The latest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, is upon us. You know what that means: time to traverse the purdy, sprawling Azerothian analogue of the Far East; become a pugilistic, monastic panda bear; and of course, ding Level 90.
But more importantly? It’s time to stay up to the asscrack of dawn in footie pajamas like crepuscular buffoons, unwashed and scragglyfaced as the most decrepit of hobos — the entire time oozing a foul miasma of nacho crumbs and taint sweat. Isn’t release night awesome!?
Except, no. No more making your parents even more ashamed of you as you wallow in your own crapulence. No more causing the family dog to turn his nose away from your irrefutable stink. Let’s dispel those hackneyed stereotypes and do it right this time.
“I swear to God, Dad. I can stop anytime I want to.”
Image source: Wandering Goblin
Prove everybody wrong and pay careful attention to the following. (I know this article is WoW-centric, but it can apply to any game that consumes your very soul like a ravenous, electronic maw.)
1. Stay away from candy/soda/simple sugars
“CANDYYYY BARSSSS! SUGAR RUSH FOR ALERTNESS, BRUH.”
False. If sugar rushes and liter cola chugging is still part of your gaming efficiency mindset then you’re living a fool’s dream, my friend. I know this goes against everything you’ve learned in your tenure as a video game junkie. Hell, Mountain Dew and Zebra Cakes have been your Eucharist for decades now. But it’s time to face reality. Sugar is not your friend if staying alert and energetic for a sustained amount of time is your aim. Yes, you’ll feel sprightlier than gnomish engineer trainer Springspindle Fizzlegear… at first. But then:
… that quick lift is followed by an equally sudden letdown. Simple carbohydrates, such as the sugar in candy bars, enter the bloodstream almost immediately, causing a very high level of glucose, or blood sugar. This fast rise in glucose stimulates the pancreas to secrete a great deal of insulin to process the excess glucose and put it in storage as glycogen or fat. As the glucose is stored, there is a rapid drop in the amount left in the bloodstream. This lowered blood sugar produces the “sugar blues,” a feeling of depression or low energy experienced 20 to 60 minutes after the initial burst of energy released by eating candy or other sugary food.
Or if you’re on a roleplaying server or just don’t get out very much, you could just ignore my advice completely and get hammed on some form of bamboo stout like your Pandaren brethren here.
“Whatever,” you say. “I can handle a little fatigue. I’ve eaten more Baby Ruths than anyone else east of the Mississippi!” That’s fine. But you’re fighting an uphill battle. According to this surprisingly informative post from r/wow on Reddit:
Sugar intake lowers the production of orexin. Orexin is one of the things that keeps you awake and alert. So, if you eat that bag of sweeties, then you’re actually taking steps in the wrong direction. Your orexin levels will go down and you will get sleepier because you ate the sweeties, whereas you would have maintained a normal decline into sleepiness had you abstained.
Yes, the author is kind of weird for referring to candy as “sweeties” more than once. But he brings up a great point — sugar rushes are just that — temporary and fleeting.
“So you don’t want us to eat candy bars or chug cola? What the hell are you supposed to eat then for gaming binge sessions? I’m glad you asked.
2. Plan healthy, beneficial meals
Whatever you do, don’t ever order the “Panda Surprise.”
Here’s what you should eat:
Carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index:
The glycemic index is the measurement of glucose, or blood sugar, level increase from carbohydrate consumption. We want to intake foods low on the GI because:
A low-GI food will release glucose more slowly and steadily, which leads to more suitable postprandial (after meal) blood glucose readings. A high-GI food causes a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels and is suitable for energy recovery after exercise or for a person experiencing hypoglycemia.
Source: Glycemic index.
So, foods with a 70 or above for GI value, are foods you want to avoid. Such as: white bread, pretzels, most white rice. Foods with a 55 or less on the GI value scale are considered low, and include: beans, nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, chickpeas), seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin), and most fruits and vegetables.
Protein, specifically casein protein:
Casein is a slowly absorbed protein that will provide a steady release of amino acids over a longer period of time. This means you feel full, and your body doesn’t get all twisted and out of whack like it would with the simple sugars from candy. Milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt are all great sources. Click for more information on casein protein.
As for healthy proteins, there are plenty to choose from. Just be sure that they contain essential amino acids and are relatively low in cholesterol. Eggs, chicken, fish, steak, and pork are all fine choices. Eggs are my personal favorite because they’re so damn easy to prepare.
Yes, fats can be good for you, provided they are the right kind. Olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados, polyunsaturated fats found in omega-3 fish (salmon, tuna, trout), and flaxseed are all fine sources for healthy fats that will have you feeling fuller for a longer duration.
I like to go with coffee over the myriad energy drinks out there today. (And as a replacement for soda.) Just make sure you have plenty of water to go along with it, as it has a diuretic effect and can leave you dehydrated.
3. Take exercise breaks
“Work out while playing video games? Haha, come on, man. Get that oxymoron bullshit the hell outta here! We’re gamers! We take pride in our excessive indolence and paunchy bellies!”
Look, I’m not telling you to MacGyver your computer to a treadmill and run a marathon. But once in a while, get up and do something. Jumping jacks, stretching, push-ups, sit-ups, cartwheels, banging your head against the wall upon realizing you’ve spent the last 18 hours playing a panda-centric video game. Get a little exercise, release those endorphins, clear your head, and then get back into the game, son.
Besides, I wouldn’t want you guys to, say, develop a blood clot in your pockmarked asscheeks and die, or some s--t. Besides, how you gonna read Adventures in Poor Taste if you’re dead? (New slogan, trademarked.)
4. Don’t completely shun your loved ones
You have no idea what I had to sift through to find this relatively tame image. Note to self: Keep Safe Search on strict. From now on. Forever.
So you already told your girlfriend to shut her yapper and get her ass into the kitchen to make you a [insert misogynistic sandwich of your choice here.] Besides, you don’t bother her during her soaps or roll your eyes when she wants to talk about her feelings and hormonal imbalances, now do you?
That’s all well and good, except — well, it’s not good in any way, shape, or form. So you’ve got a fancy new massively multiplayer online roleplaying game toy. Naturally, you want to play the hell out of it and you don’t want any damn interruptions.
So here’s what I’m proposing: If your family member/loved one/wife/girlfriend/significant other gets home from work and you’re already zealously playing? Tear yourself away from the computer screen for just a quick moment. Get up, give them a hug, look them in the eyes, and tell them you love them and missed them. And say it like you actually mean it. Stuff like this has been known to halt even the worst of rampaging, nagging companions dead in their tracks; even cure diseases.
TL;DR: A little affection and show of appreciation can go a long way. Your video games will be around forever. Your loved ones won’t. Give a little love to those that deserve it.
5. Have a good name ready for your Monk
Do not name your Pandaren monk KungFuPanda or KarateManPanda or PoDaPanda or some variation thereof. Please.
This is worse than naming your Night Elf hunter Legolazlol or your cleverly-named shaman Shamwow, even if you’re being meta and ironic. Why? Because we’ve had almost ten years with which to learn from the mistakes of those insipid assholes and we don’t need another influx of imbecility.
More acceptable handle: Jean Claude Van Pandamn.
6. Have fun
Who will become the world’s “First Level 90?” “First to 600 Profession Skill?” Whose girlfriend will go to bed the least sexually satisfied? These are the questions on everyone’s mind. The friendly competitiveness that comes with realm firsts and even world firsts is a great aspect of WoW, don’t get me wrong.
But if you find yourself lagging behind a friend in the leveling department, take a deep breath and remember that — most importantly — the game should be enjoyable. Take the time to enjoy the scenery. Appreciate the effort Blizzard put into the questlines and lore. Embrace all the new content. Bask in your new spells. Try to recall some of that wonderment you felt when you first started playing the game. Have fun my dudes.
Cover art courtesy of: sanggene
Your boy and favorite writer Russ is also a personal trainer and amateur bodybuilder. He never thought he’d be giving nutritional advice/workout tips most conducive to avid gamers like himself, but hey, that’s just the paradoxical life he lives.
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