The Official Strategy Guide to the Game of L.I.F.E.

Welcome to the greatest game ever created.

Like other successful games like World of Warcraft, Destiny, or Everquest, this game is always online. But it’s always offline, too.

At any point in time, there are over 7+ BILLION people playing.

Often applauded for its realism, known for its punishing but rewarding skill system, and regularly accused of being unfair, it’s the best selling game of all time.

In this game, L.I.F.E. (kind of an unoriginal title), you’re forced into a random starting character and have to complete a period of mandatory leveling up. After that though, you are free to choose your profession, develop your skill trees, and pick the quests YOU want to do.

I’m no expert at this game – In fact, there’s quite a bit about it I don’t know yet – but I wanted to put together a guide on the basics to make sure you’re enjoying it too. Fully understanding a few of the game’s mechanisms could make playing a WHOLE lot more fun.

Date Night: 25 Kickass, Nerdy, and Fit Date Ideas

Date night!

Maybe you used 20 seconds of courage and talked to a stranger. Maybe you got introduced to a friend of a friend and you’re ready to hang out with them. Or maybe somebody is babysitting the kids and you got a night alone with your wife/husband/self aware operating system.


After all, many people are here on Nerd Fitness because they want to look better and feel better about themselves, and hopefully find that special someone.

I love it.

Regardless of whether it’s your FIRST date, or the 1,000th date with your spouse of 20+ years, here are some options for fun dates that don’t involve drinking and dinner, or sitting on your ass in a movie theater. Of course, there is a time and place for those dates as well, but at Nerd Fitness we felt our role was to give you nerdy and fit date ideas so everybody wins. Or, in Michael Scott’s opinion: win win win.

Here are 25 kickass date ideas that are nerdy, fit, and sure to introduce something different into your life. We’ve ranked each date idea on a scale from 1-3 on nerdiness, fit factor, and cost.

The more $, the more expensive.
The more ▲, the nerdier.
The more ♥, the more the activity contributes to your fitness and health.

A Nerd’s Introduction to Mental Health

This is an article from NF Rebel Family Correspondent and Mental Health Professional Dan. 

A quick note from Steve: Today we’re going to be discussing some issues that may be difficult for some going through a tough time. If you (or someone you know) aren’t coping so well, PLEASE see the links at the bottom of this article with some resources from all around the world.

Obviously, we recommend discussing this information with your health professional – none of this is a diagnosis, but rather a starting point for discussion. Here’s Dan!

Most of us have been impacted by mental health problems.

We’ve been so anxious sometimes that we make up excuses not to see friends, we know our neighbor just stayed in bed for weeks after her divorce, our niece stopped eating for days at a time, our grandfather still lies awake at night thinking about the war, or our friend could barely cope after having her second child.

These are common issues which likely apply to many of us right now. But what’s not so common, is talking about them.

When we don’t talk about things, we all run around with a wrong ideas of how things are. Myth and stigmas develop. People may start to feel isolated and ashamed. All because we don’t talk about this stuff! Just like some people don’t like asking for directions when they’re lost, or ashamed to ask for help in the gym if they are struggling with a move, others can be afraid or feel embarrassed that they are having not-great thoughts.

In my work within the mental health sector, I’ve seen the huge benefits people gain by simply talking about their problems, and also, a whole lot of misconceptions people still have.

So today we’re going to bust some myths (without blowing up a cement truck, sorry) surrounding our mental health and make sure we’re all taking care of ourselves!

How To Be Better Than The Biggest Losers and Create a Lasting Change

Yesterday, we talked about why participants on the show The Biggest Loser aren’t exactly role models or inspiring figures for our own efforts. Actually, they might be examples of how NOT to go about getting healthy permanently.

Many contestants regained the weight immediately after the show, and these strategies that were held up on the show as shining examples of health were nothing more than a house of cards – theatre to trick us, entertain us, and unfortunately set unrealistic expectations that cause us to look poorly at our own situation!

According to the show’s doctor, the recommendation for show contestants is to exercise at least 9 hours per week to maintain their weight loss. That is a tremendous amount of time to exercise for somebody who is also trying to live a normal life and do regular people things.

I read that number and made this face:

Steve Frog Face

Why The Biggest Loser is Turning Us Into Losers.

The Biggest Loser is an inspiring hour of television in which severely overweight people shed their extra pounds in a very short amount of time. The idea is that we think: “Hey, if they can lose that much weight, maybe I can too!”

But the New York Times dug into what happens to many contestants from the show after filming ends.

The results weren’t… good:

“Out of 14 contestants he studied, 13 have regained weight. Four contestants are heavier today than they were before the competition began.”

When we combine this with another recent study that showed, “The chance of returning to a normal weight after becoming obese is only one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women over a year” – things look a bit gloomy.

Why are these people struggling to maintain their lost weight, or even gaining back more weight than they lost in the first place?

Is there a solution that works? Or are we… essentially screwed?

Here’s why the Biggest Loser is churning out losers, and how we can win instead.

How Larry Beat Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Got Strong as Hell

Larry’s story put a MASSIVE smile on my face and I knew I had to share his story here with the whole Rebellion.

A year and a half ago, he woke up with such intense pain that he could barely get out of bed.

“The pain came on overnight and it was explosive and everywhere, I thought to myself that this was something that was probably serious and I should find out what is going on.”

6 months of doctors and insurance questions later, and Larry learned he had Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“Drugs ensued and changes happened to my body because of the disease and the medications that I was being prescribed. With the drugs the disease became manageable and I could start living in a world that was not consisting solely of pain and the feeling that I was made of glass and would break with the merest touch.”

This was Larry’s starting point, a point many can relate to: a health problem being the source of a rude awakening. Other than remodeling his house, Larry was living a practically sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle.

But – spoiler alert – things changed. Larry retook control; he lost an enormous amount of body fat and regained that weight as muscle. His body transformed over the course of the year, and eventually he defeated the very disease that served as his signal flare that something needed to change.

Here’s how he did it:

Turn Fitness Into a Game: New workouts, Fun Quests, and Epic Boss Battles

Today is a really cool day for me and Team Nerd Fitness, as I get to make two massive announcements.

This first announcement is about our flagship program, the Nerd Fitness Academy. 

For those who don’t know, The Academy is an online, self-paced course and fitness “quest” tracking system with over 20,000 students from every corner of the globe. We’re proud of it!

For the past six months, we’ve been diligently working on our 3rd massive Nerd Fitness Academy overhaul, and I’m fired up to tell you all about it. Our previous update brought a questing system (so you can level up by completing fitness missions) and an uber supportive private community.

This new update is even bigger! Here are some of the recent things people have said:

Academy Testimonial 11
Academy Testimonial 2

Academy Testimonial 3
The new updates were a lot of energy and effort – but these posts make it all worth it! We’re excited to see current members digging in and using the updates to get results.

How to Read a Recipe and Not Want to Punch a Hole in the Wall

This is a recipe from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

I don’t know about you, but I have never liked reading the instructions for board games. The tutorials at the beginnings of video games bore me to death. When I play a game, I go basic. No fancy moves, no secret codes, and no strategy guides. I figure it out as I go.

I suppose you could say that this is why I’m also not very good at games.

But something has recently begun to change my mind. I attended a game night at a friend’s house, and they told me to go read the instructions for the game we were about to play. They wouldn’t tell me the rules, no, they made me read (the horror!). And when we played, I still didn’t win, but I was far better than I usually was. I could even see how I would be a force to be reckoned with if we played again.

I imagine a lot of you are like me and games when it comes to cooking. It’s not fun. You don’t enjoy it. You tried it once or twice, but you’ve lost interest.

The instructions for a game feel tedious to me, and I wouldn’t blame you if recipes feel tedious for you.

The recipe for a dish is not only the basic instructions, but it’s also a sheet of cheat codes for the cook. So today, we’re going to learn how to use a recipe to your advantage.

Why You Should Make Your Bed Every Morning

Have you heard the story about Van Halen and Brown M&Ms?

As the story famously goes, 80’s rock band Van Halen had a line in their incredibly detailed contract from their tour in 1982 (the list of things they expect to have at every concert) that required they have a bowl of M&Ms in the green room… and there were to be NO brown M&Ms in that bowl.


For years everyone assumed that was just a crazy band making crazy demands (like in Airheads), simply because they could. In fact, there was a show in which they found brown M&Ms in their bowl and reportedly refused to play and trashed the dressing room!

What a bunch of asshole rockstars, right?

Maybe not. 

It turns out, there was a calculated method to this madness, and it might make you think you need a brown M&M clause in your life.

Your beliefs are wrong. Are you willing to change?

“Your opinion is irrelevant! I’m correct! Look at this study!”

Whether it’s Paleo vs Vegetarian, Stretching vs Mobility, Fat vs Carbs, Cardio vs Strength, Star Trek vs Star Wars, or Captain America vs Iron Man, we all have belief systems that cause us to accept certain ideas and immediately discredit others.

Go to any article on any of the subjects above and spend five minutes in the comment section, and you’ll see people either championing the article or skewering it and destroying the other side.

Can both sides be right? Can both sides be wrong? Why is it that whenever we read something that goes against what we say, we stick our heads in the sand, ostrich-style, and discredit it, only to turn around and proudly share any news that reaffirms our beliefs?

Would you be able to recognize when you held a wrong belief? Do you have the clarity to hold strong when you are in fact, right?

Gaining the right mindset to discern what’s real from what’s BS requires us to admit two big things to ourselves:

  • I don’t know shit.
  • Nobody else knows shit either!

Stop Lying: How Painful Realizations Can Unlock a Healthier Life

This is a post from NF Wordsmith Taylor.

Excuses are a tricky subject. Try to point out an excuse to a friend, and you’re sure to get blasted with his or her wrath, being called an insensitive jerk:

“Easy for you to say!”

“You have NO idea what it’s like.”

“You don’t have this shit to deal with!”

On the other hand, when we can really break through and talk honestly and with some vulnerability, excuses we’ve championed for years can be pierced instantly:

“Wow, maybe I do have time, but it’s just that I haven’t made it a priority.”

“I do have some medical issues, but I’ve been using that as an excuse to do nothing all these years.”

We all play this game of life on different difficulty levels. We begin in different starting areas, with different gear, and different advantages and disadvantages. That’s just how the game works. Our job is to make the most of the hand we’ve been dealt. And it’s only us that can change us.

Only me that can change me. Only you that can change you.

Just take a moment to consider the implications of that: It doesn’t matter how bad you’ve had it. It doesn’t matter how busy you are or how much easier others may have it.

If you want to be healthy (or accomplish something else), it’s up to you to find a path to get there. It might be slow. It might take some trial and error. But nobody can do it for you. One day YOU have to decide: “I am going to do this.”

The Matrix Has You Prisoner! Take The 2-Week Break Free Challenge.

Every day, billion-dollar companies conspire against us. They use every possible tool at their disposal, hiring behavioral psychologists, and recruiting freaking scientists to capture the world’s most precious resource.

No, not money. Our time and attention!

You probably don’t even realize it, but we are being played at this very moment.

From Buzzfeed articles BEGGING us to click on them (“You won’t believe #5!”), to that tiny hit of dopamine we get with every new text alert, Facebook message, or email. And this has an impact on us – not just as we get distracted from our task at hand,  but long-term we compulsively seek out this “hit” more and more often.

In fact, I just checked my phone as I was writing this introduction because a text came in.

I feel like I’m trapped in a real-life version of The Matrix. This nerd classic explores a world in which the entire human race is hooked up to a virtual reality system designed to keep us blissfully ignorant and complacent, so we can be used as batteries for the machines. In short: we built machines to make our lives easier, and they ended up owning us.

Sound familiar?

In non-nerd terms, we’re hooked on digital “junk food:” Empty calories that we consume, making us temporarily happy but ultimately unfulfilled: soda, chips, candy. Because these things have minimal nutritional value, we eat them to feel satisfied in that moment (RIGHT NOW THIS MAKES ME HAPPY!), and then feel empty after and need to eat more.

Me, you, and everyone else — we are all addicted to hits of dopamine, checking our notifications, browser tabs, and phones which keep ourselves artificially busy. The system has grown to enslave us, exploiting our nature for their gain.

But like Neo, it’s the society that we’ve inherited, and it’s up to us to take back our free time and attention. Speaking of which, I’m currently resisting the urge to check the likes my most recent post on Facebook got. Ugh.

How to Cook Thai Zoodle Stirfry

This is a recipe from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

Have you tried making a recipe thinking it’s going to be one thing, and it turns out to be something completely different? It happens to the best of us. Sometimes in the kitchen we set out to make something we think is going to taste great, but then it tastes awful. Or you think it’s going to be awesome, but it’s just “meh.”

And sometimes it’s not quite what you wanted, but it’s unexpectedly tasty.

When it’s edible (and just different), there’s no reason to be disappointed; you made a thing, and it actually tastes good. You can feed yourself and your family. You can impress your friends with your ridiculous looking zucchini noodles. You are a rockstar.

Take that XP for cooking that meal and move on with your life.


I recently returned from completing an Epic Quest in Asia and was feeling pretty inspired by their flavorful, noodley dishes. After returning home I tried to put together some dishes that tasted similar. While the Thai noodle stir fry below wasn’t exactly the flavor I originally had in mind, it sure was tasty. Plus, it’s incredibly simple (veggies, protein, sauce, done).

A note on zucchini noodles… I will never ask you to buy a piece of equipment as ridiculous as a “zoodler.” If you have one already, that’s great. If you’re looking for an excuse to buy one, this recipe might be it. If you’re not convinced and/or you don’t have time to zoodle, just cut the zucchini as you would for any other stir fry recipe. You won’t hurt my feelings.

The Superhero Civil War Workout: Choose Iron Man or Captain America

Today’s article is from Nerd Fitness’s newest team member, and Master of the Fitness Universe, Jim Bathurst. Take it away Jim!

Have you seen Captain America: Civil War yet?

Last week, we talked about why Captain America or Iron Man might be right in the epic battle within the Marvel universe.

Today the choice is yours: The Iron Man Workout or the Captain America Workout.

Iron Man wants to work within the new superhero registration law. He believes that the heroes of the world need to operate within the rules and regulations for the safety and well being of everyone. That’s why the Iron Man workout includes more classic, structured movements. And because this is Iron Man, we’ll primarily be using iron (weights) — these things write themselves!

Captain America is opposed to these superhero regulations and wants to be able to move and operate freely. You’ll notice his workout includes more bodyweight movements and non-traditional movements in multiple directions.

Civil War Week: Can You Adapt Like Iron Man?

We talked Monday about why Captain America might be right in the epic battle that has come to light between two sides of the Marvel superhero universe.

Today, I want to talk about why Cap, although noble in his efforts to stick to his guns, might be a bit confused and stuck in the past.

Nothing in this world is permanent, and the only thing that is truly constant is change. The great moments of history are marked by change after change after change. I’m not just talking about our evolution as a species, but as a culture and society.

Today we still struggle with so many things that need to change. (Cough, conventional wisdom, cough.) But we’re stuck in the past, and making changes even when there is overwhelming new evidence can be brutally challenging.

Today, we explore why you need to adapt and change like Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man.

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