A 1UP A Day Keeps The Doctor At Bay

Gaming mana...

Not too long ago, in a galaxy far, far away (Scotland to be more precise), the majority of the GamingLives writers met up at GLHQ (aka Markuz and Lorna’s place). Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to a massive economy drive on my part in the run up to the Eurogamer Expo but the discussion after the meet up did inspire me to write this article. A lot of talk about the weekend seemed to largely revolve around the amount of sugary snacks, barbeque food and fizzy drinks consumed by our writers, which got me thinking about my own dietary requirements.

Currently, with my strict food budget in place, my average working day’s food intake involves either 2-5 ready cooked sausages or a chicken & bacon sandwich for breakfast, a five pack of chocolate cereal bars, an ASDA own brand pot noodle for lunch, a packet of crisps, either soup, pasta or some form of chicken based product with chips for dinner and approximately four litres of Irn Bru, Coca-Cola or 7up. When I’m not on restricting my spending, I normally add a couple of slices of toast, a multipack of Quavers or Monster Munch, a can or two of energy drink, a bag of Haribo or jelly beans and occasionally an ice-cream for after dinner. Just to reiterate, this is one weekday’s worth of food – on a weekend I eat more. I eat fruit maybe once a month when I get guilty for stuffing my face with Domino’s, McDonalds and Burger King for a solid week; the only vegetable I willingly eat is potato and even then it’s only of the chip or roast variety.  The closest I get to drinking fruit juice is maybe drinking a litre’s worth of piña colada at the weekend.

Nothing of what I eat is healthy, I essentially just drink carbonated caffeine, I don’t exercise and I don’t take any vitamins or supplements yet, despite this, I’m not fat, my complexion is no worse than someone who eats healthily and I have no major illnesses or conditions. Now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with gaming, so I’ll tell you. Every gamer I know has a favourite sweet, be it Dairy Milk or Haribo. Some gamers could empty a swimming pool filled with cola in less than half an hour and I’ve yet to find a single gamer who has decided to keep fit and lasted longer than two months before giving up and ordering a take-away. Lets be honest, most of us gamers are unhealthy slobs who would gladly sit in our pants eating beans straight from the tin while trying to beat our last high score if we didn’t have any pesky interruptions such as jobs and friends.

If this is the case, then why aren’t gamers dropping like flies? Why are there no appeals from RSPCA asking to adopt a gamer for as little as a pound a month before they become extinct? How is it that I manage to live rich and full life when I’m lucky to have reached puberty without losing a foot to diabetes? How is it, that despite very little exercise and a largely unhealthy diet, I’m not the size of several houses?

Lean, mean, gaming machine. Emphasis on lean. Ing.

A lot of people would put gamer fitness down to the Wii but I don’t own one any more and even when I did, unless I wanted a stronger wanking hand, waggling a Wiimote wasn’t keeping me fit, so what is burning all those excess calories? I have a theory. Have you ever noticed that when playing a racing game, you might lean in the direction you’re steering in a vain attempt to make your car turn sharper? Have you ever tried stretching your neck to look over an in game wall? Well I do it a lot. In fact, I try dodging bullets when enemies shoot at me, I slam my foot down on an imaginary brake whenever I need to stop my vehicle in a hurry and tense every muscle in my body when I think an enemy grenade is just a little too close for comfort or I don’t think I timed a jump right. Doctors and fitness experts say a brisk 20 minute walk each day is enough to keep you fit, so maybe those two, three and sometimes four hours of swaying back and forward equates to a third of an hour speed-walking.

But what about all that sugar coursing through my system? I sometimes get the feeling that if I went cold turkey from fizzy drinks, I wouldn’t wake up for a good few weeks so I decided to put it to the test. Three days ago I decided to cut my sugar and caffeine consumption down dramatically, in fact, I cut out over half the normal sugars I have. Do I feel better for it? Do I fuck. My blood sugar levels may be returning to normal but I’ve been an hour late for work two days running and my eyes are so tired I can barely see the keyboard as I type.

Maybe gamers are meant to have more sugar than blood, maybe all those caffeine twitches are what makes our reflexes so sharp. Energy drinks may well be the spinach of the gaming world so someone hand me a can of Red Bull before I fall asleep on my keyb…ok’opokl’

Last five articles by Iain



  1. Rook says:

    I gave up fizzy drinks a while ago and now drink diluted orange and pineapple juice. Usually I wouldn’t have drank watery drinks unless it was as part of a cup of tea. I’ve not noticed any difference and don’t miss it at all. It’s more an effort to be kinder to my teeth though than trying to be healthy. I still eat burgers six nights a week.. mmm burgers.

  2. Markatansky says:

    “You’re momma’s so fat, she looked up cheats for Wii Fit.” :D

  3. Edward Edward says:

    My diet randomly changes, but I’ll admit that I will go for a lot of sugary stuff when I’m preparing for a long haul in gaming.

    Also, with Rock Band now in my possesion, maybe I’ll lose some weight by drumming like a mad act.

  4. Ste says:

    I know why your not fat, your in your early twenties!! Just wait until your metabolism starts to slow down. I was exactly the same as you, I could eat rubbish all day and not put on a pound but now I’m approaching 30 I have to be more careful or else “El Podge” makes a guest star appearance on my mid-rift!

    Never really thought about all the leaning and air braking contributing to my daily exercise, Next time the girlfriend tells me to go do some exercise I may stick on a racing game or something then point her in the direction of this article!

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    The amount you eat in a day is insane dood, seriously!! I must be twice your weight and eat way less than half as much as you but then, that’s life’s way of just annoying me really isn’t it :) You’re right though, a crazy amount of unhealthy food was definitely consumed at the meet… but we did eat our way through several cows and pigs too, so that balances it all out.


  6. Samuel Samuel says:

    Bacon offsets everything. Eating a pig means you can do whatever the hell you like.

    I’m not really a good representative of the dietary habits of a typical gamer, because of the sheer number of things I can’t eat, or shouldn’t eat (pretty sure I’m not meant to eat as much cheese as I do, but fuck it, some things go beyond health concerns), with my bowel problems. Plus I’m allergic to anything that’s even thought of coming from the sea, or simply sat next to seafood on the shelf in the supermarket. Exorcist level projectile vomit. And I have a stress-induced variant of hyperglycaemia, where all the sugar in my blood randomly turns to adrenaline so that I bounce off the walls for half an hour and then feel like utter death and occasionally even black out unless I constantly fill myself with cola and chocolate. It’s especially bad when the bowel issues stop me being able to eat anything at all without wracking cramps, but not eating means I have no blood sugar level.

    I find the usual solution is to just eat when I’m hungry, and take what I do eat seriously, time allowing. So long as I’m eating proper meals as well, all those vegetables must cancel out the tonnes of Snickers bars and Monster Munch. I know that’s not very scientific, but I like food to the point where rigidly controlling every micron of what I eat to fit a dietary sheet wouldn’t be worth it. Some things are just to be enjoyed, and food is one of them.

    I wish I could keep my doctors at bay, I really do, because it’s a fucking nightmare sometimes. On the bright side, I’ve never been fat and are unlikely ever to be, even if my liver swells up noticeably at times.

    p.s. Exercise is for suckers, self-deluding fatties, and fanatics. Health freaks. People who jog every morning and evening and still have a heart attack at 45. Much safer to slowly deteriorate as entropy takes effect, rather than force the issue by straining your innards to breaking point. That’s not natural.

  7. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I loved being at the gym actually, around four hours every day for maybe six months I think? Went from not being able to do anything with my shoulders because of constant dislocation problems to having them nice and strong… for me, anyway. Also moved from a 40″ waist down to a 34″ and could still clench my fist at the front of my waistband so could easily have managed a 32″ if I’d wanted.

    I loved how much stronger I got in such a short space of time, to the point where I’d stacked all the weights to their highest level and it still wasn’t enough, so added free weights… then when that got too easy I switched to doing it one legged, at 33.5 stone of weight one leg at a time. I LOVED that. The rush was incredible… the feeling of lifting so much with almost no effort was just a fantastic feeling. Now I can’t even lift the half stack out in the barn with both legs. I miss the gym actually, but it’s hard to work out when you don’t have a gym partner to spur you on. Maybe some day.

  8. Samuel Samuel says:

    Heh, well, I was exaggerating wildly for comedic effect. Personally I’m just a hedonist. Exercising stopped making sense when my body was going to still be a wreck no matter how I treated it.

    Someone hand me a roasted pig, and a bucket of Haribo.

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