Healthy Gamer

The Best Four Days in Gaming, The Worst Four Days in Fitness?

“Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.” –  Jim Rohn

No snarky caption necessary.

And the ride has come to a complete stop, safe to exit. Last Tuesday night I left for GenCon, “The Best Four Days in Gaming.” As people who have been following the Captain Hammer Project will know, this is a mission with very little room for error of any kind. So how exactly was I going to stick to the plan during a 4 day binge of sedentary nerdy hedonism with very few smart food choices to be found?

I started this post before I left for GenCon but it was an incoherent mess so now I’m re-writing this with the benefit of hindsight. I gave the GenCon plan a lot of thought. Most of it stuck, and the places that it didn’t stick were okay in the end.

There are some good parts to being me in this particular endeavor. I have some weird thing in my brain that will allow me to eat the same things over and over and over again and never get tired of it. I can’t tell you how many meals have consisted of a grilled chicken breast, spinach and another vegetable (there’s my variety). Most people feel that they miss something, or that the sting of self-denial becomes too much to bear and they start getting permissive which more often than not starts a domino chain of failure of counter-productive acts.

America runs on Dunkin Donuts? I run *from* Dunkin Donuts.

And some people aren’t that way. Some people know how to moderate (like adults and shit.) Some people can have that donut, (why is the donut always referenced as the go-to indulgence anyway?) work extra hard in the gym that day and keep on moving. Ideally, I’d like to be that guy, but I’m not there yet. I can repeat the same thing over and over again because I am not only obstinate and stubborn (the dark side of determination is obsession) but because when it comes to this thing I’m doing,  I’m kind of an “all or nothing” sort.  In this particular aspect of the case, it’s the “nothing” end of the spectrum, which is fine, it’s that middle ground that kills me.  (There’s definitely an argument to be made about this being “the wrong way” and it’s probably more accurate than not, but that isn’t really the point right now.)

I knew that my time was going to be limited at best, and that the on-site food options were going to be awful. (For the record, there was a concession stand with “salad” but I didn’t feel much like paying really high prices for what would have been a bowl of iceberg lettuce slathered in dressing.) My best bet was to come prepared. So that I did. I bought enough protein shakes to last me the duration of the con with the plan that they would act as supplemental nutrition to one decent meal per day. Ah the best laid plans…

What actually happened was that I drank protein shakes en route to places and always had a few on me, but often did not make time to drink them unless my stomach was threatening strike. Yes, yes, not a sound plan, but it wasn’t intentional. I would drink one and honestly, I wouldn’t feel hungry enough to drink another for quite some time. More often than not, I ended up skipping that “one decent meal.” It was not intentional malnutrition, just circumstantial. I got by more on coffee and sheer will than anything else.

On the plus side, I did get plenty of walking in, so I don’t feel I shirked exercise. There maybe could have been more exercise for the sake of exercise instead of just circumstantially required exercise, but I can pick that up now that I’m home. There’s no real question that I was not kind to my body over the past few days. I moved a lot, didn’t intake as much as I needed to, and didn’t sleep nearly enough. I shouldn’t even really post this as “Healthy Gamer” as I’m pretty sure I broke all kinds of rules that are there for good reason. Also on the plus side though, I did NOT settle for whatever unhealthy crap was convenient. The plan certainly needs improvement, but I’ll have another shot next year. An ounce of prevention is worth spilled milk in a glass house, you know.

Which reminds me of another problem. I’ve remained consistently active, but I’ve been TERRIBLE about logging on Fitocracy. I’m going to change my home page to Fitocracy and see if that helps to remind me that good bookkeeping is pretty key.

The Captain Hammer project did experience some good things that came of GenCon too. Several people I hadn’t seen in a while told me I was looking good. I caught a reflection of myself (shortly after running into Pat Rothfuss *squee!*) where I even impressed myself with how I was looking. My energy and endurance were up. No matter how long or hard I had worked myself, I always found reserves to do more. I suspect these reserves will only get deeper.

More GenCon reports to follow, the fun kind where we talk about ALL THE GAMES.

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10 thoughts on “The Best Four Days in Gaming, The Worst Four Days in Fitness?

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself – sounds like even though some aspects of your plan fell through, you did MUCH better than you would have this time last year. Following through on 3/4 of a plan is much better than no plan at all!

    “I’m going to change my home page to Fitocracy and see if that helps to remind me that good bookkeeping is pretty key.” Man, whoever gave you that suggestion must be incredibly BRILLIANT! 😉

    And you should take some in-progress pics now & again – for the fans! I want to see the changes! I have a new profile pic on Facebook if you want to see my progress. I’ll post another after I lose the next 10 lbs. 🙂

    1. Yeah, yeah. Setting the homepage was your idea. And a very good one. And I should take some in-progress pics. For the..erm…”fans.” Yes, “fans.” Thanks for reading!

  2. It seems to me I commented somewhere else on a post about women & gaming that if Cons want to really be spaces that are healthy and welcoming to women, they’d make a concerted effort to provide good, healthy food on site. And not, as you say, a $9 “salad” which is actually just lettuce – I mean real food a real human might want to eat. More relevantly, something you’d feed your kids. Something that doesn’t make you feel like you’re camping out in the Man Cave for four days.

    But this is hardly just a woman’s issue. (For me it’s just part of making a space “family friendly”.) People will be happier, more energetic, more pleasant and less friggin’ smelly if they’d just feed us properly.

    I don’t even know what the answer here is beyond bringing your own cooler of food. But then how would we carry all our games?! Honestly we need to pressure the cons themselves. They need to show some leadership on this. It’s a big reason I won’t bring my kids to cons (and, by extension, why I no longer attend myself.)

    1. I think you make some really interesting and solid points here, Charlotte. And there’s only one way to find out if they would work and that’s by applying the pressure. But if I’m honest (if cynical) I wouldn’t hold my breath. Most people at a convention I imagine pay lip service to better eating, but don’t actually care enough to try to change it. For my part, yes, next year I will be packing more of my own food, and more than just protein shakes. Thanks for reading!

  3. Identifying your problem foods is pretty important. For me, it’s always been flavored chips. If I buy a small bag, I’ll finish it. If I buy a large bag, I’ll finish 2/3s of it.

    1. This is why whomever came up with the idea of prepackaged single portions of snack foods is probably a gazillionaire. I find it easier to avoid them altogether, but some times it can be a hair difficult.

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