I will be perfectly honest. When I was extremely underweight, the last thing that I would have searched for would be workout for nerds.
To be fair, the term nerd wasn’t really socially acceptable when I was in high school in the early 2000’s. Calling someone a nerd would mean they had glasses that made their eyes look huge. They were extremely underweight. They like computers, Star Wars, and action figures. For me, the only thing missing was the glasses.
To put things into perspective, I was fairly tall. At 6’ 1”, I weighed 135lbs, and that was after I had put on a little bit of high school weight. I firmly believe that I even weighed less than that at the same height.
Today, the term nerd is acceptable, even celebrated. Plenty of high profile celebrities, business people, and even fitness influencers proudly declare themselves to be nerds.
So why did I make a workout guide for nerds? Because I spent 8 years trying to figure out ways to put on muscle, and nothing worked until I figured out the right formula.
I split this guide up into 2 sections. The first one is a workout guide for underweight nerds, and the second is a guide for overweight nerds. The principles are very straight forward, and if you follow them, you will find your path to victory.
I have one piece of advice for you. Get comfortable with going to the gym! People of all shapes, sizes, and ages go to my gym. Nobody is judging you. Everyone is there to improve themselves in some way.
If you’re not ready for that yet, we understand. Check out 20 of the Most Recommended Home Gym Equipment Essentials on Amazon.
Workout guide for underweight nerds
The underweight workout out portion
If you have never worked out before, the best way to start is by only working out 3 days per week. Since you are underweight, you don’t really have to worry about cardio for the time being. Let’s just focus on strength training.
If you don’t feel like downloading the app, you should honestly just focus on doing compound exercises. These are exercises that you can do which workout multiple parts of your body in one motion. As an example, this could be deadlifts, squats, barbell bench press, barbell bent over row, and pullups.
Since you are only working out 3 days per week for the time being, you can do each one of those compound exercises each day that you workout.
It is important to take at least a day break in between each workout. For example, when I was only working out 3 days per week, I was doing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
If you commit to working out 3 days per week, you will not regret it. If you want the fastest results possible, check out our workout plan called 3 Day Overload in our app. I designed this plan based on what worked for me to go from 135lbs to 190lbs.
The underweight eating portion
Just working out isn’t going to cut it. How do I know this? I worked out fairly consistently for 8 years, and did not see much progress. That is, until I learned about nutrition.
You see, I was drawn in by the lure of a magic protein powder. Or the magic workout plan. Guess what? There is no secret to putting on weight. All you have to do is eat more calories than you are burning. And if you are skinny, you are probably burning more calories than you eat. And once you start working out, you will be burning even more calories.
Here is what I recommend. Count Calories! There, I said it. But hear me out. Spend a week or 2 calculating every calorie that you eat. Get familiar with the MyFitnessPal app, and track everything!
After that week or 2, add up all the calories, and divide that by the days that you spent tracking your calories. That will give you your average daily calorie intake. Since you are skinny if you are reading this, that number will probably be lower than you thought.
Reminder – Every person’s body is different. While one person might gain weight eating only 1000 calories a day, some people might need to eat 4000 calories per day. For me, I ate 3500 calories per day in order to gain a pound a week.
Now that you have calculated your average daily calorie intake, it is time to start dialing in on your goals. Start by eating 500 calories per day over your average daily calorie intake. Do this for a week, while working out 3 days per week.
At the end of the week, if you haven’t gained anywhere from a half pound to a pound, add another 500 calories to your daily intake. Keep doing this until you are gaining a half pound to a pound a week. Anything over that, you are eating too much. Anything under a half pound, you are eating too little. Weigh yourself in the morning after your first pee.
Workout Guide for Overweight Nerds
The overweight workout portion
Similar to the underweight portion, you are going to want to do at least 3 days of strength training, preferably 4 days if you can swing it. We have free 3, 4, and 5 day workout plans in our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play).
The main thing that differs from our underweight counterparts, is that we want to pepper in High Intensity Interval Training into our weekly routine. You want to do this at least 3 days per week. Our app has 10 built-in HIIT workouts, 4 of which can be done without the need for a gym.
You can do your HIIT workouts on any day of the week, including your strength training days. The most important part here is that you are doing them, and giving them your ALL.
Here is a sample of a 3 day workout routine for fat loss using our free workout plan called 3 Day Split Workout:
Monday: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps + Battle Ropes HIIT
Wednesday: Back and Biceps + Assault Bike HIIT
Friday: Legs and Core + Burpees HIIT
Some people do not like the idea of stacking their HIIT workout on to the same day as their strength training workout, so an alternative sample plan could be something like this:
Monday: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
Tuesday: Battle Ropes HIIT
Wednesday: Back and Biceps
Thursday: Assault Bike HIIT
Friday: Legs and Core
Saturday: Burpees HIIT
Keep in mind that the HIIT workouts are only 15 minutes long, and can be adjusted.
The overweight eating portion
Working out is the bare minimum for losing weight. The real weight loss results come when you are eating correctly. But here is something that not a lot of people will tell you. Losing weight is about overall calories consumed, not just about what you eat. Don’t get me wrong, in order to get the best results, it is advised to eat the healthiest foods. With that being said, it is easier to eat less of what you are already eating, than to completely switch your diet. Worry about switching your diet up later on when you have momentum.
Count your calories! I said it in the underweight portion, now I will say it in the overweight portion. You have no choice but to count your calories if you are going to lose weight. In my journey to gain muscle, I went a little bit too far, and at one point, my wife said it was time for me to lose weight.
Since I already had the experience of putting on muscle, I simply just flipped my strategy, and sure enough, the fat started coming off. I even ate cheeseburgers, pizza, and pasta, but I never went over my calorie threshold.
Get familiar with MyFitnessPal, and track EVERYTHING that you eat for a week or 2. Once you have done that, calculate all the calories consumed in the days that you have counted. Divide the total by the days counted to get your average daily calorie intake.
Now that you have the number, continue to count your daily calorie intake, but take 500 calories per day off of it. Eliminate things in your diet that take up the most calories. If you have been tracking your calories like mentioned before, you should already know what your highest calorie offenders are.
After a week at 500 calories per day under your previous daily average, it is time to weigh yourself and see if you have lost weight. Depending on how overweight you are, this number could vary drastically. We just want to see a downward trajectory.
If you are not losing weight while working out and eating 500 calories per day less than your daily average, you will want to drop another 500 calories per day out of your plan. Keep repeating this every week until you are at a consistent weight loss level.
The goal here is to lose weight at a steady pace, not to crash diet.
Main Point – There is no secret workout for nerds
If you have read this far, you already have realized that there is no secret workout for nerds. It is going to take dedication and commitment to change your life. I promise you that you can make it happen.
For those of you that say you don’t have enough time, I have a task for you. Go to the settings in your smartphone and see how much time you spend in each of your apps. On my phone, it is under “screen time.” If you are shocked by how much time you spend on certain apps, then you definitely have enough time to change your life! Best of luck.