Living the Dream with Steve Kamb

In case you didn’t notice, today is Wednesday and I normally post interviews on Monday. What can I say? I’m a sassy little minx :) . But since I didn’t want you to feel deprived and despondent the rest of the week, you get an interview today – yippee!

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If you missed it, last week I interviewed the lovely Ev’Yan Nasman of Sex, Love & Liberation.

This week I’m excited to hear from Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness. Not only do I love the name Nerd Fitness, but I adore how genuine and helpful Steve is. Whether following a Paleo Diet or completing body weight exercises, the emphasis is always on fun and balance.

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This interview series is about people who live their dream life – which looks different for everyone and is always evolving – can you describe your current Dream Life?

Hey Mallory, thanks for the opportunity!  I feel like I’m currently living my dream life for many reasons, but one reason above all others – I get to wake up every day with a big smile on my face, 100% in control of how I spend my time and where I decide to spend it.  I’ve found the “thing” that I’m meant to do with my life: help others live a healthier life.  Fortunately, that passion has lead me to running my own business, which means I’m also able to finally get out and see the world, something I hadn’t done for the first 26 years of my life.  In the past six months alone I’ve done push ups in Machu Picchu, Peru, flew a stunt plane in New Zealand, got Scuba certified on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, eaten exotic food in Singapore, skydived, bungy jumped, and more.

If someone is completely new to working out and eating right, what is the one thing they can do right now to start down a healthy path?

The first thing I recommend to people is that they spend a few days tracking every calorie that they eat, because 80% of their success will come from a healthy diet – most people underestimate how much they’re consuming and have no idea that they eat so much!  After a few days of calorie counting, a few simple adjustments can get them started down the right path.  Once those portions and total calories are under control, I recommend trying to make small adjustments and move towards eating less fake food (anything heavily processed) and more real food (fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and fish).

As far as exercise goes, I recommend finding something that you love!  If you don’t like running, don’t do it!  If you don’t want to lift weights in a gym, don’t do it!  Find activities that push your body and make you sweat that are also ENJOYABLE for you: ultimate frisbee, hip hop dance classes, hiking, geocaching, live-action role playing, whatever!  Find something that you love, and do it as often as possible.  Once you start exercising consistently, you’ll find yourself eating healthier as well because your mind is already in that “health” mode.

After that, depending on a persons goals, I’d get them started on a simple, fun, quick, effective strength building routine which is the best way to look, feel, and live better.

I love that “fun” is always a part of what you teach. After all, we can’t really expect people to change a habit for life if it’s not enjoyable.

What has been the biggest barrier on your journey to living your Dream Life?  How did you break through it?

The biggest barrier was quitting my day job even though I hadn’t made a dollar with Nerd Fitness yet.  Many people have quit their day jobs to start their own company because they truly disliked what they were doing and simply couldn’t stand it any more.  I actually LOVED my old job and everybody I worked with, I just knew that I had something special with Nerd Fitness; the longer I waited to make the leap the tougher it was going to be to leave.

With tears in my eyes, I walked into the office in May of 2010 and let my former company know that I had to leave in order to start my own company; fortunately, my boss was incredibly supportive of my decision.  We remain great friends to this day.

Now, although I hadn’t made a dollar with Nerd Fitness up to that point, I had already spent 18 months working daily on the site and building up the community to a considerable size – Fortunately, my first paid product launch a month later was incredibly successful and allowed me to continue devoting 100% of my time to Nerd Fitness and the community.  For that, I am grateful, because I truly love what I do and I’m excited to connect with so many cool people on a daily basis. 

You make a great point here; we don’t have to absolutely despise something before we move on. It’s okay to change just because we’re especially passionate about something new.

Speaking of passions, you’re currently on an Epic Quest (the undgerground gloworm cave was so cool!).  Has being fit and healthy improved your quest?  If so, how?

I have no doubt in my mind that many things on my Epic Quest list would be impossible if I wasn’t in shape. 

There have been multiple occasions on these trips where I would have been unable to participate had I lived an unhealthy lifestyle; here are a few off the top of my head: scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, squeezing through tight glowworm caves in New Zealand, hiking up the thousands of steps in Machu Picchu, and spending three days hiking under the blazing hot sun in the Australian Outback.  

Can you share some knowledge gain recommendations (blogs, books, documentaries, etc.)?

Sure.  Although I’m sure everybody has heard of it, the book that got me started down this lifestyle was Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour WorkweekFour years ago I picked up his book, read it in two days, and then immediately purchased the domain NerdFitness.com.  Along with the whole “find a niche” plan for creating a small business, the book opened my eyes to the concept of mini-retirements and freeing up my time and location to see the world.  Although parts of it reads like a get rich quick scheme, there is some really practical and applicable advice in there.

After buying the domain NerdFitness.com, it wasn’t until reading Chris Guillebeau’s279 Days to Overnight Success” that I truly started devoting 100% of my free time and efforts to developing Nerd Fitness as a blog, a brand, and a community.  If it weren’t for these guys, I’d probably be still working a desk job in California, wondering “what if?” 

As far as other books to read, I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It (a book about following your passions) and The Thank You Economy (why you need to treat your customers with respect and gratitude), and I’ll read anything and everything by Seth Godin (“Poke the Box” most recently).

If you’re looking for another great blog to follow, look no further than my buddy Baker over at ManVsDebt; his level of passion and dedication to his site and community is beyond inspirational – thanks to that passion he’s been able to create one of the premiere personal finance sites on the internet in just a few years.  Read his stuff!

Any last words of inspiration for people looking to live their dream life?

Focus on a passion of yours that ACTUALLY improves people’s lives in some way. 
For Baker it’s helping people get out of debt.  For me, it’s helping people lose weight, eat healthier, and feel better about themselves.  As you start building a community of followers, after you’ve earned their trust and established your authority on the subject, you can simply ask them what kind of paid services you can provide and they’ll tell you!  I always think of the Seinfeld episode when Kramer’s phone number is switched up with MoviePhone: “Why don’t you just TELL me the name of the movie you selected?

While you’re building your blog/business, expect to bust your ass working on it
for at least two years with little pay off – I think after 9 months of writing daily on my website I had only attracted 90 subscribers.  It wasn’t until after a year of writing that I finally found my voice, started producing quality content, built trust and authority with my readers, and began to build the momentum that led me where I am today.  It will be a lot of long hours, a lot of late nights, and a lot of early mornings, but if you are doing something you truly love then it won’t feel like work (most of the time).

And last but not least – be thankful for each and every reader/customer.
  To borrow from Gary Vaynerchuk, the fact that anybody wants to read what I write is amazing – they’re spending their most valuable resource (attention) with me and for that I am grateful.  I do what I can to express that gratitude as often as possible and in as many ways as possible, and I still know that it will never be enough.   

Thanks, Steve!

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Take a second and head over to Nerd Fitness. These are a couple of my favorites:

Can’t Do a Pull Up Yet? Here’s How to Get it Done
Is Barefoot Really Better For You?

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