GamerFitNation presents Michael Hartnett as True Gamer of the Week.
Michael tells us about himself. I’m a student in college computer information systems and business, currently writing for PlayStationLifeStyle.net. Started gaming around the age of 3 or 4. First game I ever played was Sonic the Hedgehog on my Sega Genesis, and I‘ve loved gaming ever since. He has owned: : Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, PSP, and PlayStation 3.
It’s hard to pin one title down as the game that sparked my interest in gaming, but I’d say it was, overall, the top hits on the Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Ecco The Dolphin; the hits go on and on and on. The games on that console were so creative, while at the same time so much fun, it was oftentimes hard to pull myself away from the screen. Not to mention the music was absolutely phenomenal. The types of music in games such as Ecco The Dolphin: Tides of Time, for instance, always conjured up strong emotions for me, even as a young child; while titles like Sonic 3 always had an energetic feel, which was great motivation for getting me moving and involved with athletics.
Opinion of GFN and our stand on Gaming and Health
I’m absolutely blown away, yet not surprised, at how quickly the community is growing. GFN shows that it IS possible to be a big-time gamer, while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s also phenomenal to finally see a site taking a stance on this issue, as today’s media often finds gaming to be synonymous with obesity. The fact that I actually see individuals sticking to programs on the site and losing weight/becoming more healthy is a testament to the impact GFN has on the gaming populous. Their news is uniquely tailored for the health conscious game, and I think that’s just awesome. There are obviously folks who enjoy gaming to the point where it can overtake other portions of life, thus becoming unhealthy, so I also enjoy the fact that GFN actively tries to reach out to its community not only on a physical health level, but on a mental health level as well.
Workout and Diet
Overall, I tend to balance my eating and exercise pretty well. One HUGE part of my diet is the fact that I absolutely never drink soda, and very seldom each chocolate, unless I’m getting it via milk or, on occasion, ice cream. Very few people realize just how bad soda is for you, and you’re setting yourself up for diseases like diabetes if you consume it too often. Since I abstain from some of the foods that might be considered the harshest on the pyramid, it allows me to be more flexible with my eating habits, so moderately portioned steak, or nibbles of sweets is OK as long as I balance it out with exercise. I just started drinking Teas’ Tea, which is an organic, unsweetened green tea sold-in and imported from Japan. It can be found in most organic supermarkets, and I just can’t get enough of it.
I’ve also just recently started on a low glycemic-index diet, which is phenomenal for maintaining healthy blood-sugar levels and avoiding blood-sugar spikes, which in-turn is excellent for maintaining a healthy weight, staying full longer, maintaining prolonged energy, and an overall healthy lifestyle.
When it comes to workout habits, sports are a big part. Soccer, basketball, and especially hockey are all strong cardio workouts which definitely help me to maintain a stable weight. Running in-general is my favorite, because it really helps to alleviate stress and any extra built-up energy that might otherwise make me feel restless. Additionally, I enjoy moderate weight lifting, and have just started using P90X off-and-on for the past 2 months. One really fun workout, that also happens to be a game series, is Dance Dance Revolution. I own many of those games on the PS2 and find them to be an absolute blast, not to mention a phenomenal workout. I’m able to play on the hardest difficulty settings now, and you find yourself working up a sweat with several minutes of play. Love it! And I couldn’t finish talking about workout regimens without mentioning parkour and free-running, which I’ve just started getting into, and it’s not only physically beneficial, but mentally as well, in that it helps build confidence and the ability to overcome barriers not only in the physical landscape, but in life overall. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting stronger are what I typically aspire to do. Once we get a break in this cold weather, I’d really like to get a running regiment going again. I’ve always striven to build muscle, because it not only brings with it confidence and an overall sense of well-being, but it turns your body into an automatic calorie-burning furnace, even while you’re sleeping. I’m also shooting to regain abdominal definition, which has slipped away a bit since starting college and getting into the industry.
Advice to Gamers Struggling with Weight Issues
Don’t game your days away, always try to find time to get up and get moving. I’ve gone into slumps during days I have off from work where I wake, game, and sleep; then the morning comes and the process starts all over. Eating and gaming can be just as bad, because you’re often so engrossed with what’s going on on-screen that you keep jamming down food without even realizing it. It’s also possible to add an element of fun to your normal gaming routine. Say, for every stage I beat, two minutes of running in place, or 15 push-ups, whatever works for you. Time management is key, and if you can manage to make gaming your get-away, rather than your part-time job (unless it
Opinion on the Gaming Industry and How it Handles Health
The gaming industry is a complicated piece of work, on one hand you have games that do a good job of keeping folks glued to their couches, while on the other hand you have honest attempts at fitness from folks like EA with their Active series, or Konami who make cardio fun through “dancing“, even if you do look like a fool doing it. I don’t necessarily know that it’s my place to criticize the industry when it is, after-all, entertainment, and the definition of entertainment is to divert and hold attention, so the folks who game heavily often know what they’re getting into, and may not always realize how addictive some of these games can be (myself sometimes included). It would be really nice, however, to see the industry take an aggressive approach when it comes to health, putting out games that incorporate up-beat music, along with an actual work-out program that isn‘t presented as an afterthought, but as a real, tested program. Because when you come across games like Wii Fit, you’re really looking at a game that doesn’t stress your body much, and more-so serves to get your feet wet fitness-wise, rather than give you a meaningful workout. Oftentimes, workout games are just so boring, that it’s hard keep your attention focused on any of them. I applaud Microsoft, and even more Sony, for trying to bring movement and exercise to the hardcore market, where games which require physical activity can actually be fun. We just need to rally for a more engrossing health-oriented experience. And remember, there’s just no substitute for good ol’ fresh air.
More about Michael
I started writing for PlayStationLifeStyle.net in November 2009 after a recommendation from PSN user Rianor5 (you may know him), and it has been non-stop fun ever since. It takes a ton of work to keep a site like this running smoothly, but the team we have makes it seem almost effortless. We’re known for our coverage, and that certainly showed this past year at E3 2010 when the staff essentially turned into a pack of ravenous news hounds, managing to break a huge portion of the conference’s biggest stories before anyone else; it was hectic, and our eyeballs were left sizzling from our computer screens, but it was so worth it. We’re currently ranked as the #1 PlayStation-focused news site in the United States, and are currently gnawing our way up the international charts.
I’d also like everyone to go away contemplating this quote…
“A body in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force”
If you constantly keep yourself motivated, keep yourself moving, then fitness will come naturally. Brake the chain of just sitting around, and you break the bondage of an unhealthy lifestyle.
GamerFitNation would like to thank Michael for his thorough responses and letting us into his world. We really appreciate it, and we welcome you to the Club.
Don’t Just Be Fit, Be Gamer Fit