I Don’t Know What I’m Doing.

I have a confession to make.

It’s now been 6 years and 600+ published articles here on Nerd Fitness. I’ve spent the past twelve years of my life obsessed with health and fitness, muscle building and fat loss, and have even made it my sole life’s focus for the past three years.

But here’s the truth: I don’t have this all figured out.

Ok, true, I make my living helping people figure out how to live better lives.

But anyone who tells you they have figured out all of life is full of it.

Nobody has it figured out, not really. We’re all just working together with others and experimenting to figure out what we can, as we go.

And that’s awesome.

That’s what has lead me down a path in life I’m damn proud of, and why I’m proud to be a small part of a rapidly expanding community that focuses on the same thing.

This isn’t just a grand theory. For me, finally accepting that, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing” was the first step to actually achieving my goals.

Here’s why it can be for you too.

My Personal Journey

Steve Ostrich

Over the years focused on health and fitness and running this site, I’ve learned quite a bit. Often I realized I needed to find a new path to accomplish my goals:

I used to think that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and that six meals a day stoked our ‘metabolic fire’ (whatever that means), until I stopped eating it and got healthier than ever.

I used to dutifully eat my heart healthy whole grains keep my carb content high, until I experimented with mostly vegetables and protein and dropped a significant amount of body fat quickly.

I used to train individual body parts and used machines often to get big like bodybuilders (which never worked), until I started focusing on getting strong with a few basic movements.

I used to believe that I was fragile, that we were genetically predisposed to certain paths, and our destinies were laid out…until I helped hundreds of people who told their genes to go to hell and had tremendous transformations. Heck, I’m even feeling antifragile these days.

I used to think educating people more and more was the solution to helping them get fit: “If I could just TELL them to exercise more and eat healthier, we could get healthier”…until I learned that the psychological aspect of health and fitness are so much more important.

Every day, I stumble across a new study, story, or article that changes the way I think. Who I am now is DRASTICALLY different than who I was six years ago…but it took lots of learning, lots of questioning of conventional wisdom (my OWN beliefs at the time), and lots of experimenting to find the right path.

As I said before, I don’t have all the answers, and I may not know the perfect path for you specifically to get healthier and happier. “I AM NOT A FITNESS EXPERT” has been on our about page since Day 1 of running the site.

I’m a normal guy like you, trying to figure it out…I just love learning and sharing what I’ve discovered.

Even after I’ve been doing this for twenty, thirty, even fifty years, I want to maintain this attitude – that learning is never finished and there always might be a better way of doing things. We should ALWAYS be students.

If you read something on Nerd Fitness, it’s because it’s something that has worked for me or has helped the people of the community.

If I recommend a particular type of diet or workout strategy, it’s because I have found through my research, experimentation, and experience working with other Rebels that these strategies have the greatest chance of helping the greatest number of Rebels reach their goal.

So, today rather than share with you a tactic that I’ve used to get healthy, I’m going to share with you the step-by-step plan to taking control of your own fitness plan. And it starts with a modest concession:

“I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Be humble, get fit

this way, that way

Once you have accepted the possibility that you are eating the wrong things or doing the wrong workouts, it’s time to put this humility to work.

Here’s the path I’ve used to improve my life and the lives of a few hundred thousand nerds:

1) Accept that we’re all different: Just because a tactic has worked for one person doesn’t mean it will work for me: everybody has different genetics, lifestyles, jobs, and obligations. Following the Hugh Jackman workout will not turn me into Hugh Jackman, just as following the Scarlett Johansson Workout will not turn me into Scarlett Johansson. Which is a shame.

Instead, I question everything (which is a rule of our Rebellion), and I understand that I can’t compare myself to the success or failures of others.

2) Make as many mistakes as possible, but don’t make the same one twice. I can’t tell you how many people I know who continue to do the roller coaster of “run like crazy on a treadmill and diet” until they grow miserable, fall off the wagon, and end up back to square one. Then, they repeat the exact same attempt, in the exact same way, months later and have the same results.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Failing is awesome! Scientists fail at proving or disproving hypotheses all the time…but then they move onto trying a new experiment.

Fail frequently, learn from it, and fail differently. I stubbornly kept my head down on calorie counting and a progressive strength training program for years until I finally asked for help. Then I saw more success than I had in the previous six years. I’m now setting PRs weekly, and in better shape than I have ever been.

3) Surround myself with other curious people.  My favorite part of Nerd Fitness has to be our community. Nothing inspires me more than seeing a community full of curious people from all walks of life, sharing their successes and struggles in the name of helping the community be better as a whole.

This is an important part of how I encourage people to build a Jedi Order around them:

  • Yoda: Somebody who is further along your path than you, who has succeeded in a way you want to succeed.
  • Fellow Jedi: Somebody who is in the same spot as you, struggling with the same things, and is willing to bounce ideas off of you and offer up their own suggestions and results.
  • Padawan: Somebody who is behind you and wants to be where you are. No matter how out of shape or overweight you are, I bet there is somebody farther behind who is in need of a shoulder. You don’t need to be an expert, just somebody who has ‘been there before’ and can offer up support and advice.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t take Nerd Fitness as gospel. Rather, understand that the Nerd Fitness Rebellion is community that encourages you to question everything and keep an open mind, and then take action and find out what works for you.

We’re all figuring it out


We’re all figuring it out.

If you’re trying to get healthy and struggle with which tactic or technique is the best one for you, I know how you feel.

If you’re a new parent and worry you don’t know the best way to raise your child, it’s okay. In fact, it’s probably a good sign!

We have a community of 240,000 and a message board community of 30,000 that can’t wait to hear from you: Yodas to share their stories and advice, fellow Jedi to fight alongside, and Padawans who desperately want to hear how you got to where you are.

Learning what you can from wherever you can, make mistakes and adapt, and share your results with people who line up with your philosophy.

So, thanks for listening to this student of fitness.  Thanks for letting me make mistakes and fail. Thanks for not blindly following my words but rather experimenting and see if they work for you. Thanks for sharing your results with others, in the name of making this world better.

What’s one strategy you’ve had in the past that you now think about differently?

Thanks for being here 🙂



photo source: Ian Sane: Street Confused, Lori Greig: This Way, That Way

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