Get Your First Pull-up Or Chin-up! 30-Day Pull up Progression Plan

After today's guide you'll be able to do a pull-up everywhere, like Steve does.Pull-ups are my favorite exercise of all time.

But what if you can’t do a pull-up yet?

The answer: read this ultimate guide on getting your first pullup ASAP!

Here's a gif of a pull-up in perfect form.

We have helped hundreds of Online Coaching Clients get their first pull-up, and we’ll cover our exact strategies below! 

As part of our Strength Training 101 series, we give you an exact plan to follow leading you to your very first full pull-up:

If you can already do a pull-up (woot!), you might want to check out our article on proper pull-up form, although we’ll cover a lot of the same material here.

Important Note: We are currently hosting a Chin-up Challenge on September 12th, 2020, and you can sign-up for free right here

Let’s do this thang.

Active Recovery Ultimate Guide: What Should I Do on Rest Days?

This dog is chillin on it's off day. Smart move.

“Steve, what am I supposed to do on days when I’m not training?”

It’s a great question and one we receive quite frequently here at Nerd Fitness.

With our coaching clients, not only do we create workout schedules for them, we also help them utilize “off days” with active recovery. 

Today, we’ll share with you the exact same lessons (click to jump to that section): 

Warm Up Properly: The 15 Best Dynamic Warm Up Exercises & Routines To Prevent Injury

Today, you’re gonna learn all about the importance of warming up, and how to warm up with specific video routines!

In this guide we’ll cover the following (click to go to that section):

This stuff is so important because getting injured sucks.

And every single day I watch people wander into the gym, immediately lie down on a bench, and start cranking out their workout with a heavy weight within seconds.

This makes me weep for humanity.

These people are just WAITING to get injured. They’re essentially playing with dynamite (also not recommended).

Playing with dynamite is not recommended

So you’re reading the right article.

If you have questions about how to warm up, I bet you have a lot of other questions about how to train correctly!

Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a tiny Yoda who travels with you anywhere in the world to answer questions on warming up, lifting correctly, and proper nutrition?

If so, check out our uber popular 1-on-1 Coaching Program!

Our certified instructors help busy people like you lose weight, gain muscle, and level up their lives, and we’d love to have you if you’re interested!

A Beginner’s Guide to Biking: How to Cycle for Fitness

A picture of a LEGO on a yellow bike, and he's wearing a helmet!

Let’s get you up and rolling on a bicycle! 

Whether you’re using it for exercise or transportation, biking is a great way to stay active and explore the world around you.

That’s why we encourage it in our Online Coaching Program when we discuss fun exercises! 

Here’s what we’ll cover in today’s guide:

Let’s roll!

What Are the Benefits of Cycling?

Someone biking down an alley with a mural of bikers in the background.

There are a lot of excellent reasons to take up riding bikes:

  1. It’s a great and healthy way to move from point A to point B.
  2. It’s free – no gas to put in, no parking spaces to pay for.
  3. It’s low impact on your body. There are no jarring-impact moments like with running.
  4. It’s a great place to start with exercise. Sit on bike. Pedal. Done.
  5. It’s fun!

Cycling has a magical ability to be whatever the rider wants it to be. 

Fun, challenging, scary, romantic, social, silly… you name it and there’s a type of cycling for it. You can even change what type you are doing to suit your mood on any given day, which is why most avid cyclists end up with several different bikes.

Some Rebels in the NF Coaching Program have even used cycling as a tool to help them get in shape, as demonstrated by Kyle here:

 

These pictures show Kyle's transformation, which was helped by his bike riding routine.

Note: Kyle also switched up his diet for his result.

The world can use more cyclists, so I’m stoked you’re interested in getting started. 

The 6 Different Types of Cyclists

A LEGO Stormtrooper on a bike

Let’s spend a few minutes thinking about what type of rider you’d like to be.

The below list is not mutually exclusive, mind you. You can flip back and forth, contradict yourself, or mix and match them to suit your own needs.

#1) Mountain Biker

This gif shows some mountain biker heading down a trail, being chased by a dog.

No one loves the outdoors as much as these guys do. If you’d rather ditch the pavement for a trail, mountain biking may be for you.

#2) Roadie

As the name would suggest, these riders are going to be found pedaling down your street. They often wear bright colors to make them easily seen by commuters. If you go this route, you can pretend like you have a sweet superhero costume to wear!

Someone doing a 'superman' on a bike, which you really shouldn't try.

You can take this idea too far. 

 #3) Track 

This gif shows a track event, which can be a biking sporting event you can partake in.

Track cycling is a racing sport where riders zoom around a velodrome. If you’re a beginner, this is probably too advanced for you, but something to think about as you gain more cycling experience. 

#4) Triathlete

This gif shows a track event, which can be a biking sporting event you can partake in.

A triathlon is a multisport race where participants run, swim, and bike their way to the finish line. They’re not a bad event to train for since you have to condition yourself for a few different sports.

There are many triathlon events designed for beginners, some of which you can check out right here

#5) BMXer

This gif shows a BMXer doing tricks, which is another road cycling can take you down.

Generally when people do lots of tricks on their bike, it’s a BMX bike. 

BMX is an abbreviation for bicycle motocross or bike motocross and were originally modeled after dirtbikes (minus the engine). They’re popular with kids, but also good for adults who are looking to perform a stunt or two. 

#6) Casual Rider

If you're a casual rider, as shown here, the goal is to just enjoy your bike ride.

This is, in my opinion, the easiest way to get started.Just do whatever you want to on a bike and enjoy yourself in the process. 

Sounds simple, right? It is!

How to Buy a Bike

This photo shows a bunch of bikes in a bike shop.

Truth be told, the best bike for you to buy is whatever one you like the best.

I think it’s wise to get a bike shop’s help in buying a bike that fits you. Even though you can adjust your bicycle to fit (more on this next section), it could still be potentially too large or small. Here’s how to find a bike shop in your area.

If you are going to select a bike on your own, you’ll want to consider its height:

  1. If the bike has a horizontal tube, you should have about one to two-inch clearance from your crotch to the top tube, when standing over the bike.
  2. If the bike has a sloping top tube, you’ll want at least two-inch clearance.

Shown here from REI’s guide to bike fitting:

This picture shows how tall your bike should be for a road bike and mountain bike.

Now, bikes do cost money. Expect to spend a few hundred bucks minimum at your bike shop. You don’t have to spend thousands, but you’ll have more fun on a decent bike than a heavy, crappy one from a department store.

If you must buy as cheaply as possible, in my opinion, most people are best served with a steel-framed 80’s road bike. They’re cheap, nearly indestructible, and easy to find on Craigslist.

Don’t be afraid to make counter offers and haggle a bit. 

Palpatine saying "my negotiations will not fail," probably from buying a bike.

You can also search the bike on Bicycle Blue Book to make sure you’re getting a fair deal. 

If you do buy a used road bike, steer away from 27” wheels, since 26” have become standard and will be easier to replace.  

Lots of people get mountain bikes for their first bike, and I think it’s a mistake unless you plan on riding through dirt. They are heavy and slow because they’re meant for trail riding on mountains.

There’s also a cheaper bike option called bikesdirect.com. They sell off-brand frames with name brand components, and seem to have good customer service.

Remember: get the bike you like. If you like it you’ll ride it. Keep that in mind as you’re reading the flame wars and conflicting advice. After all, it’s just bikes. It ain’t rocket surgery.

How to Setup Your Bicycle

The start of a new year, yet another time to jump on the bike to burn some calories.

While a professional at a bike shop can be a lifesaver when it comes to proper setup, you can totally do it yourself too.

#1) Saddle Height

A “good enough” way to determine proper seat height is the heel-to-pedal method. It might help to have someone hold your bike while doing this.

Take a seat, then have one pedal go completely down in the six o’clock position. Your knee should be completely straight here when making contact to this low pedal. 

A photo of someone adjusting their bike seat

If your knee is bent, you need to increase the saddle height. If you lose contact with the pedal, lower your seat. 

#2) Saddle Angle

For the most part, you’re going to want your seat angled so it’s parallel to the ground. Try this first, then you can adjust it slightly if you find different positions more comfortable. 

#3) Handlebar Reach

While handlebar reach can be a bit more personal, in general you don’t want to strain yourself to control the bike. 

When seated, you should easily be able to reach the brakes and shifters. Your elbows should have a slight bend, not locked. Adjust your seat first, get that dialed in, then adjust the bars themselves for your ideal setting.

What Gear to Purchase for Biking

a picture of a bike helmet, which you 100% should wear on your bike ride.

After initially purchasing a bike, there are a few other things you should consider. 

#1) Helmet – In my opinion, it is imperative to own and wear a helmet when cycling. I don’t think it should be a law that everyone has to, but I think everyone should of his own volition anyway.

What kind of helmet should you buy? Giro, Bell, and Specialized all make good helmets. Try a few on and get a bike shop’s help with how it should fit.

#2) U-Lock – One of the most awesome things about riding bikes to get places is that you don’t have to park a car. You can just ride right up to the place, lock your bike, and go inside. You will need a lock if you’d like your bike to be there when you come out, though. Read up on locking strategy here.

#3) Blinky Lights – Get yourself a good set of blinky lights for your bike. 

You are going to want bike lights like these if you're riding at night.

I like the Blackburn Flea set, but also own the Spok LED light set, and the Planet Bike Superflash rear light. All are fine choices.

Outside has the unmitigated gaul of getting dark without our consent. It’s wise to have lights in these cases, so that you can be as visible as possible on the roadway.

#4) Clippy Shoes – If you’re going to ride often, eventually it’s wise to switch to clipless pedals and shoes. If you’re worried that they’ll make you fall over, rest assured. You will definitely fall over in them at least once. It’s called a zero mile per hour fall, and it’s a rite of passage. It’s also completely worth it.

#5) Lycra – If you’re doing any amount of riding at all, I recommend getting yourself a pair of bibs. Cycling shorts are nice too (they both have a chamois) but bib shorts are the ultimate in comfort.

What to Bring on Your Bike Ride

A bell like this will let people know you're biking near them.

When setting off on a ride, carry these things: 

  • A spare tube
  • Tire levers 
  • A CO2 inflate 
  • A Master Link 
  • A spare cylinder of CO2
  • $20

Everything except the tube fits nicely into a little canvas bag that can slip into a center jersey pocket, which eliminates the need for a seat bag, which has a tendency to fall apart after a few hundred miles.

Don’t buy an expensive bike tool to carry on your rides. Any repair you can’t do with the above kit is a ride ender. Take a cab with the $20 instead and spend your tool budget on nice tools to keep at home if you want to wrench on your bike.

Also don’t buy a frame pump or mini pump – they don’t work well at all.  Get a floor pump for home and carry CO2 with you.

How to Ride a Bike

Two LEGOs discussing a bicycle.

  1. Turn pedals.
  2. Don’t hit anything or fall off.

Kidding.

Here’s exactly how to ride a bike:

Let’s explain some more tips for smooth bike riding:

#1) Use your rear brake to check your speed and your front one only if you really want to stop. If you grab a handful of front brake on a modern bike it might become a catapult.

#2) Remember when I said clippy shoes were worth it? It’s because they allow you to apply power throughout the whole revolution of the pedal, and to use your whole leg and butt to apply said power. They’re awesome.

#3) Keep in mind also that it’s more efficient to spin than to mash. This means that you’ll be able to deliver more power for longer if you ride in a smaller, easier gear at higher cadence (RPM) than in a bigger, harder gear at slower cadence. Ideal cadence is said to be 90rpm or so, which is the exact tempo of Cake’s song The Distance. 

One foot should make a revolution for each beat of the song, or in other words, your foot is a quarter note. Your other foot will be offset, of course, so as a pair your feet will play eighth notes. And you didn’t even know you were a musician!

#4) Your body should be pretty much still when you’re riding. Your knees should be in line between your hip and ankle, not out as if you’re trying to climb a pole:


How to Improve Your Bike Riding Skills

This is a photo of a LEGO swordfish on a bike

Cycling is beautiful and amazing, but the best cycling is also social.

Having some friends who are into it will help keep you into it. Mind you, it is ten buh-jillion times easier to meet people who already like things you want to do than to convert people you already like into doing something new. 

So, go do your local group ride. There’s guaranteed to be a beginner one near you that runs out of a bike shop. Ask at the bike shop once you feel comfortable returning. 

Yay for socializing!

a gif of the biking scene from the Muppet movie

You can also check out Meetup for a riding group

Bike Riding Etiquette for Newbies

a photo of a man waving on a bike

There’s a tendency for new riders to want to express their liberation from the metal cage of the automobile through a certain free-spirited attitude toward traffic laws.

Please don’t do this.

Whatever we do while riding in traffic will be remembered by every driver who sees us and counted either for or against cycling as a whole in that driver’s mind.

Many new riders adopted a Me-Vs-Cars attitude, and it’s always a mistake. 

A gif of a biker jumping a car, which you 100% should not do.

Figure out what the laws regarding cyclists on the road are in your area and follow them always!  Google “bicycling laws + [ your state ]”

You’ll also have a much easier time in traffic when you ride like traffic.

It’s Time to Hit the Road (Next Steps)

Someone built this little toy bike here, which is pretty cool

Above all, remember that cycling is a fun, social activity.

Wave to other riders. Say hello to them when you pass them. They’re nice folks! Well, except “serious” roadies, of course, but only other roadies listen to them!

Okay, that’s about it for this guide.

Find a bike, wear a helmet, and get ready to roll:

This gif shows Marge and Bart biking and splashing in puddles.

If you want to continue your journey with Nerd Fitness, there are three great options for you. 

Option #1) If you want a professional coach in your pocket, who can do video form checks, provide feedback, and adjust your workouts based on the equipment you have available, check out our Online Coaching Program

Some of our clients are avid cyclists and their coaches design workouts around their biking schedule:

2) Exercising at home and need a plan to follow? Have questions you need answered? Join Nerd Fitness Prime!

Nerd Fitness Prime is our premium membership program that contains at-home exercise routines, live-streamed workouts with NF Coaches, a supportive online community, group challenges, and much more! 

A banner advertising Nerd Fitness Prime

Option #3) Become part of the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our Rebel Starter Kit, which includes all of our “work out from home” guides.

Have fun out there, and ride safe, cycling friend!

-Steve

###

photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo

How Much Water Do I Really Need? (A Guide for Proper Hydration)

I probably wouldn't drink that.

So you want to know, “How much water should I drink a day?”

The short answer: drink enough to not be thirsty (maybe slightly more).

The long answer: read this guide for that!

Proper water consumption is a must for health and fitness, which is why we discuss it with every single member of our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program. We even assign them fun missions to make sure they’re adequately hydrated.

Here’s what we’ll cover to answer the question, “How much water do you really need?

Pour yourself a glass of water (duh), then let’s do this thing!

A Beginner’s Guide to Running: 4 Steps to Learn How to Run

After today's guide, you can run like the Flash...kind of.

So you’ve decided it’s time to start running?

Perfect! You’ve arrived at the right place.

We’ve helped thousands of people run injury-free and train for their first 5k or marathon, and we’ve put together everything you need to know below too! 

Here’s what we’ll cover in our guide to running:

Let’s jump right to it in case you gotta run![1]

Protein Calculator: Ultimate Guide for Calculating Your Protein Requirements

A photo of a toy dino, who I'm sure doesn't bother with a protein calculator.

You’re here because you want to calculate your protein requirements!

Well my friend, you’ve arrived at the right place.

We built a protein calculator to help our Online Coaching clients and I’m excited to share it with you today too!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

You look like you’re in a hurry, so let’s jump right in!

15 Circuit Training Routines: Try These Fast Workouts Anywhere!

circuit training is awesome, even dinosaurs love it

This circuit training guide is gonna give you EVERYTHING you need to do your first kickass circuit training workout today.

I mean come on, it has dinosaurs in it.

These workouts are similar to the custom programs we build for our Online Coaching Clients who work out at home, on the road, and in outer space.

Okay FINE we don’t have any clients in space (yet). But we do have clients in Antarctica, and multiple aerospace engineers. Close enough?

If you’re hoping circuit training will maximize your results in a minimum amount of time, one of the 15 circuits below will do the trick:

How to Portion Control (How to Lose Weight with Portion Control)

A LEGO holding some seafood, which looks like a big portion size.

It’s time to learn how to portion control!

There are all sorts of “tips” and “tricks” out there, but today we’re going to show you the best method.

What makes me so confident?

For many of our Online Coaching clients, we create portion control strategies for weight loss that don’t suck. Today, we’ll share them with you too!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this thang!

3 HIIT Workouts for Beginners: Start Interval Training and Sprint Running!

This biker loves interval training.

This High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) guide is probably the best interval training guide in the galaxy.

My justification for such a bold claim?

We’re really good at this stuff, AND we have dinosaurs and Muppets.

Plus, lots of great gifs:

This runner can't do interval training.

We build custom interval training programs just like the ones in this guide for our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Clients, including workouts for at home, the gym, or even while traveling.

In this Ultimate Guide to Interval Training, we’ll cover:

Should I Go Back to the Gym When It Reopens? Is Going to the Gym Safe?

These LEGOs are social distancing, but I bet they're ready to go back to the gym.

Gyms across America are slowly starting to open back up.

Is this safe?

Should you go?

We’ve been flooded with questions on gym safety from our Online Coaching Clients, so we decided to dive into the topic today with this guide.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Important Notice: I am not a medical doctor! This should not be taken as personal advice on whether you as an individual should go back into the gym. I’m merely creating a discussion on the questions all of us should be asking.

In addition, with friends who are both scientists and doctors, and then others who are small business gym owners, this is a challenging thread to navigate. So we’re just going to stick with the facts.

Talk to your physician and blah blah blah, you’re an adult and you can make your own decisions. 

Okay, let’s get right to it.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking: Everything You Need For Your First Hike!

A great place to hike.

Before you step foot in the great outdoors, read this guide!

There’s nothing more embarrassing than a city slicker getting lost in the woods, so let’s make sure you know where you’re going, what to wear, and what to bring.

That way your first hike will be fun, adventurous, and more importantly safe!

Today we will cover:

I’m happy you’re excited about hiking and I can’t wait for you to get started!

I took the above picture while hiking through Killarney National Park in Ireland many years ago, and every time I look at it, I can’t help but think of Tolkien’s Middle-earth masterpiece, so I apologize (not really) for all of the Lord of the Rings nerdery running throughout this post!

Our community members love hiking too. In fact, one of our recent success stories specifically cited hiking as one of the fun activities she loved to do to help her lose 50 pounds:

Christina started rocking pull-ups after Nerd Fitness Coaching

By the end of today’s post, my goal is to have you pick a trail, pick a date, and identify a fella or gal to join your fellowship (galship?).

Before we jump in, are you here because you’re learning to hike to lose weight? Did you hear it’s a fun way to exercise and get your body moving?

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

As I mentioned, some clients in our uber-popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program used hiking as part of their weight loss training. These folks would rather head outside than jump on a treadmill, and our coaches designed a program so they could do just that!

Here’s how it works: your NF Coach will build a custom workout plan based on your experience level and goals. Training to climb up a literal mountain? Maybe you need to get rid of an old ring? We’ll create a plan to get you to the top!

Nerd Fitness Coaching Banner

Alright, let’s get you hiking!

Should You Do Couch to 5K? Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes

Has is Indy so quick to leave temples? He runs races on the weekends.

If you’re looking to run your first 5K, you’ve come to the right place. 

In today’s guide, we’ll cover common questions – and 5 mistakes – about the Couch to 5K program:

Before we jump in…

A quick note: On July 18th, 2020, we’ll the hosting the Nerd Fitness 5K!

It’ll be virtual, with everyone being able to participate.

If you walk it, that’s totally fine.

Trapped inside?

No problem, we’ll provide some options for you too. Our goal here is to get us all moving together as a community.

On Monday, June 8th, the training begins.

For our Nerd Fitness Prime members, Coach Jim will be leading a twice a week training program:

  • The first session will cover a running/walking mission for the week.
  • The second session will cover supplementary activities, like strength training, stretching, and proper sleep, that you can do to prepare for the event.

Lastly, if you want to make sure you’re kept up to date on the NF5K, you can also register for the free event right here.

And with that, it’s back to Couch to 5K.

Taking Body Measurements: The Ultimate Guide for Tracking Fitness

This pencil is a perfect tool to track your fitness progress.

If you’re on a weight loss or fitness journey, you need to read this article.

Why?

Because tracking your body measurements and fitness progress can be crucial for getting in shape!

Those who succeed in transforming themselves are those who write everything down. As they say “That which gets measured gets improved.”

Or as we tell our 1-on-1 Online Coaching clients, “track the problem to crack the problem!

Today, we teach you these life-changing habits:

Let’s jump right in!

Intermittent Fasting: Beginner’s Guide & Printable Calendar. Should You Skip Breakfast!?

Tony the Tiger wants you to keep eating breakfast. Should you, or should you try intermittent fasting?

“…Tony the Tiger tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It’s grrrrrreat!”

This adage about breakfast has become commonplace that it’s readily and unquestionably accepted as fact.

Well then, what’s with the growing popularity of Intermittent Fasting and SKIPPING breakfast?

(Tony just audibly gasped.)

We have TONS of Online Coaching Clients who do intermittent fasting, and we love helping people reach their goals in whatever path suits their life.

In this Ultimate Guide to Intermitting Fasting, I’ll teach you everything about the science of fasting and what results you can expect:

We have ALSO have a fun Intermittent Fasting Plan you can use to plan out your next few weeks of eating!

Join the Rebellion – our online community – and I’ll send you our fasting guide free:

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