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I slayed the dragon, opened the chest and got the sweet, sweet Sword of Awesomeness! It is so awesome it needs that exclamation point. Only one problem, it gives me +35 strength and +5 dexterity. My current sword gives me +40 strength. I’ve got more decisions to make than making the roster of the Canadian men’s hockey team.

We’ve all been there. From the new equipment to signing a free agent to which perk to upgrade, stats are the lifeblood of a lot of popular video game genres. Some people take a casual glance and pick the weapon with the best stat to match the class, while others try to maximize their potential by comparing the benefits of a couple points in dexterity vs. losing a couple points in strength.

Nutrition is the stats of the real world. Whatever your fitness goals, you need to understand the nutritional label for food. Similar foods are not similar in all the same, and right, ways. Not all noodles are created equal. We are all peasants compared to Hei.

When I was living in Japan, I found a delicious kind of rice cracker. There was a row of them, sectioned off from each other. Knowing only a few kanji, the packaging all looked similar, with the same colors and bag shape. I look at the back of the bag and I find all three are not the same nutritionally. One was high in fat, another in the mid-range, and the third had hardly any. This is a major difference for anyone looking to lose weight.

Unlike video games, where 95% of the time a character can eat what they want and it restores their health without the extra padding, the real world doesn’t work that way. Protein, fat, and carbs all work differently. A calorie is not a calorie. Fat is literally just eating fat. Carbohydrates give you energy. Protein is used by the body to repair and build muscle. These are your three building blocks for the basics.

So the first thing you need to do is determine what kind of character are you? Are you roid rage Chris or all-natural? What is your goal physique? When you have that goal physique you can then maximize your nutritional stats, just like how you do it in a game.

What is your goal physique?

What is your goal physique?

When I was 136KG, the science was a lot simpler, and my goal was easy: Lose weight. Eat less calories, preferably less fat. I’m not saying go hungry or skip a meal, cause that does more harm than good, but instead of drinking 2 liters of soda at dinner time only drink a glass, a very easy first step for those in the boomer fitness category.

3500 calories equals one pound. Nutritional info bases its science on a 2000 calorie BMR (Basal Metobolic Rate) meaning just by living your body will burn 2000 calories to function. The more you weigh, muscle or fat, the higher your BMR is. Think of your BMR as experience points in reverse. Every 3500 calories lost is one pound lost, and we have a built in passive ability that has us lose 2000 of it a day. Of course eating will off-set those 2000, so that is where exercising comes into play.

The fun of nutrition for gamers will be how aggressive you’re going to maximize those stats. The more you lift weights, the more protein you’ll need to repair and build those muscles. The more you work out, the more carbs you’ll need to not feel as tired during the workout. The less fat you eat, obviously, the better. The better shape you get into, or you have one of those weeks you want to change up your meal plans, the more juggling you do. Unless all you do all day is play Halo, you know how to stat.

The next time you go to the grocery store stop and see what the package says. Don’t just pick-up the first box of milk or the first can of coffee. If it doesn’t have any nutritional information, don’t consume it. Just like when you pick up that mystery meat in an RPG, take a bite, and find out you’ve lost HP leading to you dying just before the save point. Then you realize you didn’t save for three hours. Now you have a broken controller, as well as three more hours on the treadmill. Tuna is a good example of a food we think is low in fat but actually have various high fat cans of it from my experience in Korea.

Welcome to the diabetes nutritional plan.

Welcome to the diabetes nutritional plan.

I had two basics I lived by when I chose to begin losing the weight. The first was cut out all the soda and chips. Have you ever read what is in a bag of chips? I’m surprised a mod wasn’t made to feed Fat Princess chips instead of cake. She’d get fatter quicker by how less filling chips are. That one bag is 1100 calories and 100 grams of fat. One bag. Just because it says 0 trans fat on the front of the bag doesn’t mean that it is actually fat-free.

The second is I tried to eat a high protein, low fat diet because I was going to the gym five days a week. No more 2% milk. Skim milk all the way. You need 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to build muscle at peak efficiency, so get started at grilling those chickens. Chicken is just the cheapest and tastiest of choices for me. The sky is the limit.

I chose to do the first article on nutrition because nutrition is half the battle of getting into shape. You can lift weights and run fifty miles a day, but if you eat junk you’re not going to improve in any way. Not even Arnold can help you. So from reading this article until the next, try and improve those stats and lay the proper foundation for when we start hitting those weights like a gamer.

Have a suggestion for a future episode? Let me know in the comments. Has this been helpful? Share below as well to help motivate and learn from each other! Want to reach out to me personally? Hit me up at [email protected]

Dane Smith

When not behind the TV screen playing the newest RPG, or penning my novel series ("The Lasombra Files" found on Amazon), I'm behind the podium teaching across the world. Licensed teacher by day, gamer and critic by night, motivator for life.