrassing, and oftentimes this gets me to go to the gym when I’m tired or busy, or trying to use all these other bullshit excuses.

I think it’s why we have found so many people have found success with The Nerd Fitness Academy or Nerd Fitness Yoga – you value things differently when you invest your hard-earned money in them, and you actually DO the stuff when somebody else is telling you to do them. If you’re struggling to stay in shape, do you have somebody keeping you accountable? Do you have a workout plan to follow? Those two steps alone have change my life. Hat tip to my friend Anthony for creating my workouts for me!

2) I prioritized my health and fitness. Mostly, I stopped accepting excuses from myself, and stopped relying on motivation. Instead, I manufactured discipline in my life. I ruthlessly removed unnecessary time-wasting activities from my life and got better at managing my time. Here’s what I did:

  • I schedule every workout in my calendar. Every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:00 AM, I go to the gym. If I’m traveling on a training day, I make it up for IMMEDIATELY, no matter what, the next day and get back on schedule.
  • I have been intermittent fasting the whole time. I train in a fasted state (not eating before my workout), and eat all of my daily calories between 12pm and 8pm. This is called intermittent fasting, and has helped me slowly put on muscle without adding much fat to my frame.
  • I have prioritized food. I eat a paleo-ish diet. I eat the same thing every day at Chipotle. It’s an expense that I’m willing to pay – the location is right across the street from my gym, and it’s the most efficient way to get enough quality calories, carbs, protein, and fat immediately following my workout.
  • I removed distracting activities from my life. I am now way more efficient with my “work hours,” blocking Facebook and time wasting websites. I don’t play video games or watch TV unless I have done everything else that day that needs to be done. Don’t get me wrong, I still binge watch shows occasionally (Making a Murderer!) and play video games (Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate!), I just do this stuff strategically.
  • Sleep has been prioritized. When I relocated to New York City, I made sure to spend money on a quality mattress and blackout curtains. As a cheapskate, this was a huge challenge for me. However, sleep is one of the most important elements of a healthy life. I don’t play games late at night, I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, and I make sure I’m sleeping as much as possible.

Where Were You, Two Years Ago?


You might be reading this and saying to yourself, “Ugh, Steve. I need to feel better now! I can’t wait two years!” Ask yourself, where were you two years ago? How different are you now compared to then?

Remember, you never really “arrive.”

If you’re hoping that getting to a certain pant size or seeing your abs will suddenly make you happy, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s the fitness equivalent of “if I just had a bigger house, I’d be happy.”

All photos in Nerd Fitness success stories are “before and during” shots. My photos here are “during” shots. I’m never going to get to a magical moment where I “made it,” so I’ve stopped worrying about that moment. Instead, I’m just focused on being stronger and fitter today than yesterday, and eating in a way that helps me make that happen.

I have no idea where I’ll be two years from now. My goals might change. My lifestyle might change. So I’m not worried about it. Instead, I’m just worried about being better and stronger today than I was yesterday.

I’d love to hear from you:

What’s a longstanding mentality you’ve had that will change to help you find permanent growth and progress with your health and fitness?

How can you remind yourself daily of this new “identity?”


PS: Have you created your free Nerd Fitness Character yet? Pick your class, track your quests and start leveling up your life…literally! This is all part of my new book, Level Up Your Life, but the character stuff is free to all members of the Rebellion!

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  • Hannah

    My mentality that needed to change was “calories are bad.” Two years ago I was trying to lose weight by not eating…well, anything. That would last about a day or two before my body couldn’t take it anymore and I would binge on anything high-sugar that I could get my hands on, usually until I was sick, and then I’d try to make up for that by again forcing myself to not eat for long periods of time, resulting in a pretty vicious cycle. This trend lasted all through high school and college and afterwards (approx. 10 years total I think) until recently and I finally couldn’t do it anymore. With some pro help and an amazingly supportive family, I’m learning to just be ok with consuming calories. Any calories. On a regular basis. I certainly don’t have the healthiest diet, but I’ve had to relearn that all food is a form of fuel, and if I’m hungry and all that’s available (or all that will satisfy me) is some leftover pizza, instead of saying “pizza’s not healthy, so I just won’t eat” (failing to see the irony…), I remind myself, “right now, this is my fuel, and that’s ok.”

  • Bring back Faneca

    checkout Wendlers 5/3/1 homey… Brawny but bit template… You can thank me later… Actually its very appealing ot us nerds because it is formula based… Periodization is the key to long term success….

  • Thank you for this, Steve! Although I’ve been lifting for years now the last few months I’ve been way, way too focused on how I look instead of my overall performance. This was a perfect reminder for me! I stopped tracking my weights in the gym for a while and I’ve lost track of gaining any strength. I’m going to start logging those today.

  • darkwingdave

    Thanks for the update, Steve. That’s a pretty awesome compliment for a Nerd to hear. I’m sure it took some Vulcan-like resolve to not fist pump after that statement. Keep up the inspiration for us and best of success in your own journey.

  • Paul

    Great post, Steve. Your note about before and after pictures sparked an idea: what if every before and after picture on your site was followed by a third picture, one that was all black with a lone, white question mark in the middle (I think Ganon’s picture in the original LOZ instruction manual was this way).

    This third picture may help people realize that, even though the present is good, the future is still unwritten (and could be even better)!

  • Pepe Fainberg

    Dear Steve, i was going on the nerd fitness program when sudenly like 2 months ago i started to fell some pains. at the begining i thought, well, may be im doing this too much. i managed to lose 16 kilos, it was amazing, i could do 60 push ups in three rows, for my 53 years old age i was feeling like hercules… but pains were going on increasingly so i stoped and went to see my doctor….yesterday i left the hospital, i had a stend. i am now in a state that will take some time to start over. no effort, told me the doc when i left the hospital today…. no efforts…. uffff…..i hope i will find again in me to force i had when i discovered you and your site. i will need all the help i can in my re-start of the nerd fitness program. i hope you read this, as i am inspired by you and any encourage from the rebles will be greatly apreciated. big hug/ pepe

  • Paul

    Steve, have you tracked your nutrition over the last few years? You mentioned intermittent fasting, but I’m curious if your overall calorie / macro intake changed much during that time.

  • Hey Steve,

    Badass. That is my description for this article. Inspiration would be another.

    Isn’t it amazing how we all KNOW the answers to life’s greatest questions and struggles, but need reminders? It’s common sense that change doesn’t happen overnight, eating wholesome goods filled with nutrients, pushing our bodies to their limits and fully committing sets you up for success.

    Thank you for the reminder that were never done. Fitness and nutrition have no final objective goal.

  • J Star

    you looked fit, strong, slender and healthy before, now you look beefy and silly, why do guys also insist wanting to look “big”? great article though and inspiring way that you think.

  • Marc

    Steve, this is a great read! I feel like I am just about at the point where my mentality will shift or I am in the process of shifting my mentality from weeks and months to years.
    Out of curiosity, I have just started intermittent fasting this past weekend. how often do you perform the fasting? As someone who is new to it should I go all in and fast everyday or continue doing it a couple times a week and work up to doing it everyday?
    Thanks again for all these great posts.. keep them coming and I will continue to read them!

  • Sue G.

    Very powerful article, Steve, thank you! And as usual, well timed for exactly when I needed to hear this. (Seriously, I notice you have a lot of comments like that… how do you do it? Are you a telepath? Are we all part of the NF-hive mind?) I really like this micro-incremental idea. I’ve had some setbacks in the past for trying too much too soon and this sounds like a good remedy for that.

  • Nick Montgomery

    Great post, Steve. This mirrors my change in mentality in the past year myself. Before it used to be mostly about how I looked and felt about my appearance. Now I find myself making changes to my lifestyle that I consider more long-standing and make me feel better, as well as increase my performance at tasks that I am focused on (obstacle course races are my jam!).

    With that I’ve found that the steady change in my appearance has naturally followed as a byproduct of improving my lifestyle and finding habits that make me feel better, healthier and happier.

    Many of those lifestyle tips have come through your blog, so hats off to you, sir! Keep up the great work.

  • Ky

    Two years ago I was just beginning to start lifting weights. But even after I became known as ‘that girl that’s in the gym all the time’, I wasn’t as consistent with my schedule as I wanted or needed to be to see progress. Sometimes I’d get dressed and look in the mirror, go ‘Eek!’, and hide in my bed instead of going to the gym because I didn’t like the way I looked (and even the fact that going to the gym helps your appearance didn’t motivate me on a lot of days).

    Fast forward to last October, I deployed to a base in the middle of Kuwait. We were required to wear our PT uniform to work out in the gym, the most unflattering set of green t-shirt and shorts I’ve ever seen in my life. But I was working a 12 hour shift 7 days a week that was incredibly stressful, and the only way I could take a break (and get my poor introverted self away from people and conversation for a while) was to go to the gym. So I put on my terrible PT outfit every single day, refused to look in the mirror, and went to the gym. It became my stress relief and I got SO much stronger. I also did my first powerlifting competition there and gained a lot of confidence by being in the spotlight and actually surprising a lot of people with my strength.

    Now getting a workout in is my first priority. I have a set schedule and nothing will stop me from working out – not a look in the mirror, not a bad hair day, not all the homework/errands/last-minute problems in the world. So many good things have come as a consequence of that – eating healthier (because it helps my lifting), getting a dog (who forces me to go walking several times a day), trying out new active hobbies that I wouldn’t have had the courage to try out before.

    Maybe it seems like little progress, to take so long just to be consistent in taking care of myself… but it’s enough for me!

  • Tony Langdon

    I’ve been lucky in that appearance hasn’t ever really been a high priority. I’ve always had good weight and reasonable muscle structure, though skinny in my arms until I was 40. That year, I joined the local gym and noticed gradual improvement. I’ve always been a believer in incremental progress – a kilogram more lifted or an extra rep every now and then, and I was happy, providing the long term trend was upwards.

    a bit over 5 years ago, I got back into competitive sport that requires speed, strength and power. This has become my ultimate accountability. If I skimp on training, I risk my performance and let my teammates down. Conversely, if I overdo training or do it wrong, I risk injury, and again I’m accountable. This process has evolved. Today, I still acknowledge and cherish every little increase and PB. I’ve taken on extra training and athletics to increase key aspects of my performance. And along the way, I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments about my appearance, and a heap of people wanting my legs (if only they knew they can have the same… with some work 🙂 ).

    I’m still getting regular PBs, and am breaking some set years ago nowadays. While I do have some long term goals (like become The Flash 😉 ), I’m focused on the here and now, and the next PB (whether run, jumped or lifted), and every little gain matters.

  • Feowyn

    Great progress you’ve made!

  • Daniel Gould

    This is the post that convinced me to join the Academy. After a string of abusive relationships that led to food and alcohol abuse and absolutely zero self-worth, it’s a massive thing to finally put in my bank details and invest in myself. I’ve been to the gym before but that was ALL THE WAY OVER THERE, and being as unfit as I was by the time I walked over I’d be exhausted. When my legs started hurting three years ago I went from 102kg to about 120kg because I couldn’t do martial arts anymore. But I’m going to the biggest steampunk convention in the world(!!) in August and I wanna lose weight and get fitter so I look badass and have the stamina to enjoy spending the day walking around. What I’m fighting the most right now is that I have enough in my savings to sign up for the Academy AND the yoga, AND other stuff, AND this and that… one thing at a time (which is difficult when every article links to five others, just saying, I have a full tab bar right now..) So.. yeah. Hi, nerds 🙂

  • Frankie Knuckles

    Meh … g’wan… take yer shirt off!! It’s all padding underneath isn’t it? Isn’t it?? Awesome work!! G’wan … just for a peek like ;-))

  • Shawn

    I love how you put this Steve… My entire life when I accomplished goals and/or achievements I always seemed as if I crossed a “Finish” line only to slack off and lose whatever it was I accomplished. I really appreciate the “Before” and “During”. This reinforces my, “No more Finish lines” lesson.

    I am going to be your next success story as soon as I create my Character, become a member and buy the book…. Just saying!!!

    I do wanna thank you for all the free stuff. I have been successful beyond belief so far. I’ve been taking my pics monthly and following all your tips… Keep Rocking it Capt!!

  • SophiaGhastly

    Im currently en route to my second SCUBA diving lesson in Taiwan today! Because of Nerd Fitness Ive had the inspiration to turn around a chronicaly unfit, sinus ridden meat sack into a meat sack that can crush SCUBA diving! If youd told me it was possible two years ago I would have snorted laughed while binging on my internet addiction lol.

  • Persephone

    Exactly what I was coming to say. Your before picture was smokin’…after picture looks like you’re wearing a Super Stretch Armstrong costume.

  • David B

    I’ve been losing weight since the end September in preparation for my wedding next month. I have shed 67 pounds and am just 8 from my goal. Now that I am close though, I see the need to change my mindset. There’s less motivation because I am close to the end, but now I also see that there’s a lot more I could do. Now, I need to set other goals that make for a health life instead of focusing on a certain pants size for the wedding.

  • Samantha Rodes

    Mine is rules. Seriously, rules. I’m definitely a rebel. No matter where I go in relation to health, I’ve got to remind myself that the more restrictions or rules I set upon myself, the more susceptible I become into confining myself into yet another machine. I’m not a machine, I’m not a ‘Class A Textbook Example’. I’m uniquely my own person.
    My rebellion is not tracking calories, measuring every inch of my body, or deciding whether or not I should devote myself to one fitness regime or way of eating. Instead, I go by how I feel and look.
    For instance, if I notice my body is reacting to stress/anxiety in a negative manner, I am quick to remedy that by taking better care of myself. I don’t weigh myself and just judge by how I feel/perform at the gym and how I look in the mirror. And even then, if I see something that doesn’t exactly please me (ie, being a skinny person myself, I know exactly how it feels to seem weak; in today’s world, being thin can often cause others to believe you’re anorexic or have an eating disorder- not my problem in the slightest! I’d rather be like Laura Croft, Sara Connor, Ripley, the Bride from Kill Bill, Gamora, Rey….), I don’t let that consume my entire day. I continue to invest in my personal development mentally as well as physically (did I break a PR? Did I set aside some time for meditation?).
    I embrace the theory that we are all unique, and that the best solution is to find what works best for us- my addition to that would also be that we should be flexible and understand that whatever we choose to willingly prescribe to will absolutely change and evolve as life goes on.

  • Daniela Dominguez

    Hello fellow rebels! I’m not actually a new member but this is my very first post! Anyways, I really just wanted to share something that I have had in my mind for a few days now. To make a long story short I was out of shape, I was that skinny fat person. I had no energy, stamina or strength. I found Nerd Fitness a year ago I think, I like every post that Steve and the gang write for us, but even with the posts and also not to forget the amazing and inspiring transformation stories, I still struggled. I was way too hard on myself whenever I ate something not Paleo, I would quit for the whole week, stop training and eating as much as I could (of course non healthy stuff) then I would retry on the following Monday. As you have guessed it, I got nowhere. I held on to “wanting to look good”…up until last Saturday. I was never one for running long distances. I hated running so much! So in my workouts I did other types of cardio to get my heart rate up. For instance,practicing with the staff, doing the strikes, the spins, etc, it gets your heart pumping! Sure I ran for a few seconds, but I tend to focus on walking which I love. On Saturday however…I decided to give running a shot. I got a song that was at least 10 minutes long and my goal was to run/jog as much as I could, basically how long I could go WITHOUT stopping. Guess what happened! I ran for the ENTIRE song! I could not believe it!! I thought I could only run for at least 3 or 5 minutes, nope! I ran/jogged for 10 minutes straight!! I was so proud, happy, I felt so much joy, it filled me with so much energy that I could run again, if I had done it! At that moment I had let go of “wanting to look good”, now all that is in my head is” how fast or strong can I get.” This post came just in time!(Thanks Steve!) So this is what I wanted to say, hopefully Steve you have a chance to read this! Thank you for everything! I don’t really have anyone who understands how valuable this moment was to me here where I live, so I wanted to share it with everyone here at Nerd Fitness! Bye Rebels! 🙂

    P.S: I have not been able to buy your book sadly 🙁 but once I have the chance, I will ASAP! I promise! I look forward to reading it!

  • C

    Hey Steve, you should come cosplay Captain America at Awesome Con in DC (in June)! Have you ever been a vendor at a convention? Might be a good idea. (Also, I’ll be there cosplaying He-Man)

    As to mentality and daily growth, what I struggle with is maintenance. I’m fortunate in that I know, if I train for a half marathon, by the time the race rolls around, I will be in excellent shape. But take a wild guess what happens after? I go right back to my half-hearted there’s-no-deadline training, and I don’t become a mess, but I lose a lot of what I had gained in terms of fitness (inversely proportional to body fat, what a coinkadink). I don’t know how to find a good middle ground.

  • isah maazing

    Way to go sis

  • Unity Gainz

    Judge him by his looks, do you?
    Look,y’all are entitled to your taste in bodies, but did you ever consider that it was Steve’s goal to bulk up?
    There’s been plenty of ink spilled on these very pages that say that it’s pretty bad form to cast aspersions on the way somebody looks, with which I tend to agree, especially since you can’t speak for anyone’s goals.
    You do you and let Steve and anyone else who feels like they want to get muscular development and size to do them. My .02c

  • Sarah Carusona

    Hey Steve! This is a wonderful post that a friend shared with me after our discussion about “Enjoying the Tunnel.” I just posted this picture of myself with this as the description:

    When we are working towards something we often think of the light at the end of the tunnel. We picture ourselves reaching that light and achieving happiness. Lately I have been thinking about that tunnel. Why is it so dark? Why can’t we enjoy the process of reaching for the light, celebrate every step forward, and appreciate the fight and the struggle. For I don’t believe that we ever WANT to reach the end. I think we should bask in the journey. So have your tunnel, have your goals and your light at the end, but enjoy every moment that you are stepping forward because that is life and that is living in the present. Enjoy the tunnel. ‪#‎standstrongforlife‬

    Thank you for the great post!

  • Red Foot

    Awesome article! Thank you Steve! I always get going on a plan, tell myself that I’m going to take it slow, but then I start feeling good and wanting to see more change, and I end up increasing too quickly and re-injuring myself! I love the idea of just moving up one rep every week. I do have a question, if I have more than one routine going on at once, I.E. I do my workout every other day, and I meditate in the mornings for five minutes every day, should I increase both of those at once? Like should I go up one rep in pushups while also going up ten seconds in meditation? This might be a stupid question, I just don’t want to overdo it and lose it again!

  • J Star

    I understand that it was his goal to bulk up, I just don’t understand why. There are plenty of men and women who have LOTS of muscular development without the beefy look(think rock climbers, pole vaulters etc…)obv everyone has a different body but, why is that the goal?

    OBV the most important is the way you feel- but you can’t say dieting/lifting isn’t about the exterior either. he doesn’t look healthier to me. might be from all the meat he eats. not condoning a vegetarian lifestyle, but ive seen a lot of people who eat lots of meat look poofy and beefy instead of strong.

  • I find this really inspiring. I stopped my daily exercise
    routine about 2 months ago when I went on vacation and never got back to them.
    Reading this reminded me that exercise is an every day decision. Thank you!

  • I find this really inspiring. I stopped my daily exercise
    routine about 2 months ago when I went on vacation and never got back to them.
    Reading this reminded me that exercise is an every day decision. Thank you!

  • I find this really inspiring. I stopped my daily exercise
    routine about 2 months ago when I went on vacation and never got back to them.
    Reading this reminded me that exercise is an every day decision. Thank you!

  • Christine

    You’re thinking of sprint (pole vaulters) and endurance (rock climbing) athletes, both of whom would be disadvantaged by being bulky. Rock climbers and pole vaulters, while having supplemental weight training programs, are involved in sports where you’re throwing around your own body weight. Having extra bulk would not be advantageous. You can’t compare Steve to those two kinds of athletes because he’s not trying to achieve the same thing as them.

    People whose goal it is to lift increasingly heavier weights for more reps and sets (progressive overload) will experience muscle growth, otherwise known as muscle hypertrophy. From a professional standpoint, Steve looks like a healthy guy who is doing all the right things to achieve HIS goals. As in, the goals he wants to set for himself, not the goals other people would like to set for him.

    Yes, his diet will affect the way he looks. However, reading about the program he does, I can confidently say that he looks that way more because he’s lifting weights very near his one rep max, and less because of his diet.

    For reference: body builder Patrik Baboumian is vegan. I’d say he looks beefy, no?

  • Justin

    I’ve adopted a similar mentality. I’ve stopped trying to lose weight and focus on a slow process of eating healthier.

  • Fatima Djelmane Rodriguez

    I love this! Thank you for sharing. As a mom of two, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to get back to my pre-baby frame. I’m slowly but surely accepting that there is not a quick fix and that I just have to take it a day at a time. I’m also focusing on loving my body as it is each day. I’m so grateful to my body for the miracle of making my babies…and it doesn’t deserve to feel less than just because I’m heavier than I’d like. Glad my friend turned me onto your page!

  • Fatima Djelmane Rodriguez

    Hang in there Pepe!

  • Great post! Thanks for sharing your story. People should stop aiming for the ideal body image. Everyone should focus more on themselves – on making small changes every day.

  • First off, great progress Steve! You’re truly an inspiration.

    Secondly, I cannot agree more with you. We get so caught up with the end results we want to get that we forget to really think about why we’re doing it in the first place – to be better. Personally, I used to be like you, always focused on getting the 6-pack in 60 days or bigger biceps in but once I realized that I’m in it for the long run, things cleared up so much more.

    I now train in a much smarter way by auto-regulating my workouts depending on how I feel that day. I take my time to warm up well for my workouts. I focus on making good progress in the gym while keeping myself injury-free. I make sure to be well rested every day. I make sure I’m eating for my goals (whether that be losing some fat or building muscle) and I make sure to look at things from a different perspective: do everything in a smart way, back off when needed and enjoy the journey as opposed to what my view used to be a few years ago: I must get 5 reps with x weight on x exercise to day no matter what !!!.. !

    Thanks for this great piece, Steve. Will definitely bookmark it.


  • Eric Munch

    Do you mean “boring but big”? I can’t find a brawny but big template.

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  • I use to think I have to get to a goal. An after — and after that I can just go on with my sedentary life. But now.. I am excited for the continuing journey. Someone asked me — now that I have made Paleo and fitness a lifestyle.. wouldn’t that even reduce my chances finding a life partner? I thought to myself — perhaps? But then I will definitely find someone who is a hunk and healthy coz he will definitely be a fitness buff like me.

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  • Sarah

    I like this idea!

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