Steve Kamb

Steve Kamb

Rebel Leader of NerdFitness. Author of Level Up Your Life

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 02, 2016

Discussion

Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
Hi -- I'm Steve Kamb, founder of nerdfitness.com, a worldwide fitness community dedicated to helping nerds, desk jockeys, and self-aware robots level up their lives. I spent six years trying to get fit and made every mistake in the book, so I wanted to help others avoid those problems and get real, factual, unbiased info. I’m also the author of “Level Up Your Life” Http://levelupyourlife.com. The book is my attempt to give people a blueprint for prioritizing adventure, growth, and happiness by turning life into a giant video game. ALL DONE! Thank you guys for coming to hang out with me on here! See you over on http://nerdfitness.com, http://twitter.com/stevekamb, and http://instagram.com/SteveKamb
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Steve! What's something you used to fundamentally believe that you now see as misguided?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@eriktorenberg hey Erik! I LOVE THIS QUESTION. I'm constantly learning new things. I remember the first time I ever heard about the Paleo Diet, I thought it was the craziest/dumbest thing I'd ever heard of. Fortunately, I dug into it and discovered a logical argument that was a solid mental model for adjusting my relationship with food. Here's our beginner's guide to the Paleo Diet: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/... But the one I held most closely was probably the "You have to eat breakfast" / "eat six small meals a day to stoke the metabolic fires" nonsense. I haven't eaten breakfast in 2 years (I eat all meals between noon and 8pm) and in those 2 years I've lost 10 lbs of fat and packed on probably 30 lbs of muscle. Not sure if this instagram link will work... https://www.instagram.com/p/_XKV... Your metabolism isn't that smart. Eating carbs after 4pm won't make you fat...unless you've already eaten more calories that day than you've burned. I've learned that meal timing is way less important than how you eat and what you're eating. So don't just eat 6 small meals because you think yo have to. Read this for more info: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/...
Jonny Miller
Jonny Miller@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
@stevekamb firstly I’d just like to say that levelupyourlife.nerdfitness.com – is f*cking awesome. I love the insane level of detail (it’s essentially a product/book launch combined) so huge kudos! I also grew up as a Zelda obsessed kid and for me my epic quest was learning to surf in Indonesia at 19... asking locals for directions to secret spots, paying for a new hand-shaped board in what felt like a made-up currency, riding a moped on sketchy roads and chartering fishing boats on a quest for the perfect empty wave. I have so many questions... but here’s the main one that I'm most curious about: Q. How to you balance pursing your epic quest vs. staying open to serendipity, knowing that the most amazing thing out there might be something that you haven’t considered yet? Or to phrase it another way… what have been some of your unexpected ‘Level Up’ moments that maybe weren’t on the list, but if someone turned your life into a movie (which they might!) would make the final cut?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@jonnym1ller hey Jonny! Firstly, Zelda fans unite! Next - love your story about Indonesia and paying for a hand-shaped surfboard. Next, I love your question about balancing checking things off the list + staying open to serendipity. On my big trip, I had a series of quests and missions to complete in each city/country, but I left plenty of time between each to do unexpected things or take up opportunities as they came along. Kind of like instead of moving onto the next dungeon in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, chasing to spend an hour just fishing in that pond off Lake Hylia! For example, last summer I had a trip to Croatia for Yacht Week, but once I came back from that adventure I had a free week of time in Croatia to explore. Because I had dropped my phone to the bottom of the Mediterranean while on the boat (fell right out of my shirt pocket while docking!), I had to actually hand draw maps to get me to bus stations and up to Plitvice Lakes. I didn't speak a word of Croatian, but thanks to my hand drawn maps and some friendly locals I found the jackpot: the most beautiful 2 days of hiking these eyes have ever seen: Favorite moments: spending a week instead of a day on Waiheke Island off the coast of New Zealand. I just hung out and had fun, cooked meals with other travelers, and just couldn't get myself to leave. I met a Nerd Fitness reader in Shanghai who actually allowed me to stay with him and his family for a few days (he had the cutest kids ever). Hanging with a traveler and trading stories over beers in a dive bar in Peru. Exploring Killarney National Park (Forest?) while in Ireland for a few days just by myself. I think goals are important, but some of my most vivid memories are the days that are unplanned, so I try to "plan" for both :)
Jonny Miller
Jonny Miller@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
@stevekAamb haha, awesome – I remember “wasting” a tone of time fishing in Lake Hylia too. Stoked to dive into your book this week!
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@jakecrump When I'm not traveling, I'm up at 6AM. Black coffee and reading 30-60 minutes of a book (usually Personal Development, Behavioral Psychology, Leadership, or Health and Fitness focused). Then it's 3 hours of uninterrupted writing. My team knows not to ping me before 11AM, and I use a program called Freedom to block all time wasting websites. Phone is in DND mode. After writing, I then head to the gym (4 days a week, 60 min each session) to do either an upper body (gymnastic rings) or lower body (barbell squats or deadlift) training day, then I head to Chipotle for my first meal (rice, double chicken, guacamole, lettuce, and a tiny bit of cheese). I come back and check in with Team Nerd Fitness on various projects, meet with people, do interviews, etc. Then my evenings is usually meeting up with friends, playing music (I play an hour a day or so, split up during my frequent breaks throughout the day, working on piano, guitar, or fiddle). And then I'll play some video games (currently Assassin's Creed; Syndicate and Starcraft 2), and try to power down things by 9PM. read for an hour or so (fiction - currently Gentleman Bastards), and get to sleep between 10-10:30.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hey, Steve! What's the most impactful thing you've learned from the last book you read?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
I read the Lies of Locke Lamora, a fantasy novel about a group of thieves getting into and out of crazy situations. So what I learned from that book: words are powerful - they can influence and help or hurt many...use them wisely :)
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What is your take on the way Tim Ferriss 'hacks' physical fitness?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@bentossell Full disclosure: I'm a big time Tim Ferriss fan. His 4 Hour Workweek was the initial impetus for NerdFitness.com. So I love how he turns himself into a guinea pig, I agree with a lot of what he does and I know he also looks for elite level hacks, whereas I'm mostly looking for what's going to work for the greatest number of people from every angle (health and nutrition + behavioral psychology + gasification, etc.) We both like to heavy train and we both dislike running, so there's quite a bit of overlap between how he trains and eats and what I do. Though I'm sure he's eaten way more strange stuff than I have :)
Mike Coutermarsh
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
hey steve! When you do a heavy legs day / squats. Do you foam roll immediately after? Or only before? Heard recently that it doesn't help immediately after (unlike running). Better to wait a couple days before foam rolling?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@mscccc hey Mike! Many would consider this sacrilegious, but I actually don't do any foam rolling with any regularity. I do it occasionally, but most of my time when I'm not picking up weights is spent with mobility drills and locomotion type stuff. I'm also not lifting tremendous amounts of weight (390 DL, 210 SQ), but I'm also recovering from a messed up spine (http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/...) that mentally kept me afraid for years to go heavy and these days, every day I'm setting a tiny PR (one rep, or adding 1 lb to the bar). My position on foam rolling may change as I get higher and higher on both lifts, but for now I don't overthink it.
Nick Blanche
Nick Blanche@nick_blanche · Digital Designer
Hi Steve, Just finished reading your book and I loved it! My question for you is what/where was your favourite place in New Zealand and why?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@nick_blanche hey Nick! That's great to hear, so excited to know that you loved the book. I had a few places in New Zealand that I loved. Okay actually I loved the whole country and I want to go back. I fell in love with Waiheke Island off the coast of Auckland. I took a boat over there for the afternoon and on the ride over, I realized that the pamphlet describing the island had a picture of a very specific bench that I had unknowingly been using as my desktop background for YEARS (to motivate me to travel): once i realized that this bench I had been looking at for years was on the TINY island off the coast of NZ, I knew I had to go. So I found that bench, sat on it, and reread Tim Ferriss's Four Hour Workweek, the book that inspired my initial journey. It was a very cool moment for me. In addition to Waiheke, I loved Queenstown: I went bungee jumping, which is where the happiest photo of me was ever taken: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53... skydiving (I felt like I was diving into Middle Earth, and loved walking through the town and reading by the lake. I loved many other parts of New Zealand: Abel Tasman, Fox Glacier, and that time I flew a Stunt Plane in Nelson:
Nick Blanche
Nick Blanche@nick_blanche · Digital Designer
@stevekamb That's an epic video! I grew up in a small town 30minutes from Queenstown, a place called Cromwell. Living in Auckland now. If you've ever back over hit me up mate! Would be keen to go on one of your epic quests
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What is your take on the standing desk?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@andrewmettinger I'm not opposed to it, but I don't do it. I am way more creative when I sit, so I sit in a good desk chair (Aeron), and set a timer to get up every 15 minutes and do some mobility. Sometimes I sit in a squat on the ground and answer emails from my laptop, or put the laptop on a counter and do them that way. I know plenty of people who use standing desks and love them. I tried them and found I struggled to do great writing with them, so I write while sitting, and do other tasks while squatting or standing. Don't overthink it though! The best thing you can do is MOVE frequently.
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
Hi Steve, what are your top 3 recommendations to folks just starting to try to get into shape?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@alexcartaz Hey Alex! Top 3. 1) Gradual changes that you stick with permanently win out. Don't do a 30 day cleanse or a 90-day sprint and then go back to what you're doing. Start going for a 5 minute walk every day. Do JUST THAT for 1 month, and then add another tiny change. 2) Stop waiting for motivation, instead cultivate discipline. Motivation fades quickly. So create a system that makes it easy for you to do your small habit every day. Recruit a friend to walk with you. Sleep in your walking clothes, put your alarm clock across the room. Have your friend pay $50 to a political cause you hate every time you miss your walk. Reward yourself with a new pair of shoes if you can build the habit for 30 days. I cover this more here: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/... 3) DIET IS EVERYTHING. Sugar is the worst thing that we eat. Get rid of it. Slowly cut back on sodas. Slowly phase out juices. Sugar is what is making us fat. Cut back on sugar and processed foods. Just like #1 though, do this SLOWLY.
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What advice do you wish you got when you were 20 years old?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@bentossell I LOVE THIS QUESTION. This is what I wish I knew when I was 20: -Don't chase the money. I took the highest paid job I could get in an industry that I didn't love. Months later I was miserable. I wish I had learned to live cheaply and go to work doing ANYTHING for a company that I loved or admired. I would consider an apprenticeship or internship. Fortunately, I was so miserable I left and found work with a company that I loved and then eventually started Nerd Fitness. -Don't be afraid of people! We're all goofballs that are afraid of everything, so have conversations. Ask people out. Do more things. Fear held me back for so long. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown. -Don't be in such a rush to "get there." More more more more doesn't mean better better better. -Eventually never happens. If you want to travel, start saving now. If you want to do something, start immediately. You don't need to wait til you're better at it, or until you're more confident, or until the "timing is right." You need to start and learn and fall and adapt and adjust. That's where the growth happens.
Chris Spadafora
Chris Spadafora@spadaforachris · Reinventing the Shaving Ritual
@stevekamb just wanted to say your stuff rocks and the level of rapport you build with your audience is amazing. My question is, where do you see the fitness industry going as it relates to entrepreneurs trying to develop healthier/fitness habits? I know your focus was nerds and desk jockeys but what about the self driven entrepreneur looking to level up their life and be like the uber successful?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@spadaforachris Great question. I like to see that the overall industry is moving in a better direction: that just getting people to sign up for a gym and hope they never use it is not actually helping anybody! It's fun to see unique gyms popping up. I like the idea of where apps are heading helping people hack their behaviors. If I was starting fresh now and somebody else was running Nerd Fitness, I would start by building a tiny tribe of people who had the same values and passions I did, and find fun ways to serve those people. The internet is so broad that the further down you can niche your group, the better, especially just starting out. When I started Nerd Fitness 8 years ago, it wasn't because I saw "oh man! Nerds and being fit is gonna be huge in 10 years!" It was "I like video games and star wars and maybe I can help other people who like those things too." I didn't know what it would become!
Mike Coutermarsh
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
One more question 😀. Any recommendations on t-spine mobility? Currently spend a lot of time with lacrosse balls. Always a struggle when sitting in front of a computer all day :)
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@mscccc I think Lacrosse balls is a good start, but its kind of like treating the symptoms rather than also addressing the root problem. So I get up every 15 minutes and go through a mobility routine: leg swings, squat, cossack squats, etc. and try to move as much as I can throughout the day in fun ways. I've found this helps more than anything with a bad back...my back only sucks when I sit for way too long or spend too much time on the couch, so even when I'm playing video games I alternate between sitting, standing, and squatting every few minutes.
Dominic RH
Dominic RH@dominic_rh
@stevekamb Hi, I just wanted to say I'm a HUGE fan of you and I'am an active reader of NerdFitness. Your website is incredibely inspiring and your articles are great. You are definitively my Yoda in my Jedi Council!
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@dominic_rh hey Dominic! Thank you so much for the kind words, and I'm honored to be in your Jedi Council! Go nerds :)
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
Hi Steve! So glad to have you here on PH 😻 Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@jacqvon Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of you asking me this question! Seriously though, I don't know. I couldn't tell you how much my life has changed in the past year alone, and certainly how different my life has become in the past 5 years. It's already crazier than I ever could have imagined. So I'm hopeful I'm doing a few things, and will let the rest happen: -I'm working on a project I'm excited about, with a team that I respect. -I'm making a net positive impact on as many lives as possible. -I wake up excited and go to bed proud. -I'm better at the violin than I am now, because I'm still not very good :)
John Carmichael
John Carmichael@johnnyc115 · Senior Software Engineer, MaxwellHealth
@stevekamb, thanks for taking the time. What has been the hardest change for you to sustain and if you were successful what finally worked and if not what might you try next?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@johnnyc115 hey John! My biggest struggle has been building a meditation habit. I've tried and started and stopped 8 bazillion times. My most recent streak was 58 days thanks to an app called HeadSpace, but all it took was a trip and a few days off and I haven't done it since. I know how much it can help me, and I simply haven't made it a priority. I did find that the gasification element of Headspace (simply awarding badges for consecutive days) was enough to keep me going for a while, but I came up a few weeks from making it into an automatic habit. Time to get back at it. Up until 2 years ago, my biggest problem was patience. I would try to get big and strong 30 days at a time...and after 30 days I would have a setback that would push me back to square 1. Over the past two years, I started realizing it was more important to realize I never really "arrive." I just focused every single day on being better than the day before. 2 years later, I'm drastically stronger and healthier than I've ever been. Thank you patience!
John Carmichael
John Carmichael@johnnyc115 · Senior Software Engineer, MaxwellHealth
@stevekamb I've struggled with meditation too. Can't seem to get a good streak going, though I do enjoy HeadSpace and have also tried Calm. Wanna place a bet for the month of Feb? Loser donates to the winner's fave charity? 😊
Dominic RH
Dominic RH@dominic_rh
What advice would you have wished to receive as a 15 year old? Where are you next planning on travelling to?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@dominic_rh 1) How you eat is the most important thing you can do for yourself if you want to get big and strong. i started training in a gym but I didn't put much thought into the nutrition part. As soon as I fixed my diet (after 6 years of training!) I finally built a body I wasn't embarrassed of. So nutrition is the most important part of a healthy life. 80-90% of the battle!
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What kind of unique opportunities do you see for new startups in the areas of fitness, nutrition and personal development? What are the most common mistakes of companies who have failed in these fields?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@tomstocklein hey Thomas! Great question: admittedly I'm not well versed in the startup land, as I started Nerd Fitness as a hobby and have grown it as a company I plan on keeping rather than one I'm looking to grow and exit. But I think there's always going to be demand for great unique content or interesting angles on actually solving people's problems of getting them to stick to habits and not relying on motivation. I think it starts by forming a tribe for a specific group of people and serving them in a unique way that shows you actually care about their success!
Kasen Dai Wysong
Kasen Dai Wysong@kasen_dai_wysong · Student @ Charleston Southern University
Hi Steve! I was browsing Amazon and your book caught my eye. I ordered it and have been blown away by the concepts and ideologies within your novel. I have already started implementing several of your techniques into my own life and in only two weeks I've seen amazing changes (foremost among them would be switching to a Paleo diet). You're changing lives, including my own, and I thank you for that. My question is: How could somebody like me (an undergraduate student majoring in Accounting and Financial Management) begin an entrepreneurship venture? I mean, how did you build Nerd Fitness into what it is today?
Steve Kamb
Steve Kamb@stevekamb · Owner, Nerd Fitness
@kasen_dai_wysong hey Kasen! Thanks for implementing the strategies in the book and following through on them! I think your question is really a complex one. I know of one person who started a company before he graduated college (Thomas Frank of http://CollegeInfoGeek.com), a few people who dropped out of college to run their companies or go work for startups (Lucky of a mile at a time http://onemileatatime.boardingar...). Otherwise, most people I know went to work for a company they liked and built up a job in their spare time that then took off after a long time working. I would consider reading Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Workweek, which is what inspiring my initial push to start NerdFitness.com, and check out Chris Guillebeau's $100 Startup for some other ideas on how you can start a micro business in your spare time and test the waters - you don't need to come up with an idea and get venture capital funding and sell half your company or more to see if it works. Start small, and test it. Consider Pat Flynn's new book that launched yesterday, "Will it Fly" to learn how to test an idea. Don't be afraid to get a job to start either, just make sure it's a job you're learning from, doing something you enjoy. Don't just take a big cushy job doing accounting because you think you have to or because it pays the most. That's a trap 99% of people get stuck in, and then 40 years later they look back and wonder "damn, what happened!?"