I’m going to wax self-indulgent for a few paragraphs (you know, George R. R. Martin style. “Tell me, George, what color was his brocade vest? The buttons, were they, by chance, a polished brass or were they a burnished bronze? Were they hand-sewn on by the greatest tailor in King’s Landing? The Lannister banner the other man carried, was it indeed the finest of crimsons beheld under the sun of Westeros? Ooooh! Do go on!”) to paint a picture for you about a time long ago, back when I was a child growing up in the early 90’s…
This was a time when computer games came in boxes the size of your parent’s thick decades-old college dictionary (RIP) and they populated shelf-after-shelf at the local software store (also pretty much RIP) as though it were some sort of utopian cereal aisle for all ages of gamer.
Great and now aged titles filled the shelves: The Legend of Kyrandia, the Ultima Series, Lands of Lore (featuring Patrick Stewart as King Richard), Z, Total Annihilation, Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo, Sim games, Full Throttle, Quest for Glory, Command and Conquer, Civilization, Tie Fighter, Mech Warrior, Dark Forces, Descent, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Unreal, Heroes of Might and Magic, the list goes on…
You would browse this promised land of purely amazing games (ok, some games were shit, I’ll admit it, but that’s beside the point) and make your purchase.
You’d head back to the car, giddy, like it was Christmas morning.
You’d glance at the clock on the drive home and think “home in 10 minutes, an hour of install and then dear god I will be playing!!!”
Installation for many of these titles required a long foreplay of dutifully hand-feeding your floppy drive over and over as it consumed the data held within each hardy black disk like a raging furnace devouring coal.
You’d make a sandwich and grab a sugar-filled, caffeinated beverage and get ready to game for hours. Ahhhh…
This was also back in the day when consoles required actual physical abuse and mysterious time-honored techniques rooted in family tradition in order to turn the damn things on and you freaked out on people when you thought they threw your password sheet away.
Just bumping a Nintendo, for example, could lose you HOURS of gameplay in an instant as the screen flashed green like you’d been avada kedavra’d, the tears welling in your eyes accordingly, as though something really had just died… in your soul.
You know the era of which I speak…
It was in this glorious time that I had instilled in me a seed of everlasting hope.
Not a heroic, ambitious hope or a nostalgic hope for something to be returned to me – but a romantic, longing hope for one small thing to happen some day in the future: that I could complete the quest to find THE perfect game.
What is this quest for the perfect game, you ask?
It is a latent feeling. It is a long standing, unspoken religion amongst gamers, communicated with a sigh and much reminiscing of what some game could have been, if only it were done right.
It’s like when you listen to a song dozens of times before you see the music video — or read the book before going to see the movie – and how your imagination must take a back seat to the “artistic choices” of someone else.
Nothing ever winds up quite good enough.
(Ok, LOTR was adapted pretty damn well but don’t get me started on the Hobbit movies)
The perfect game was the pre-release teaser article you read in a magazine, extolling the storyline and features of some adventure that was yet to come.
It was the promise of a sequel to your favorite game in your favorite franchise that you had never been let down by (but were never quite fully-satisfied by either).
It was, and still is, the temptation to almost buy a game because the cover art and screenshots are so badass but in your heart of hearts you know it’s pure garbage (okay, maybe some of us still fall for this :D).
It is the HOPE that one day the game you pay for will finally be it – finally be the game you’ve needed in your life for all of your life.
Haha, I realize how idealist this all sounds, but stay with me!
Now a-days, if you’re like me, you’re a little skeptical of most for fun purchases you make.
You shop around and think long and hard about what kind of mood you’re in. Perhaps you don’t have endless hours to play every game that sounds cool anymore, but you do still play plenty when you get the chance.
Or maybe you’re like a lot of people and you’re an impulse buyer.
Perhaps you feel as though your steam account or your shelves loaded with games is a financial asset, like a bank of gameplay hours waiting to be reaped. But often these types of gamer end up grabbing up more games than they can chew, leaving a huge game library untapped and underutilized. Thinking in terms of dollars spent to hours played makes one feel a tad cringe-tastic.
Maybe it’s not so much about the perfect game any more as it is about having GOOD games to play that keep you thinking, keep you challenged, and keep you having fun for a long time to come.
But now as an adult, you’ve got so many things that are important to you: family, friends, work, other hobbies, cats…
You love logging some good hours in but you’ve just got other shit you need to do.
Some of that other shit is fun stuff but some of it is stuff you know you SHOULD be doing.
Maybe in the back of your mind you’re thinking “I need to get healthier…”
Because, well, you sit a lot, don’t eat the best, and maybe there’s so much going on in your life you feel overwhelmed just thinking about consistently exercising on top of it all.
You want to feel good, you want to feel strong, you want to feel confident taking your shirt off when the situation calls for it and ultimately we all want to have a long and good life.
And you know you’re going to need some modest modicum of health going forward.
You know you need to stay in shape or maybe you just need to get into shape.
But when? How? With what time?
Over the years, I’ve noticed that when people start embarking on the path of health and fitness in response to these questions — especially gamer types — one of two things tends to happen.
A) go completely off their rocker and change their whole lifestyle — drastically — shocking most of the people around them and giving up stuff they used to love (games, tasty food, adult beverages, having fun, being a relatable person). I’ve done this one before, fuckin’ thing sucks!
B) they can’t quite find the fitness path that clicks with them. They wind up daunted by all of the confusing choices, products, and suggestions out there. They don’t know where to start and/or wind up hearing a lot of conflicting information. They maybe try out a program for a short while but their enthusiasm peters out or the results don’t come. They inevitably stop and revert back to what they were doing before. Despite good intentions, these people — my kind of people, that I enjoy hanging out with — are not getting the physique or health results they deserve and they’re not getting started on their quest.
It’s to the latter crowd, that I’m now going to speak to exclusively, as the A-types are inevitably going to go become addicted to marathoning or crossfitting or something to that effect and will run off into their sunset years.
They probably won’t spend year-after-satisfying-year destroying their children and grandchildren at board games, video games, and computer games and they probably won’t be RIGHTLY teaching them important life facts such as how the original, unedited Star Wars trilogy is the only Star Wars trilogy (fingers crossed that the new ones become an exception to this rule).
To you reading this, knowing full well that nothing has ever quite worked, ever lasted for you, ever jived with you, I ask:
Are you on the quest for the perfect workout?
I mean one that you’ll actually do?
Be honest, you can admit to yourself that you’ve tried some crazy and stupid stuff over the years to get in shape.
Here are a few examples from my life:
- I remember getting trapped under several different barbells over the years while stupidly benching heavy all by myself and having to wriggle it all the way down my body to escape. The first time was probably with 25’s on each side of the bar when I was in High School and then later with something like 250lbs. Good times! (You learn to get a partner for that exercise eventually, don’t worry).
- I remember going for runs on asphalt and coming home in pain — and not knowing any better — planning to do it again on my next “cardio day.” Because, bro, cardio day.
- I remember stupidly trying to copy pre-bodybuilding show routines, eating only chicken and green vegetables for days with 0 salt and taking fat-burning supplements to show off my shredded 6-pack, for like, A DAY.
- I remember having a really poor outlook on food and my body image during that same time. I would eat clean for 2 weeks and then binge eat pure garbage and feel horrible about it. Eating healthy did not feel sustainable.
But what about you?
When it comes to what you’ve done, perhaps you’ve…
…approached things earnestly for fun and health. Sports maybe: ultimate frisbee, soccer, cross-country, you name it.
… other things you’ve done more clandestinely: fad workout videos, infomercial products, fitness gizmos, or supplements that later go off market due to health concerns.
…or maybe you held a gym membership that you’d rather not talk about publicly as it merely went unused for months until you cancelled it and blocked out the memory (like you did with your World of Warcraft account).
You’ve tried forcing yourself to go on runs, lift weights, or revisit some past glory-days exercise routine you did when you were young (which only left you in pain).
You try to hack and slash your way there but you know deep down you’re playing a real-life RPG and leveling up is effing hard!
You know you can’t just snap your fingers and have the body you want, or perhaps more importantly and for the sake of longevity, the habits you need in order to just keep it together.
Just as there are picky game buyers and impulsive game buyers, there are parallels amongst people starting out with fitness:
There are stingy, perfectionist, never get started, nothing’s ever quite worth spending money on fitness types. Instead of just trying something outright and going for it, they never end up doing anything. They want to be min-maxers, they want to accumulate and hoard knowledge until they know exactly the thing they are supposed to do, provided they’ve researched it for a minimum of 5 years. Except when those years have gone by they are at the point where they are rationalizing it away… “Oh I know exactly what to do to get in shape, I just don’t have 4 hours a day to spend at the gym like when I was 20.”
Then there are the impulsive, buy the program, buy the videos, buy the meal plan, buy the clothes, buy the shoes, dive in with the best intentions types. They really want to go for it, but they don’t actually have the discipline to stick to one thing. They see that the grass is greener with some new option further down the road and end up muddying and muddling their approach. They don’t know how to incorporate all of it into their lifestyle in a healthy sustainable way, and as such, they wind up with a huge collection a fitness crap and not a lot of results. This crap stockpile sits in a closet and they only end up using it when they’re trying — once again — to get in shape for summer.
The perfect workout for you would be the one you’d actually do and stick to.
You don’t want or need the perfect everything, you just want something that WORKS and that YOU’LL ACTUALLY DO.
It would evolve, and not just be the same boring routine…
It would feel like it’s doing the MOST possible with the LEAST amount of effort…
It would be easy to stay on the wagon…
It wouldn’t take all of your free time…
You would actually ENJOY doing it.
This is something you fully believe is out there but just haven’t found yet.
Whatever you find, it’s got to be something that connects with you physically, intellectually, philosophically and so on, and that connection just hasn’t been there yet in anything you’ve tried.
As a trainer and a gamer, I know that if you are reading this and agreeing with this, I can safely say that you’re in the right place for continuing not only your quest to play and enjoy great games, but the quest to discover the exercise routine that is right for you.
I, as a man on the quest for the perfect game and the perfect workout, have spent years pondering these topics. I want to directly hand you what I know. I have been a trainer to trainers and worked with literal champion athletes at large fitness events. But that’s not what truly interests me.
YOU getting better, YOU getting started, that’s what interests me.
And all of the stuff I would teach to them — to experts and athletes — I’m going to teach that to you!
I have put a lot of time and energy into creating the Heroes of Fitness Gamer’s Guide for just such a person in just such a predicament as yourself. And I’ve gone ahead and made it FREE on my site because I, like some of you, don’t just jump right in and spend money on things.
What I want to give to you is in the spirit of the perfect game and the perfect workout. I want to give you back that twinkle in your eye from when you were young and imagined how great some game was going to be. When you imagined how great your body would look before you started an exercise program that you were excited for.
I want to give you that feeling, and the knowledge, so that you need look no further.
As the creator and Co-Founder of Heroes of Fitness, I’m very compelled by the idea of bringing people onto this quest with me. I believe that some of life’s great pursuits are the quest for the ultimate game as well as the quest for the ultimate fitness program for each individual.
Ultimate fitness does not have to mean you’re necessarily going to have to train like a freak, just that it takes people the farthest, or the closest to whatever their own desired end game is.
Heroes of Fitness is the open world RPG that life is meant to be.
Not the Hack & Slash.
Not the addictive rewards system. (More on all of this in a future blog post).
But something that brings meaning and reveals possibilities to all of its users.
The vision of Heroes of Fitness is for people to wrest control of their own heroic self, regardless of starting point, to advance to higher levels and be ready for their own life and adventure.
Already using the Gamer’s Guide? I would love to hear how it is working for you! Or if you are struggling, let me know how I can help you out.
Creator and Co-Founder, Heroes of Fitness
P.S. What is your all-time favorite game and what games are you currently enjoying? Let us know in the comments the below!