For those who would like to get in shape this coming year, but would rather draw inspiration from The Force than the local gym, Nerd Fitness may just be what you're looking for.
The brainchild of blogger Steve Kamb in 2009, NerdFitness.com has quickly grown into a massive community of "desk jockeys, nerds, and average Joes" looking to upgrade their lives and win back their health.
"The tagline for this site is 'Level up your life, every single day,' writes Kamb. "If I do my job right, you’ll wake up every day a little healthier than you were yesterday — eat a little better, get a little stronger, run a little faster, and feel a little better about yourself."
Want to be Jason Bourne? Draw inspiration from the words of Optimus Prime? Eat healthy like Mr. Spock? Nerd Fitness has you covered — and more. The in-depth articles, while attractive for their geeky themes, are incredibly detailed in terms of fitness and nutritional advice. In addition, the site also features a for-pay "Nerd Fitness Academy," which allows members access to workout plans, training videos, a "nutrition leveling system," and even an RPG-style quest system that tracks your progress and rewards you for hitting certain goals.
Kamb, who grew up playing adventure games like Nintendo's "Zelda" series, said in an interview that he wanted to translate that fun into something that would encourage people to get fit and healthy.
"I looked at all the reasons why I was playing these games, and it’s like you got a character, you get to make him stronger and more experienced and more advanced," he told the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. "You get to explore all these great lands and do all these great things. It’s like why can’t we apply those same tactics that get people addicted to video games to getting them healthy and getting them off their couch and outside?"
Unlike other fitness sites, Nerd Fitness encourages its members to ditch gym machines and embrace instead free weights; training you for "real-life movements" and making you stronger and less prone to injury. The site also pushes realistic nutrition, advocating for small changes over time, rather than the disaster-prone fad diets that offer short-term results.
"We understand that although the total number of calories we eat certainly impacts our health (eating less will make you lose weight), WHAT those calories are made of is just as important, if not more so," the site explains.
Kamb's approach has proven effective. In 2014, NerdFitness.com doubled its subscriber list to 240,000 members, watched its online message board community soar past 30,000, and launched a highly successful "Camp Nerd Fitness" with over 200 participants.
Added Kamb in a blog post: "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.' "
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