We all the know the old stereotype of the professional gamer.
He’s a he, pale from lack of sunlight, probably overweight, in his early 20s and spends much of his time practicing his trade in his basement man cave. He relies on things like sugary energy drinks to keep him going on a 24-hour cycle and when he does eat, it’s probably greasy, fried take out or processed food.
Well, Guess what? Gamers are indeed athletes (and not all male), with the same needs as anyone that operates in a high-performance environment. The ability to make split-second decisions, have a lightening-fast reaction time and the stamina to stay the course are attributes that are shared by players of tennis, football, soccer, basketball and a host of other sports, including, yes, electronic gaming. We know this, because we have so many gaming clients here in Los Angeles. We see how diverse and sophisticated the professional gamers have become and how these companies are evolving as well. More people are taking a closer look to determine how to get the optimal performance from these athletes. One sports organization in Los Angeles decided to look at gamers with their nutritional needs in mind.
TriFitLA, led by Bernard and Gina Baski, was joined by a group of experts in psychology, nutrition, performance and gaming, to look at how gamers were performing and how they could help them perform better.
The first mountain to conquer was “getting them onto the right time schedule,” said Jeff Rothschild, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics at TriFit Performance.“Getting them to sleep and game at the right time, meaning sleep at night and play games during the day time,” adding “that’s better for cognition.”
This artificial 24-hour clock can cause constant jet lag. “It really messes with their internal body clocks and when that happens, their cognition is decreased, and things like blood sugar and hormone control don’t work.”
Nutrition-wise, gamers have individual needs like any other professional athlete. Fueling your mind and body for mental acuity and stamina takes practice to find the right personalized diet.
With all the data collected by working with gamers, the TriFitLA group came up with a product that provides a boost of energy and to the ability to focus.
Called AI Reload, it combines eight different brain-boosting chemicals — alpha GPC, NADH, theanine, caffeine, carnitine, methylcobalamin, magnesium glycinate and phosphatidylserine. It works by targeting functions in the brain that affect focus, clarity, mood and energy. In studies, it has shown to increase reaction time and grip strength by 6-to-7 percent.
“It was developed for gamers but it’s as geared to someone focusing on their computer, doing office work, research, reading, driving long distances, operating or doing surgery,” Rothschild explained. “If you start with the right body clock timing and the right meals, adding AI Reload can give [the user] a nice edge.”
As the sport of gaming evolves, people will come to understand gamers need to act like athletes, with off days and different levels of training each day. “Runners don’t run the same distance or way every day,” Rothschild explained. The fact that gamers are not practicing that way now is “why these professional gamers are retiring at 23 or 24 — there’s so much mental burnout.”
With better practices, the right nutrition and feeding their brains, the competitive years of the gamer could be extended. Beyond gaming, we are learning about personal wellness and optimization. It is both exciting and confusing the amount of information regarding wellness and nutrition these days. We know through conclusive scientific studies that diet, exercise and mindfulness are all indisputable components of wellness and longevity.
Many foods are being touted as “superfoods” and we are obsessed with discovering and researching all of them. Every person responds to a unique and individualized diet and its only through trial and error that the right prescription is realized. With the new food sensitivity home tests like Habit providing specific data designed to target your personalized needs, we are learning so much. We have tried Habit, as well as some genetic testing to see what the right combination is for our personal optimization. We have also embraced electroencephalography devices like Muse to help with meditation and mindfulness practices. We want to live our best lives and feel great and as all of these technological advances are being discovered, we are seeing which ones work for us and help us attain our goals.
We believe the combination of technology, individualized nutrition and meditation is key to working to your potential whether you are a professional gamer or just being you.