Episode 180 – gamer health (part 1)

* (0:31) Fear the Con 3 just got a trivia game show.  Fear the Con 3 items are also now available for sale in our CafePress store.

* (2:17) Ira Glass on overcoming creative perfectionism.

* (5:06) Keeping dice in the roleplaying continuity.

* (9:21) Pat’s pickled pigs feet…?

* (10:44) Health advice disclaimer.  You can find the organization Chris is certified with here.

* (15:26) Improving what you eat at the gaming table, with tangents on peer support, calorie counting, and making sustainable changes.

* (39:10) Picking the right exercises for you and integrating them into your life.

* (48:49) Chad’s pep talk and a story about Tex.

Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, Pat, Wayne

Comments (18)

Greg ChristopherFebruary 3rd, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Awesome! Thanks Dan!

Here is a 2nd dosage of my linking power!


Colin ConnFebruary 4th, 2010 at 8:57 am

Hey I liked your bit on gamer health!

I did that lifestyle change and lost 70lbs, and I’m still loosing weight! Keep at it! I achieved this in one year, so can you!

IanFebruary 4th, 2010 at 9:31 am

I ate a party-size bag of greasy peanut flavor crisps and then washed it down with a 2 litre bottle of Coke while listening to this.

Greg ChristopherFebruary 4th, 2010 at 10:01 am

Thats just cruel, Ian.

DragonsdaleFebruary 4th, 2010 at 10:43 am

so fencing twice and doing reenactment training twice a week will keep me alive?
*arm falls off*
oh well… it is still damn fun…

GeekoidFebruary 4th, 2010 at 11:57 am

Something that I use to help my kids and myself is to find early art from famous artist as an example of how they will get better at whatever they are doing.

Look at the current Penny-Arcade art, and Gabes poster Art. Then go to the archive and look at his early work. That is a great example of how doing something regularly improves what you do, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

@Dragonsdale – D8? You must be a cleric, so no fencing. You could try swinging a mace around~

GeekoidFebruary 4th, 2010 at 12:28 pm


Looks like you just need to buy some books and study and take an exam.

Here is how to find a good organization. Does acefitness meet this:

What was with the game theory crack? there is some serious math behind game theory. It’s applied mathematics for crying out loud.

“IT’s not a hunger thing” Absolutely correct. It’s a habit and a human instinct to fill up on calories to get through the incoming famine…which never happens.

Dieting is like having a million ducks pecking at your resolve all the time. It’s a constant pressure.

Alton Brown has a book on how to change your diet. It basically helps you get into good diet habits. Basically how to go from Sugar rich, to nutritionally rich foods.

I’m 45, I have been gaming for over 30 years developed bad diet habits. I am changing my diet and it’s damn hard.

Sadly the whole fitness industry is mostly incorrect information, myth’s, and logical fallacies.

Two pounds a week means you need to eat 7000 calories less then you use.
For me, obsessing with the fat numbers(20-30g a week) has helped me. I also bear in mind that mosts ‘good’ fat free food is loaded with sugar, so I keep an eye out for that.

JaredFebruary 4th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I was a jock first and a gamer geek in a far second going through high school (and a bit of college), and reversing the two progressively for the last 10 years since. My health is pretty directly related to being incredibly active working out for around 45 minutes to 1 hour a day not just for health reasons, but more for the very real relief of stress. What I told my wife, whom used to not be that active, is to just do something physically active for 15 minutes a day. I feel more stressed trying to diet and very much the reverse doing physical things.

GeekoidFebruary 4th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Sorry, one more.

Either you have found away to get around physics, or yes, going down stairs takes energy.

Climbing stairs burns 10 calories a minutes ascending, and 7 calories a minute descending.

MarshallFebruary 5th, 2010 at 10:27 am

This is a really important topic for gamers. Last year I took a graduate level course in nutrition. The following website has some of the most accurate and up to date information available:


The following website is a really useful tool for finding healthy recipes, note that you can search for recipes by cost, what cooking equipment you have, and health goals:


Hope these help.

DanFebruary 5th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

@Geekoid – Two things.

1. From the Quackwatch article you linked…

It is the responsibility of each respective organization to pursue NCCA accreditation. So far, ten fitness organizations have achieved NCCA status for at least one or more of their fitness related certifications. It is a time-consuming, expensive, and most likely, tedious process. The organizations that have achieved status are all long-standing organizations that were already respected in the fitness field. You can be sure the educational content contained within their exams is valid, up to date, and challenging. So check your trainer’s standard personal fitness certification and additional certifications to ensure that they are from one or more of the following:

And in the list that follows, they note ACE as an organization that fits those standards. In fact, it’s the second one on the list. So according to the website you cited, Chris’ qualifications are perfectly kosher. He also violated nothing on the “warning signs” list given beneath that. I’m not really clear what the issue is.

2. I should have explained the “game theory” thing better. That was my bad. Yes, there is a real field of mathematics (with some sociology mixed in) for studying games and similar pseudo-economic exchanges. It’s a valid field of study, and I have respect for both the science and the people that know it. The story that led up to that comment (which I should have given on the air to provide context) was watching people use that as a discussion-ender on several forums. Someone would make a comment about a game preference — something purely subjective in nature, mind you. Someone else would then respond with their preference and end the post by saying they study game theory, so they’re right, discussion over. It’s like when someone says, “I’m an artist, so you have no right to say which paintings you like.”

MichaelFebruary 5th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Re: Going down stairs

Sorry, I don’t have a link, but I remember seeing a study a couple years ago about how going down stairs and hiking downhill is excellent exercise for balance. Of course, balance is an issue for the next demographic, i.e., when you get to senior citizen age. But, it is one of the biggest problems elderly people face — falling and the broken bones associated with it really drags down quality of life. (My wife’s a physical therapist who deals with these issues daily.)

The trick with going down an incline is to actually use your muscles. It is very easy to just let yourself “fall” down stairs, thus putting all the impact onto your joints as they hit that next step. But if you learn to use your muscles to set yourself down, a lot of that pain will disappear.

DanFebruary 5th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

That’s something I don’t think came up in either 180 or 181: the categories of exercise. Off the top of my head, I know there’s strength, endurance, balance, etc. Each is pursued in a different way and provides a different benefit. Chris could probably provide much better information than I can.

TetsuboFebruary 6th, 2010 at 2:31 am

I was diagnosed in 2008 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. I had to make a *major* life change in a rather short time. Since then I have had to cut out carbs, sugar, salt, fat and reduce calories. I also had to start an exercise program. I chose walking and pedaling at my apartment. Since I have done this I have lost 30+ pounds and now how have better readings in my system than my doctor. But it meant I gave up candy, ice cream, cookies, pastries of every kind, soda and *all* processed foods. Counting carbs has become my life. I honestly don’t much like it. But it means I don’t go blind, become crippled or die young. You can do it. Just don’t wait until your health is at a make or break point like I did.

AkiFebruary 6th, 2010 at 4:36 am

On the “game theory”:

I knew some people back in university, who weren’t really able to get any real work done on their real studies, but would have really strong opinions on gaming through GNS theory.

Anyhow, personally, I studied game theory as part of my post-graduate research (which is currently on backburner). I’ve felt that the knowledge gained from those studies has expanded my taste in games.

Anyhow, although some simplistic examples will place all the players (in game theory sense) in the same situation, anyone who has understood what game theory is about should understand that different players will have subjective criteria and different games will have different theoretical basis. If anyone who has actually studied game theory claims that one game is better than another purely based on the studies, they should probably go back and take a few more courses.

Game theory does lend a different view on games though. Its a bit like learning to play an instrument. After you’ve done so, you find it harder to appreciate the music itself, and you’ll put more emphasis on the technical performance. By understanding game theory, you’ll find yourself not enjoying the game itself as much as metathings like thinking about the possibilities brought on by the mechanics, or the process of analyzing the opponents. Obviously this can lead to interest in certain kinds of games like Diplomacy, but again anyone who has understood the core of game theory should know that pushing people to play Diplomacy is not a good idea (actually, you shouldn’t need to know anything beyond the game itself to know that you shouldn’t push just anyone to play it).

DanFebruary 6th, 2010 at 7:28 pm

@Aki – What you described is exactly what my beef with game theory is. As I stated in the above post, it’s a legitimate pursuit, and I have no problem with the science or the people interested in it. It just seems to get misapplied a lot.

Over the years, I’ve run into many situations where one of my friends will try to get me interested in something. It could be a movie, anime series, RPG, tabletop game, whatever. And what I find is that I actually love the thing itself, but the adherents have a personality trend that drives me nuts. For example, I love Warhammer 40K, but the attitude of the local crowd drove me out of the game.

That’s what I’ve run into with game theory. The thing itself is perfectly fine, but I’ve run into a lot of people that read a handful of books or articles, decide they’re an expert, and then try to use that knowledge like a hammer at the most inappropriate times. They throw around objective terms in a way that seems designed to obfuscate fundamentally subjective points.

@Tetsubo – Good for you! I’m sorry to hear it took such dramatic changes in your lifestyle, but I’m glad to hear you did it. There’s two women (one friend, one relative) I’m watching go through the same thing right now, but unfortunately, neither are making the necessary lifestyle changes. They both have uncontrolled cholesterol, weight, and diabetes, and I (sadly) expect to see both buried at an unfortunately young age. :(

Dan YarringtonFebruary 10th, 2010 at 1:25 am

Really enjoyed this episode. Thanks for the great discussion. Looking forward to continuing that in Episode 181. This is a huge issue and one that we’re happy to see in the spotlight more often. We can all make incremental changes to improve our own health and see resulting improvements in the quality of our lives.

PeterFebruary 13th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

3 pretty simple rules:

1. Don’t eat crap

2. Drink LOTS of water

3. Lift weights (free weight back squats and deadlifts for example) three times a week.

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