When Your Powers Combine…

Ha! Betcha thought I was going to talk about Captain Planet didn’t you!

Okay maybe that’s where I got the inspiration for the title, but I don’t want to talk about a eco-friendly dude in spandex with a green mullet.

Instead, I’d like to talk about community, and how powerful the Nerd Fitness rebel community has become. About a year ago, I officially launched message boards on this site to give NF readers a place to ask questions, connect with each other, and talk about videogames. I was slightly hesitant to do so, only because I know how quickly message boards can become cesspools of arguments, anonymous attacks, and worthless information.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to become a big babysitter.

One Year Later

Here we are, one year and 1440+ members later, and I have yet to have a SINGLE issue with the message boards. Okay, maybe we’ve had a few spam attacks, but they’ve slowed down considerably since I made answering this question a requirement for enlisting:

“You know the Super Mario Brothers. What’s Mario’s brother’s name?”

It’s amazing how many spam attackers don’t know the answer to this….muahahahaha!

Ahem. Moving on…

Although I do everything I can to write articles that inspire people to live better lives, I never expected to be as inspired by the Nerd Fitness community as I am right now.

“Overachieving Underdogs”

This term popped into my head last week, and I can’t help but think it’s a perfect description of the members of the Nerd Fitness community. We’re the big guys and girls who have been counted out. We’re the skinny guys and girls who couldn’t build muscle to save our lives.? We were what the stereotypes said we were…

Not any more.

We’ve come together and are exceeding at a level that is far beyond anything I could have dreamed. We encourage each other when we’re down, we offer tough love when it’s required, and we shout CONGRATULATIONS when something awesome happens.? I look at the members of the NF community as my actual friends and feel like I know many of them personally, even though I’ve unfortunately met only a few in real life (which I’m working hard to fix).

To say it’s a fun group of people that is inspiring to hang around with is an understatement.

However, there’s one characteristic above all others of our crew that makes me smile.

Open Arms

I have to imagine we’re the only rebel army in the world that will welcome everybody and anybody with open arms. After all, Rule #1 of the Rebellion states that “we don’t care where you’ve been, only where you’re going.”

Overweight? Too skinny? Out of shape? Have a bunch of weird hobbies and/or collections?

As long as you’re willing to work hard, welcome aboard, soldier.

Joining a new community, like trying to join an already established group of friends, can often be scary and difficult.

I’m proud to say that whenever new people join the Nerd Fitness community, there are literally dozens of people that post a welcome message to make these newbies feel right at home. To rebels like Sandman, Kahn, Capn_Tommy_Sunshine, Plex, and the others who make all the new rebels feel welcome:

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I cannot tell you how important this is, and how happy I get every time I see it done.

If you happen to see somebody post an intro, thanks for taking the time to comment in that thread – as a new poster on a message board there’s no better way to feel welcome than see all of that support right away.? I look forward to the day when a Newbie posts and intro and we have pages upon pages of veteran rebels welcoming them.

I have a hunch we’re not too far off.

The Mod Squad

I have to dedicate a special section of this post to Dantes, Spezzy, Alethea, and 67Alecto, our four moderators on the Nerd Fitness message boards.

I am officially jealous of (and inspired by) 67Alecto’s squatting power (and his new Jeep), Dantes’s superhuman ability to dominate at deadlifting and pull ups (while also getting straight A+’s in University), Spezzy’s organization and email template ability (and the fact that she can actually do a pistol squat), and Alethea’s flexibility (and her ability to crank out content and amazing message board posts in a matter of minutes).

These are the folks that keep this community running, and I am forever in their debt. It’s funny – I haven’t met any of the Mods in person, and yet I think of each of them as a really good friend of mine who I would trust with my life.

Dantes, Spezzy, and Alethea have been working around the clock on something incredibly special for the past few months, and I’m blown away at what they’ve created – the announcement is coming soon. If you want to find people that embody everything that Nerd Fitness stands for – look no further than these four characters. Fully dedicated, smart as hell, well-rounded, good-natured – I couldn’t think of four better rebels.

I’m proud to call these people my friends, and so thankful that they dedicate their time and effort to helping lead this community level up our lives.

Thanks guys.

Hall of Heroes

Each month, we have a 28-day challenge with a winner at the end (ps: a NEW CHALLENGE starts today). After a discussion with moderators, we figured what better way to immortalize the winners than with a place right on NerdFitness.com; you’ll now notice a Hall of Heroes page right under Community where our victors will reside until the end of time.

It’s going to take me a while to go back through the previous challenges and add ALL of the winners…I got about halfway through tonight and honestly just got too tired (it’s about 1:30AM at the moment).? But it will happen, I promise.? I’ll also have to bribe my friend Joe into making a kick-ass “Hall of Heroes” banner to make that page look good enough for the heroes that live there.

Speaking of 28-day challenges, we have our winners from the last two months:

–January 2011–

Unscrupulous Fred who rocked his January Challenge.

His goals were to finish the Couch-2-5k program, drop to 275 pounds, burn 1000 calories on the treadmill in one session, and hold a 45-second plank.

He finished the couch to 5k program, was able to run 5 miles in a row, dropped to 269 pounds (6 pounds ahead of schedule), and burned 1000 calories on a treadmill three times.

Unscrupulous Fred is off to a great start – we’ll get some strength training in there and really see those goals get shattered.

–February 2011–

mvd6 who kicked ass all across the board in each of his goals for the month of February.

His goals for the month were to stick to his eating plan, stick to his exercise plan, and to have a solid dissertation topic approved by his chair.

Out of the entire month, he only had five or six meals that would be considered unhealthy – planning all of his lunches ahead of time really kept him on track.? He also managed to work out six days a week, each week,? without fail, made gains in each of his lifts (presses, pull ups, dips, etc.) and as a side effect managed to lose five pounds without even trying.

Oh, and his wife had a baby three weeks ago, which means he did all of this while also being Super Dad.? WIN.

CONGRATS GUYS! Email me at steve@nerdfitness.com and I’ll make sure we get you a Nerd Fitness shirt.

Rebel Council

Here’s another idea that will hopefully come to fruition over the next few months. I often have a lot of questions about Nerd Fitness – new contest ideas, new challenges, and new directions for the community – but I don’t often have a Yoda to turn to, as this community and website…aren’t exactly normal (which is why I love it).

Rather than blindly guessing and hoping for the best, I’d like to put together a revolving Rebel Council. I’m going to pick 6-12 rebels from the message boards at random relatively soon (which might be a few months from now) and see if they’d be interested in serving on the Rebel Council.? Council members will serve for a specified term (2 months? 3 months?), give me feedback on ideas I have, offer up suggestions and ideas for future promotions, posts, battle gear, and more.

I will be random in my selection as I want a truly diverse group (instead of all frequent posters or all newbies), so if you’re not selected it doesn’t mean I love you any less ??

Success Stories

I’ll be adding a page of success stories to the site soon as well, under the About and Rules of the Rebellion pages. I have a number of success stories sitting in my inbox that I’ll be loading onto that page soon, but I’m looking for more!? If you’ve managed to get in shape, get strong, lose weight, live better, quit smoking, whatever due to Nerd Fitness or the community, shoot me an email and tell me your story…it deserves to be heard by more people than just me!

I can’t promise I’ll use everybody’s, but I’ll do my best to get as many of them up there as possible. I want new visitors to know as soon as they show up that this is a community that gets results.

Inspiration is Everywhere

People always ask me what they can do to get inspired or motivated to get in shape. Although I’ve never had a good answer in the past, I certainly do now: “go hang out on the NF message boards.” These are people who are leveling up their lives and helping out everybody else around them.

Whenever I need more inspiration or need to be cheered up after a bad day, I go to the Woot Room, where people post their successes and victories in leveling up.

It’s impossible to read this Woot post from Gowaduv and not get inspired:

I think I’ve been an oversized guy since I was about 8, so I’m not used to receiving compliments on my physique. I can’t describe my surprise when the mean lady in my office walked past me, stopped, turned around and asked, “have you lost a bunch of weight? It looks really good!”

Holy cats (to quote Robb Wolf).

“What have you been doing?” She asked.

Then I showed her the breakfast I was just about to warm up in the break room: two egg-white patties, two sausage patties, bacon and cheese (I know! not Paleo, but I have to )

The look of incredulity was almost as priceless as the compliment. She looked at breakfast, looked at me, and asked, “how does that work?” I told her that I’ve eliminated gluten and most starches, like potatoes, so I’m not worrying about inflammation in my gut and I don’t get an insulin spike from what is essentially sugar. I also mentioned that with high protein, high fat meals I don’t get between meal cravings anymore, and last night I had to force myself to eat dinner because I wasn’t at all hungry.

I didn’t realize but another coworker had taken an interest in my pile of protein, and told me that I’d inspired him! He is giving up bread for Lent because of what I had just described. His doc says he’s pre-diabetic, wants him to lose the belly fat and try to get his sugar under control. He’s not quite ready for paleo, but he says he’ll replace the energy he’s losing from bread-related foods (he’s a counter) with veggies and salads. Awesome!!

What do you want to be when you grow up?”

In the “How to Level Up in the Game of Life” post I had you visualize your life at level 50. Today, you can start working towards that by life getting into the right mindset. The best way to do that? Find other folks that are after the same goals, have already gotten there, or are fighting to get there.

Having friends in real life that are interested in the same things as you that can help push you and inspire you is important; unfortunately, this is often tough to come by, especially as a nerd interested in fitness. If you have friends who only like to eat pizza and play videogames, it’s going to be? difficult to convince them to exercise, run races, lift weights, and eat healthy foods.

Luckily, online communities can help break down that barrier:

  • If you want to start lifting weights, why not hang out in the Muscle Building Brigade and start talking with other folks lifting weights?? You’ll learn the lingo, pick up some tips, get answers to questions from people who have already had suggess.
  • Struggling with weight loss? Start following people who post in the “Battle for weight loss” section and see if they have more tips for you.
  • Want to get started with Parkour/karate/belly dancing? It doesn’t matter that you haven’t started yet; hng out in the? Fun Fitness group with people that ARE doing these things learn the lingo, get inspired, ask questions, and then venture out into the real world to begin your quest.

Start posting, and get inspired by the folks who are having success where you want to have success. Learn from them, interact with them, get motivated, and then go get started.

Speaking of last week’s post…our two winners were Sean P. and Danielle S. – Congrats guys, check your emails, and wear those shirts with pride!

I Want to Be Better.

When I began my trip around the world, I had already convinced myself and made excuses for coming back far skinnier and weaker? than when I left. ? Being sick and having no appetite for the first month didn’t exactly help either.

What a terrible, defeatist attitude!

Over the past few months, I’ve been copied on an email chain from a group of my friends who are all trying to get in killer shape right now through strength training and healthy eating. Because we’re all after the same thing (a better body and a better life), we know we can post messages back and forth trumpeting our successes without fear of sounding like we’re bragging.

Last week, one of my friends talked about how he signed up for a gym membership, got a trainer to teach him how to squat, do dead lifts, overhead presses, and bent over rows. He had switched his diet to almost completely Paleo, and as a result hit a weight and body fat percentage that he hasn’t been since high school.? I can feel his determination in each word of his each email – this is man who is driven to succeed and will stop at nothing to get there.? I have no doubt he’s going to dominate over the next few months.

I emailed him the other day and told him that after two years of doing my best to inspire him, he has become an inspiration for me.

I’m coming back to the United States in June in better shape than when I left.? I will be bigger, stronger, and faster.? I have no gym membership, I’m constantly traveling, and I often don’t have access to the best food.

The Rules of the Rebellion strike again: “We don’t make excuses, we offer solutions.”

This past week, I’ve been following the Body Weight Brigade workouts from the upcoming Rebel Strength Guide to a T. It’s fun doing things like pistol squats on a bench, pull ups on a kid’s playground, and handstands against a well in a park while people give you funny looks.

I’ve made a commitment to myself that I won’t let money come in the way of me getting enough food to build muscle, so I’ve upped my weekly food budget.? If that means I have to cut back on other luxuries to balance the books, so be it.

I want to be living proof that it’s possible to build muscle and get stronger even while living out of a backpack without any access to gym equipment. The way I see it, this time and money is well spent – it’s an investment in my future, and an investment in my business.

New 28 Day Challenge Starts TODAY

Today marks the start of the next 28-Day Challenge. If you’ve never been part of one before, it’s quite simple:

  1. Sign up for the Nerd Fitness Message Boards.
  2. Read these Rules for the challenge.
  3. Sign up for the challenge here.
  4. Start a your own thread in the 28-day Challenge Section.
  5. Start kicking ass, record your progress, and you could win a free shirt and a spot in the Hall of Heroes.

New Format for the Next Challenge

We’re officially four weeks away from the launch of the Rebel Strength Guide.

I’ve actually finished most of the guide already (Lord knows I’ve been working on it long enough)…which means I’m approximately four weeks ahead of schedule (describing me as a “last minute” person is like saying Michelangelo was a decent painter).

On April 4th, I’ll be launching the Rebel Strength Guide alongside a massive contest with awesome prizes.? Because all of the workouts in the guide are six weeks long, we’ll be switching from the 28-day format to a 6-week format (which gives people more time to get better results).? I think we’ll see how the six weeks go, and then decide which length of time we’ll stick with moving forward for future contests.

Okay, off to bed!? I have an early morning workout at the kid’s playground here in Franz Josef before my bus ride to Queenstown ??

For the Rebellion!

-Steve

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