Reinventing the Nerd with the Rebel Fitness Guide

If you thought nerds were overweight weirdo-beardos eating Oreos in their moms' basements, think again. Just because we relate to Comic Book Guy doesn't mean we have to look like him. We check in with Nerd Fitness founder Steve Kamb.


Since posting this interview, Steve has also released a few more guides that may meet your specific fitness goals:

The Rebel Strength Guide, for folks who want to be strong and pack on muscle
The Rebel Running Guide, for those wanting better skill and form for their running

If you want to finally achieve your fitness goals, definitely give Steve's courses a try.

No doubt you're familiar with the old adage “you can't judge a book by its cover.” Probably that was your mom talking to you, trying to teach you not to make fun of some girl in school because she probably has a really great personality. Whether or not that was true, sayings like that don't stick around for decades if there isn't some kernel of truth in them.

When you think of nerds, Star Wars, comic books, and super heroes, the odds are you're not thinking of guys with abs and 300lb bench presses. You might look at a guy like Ryan Reynolds and never realize that dude loves comic books. Likewise, you might not realize that we here at Primer, when we're not training with kettlebells, selecting the perfect weapon for home defense, or find the right tailor to fit our jackets, we're quite possibly watching Back to the Future or debating the stability of Tatooine's double sun system. It's alright, need to be both nerdy and stylish. Just because you enjoy comic books doesn't mean you get a pass on not shaving, eating well, or exercising.

Introduce Nerd Fitness

One guy who gets that is Steve Kamb, founder and writer of Nerd Fitness, a site which embraces the nerdier side of life all while giving spot-on fitness advice. Recently, much of this advice was collected into the Rebel Fitness Guide, a massive tome of information on eating right and working out either at home or in the gym. Of course we liked this e-book: it shares many of the founding principles as our own 100 Days of Fitness program.

The Rebel Fitness Guide is beyond just one e-book, it's more like 8 e-books in one, plus all the materials to keep track of your progress. Parts one and two are guide books for exercising and nutrition, which lay the basic framework of the program. The other six books are complete work-outs for different phases of your progress, from Rookie all the way up to Renegade.

Before and after Rebel Fitness

What's great about this guide, to me, is two fold. First, every exercise is explained. If you're a true beginner and you've never squatted before, you need to know what a squat is and how to do it. That's covered. Second, is the interactivity. The internet is indeed the future, friends, and while I do love the feel of a book in my hand, you can't link a page of a textbook to a video demonstrating the exercise. Reading about how to do an exercise with two pictures is one thing, watching someone actually execute the move in real time is another. At any point in the recommended workout you can click an exercise, get a description, and then click a link that takes you to a YouTube video of the exercise being performed.

While just looking at the book had me convinced it was a solid investment, we decided to talk to Kamb and get the inside track on eating right, what exercises to do, and just how great of an athlete Batman is. Take a look at what he had to say to us, and if you like what you hear, or even if you don't, go check out the Rebel Fitness Guide.

If you could boil the Nerd Fitness philosophy down into two sentences, what would they be?

Eat real food, train with conviction, take responsibility for your actions, be accountable to yourself, and have fun. Fitness can become part of what you are, but not at the expense of who you are.

The Rebel Fitness Guide bases a lot of the nutritional tenets on the Paleo diet. What is a “Paleo diet” and where does it come from?

I apologize in advance for getting long winded on this one, but this is definitely one of the most important concepts I discuss in the Rebel Fitness Guide. It’s by far the most logical and intelligent argument for a particular way to eat that I’ve come across, and it absolutely works.

Although it sounds like a new fad diet, the Paleo Diet has been around for, oh, the past 150,000 years. Essentially, the premise behind the diet is that although we’ve discovered all kinds of new techniques and technologies (especially the invention of agriculture and the consumption of grains starting 10,000 years ago), our genetics haven’t changed very much from our earliest ancestors.

We’ve survived and thrived as a species for tens of thousands of years by eating real foods: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. That’s it! Our stomachs haven’t evolved to properly break down grains and most of the carbs we eat today, and they are certainly not prepared to handle all of the processed chemical crap that we put in our systems daily. Simply cut out the fake stuff, the processed stuff, and then eat as much as you want of the healthy stuff. No counting calories, no portion control – eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not.

It’s kind of a radical concept to grasp at first, but if you take an hour or so to read up on the studies and history behind it, it makes total sense. Think about it: despite years and years of scientific breakthroughs, more low-fat meals available than ever, and a continued push for 6-11 servings of grains per day, 66% of our country is overweight and half of those people are obese…and things are getting WORSE. We’re clearly not doing something right.

The Paleo diet rights all of these wrongs and can reverse years of poor eating habits. I’ll stop here, but I could go on for another 73 pages.

What's the first item or two someone should buy if they're going to work out at home?

A leopard-print leotard and Miley Cyrus’s latest CD. Now, if you’re not into that stuff, I’d probably go with a simple set of adjustable dumbbells and then maybe an exercise ball. You can use your body weight for almost all of your exercises to start, while using the dumbbells to do supplemental back/chest exercises and the ball to work out your core.

Head on down to your nearest Wal-Mart or Target and you can pick up a basic set of dumbbells for $25 and a ball for $20

What makes the Rebel Fitness Guide different from all the “Abs in 4 Weeks” fluff I see on magazine stands?

Those articles, magazines, and programs are designed to prey on people’s insecurities and desire for a quick fix without any work. These magazines and commercials make me sick to my stomach.

I’m sorry, but I can’t promise you six-pack abs in four weeks. I can’t make you look like Gerard Butler in the movie 300 overnight either. Although they will try to tell you otherwise, none of those magazines can either: there’s no magic pill, secret workout, or special supplement that will make you thin. It takes hard work, a solid diet, and dedication. Fortunately, it can also be a ton of fun and incredibly rewarding.

I’ve designed the Rebel Fitness Guide to cut through all the crap and fluff – I give you the building blocks for success, and then I draw you an exact blueprint to follow. It won’t work miracles, but if you stick with the program you will see noticeable results.

To quote the great Morpheus: I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

Who is your Nerd Fitness Idol?

Hmm, from a purely nerd/vanity standpoint, I guess I’d have to say Ryan Reynolds. I don’t know if he’s a jerk in real life or not, but I do know that the dude gets in incredible shape for his movies, he always plays some comic book hero, and he’s married to Scarlett Johansson. Sounds like a win to me.

For a normal everyday dude, I’d go with the relatively unknown Makoto Nagano: he’s one of the all-stars on Ninja Warrior, the best show on TV you’re not watching. This humble 38 year-old fisherman is one of the most gifted athletes and strongest S.O.B.’s I’ve ever witnessed. He has a full time job on a boat at sea, a family, and still finds plenty of time to train to get in phenomenal shape.

He should be your hero too.

Who wins in a decathlon, Batman, Luke Skywalker, or James Kirk?

I’m going to make a few assumptions here:

  • Batman is played by Christian Bale and not George Clooney
  • Batman can use his gadgets
  • Luke can use the Force, but won’t need to use his lightsaber.
  • Kirk comes in dead last for all of these events. Sorry Trekkies.

Batman dominates the high jump, pole vault, and long jump thanks to the cape, and he also wins the short 100m dash and 400m dash because he just gets angry and refuses to lose. However, his suit slows him down too much by the end of the 1500m, so Luke takes 1stplace on that one.

Skywalker sets all kinds of records in the shot put, discus, and javelin by using the Force to keep his projectiles in the air for approximately three miles. I see Luke winning the hurdles too, as Batman’s cape will probably get caught on a hurdle when he struggles to see out of the mask properly.

As they come across the finish of the last event (resulting in a 5-5 tie between Luke and Batman), Darth Vader shows up to force-choke the judges and the Joker steals all of the Olympic gold medals.

Or something like that.

Why write the Rebel Fitness Guide?

I created the Rebel Fitness Guide to break down this whole “getting in shape” thing to the simplest terms possible. I know people are busy and I know most people don’t have a gym membership, so I created a program that is focused on simple, challenging, home-based workouts that take no more than 45 minutes to complete.

I know what it’s like to want to get in shape and not have a clue where to get started. It’s intimidating, scary, and quite overwhelming. There are thousands of programs, millions of supplements, and untold numbers of websites out there to confuse you.

I also know how great it feels to be in shape, to hold my head high with confidence, to look in the mirror with pride, and smile. I want to help others feel like that.

I created Nerd Fitness and the Rebel Fitness Guide because I really do want to help people level up their lives. Even if you have no desire to buy the e-book, please shoot me an email at [email protected] if you have any questions or need some advice and I’d be glad to help out.

Robert Fure

Robert Fure is a fitness, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in Los Angeles. He is also a certified Personal Trainer and the Creator/Editor of Fit and Furious, an online outlet dedicated to the pursuit of a fit lifestyle. His entertainment work can be viewed at Film School Rejects.