The Year of Adventure Begins. Join me next week?

sword adventure

A lot can happen in 20 seconds.

The concept of “20 seconds of courage” has become a rallying cry of sorts for our humble Rebellion over here: it’s an idea that you only need 20 seconds to get yourself to commit to something you want to do but you’re scared to try. You can be scared as hell before and after, so long as you focus having insane courage for just 20 seconds.

Three months ago, I watched 300 Rebels come to Camp Nerd Fitness, using 20 seconds of courage to travel (from all over the world) and sign up for new activities and classes. We attempted our first rolls in parkour, struck our first pose in a yoga class, tried sword fighting for the first time, and more. This 20 seconds of courage helps us to jump in and commit, before we can get scared and back out.

After all, when we’re trying to learn new stuff, it can be scary… we don’t want to mess up, we’re worried people are watching us, we think people might be making fun of us, etc. It’s easy to avoid trying new things, to stick with the stuff we’re good at and avoid potential embarrassment.

Not this year! Not here in The Rebellion.

Imagine you just rebuilt an old car. Sure it was broken down, beat up and out of shape, but you dutifully spent months working on it in the garage: installing a new engine, replacing a dented fender, and giving it a brand new shiny coat of paint. What’s the next step?

Leaving it in the garage so only you can look at it? Hell no! You get to fire that baby up and take it out on the open road. After all, what’s all the hard work for if you can’t take it out and do what it’s meant to do, right?

(See what I’m getting at yet?)

It’s time to stand proud and find out what we’re capable of. That’s why I’m laying down a challenge.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

I want you to find out what you are capable of, too. I want you to take your “car” (body) out for a spin and do what it’s meant to do: move, climb, crawl, learn, pick-up, push, and pull. We’re doing these things in our lives so that we can attempt the activities we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t been able to try due to health or confidence issues:

  • Rock climbing
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • LARPing
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Martial arts
  • Parkour
  • Hiking to the top of a mountain
  • Just going for a 10 minute hike to the top of the hill in your neighborhood

Adventure means something different for everybody, as we’re all leading different lives. And “adventure” is for everyone.


Because growth happens at our limits: If you want to level up your life, you’re going to have to do sh*! that scares you. The unknown is where you grow and learn, how you level up and become the next version of yourself.

Adventure shifts our goal from the scale to performance. If you found Nerd Fitness because you want to lose weight, if you can shift your mindset from, “I get my self worth from a number on a scale” and more towards “I want to find out what my body is capable of this week compared to last week,” you’ll be FAR MORE LIKELY to actually stick with it. We’re no longer running on a treadmill and dieting until we reach a target weight so that we can go back to our old life.

Adventure introduces us to the RIGHT kind of people. We are the average of the people we associate the most with – so why not surround yourself with people who are doing healthy things and supportive of others? When you try a new activity like one of those listed above, you get introduced to a new group of friends that are living healthier lives too. We nerds tend to stick to our hobbit holes, and thanks to modern technology we can “connect” with people online without having to actually interact with them in person. Social interaction is a crucial component to a long and healthy life. Might as well make friends with people who encourage and inspire you to be better.

You might freaking love it. We are designed to move. My goal for you this year in 2016 is to get you to try a new activity that you’ve never attempted before. You’ll learn how to be okay with sucking at something (we’re all terrible when we start at something), and also quickly learn that nobody cares if you’re not good at it! You might also realize that you LOVE the challenge of the new activity, that you get hooked on the leveling system in rock climbing, or earning new belts in Tai Kwon Do, or that your favorite moment of the week is hanging with your new friends after power lifting.

Which is why I’m challenging you this year, RIGHT NOW, to use 20 seconds of courage to sign up for a new adventure. It can be big or small, near or far… but I want you to commit.

Because I know 20 seconds of courage can be enough to change your life. Take Natacsha’s story.

Natascha’s Story


In my book released next week,  Level Up Your Life, I feature a ton of real life stories from members of the Rebellion, men and women, young and old, who have turned themselves into heroes in unique ways.

One of my FAVORITES comes from Natascha, a college student in the Rebellion who changed her life with 20 seconds of courage.

Here’s her story from the book. Take it away, Natascha!

It started when I got an article from the Nerd Fitness Rebellion about 20 seconds of courage. I’ve been using the hell out of it ever since. That day, I decided to try out this new power-up and sign myself up for a college ballroom dancing class.

It was one of the best things I could have done for myself even though I was terrified and didn’t speak to anyone in class for the first half of the semester. Learning ballroom dancing at first is exactly like the sweetness of working a skill tree in a role playing game and grinding until I was at a high enough level to move on to the next.

Once I realized that I could gamify the rest of my world, that there was more to life than being in a rut, I shot outwards in all directions I could think of and just went for everything. I quit my college bookstore job and applied to become a lab assistant. I now get to work in my major and it’s the best job on campus. I asked out my studio instructor out for lunch last year. We’re still together and met each other’s respective families.

I spent the summer working on my social and dance skill trees in Las Vegas: dancing every night to live music and learning to hang out and kick back with great performers. I’ve even decided to try out a leadership quest and I am now the president of the UNLV American Chemical Society student chapter.

Now, it hasn’t been the smoothest of roads. I went from a terrified novice hiding in the back of ballroom class to gliding out onto the competition floor for the first time only to trip over my own feet. That’s just one of the many things that would have sent me scuttling back to my cave if I didn’t have the mindset I do now. I work with the perspective now that life has become one big game for me and it’s only going to get better as I level up. Sometimes I may trip, but that doesn’t mean I have to whack the reset button and start all over again in the training fields.

Join me on an Adventure next week?

20 seconds of courage cat

Now, hopefully Natascha’s story inspired you to take the importance of this adventure thing a bit more seriously.

But I’m going to bribe you even further.

Starting next week, we’re holding 6 mini-adventure-events over the next two weeks throughout the country in honor of my book release. These adventures are taking place in 6 major cities throughout the United States, and are 100% free to attend. Not only that, but each event will take place in a cool location and include instruction in a new activity I bet you’ve always wanted to try.

So, I’m challenging you: use 20 seconds of courage, invite an ally, and come hang with me and your fellow Rebels at one of our awesome events in the next two weeks! The Nerd Fitness Rebellion is a powerful community, and I want you to come meet your fellow Rebels in your area!

Make sure you RSVP by clicking on the Facebook Event link for each of the events. And remember – these are free events.

EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT TO OR CAN’T DO THE ACTIVITY, please come hang with me anyway. I’ll be signing books, giving a talk about adventure, and taking pictures and high-fiving/hugging everybody 🙂 But I want you to give it a try if you’re up for it. You’ll never be around a more supportive group of people than at these events when you’re amongst fellow Rebels.

Mostly, I just want to give out a lot of high fives and hugs, so come hang 🙂

New York City, NY: Ninja Warrior Training


Less “zoo,” and more “gym,” but you can still hang around like a monkey on the Salmon Ladder!  For a launch party like no other, we’re headed to Brooklyn Zoo (sorry, it’s not a real zoo, it’s a parkour/adventure gym!) for Ninja Warrior training! I’ll be giving a brief talk about leveling up your life, and then we have the entire facility rented out, with instructors, to teach us how to attempt some fun obstacles from Nerd Fitness.

Wear comfy gym clothes, bring a friend, and come say hey! People of all levels and sizes welcome!

Date and Time: Tuesday, January 12, 6:30-9:30pm

Location: Brooklyn Zoo



Light Saber Class Photo copy

After Steve’s talk about creating your own Epic Quest, cross something off your list: lightsaber training to become an actual Jedi alongside your fellow Rebels!  We’re so excited about this one, that we’re stretching the fun over two days, and crashing the Capitol in the process!

Date and Time: Friday, January 15, 6:00-10:00pm & Saturday, January 16 11:00am-1:00pm

Location: Friday – BAM Academy (South Location), Saturday – Austin State Capitol (Southwest Lawn)


Los Angeles, Ca: Parkour!

Jason Paul (web)_6538

Parkour! We’ll learn how to turn the world into a giant playground together at one of the most famous parkour training facilities on the planet. I even stopped by Tempest Freerunning Academy for a quick session when I exercised around the world. Learn how to get started with this incredibly fun and enjoyable activity. See you there! 

Date and Time: Saturday, January 17, 12:00pm-2:30pm

Location: Tempest Freerunning Academy (South Bay)


San Francisco, Ca: Casino Night


Remember that time I lived like James Bond for a weekend? I just had to figure out a way to relive it with you guys, so we’re building a casino from scratch, and this time, I’ll be dealing! To answer your next question, YES I’ll be in a tuxedo, and dressing up is strongly encouraged. Even if you have no idea how to gamble, come hang and let’s have our own Casino Royale moment together.

Date and Time: Tuesday, January 19, 7:00pm-11:00pm 

Location: Crimson Lounge.  Casino tables and dealers provided by 21 Fun!


ChicaGo, IL: Swing Dancing!


Chicago has such a storied past, and we couldn’t help but embrace the unique spirit for our tour stop! Take a step back in time with us, wear your best zoot suit, gangster getup, or flapper costume, and let’s have some fun (and swing outside our comfort zone) as we learn dance moves from the Roaring 20’s!

You don’t need to dress up, but I certainly will be. Also, I don’t care if you think you have two left feet, we’ll be learning and dancing and moving together!

Date and Time: Thursday, January 21, 7:00pm-10:00pm

Location: Fizz Chicago. Dance instruction provided by Stephanie Schoenherr of May I Have This Dance


Atlanta, GA: Rock Climbing


Climbing stuff is awesome. We’re built for it, so might as well make an event out of it, right!?

I’ll be giving a talk teaching participants how to level up their lives, and then we’ll tackle all the various levels of challenging climbing walls at Atlanta Rocks! All ages and levels encouraged to come hang out. Now, not only will we be climbing walls, but we have some live music too! My friend Matt Bannister and his band Sunset Love Affair will be performing on top of the bouldering platform. How awesome is that?

Gotta give a shout out to In Concert Productions, who’s helping us with all of the sound and band production stuff so we can rock out while we rock climb 🙂

Date and Time: Saturday, January 23, 8:00pm-10:30pm

Location: Atlanta Rocks! Climbing Gym


Adventure is Out There!

adventure landscape

And there you have it. 6 Epic Events. An inspiring story. And a challenge laid down:

What adventure will you take on this year? 

Regardless of where you are on your fitness journey, I want you to commit to trying something new this year. Something that makes you feel butterflies in your stomach when you think about attempting it. Something that reminds you “Hey, I’m alive. Life is awesome.”

And then I want you to put a plan in place to make it happen.

Just 5 more days until Level Up Your Life hits bookstore shelves. I’m excited that this book built around helping people find adventure, health, and happiness in their lives is nearly here, and I can’t wait for you to read it. Don’t forget, just a few more days to get some epic pre-order bonuses when you order the book now, so if you haven’t already done so, head over to

I would love to hear from you below: what’s ONE adventure you’re going to undertake this year? And if you’re coming to one of the six events listed above, which one will I see you at?

2016 is the Year of the Adventurous Rebel. Let’s get after it!


PS: We’re currently running a free contest over on Goodreads where you can win a signed copy of my book along with 4 books that changed my life. Check it out!

PPS: Next week we’re launching a new free feature here on Nerd Fitness that has been in development for YEARS. Let’s just say, you’ll be able to level up your life here on Nerd Fitness… literally 🙂


photo: Jose Manuel: Cat

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    35 thoughts on “The Year of Adventure Begins. Join me next week?

    1. My adventure this year is I’m coming to Camp! It will be my first ever trip abroad on my own.

    2. I wish I could attend one of your book tour events, but none are in viable driving distance. BUT! My adventure for this year is attending capoeira and acrobatics classes at a Brazilian Arts School in my town. I love it so far!

    3. First, I’d just like to thank you for the inspiration you’ve given me and many others to undertake such quests…my family and I are new to Nerdfitness as I just discovered the website this last semester of school…that being said we are stoked to be joining and hopefully high fiving you at the Bronx Zoo event and giving away copies of your book to my brother, father, and telling everyone about the site! This year my wife and I have resolved to find one area to hike in at least 3 states and get out the door and get moving!

    4. Hey! Just a note that the event is at the Brooklyn Zoo (a gym, as opposed to the zoo with animals). Hope to see you there!

    5. I wish I lived close to one of these… Sadly I’m in England so my adventure will be seeing how heavy I can make my lifts by the end of this year. And maybe trying to get to the point where I sign up for Tough Mudder…

    6. In December I signed up and tried Capoeira for what would be the third time. It was a martial art I had ALWAYS wanted to learn, but each time I tried a place it just did not fit me. I told myself that if it didn’t work out this last time I would stop searching for a place to train and man, I can say with absolutely certainty that I have found an amazing group of people. I’m training 2-3 times a week now, my body is constantly sore in ways I didn’t even know could be sore, and I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to learn how to do a cartwheel but I’m still 100% motivated to continue. My 20 seconds of courage involved going to my first class with them and it has paid off in so many ways since then. I can’t say enough how happy and excited I am now to finally be training in a martial art I have loved for so long. 🙂

    7. The adventure which I have planned for this year is to travel to New York City (never been there), I’m currently living in Sarasota, Fl. Got to go and see the Big Apple baby. I’ve actually traveled to a lot of places around the world including: Dominican Republic, Hungary, Germany, Serbia so hopefully New York will blow me away as well.

    8. Would love to join you here in Atlanta, but alas, I’m not on Facebook so there doesn’t appear to be any other way for me to RSVP. le sigh… ;-).

    9. Unfortunately Steve I’m in England so won’t be able to make any of those dates, the activities look awesome though 🙂

      I’ve been invited rock climbing a few times over the past 6 months but never taken people up on their offers. Maybe it’s time to be the one to ask other people to come along instead of being asked. You can’t decide against doing something if you’re the one that’s organised it!

    10. I have been going the solo route at the gym for over a year now and I’ve always wanted to sign up for classes but was terrified of not knowing anything the first day, or looking silly.
      I actually told myself earlier this month that I just needed to use my “20 Seconds of Courage, you know, like Steve always says”. Then I bit the bullet and signed up for yoga AND spin classes. Both of which I took this week. Let me say that I LOVE yoga class, though my core being sore for 3 days might say differently–I have another class tomorrow. The second class–I was not so enamored with, but at least I tried it. Which was huge for me. My daughter is even trying to talk me into taking a Rumba class! We’ll see on that one, but its definitely going to be easier to sign up for those type of things in the future now that I’ve done it once already 🙂

    11. This article came in perfect timing! Last night as I was pondering 2016 goals (yes, I realize I’m running behind on this), I decided this will be my “dabbler year;” I will dabble with all sorts of new things to Level Up my life! I started the year of with snowboarding last week, with plans on trying downhill skiing this week!

    12. My adventure started about 2 months ago when I decided to start weightlifting- like going to the other side of the gym next to the big muscley guys and really lift. Deadlift, overhead press, bench press, you name it. It took courage to leave the girly side of the gym with the light weights and yoga mats! Haha. I love lifting heavy.

    13. I’m very much looking forward to the book! My first great adventure this year is moving abroad! My fiance and I are heading from Seattle to London in the next few weeks. It’ll be my first time ever having lived outside of the Seattle area, let alone outside of the country.

    14. That’s fantastic! I went by myself last year and it was a blast – see you this fall!

    15. 2016 will be the BEST year! I’m going to ATX to hang with Steve, again! I’m running 2016 miles, I WILL complete my first Spartan Trifecta and I will become a Certified Personal Trainer!!!

    16. My adventure (finances permitting) is to compete at the World Masters Games later this year in Perth. This would be my first time competing at world level (No, I’m no elite, but the opportunity is there!), and also requires a trip across the country to get there. This will be by far the biggest event that I’ve ever participated in.

    17. My adventure this year is becoming a mum. Due in March and ready to bring up the next generation of rebels!

    18. I just RSVPed for the Atlanta event. A book signing, rock climbing, and a concert all in one afternoon. Why can’t everyday be like that?

    19. Steve this really is a great post. It’s a shame I don’t live in America (though I did start rock climbing last month). My next 20 seconds of courage challenge will be entering an art contest despite having a lack of confidence and experience. I simply want to enter it. Wish me luck.

    20. Actually I already tried something new, cold water swimming on the 1st of january, i live in Dublin so the water was around 10 degrees. I am definitely going again. I think I will try rock climbing next or horseriding.

    21. Actually I already tried something new, cold water swimming on the 1st of january, i live in Dublin so the water was around 10 degrees. I am definitely going again. I think I will try rock climbing next or horseriding.

    22. Wish I could go to all of these events!

      My newest adventure this year is learning Judo. There’s a group that meets three times a week at the university gym so that’s where my evenings are going to be this year!

    23. My first big adventure this year is taking Swing Dancing lessons! I’ve gone to a free beginner lesson here and there, but this’ll be my first time taking real lessons. And I’ll see all ya’ll at the NYC Book Launch Event!

    24. I have always tried new things fitness wise but I had a similar experience to Natscha outside of fitness. I signed up to some acting classes to help with my public speaking, but found that it helped my self confidence.

      I found it a lot more easier to come out of my shell. The reason I gained so much is because i was in a safe environment that constantly challenged me to do things I wasn’t comfortable doing.

      Thanks for sharing this post. I can totally relate to it 🙂

    25. For quite some time I have been telling myself that I will run in a 5k race, but each time I fall off the training wagon before signing up and then never do it. This year I am planning to run the Battle Frog in Tampa, FL. I already committed to some friends that are also going, so there is no backing out this time.

    26. I’m going to try casino soon, it’s really risky for me, because I consider myself to be gambler.

    27. I just stumbled upon your site. Love this post and your theme of “20 seconds of courage.” All of us need to do what makes us scared a little more often. I look forward to more posts.

    28. 20 seconds of courage is an amazing concept. It’s easy to scare yourself
      away from doing new things—it’s good to get yourself out there. I’ve let the
      ridiculous notion of others watching and judging me get me down too many times
      to count.

    29. I’m from Brazil, my friend and I want to go to the Camp too. Does someone have any idea how much it will cost?

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