Welcome to the quirkiest, most supportive community on the Internet.
If you consider yourself a nerd, misfit, mutant, oddball, goof, or somebody that doesn’t quite fit the mold, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re interested in living a better life but can’t seem to find others that think the way you do or want the same things you do, I want you to know two things:
- You are never alone.
- Welcome home.
Whether you’ve been reading this site for a day or 8+ years (hi mom), I appreciate you. Whether you just want to eat better and learn how to do pushups, or you’re interested in deep diving into a community that encourages both healthy and nerdy behavior equally, I’m thankful you’re here.
Actually, the fact that anybody is here is very exciting to me. I started this site in 2008 simply because I couldn’t find anything like it on the internet: a home for nerds that provided no-nonsense, unbiased fitness information. Since then, Nerd Fitness has taken on a life of its own and I couldn’t be more proud of the quality and caliber of the people who embody the NF philosophies and ideals.
This past fall, we had 450 misfits and mutants from 10+ countries attend Camp Nerd Fitness (our big in-person event), and it felt like a giant family reunion. Whether it was people that had been to Camp NF previously, or newbies meeting other members of the community for the first time, it cemented how powerful this community/force-of-nature has become.
People have gotten married as a result of meeting at Camp NF. At least 4 people have the NF logo tattooed on themselves (shout-outs to Amanda M, Chris J, Chris P, and Hannah P). There are 100+ member-led Nerd Fitness groups throughout the world.
I feel very fortunate to be part of such a special group of people, and today I want to invite you to get more involved. I know only good things can come of this 🙂
Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The Island of Misfit Toys.
The Nerd Fitness Rebellion?
I started Nerd Fitness as a simple blog back in 2009 – I published articles about push-ups, Star Wars, vegetables, and LEGO, trying my best to help other nerds get started with exercise or eating slightly better. I hoped one day this side-project hobby could become my day job and support me financially so I could focus on it. I never expected it to become a community of people that I would lean on emotionally!
Sure, I absolutely love sharing fitness and nutrition tips, deep diving into topics like The Truth About Belly Fat, How to Get Started in the Gym, or even helping others acknowledge that Being Flawed is a Good Thing.
However, that’s just a small piece of the puzzle.
Somebody at Camp NF last year said something that I’ve taken to heart: “Come for the push-ups, stay for the feels.”
We know a lot of people stumble upon Nerd Fitness through an unemotional topic like a Beginner Bodyweight Workout or the Paleo Diet or Intermittent Fasting, but it isn’t just the information that keeps them around: it’s the camaraderie of the community that ends up keeping them here for years.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why and how the Nerd Fitness Rebellion became what it is, and I think it’s because we’re all a bunch of weirdos that never get to truly be ourselves.
We often don’t get to nerd out about our favorite nerd things with our work friends. At the same time, we don’t get to be our true selves amongst some of our nerdy friends either! They’re not interested (yet) in getting healthier, and they don’t understand that we can’t start up another game of D&D or Overwatch because we have an early run or workout the next morning.
You might be working on getting in shape, but you’re intimidated by training in a commercial gym full of good looking in-shape people. Maybe you’re sick of getting bombarded with “fitspiration” ads on Instagram that show a genetically flawless person who is promoting supplements or skinny tea or cleanses.
You might feel like you’re on your own island, alone on this journey, with nobody that understands your struggles, supports your passions, and gives you permission to both love yourself AND want more for yourself.
This is what the Nerd Fitness Rebellion (our community name, paying homage to the Star Wars rebel alliance) represents: A place you get to be 100% yourself.
You can debate Star Trek vs Star Wars, discuss which Brandon Sanderson series you like the best, join a crochet group, write fan fiction as a group, or anything in between, and be heralded for your nerdy quirks.
At the same time, you can ask questions about eating better, what to do on a first date, have somebody check your deadlift form, find someone to support you on your quest to run your first 5k, or ask somebody to call you on your excuses and keep you honest!
People joked at Camp NF, after they had crowd-surfed me against my will (all in good fun though), that I had become the accidental leader of an actual cult.
I laughed and shrugged it off, and then I looked around at one group of people training with swords, another group scaling a wall, another breaking boards, another playing board games, and hundreds rocking the Nerd Fitness logo on their chests, cheering for everybody with passion, and I realized something:
We’re not a cult…we’re an army!
An army of passionate people dedicated to helping each other live a happier, healthier life.
And we need your help!
How to get involved with Nerd FItness
“Steve, I read your emails, and I’ve done the bodyweight workout, but this Rebellion thing sounds kind of fun. How do I get involved?”
You might be asking yourself this right now.
That is a fantastic question! Also, you look nice today.
Let me break down the different places you can get more involved and supported by this community.
Free Nerd Fitness Message Boards: We have a free message board community that’s home to tens of thousands of members from all over the planet. We’re lucky to have 40+ volunteer moderators that help keep the community rocking and rolling.
A quick note that your Message Board account is different than the NF Character account you might have made (or you might have if you own one of our products). If you look at the message boards and get overwhelmed, it’s okay! Start here, introduce yourself, and begin sharing your stories and struggles.
Community-Led Facebook Groups: Thanks to the growth of Facebook, although we do have an official Nerd Fitness page and private Facebook groups for each of our paid products or experiences (Camp, Rising Heroes, Academy, Yoga, Rings and Handstands), many community members have taken it upon themselves to set up their own Facebook groups for certain things as well.
Many people in these groups coordinate regular meetups or events, and I cannot tell you how cool that is for me. Here are just SOME of the communities, some based around geographical locations or others based on interests.
Here are just a FEW of the location-based ones:
And here are a few focused on interests:
A simple search on Facebook for a city or state and Nerd Fitness should reveal a group you might be on the hunt for!
What’s that? You don’t see a group for your particular special interest or location? Make one! Post a comment on this post, join the Message Boards and let people know you’re starting a group, share it with the community, leave it as a comment in this article, and get your group up and running! It only takes two to tango!
What’s that? You want to host a meet-up? Go for it, and let us know so we can share the details! I know the Austin NF group, the Boston group, Europe, and Aussies get together at least a few times a year, and it’s all community-led.
We hope to be able to support and make these groups and events more official in the future, but for the time being I am so thankful for the men and women and robots that have set up these groups and are embracing the NF Rebellion, hosting events, and facilitating the support. You have my thanks.
Who works for Team Nerd Fitness?
Although Nerd Fitness started as a part-time hobby that I worked on after my day job every night, it’s really become a beast to manage and support.
We now have 9 full-time employees (that live in 9 different states) and a dozen contractors that work all day to improve the experience around here!
You probably know some of them:
Staci Ardison was a community member who found NF at a low point in her life (and chain smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day) and now deadlifts 430 pounds. She also champions our community to the world and encourages women to not be afraid to lift heavy, teaches how to batch cook, and has the cutest dog on the planet. You should probably follow her on Instagram at @StaciArdison if you want to see deadlifts and doggies 🙂
Jim Bathurst taught me how to do handstands and muscle-ups back in 2011. A few years later, I sheepishly asked if he wanted to train our nerds at Camp NF, and then I learned that he’s even nerdier than I am! Since then, Jim has joined the team full time and creates workout experiences and provides expert fitness advice to our communities. He also has an amazing dog named Scooter, and you should follow both Jim (@BeastSkills) and Scooter (@ScooterpomDC).
In addition to those two knuckleheads above, we have a ton of people that operate behind the scenes. From Darryl who does all of our design to Alek who builds all of our websites, Baker who develops our products and coordinates everybody, and Lauren who runs Camp, we also have Noel who is helping take care of people in our monthly adventure Rising Heroes along with making sure our emails make it safely to your inboxes, and Simone who is in charge of Rebel Support.
Along with this full-time team, we also have a dozen contractors and partners that handle everything from HR to bookkeeping to accounting to forecasting to legal to servers to analytics and all of the other behind-the-scenes stuff. (All the adult stuff, gross.)
I wanted to share with you these things for a few reasons:
Nearly everybody on Team NF is somebody that started as a community member at Nerd Fitness. They were asked to join the team thanks to their commitment to improving the lives of those around them, doing so just because they wanted to. These are people leveling up their lives too, and their infectious and supportive behavior is what makes them great Team NF Members.
We’re just like you: misfits and oddballs and goofs who are trying to figure out life, fitness, and business. Nerd Fitness has been bootstrapped since day one (my initial investment was $100 to buy a domain and a year of hosting), and our focus is on creating an experience and environment that helps you live better.
Depending on how long you’ve been reading Nerd Fitness, you might not be aware of some of the following:
1) There are intentionally no ads on Nerd Fitness. Before I started this site, I really struggled to find a fitness website that gave me honest information. Most of them tried to sell me on proprietary workouts (scientists hate this one weird trick!), supplements (fat blaster!), or shamed me into thinking I was unworthy unless I joined their service.
There are no ads on Nerd Fitness because I want you to know the information presented here is unbiased and untainted by advertising dollars.
I have no problems with companies needing to make a living; I just wanted Nerd Fitness to be a safe haven from all of that stuff. If you read something on Nerd Fitness, it’s because we believe in it wholeheartedly, we’ve experimented on ourselves and can share the results, or we’ve seen the strategy work for OUR people (busy nerds who struggle with their health).
This might lead you to ask the question: “Steve, how do you pay 9 people and 12 contractors if there are no ads?”
2) Nerd Fitness builds its own courses and experiences. Nerd Fitness is both a community and a business. We know that probably 95% of people that read this site or join our community will never buy anything we sell, and that’s okay!
At the same time, we have built some damn good products and experiences that have helped tens of thousands of customers dramatically transform their lives.
We know not everybody can afford them, which is why we offer everything else on this site for free and ad-free. We have published 800+ free articles, we have free message boards, encourage free community-led events, and more.
We are confident that the free stuff we offer is better than most people’s paid offerings, and that our paid experiences or products are a better value than anything out there in the fitness space.
In short, we create things that get results for our people. We break down the problems busy nerds have, and create experiences – both digital and in person – that remove all barriers between that person and success.
When we put out something new, we’re going to tell you about it! We believe very strongly that our products are the best in the industry, and that they will get you the results you’re after in the environment you need to succeed – provided you follow the instructions and do the work (which is always the tough part)!
Right now, the things we have for sale:
- The Nerd Fitness Academy: Think of this like a digital bootcamp for the first 12 months of your fitness journey. The Academy includes quests, workouts, nutritional plans, and mindset strategies to finally overcome the obstacles of getting in shape.
- Rising Heroes: Our monthly habit-building, team-based, story-driven adventure. We open the doors to enlist for a few days each month and take the entire community through an experience that changes based on the actions the group takes or the decisions made from week to week. Doors open again next week for a few days!
- Nerd Fitness Yoga: Yoga for people who don’t do yoga. 🙂 If you have a sore back, poor posture, or you just want to finally be able to touch your toes, NF Yoga is your thing. No zen or woo-woo stuff, just fun approachable routines you can follow in the comfort of your home (or download and watch anywhere) with the NF Style you love.
- Nerd Fitness Rings and Nerd Fitness Handstands: A beginner’s guide to getting you from doing simple movements to advanced movements like handstands, front levers, and muscle-ups. We built a proprietary leveling system to let you know exactly when to level up for each movement so you always know what to do next.
- Camp Nerd Fitness (next Camp in 2018): An in-person, long weekend experience of training, costume parties, gaming, and everything in between. I could try to explain it to you, and this video does a pretty damn good job, but you really have to experience it in person. 🙂
Here’s something super important to know: we don’t think every person should join every single premium experience we offer! We also don’t think they’re courses “that scientists don’t want you to know about!” We don’t build our courses or communities like this.
Instead, we believe this should be a choose-your-own-adventure, and that our courses might be a good fit to help you get to where you want to go. Our goal is that anything we build for sale solves a specific set of problems for rebels in a specific situation.
Many people do love the Academy for their mindset, diet, and workout quests – but on their off days love to pop on one of the NF Yoga videos and stretch their sore muscles. It’s great that these work together for many people, but no single course is required for any other.
Obviously we’d love for you to check out the ones that pique your interest; it’s how we keep the lights on. Or don’t! That’s cool too 🙂
3) We’re a small team. We make mistakes! We spend all day every day trying to serve this community better.
This community is everything to me, it’s everything to our team, and I know it’s everything for a lot of people in it.
Every member of this team has the same passion and the same love for serving the Rebellion. We work hard to provide an amazing free community experience AND also be a valuable company that can sustain itself and grow the number of people our message can impact.
We read pretty much every email, facebook comment, thread, discussion, argument and success story that happens in our community.
Some people are fanatical about what we do and how we offer to help people. Other people would prefer that we take a different approach (in slightly less nice terms, ha!). It’s part of having a large, diverse community – and many members feel a BIG stake in the future of the Rebellion (and thus also have passionate opinions). It’s a good problem to have. 🙂
We have big plans to evolve, adapt, improve, change, fail, flop, grow, and learn in the coming years.
We’ll continue to provide free resources on topics that can help nerds around the world live happier, healthy lives. We’ll continue to invest in creating or improving premium experiences that a portion of our community embrace and leverage to get better, more sustainable results.
And we’ll also continue to mess up! And then we’ll continue to lean on the community for advice and suggestions on how to balance being a free, open, supportive community and a sustainable, long-term business.
No matter what your current role in the Rebellion is – new or old, active or passive, occasional article reader or member of several of our communities – you are welcome here.
And we hope you’ll reach out. Let us know what you are struggling with. Let us know what you love about the community or wish we could offer you in a better way.
You’re never alone
Harry Potter lived under a staircase until he found his people at Hogwarts. Rogue struggled with her powers and identity until she discovered there was a school for people like her run by Professor Xavier.
Depending on where you are at in your life, what your job or family situation looks like, you might feel like a misfit toy or a mutant that is misunderstood.
I want you to know that you’re not alone. This community will welcome you with open arms, and do whatever we can to help you – as long as you are willing to commit to helping yourself too.
We know most people arrive on the proverbial doorsteps of the Nerd Fitness School for Gifted Youngsters with a lot of baggage: a rough upbringing, a shitty home situation, poor genetics, years of bad habits, and mental challenges that need to be overcome. Fighting these battles can be ugly, messy, and scary.
Welcome home, friend.
Although we have 11 official Rules of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, I can simplify things even further.
If you believe or embrace the following, we’re glad to have you:
We don’t care where you came from, only where you’re going. 400 pounds, 100 pounds, male, female, young, old, olympic athlete or newbie. Welcome. I don’t care what got you here, only how we can help you get you where you want to go.
We need to take personal responsibility. We all have baggage and crap we’re dealing with. Nerd Fitness and this community wants to help. It starts by accepting that no matter where you are in life, you and you alone are responsible for taking ownership and responsibility for that (even if it’s not your fault). This means you also already have all the tools and permission you need to change your life!
We don’t say “This doesn’t work for me because [excuse].” Instead, we say “Okay, this is my situation, how can I make this work for me?” It’s easy to take the easy path and decide your problems are unique and unsolvable…we don’t have room for those people! We are looking for people who step up and take the challenge: “Okay, I’m a single mom with 3 kids and 2 jobs and a busted leg…here’s how I can make this advice work for me.”
Play nice. We have a zero-tolerance policy for asshats – our moderators on the boards wield a heavy Ban Hammer 🙂 Remember that we all start somewhere, and that there are different ways to get in shape. We help those that want to be helped, but we don’t force our opinions on somebody that isn’t interested. Just because it’s the internet doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk. We have no problem telling people “thanks for being here up until now, but you need to find a new community moving forward.”
Ask for help. Whether it’s dealing with a mental illness, feeling silly for being afraid of going to the gym, or worrying about looking foolish when attending your first dance class, this is a community of people you can lean on. You will get out of it what you put into it.
TL:DR – Thank you for being here, for being weird, and for reading this. I hope you continue to be a part of this amazing group of people – in person or just online. Ask for help, and help those that ask.
In other words, come for the push-ups, stay for the feels 🙂
If you already have a NF Facebook group with at least 5 members in it, please leave a comment below with the link to it and what your group represents so others can join!
I’d love to hear from you: what makes you a unique member of Nerd Fitness?
Here’s mine again:
I nerd out passionately about video games, economics, playing music (piano, guitar, and violin), and for some reason think Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” is one of the best songs of the past decade. I read 1-2 books per week. I break out into spontaneous solo dance parties and sing at the top of my lungs in my apartment at least once a week.
I also hit the gym four days a week. I’m working towards a 405 lb deadlift, a 60-second handstand, and can knock out sets of strict ring muscle-ups. I love discussing strength training tactics at the same time as discussing the brilliance of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Your turn. Leave a message in the comments!
See you around the Rebellion!
all photos courtesy of Will Byington Photography.