June 14, 2021

How I Lose Weight with Hearthstone

Losing weight and playing video games have always seemed like the perfect combination.

I’ve been mixing the two since I was in my early 20’s. Counter Strike Source was released in 2004 and I was hooked. I remember the first time I played and died almost immediately. The way Counter Strike works is that once you die you wait until the round ends and then play again. Because I was terrible I would often have to wait for a minute to a minute and half before I could play again. I used this opportunity to start working out and get some extra exercise. I would do pushups, pullups, situps, etc in between rounds. I did this for about a year before I started to actually get good at Counter Strike and stopped dying within 20 seconds.

Since Counter Strike released I really have not found a good replacement. Most shooters, especially since the introduction of Call of Duty, have focused on deathmatch type modes where you respawn as soon as you die. More minutes of playing per game time.

Around the new year I decided to pick up hearthstone, a card game made by Blizzard. I found their classic’ game mode of playing against others pretty boring however I have come to really enjoy a mode they call battlegrounds. For some context, the battlegrounds mode has you picking random heros and random cards from a set pool in order to build combos against 8 other opponents. Your ranking increases if you finish in the top 4 against your opponents and drops if you finish in the bottom 4. Each turn, before you face an opponent, you could have up to 75 seconds to pick some new cards. I have found that more often that not I could do this in 5-10 seconds, especially if I already have a good strategy. As I started to play I realized I was in the same scenario I was in with Counter Strike. 10-20 seconds of gaming and 30-60 seconds of waiting.

Here is a good video explaining on it works

With all this time in between rounds I started going back into my routine. Every round I would try to do something different and I tried to push myself as hard as possible during that time akin to HIIT (high intensity interval training). Also depending on the exercise I would stop when I can’t select any more minions or until the round itself restarts. For instance I can do a lot of pushups without issue so if I was doing pushups I would do them until I can start picking minions again. But, burpees tire me out so I would do them after I picked my minions and then would stop so I could watch the round play out. Exercises that I found that work well are: Burpees, pushups, jumping squats, pullups.

And it looks like it worked!

In about a month I lost roughly 10lbs!



I highly suggest for anyone who is looking to be healthier to try and incorporate some light exercise when you can.

Below are some other random thoughts I had:

For the most part, commercial products that seem to be blend fitness and gaming started around the introduction of the Wii in 2006 (DDR excluded). Games like Wii Fit& Wii Sports being the obvious examples and even most recently games like Ring Fit Adventure have found a new audience. Just take a look at T-Pain streaming using the Ring Fit

Back in 2014 someone was making a massively multiplayer online cycling game https://www.engadget.com/2014-09-30-zwift.html

Another avenue that is starting to be popular for the combination fitness/video game market are VR games. Logically it makes sense. You almost always are standing up and moving around when playing a VR game. If your able to use something like this then the possibilities are endless.

Outside of commercial products hackers have been trying to combine the two for a while now.

Back in the heyday of World of Warcraft a user would use her stationary bike while playing on her laptop. Not the most complex setup Burning Calories while playing

Another variation is the standing desk with treadmill underneath it Treadmill

While this is neat it would be even cooler if your character speed depended on how fast you moved on the treadmill. Back in 2008 this was achieved by connecting a treadmill to some tires and mouse sensors Cooler Treadmill

Going back to VR we have a really cool combination of a treadmill, VR headset and world of warcraft:

This guy takes it to the next level combining VR, the omnidirectional treadmill and World of Warcraft:

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