In this episode of the Super Strength Show, Steve Kamb takes us on his journey to becoming a Fitness Enthusiast, Adventurer, Blogger, Author, and Founder of Nerd Fitness. During this interview, Steve shares his mission to help nerds around the world, level up their lives through fitness.
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[0:00:19.4] RT: What’s up Strength Maniacs? And thanks for tuning in. I’m pleased to welcome today’s guest Steve Kamb. Steve is the founder of nerdfitness.com, a worldwide fitness community dedicated to helping nerds, desk jockeys and self-aware robots level up their lives. They need loving too guys.
He’s also the author of the book, Level Up your Life. It gives people a blue print for prioritizing adventure, growth and happiness by turning life into a giant video game. Man, I’m loving this. While running his company from coke — wait a minute, did I read this correctly?
[0:00:52.6] SK: Coconut laptop, you heard me.
[0:00:54.3] RT: See, I knew that was going to trip me up, I’m loving that. While running his company from, yeah that’s right people, a coconut laptop, Steve has ventured all over the world, explored the ruins of Machu Picchu. Man, that’s a place I want to go to for sure. Dived with sharks off the great barrier reef and lived like James Bond in Monte Carlo.
He has guest lectured at Google, Google Dublin, Facebook, Ted Ex Emery and regularly speaks at Vanderbilt University. Man, I’m loving this. You can connect with him by visiting his website. nerdfitness.com.
Steve, welcome to the show man, It’s great to have you here.
[0:01:33.8] SK: It’s great to be here and I have to say, you have the best radio/podcast voice I have ever heard. So unless — if nobody ever tells you that, just want you to know that I’m telling you, it’s awesome. I feel more epic already just having heard that stuff said about me.[0:01:49.6] RT: I know, some of the listeners right now are going, “Ray’s head man, I wonder if he’s got a larger studio because a few people have mentioned that before.” But thank you, I appreciate that very much, thank you. Look man, at the end of the day, the reason it sounds so good is because this stuff actually is good man, you’ve done some amazing things here.
You’re living quite the life. It sounds like a mix of, I mean let’s think here, we’ve got some Indiana Jones going on, we got some James Bond going on, we’re going to have to hear a little bit more about that. And you’re living the dream in terms of health and fitness and happiness and man, I can’t wait till you get into this, the book that you’ve written recently and it’s just come out here.
By the sounds of it, you said it’s a bit of a blueprint man to let us in on all this fun and amazing adventure called life. So how about we dive in but before we do that, give us a little bit more information about yourself?
[0:02:36.4] SK: Absolutely. Let me tell you about the first time I ever walked into a gym. I was 16, had just been cut from the basketball team and I was the skinny, scrawny weak kid and I decided, I was like, “I’m going to come back next year and I’m going to be big and strong and make the team.” And I walked into the gym not knowing anything and the first thing I did was lie down on the bench, load up like 45 pound plates on either side of it and my spaghetti arms could barely get the weight off the bench.
And Immediately dropped it directly on to my chest. I had to do like the kind of roll of shame where I rolled a little bit to the left and the weight comes spinning off and then obviously quickly jerked to over the right and all the weight went spinning off on that side too. This gym was up in the second floor so it sounded like two gunshots went off in the gym and there was about a hundred people up on that second floor just giving me the death stare going who is this kid and what is he doing here?
That was my first ever time, working out. Fortunately, it was only mostly humiliating and not humiliating enough to keep me away and from that moment on I’ve just kind of fallen in love with this idea of helping myself get a little stronger and healthier and doing it in a way that lined up with my kind of nerdy philosophy on life. Instead of going to the gym, I had a quest to complete or a mission to go on.
And that eventually translated many years later to me starting a website which is now become this online community and large team actually at nerdfitness.com, which is a worldwide group of people from all walks of life that we primarily focused on helping people getting stronger, more fit, healthier, happier.
And as the way I put it in the book, the way I think about it, “Helping people live a life in which they wake up excited and go to bed proud.” And I’ve been running nerd fitness now for seven years, coming up seven and half years I guess which is just crazy to me.
[0:04:38.4] RT: Do you find that just the general theme, just nerd fitness, do you think that’s resonating with a lot of people nowadays? Today, we live in a world of technology, science and I mean, being a nerd man in a way it’s become kind of chic, there was a point in time when everybody would kind of point that point dexter and make fun of the guy that was into this kind of stuff but now that a lot of these guys and gals kind of run the world, I don’t know, I could think of a couple of them off the top of my head. It’s a different story now, right?
[0:05:05.8] SK: Yeah, it’s funny actually , there was an article on Fox Business or something, I think it was yesterday and the day before but it was like “Fitness trend” and it was nerds and I was like, “Oh no, we’re trendy, crap.”
[0:05:20.3] RT: It’s like early adopters of social media platforms. “Man, all the normal people are on here now.”
[0:05:24.7] SK: Right, now I got to be not nerdy or something, I don’t know, now tanks to Disney’s acquisition of both marvel and Star Wars and the sheer popularity of Captain America and the Avengers and what the most recent Star Wars movie that came out, being nerdy and fit is in now but when I bought the domain, eight and a half years ago, it wasn’t like, “Oh this is going to be a trend that I can capitalize on.”
I like building computers and I play a lot of role playing games and I read Harry Potter in between job sites while I’m driving around on my sales calls and this is my people, this is my tribe and this is who I feel comfortable talking to, this is who I get to be myself around and there’s some people I want to help.
And so I started nerd fitness when I used to term nerd endearingly but now it’s in, according to Fox, I’m in. I’m looking forward for the day where we’re not in and we can just go back to being nerds that like nerdy stuff and also like picking up heavy things.
[0:06:23.5] RT: That’s interesting. Nerds who like to pick up heavy things. That’s Peter Parker isn’t it? I don’t’ know if he was really a full-fledged nerd but yeah. Okay, I’m liking this, this is sounding good. All right, let’s get to the topic of the day which is your new book, Level up Your Life. I like the video game terminology, I’m liking that.
I used to — I played more than my fair share just like probably a lot of us have. To the point that I think my parents were kind of concerned about me as a kid. Just like, “Maybe this was a bad idea getting him this thing?” That was back in the 8bit days man, when it was a Nintendo Hard. NES Hard, I don’t’ know if…
[0:06:58.9] SK: Sure, you had to blow on the cartridge and jiggle it up and down, yeah. It was a full game before you actually got to play the damn thing.
[0:07:06.1] RT: Yeah, then just the difficulty of the games themselves, they just weren’t that complicated. They didn’t have much to work with back then in terms of computing power. They were like, “How can we make this more difficult. I know, let’s just add 10 million bullets to the screen. Literally, it’s just bullet hell and then let’s see if the guy can make it. What’s another way we can make this difficult? Gee, I dunno, let’s make it super cryptic so you could never figure out what the next thing is that you have to do.” Yeah, without the internet, you were literally, you were screwed.
[0:07:33.7] SK: For sure.
[0:07:34.8] RT: Anyway, so tell me, Level Up Your Life, let’s get into this man.
[0:07:38.9] SK: Sure, just quickly aside to it, or mentioned it when you were discussing. I grew up on the regular Nintendo as well and my favorite game was the Legend of Zelda. It was this guy, this little boy is given a wooden sword and shield and he’s tasked with saving the world. And I’m like, “Hey, I’m a little dude,” I went in the back of the woods and made a shield out of leaves and branches and made a sword and would run to the woods and imagine that my life was this amazing adventure.
As I got older, the games got more complex, the story lines got more amazing, the graphics got more beautiful and you didn’t have to use nearly as much imagination. As a kid I’d play for a little bit and then we’d go on the backyard and act it out and imagine we were characters and then you get to high school and college and going through puberty and acne and not having a driver’s license and having to talk to people and all these things. I’m like, these video games are now so complex and great and life kind of became this thing that I was enduring really before I could get back to my computer or sit back down on the couch and play games.
So what started as kind of entertainment — and I never took it to a point of pure obsession, I know many people have lost jobs and relationships and things like that. But for me, these games and movies and things that I loved as a kid, when life kind of sucked, they became the thing that I escaped into and as I was developing this idea for Nerd Fitness and trying to find this path for myself in life, I stumbled across the concept of Joseph Campbell and the idea of the Mono Myth or The Hero’s Journey. Idea that every great story in history, from the Bible, to King Arthur, to the Matrix, to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, pretty much any great nerd story anyway. Followed a very similar story ark.
There is a person of humble origins that feels like a fish out of water. It turns out they’re meant for something greater and there’s a call to action, they initially refuse the call to action, the initially refused the call, there’s a mentor that kind of drags them along or helps them out. They enter into this extraordinary world and recruit allies and fight bad guys and save — find treasure, save the world, save the princess, save the whatever and return home a changed person.
Here I am working a crappy desk job, actually it wasn’t a desk job, I was at a sales job and I was out driving around and I was so terrible at it. Fitness was part of my escape and video games were the other part of it and I just thought to myself, “why don’t I combine these things? What if instead of trying to pick up some heavy stuff and then going home and imagining I’m a character, what if I combined the two things? What if going to the gym became the mission and what if I was the hero in my own story?” All of a sudden those setbacks that I saw or the fact that I was in a job that I hated, that just became my origin story that was like — that was Steve before he became a super hero.
“Oh okay, I’m just the first two stages of the hero’s journey. Keep an eye out for the next one,” and the next one was like, “Oh who is the mentor? What’s the call to action?” And then you identify what that call to action is. It’s like, “Oh okay, well, what does that look like?” Well I want to live a life that has adventure and getting stronger and healthier and happier and working on things that make me proud of who I am and I look in the mirror excited and wake up, as I say in Nerd Fitness, in the boom is, wake up excited and go to bed proud.
I noticed a lot of overlaps and parallels between strength training, how I felt about myself and how that translated to how I improved other aspects of my life or how I overcame obstacles. I tie all that into this book, Level Up Your Life, which the book is the call to action, the reader is the hero and I walked them through what this looks like. And not in like a hokey, this secret make your vision board kind of way but like a behavioral psychology backed, pub med research studied ways to get yourself to build a gym habit, to start traveling to reconnect with things that you’re very excited about.
Whatever it may be, it’s a cool experience and something that I’m really proud of, it’s a book I’ve spent the past two years working on but it’s really the culmination of the past 30 years of my life going from a little kid with a stick in the backyard to now imagining myself as part of this epic adventure that I get to be the character in.
[0:12:06.1] RT: Okay, It’s funny that you say that because there was a time when I was playing a game, I don’t know how this turned into a video game show.
[0:12:13.6] SK: I do, it’s called Nerd Fitness.
[0:12:15.6] RT: Yeah, good call. When I was a kid, obviously I played my fair share of them and then you get a bit older and you start doing other things. It wasn’t like I was 25 and absolutely addicted to video games a few years ago. That being said, I remember one time playing, I think it was Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto is actually going to get some positive press right now.
And I remember I was running around and there was a, in the game, it was I think San Andreas I believe. You run to the gym, you work out, you go get some food, you go home and sleep, it was like, I don’t even think it counts as a hack. But anyway, back and forth, you can only work one time a day. This is so funny that this show is about what it’s about and here I am in the video game working on the video game.
Anyway, ‘cause I wanted to be jacked and have maximum endurance so he was just a bad ass and if I’ve gotten into any issues I could take care of things right? Yeah, this is a video game people — oh god, I can’t believe I’m admitting this on air.
[0:13:09.2] SK: I love it, admit it proudly because it made you who you are?
[0:13:12.2] RT: Exactly, so I’m running around, all of a sudden I realize, “What the heck?” And I’m looking at the time gone by in real life, not in a video game and I’m thinking to myself, “Why ain’t I doing this in real life?” Not just working out because I was working out anyway. Just the whole running around and doing the things that need to get done to get the things I want in life.
It just really clicked, not that I wasn’t doing that per se but for whatever reason, it really clicked and all of a sudden it was like, “It’s no different than this game really. It’s really not that much different.” You speak of A Hero’s Journey, I recommend people read that, that is a fascinating read and its implications are very impressive. I mean, Star Wars was built off of that.
[0:13:50.2] SK: Yeah, absolutely.
[0:13:51.5] RT: The whole concept of Star Wars and Luke Skywalker and all that stuff. Not just Star Wars, I mean many different myths as you said, mythologies and whatnot over the ages have this theme. But anyway, I just found it funny that you’re saying that and it just reminded me that I specifically remember that day. I was running back and forth and I said, “What the heck, I’m spending time doing things that has taken me real time out of my day.”
This isn’t like a five minute game I’m playing. This is five hours gone just playing this thing without even realizing it’s such a time suck. Why am I not doing this in real life and real life, to a degree is not that much different man? I mean you just got to put the time and make things happen.
[0:14:26.1] SK: Absolutely, that’s so funny and I know you were living vicariously through a character, watching him pick up heavy things to get bigger and stronger, to be better at the game. I could just do that in real life and I got addicted to — in a good way, I got addicted to making myself stronger and bigger and healthier and happier because I recognize the same things that fired off in my brain when they did in the game that they could fire off in real life too.
[0:14:51.6] RT: Okay, so now that we got that cleared out. We could get off the couch now and now we can sit upright as opposed to be laying down I guess. I think some people have some fun kind of digging around with what we’re admitting to right now. But all kidding aside, so what is it in the book that is going to make such a difference for people? I mean it said there’s blueprints in there, can you maybe give us some examples so we get an idea of exactly what it is that people are going to gain from reading and following the advice in the book?
[0:15:21.6] SK: Sure. Well I think the most important thing that people — it’s primarily a personal development book I guess but for people that probably are very skeptical and dislike personal development. It’s written by a very skeptical nerd, that being me. So it’s done in a way where everything is — I’ve tried to back it up with studies or references and links and things like that so that I’m not just telling you to do this because it makes you feel warm and fuzzy but because it’s going to get you the results that you’re interested in.
There is a very strong health and fitness slant throughout it because in my mind, I wanted to become adventurous and travel and do all these amazing things. And if I’m going to live like James Bond or dive with sharks or track animals, not hunt them. Track animals in South Africa or rock climb in Thailand, I had to be in really great shape. In order for me to be in great shape, I had to put a system in place to get me to do those things.
There is a very strong health and fitness kind of slant running throughout the book in addition to helping you do many other things. For example, I learned to play the violin while writing the book using the concepts that I talk about in the book to prove that it works for things outside of just health and fitness. But the most important thing above anything else I think is this idea that motivation is fleeting and so many people just scroll through Instagram photos of attractive women and jacked dudes and cat photos and motivational quotes and they’re like, “Oh look, I’m getting motivated.”
And then they move on to the next photo that is a stupid thing that links into BuzzFeed and then they’re in BuzzFeed and then they end up in Facebook and the next thing you know it’s two hours later and they’re like, “Oh what happened to my motivation?” For writing this book, for me getting in shape, for me learning to play the violin, for travel, whatever it may be, I had to stop relying on motivation and I had to stop relying on will power and understanding that if I’m only using those things, I’m never going to get to where I want to go.
I’m just like, “Oh I wish I was more motivated to workout. I wish I was more motivated to work on my business or I wish I was more motivated to learn a language.” Instead of motivation, throughout the book I teach people to manufacture discipline in their lives. We’re creatures of habit and whether or not we realize it, everything we do every day is reinforcing either a bad habit or helping us build a new one. In addition to that, we’re products of our environment so everything around us is strongly influencing, again whether we realize it or not, is influencing whether or not we’re taking steps in the right direction towards a healthier life, a stronger body, so on and so forth.
Last but not least, we’re the average of our allies. So if you surround — in a game, this is the video game equivalent of do you want to be on the best team of people that are better than you, that bring you up and allow you to go explore for other places or make you better in Halo or Call of Duty? Or do you want to be the guy at the top that is the best person on your team but you guys aren’t very good. I guess it’s kind of the equivalent of being the strongest guy at your Global Gym versus dragging yourself 15 minutes or 10 minutes further away to a true powerlifting gym.
Where suddenly you’re the smallest guy there and you’re surrounded by people that love, live and breathe this stuff. People that you can get instruction from specifically and people you start to hang around. I think those things, there’s those outside influences, again it’s our habits our environment and who we hang around with. Those things are so valuable and such a much larger influence on the success or lack of success we’re going to have and I’ve applied that to strength training, I’ve applied it to the businesses, I’ve applied it to my travel, to my music, to all of these things.
So the whole book essentially teaches you to — hey, hopefully this book does get you motivated again off your butt but it also is going to give you the specific steps to follow so that you don’t rely on motivation to actually get this things done.
[0:15:21.6] RT: Yeah, motivation, I heard it said before, it’s like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Something you have to do every day because it’s not something that last forever. Having the appropriate systems and what not in place and really tapping into what it is, again, going back to that concept of A Hero’s Journey and really determining what is it that fuels you, what is it that really resonates with you and tap into that and then some magic starts to happen. What you’re talking about, I’m really digging man, I’m really enjoying this.
[0:19:57.6] SK: Thank you very much. This is my life. I’m actually looking at a piece of art above my computer right now that’s of Captain America and I have a Captain America’s shield on another wall over here and I spent the past two years — I’ve been running nerd fitness for a while but really only in the past two years have I really prioritized personally my strength and improving myself from a gymnastic standpoint and also a power lifting standpoint and I went to get fitted for a tux recently on this book tour, we recreated my Monte Carlo night where we rented out a bar and brought in a casino company and I went to rent, get a tux.
The guy that I got my tux fitted at like Men’s Warehouse or something. I went to pick it up and the guy is like, “Well, you know, I’m going to be honest with you, it’s going to fit your shoulders but it’s not going to fit the rest of you because you’re built like Captain America and there’s just nothing I could do about it.” I gave this dude the biggest hug, I was like, “I cannot tell you how long I have been waiting to hear that.” But it’s become like, it’s in my soul, this hero’s journey, I’m like, “I have a community of people that count on me and I count on them as well. I have to work out, like the fate of the world is imbalanced. If I don’t get to this workout then I’m letting other people down.”
And it adds like this kind of fun bit of pressure but it adds some fun to it too. I’m not alone in this, I’m part of this kind of kick ass thing and life is this big adventure and I have this missions to complete. It just makes everything more epic and you put on a crazy, or some fun playlist or like I walk through New York City listening to the Jason Bourne theme song. And I’m like, “Oh I suddenly feel like a secret agent not just dropping off a rent check but I have to do this or the terrorists win.”
[0:21:43.3] RT: That’s hilarious. Man, it’s a mindset right? At the end of the day, it’s a mindset.
[0:21:47.3] SK: 100%, yeah.
[0:21:48.2] RT: Okay, so give us some more man, give us some more goods. This book, how do you see it ultimately impacting somebody’s life when they get it. They get ahold of the book, how do you see them implementing it? What happens? Obviously they’re going to read the book. Is this something that you read from cover to cover? Is it like cafeteria style, you pick and choose the ones that you want, how does it work?
[0:22:09.5] SK: It’s a little bit of both. I’m hopeful that it’s intriguing and exciting enough for people that they want to read it cover to cover, but there are very specific chapters throughout it. There’s a chapter on conquering fear, there’s a chapter on travel, there’s a chapter on building your body like Jason Bourne, which is kind of my strength training philosophy which mixes bodyweight training with mobility, with a paleo-ish diets to build up a body that you’re proud of and is prepared for anything.
But there’s also a lot of stuff in this hero’s journey, there is the call to action to get people to actually go to, you can go to levelupyourlife.com or nerdfitness.com and even if you don’t buy the book, you can do this too but you can go to those sites and create your free Nerd Fitness character and you create this character and you get to pick which class you want to be. And I’m going to guess most people listening to this are probably going to fall into the warrior class. Warriors are the powerlifters, the barbell training essentially, we have scouts that like to run, we have rangers that do more of a CrossFit kind of cross training regimen, monks do martial arts, druids do yoga, tai chi.
Assassins do parkour and gymnastics and adventurers, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and so on and so forth. We’ve really kind of gamified this experience and I’ve taken all of the things form all of my favorite games and applied them to looking at life like that adventure. So not only do you create your character and you pick your class depending on how want to train, but then you can actually create your lists of quests and missions and assign point values to them as you cross them off, your character levels up.
So what I hope for people is they stumble across this book — years ago, eight years ago while on my day job, I walked into a book store and I saw Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week sitting on a book shelf. I picked it up and I read the first chapter, maybe the first few pages in this tour, I bought it, I went home, I read it in two or three days and I think it was the next week, I don’t have the official stats on it but within a few weeks, I had purchased nerdfitness.com and it radically changed the path that my life is on.
I’m hopeful this book can kind of become that call to action for a new generation. For somebody that works at a desk job, wife and kids maybe, maybe not? Maybe they’re just out of college and try to figure out what they want to do with their lives and they read the book and like Neo discovering the Matrix for the first time, this book reminds them that they don’t have to do things the way that everybody else tells them they have to.
Instead, they can prioritize the thing that make them feel alive and make them feel excited. Yeah, very much like any super hero who has an alter ego, we have daily responsibilities we have to take care of. Indiana Jones is a professor, Clark Kent works at the Daily Planet, we have these daily responsibilities that we have to take care of, but we also can do some really cool things in the side too.
Throughout the book, I love — my favorite thing is probably, I share 13 plus stories of members from the Nerd Fitness community of men, women, young, old, married, divorced with kids, single that have chosen to prioritize adventure and they all have regular daily responsibilities but they also get to do some really cool stuff too. So there’s this guy named Tomas, he lives in Nevada, he is a construction equipment manager and he spends his free time — he’s a single dad. He spends his free time training martial arts with his son and they have missions and quest that they complete together. I just thought that was such a cool way for them to bond together and not only are they spending time but they’re also improving each other’s lives and improving each other’s health and stuff too.
I’m hopeful the book is that, called to action for somebody to realize that things can be done differently, that they can prioritize adventure, living a healthier life, building a stronger body and do it in a really freaking fun way instead of, “Ugh, I have to go eat chicken and broccoli and run at a treadmill,” that sounds miserable to me and I run a fitness company. Structuring your life in a way that priories that growth and adventure and helps you do those things that you’ve always wanted to do.
[0:26:22.8] RT: Sounds pretty straight forward. I got to tell you, that gamification aspect of it, there’s various categories, they fit pretty good don’t they?
[0:26:30.4] SK: They do right? It just lines up so — no joke, I wrote that six years ago. I wrote an article about this six years ago and it was the most popular thing I’d ever put out and this is the thing that we get most comments on to this day. And six years ago when I wrote it I was like, “Man, I cannot wait for that day in the future when I either have the resources and the talent or the team to actually make this happen.” Up until that point, everybody was just like, I’m a ranger and they just talked about it and our message boards are split up into the different categories.
But now we’re finally at the point where we’re like, “You can actually create a character,” and we have hand drawn art for each of the different classes, there’s a different guild logo for each of them and we’re really just getting started on this, you can create a character and apply all these things and we now have missions and quest that we assign to you that you can complete through the Nerd Fitness academy and stuff like that.
It’s all moving at a really exciting, fun direction but it’s just all grounded in functional strength, proper, healthy, rational eating and prioritizing happiness and doing the things that make you feel alive and get your heart berating.
[0:27:32.6] RT: I love it, all the good stuff and the way that you gamafied it. I want to come back here after the break and then just touch on that a little bit more because it’s very fascinating, I’d be interested in knowing how that has affected people in terms of their willingness to stick with it and in terms of long term staying with their training program and whatnot.
Let’s go to a break Steve, sounds good? And guys, we’re going to be right back with our special guest today, Steve Kamb, author of Level Up your Life. Hold on to your Dumbbells, we’ll be right back.
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[0:29:08.2] RT: All right guys, we’re back with our special guest, Steve Kamb from nerdfitness.com. Steve, before we went to break man, you were talking about how you’ve gamified fitness. I think that’s kind of what you did to a degree, and you basically codified the various type of methods of training, the various sub categories of physical culture into things like as you were saying, warriors, rangers and on and on and on.
What I want to know is, have you found that that resonates with certain people to the point where it’s not just, “Oh this is cool,” but it causes them to almost have either more enthusiasm to go after whatever it is that they’ve set their mind to? And another thing would be, do you find that it tends to cause them to stick to things a bit better? Because you said that there’s like missions and stuff and they get points depending on what it is that they accomplished, how does that all worked out for you?
[0:29:59.8] SK: This is the thing I’m probably most, well, let’s say the second thing I’m most proud of when it comes to Nerd Fitness. The first being the really supportive community that has sprung up around the ideas. It started with just me writing articles and it’s now this really worldwide group of people, it’s pretty freaking cool. The gamification stuff, very similar to like back in the day when I started this, nerds weren’t trendy.
I wasn’t like, “Oh gamification’s going to be hot in the future.” I’d spend five hours a day playing Everquest or playing these games and falling in love with the idea of, “Oh just one more level or I got to kill 20 more bad guys and I get this new title or this achievement.” I do these things and it lended itself so well to this concept, to this idea of health and fitness.
Again, I was this skinny, scrawny weak kid, I think which is why I always picked the wizard whenever I played any game because the wizard always started off as this skinny, scrawny weak person. But by the end of the game, they are always the most powerful. So I just always had this idea in my head that if you can apply those same game mechanics and those game archetypes to what I’m trying to do with Nerd Fitness, I think other people that think like me are really going to get behind this.
And I remember as soon as I posted it, it had more comments than anything we’ve ever done. I’m proud to say like we now separate the message boards that we have that’s like 30 something thousand people on them. It’s segmented by training type, so we have 40 something volunteer moderators now that help kind of police and manage and moderate our message boards and there’s like, there’s three warrior moderators and there’s three scouts and there’s three druids and three monks and three rangers and adventurers and so on and so forth.
It was like a really cool fundamental shift for Nerd Fitness up until that point, everybody was just a member of the nerd fitness rebellion. Being a huge Star Wars fan, I was like, “Well how do we pay homage to Star Wars? rebel alliance, Nerd Fitness Community, we’ll call it the rebellion, perfect, done.” Everybody was a member of the rebellion and then we came up with this idea for the different classes and all of a sudden people were like, “Now, I’m a ranger in the Nerd Fitness guild and the rangers are the best because of this and well I’m a warrior and I believe in this and that and this is what our warriors stand for.”
So as the community grew, it was this really fun way to kind of further differentiate people and allow people to classify themselves even further in a fun way. So now we have fun competitions between guilds and some guilds like to poke fun at other ones all in good fun, but it’s something I’ve never seen anybody or any group of people kind of latch onto as much as our members have latched onto this. I’m so proud of it because a big part of Nerd Fitness is letting people know like, “Hey, you don’t have to train in a certain way.”
Like me personally? I love heavy barbell training and I love gymnastic rings. That is the extent of my workouts. I train four days a week, do two lower body days with barbell, two upper body days with gymnastic rings. and that’s it. But I know other people like they love to run or they just want to do yoga or they go for hikes with their kids. And I wanted them to know like, “Hey, you have a home at Nerd Fitness too.” We do encourage everybody to do some sort of strength training because I think that’s the foundation of a healthy body for sure.
But I think for many, it’s letting them know, “Hey, you get to be who you want to be who you want to be and very much like in any video game, you get to pick how you want to play this game,” and people have just. They’re all over it and I’m so happy and excited about that just because I see the potential and I see the excitement from the community and I see it in my mind and what I think this can become and how we can further integrate it into everything that we’re doing. I 100% think that we have people that have stuck around far longer than they would have had there not been something like this.
Again, I think it’s a big mental shift as you eluded to earlier. People are not just going to the gym anymore, they’re not just running on a treadmill and they’re not starving themselves and withholding food that they desperately want to eat and taking time away from things that they love. They’re a ranger in the Nerd Fitness community and they have a mission today to complete this particular workout or they’re a warrior and they’re working towards a 315 deadlift or a 225 bench or whatever it may be. Maybe they’re a runner and they’re trying to get to their first — they’re gonna run their first 5k.
Or they’re an adventurer and they want to walk to Mordor literally as somebody calculated the distance to Mordor and we have a spreadsheet that people can follow along, “Oh I walked 300 miles so I’m almost at Rivendel.” It’s the most absurd thing and the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.
[0:34:56.4] RT: If people are already just into that stuff, it just makes so much more sense to tap into that. That’s really ingenious that you’ve done that.
[0:35:05.2] SK: I wish I could say like this was all part of a planned strategy from the beginning, but truly it was just, “I love this stuff and this makes me happy and excited and I hope it makes other people happy and excited too.” Then as soon as I found some things that worked, we’ve just really gone all in on them because it’s what I’ve wanted to do and it’s kind of fun being the boss but it’s fun having the community of people that I can bounce ideas off of too and then we just build the things that they want and try to keep everybody happy and supportive and find out what they’re struggling with and then make more things to help them in those areas too.
[0:35:37.5] RT: Definitely, I got to tell you, as you’re talking about all this, I could just picture my mind how people will just get so into this idea, like the different guilds competing against each other. I mean you’ve essentially taken what you would perceive as non-athletic stereotypes, you know, nerds sitting at computers and have essentially tapped into that thing that they truly enjoy and have turned that in to a real life kind of situation where now they’ve actually become active and they’ve become I guess athletes to a degree, right?
[0:36:10.3] SK: Sure.
[0:36:11.2] RT: And you’ve probably been able to have people make that change with a heck of a lot less resistance than they would if you simply told them, “We’re going to do the same thing but without this whole gamification process.”
[0:36:24.9] SK: Oh rotally. I think if you can mentally get people to shift their focus from like, “Ugh I have to go do whatever,” and instead it’s like, “Well, if you picked up an extra five pounds in the deadlift today, you gain plus one strength and you get to cross off the deadlift dragon quest or whatever.” It’s like, “Okay, it shifted from what do I have to do to what do I get to do and what am I capable of.”
You get hooked on this — a big concept throughout the book is this idea of the progress principle and it’s what you were talking about earlier with Grand Theft Auto. The reason you were watching your character run home or drive home, go to sleep, drive back, go to the gym, eat, go back home, go to sleep is because you could see progress happening instantly.
It releases this thing called dopamine in your brain where you’re just like, this makes me feel happy, I want to see more of it. It’s why everybody gets hooked on World of Warcraft, that’s why Candy Crush and Angry Birds, whatever. It’s like, “Oh just one more level, one more bad guy. I need to do one more workout.”
[0:37:21.7] RT: Or Lays potato chips.
[0:37:23.1] SK: Or Lays potato chips, whatever it may be. How can you introduce that concept of the progress principle into your real life? And that’s where that create a character, assign point values, break your goal down into microscopic steps and reward yourself in a positive way and not like, “Oh you want a piece of cake when you exercise,” but, “Oh if you train four days a week every week for the next six weeks then you get to go to a strength training seminar,” or something like that.
Introducing game mechanics into your life and really applying those same things that keep people addicted to seeing progress in a minute by minute basis in a game, how can you visually audibly in some way show it to yourself as well as you can get addicted to levelling yourself up as you get stronger, as you get bigger, faster, leaner, whatever it may be.
[0:38:12.1] RT: Again, I just think it’s so ingenious. I think some people may hear this and nod, take a second to pause and say, “Wait a minute.” Just think what you were able to do here. Not most, I shouldn’t say that, that’s incorrect to say that. I think some people would just say all video games or whatever, I don’t care about video games and this is ridiculous that you have to gamify this thing.
In fact, again, I’m kind of rehashing the point that you were able to tap into something that somebody was you know, basically already doing, already they were into this thing. You basically stepped in, spoke their language, their jargon and were able to, I don’t want to say coerce them because that’s not what it is. Or maybe persuade them, I don’t know? Ultimately get them to probably get even more satisfaction than simply just playing the game because now it’s real.
[0:39:01.8] SK: Yeah. Well what’s interesting, there is I think so many fitness sites, there’s this concept called the Blue Ocean Strategy and is a concept that Nintendo actually implemented when they came out with the Nintendo Wii. I don’t know if you remember when that thing launched but you couldn’t find one anywhere for a year. It sold like 80 million units and beat the crap out of both Playstation and Xbox. That’s because Playstation and Xbox, Sony and Microsoft are both trying to go after that hardcore gamer and they were fighting over the same small piece of the pie.
The example, Blue Ocean strategy, it’s two sharks swimming in the water, trying to fight over the same fish. Nintendo went where the sharks weren’t, they went to the Blue Ocean. So for Nerd Fitness, we were already speaking my community, my nerds language but I wasn’t trying to get the hardcore fitness person to give up their fitness allegiance and come join me, there is already a bazillion fitness websites out there.
I wanted to build the site for people that weren’t necessarily looking for a fitness site but they knew they needed to do something and CrossFit scared the hell out of them and bodybuilding.com was terrifying and every other site was pumped full of supplement ads and whatever, and they find Nerd Fitness and it’s like, “Here is a dude that speaks my language that is not trying to sell me on a super-secret workout plan or an ab coaster or whatever. Instead it’s practical information, backed by scientific research, framed in a way that makes me feel like I’m part, I’m a character in a story.
I think for so many people, they jumped on it and it’s funny, you said some people listening to this might be like, “Oh video games, whatever.” I’ve had people that have bought Nerd Fitness programs and they’re like, “Hey man, love the program, love the workouts but can you tone down the nerd stuff or get me an option to turn that stuff off so I can just do the other stuff.”
And I was like, “No. Sorry man, this is who we are and what we stand for, and if you don’t line up with the nerdy parts of this then you can go — there’s plenty of sites that will tell you how to do a pushup and how to do whatever. This is our home and I’m not going to water down what our message is or the nerdy aspects of it to try to appeal to a wider audience. Instead I just want to think of other ways to better serve the people that I’m already trying to help.”
[0:41:17.4] RT: I got to tell you man, I just keep thinking of just how impressive this is, it really is. I think it’s just such an ingenious way of going about and doing this. Also, as you said, there’s a lot of guys and gals who may be “nerds”, okay? I’m not a derogatory term.
[0:41:35.8] SK: I use it as positively and affirmatively as possible.
[0:41:39.1] RT: You embrace it. Of course. Yeah, that’s not what we’re doing here by any means. You completely embrace that and I love that. Many people may be as you said, just might be, whether it’s intimidated or they just really are not comfortable in getting into this different gym type of environments. Well you’ve done something that really will help them motivate them, help them overcome any of those potential reservations they may have or objections. I got to tell you man, you need to commended for that.
[0:42:08.8] SK: Thanks you very much, I got a chance to write fun articles like Infiltrating the Empire: How to work out in a commercial gym and it’s like an entire article about if you are a nerd fitness rebel, how to navigate like the free weights section, whatever it’s like, for many people, I remember what it was like going to the gym for the first time and I was a skinny, scrawny high school kid.
If you’re 400 pounds and don’t feel very good about yourself, the last place you want to be is in a gym surrounded by in shape people, until you understand like, “Dude, those people are super insecure probably too or they’re too busy looking at themselves in the mirror to even notice you.” There’s a huge kind of fear conquering element to what we do as well and helping people kind of overcome those internal limitations that are probably the thing that’s holding most people back ‘cause they don’t think they’re worthy or they’re too self-conscious and don’t realize that everybody is struggling with the same things.
And once you get to that point, you then understand how amazing it feels to pick up a barbell with a bunch of weight on it and your nervous system just starts to shake and you’re like, “God, that’s awesome.” Getting people to that point makes me so happy because it’s a group of people that would probably never go to a gym to begin with, you know?
[0:43:16.2] RT: Completely man, you need to be applauded for this in more ways than one. I feel that you’ve kind of come full circle with that whole a Hero’s Journey that you mentioned near the beginning. The Hero’s Journey like you said, somebody may be doesn’t feel like he’s almost out of the fight, not in the proper area, has a calling finds a mentor, goes through his difficulties, overcomes them and then what?
[0:43:38.4] SK: They either set up on another journey or they become the mentor for somebody else which his so cool to watch.
[0:43:45.1] RT: Exactly. And you’re essentially, that’s what you’re doing right now. Good job man, I love it. And I love the passion in your voice. We have guests on the show who you could tell I mean, when they are just so into what it is that they’re talking about. We had Chris Duffin on just the other day and he’s the mad scientist of powerlifting. He is on another level man, that guy’s amazing and you could just — he just was so passionate about what he was doing, this is a guy who squats 900, deadlifts 900, he’s around to 220 bodyweight mark. So I mean he’s just…
[0:44:16.7] SK: Oh my god.
[0:44:18.1] RT: Raw, with just a belt, squats with a belt and knee wraps, no suit. I mean you got to be kidding me, that’s just some insane numbers. I think he’s the only person actually at that bodyweight who pulls those numbers and squats that much combined.
[0:44:31.4] SK: That’s unbelievable.
[0:44:33.2] RT: You could hear the passion in his voice where he just could barely even get the words out, “I just got something that’s going to help you so much and I just can’t wait to just help you,” right? I could hear it with you too man. The way that you’ve kind of mentioned this during the break here.
You and I when we were talking off the record, how you’ve essentially created your life. Machu Picchu, what was that like?
[0:44:57.5] SK: It was life changing. That was the first time I had ever traveled outside of North America and I brought a mentor with me as my friend. His name is Kash. Kash and I have been friends since first grade and Kash had done a lot of traveling outside of the country. I recruited him to say, “Hey man, I want to travel for the first time but I’m terrified. Says here on the United States travel government website that Peru is dangerous.”
He’s like, “Dude, look at any country, every country they will tell you it’s dangerous.” We went down there and I think I spent like a thousand bucks all included, including my flight, I used some points for the flight and I cover like how to kind of travel cheaply and the book too. But for a thousand bucks, we traveled around Peru for three weeks, ate three meals a day, hiked to the bottom of the world’s deepest canyon, mountain biked through ruins and then we hiked up to Machu Picchu and it was a scene out of a movie.
We got there before the sun came up and as the sun crested the Andes, the clouds part and you just see there’s a city that had been hidden in the mountains for however many hundreds of years it was before it was discovered a few decades back. I was like, I have been telling myself I want to travel for so long and I finally did it and that trip was like, “Holy shit, there’s a lot of things that I’ve missed out on and there’s a lot of things I need to do. What’s the next spot?” And it was from there and it was that trip that gave me the confidence to level up my traveling adventures and ended up booking an around the world plane ticket and crossed some crazy things off the list in a really fun way.
[0:46:32.0] RT: And it is not as impossible to pull off as people think man, especially nowadays, if you just plan things properly, you don’t need to be a multimillionaire to do these things and have this experiences.
[0:46:44.5] SK: No. This is my…
[0:46:46.4] RT: Couple of tips, here we go. Here’s a couple tips.
[0:46:47.9] SK: I’d love to. One quick story is, I just recently moved to New York City and I was talking to a guy that works in my building and I told him who I was and he’s like, “Oh I like, blah, blah.” And I was like, “Oh I run a company.” And he’s like, “What’s it called?” “Oh Nerd Fitness.” He’s like, “Wait, are you Steve Kamb?” I’m like, “Yeah,” and he goes, “Dude, I’m a ranger in the guild and I freaking love it.”
[0:47:05.0] RT: Awesome!
[0:47:06.5] SK: I was like, “That is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.” So anyways, he reads — I gave him a copy of my book two weeks ago when it came out and I just talked to him today and I was like, “Hey man, I haven’t seen you,” — I’ve been traveling on my tour. He’s like, “Hey man, I’m going to Japan tomorrow.” I was like, “Oh that’s cool, I didn’t know you had anything planned.” He’s like, “Well before you left, I did it. And then I read your book and then I realized that I had been waiting to go to Japan for so long in many years and I have friends over there and I can do it cheaply and flights are cheap. I just booked it and I’m going for 10 days and I leave tomorrow.”
That is exactly why I wrote this book, I’m so happy! So from a travel perspective, just a few quick tips, there’s a whole chapter in here about Indiana Jones and travel. Pick a place and pick a date and put down some sort of deposit or setup an online savings account and put five bucks in it like immediately. You can sign up for an online savings account on like ING, 360 or Capital One or whatever the heck it is for free, there’s no minimum amount of money to deposit but make it real.
Everybody’s like, “Oh I want to travel more.” “Where do you want to go?” “Maybe Europe at some point?” It’s like, “No, now what do you want to do?” For me it was like, “I want to go to Machu Picchu and I want to watch the sunrise and see the city. Okay, when am I going? We’re going two months from now. Okay, if I’m leaving in two months, let’s sit down, let’s calculate the cost and make this very real for us.”
Then from there, I was like, “Oh, well I want to live a weekend like James Bond. What does that mean? I need to be in Monaco, I need a tuxedo, I need to stay at the Fairmont overlooking the Mediterranean and I need to gamble at the Monte Carlo Casino. Jeez, that’s going to be what? A million dollars? Like, oh no, actually the town next to Monaco, you can stay there for $20 a night in a hostel, you could rent a tux for the weekend for $50 and fortunately the tux’s over there are cut for slimmer individuals.
I wasn’t swimming in it. For $50 I can get a tux for a weekend, I used the hotel points to stay at the Fairmont and I had been saving like $50 a month for the previous 10 months or whatever it was. I was like, “Okay, here’s $400, $500 bucks. If I lose this while I’m gambling in my tax at the Monte Carlo, at least I’ll have a story, I end up making like $300. My entire weekend, living like James Bond, watching billion dollar yachts pull into this location, I made money on the weekend.
It was the coolest story I will ever have, I will tell that till the day I die, it’s the first story that I tell in my book. It didn’t cost me a dollar. I actually made money on the weekend it was because I was very specific with what I wanted to do, I had a very specific date in which I wanted to go, I got very particular with how I could do it very cheaply and then I did it.
My first trip was with a friend, my next trip was to a country where I spoke the language and then after that it was traveling to other countries where I didn’t speak the language and I started to kind of like, “Okay, now I’m kind of becoming Jason Bourne like I’m in this foreign countries, I have to get into and out of various situations and like,” every trip kind of set me up to be a little bit more adventurous with the next one.
So now you could put me in a plane with a backpack and drop me off pretty much anywhere and I’ll find a place to stay, I’ll find a bar to hang out in and I’ll find a gym to train in and by gym, I mean a playground to hang from the swing sets or a bus stop overhang to do pull ups from or a side of a bus to do hand stand pushups against. There’s all sorts of fun ways to do things.
For anybody who wants to travel, by the time I finish this podcast, pick a location that you want to go, be very specific, pick a date, I don’t care if it’s 10 months out but put it on a calendar and then spend 15 minutes doing some very basic research as to what it will cost to go there and then setup a free savings account and put five bucks into it and then you could automatically start adding money to that account and all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh this is real, I should probably just go on this amazing trip that will transform my life and put everything else that I do in perspective.”
[0:51:07.6] RT: Just add to that, we had John Berardi on from Precision Nutrition, we just had him on too and it’s so funny some of the things that you’re mentioning, they just kind of tie in together. He was talking about how — I always ask this funny question which is, if you could go back in time, what would you do to set yourself up for, you know, to get the best gains, shortest period of time and set yourself up for long term success?
One thing he mentioned, he mentioned a bunch of stuff but one thing in particular he mentioned was, “I would enjoy life more. He goes, there was this time where I had this beautiful German client and she was just gorgeous dancer, this that and the other thing and she wanted to take me on a week or two week tour of Europe and he was like, “Oh I can’t, I got to work out.” He’s like, “I want to go back in time…
[0:51:46.4] SK: Slap myself in the face.
[0:51:47.3] RT: No, no, “Punch that guy in the face, that’s what I want to do right now.” He goes, “I’m married now so I don’t even think about it anymore.” But he’s like, “Are you kidding me?” He’s like, “Come on man.” I had a friend of mine who they were pretty well off, the parents, they had like a private island or something like that and had this crazy boat and they would always go and party on it and he’s like, “No, I got to go work out.”
In other words, when you hear the song, we’re on a boat, I’m on a boat. That doesn’t go over well for you? He’s like, “No.” So yeah, if you got a competition coming up, okay, obviously you’re not going to go hiking up mountains to go look at ruins if your competition’s in two weeks. Okay, that’s fine. You can definitely plan things and you can figure out ways to train and if you don’t know how to do that then you should know how to train when you’re not at the gym.
When you are away, you got to go travel, something comes up, you should have enough knowledge to know what can I do to get my workout in, even I don’t have the equipment I normally use. If you use equipment. I mean if it’s bodyweight exercises then you’re golden, right? If that’s your thing. Because getting the experience to do the things you were talking about, I mean, come on man, you got to be kidding me. Machu Picchu, humans or aliens? Come on, tell us which one? Tell us the truth.
[0:52:57.1] SK: That and eventually never happens. Unfortunately, I had two friends at the age of 31 passed away over the past year while writing this book. I had one die of cancer, complications due to surgery and then I had another pass away actually while he was climbing a mountain. Not like spelunking or whatever. Climbed like…
[0:53:19.0] RT: Oh wait a minute.
[0:53:19.4] SK: Whoops. Yeah, my friend Scott Dinsmore.
[0:53:20.8] RT: Scott Dinsmore.
[0:53:22.0] SK: Passed away climbing Kilimanjaro in a freak rock climbing…
[0:53:25.7] RT: Live your legend.
[0:53:26.8] SK: He was climbing a mountain or whatever. Here in New York, today, a crane fell in the middle of the street and somebody was sitting in a parked car and the crane killed that person. You have no freaking clue what tomorrow brings and tomorrow is honestly not a guarantee. So I’ve been in situations too where in the past I said, “No, I can’t and I can’t do this and I can’t do that.”
It’s scary and it’s sad, and you know there’s parts of the book I talk about, it’s the top five regrets of the dying. There’s this great story, a great book where people in their death beds are saying what they regretted the most. The first one was like, “I wish I had more fun and I wish I had lived the life that I wanted to live and not what I though others expected of me.”
[0:54:11.6] RT: That’s right yeah. Or simply what others expected of you.
[0:54:14.0] SK: Yeah, absolutely. So powerful and…
[0:54:16.4] RT: That’s terrifying man if you think about it like, you wasted it.
[0:54:18.7] SK: Scary because you can’t go back and these are people on their death beds and we don’t have the opportunity to go back and tell ourselves what we did in the past or talk to ourselves about things that we messed up on the past but we can understand that life is meant to be lived and tomorrow’s not a guarantee and I realize this is all kind of sounding like hokey motivational speech crap but…
[0:54:40.6] RT: It’s true man.
[0:54:41.4] SK: It’s true, I have friends that died in this past year and I’ve had moments where I was on this, I took a vacation this past weekend and I was on this music cruise, my old job was a floating music festival. I saw the greatest concert I have ever seen. I couldn’t form sentences, I was crying my eyes out, I was just so freaking good and I’m like, “This might be the greatest moment of my life. I’m so thankful for this opportunity because you have no idea what could happen tomorrow.”
I think you have to find a way to incorporate some of those things into life and not take everything so freaking seriously. I’m hopeful that this book can be that wake up call for many to say like, “oh yeah, the trip I’ve said I’ve always wanted to take or I’ve always said I wanted to try ballroom dancing with my wife,” or whatever it may be. Dude, today’s a pretty good day. Yesterday was better but we’ll settle for today as far as a day to go to get started on it.
[0:55:33.6] RT: Yeah, exactly. You just got to live your life on purpose man, right?
[0:55:37.3] SK: Absolutely.
[0:55:37.9] RT: It doesn’t mean that every second of every day you can’t have any down time. No, it just mean, don’t be somebody who goes, come Monday, I said this when I was talking to Chris Duffin. Come Monday you go, “Damn, I don’t even remember what happened on the weekend,” and it’s not because you were black out drunk. It was because, he just didn’t plan anything and it just zips right by and it’s gone right? It’s not just the weekend. That is like — I mean, life.
That could happen, some people who are listening to this right now, just think back to high school, those who are listening who have graduated and spent a bit. Some people who are maybe a year or two out of high school, they’re like, “Oh yeah, I just graduated.” There’s other people who are a decade, two more out of high school who think yeah, “Oh that was just yesterday.” No, it wasn’t.
[0:56:22.3] SK: Yeah. I’m coming up on my 10 year college reunion this fall and I was like, holy — I was watching a college basketball game the other day, I still feel like I was in college a year ago and like, “Dude that was a decade ago. Holy crap.”
[0:56:34.7] RT: Yeah man.
[0:56:35.1] SK: “When did… holy jeez, when did that happen?” Fortunately, halfway through my 20’s I finally realized. Dude, you better start doing some stuff. I crammed some pretty epic shit in the past five years.
[0:56:46.5] RT: That’s awesome man.
[0:56:47.1] SK: I have no plans on stopping.
[0:56:48.7] RT: That’s the thing. Just extrapolate that in the future and just imagine.
[0:56:51.8] SK: Crazy, I’m going to have so many stories, I’m going to be the coolest grandpa every.
[0:56:56.7] RT: That’s like, what’s his name? There’s a guy that was known as the greatest goal achiever in the world. When he was a kid, he set a pile of goals, he’s unfortunately passed on now. He was advanced age, I mean 90’s or something like that. He set all these goals, he wanted to go down, he wanted to basically travel all the major rivers of the world, he wanted to travel to all the continents, he went to the pyramids, he wanted to do so many different things, learn all these languages, do all of the stuff and this list that was released with, I dunno? Maybe 200 items on it.
He pretty much achieved the majority of all of those. It turned out that he achieved way beyond that. That was just the list that he created when he was a kid. We got to remember that this is a guy who lived to be, I think it was something his 90’s? I don’t remember exactly again. But just imagine the type of life that you could have if what you did right now, over the last five years. Now think of, knock on wood, you have a long healthy life, just think how much life you’re going to be able to cram into that?
[0:58:02.9] SK: Yeah, I’m excited.
[0:58:04.2] RT: John Goddard was his name I believe. John Goddard and I think it was Vic Johnson I believe was the guy who wrote a book about him.
[0:58:10.2] SK: I’m going to buy that as soon as we get off this call.
[0:58:12.4] RT: Yeah, the greatest goal achiever in the world. If you just go online and look up John Goddard, you’ll find stuff, you’ll find one of his goal. One of his goal list. It’s just really motivating and this is a guy who is doing that that was pre internet, that was like when you traveled, it was like a big deal.
That was huge, to get on a plane and travel? I mean are you kidding me? That’s something that I mean, there’s decades ago. I don’t know, again, commend you man, I think it’s amazing that you’re helping guide other people. I asked you earlier but you didn’t hear me and that is, Machu Picchu, humans or aliens?
[0:58:43.5] SK: It’s obviously humans but…
[0:58:45.0] RT: Are you sure now? Did you see them?
[0:58:47.3] SK: I haven’t watched enough of that Ancient Aliens show yet but what they’ve been able to accomplish with that place and the pyramids and Angkor Wat and Cambodia, all these places I’ve seen. I’m like, “How do you build this stuff without a computer and a drafting table? The mosquito’s full of every disease imaginable?” I can’t imagine how many people went through and how many years it took to build t hose things. Just unfathomable.
[0:59:12.3] RT: Here’s the amazing thing man, that I think of when we think about all these things. We’re a part of that species, of that human race. You know what I mean? That DNA is — that genetic makeup is in us too. If we just get out there in the real world and allow ourselves to express ourselves in whatever manner that ultimately is and just live true to whatever it is that you are, some magic happens and that’s another reason why I just keep going back to how you’ve gamified fitness and it’s a way to get people to get healthy, training, fitness, get in shape, get strong, whatever it may be, that’s all fantastic. But then, when that flows into other areas of your life, that’s just, come on man, you got to be kidding me, that’s like some pure magic right there.
[0:59:54.1] SK: It’s fun, I tell you. I get to work in fun stuff and help people and travel great places and have a cool team of people to work with too. I feel very fortunate to do what I do.
[1:00:04.0] RT: You know what man? Just listening to you, it’s like, it’s palpable, you could feel it right? Just by listening to you, the enthusiasm, just how much you love it and just how grateful you are for it man. I got to tell you, just like you said, being able to mentor somebody else, whenever I get an email from somebody who says I listen to your show and you said something or a guest says something and now it help me to do this or the other thing.
Even if it’s just, “It help me set a new PR. Let along giving me the courage to do whatever, to go after whatever it was, it is that I want.” It’s like, “Man, really? Man, that’s it, my day is set, my week is set. If I could just — if that’s all that comes out of this.”
[1:00:44.6] SK: A pretty good week.
[1:00:45.6] RT: That’s it man, you got to be kidding me, we’re good, right? Give people permission to go after what it is they want and ultimately you just got to give permission to yourself really and that’s it.
[1:00:56.5] SK: Absolutely.
[1:00:59.0] RT: Okay, where can we find out more about you because we’re up against the clock here. Where can we find out more about you?
[1:01:03.5] SK: Yeah, absolutely. You can learn more about the book at levelupyourlife.com. It’s available in book stores all over the place and Amazon and all those good things but you can create your character at levelupyourlife.com and read our full articles at nerdfitness.com.
[1:01:18.8] RT: All right man, sounds fantastic. Guys, the book, level up your life as he said. Check that out, highly recommend it. This is a guy that isn’t just making this stuff up man, this guy’s lived it and doing it and he’s helping others and you guys know I always say it man, the only real shortcut is to find a mentor. It’s the closest thing to a shortcut. Somebody who could show you how to do the things you want to do who has achieved them himself or herself and have helped other similar to you, achieved them as well and has come back from the promise land to take you there as well.
Here you go. If anything that Steve is saying resonates with you. If you can’t pickup the discussed passion about what he does, I don’t know, you got to invest into a box of Q-tips or something like that. Something just to kind of clear out the ears. Although you’re not supposed to put Q-tips in your ears, just want to put that out there everybody. Nothing smaller than your elbow. I just remembered seeing that somewhere, I can’t remember now. Anyway, yeah guys. Book and you were saying, the community, just to clarify it, is that paid or is that free?
[1:02:14.7] SK: No, that’s free too, go to the site, click on message boards, that’s 100% free as well. Two free articles a week that we send out to the email list, that’s free and then we have a few paid programs like the Nerd Fitness Academy and Nerd Fitness Yoga, one time fees that you get, you move through almost like classes that you can graduate from. Then we have an in person event called Camp Nerd Fitness where we bring in 15 instructors and 300 plus people can come to it.
It’s a long epic weekend of parkour and strength training and power lifting competitions and rock climbing and yoga and…
[1:02:48.9] RT: How often do those happen?
[1:02:50.2] SK: It happens once a year, we’re doing our next one in September coming up our final 200 spots for that will go on sale and some point I think the end of march but that’s it. campnerdfitness.com or you just sign up on nerd fitness and we’ll let you know there too.
[1:03:02.4] RT: Okay, beautiful. There you go guys, okay, superstrengthshow.com. Steve Kamb. It’s like lamb with a K. in the search bar you’ll find the show notes page, we’ll have links to all the goodies and all the fantastical things that he has mentioned today, you will also be able to listen to the show there, download it, share it with others through social media, we really love it when you do that.
You can also click through to find the various podcasting platforms that we are on. I highly recommend you sign up so that way the shows come directly to you so you’re not missing anything. You don’t want to be missing any of this goodness do you? It’s a lot better to just have it come to you as supposed to you having to constantly go looking for it.
When you’re on the show notes page as I mentioned, the links to the various resources that Steve has mentioned, also we’ll have links to ways to contact him, they will be on there as well, any type of extra videos and bonus Q&A, all that good stuff is all there. I highly recommend you take a look at that.
Feedback, good, bad or fugly guys, let us know. Send it in to Feedback@superstrengthshow.com. We love getting you guys’ feedback, we read all of it, we take it all into consideration, whether it’s a guest you want us to bring on, whether it’s a question you want us to ask, something you want to see different, you want to see less of . The goal is, like what Steve is saying, to help you get the life that you want and your feedback is crucial to make sure that we’re going in the proper direction.
Speaking of feedback, reviews, five star reviews especially on iTunes, Stitcher also has a review process. If you could give us five star reviews, that’s the highest review you could provide on iTunes. If you believe what we’re doing is deserving of that review, it goes a long way for us as well, we’re really grateful for all of you who have done that for us, it helps raise the show up in the rankings which means it’s exposed to more people. More people get in on the fun and that’s always a great thing.
It’s good for the show but it’s also good for you because guests like Steve see that we have an engaged audience and they realize, you know what? It’s worth coming on the show because it’s a great pocket for me to share all of this things that whatever it is that they’re about, whatever their mission is and Steve obviously made his mission clear today. So if you can do that, those five star reviews go a long way. I’m sure Steve also appreciated listening to my radio voice.
[1:05:01.4] SK: So much so.
[1:05:04.4] RT: But no, seriously though, it’s all about you guys. Those reviews go a long way for us. Photos, before and after, your home training setup, maybe videos of you guys training. Send the links or the photos themselves to firstname.lastname@example.org. We love sharing it with our audience and finally, when you’re on the website, don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter, you get all kinds of great tips and content and information through there.
And in addition to that you also get a fantastic report, shows you how to maximize your strength while minimizing your risk for injury. That means more pig iron on the bar, means more muscle on your frame, better performance, better body composition. Most importantly, it shows you how to do it the right way to minimize the risk of injury. Don’t forget to get that too.
Steve, thank you so much man, it was great having you on.
[1:05:47.7] SK: Thanks for having me, I really appreciate the opportunity.
[1:05:49.1] RT: No problem, I would love to have you back man. All right guys, as we always say, put this stuff to use and until next time, train smart and train hard. Talk to you then.
More Specifically in this Episode You’ll Learn About
- Steve shares how he started at Level 1 with physical fitness
- How NerdFitness.com first started
- Level Up Your Life
- The Monomyth: The Hero’s Journey
- Motivation is fleeting
- Manufacture discipline in your life
- Our habits, our environments, and who we hang around with
- Turning your training into a game
- Prioritize the things that make you feel alive
- Gamification with fitness
- The Progress Principle
- Steve shares tales from his travel adventures.
- Travel tips from Steve
- Top 5 Regrets of the Dying
About Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb is the founder of NerdFitness.com, a worldwide fitness community dedicated to helping nerds, desk jockeys, and self-aware robots level up their lives.
He’s also the author of the the book, Level Up Your Life, that gives people a blueprint for prioritizing adventure, growth, and happiness by turning life into a giant video game.
While running his company from a coconut laptop, Steve has adventured all over the world, explored the ruins of Machu Picchu, dived with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, and lived like James Bond in Monte Carlo. He has guest lectured at Google, Google Dublin, Facebook, TEDxEmory, and regularly speaks at Vanderbilt University.
You can connect with him by visiting his website NerdFitness.com
FREE Report – Instant Strength: The one little trick that will instantly boost your strength by 10 lbs or more in your main lifts.
Training Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Check out this cool video of Camp Nerd Fitness in 2014!
The Nerd Fitness Rowboat Workout!
Exercising Around the World
Connect With Steve Kamb
Check Out What Others Are Saying on iTunes!
- Awesome PodcastApril 21, 2017 by Brooke Craven from United States
Ray, host of Super Strength Show, highlights all aspects of fitness and nutrition in this can't miss podcast. Ray and his expert guests offer insightful and inspirational advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle!
- Un canal de lo mejorcito en la materiaJuly 17, 2016 by Pipiripiii from Spain
Un canal con contenido muy completo e interesante. Gracias ppr toda la info!
- Informative, deep and instructionalJuly 9, 2016 by Charles M R from United States
That Frank Zane interview!
- awesome fitness podcast and great varietyJuly 7, 2016 by jskoosh71 from United States
Really glad I found this. Lots of care into each podcast, Ray walks the walk and really understands what is being discussed. I really just have one request- stop the Delorean story.
- 51 and going strongJune 22, 2016 by Canvas back from Canada
I used to lift heavy in my late teens and into my 30s and then other thinks like kids,job, house etc took over and I lost motivation. I'm 52 now and starting to show the signs of aging so I thought I better get back at it. It was real tough. Slower gains, easy injuries, slower recovery. Tough to get back into the grove. While searching for some motivating pod casts I came across the SSS pod casts. I listen daily and I can honestly say that it has changed my life. It's more motivating that a gym full of people. I have learned more in 2 months than I learned in 20 years. The host is great to listen to, is very knowledgeable and keeps me wanting more. The guests are great. I look forward to listening. We have a wellness committee at my work and I think I have the entire group as fans of the SSS. Please don't ever stop!
- Physical Autonomy = Personal LibertyJune 18, 2016 by Mrsborch from United States
Ryan inspires me to change my fitness mindset from just doing more reps to creating a body to live the life I want.
- Lucky findMay 16, 2016 by Keith3187 from United States
Stumbled upon this podcast and very glad I did, fantastic guests with tons of evidence based information, highly recommended.
- Tier 1May 14, 2016 by Dragon 1-5 from United States
Truly a great pod cast very informative and 100% applicable.
- Great interviewsMay 5, 2016 by Adamdv18 from United States
Ray has some very interesting guests on here and does a good job of getting some useful information out of them.
- Intelligent, interesting interviewsMarch 25, 2016 by Clown puncher 5000 from United States
Really. Smart guys.
- Killer PodcastFebruary 26, 2016 by RidgeWC from United States
Ray puts out a really great show—every episode is top quality!
- Great work!January 14, 2016 by NotMattDamon from Canada
Impressed by the content and guest - keep up the great work!
- THE Super Strength ShowDecember 14, 2015 by Oastorga from United States
I came across this podcast through another great podcast (the RDella Podcast) and I must say I'm hooked. I like the action items that are revealed for us to do rather than just taking in more info. I especially like that is simple but not simplistic. I'm 58 years young and shows like this reafirm that I'm doing the right thing. I use Kettlebells, Sandbags, Barbells, Indian Clubs and body weight in my training. I don't look like a fitness model but I feel pretty good. Knowing more and refining techinque has been very important for me. The idea is not to just listen but to do something with the information. The format allows that. Thanks for your hard work.
- BOOM!December 1, 2015 by Getusomemore from United States
I listened to the entire interview with Danny Kavadlo while I was cooking dinner. VERY good podcast! I give it a ?!!
- Highly recommend this showNovember 30, 2015 by Altruistic? from United States
I love this show. Thoughtful host. Interesting guests. Since listening it, I have been giving more consideration to the mental side of training. It's a very encouraging show.
- Great show!November 14, 2015 by Rmolson from United States
I started training at the age of 41 obese and intimidated. The guests are an inspiration and encouragement toto keep moving forward on this journey.
- Amazing ContentNovember 13, 2015 by MattTucker93 from Canada
Love listening to this podcast. Amazing information and I always learn something from all the great guests. Thank you!
- Great showSeptember 15, 2015 by unadjective from United States
Some really cool guests that I wouldn't otherwise come across and Ray does a great job getting into their expertise. Almost always wish the show was longer.
- I love thisSeptember 12, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada
Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before. I listen to it while working out or driving etc. Just wanted to tell you to keep doing what you are doing. And would love to see more of people like Mike Israetel etc. Such as Brad Schoenfeld. Anyways love the show, thanks for making it.
- Very professionalSeptember 7, 2015 by Ayrshire Lad from United Kingdom
Always learning something new from Ray and his well selected line up of guests. Sometimes feels a little repetitive as Ray asks all the tried and tested questions to ensure the listener always has a takeaway..its laid back but focused and very professional !!
- I love thisSeptember 3, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada
Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before
- The best podcast in the strength/ fitness industry!August 28, 2015 by Powerlifting101 from Canada
I recommend this podcast to anyone that trying to physically and mental better them self in every aspect.
- Excellent ResourceJuly 25, 2015 by J. Steinmann from United States
Some great interviews with a wide variety of people. I've listened to a number of episodes, and there's always some great information in every interview. If you're serious about strength training, health and fitness, or just want some good life philosophy, this podcast is worth a listen.
- Must subscribe!July 9, 2015 by Roddygo from United States
This is one of the best fitness podcasts. A lot of big names from various backgrounds and Ray asks good questions. He also knows when to ask follow up questions without getting too out of subject and having the guests share some more secrets
- Great Show!July 8, 2015 by Wes Kennedy from Canada
Ray is a great host and has a wide range of quality and professional coaches that have a TON of experience to share with you. Check it out!
- Excellent interviews!July 8, 2015 by another anatomy geek from United States
Ray does a fantastic job of asking articulate and interesting questions. I always really enjoy his podcasts and learn useful info! Keep up the good work!
- has become the best Strength podcastJune 21, 2015 by SuperHuman YYZ from Canada
I think its overtaken superhuman radio and motivation + muscle as the top podcast for those who love physical culture and the iron game. Ray does a great job interviewing, just the right amount of interjecting his ideas and opinions. The guest list is incredible, the who's who, past and present.
- The fountain of youth.June 10, 2015 by rroxanne from Canada
Very good . I love the article. I listened to it 3 times to write everything down. Lol. Bad memory. Oh and love Rays voice.
- just pure MEGA, Pig Iron all the wayMay 25, 2015 by Strongman1981 from United Kingdom
The Super Strength Show is an amazing and extremely informative resource for anyone involved in physical culture. With an enthusiastic and highly intelligent host and a who’s who’s line up of guests, a must for anyone to sit down, eat grapefruits and enjoy. great work chaps
- On another level! Once you hear one episode you will have to hear them all!May 22, 2015 by Chuck Osswald from United States
Super Strength Show starts with top performers/coaches/trainers from around the world and chunks down all the important pieces, directed towards any audience. Ray Toulany is unparalled in his ability to make information easy to understand as well as tease out the unspoken gems. You will be glued to your speakers for the entire episode and find yourself eagerly waiting for more. The care put into each episode is clear with a show notes page that helps the curious learn in any medium. Keep up the great work and thanks Ray!
- A fountain of Strength and training knowledgeMay 14, 2015 by HCF82 from United Kingdom
After searching for an age to find a good strength podcast I discovered the super strength show through Chris Duffins interview and have been hooked since. The format is excellent with some of the best voices in the world of strength and conditioning appearing. No nonsense straight talking, this really should be one of your first resources to go to if you are a coach or an average joe looking to improve in the weight room.
- fantasticMay 10, 2015 by gena_wallis from Australia
i enjoyed your session.looking forward to more staff.Victor from the Youngpreneurs Podcast!
- Well structured, interesting, and informative.May 2, 2015 by TEEJ888888 from Canada
I just listened to the first two episodes of the podcast. It's really good. The questions are solid, there is lots of good advice for lifting and for life, and Ray does a good job at interacting with the guest but keeping things on track and flowing. Ray is articulate and the guests seem professional and smart. Overall, I'm very impressed.
- My top 5 favorite show!April 16, 2015 by mrcdmag from United States
Great show with lots of valuable information! I always have my notebook open and writing.
- Top strength showApril 16, 2015 by Alastair7890 from United Kingdom
Very informative. Top guests
- Great Show!April 10, 2015 by SloneStrength from United States
Well prepared show. Amazing professionalism! Keep up the great work.
- AWESOMENESS CONTAINTEDMarch 4, 2015 by jamie729 from United Kingdom
This is an awesome podcast the format, the guests & the topics disscussed are all truely infomative. No BS contained the show always opens up new schools of thoughts and ideas to the listeners. keep up the good work.
- Subscribe, instantly addictiveMarch 2, 2015 by thebroadkaz from Canada
This show is amazing to listen to it motivates you not only for the gym but for setting and achieving goals in your every day life. Very motivating and positive. Truly helps to get you in the right frame of mind for life and for the gym.
- An absolutely ace show everytimeFebruary 24, 2015 by Tommy Eggleton from United Kingdom
This show is phenomenal! The format and repeated questions for each episode keep the show driving forward, the guests have had ample time to prepare excellent and considered opinions and yet the show never feels like anything but no-BS conversations on building seuperhuman strength and mighty bodies. The host, Ray Toulany, consistently does a marvellous job of drawing out even more from his guests than the material they've prepared and some of the stories that are teased out are superb. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anybody that trains, thinks about training, or simply admires strength sports and bodybuilding in general.
- Great ResourceFebruary 4, 2015 by Velvet Jones81 from United States
For someone new to the strength sports like myself this show has been a great resource. Thanks for doing this show. It has helped a lot.
- Paul McIlroyFebruary 2, 2015 by Paul McIlroy from United Kingdom
I've been an avid aficionado of all things strength and physical culture related for the vast majority of my entire life. As a former world champion powerlifter and trainer of world champions in different strength sports I can honestly say that Ray Toulany's Super Strength Show is an absolutely INVALUABLE resource for those wishing/needing to maximise their holistic understanding of strength, what it is to be strong, why that is important and how to best achieve it! The list of guests reads like a star studded "who's who" of strength and conditioning ROYALTY! Plus, more than anything the interviews are a ton of fun and provide a fascinating insight into the very best in the business and what makes them tick. It was my complete pleasure and privilege to be a guest on this amazing show (episode 37). If YOU claim to be serious about strength training and are not currently subscribed to THIS show, my honest advice is do so immediately...if not sooner!
- Super Strength ShowJanuary 26, 2015 by Joeino from United States
I love this podcast as I seem to pick up valuable information from each guest. Listing to this is a fun and productive use of my time
- Excellent InformationJanuary 26, 2015 by TaylorrrrNB from United States
These guys obviously do their homework, work hard to create an excellent show and know who to interview in the world of strength and fitness! I’m very impressed by what they have created and the quality of what they do. You need to subscribe! TODAY!!
- by Brandon RicheyJanuary 22, 2015 by Great Work SSS from United States
The Super Strength Show is a fantastic resource for all things concerning strength, fitness, and life. The multitude of guests provides tons of information and perspectives that every listener will appreciate. If you’re serious about strength and the physical culture this is a resource that you just can’t pass up!
- Very glad I stumbled across this podcast!January 22, 2015 by rk102 from United States
Great info from big-time guests in the strength and conditioning world. Keep up the great work, Ray!
- Awesome showJanuary 13, 2015 by Bonjower from Canada
The Podcast is the best I’ve encountered in the fitness/bodybuilding sector. The host has a great ability to pull the pertinent information out of his guests. The topics are great and you seem to be able to get useful information out of every interview! Awesome podcast!!
- Do yourself a favour and subscribeJanuary 1, 2015 by GameOverBoss from Canada
The amount of info and resources in the SuperStrengthShow is just incredible. All of this coming from guests that are the best of the best in their fields. Great questions are asked to these guys and some really insightful answers given (along with a few laughs). I hate wasting time and i'm always looking to evolve and refine my training. This podcast has saved me hours of digging through the crazy crap on the internet to find valid info. It has also introduced me to things i would have never thought to look up. Really can’t recommend enough.
- Master SFGDecember 24, 2014 by X-Fab69 from Italy
Awesome Podcast! A whole lot of great and useful information provided by very accomplished athletes and coaches with an extended experience on the ground!
- Charles CDecember 22, 2014 by CharlieConnely from Canada
Very impressed with the quality guests that the Super Strength Show is interviewing. Loaded with with actionable and inspiring information. Great production quality and daily episodes!
- Well done RayDecember 19, 2014 by Matt McWilliams from United States
Wow…Super Strenght Show Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Ray. Keep bringing it.
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