Friday, June 25, 2010

Rolling a Better You

There is something inherently odd about the nerd psyche that compels us to forsake our mortal shells. Whether it be through engrossing ourselves in reading or vegging out playing an MMO, we geeks often neglect pesky annoyances like, you know, exercise and proper diet.

Sure, there are many in this brave new generation of dorks who manage to balance both their D&D campaign and a healthy lifestyle, but I ain't one of 'em. Instead, I find that I must trick myself into being a healthier person.

Earlier this year I embarked on my own Pokewalker Fitness Challenge, leveraging the allure of videogames to help me stay active. Now, long after the conclusion of the contest proper, I still find myself slapping my Pichu-strapped pedometer on each morning. I have integrated a learned behavior (calculating my walking) into my daily routine that positively impacts my overall wellbeing. Sure, some days I only log a measly 5000 steps, but it's a tangible thing that I can wrap my head around.

Likewise, my boy MadHatter recently launched his own nerd-centered fitness game over at Scrub Club called Gain HP. It's an innovative system that relies on allusions to classic RPGs to keep participants, like me, focused on the task at hand.

Players gain experience points for pounds lost, structured exercises classes attended, doctor visits and monitoring real-life stats like blood pressure. This doesn't sound particularly glamorous, but when you replace the words "exercise" with "fighting" and "diet" with "foraging," you unlock an undeniable level of nerd appeal. There's even a saving throw system, inspired by MC Frontalot's stop-smoking plan, for those who can't kick the junk food cold turkey.

Weekly weigh-ins, which are relayed to Hatter himself, allow for regular point-tallying and leveling-up, with a leaderboard provided to showcase the top ten. Thus far in my first week of play I've managed to do, well, okay. I've worked in the requisite 45 minutes of daily exercise for my character class, Monk, and have done a decent job of cutting out the booze and junk food. (Aside from one morning where all we had to eat for breakfast were Pop-Tarts! #nutritionfail) But for me, at least, the important thing is that I'm putting forth the effort, and that I'm doing it with friends.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna take another lap around the building. This Sloth Demon ain't gonna slay itself!

1 comment:

Big Jim said...

I have my own nerdy weightloss program. I've sworn that I can't play Civ: Revolution on my iphone except when I'm on the exercise bike.

It works amazingly well...