On Kickboxing

A bit off the gaming topics, but as you may know I also plan to talk a bit about fitness stuff. Because I can.

So if you’ve read everything I’ve posted, and if not you should, then you might remember me talking about signing up for a kickboxing class in order to help myself lose weight. I’m not a small person by any means and have quite a bit to lose to reach a “healthy” weight.

So last night was the first official class for me. Went down to the place after work and signed up for the 1 year membership at the low low price of $129 a month. So even if this class is hard I have that money as the incentive to keep going. Let’s just say that by the time I got home an hour and a half later that pretty much every muscle in my body ached. Today I’m still sore but not painfully so.

A bit of a description about what I was doing last night to give you an idea of what this class is doing. Started off with everyone in the class doing jump rope. Now I mentioned I am not a small person, and I probably haven’t used a jump rope since high school, if not junior high so I’m a bit out of practice. You wouldn’t think this, but 10 minutes of that is a long time. I had to stop multiple times to get a drink and catch my breath before starting back up. By the time that was over I was already ready to go home and go to bed. And that was only after 10 minutes.

Since I’m a beginner they pulled me in to a second group to learn the basics so spent the next half hour or some basic footwork and punches. The footwork wasn’t bad, just have to get it down a little bit better. Same with punching, I understand the movements but I’m not used to it yet and don’t have the muscle memory to do it without looking stupid. Last thing they had us doing was some exercise bike time, squats and sit-ups. I felt this was the easiest part because it didn’t involve anything I wasn’t used to.

So after one class, I can say I am probably going to enjoy it, even if I complain a lot. The guys that run the place are all really cool and don’t want you to overdo it. They’re making sure you stay hydrated and take breaks when you have to. My hope s that this will really help me lose the weight I want to lose and get me used to doing stuff that I can do on my own if I don’t stay on after the year is over.

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On Fitness/Health vs Gaming

So if you follow me on Twitter, and if you don’t you should, you might have noticed me posting something quite interesting this morning. That is that I have cancelled both my WoW and ESO subscriptions. Now, I know that I have said that I wouldn’t be doing this as I enjoy both games but I had to pull some money out of somewhere to pay for something else. That something else being $125 per month membership fee for a kickboxing class.

This is where the inner/outer fat kid at me is screaming “Why God why!?!?!”. It is no secret that I’m not exactly in shape and that I’ve been trying and struggling to lose weight for years. I’ve been going to the gym mostly regularly for a couple years, and I am always trying to eat better which lasts a couple of weeks and then I fall back in to old habits. Now recently I’ve met and started talking to someone who achieved some amazing weight loss results and is helping me out with advice, and one of the things she had mentioned doing was cutting back/out a lot of her gaming. Now I find that a bit drastic, though I don’t think it’s a bad idea, it just isn’t for me. I plan to continue gaming but I will be cutting back on the money I spend on it.

The story here is that a few days ago a friend of mine that I work with and is my weight lifting partner said he was going to try out this Kickboxing class to see if it would be a good fit for him to keep doing cardio. Me, thinking “heck why not” said I’d give it a shot as well and if I found the price okay I would sign up with him.

This leads to last night where I did more cardio work than I think I’ve done in a long time, if not my entire life. Needless to say that out of the hour long class I was about to die 30 minutes in. By the time we finished it looked like I had jumped in a pool. I did have a good time however, but was a bit dismayed with the price. $125 a month is a bit high for me, but I really feel like I need to make a drastic change if I want to achieve my goals.

Unfortunately this means I have to stop playing my subscription based games, and possibly less time laying on the couch watching Netflix. I’d say there is a question here about which is more important, your health or your gaming life. But to me this isn’t a question. I think I want to be healthier more than I want to sit in front of the computer eating cheetos and drinking dr pepper. Being a gamer doesn’t mean I have to be the stereotypical overweight guy who doesn’t go outside. I feel like I can still do all the gaming I want and still have a better quality of life. If this means that I have to suffer a couple hours per week doing cardio and having trainers yelling at me to keep moving then I’m going to do it.

So not really a situation where one is better than the other. I view both as equally important to me. I want to be healthier, but I want to be able to play my games and be lazy. Maybe these are not the easiest things to do together but there are plenty of in shape gamers out there too.

On MMO Boredom

Before I get in to todays topic I need to remind everyone that they should be listening to my friend Bel’s podcast, especially this weeks because I got to come in as a guest host again (link).

Okay, so today’s topic is one I deal with every so often, and that is hitting the “end” of an MMO. What do you do when you reach the “end”? I know that in reality there is not really any ending to MMO’s. There are usually plenty of things to do such as dungeons, raids, and achievements, but what if none of those interest you? What keeps you playing a game that you feel there’s nothing left to do?

For me this usually comes up around the time that I reach max level in a game. In almost every game I get to that point where my interest starts to fade. I’ve done the raiding thing, and I’ve done the quest for better stats thing. I find these are only temporary fixes, and I’m starting to find that if I no longer feel like I’m enjoying myself then I don’t want to continue playing.

As I mentioned there was a time when I did the raiding thing which meant all of my non-raiding time was spent gathering materials to make enchants for the raid, or food buffs, or any other number of things like researching the bosses. This is fundamentally the reason I don’t ever really feel like raiding anymore. The “end game” content felt like it was a job. Getting online was no longer about me enjoying a game so I made the decision to stop playing. This also tend to apply to dungeons as well. I do enjoy doing dungeons, and I like the group of people I do them with, but my problem is that I don’t enjoy doing them over and over again to get the best gear. I like to do them to see the story, but after the first time it isn’t the same thing.

The first real thing that keeps me going in a game is achievements. Just about anyone I’ve ever played with has heard me talking about this. I love achievements, to me that is the best part of any MMO because it gives you something else to do besides killing monsters and being the pony express mail service. Achievements usually require some amount of effort and are generally fun to do. The only problem I tend to find with achievements is that it feels like an impossible task. There are always achievements that you can’t get, such as ones for raiding or pvp, both of which are things I don’t enjoy doing. I don’t mind them being there since plenty of people enjoy both of those things, I just don’t like it when a pvp achievement is a condition for some overall achievement. That just feels like I’m being forced in to content I have no interest in.  That being said, I still enjoy doing achievements because there are always new ones to do and they provide a nice alternative for more casual gamers.

The other thing that tends to keep me in a game is the people I play with. I’m sure I’ve stated previously that one thing I look for in a game is having people to play with, which for the last few years has been the same group of people. As a whole this group tends to shift from game to game as they come out and I enjoy running content with them when I can. I’ve only recently started to understand that the game I’m playing doesn’t matter so if I feel I’m done with a game this won’t keep me playing anymore. The people in the game still is a good reason for me to keep playing, but there is a limit to any game, especially one that you have to pay a monthly fee on.

Now, since the topic is MMO boredom I should also point out that I don’t make it to the “end” in every game anymore. There have been times that I get about halfway through the content before it starts feeling a bit stale and I play less and less. Another factor might be other games coming out that I’m interested in which draw me away from the PC gaming side for a little while. I feel like if it is that easy to be pulled away from a game, then I might not want to continue playing.

So I’m curious as to what keeps other people playing? Do you stick around for that end game content or achievements, or something else entirely?

On a side note related to my fitness post: Thanks for all the advice. I’m going to try cutting back on a few things, namely sugar and carbs. They won’t be gone completely, but I’m going to try to at least reduce them. This might just mean doing something simple like taking the bun off my sandwich or cutting back on sugary snacks, but small changes can have good results.

 

On Gaming and Fitness

As I sit here digesting my lunch I can’t help but think about things like how much is to much, or will I or won’t I go to the gym tonight (the answer to that is yes I’m going tonight). But I also think about my diet and how I need to lose weight and how to go about doing that.

Personally I think the word “diet” is evil and I don’t like using it. I’m not on a diet so much as I’m trying to shift my eating habits so that I can lose weight. I’m not a small guy, I’m 6 foot 4 and I have some broad shoulders. The problem is I like to eat, and for a very long time I didn’t care about what I ate or how I looked. So a few years ago I decided to better manage what I eat, which I’ve had varying amounts of success with. There are still plenty of days I eat more than I need to, but I’m more conscious about it and don’t normally do it deliberately.

My problems come from a couple of factors:

First off I don’t really like to cook, and my skills are limited. I’m trying to change this though, having bought plenty of cookbooks to try and find easy things that I like to eat. You don’t have to be a master chef to eat healthy. I think if I cooked more often I would enjoy it, but living in an apartment I feel slightly limited in what I can make. This is because I really don’t want to set off the smoke alarm in my apartment. Recently I purchased an indoor electric grill, which doesn’t seem to smoke too much, and does allow me to make some things I couldn’t before like grilled chicken or steak. Now I know you don’t need to have a grill to make either of those, but I think they taste better that way. If I cook chicken in the oven it is usually covered with some form of shake ‘n bake.

Second, I often use the excuse of not having enough time to cook. Now, I at least recognized this as an excuse, I could easily make time to cook. People have been juggling work and cooking long before I was born and will long after I’m dead and gone. I just don’t like spending a long time in the kitchen. I prefer recipes that involve sticking something in the oven, or something that is easy and only takes like 20 minutes.

My main issue is snacking. I have come to realize over the years that I tend to snack a lot in the evenings or on weekends when I am bored, or if I’m really stressed out. My brain will often start off with the “you aren’t hungry don’t eat” argument but then the rest of me beats that part of my brain up and I grab a snack. I’ve been trying to combat this in two ways, healthier snacks or not buying any so there’s none to have.

That all being said, the question comes up of how do you really manage to stay healthy, lose weight and still maintain the lifestyle I want, namely sitting in front of the computer or tv playing video games? Personally I think it is a hard thing to juggle, but I’m trying to make an effort to balance these out, even if I wind up sacrificing game time. I love games, but I also want to be alive to play them. Right now I’m trying to keep track of my calories using an app/website and going to the gym at least twice a week (I need to start going more often again). Currently I can bench press 300 lbs and the two regular times a week I go to the gym it is lifting weights. I need to get back on my regiment of cardio on the non weight lifting days.

I know a few people have had varying amounts of success with this, and I read one blog post by someone in my guild that said she a considerable amount of weight (resulting photos are amazing too). I’d like to reach that kind of goal, even if it takes longer than I want.

This is where I ask for input. What do you guy/gals do to overcome snack cravings? I tend to always want to have something sugary or caffeinated. I don’t know of any alternatives to soda other than tea or coffee which I’m not a fan of. Any helpful websites for easy/quick meals for 1?