Hardcore gamers can spend 12 hours a day or even longer locked into one position as they focus on the art and science of Halo, Texas Hold ‘Em or other online games. The only things that seem to distinguish them from people in other sedentary occupations that lack deliberate movement are their six-figure contracts.
However, professional gamers do have one thing in common with students, stock brokers and others who spend hours without exercising, and that is the challenge of putting together a healthy, sensible diet. And the high flyers have figured out that the right diet is essential for improving mental focus and boosting earnings.
A consummate geek, when Carol isn’t playing Halo or Hitman: Absolution, she is writing about geeky things for the likes of Forbes and the New York Times. To fight off unwanted pounds, boost energy levels and avoid high blood pressure and circulatory problems, Carol follows the advice of Robin Foroutan, a holistic nutritionist/dietician who practices integrative medicine.
Performing a few push-ups can improve reaction time and promote blood flow to the hands and arms. Alternatively, if you are not necessarily the fittest jock on the block, try planking for about ten seconds and work your way up.
The first rule of writing is to select topics that you know about, so poker is the perfect fit for prolific author, Lee Davy. After spending 20 years working on the railroad, Lee snagged a regular writing gig with Poker Pro Europe, where he documented the ups and downs of his second career in professional poker.
In the late 2000s, he discovered a book by Dr Sandra Cabot, Medical and Executive Director of the Australian Women’s Health Advisory Service entitled The Liver Cleansing Diet: Love Your Liver and Live Longer. Based on its advice, Lee followed Dr Cabot’s eight-week plan and came up with his own eight-point plan for loving his liver.
Daniel Negreanu is one of biggest champions in the history of eSports. Overall, he has earned over $35.5 million as a professional gamer. He is also a passionate vegan. This should tell us something.
He describes the carnivorous lifestyle as making him feel heavy and lethargic; it impaired his concentration at the card table. He dabbled in vegetarianism and discovered that a steady diet of cheese pizzas didn’t make him feel or perform any better. He turned to veganism, and has never looked back.
So what does Daniel Negreanu eat? It’s hard to believe that anybody could thrive on beans and nuts. Throw them together in a wholesome soup and serve with salad and/or roasted vegetables and he finds himself satiated and energized. He is also a champion of the much maligned fruit, shunned for its sugar – he points out that the sugar in fruit is not the same as the fructose that comes from cane sugar. Fruit good for you, so eat more!
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier
Online gamer and Twitch.tv celebrity ElkY keeps fit by running, weight training and doing CrossFit. As for diet, if healthy food isn’t readily available, he would rather fast. The guy has won more than $10 million in live games, so there is a message here for those of us who reach for the nearest donut just because it’s there.
He developed a fondness for Korean food while building his profile as one of the testiest eSports players on the circuit in Seoul. One Korean staple beloved of ElkY is kimchi, a mix of fermented cabbage, garlic, chili and spices. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it: it’s both low in fat, high in vitamins A and C and contains fiber, which makes you feel full pretty fast. In general, the Korean diet contains lots of vegetables and is low in fat and sugar. Eat kimchi!
Vegan gaming superstars like Andrew Lichtenberger rely on legumes (lentils, beans and chickpeas) along with grains for their total protein needs. If you must eat meat, choose chicken, turkey or fish over red meats that are high in fats and make the liver work harder than is necessary. Green vegetables are also a must, especially asparagus, avocado, broccoli and spinach, as they contain high levels of fiber, essential for maintaining healthy digestion and avoiding any physical discomfort like bloating – a key for ensuring endurance in the game of your choice.
Professional gamers know that hanging onto a razor-sharp competitive edge requires a healthy lifestyle. The likes of Negreanu, ElkY and company are so detail-oriented that they are prepared to make the necessary dietary sacrifices to boost their performance as well as harness the focus, reaction speed and balanced mood essential to see off competition. The strictness of their diet matches their discipline as gamers – an ingredient that ultimately key to their success in whatever they turn their hand to.