2014 was a game-changing year for Nerd Fitness. What started nearly six years ago as a simple blog to help a few people has transformed into something far greater than I ever could have imagined.
We’ve gone from a one-man-band (imagine this guy) to a team of full-time members working for the Rebellion. We had a freaking Summer Camp, and finally my dreams of creating a place for people to level up in real life has been realized (though we’re just getting started on that front).
While we’re gearing up for a monster 2015 (where the Rebellion truly takes steps towards world domination), I wanted to take a look back at 2014 and where we’ve been before we plot out where we’re going!
The Legend Spreads…
At the beginning of the year, Nerd Fitness had close to 120,000 subscribers on the email list. Since then, we’ve doubled yet again to now over 240,000 people!
Not bad, considering we’ve spent $0 up to this point on advertising 🙂
If you’ve ever shared a Nerd Fitness article on Facebook, or told a co-worker about us on gchat, thank you. We’ve chosen to dump all of our time, energy, and effort into two things – content and community – and hoped the nerds would help us with the rest of it. So far, so good. And we owe that to YOU!
On top of that, we recently crossed 30,000 members in our Nerd Fitness message board community; we have over 40 volunteer moderators whose work is instrumental in helping newbies and current members feel welcomed and included. Without their work, and without the support of each member, this community would not be what it is today.
As the site grows, and our community grows, it’s really important for us to continue to have that small family feel which has helped so many people get the support and assistance they need to get fit. We’re going to continue exploring ways to create more opportunities for us to get together in real life.
Speaking of which…
Camp Nerd Fitness
Back in September, we had our first ever Camp Nerd Fitness.
Close to 200 rebels, volunteers, and coaches came together for a long weekend of fun, education, and awesomeness. Here’s a quick recap video in case you missed it:
I’m not going to lie, I have a hunch that I’m going to look back a decade from now at that first camp and say “that was the moment everything changed.” I knew it was going to be fun, but I never expected it to be something that would make me cry for hours after it was over. I’ve never seen so many fun, supportive, happy people in the same place….doing things like parkour, yoga, kung fu, dancing in costumes, power lifting, and so on.
The Nerd Fitness community is something special, and it was amazing to see what we can accomplish when we’re in the same place at the same time.
Right now, our alumni from the first camp are planning trips to visit each other, they spend all day on Facebook supporting each other, and consider their fellow campers close friends and family now.
We’ve announced Camp Nerd Fitness 2015, and we’ve already sold 200 of the 300 available spots (we actually only meant to sell 150, but I screwed up and put the wrong early-bird date, oops!). If you want to join us at next year’s Camp Nerd Fitness, make sure you sign up for the interest list over at CampNerdFitness.com – we’ll sell the remaining 100-ish spots in early February, and I’m sure they’re going to go fast!
Don’t worry, we’re going to continue exploring opportunities to get our community together in other ways too, big and small, so that you can meet your fellow rebels in real life. Camp Nerd Fitness is just the beginning. Whether it’s in-person meetups throughout the globe (we have a fairly active Australian NF community!), one-day events, or even just helping further coordinate meetups through the NF Boards, we want to help as many rebels get together in real life as possible!
I’m a hugger, so prepare yourself if our paths ever cross!
The Nerd Fitness Academy
We get a few emails a week from people who ask the question “How the heck do you guys make money? I don’t see any ads!”
We’ve chosen to take a different path when it comes to building Nerd Fitness, and a big part of that is by not having any ads or sponsorships on the site. Everything we talk about or discuss or promote is simply because we love it and/or use it ourselves.
When I was getting started with Nerd Fitness, I received one request above all others: “Steve, just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.” I started with creating simple eBooks with workout plans years ago, and they have evolved into the Nerd Fitness Academy, a course/game that walks you through the first 6-12 months of your fitness journey. Specifically, it has:
- 20+ Workout plans to help you exercise, whether you’re in a gym, at a park, or exercising in the comfort of your own home.
- A built-in RPG-style quest and leveling system that allows you to level up across the entire platform.
- A Nerd Fitness nutrition leveling system, that allows you to slowly adjust your diet (which is 90% of the battle!)
- 100+ exercise demonstration videos, filmed in high def, from multiple camera angles to make sure you have the confidence to do the exercises properly.
- Tons of content on helping you break your bad habits and building new ones, education on how to eat and change your life properly, and the confidence to actually get started.
It’s the closest we can come to flying to your home and holding your hand through the whole process! The Academy has been rebuilt twice already (thanks to your feedback!), and back in August we finally were able to add the ability to turn it into a game, and actually level up your character as you improve yourself in real life!
After thinking, dreaming, and working on this for years and years, it was really cool to finally see it brought to life:
We’re excited to bring this character/quest feature to ALL of the Nerd Fitness community in 2015, but for now it remains a fun part of the Academy that allows you to earn points to reach new levels, start to exercise, build new habits, adjust your nutrition, and change your life.
We have another big update coming to the Academy in early January (including bonuses for anybody that has already signed up or signs up in the beginning of 2015), and we’ll continue to make improvements.
Although we’ve sold over 9,000 spots to the Academy, we understand that most people on Nerd Fitness will never buy anything from us, which is great! We know some people love the extra level of connection and support, and others love to figure it out on their own.
The most important thing is that this community is helping people get healthy. We’d love it if you checked out the Academy, checked out our Paleo Mobile App, or picked up a shirt or hoodie from our Rebel store, but we’re just glad you’re here reading and interacting. That’s why most of what we do is absolutely free.
Most importantly, we’re honored that you are taking action and representing the Rebellion through your actions: working out and exercising. Thanks for being here!
Strength and content
For the sixth year straight, we’ve published roughly two articles a week, every week. These articles tend to be monstrous, averaging around 2,000+ words each, which has resulted in 650 total posts published and hundreds of thousands of words.
We’ve mixed in some new types of articles this year, and I wanted to highlight some of my favorites from the past year. My favorite part of the past year has probably been our Strength 101 series. We LOVE strength training here at NF, and believe it should be the foundation of everybody’s path to a healthier life. A strong nerd is a healthy nerd!
In case you missed them, here’s our Strength 101 series:
- Strength Training 101
- Strength Training 101: Equipment
- Strength Training 101: Finding the Right Gym
- Strength Training 101: Where do I start?
- Strength Training 101: How much weight should I be lifting?
- Strength Training 101: How to Squat Properly
- Strength Training 101: The Deadlift
- Strength Training 101: The Overhead Press
- What do you bench? Strength Training 101: The Bench Press
On top of the strength training series, these are my favorite articles from the past year:
- How Anthony the Developer lost 200 lbs in a year!
- How to Level Up And Crush 2014
- For the Love of the Game
- How to become Jason Bourne. Seriously.
- Are we there yet?
- Six Months Ago I rededicated myself to fitness…
- Do you have drive? Here’s what really motivates us
- How to Become Antifragile
We’ve already begun planning out the next few months of the Nerd Fitness content arc, and I’m excited to share with you even more ways to get stronger, eat healthier, live better, and go on more adventures.
Meet Team Nerd FItness
At the beginning of 2014, Nerd Fitness had a small team that consisted of myself, Staci (operations and pretty much every thing else), and Taylor, our Master Wordsmith.
Now, at the end of 2014, our team has expanded tremendously. Along with myself (Rebel leader, focused on content and general tomfoolery), we have:
Staci (Rebel Operations): Staci has been a part of Nerd Fitness for the past four and a half years, and working with me on the site for almost three years full-time. She needs no introduction, as her story is one of the most popular articles of all time, and has introduced hundreds of thousands of women to the beauty of heavy strength training.
Taylor (Master Wordsmith): Taylor joined us in the spring of 2012 and has been leading the direction of our twice-weekly blog posts. He makes me a better writer, and helps us create story arcs as to where our content will go over the upcoming months. He’s been an integral part of our content process for the past two and a half years.
Adam (Gamification Juggernaut): Many of you might be familiar with Adam Baker, as he owned and operated ManVsDebt.com for years. Serving as a mentor to me since the very beginning of Nerd Fitness, he took on a more formal consultant role earlier this year when I needed help improving our company. After lots of begging and pleading, he officially agreed to join the team full time, and has been instrumental in the gamification updates and improvements made to the Nerd Fitness Academy. He’s a good friend and I’m proud to call him a co-worker.
Darryl (Design Wizard): Darryl joined our team earlier this spring and has become our director of design for all things on Nerd Fitness. If you’ve been to the incredible Camp NF website or checked out the Nerd Fitness Academy, then you’ll know his work. Darryl is one of the most talented designers I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and he happens to capture the nerdy element we love so perfectly. He’s also managed to drop 90+ pounds and fell in love with barbell training along the way. Not too shabby!
Lee (The Architect): Lee recently joined our team in November, and will be heading up development on Nerd Fitness. His focus will be on expanding the Nerd Fitness universe and working closely with the team to expand upon this concept that “life is a game.” I can’t spill the beans just yet on where we’re heading with this…just know that it’s going to be a fun 2015. As for Lee’s nerd credentials, he met his wife on World of Warcraft. Case closed 🙂
Lauren (Community Maester): Lauren and I have been great friends since before Nerd Fitness existed. We worked together closely on helping the community grow at our old job at Sixthman (where we helped create floating music festivals). Since then, she has become our apparel representative and we have worked with her for years on the Nerd Fitness merchandise part of the company. She recently accepted my bribe to join our team and head up community & customer support. We have big plans to make sure our Rebels remain the happiest most supportive community in the galaxy 🙂
Noel (Rebel Chef): Late last year, we asked for help with creating fun and easy recipes for the Nerd Fitness Community. Since then, Noel has helped us create amazing recipes each month that have helped our community inject some variety (and nutrition) into their diets. Expect even more cooking awesomeness as we go along.
Nerds around the world
Although we’re ahead of the game on a few things, we’re late to the game on a few others.
Sure, we’re on Facebook and Twitter, but we’re just now starting to jump headfirst into Instagram, and we’re excited to share photos of NF Rebels from all over the globe more and more.
Hope you follow us on the Nerd Fitness Instagram there and send in your photos (email@example.com) so we can share it with the community!
Here are some of our favorites!
The ridiculously cute baby Gainsdalf, in one of our new NF onesies!
A few of our favorite Rebels participating in the Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park in Boston:
Rebel Brian showing off his standing desk and NF t-shirt at work. Awesome (and nerdy!):
Dajve decided to rep the rebellion at his own wedding:
Dane representing at the Alcatraz Shark Swim!
Rob being a badass and owning the Spartan Race course:
I look at 2014 as the year of the coiled spring.
Other than Camp Nerd Fitness (which was a massive undertaking), we didn’t put out any new courses or products. We updated our flagship course (The Nerd Fitness Academy), but all of our extra effort and work went into stuff that happens behind the scenes, pushing the coiled spring tighter and tighter.
Now that we have a full team focused on the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, 2015 is the year we’re going to unleash that spring and take over the world… muahahahaha!
Seriously though, Nerd Fitness started as a hobby for me to help others get healthy – it’s now something much better than that – it’s a community of rebels; it’s a movement; it’s a declaration of “enough is enough, time to live better.”
2015 is going to be big. We’re excited to introduce new courses next year (yog…I’ve said too much!), improve the connection between all parts of the Nerd Fitness universe, have an amazing Camp Nerd Fitness 2015, and spend more time hanging out with Rebels, online and offline.
I’m proud to be a small part of this community. I’m excited to work with my team every day. I go to bed content, and I wake up excited. I’m truly honored that I get to devote my life to this cause, and I appreciate you being a part of it.
We’re hitting 2015 at maximum velocity, and we have some major plans to help you even more ways. It’s going to be fun.
Thanks for coming along for the ride! I’d love to hear from you: How did 2014 go for you? And What’s on tap for 2015?
FOR THE REBELLION!!!!
PS: This is our last post of the year. We’re gonna come back full force starting in early January with the next 6-week challenge on the boards, an updated Academy, and more articles that will inspire, educate, and (hopefully) entertain. Let’s do this.