Healthy Gamer Tips: How I’m Staying Healthy While Playing Classic WoW
Classic WoW is officially out! And in anticipation of the binge-fest that is going to occur, I thought I’d post my outline for staying healthy during the first few weeks.
Firstly, yes, I really do feel like this needs its own post, if for no one else than me. Back in the days of vanilla WoW, I played a lot – arguably, too much. I more or less decided that sleep, healthy eating, exercise and school weren’t quite as important as leveling up, and definitely saw a decline in my health and grades. This time around, I really want to do things differently.
Now that Classic has been out for a few days, I can conclusively saw that it holds the same addictive power that it once did, all those years ago. I started playing launch night, and even though I just play casually after work, still logged over 13 hours of play time in the first three days. The game is everything I remember and really feels magical. I’m so happy Blizzard released this.
Anyway, because I anticipated the pull that WoW Classic would have, I had devised a little routine for myself so that I didn’t turn into a pile of exhausted, malnourished, jelly… just to ding 60. I’m mostly writing it out to keep myself accountable, but thought it might be of use to someone else as well. So, here we are.
I should note that I don’t intend to spend 3-5 hours every day playing WoW forever. I assume that after the initial couple of weeks of excitement dies down, I’ll slow to a more reasonable pace that wouldn’t necessarily require me to adjust my life accordingly. But, for the first few weeks, this is my plan.
I’m breaking it up into three parts: Food, Fitness and Sleep.
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Lately, I’ve just really been craving raw veggies, which works out well with the fact that I’m not super keen on cooking in the middle of August. This combined with a protein shake (not pictured, because once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all) was my post-workout meal today! The tiny tomato and little orange pepper came from my container garden and taste all the better for it. 😊 . . Do you guys find you want to eat more raw foods in the summer?
This is actually the easiest part. I usually stick to a low carb vegan diet and make a lot of my own food. So, I pretty much just did the following to make sure that I actually stuck with my already-healthy eating plan:
- Stocked the fridge with veggies (pre-cut kale, broccoli slaw, brussels sprouts, spinach and have been harvesting tomatoes, peppers, celery, and greens from my garden when I get back from work)
- Made liberal use of my air fryer (it’s quick and easy)
- Bought pre-made guac and some salad dressing so I’d have some instant flavor
- Stocked up on some healthy vegan keto snacks, so I’d always have something tasty to reach for
- Bought a thing of protein powder and greens powder
So, strategy one is making sure I only have healthy foods on hand and that things like veggies are prepped and easy to access. This way, I prioritize those foods. Strategy two is really simple: don’t eat while playing. This just avoids me mindless stuffing my face while distracted.
Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, and there are certainly gray areas. For instance, those longer flight paths just seem like a prime opportunity for a snack. But, the overall idea is that I don’t just have a bowl of food in front of me the whole time. I find that I’m really prone to panic-eating, boredom-eating and distracted-eating, so hopefully forcing myself to leave the game to eat helps with this.
I’ll also still be sticking with my typical intermittent fasting window ( 2pm – 8pm eating window), which should help to minimize the mindless late-night snacking I used to do!
Side note: I know this sounds really pathetic that I need to set rules for myself like this, but I just want to be completely open. Even thought I’ve been a nutritionist for over 5 years, I still have to fight against certain instincts and work around bad behaviors. I’m only human (or a troll, in this case…I’ll see myself out)!
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Every time I step on my yoga mat, I think about how lucky I am to have @madeleine1912 as a bestie. A little over a year ago, she gave me this mat for my bachelorette, and I’ve pretty much used it every day since! Of course, I’d think about her anyway, because she’s basically the most incredible person I know. 💙
So, food is the easiest part of this equation. Fitness is definitely a bit harder. I’m usually pretty active, but I know I’m not going to want to indulge in lazy game playing for at least a couple of weeks…and I figure, why fight it? Instead of denying myself some quality after-work gaming time in favor of 90 minutes of exercise, I figure I’ll go a little easier these next two weeks and find some workarounds.
- HIIT – I’ll still be incorporating 20 minutes of high intensity interval training at least 3 days a week. It’s only 20 minutes, which is a small enough amount of time that it’s hard to deny doing it. I also don’t want to lose the progress I made over the summer.
- yoga – I set up my yoga mat close to my computer, so I can get up and stretch periodically, and as a visual reminder to move!
During a typical day, I tend to hit between 5-10k steps on my Fitbit (I have the Charge 3 and I love it). I’ve tried to make this my goal still, even during this little classic binge. Some days I’m more sedentary, but I’ve really been making an effort to hit at least 7.5k, especially since I’m going easier on cardio and strength training in the next few weeks.
I’m also going to use a few game mechanics to my advantage. Vanilla involved a lot of waiting – queue times, waiting for a group to gather at a dungeon, waiting for a boat/zeppelin, waiting for a battleground and flight paths (plus more things that I’m sure I’m forgetting). Every time one of these events pops up, I get up to do something active. Whether it’s jumping jacks, squats, crunches (ugh), or some sun salutations, usually these moments provide enough time for a decent little mini-workout. At the very least, it’s some movement.
Finally, I’m also still keeping my commitment to doing daily yoga, even if it’s just 10 minutes of stretching in bed. I find that I feel so much better when doing yoga – my joints don’t hurt as much and I have way more energy. So, it’s easy to want to stick with it. For more about my previous workout routine, HIIT training and yoga, check out this post.
So, food and fitness are clear, but the hardest part for me will likely be sleep. The first two things are pretty well-ingrained habits, but my sleep is always a little bit wonky. This is definitely going to be further complicated by the fact that game servers tend to be more active at night and that I would really rather just play than sleep at times…okay, all the times. And that’s saying a lot because sleeping is actually my favorite activity.
Sleep is incredibly important for pretty much every system in your body. There are so many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep and so many negative consequences of not sleeping, that it really seems foolish at this point in my life to prioritize a game over getting a proper amount of rest. I’ve even talked about it before in a podcast! So, obviously, I will be attempting to actually sleep.
Even though I mentioned that this would be the hardest part for me, the strategy is actually the simplest. I’m just going to implement the following rules for myself:
- wake up at the same time every day
- go to bed at the same time every day
- stop reading reddit in bed at night
- wear blue light glasses to play
So, there are a ton of reasons to avoid blue light in the evenings (I made a podcast about that, too), but realistically…I’m not going to do that. The best time for me to play really is in the evening after work/school, and so that’s just when I’m going to play. To combat the blue light issues, I’m going to make myself wear blue light glasses the whole time. I’m also going to cut out my late-night reddit reading by keeping my phone and laptop far away from my bed at night, because those are things I really should be doing anyway.
As for going to bed and waking up at the same time, this is just something I should have been doing already. I’ve committed to going to bed at 11 and waking up at 7 each day, even when I have the day off, so hopefully without the screens right before bed and the consistency with timing, I’ll train myself to actually get enough sleep and carry this throughout classic.
No, this isn’t really gaming-specific, but if I set myself rules, hopefully I’ll stick with them most of the time and not end up playing until 4 in the morning every day.
So, that’s it. That’s my routine. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and maybe drew some inspiration for setting your own healthy gaming routine!
If you want to say “hi” to me – I’m playing hordeside on Bloodsail Buccanneers as “Tandiya,” a troll mage. :)