From the desk of...
George Spellwin - Founder
Dear Friend and Fellow Athlete,
We have long know that excessive video game playing can lead to obesity. However, recently, obese video game nerds are putting their controllers down, and picking up dumbbells to get ripped. Surprisingly, these gamers are finding the transition to bodybuilding and weightlifting quite easy due to skills they’ve learned through video games.
We all know the common video game nerd stereotype: pale, pudgy, dateless, bulk Vaseline-buyer, socially awkward and prone to video game caused obesity. Interestingly enough though, some video game nerds have transcended this stereotype by immersing themselves in the bodybuilding world. This being said, here’s a look at some guys who’ve traded their controllers in for dumbbells so they can get ripped and pick up more babes.
From Games to Gyms
Dick Talens and Brian Wang weren’t exactly on the fast track towards high school popularity since the majority of their time was spent playing games like “Counter-Strike” and “EverQuest.” Talens laid out his typical day by saying, “I literally would wake up and play all day, eating intermittently. OK, when I say intermittently, I mean eating a lot!”
Fortunately, both Talens and Wang grew out of these phases, and began hitting the gym in order to transform their bodies. The chubby, 230-pound Talens lost weight and got ripped, while Wang added muscle to his skinny frame. And as luck would have it, these two eventually met each other while attending the University of Pennsylvania. As the former gamers became closer, they realized that one thing helped their body transformation efforts more than anything else – their video game background.
Talens explained how being a video game player helped in bodybuilding by saying, “There are certain qualities people have. They’re obsessed with improving the stat sheets, getting to the next level – they pay a lot of attention to detail. Guys who play (video games) are very intense about whatever they do. They can turn that addiction and all its characteristics into fitness.”
What’s cool is that Talens and Wang have started a website called Fitocracy, which essentially turns fitness into a video game. Users of this site get points for doing workouts and exercises, and they are even given quests to complete as part of their training. One of the site’s members, Michael Perry, has found Fitocracy to be very helpful since users work with other people to accomplish goals.
Perry spoke about this by saying, “When I was playing WoW (World of Warcraft) all the time, I had to make sure everything I was doing was right. I researched it down to the T. I made sure I was hitting spells at the right time. I wouldn’t miss a raid.” He finished by stating, “I think that translates really well to exercise and bodybuilding because you have to have that level of knowledge…you have to have that commitment.”
One more video game nerd-turned bodybuilder worth discussing here is none other than Vin Diesel, who’s played Dungeons & Dragons for over two decades. The Hollywood star loves D&D so much that he wrote the forward for the book “30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons,” and had his D&D character’s name (Melkor) tattooed on his stomach in the movie “xXx.” Seeing as how Diesel’s well known for his muscles, he also makes plenty of time for the gym away from video games.
You might think that moving from the video game chair to the gym is about the biggest turnaround ever. But when you stop and think about things for a minute, successful video game players and bodybuilders actually share some big similarities.
For one thing, many gamers become fixated on a goal, and won’t stop until they accomplish it. Furthermore, gamers need plenty of discipline to reach their goals, which often requires playing when one doesn’t feel the urge. Likewise, anybody who’s been around bodybuilding knows that there are plenty of days when you don’t want to work out, but it’s necessary if you want to keep improving. Case in point, the discipline that video game players show translates well into the bodybuilding world.
Dr. Scott Rigby, who co-authored the book “Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound,” spoke in-depth about the psychology of video game players by saying, “Games make goals really clear. You have to run from point A to point B, deliver a message and kill this bad guy. You have a very clear sense of ‘If I just do these steps, I will succeed.’ And let’s call them quests because it sounds heroic. And who doesn't want to feel like a hero?”
Rigby finished his statement by tying everything into a bodybuilding-related sense as he said, “What video game players have is a certain understanding for how these sorts of fitness structures are built – goal-setting, progression, etc. In other words, it's a world that they know.”
Create Your Own Character
One thing commonly seen in a lot of video games is the ability to create and customize your own character. Players can instantly transform the shape and build of their character simply by pushing a few buttons. And while it’s certainly not this easy in the bodybuilding world, I can see a major correlation here between our sport and games.
After all, transforming your own body is the ultimate challenge, and one that a growing number of video game players seem willing to take up these days. I couldn’t be more happy about this either because, while it’s great to see anybody pick up bodybuilding, it’s especially nice to see video game players do so since it gets them away from marathon World of Warcraft sessions, and into a healthier lifestyle.
Unfortunately, I don’t see this being a mass movement where everybody will suddenly start selling their games and using the money to buy a gym membership. The main reason why is because it’s much easier to pick up a controller and focus your competitive fire on a game. But what people who are stuck on playing games all day have to realize is what’s more likely to land them a hot babe: having rippling muscles and a six-pack, or being a level 70 wizard on Warcraft?
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