Post-MMO Energy Crisis
May 24, 2006 1:46 PM   Subscribe

After several years of a healthy diet, exercise and a loving relationship, I got hooked to an MMO and let all three go down the crapper over the course of about a year and a half. On Monday I finally quit and now I'm trying to recover (as silly as that might sound). One aspect of this is trying to get back into a healthy routine.

I've always been an ectomorph so it was only after several years of dedication that I managed to bulk up a bit and get comfortable with the way I looked and felt. I mention this because playing the MMO didn't result in me putting on weight; rather, I essentially lost 30-40 pounds of muscle. I'd like to get back to eating healthy and exercising but I find that I'm at a huge loss for energy to do anything. My sleep schedule has been fairly regular for a few months now so I think this has more to do with a poor diet and lack of exercise. What do you recommend to help put me on the fast track back to feeling energetic and motivated?
posted by Raze2k to Health & Fitness (23 answers total)
Eat better and work out, it is that simple. Eat more fruits and veggies, more whole grains, keep track of what you eat using a site like FitDay. Make a game out of it. Reward yourself with deserts (or beer, in my case) when you eat according to your plan.

Work out often. Give yourself rest between working each muscle group. Start running, or biking. Swimming also works. Anything to get your heart-rate up. ExRx is a good site for constructing a work out, and offers suggestions on their frequency. Don't over do it, or else you be even more tired from overtraining. Two sites to help your fitness progress are WeEndure and HyperStrike.

Hope this helps.
posted by Loto at 1:57 PM on May 24, 2006

I'd like to know the same, as I'm another recent MMO-addict in recovery. I was addicted to Eve Online for 2+ years before I finally quit.

What I *did* find is that doing things right away when I got home (i.e. doing dishes from the night before or taking out the trash) helped keep me away from the computer.

I'd like to cut back on the caffeine, but it's somewhat essential to my ability to get things done at work.
posted by SpecialK at 2:02 PM on May 24, 2006

Does your game of choice require a CD or DVD to play? Scratch the fuck out of that fuckin' fucker, then shred and/or erase anything that has the serial number on it. It's what I had to do with my copy of Civ I (The Game That Almost Killed Me).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:08 PM on May 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Paradoxically, forcing yourself to work out when you're feeling tired often gives you the energy boost you're looking for. And I always find it easier to start exercising and then use that as a lever for eating better. (Though I've found that most people prefer going the other way. I'm just totally unable to "diet" in any real way, but I pretty naturally stop eating so much when I increase my physical activity.)
posted by occhiblu at 2:16 PM on May 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

could someone tell me what is a MMO? thank you
posted by seawallrunner at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Substitute "eat healthily" for "diet" in my last comment so that it actually applies to you!
posted by occhiblu at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2006

Response by poster: I'm not worried about a relapse (and it doesn't require a CD!); I'm just having issues with motivation and lethargy. I don't recall ever feeling so completely out of energy after doing the most simple and things.. and basically I was wondering if there was anything I could do beyond the obvious (eat better and exercise!), like any particular vitamins or dietary supplements folks might recommend to help with energy and such. Thanks!
posted by Raze2k at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2006

Yeah, I've also found that if I start to work out when I feel tired or "not in the mood" for exercise after a few minutes I will have totally forgotten about how I was feeling and finish the workout, but this is cardio not weight lifting.
posted by delmoi at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2006

Yes, cardio.

Are you taking multivitamins? That definitely also helps with my general energy level.
posted by occhiblu at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2006

MMO = Massive(ly) Multiplayer Online (Game). Think Star Wars Galaxies or Everquest. Avatars, lots of people online on the same server(s) at same time, killing/talking to each other, killing computer generated characters and--mostly, I gather--slaughtering the local virtual rodentia for their gold(?!) and precious XP so that they may...

posted by speedo at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2006

Massively multiplayer online game. I.e. world of warcraft, everquest, eve, and so on. These games tend to require hours and hours of daily play to build and maintain a character and can be very addictive.

There is nothing silly about treating this as a recovery. MMO's for some people can be a serious addiction that completely takes over their lives.

Caffeine is another issue altogether... don't cut that out until everything else is healthy. I've heard the symptoms caffeine withdrawal can be nasty. But I imagine you could in theory get by without caffeine at work if you were getting enough sleep and you have it completely out of your system.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2006

Nothing silly about treating MMOs as an addiction at all. Heck, I was so addicted to the MUDs back in text-only days that I walked across Ottawa in the middle of winter on the frozen Rideau Canal just to hack into the universities' computers to get a telnet session so I could play.

Of course, this many-mile walk every day helped me not get fat. It did not help me get healthy though, as playing the MUDs 12+ hours per day made it really hard to look for work.

I wish you luck. My success getting over this was to introduce it to my girlfriend, who became even more addicted than I. Once I saw the utter depravity of her addiction (and ignoring her 2 year old son while he played with the electrical sockets) I lost all interest.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:52 PM on May 24, 2006

Depends upon what's easier for you to start rolling with. For me, I lost over 70 pounds over the past year mostly by focusing back on what I ate. As I ate better and my body felt better without all of the crap that I'd be dropping into it. Once I felt better, I found I had better motivation to do other things and my life has become infinitely less tedious.

Of course, I'd still like to find some way to get over this only sleeping 4-5 hours a night bit, but that's for another question. :)
posted by drewbage1847 at 3:29 PM on May 24, 2006

Civ I was on a CD? I remember floppies.
posted by furiousthought at 4:02 PM on May 24, 2006

"I essentially lost 30-40 pounds of muscle."

No, you didn't: "After several years of training hard, a man may be able to gain 10 pounds of muscle, max."
posted by NortonDC at 6:36 PM on May 24, 2006

Eating sugar or other carbohydrates for breakfast often makes me very sleepy soon after; it's nearly impossible to recover my energy after that. This often happens when I've been having this type of breakfast over a span of weeks. If I have my (now standard) protein + greens breakfast for several days, along with limiting sugar/carbohydrate intake the rest of the day, it usually perks me up considerably. Since I do need some carbohydrates (makes me smarter, I think) I'm still working on finding the right balance.

Also - keeping the ambient temperature in a good range helps. Too hot, I'm sleepy. Too cold, I just want to stay warm, which drains energy. This effect is lessened when I do get some exercise.

Finally, I find that making the time to meet up with other people and have fun gives me energy. Also having inspiring experiences of any kind -- even a very moving book, movie, or play can get me inspired for a day or two. Sounds trite, but it's really important. Otherwise, why are we bothering?
posted by amtho at 7:26 PM on May 24, 2006

I think that I have a similar body type as you but instead of MMOs it's laziness and drunkeness for me.

For about a year & 1/2 I was really consistent with my chinup bar (as many chinips as I could do [from 5 to 15 within a couple of months] alternating with pullups from 6 to 25] - rest a bit, give the other one a go - every other day).

Went from 125 to 145. Plateaued at 145 for about five months.

Then I got really stressed (defending MSc thesis, then having a break when I drank too much, and dealing with nicotine withdrawl - so I wasn't "good" and went back down to a scawny 130).

Right now I'm having a hard time getting back into the routine...

The problem for me is that I don't use the extra muscle/bulk day-to-day (although it [was] nice to have that available), the trick to getting back into a regular routine was to instill into myself why I'm spending the effort to gain/maintain weight.


Well, getting one again. Otherwise, it seems really silly for me to put myself through paces every other day when I really don't need the results...
posted by porpoise at 10:59 PM on May 24, 2006

I wish you luck. My success getting over this was to introduce it to my girlfriend, who became even more addicted than I. Once I saw the utter depravity of her addiction (and ignoring her 2 year old son while he played with the electrical sockets) I lost all interest.

I managed to shock the hell out of myself at around the 3-6 age and I'm fine. It was more surprising then anything else.
posted by delmoi at 11:03 PM on May 24, 2006

i don't know how true this is, but it's common to hear in weightlifting circles that it's easier to put lost muscle back on than it was building that muscle the first time around.

in my experience this has been true, but it could be simply psychosomatic. so, there's a silver lining, but take it with a grain of salt because i don't know if it's been objectively verified.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 11:05 PM on May 24, 2006

"Civ I was on a CD? I remember floppies."

Maybe PST played Civ I a few years after it debuted. I'm pretty sure that you're right about it being on floppies when it debuted—I got it within a month or so of its debut, which was sometime in 92, I think. Civ wouldn't have needed a CD at that time...that was too early for a publisher to expect most gamers to have a CD drive. Seems to me that it was one of the big adventure games of that era that was the first to ship primarily on CD. A lot of big stuff wasn't. I got OS/2 right when it came out (maybe even slightly before, I got it from my father-in-law who was a Canadian PS/1 product manager) and it was on 20 floppies, IIRC. Even Win95 was shipped initially on floppies, I think. I'd be willing to bet that Civ 1 was about 5 meg or so total when it shipped and would have fit upon less than ten floppies at most.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:10 AM on May 25, 2006

Maybe PST played Civ I a few years after it debuted.

Yes, this would have been around 96-97. It was a caddy loading CD-ROM drive if that gets me some cred.

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:30 AM on May 25, 2006

Your life is kind of like an MMO. Keep a notebook handy and draw a little XP bar in it. You gain XP for "good" activities and lose it for lazing around.

P.S.: I'm lv54. You have some catching up to do.
posted by trevyn at 6:38 AM on May 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

huge loss for energy to do anything

Laziness-induced fatigue. That's what I get. When I haven't exercised for a while, just sitting around makes me tired. When I exercise, I have the energy to clean my whole house. So, maybe just get started, take a walk around the block or something, and tomorrow you'll have energy to do a little more, etc. Oh, or what about exercise classes (if you already belong to a gym)? Those help me a lot if I'm feeling lazy.
posted by salvia at 12:18 AM on May 27, 2006

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