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From Virtual Realms to Real Gains: How Gaming Unlocked My Fitness Journey

I used to play video games a lot as a kid. In fact, I played so many games I would actually dream about levels. The irony of it was that at the point where I played the most amount of video games in my life, I had a lot of misalignment with my health.

In this article I would like to introduce you to the series of events which changed my perspective and offer a new outlook on how video games might offer next level fitness education.

ezio auditore - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood - copyright EA/Ubisoft  - represents video games

Some Backstory - About Me

When I was 11 years old I was pretty overweight. I was the shortest kid in class, weak, self-conscious, and suffered with asthma and allergies. I was the typical fat kid with an inhaler. But it wasn’t as bad as I make it sound. I had friends and I wasn’t really bullied. I had a good home life - which was more than could be said for most of my friends at the time. But what I didn’t have was my health.

There Are Levels To Fitness

Eventually, as I started my journey towards peak wellbeing, I realized fitness was like video games - there were levels to it as well. There are different stages you achieve, and different understandings you have as you unlock higher and high levels of life.

But what got me hooked on fitness was a well-known franchise blockbuster game Assassin's Creed: Lineage. The game followed semi-historical events, taking place in a futuristic 2000s with humans able to data-source biogenetic knowledge via DNA.

Latest Assassin's Creed Games by Ubisoft - represents the levels of fitness

In the first game you play as a character named Desmond Miles who gains accesses to a cognitive time-machine allowing him to "play" as a distant relative named Ezio Auditore de Firenze. A fictional character who lived during the Italian Renaissance. In the story Ezio was part of an elite group of master assassins called The Order of Assassins.

If this doesn't get you interested in history at the least, I don't know what would. But for me, as great as the story was, I became intrigued with the character himself. You see, the most unique part of the gameplay was how the Etzio would run.

Being an assassin in the mid-1400s of Florence, Italy, I could imagine how parkour was the best (and seemingly only) option for escape and efficient foot travel. Historically speaking, parkour practice was made illegal in the UK due to how easy it was to escape given the historical architecture which surrounds, making it too difficult for the police to pursue.

That said, watching the character move through the city on foot, climb walls, and jump incredible distances was enough to make me want to learn myself - and so I did. I started to go on runs and started to practice climbing walls. By the time I entered high school for freshman year I had lost almost 40 lbs.

University of Texas at Austin - credit UT Austin - represents a big change

Fast forward to college I was riding 50-60 miles/day on my road bike, plus training bodyweight exercises followed up with a 5-mile run. I could easily run half marathons on a whim, just because I wanted to and could. But no matter what I did, I was playing a video game in my head - the same video game that got me started in fitness.

Fitness Is Exactly What You Make It

You see, my point is that fitness is exactly what you decide to make it. I wasn’t able to enjoy fitness as a kid because everyone around me who participated in athletics was an ass. Me being the video-game-loving, double-blocked guitarist who had auditioned to get into school and who had already performed some of the largest solo concerts in history at that point - I wasn’t able to look beyond the "jockery" of athletics to see the benefits of exercise.

Not until I saw it in a way I thought was cool. Seeing Etzio run and train, not for exercise, but for life, or rather, in his situation, for survival. If it hadn't been in that game I may never have seen exercise and fitness differently.

The Larger Perspective

I apply this lesson to everything I do - and it’s actually the root of what we do at Yudae. Everything about us is designed to make people healthy and well for a lifetime. Not just a competition. Not just a moment in the limelight. Not just to PR a heavy lift or get a best-effort in a race. I believe in living for a lifetime. But a long life requires unsurpassed wellness.

There's a reason why we say at Yudae "wellness is what we do". At the core of everything is enjoyment. Fitness brings you one step closer to a live well lived. If you enjoyed this article and can think of anyone who loves video-games, but not fitness, send this to them and leave a comment with your experience. Have a wonderfully well day.


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