SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

By Volcano Staff on January 4, 2013

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Jason Heilpern - owner of Geek and Gamer Fitness in Tumwater - has advice on how to begin a fitness program.

Jason Heilpern writes,

It was April 1, 2009 when I woke up.  For the last several years I had spent my life living a life that had consumed me.  I was smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, drinking my way into alcoholism and my diet consisted of fast food and soda.  I weighed close to 300lbs, and couldn't make it up a full flight of steps without great effort.  I was in bad shape, and needed to change.

Sound familiar?  The truth is many people find themselves in similar situations every day, and like me have no idea what to do. They know they need to eat right, and lose weight, but they don't know how. This is why so many people give up and fail.  I was lucky to make it through that first year.  How did I do it you ask?  Simple, I approached fitness the same way I played Dungeons and Dragons.

Level One Character

When you play D&D everyone starts out as a level one character. This means they have no equipment, experience, or skills.  Characters gain levels as they gain experience, and so it is with you in fitness.  You have to accept that you are a level one character, and understand that it's OK to be so.  Experience, skill and strength will come in time.

Choose Your Character

In D&D players must create a character to play.  Will they play a fighter, rouge or wizard?  Each kind of character has different abilities.  So it is with you and fitness.  You need to decide what kind of a Fit Freak you are going to be.  Will you be a runner, a Crossfit athlete or yoga?  There are so many ways to get into shape - the sky is the limit.  The key is finding the type that works for you. If you try yoga and decide you don't like it, don't give up on fitness - try something else. Experiment with different classes, instructors and gyms until you find one that works for you.

Level Up

Any D&D player will tell you their favorite part of playing is leveling up their character. This is where they get new skills and abilities.  A mistake many Fit Freaks make is doing the same things over and over again.  Don't do that.  Constantly be pushing yourself to try new things in fitness.  This is how we become better. Spending 30 minutes on the treadmill everyday will never get you into the body you want.  Find a coach, trainer or classes that will always push you to become better then you are.

You are starting out on a wonderful journey of fitness.  If you stick with it, never give up, and continue to learn fitness will change your life. It took me from being overweight to a slim competitive athlete.  Even more surprising, fitness gave me a new career. In 2012 I opened my own fitness center to help others find their fitness path called Geek and Gamer Fitness.

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