Meet Steve Kamb

I’ve been writing on this site for about 8 months now, and I realized that I only have two pictures of me on this entire site.  I figure you guys might want to know who you’re taking your fitness advice from.  Today’s post is about who I am and how I got here.

This is Me

Hi, I’m Steve Kamb.  I’m about 6 feet tall, I weigh approximately 175 pounds, and I have about 11% body fat.  Here are my weight lifting stats:

  • Best deadlift – 310 lbs.
  • Best squat – 210 lbs (full squat to down past parallel)
  • Best bench press – 205 (6 reps, never tried to max out with 1 rep)
  • Most pull ups in one set – 14

I’m a big supporter of the phrase, “appearance is a consequence of fitness.” I’m sure I could do just chest exercises and bicep curls and “look bigger,” but I’m more concerned with building a well-balanced body: lots of squats, deadlifts, pull ups, and presses.  I know my weight lifting stats won’t win any awards, but they’re constantly climbing and I’m doing it all on my own terms.

I know there are tons of ways that I could bulk up and put on more muscle quickly (creatine supplements, high calorie shakes, and more time devoted to fitness).  However, with my day job, this website, and an actual life, I really don’t have the time or need to do that, which is fine.  I only exercise three or four times a week (for just 45 minutes), I eat well, and I’m trying to do everything I can to set myself up for a long healthy life.  Besides, I need to fit in some nerd time too: reading lots of books and playing the occasional video game.

Maybe one day when I win the lottery I can devote six months turning myself into Ryan Reynolds.  Until then, I’m happy where I am.

My Story

I’ve been skinny my entire life. I’m a really picky eater and I played a dozen sports growing up, keeping me in a constant state of skin and bones.  I don’t even like cake, which means I get made fun of at work whenever it’s somebody’s birthday.  I started college at Vanderbilt University back in 2002 and couldn’t wait to put on the “freshman fifteen.”

Welp, after four years of college, tubs of protein powder, and daily trips to the gym, I managed to put on maybe five pounds.  Suck.  Other than my abs, I didn’t have much going for me in the muscle department.  When I graduated, I moved cross-country to San Diego on a whim with my older brother.  I found a gym close to my apartment, got a few free personal trainer sessions, and suddenly realized it was my diet that was holding me back.  30 days later, I had gone from 162 lbs. to 180 lbs. (4000 calories a day will do that to ya).  It was at this point I became obsessed with fitness.  Not necessarily getting myself in incredible shape, but the whole science and process behind how our bodies work and the most efficient way to get in shape.

Picture 1After yet another cross-country move  to Atlanta in November of 2007, I landed a marketing job with Sixthman, the greatest company on the planet. In my spare time I continued to exercise and read every fitness book I could find.  It was at this point I started to formulate the concept of this site: I love writing, and I know there’s A LOT of bad information and crappy fitness products/blogs out there, so I figured why not use my powers for good and start my own damn blog!  I chose the name Nerd Fitness because it’s easily remembered, unique, and quite applicable: I’m a nerd, I like fitness. Done.

In the fall of 2008, I became a certified personal trainer. Now, I don’t think this certification is a big deal, because I believe it’s great content, accurate information, and motivational stories that will make this site successful, not some piece of paper.  Even though I’m personally trying to bulk up, I have helped quite a few people slim down, like my friend Saint who dropped 33 pounds in 12 weeks.  I love hearing about normal people who transform their lives and want to inspire others.  If you have a great story, please tell me about it and you could be featured on Nerd Fitness!

My Diet

Up until two months ago I was drinking 3 thousand-calorie shakes a day, shoveling insane amounts of food down my throat, and doing everything possible to gain weight.  I made it all the way up to 185 pounds (woohoo!), and then I read Loren Cordain’s “The Paleo Diet” and “The Paleo Diet For Athletes.”  It completely changed how I look at fitness, diet, and my overall health.  Since then, I’ve shed 10 pounds (almost all of it was water weight or fat), and I actually look bigger now than I did before.

Since reading these books and doing more research on the subject, I’ve realized that stuffing my face with meal-replacement shakes, gallons of milk, and pounds of pasta probably wasn’t the optimal/safest lifestyle.  Sure, I definitely wish I had bigger arms and more muscle, but not at the expense of my long-term health.  Now, I eat mostly real foods (lots of chicken, lettuce, asparagus, and apples), focus my time on getting stronger, and stop being so neurotic about calorie counts and timing my meals.

My Goals

I want to put on 10 lbs. of muscle by January 7th. Why January 7th?  Because that’s the day I head out to sea on The Rock Boat!  As part of my job I have to go on this floating music festival and make sure everybody is having a good time (told you it was an awesome company to work for).  Now, because I’ve switched to a Paleo Diet, I’m going to have to really try hard to find a way to eat enough calories a day to bulk up.  As far as exercise goes, I’ll be doing a variation on the Level 3 Routine found in my free e-book, A Newbie’s Guide to Fitness. It will still only be 3 days a week in the gym.

That’s my story. I’d love to hear yours: email me at Steve@NerdFitness.com and let me know if I can help in any way.

-Steve

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  • I started my fitness journey at age 25, 351 pounds, and 5’1″, and I decided I would never ever ever ever gain anymore weight. It was probably the scariest number I’ve ever seen on a scale. Since then, as of today, I’m down and holding steady at 292 pounds and have gained back an inch (5’2″) and lost a shoe size along with two dress sizes (26 to a 22). I can go up the stairs now without feeling like I should be life-flighted to the nearest major hospital, and I wake up without wishing I could go back to sleep.

    My Story

    It wasn’t like I didn’t know I was fat or gaining weight. During my sophomore year of college, I went to see a doctor about having allergies. He informed me that (then I was at 200 pounds) I was morbidly obese, as if I hadn’t noticed. I informed him that I had never walked past a mirror so there was no way I could have known. I mean, it’s not like shopping in the plus size section of the women’s department was an indicator or that my food budget had increased two-fold. Certainly not the overwhelming urge to mainline brownies directly into my bloodstream. Oh no, none of those things could have told me I was heavy.

    I left without any help for my allergies and didn’t return to any kind of doctor until I was 25.

    When I turned 25, it was very clear I was out of control. A friend recommended a foreign doctor in PA who had helped her lose weight. In retrospect, the fact that his office was filled with lawn chairs and could have been packed up in a moment’s notice should have tipped me off to his legitimacy. However, it did not. He weighed me, called me the “fattest woman in his office,” told me I was hypertensive (I was 110/80 – another clue he may not have been at the top of his medical school class), and then prescribed me Phentermine.

    Phentermine doesn’t just shut off the hunger and pleasure receptors in your brain, it also jacks up your blood pressure. I lost weight. I lost weight like it was my freakin’ job. Forty pounds came off like ten minutes ago. But now I was having weirdo girl issues, including some funky hair growth and severe mood swings. It was a very Jekyll and Hyde experience, but man-oh-man was my house clean, drawers organized, closets arranged. I don’t think I slept for about three months.

    It was addictive, and by the time I came off of it, I had lost weight but I was hypertensive and having headaches all the time on top of having periods way longer than normal and pretty much whenever my uterus felt like it.

    In January, I ended up at the gynecologist’s office because my period had gone on for 19 days. I was diagnosed as having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) along with Metabolic Syndrome (or Syndrome X). It became very clear how I had managed to gain more than 150 pounds in less than six years. PCOS causes your body to run off of ketones due to insulin resistance and an overabundance of testosterone in the body. What this essentially means is that everything you put into your mouth gets turned into fat rather than energy – literally, once on the lips, forever on the hips. It also explained why my mood swings had become severe, though they had never really been this side of pleasant.

    It meant big changes had to be made.

    I had to eat organic, I had to stop eating simple carbs, I had to take insulin resistance medication along with birth control to combat the testosterone, and I had to go the gym if I had any hope of re-regulating my body’s processes. I was also informed that it was likely I was infertile. Awesome.

    If you did the math, this means I was down to 311 pounds when I was diagnosed with PCOS. The other 19 pounds came off through sheer determination and probably luck – well, and working out three times a week for more than an hour. My workouts involve between 20 and 40 minutes of cardio and three sets of three different weight exercises. Barefoot running has been a great help also.

    My Diet

    I tried dropping everything. It didn’t work. I ended up sending my body into starvation mode. I was eating only 1000 calories a day. I started working with a trainer and going to the gym regularly. We talked about diet, but here’s the main things I’ve changed:

    Soda once on Saturday only.
    No more fast food – I can eat out, but it has to be sit down dining. Mexican is my favorite, but it contains a lot of those complex carbohydrates like beans.
    Bento boxes for lunch instead of eating out – the Japanese an this equation for their meals, which is one bread to one protein to two veggies.
    Protein shakes after working out and protein at breakfast.
    Breakfast every. single. day.
    Organic whenever possible – especially veggies, meat, and dairy.

    My Goals

    My current goals include being able to clean my three level town home in less than one day, to run with my soccer-playing husband, to take the stairs at work without sweating (7th floor), to have no more lower back pain when I walk, and to eventually be able to be in good enough shape to have kids. My fertility is dependent on my weight, so weight loss is a big party of my journey. I’ve been chronicling my adventures at the gym with my two trainers here: http://www.facebook.com/mrsholsclaw?v=app_2347471856&ref=profile

    I love this blog and I love the book. I have the philosophy posted in my cube!

  • Audrey Holsclaw

    I started my fitness journey at age 25, 351 pounds, and 5’1″, and I decided I would never ever ever ever gain anymore weight. It was probably the scariest number I’ve ever seen on a scale. Since then, as of today, I’m down and holding steady at 292 pounds and have gained back an inch (5’2″) and lost a shoe size along with two dress sizes (26 to a 22). I can go up the stairs now without feeling like I should be life-flighted to the nearest major hospital, and I wake up without wishing I could go back to sleep.

    My Story

    It wasn’t like I didn’t know I was fat or gaining weight. During my sophomore year of college, I went to see a doctor about having allergies. He informed me that (then I was at 200 pounds) I was morbidly obese, as if I hadn’t noticed. I informed him that I had never walked past a mirror so there was no way I could have known. I mean, it’s not like shopping in the plus size section of the women’s department was an indicator or that my food budget had increased two-fold. Certainly not the overwhelming urge to mainline brownies directly into my bloodstream. Oh no, none of those things could have told me I was heavy.

    I left without any help for my allergies and didn’t return to any kind of doctor until I was 25.

    When I turned 25, it was very clear I was out of control. A friend recommended a foreign doctor in PA who had helped her lose weight. In retrospect, the fact that his office was filled with lawn chairs and could have been packed up in a moment’s notice should have tipped me off to his legitimacy. However, it did not. He weighed me, called me the “fattest woman in his office,” told me I was hypertensive (I was 110/80 – another clue he may not have been at the top of his medical school class), and then prescribed me Phentermine.

    Phentermine doesn’t just shut off the hunger and pleasure receptors in your brain, it also jacks up your blood pressure. I lost weight. I lost weight like it was my freakin’ job. Forty pounds came off like ten minutes ago. But now I was having weirdo girl issues, including some funky hair growth and severe mood swings. It was a very Jekyll and Hyde experience, but man-oh-man was my house clean, drawers organized, closets arranged. I don’t think I slept for about three months.

    It was addictive, and by the time I came off of it, I had lost weight but I was hypertensive and having headaches all the time on top of having periods way longer than normal and pretty much whenever my uterus felt like it.

    In January, I ended up at the gynecologist’s office because my period had gone on for 19 days. I was diagnosed as having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) along with Metabolic Syndrome (or Syndrome X). It became very clear how I had managed to gain more than 150 pounds in less than six years. PCOS causes your body to run off of ketones due to insulin resistance and an overabundance of testosterone in the body. What this essentially means is that everything you put into your mouth gets turned into fat rather than energy – literally, once on the lips, forever on the hips. It also explained why my mood swings had become severe, though they had never really been this side of pleasant.

    It meant big changes had to be made.

    I had to eat organic, I had to stop eating simple carbs, I had to take insulin resistance medication along with birth control to combat the testosterone, and I had to go the gym if I had any hope of re-regulating my body’s processes. I was also informed that it was likely I was infertile. Awesome.

    If you did the math, this means I was down to 311 pounds when I was diagnosed with PCOS. The other 19 pounds came off through sheer determination and probably luck – well, and working out three times a week for more than an hour. My workouts involve between 20 and 40 minutes of cardio and three sets of three different weight exercises. Barefoot running has been a great help also.

    My Diet

    I tried dropping everything. It didn’t work. I ended up sending my body into starvation mode. I was eating only 1000 calories a day. I started working with a trainer and going to the gym regularly. We talked about diet, but here’s the main things I’ve changed:

    Soda once on Saturday only.
    No more fast food – I can eat out, but it has to be sit down dining. Mexican is my favorite, but it contains a lot of those complex carbohydrates like beans.
    Bento boxes for lunch instead of eating out – the Japanese an this equation for their meals, which is one bread to one protein to two veggies.
    Protein shakes after working out and protein at breakfast.
    Breakfast every. single. day.
    Organic whenever possible – especially veggies, meat, and dairy.

    My Goals

    My current goals include being able to clean my three level town home in less than one day, to run with my soccer-playing husband, to take the stairs at work without sweating (7th floor), to have no more lower back pain when I walk, and to eventually be able to be in good enough shape to have kids. My fertility is dependent on my weight, so weight loss is a big party of my journey. I’ve been chronicling my adventures at the gym with my two trainers here: http://www.facebook.com/mrsholsclaw?v=app_2347471856&ref=profile

    I love this blog and I love the book. I have the philosophy posted in my cube!

  • You’ve got a great story about the progression of fitness in your life. It seems to me as if, when it comes to fitness, most people (myself included) take a long time to figure out that diet is 80-90% of the driver.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • You’ve got a great story about the progression of fitness in your life. It seems to me as if, when it comes to fitness, most people (myself included) take a long time to figure out that diet is 80-90% of the driver.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Steve Winburn

    Hello Steve,

    We share a few things in common; our names, nerdiness, fitness, and most importantly a common ancestry. In particular, my aunt and uncle Barbara and John Kamb are your grandparents and my grand parents, Steve and Marion Vose, are your aunt and uncle. I would like to pause for a moment and say how sad I was when uncle John passed recently and extend my deepest condolences to you on our loss. He was a great man. He made me laugh and I always anticipated our meetings when scheduled. He will be missed greatly. I will close by saying I will be subscribing to your blog and hope you will take a peek at mine:
    http://stephenwinburn.wordpress.com/, all my best.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Winburn

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