Why gamers are a great fit at the gym

"For the first 26 years of my life, I had no idea what exercise was," Fitocracy user Michael Perry says.

Story highlights

  • Fitocracy uses video game techniques to encourage exercise
  • "Glued to Games" authors say motivation is similar in fitness, games
  • Community around online games, or fitness, satisfies a psychological need
They've been trained to focus for weeks at a time on a single goal. They know how to clearly identify obstacles and form step-by-step plans to overcome them.
They're obsessed with improving specific skills but judge success only by overall progress made in the world they've decided to conquer -- as realistic or fantastical as it may be.
It's precisely these traits that make video-gamers great bodybuilders.
Take a moment to laugh, if you must. Now hear us out.
Brian Wang and Dick Talens were the stereotypical video-gamers in high school. One was scrawny, the other fat. They grew up playing marathon sessions of "EverQuest" and "Counter-Strike."
"I literally would wake up and play all day, eating intermittently," Talens said. "OK, when I say intermittently, I mean eating a lot."
But by the time the men met at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, they had traded an obsession with video gaming for an obsession with weight-lifting. As they shared stories at the gym, they realized their healthy transformation had been easier for them than for most.
Dick Talens weighed 230 pounds in high school before becoming a body builder.