Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Road to Being a Healthier Gamer: Tools, Apps and Friends, Oh My!

Okay, no, the picture above doesn't really pertain at all to becoming healthier...but it was funny, and I had to use it.

So as a quick follow-up to my last article, I wanted to share what I'm using to help keep me on track.

Just as there are tools, tricks and various things that help in our miniature endeavors, there are various tools, apps and other methods and techniques to help accomplish the goad of breaking the mold, and becoming a healthier gamer.


Fitness Tracker
I'm personally using the Garmin Vivosmart.  I like the link to my phone, the app tied into works well enough, tracks my sleep, is water resistant up to 50m, buzzes and alerts you to move if you've been sedentary for too long, ties into many smart notifications via my phone, steps, distance, calories burned…  It's a solid device that runs about $170.  I had a fair amount of time and research into picking the fitness tracker I wanted to use, and there are definitely others out there that caught my attention like the various Fitbit offerings, Jawbone and more.  This was just my preference among them all.  If you're going to buy one, buy on you like, is comfortable, and make the commitment to be in it for the long haul.

Bicycle and Recumbent Bike
If it's nice out and the weather permits, I hop on my bike and go for a ride.  Not a leisurely one either, but one meant to push me just like any exercise is meant to do.  If weather doesn't permit, I have a recumbent bike that I can spin out some miles in the comfort of my home.

Tae Kwon Do
I mentioned last article that I'm studying Tae Kwon Do with my son.  This has really helped me get some exercises down, get me focused and help keep me disciplined to keep working on this goal.  I won't lie, it does help that I'm paying for this training and I refuse to let that money go to waste!

Morning Exercises

I take the same warm-up exercises that we practice at Tae Kwon Do and work out in the mornings for 15-20 minutes.  Right now I'm just trying to get down a certain amount of sets in that time.  Once I do that, I'll push myself further an begin to not just accomplish those sets, but see just how many and how much I can do in a set amount of time.

Meal Replacement Shakes
I won't lie, I've got a problem with over-eating.  I really enjoy food.  So I've taken to drinking meal replacement shakes for breakfast and lunch during the work week, and I give myself the weekend off of them.  This won't go on forever, but it's a good way to get a handle on portion control, appetite and temptation control early on.


My Fitness Pal

This is a great app for tracking caloric intake, exercises, water, etc.  It has a seriously huge database of foods, and I have had no trouble finding what I'm eating in it.  And if you can't, then you can always create your own recipe within the app.

Garmin Connect
This is the app that works with my Garmin Vivosmart, so I'm most definitely using it.  I like it's interface, and the fact that it syncs with My Fitness Pall makes it worthwhile

Friends and Family:

Probably the biggest contributor to any life-altering change is the support of friends and family.  I can't tell you how many folks have asked me about how I'm doing with my diet and exercise since i've started to make this change.  I also can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me, nor how much it really does matter to the success of it all.  Just as poor words, treatment and non-support can depress and truly degrade a person, so can positive reinforcement and accountability lift them up. 

There you have it folks, my toolkit for what I'm doing right now.  I'm still up for anyone who wants to track with me, and the My FItness Pal app allows you to connect with folks too, so if you 'd like to connect there, shoot me at email and we'll push onward!

I promise that we'll get back to our regularly scheduled post subjects next!

 - Tim


  1. The most important thing to realize (when getting fit), is that it is not a plan. It is not a diet. It is not a routine.

    It is a lifestyle change. Whatever you do, and whatever you come up with, has to be sustainable over years of time. Otherwise it results in a crash and burn. The body resists all change, so it must be done gradually, and it must be done consistently until it all gives in!

    Congrats on all that you are doing Tim. Just remember not to be too hard on yourself and to temper your hardwork with play. (This coming from a fellow who was 300+ lbs three years ago, now maintaining a healthy 225)

    1. Super advice to anyone who reads comments, Greg, and I 100% agree with you! Also good on you for getting healthy and fit yourself! That is great to hear!

      What's the old saying? It takes weeks to form a good habit, and only days to form a bad one. It also takes only days to break a good habit. It can't be a short-term thing.

    2. True words! I like to point out to people about standing up at work.

      Sure it's healthy and all...but for a 200 lb man, standing up an hour burns 50 more calories then sitting. But you don't have to stand up a whole hour at once. The body doesn't care that you stood up 60 minutes in a row, just that you stood up 60 minutes total.

      You can stand up 15 minutes every hour. That's an extra 100 calories burned a day (8 hour day) vs sitting at your desk. Doesn't sound like much.

      500 more a week. (5 day week). Eh, most people will point out it's nearly the same as 1 hour on an elliptical, if you believe fake machine numbers.

      2000 a month! Hmm...that's half a lb of fat!

      24,000 a year! And now they see the value. Suddenly just getting up for 15 minutes every hour at work paid some huge dividends!

      That's how true weight loss works. It's a long game, and that is the hardest to get across to people who want to lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks so they can fit in a bathing suit.

    3. "That's how true weight loss works. It's a long game, and that is the hardest to get across to people who want to lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks so they can fit in a bathing suit."

      THIS RIGHT HERE! Amen, my friend.

      That's actually one of the reasons I like the Garmin Vivosmart I got. If you're sedentary for an hour, it actually buzzes your wrist with a move bar, and the bar won't go away until it tracks you being active for long enough. Then it resets for another hour. It may sound annoying to some, but it's a great reminder and motivator for me.

    4. Sounds like you are on the perfect track! If you ever need motivation, just post an update. I've been working out for 2 years straight now...four days a week, every week....never ending. (I love to eat too)

    5. MUCH appreciated Greg!!

      I'll be posting updates in the blog once a month on average. If it warrants more than that, I'll toss em up :)

  2. Hi Tim

    I think it is great you are working to change your habits, and being really honest and talking about it. It is great to hear and really inspiring. Keep it up and I look forward to reading more of your progress (and great advive Greg too)

    1. Hey NafNaf!

      I definitely appreciate the encouragement! I'll make sure and keep everyone updated!

      I'm actually looking forward to fitting back into all those old gaming shirts I've kept too! :P

  3. All great stuff. Think of weight loss like playing with dark edlar. By that i mean it's the long game, not turn by turn - so don't go on slave raids and start paying kabals to do horrible things to your anatomy o_O

    1. Now that is one way I would not have thought to draw an analogy from...but I have an incredibly hard time refuting the logic of it! :)

  4. Nice work, Tim, and good luck with your endeavours.

    I like Greg Hess's advice: I believe he knows whereof he speaks...