Interview with Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness (Plus Giveaway)

There are heaps of health and fitness websites out there.  I like to follow a few sites at a time and then move onto some new ones for a fresh perspective, inspiration and new ideas.

One health and fitness blog that I will always follow however, is Nerd Fitness.  Steve Kamb is the creator and leader of Nerd Fitness, a fitness community dedicated to helping average Joes and desk jockeys live healthier lives.   Problogger named Steve as one of its 20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012.

Steve puts a fresh spin on the same old fitness and health stuff you’re used to seeing in many other blogs.  If you have ever played (and enjoyed) video games in your lifetime, you’ll love the connections Steve makes with superheroes and video game characters.

A huge thanks to Steve for his time and for giving away a copy of his Rebel Fitness Guide.

Read to the bottom for details on how you can win!

 

What inspired you to start Nerd Fitness?

Steve Kamb:  A few things.  Back when I was 16, I was cut from my high school basketball team, so i wandered into my local gym with the goal of getting big and strong…except I didn’t really have any clue on how to do that.  I almost killed myself by loading up too much weight on the bar while doing a bench press, but fell in love with the concept of weight training.  Over the next six years, I worked out almost daily to try and get bigger and stronger, and had minimal results.

Upon graduating college, I moved to California where I signed up for a gym that came with free personal trainer sessions.  I assumed I knew all there was to know about health and fitness at that point, but decided to go through with the free sessions anyways.  My trainer completely redesigned my workout and my diet, and in one month, I made more progress than I had in the previous 6 years…from that point onward, I knew I wanted to help beginners avoid the mistakes I had made so they could start seeing results immediately.

As far as why “NERD Fitness,” I decided that I could be helpful to a very specific group of people – nerds and desk jockeys who want to get healthy but don’t know where to get started.  I’m a nerd, I love fitness and helping people get healthy…BAM Nerd Fitness!

Describe what “Level Up Your Life” means to you

SK:  I recently gave a talk on this at TEDxEmory which breaks it down (see the video below), but ultimately, I grew up playing Role Playing Games like Zelda, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, and EverQuest, and I loved the concept of taking a weak character and leveling him up by making him stronger, faster, and more powerful.
It was only natural that eventually I decided to start leveling up MY character in real life instead of just a character on a computer screen.  Every day is an opportunity to learn a new skill, get a little bit stronger, explore a new land, meet new people – constant improvement, constant education, constant fun.  :)

 

“Hey Steve, help…I want to get fit…but where do I start?” What are your 3 tips for a newbie:

SK:

  1. Aim small.  If you’re new to working out, set a goal of exercising for just 5 minutes per day.  Going for a walk.  Doing push ups.  Something super small and basic that you can’t help but finish it.  It’s not the workout that’s important, but the nature of building a healthy habit.
  2. Count your calories.  Most people have absolutely NO clue how much food they eat on a daily basis.  Spend a few days tracking every single calorie so you have an estimate of how much food you are really eating.  Once you have a baseline average, you can start making more informed decisions on what you should be eating (and how much of it) in order to lose weight and get healthier.
  3. Find something that makes you happy.  When people think of exercise, they probably have nightmares about running on a treadmill or spending hours on an elliptical.  Fitness is what you make of it.  I HATE cardio and long distance endurance training, so I don’t do it.  Ever.  Instead, I love strength training, so that’s where I put my focus.  If you don’t like exercising, then you haven’t found the activity that you enjoy yet.  Find something that gets you moving and your heart racing and try to do that activity as often as possible.

Quick, you’ve got 15 minutes to spare…what’s your workout:

SK:  If I’m at a gym, it would be barbell squats, pull ups, and overhead presses.  Do a set of squats, followed by pull ups, followed by overhead presses…and I’d do them in that circuit as many times as possible in 15 minutes.

If I’m not at a gym, I’d be doing body weight squats (or pistol squats if you’re up for it), pull ups, and push ups (or handstand push ups).  Repeat the circuit as many times as possible in 15 minutes.

What are your favourite pre-workout and post-workout meals?

SK:  Pre-workout: apple slices and almond butter: 45 minutes or an hour before the workout.

Post-workout:  My big ass smoothie (as I’m in the process of packing on size and muscle): 16 oz of organic whole milk, 1 cup of oats, 6-7 frozen organic strawberries, a handful of frozen organic spinach, and a scoop of whey protein.

Do you have any mentors or other people you admire?

SK:  My two “coaches” are my friends Vic Magary (VicMagary.com) and Jim Bathurst from BeastSkills.com – I go to these guys whenever I have questions on strength training or weight manipulation (Vic) or gymnastic or body weight training (Jim).  It’s really helpful to have somebody that you can turn to whenever you are confused, as confusion and information overload often leads to paralysis.  These guys get to the point quickly and tell me what I’m doing right, what I”m doing wrong, and how to fix it.

What are your favourite books and online resources for fitness and health?

SK:  I’m a big fan of Mark Sisson and Mark’s Daily Apple, as I think he’s broken down the Paleo Diet (a method of eating that makes the most sense to me) into a really manageable and fun concept.

I also love Jason Ferruggia’s no-nonsense approach to strength and muscle training.

Although this will sound unusual, I love reading Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net.  His articles are a constant reminder to simplify, simplify, simplify.  Focus on the important stuff, cut out the extra crap, and so on.  Focus on clean eating, heavy lifting, and getting enough sleep.  That’s it! 

If you could start Nerd Fitness again from scratch, what would you do differently?

SK:  I would have embraced my full personality in my writing much sooner.  For nine months, I wrote the articles that I thought people wanted to read instead of the articles that I wanted to write.
After 9 months, I realized that I wasn’t making myself excited or happy, and thus I probably wasn’t helping out my readers very much either.  I switched form 5 short articles to two long ones each week and NF took off very quickly once I made that change.  I just wish I had done it sooner!

What’s next for you and Nerd Fitness?

SK:  World domination of course!  I’m going to continue building the Nerd Fitness brand by cranking out free content as often as possible.  I have put a big focus lately on habit building and the psychology of fitness, as i really want to make sure people not only have the information they need, but also the tools necessary to make their new habits stick.

We’re building a handful of new projects that I really think could make a huge dent in the universe.  Things will get nerdier and more fun :)

Enter to Win a free copy of Steve’s Rebel Fitness Guide

One lucky “Rebellion” will have a chance to win their own copy of Steve’s Rebel Fitness Guide.

The 40-page Rebel Fitness Guide includes:

  • The Nerd Fitness Training Philosophy – Stop spending hours on a treadmill, and start doing quick workouts that have you burning fat more efficiently in far less time.
  • How to Succeed – Prepare mentally and physically for the challenges that await you on your journey.
  • How to Get Started – Definitive steps that you can take to make sure you get started on the right foot.
  • What You Need in Your Inventory – What kind of equipment you can acquire to improve your chances at success.

Please note the contest is now over.

Entering is easy.  Simply send a “tweet” using the button below and I will contact one individual at random – the winner.  The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM EDT.


Good Luck!


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About Mark Kennedy

Husband. Dad. Former Kinesiologist working in finance industry. Blogging on Healthynomics. Running and biking in Toronto and beyond. Follow Mark on Google+.

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