• Paul Clingan

3 Ways Video Games Are Like Working Out



If 2020 would have happened when I was in college, I might have dropped out to play in an eLeague somewhere. I was that into gaming.


Just to give you an idea of how much I played.


I remember getting a game on 11/11/11 called Skyrim. I was a junior in college at the time and I was anticipating it for over a year, reading every review and article that came out leading up to the release.


I played the game for 15 straight hours. Got home at 12:30am, popped in the game with 2 bags of Doritos and 2 gallons of Arizona Green Tea by my side and I played until 3:30pm the next day.


I've moved on from those all-night video game days.


These days I’ll occasionally pop in FIFA to get my itch.


I am always looking for analogies to apply to training and I wanted to share principles from video games that we can apply to our health.


Here we go:


The Higher Your Level, The More Time It Takes To Level Up


It’s common to get started and see fast results. (This is actually how mobile games get you addicted. You see fast results right away and then BOOM add more coins for $4.99)

Then it’s a grind.


Higher levels in video games might require 10,000 experience points whereas the first 10 levels required 1,000 total.


We see this a lot in training. Here's some examples.


Weight Loss



The last 5lbs of fat takes longer to come off than the first 5lbs. When you start a weight loss journey, you can typically see 1% of your bodyweight per week. If you weigh 250lbs, that's 10lbs in a month. However, as you get closer and closer to being really lean, that last 5lbs around your lower ab could take up to 12 weeks.


Another example is someone that just starts bench pressing. When you are a novice lifter which is less than anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of following structured training programs you can see 5lb increases week to week due to neuromuscular adaptations and because it's such a new stimulus to the body, the muscles will grow.


Adding 5lbs a week quickly slows down to 5lbs a month. That's why we don't see anyone adding 5lbs every week continuously. That would be over a 500lb bench press in a year. And even if you're adding on 5lbs a month, 60lbs is progress only beginners make.


Once you get to lifting for 10+ years, it might take you a year to add 20lbs.


Just like leveling up at high levels, lifting heavier things when you're advanced takes TIME and DEDICATION.


You Can’t Be Good At Everything


Sooner or later, the character in your game specializes and you have strengths and weaknesses. Warriors need healers. Snipers need heavy infantry. Characters in movies even have a team. Think of the Avengers. They all have special abilities that cover for the other person's gaps.


This is why having a team or coach is so important. They help you with things you’re not good at so you can stay on track or develop those skills.


It’s also a testament to specializing if you want to be good. I don’t think anyone has ever squatted 600 and been able to run a 2:30 marathon. They require you to dump your skill points into one skill tree. In order to progress beyond beginner levels you need to start spending several months and then several years training for one thing specifically.


It’s The Failures That Make Success So Satisfying


Any gamer can tell you, it’s the boss that took 10 tries to beat that brings the most satisfaction.

I remember playing countless hours of Halo trying to beat maps on Legendary. I died sooo many times.


I also remember getting the best gear or guns in a game and just cruising through like everyone is on easy because I was just overpowered.


If a game is too easy, it’s boring. If it’s too hard, you give up.


We need a challenge and failures to appreciate the wins.


In the gym, we might fail on a lift for a few weeks straight. But once we break that plateau, it's a magical feeling.


Next time you find yourself getting frustrated about not seeing results, wanting results faster, or thinking that you can do it alone...


Just remember these 3 rules in gaming and apply them to your goals.

If you're interested in the Mindful Muscle coaching program, apply here.


In this program I take you through the three pillars of training, mindfulness, and nutrition and apply them to your goals to help you break through plateaus, finally stop being stuck, and experience a new level of confidence and energy.


If you want to join a community where you get access to Free trainings, exclusive content, and some of my best programs. Join the Mindful Muscle Facebook Group!


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