Many of us are preparing for a gaming marathon of Diablo III. Whether this is your usual computer activity, or you’re bringing your old gaming habits out of retirement for D3, you’ll want to know how best to maximize your attention, care for your body, remain awake and feeling good for longer play sessions, and not die in the process.
Happily, we’ve got just the thing. Thanks to site reader Moonie, a trained nutritionist and long-time power gamer, here’s a detailed and intelligent guide that covers your food, liquid, nutrition, sleep requirements, and other bodily needs during extended gaming sessions. We all know that cookies, coffee, and soda aren’t ideal for our bodies, and that they actually lower performance by not adequately fueling the body’s needs. But why? And what are some more effective alternatives?
Read on to learn, and you’ll be powering through Inferno while lesser, empty-calorie Mt. Dew-chugging WoW players are still back in Nightmare, snoring and drooling on their keyboards.
Optimize your body, optimize your gaming experience for Diablo 3’s release
Guest Article by Moonie.
The release of Diablo III is approaching, and many gamers are preparing for marathon gaming, with snacks and coffee in front of your computer to lose the least possible time on other tasks and stay awake as long as possible. You may think sugar is the option to stay awake longer – you’re wrong.
As a dietitian, ironman-distance triathlete and an eager gamer (Quake III, D2, WC3 and SC2) I thought that it would be interesting and fun to prepare some expert advice on how to use proper food and drink to increase your concentration and keep fatigue at bay, thereby allowing you to get the most out of Diablo III play.
Of course, you have your own methods with Redbull, coffee and pizza. You are heartily welcome to it, but if you want to tweak your diet in a healthy direction, simply read on.
Please note: If you have a disease or any other medical conditions, this article might not be for you, as it’s dedicated to the normal health group.
I studied at the university to become an dietician and I’ve also worked part time at an Internet café. At the university learned about health and how to influence people for a better lifestyle, while at the Internet café I saw many people preparing to be my future customers. Gamers there often lived on chocolate, chips and soda. Fruits and vegetables were not popular.
The Internet café was open 24 hours a day, which gave consumers the opportunity to play non-stop. All-nighters of 10 straight hours gaming was plenty for most people, and customers often fell asleep at the machines, which was forbidden. We woke them up and asked them to go home and sleep. A few regulars managed to play two days in a row, but that was uncommon. The most hardcore games lasted longer; the record wasZvin who once managed four days non-stop. Here is a video of him from the café’s security camera. It shows him on his fourth day, when he was so tired that he could hardly stand on his legs when trying to pick off another cup of coffee:
Everyone loves to tell stories about how they survived LAN parties and had to use extra days, to catch up with the lag of sleeping.
With my dietician (nutritionist) background, experience in triathlons and gaming, I will come here with some advice on how to optimize yourself. Note that I go to D3 release with the same planning as an ironman (3.8 km swim, 180 km cycling, 42 km run). It may seem like an exaggeration, but if you are serious about your hobby, the acceptance from girlfriend, friends and family is also better, rather than the ridicule gamers get from non-gaming people.
So here comes the gaming optimization and health one-on-one.
Step One: Training
Trying to run a marathon (42 km) with no training is insane; you’ll never reach the finish line. The same principle applies to going from your normal schedule up to a very lengthy trial in front of the computer; you’ll get a sore arm, irritated eyes, and sore back and butt.
I suspect that most of us have tried longer periods at a computer and thus are in good shape for this – if not, then train it up to it. Train the element. You will not be a better swimmer by playing golf. Now, Diablo III isn’t yet available, but train on other RPGs or even an RTS games that has the same sort of view angle and lots of clicking.
The longer you’ve tried to sit in front of a computer and the game, the better you get at it. Use a gaming setup you know when you sit there long. When I switch my “time trial bike” in triathlon with a new one, then I have to adapt to it before I can ride well on it. The same applies if you change your new mouse, keyboard or monitor. Use what you know or practice in front of your new setup, in good time.
Step Two: Sleep
There is growing scientific consensus which states that the average adult human should have 7 ½ hours of uninterrupted sleep — every night. Five percent of people, due to odd genetic alignment, only need 6 hours to get the same benefits as the majority.
I long thought I was in the lucky five percent, and for years I’ve spent nights working in the Internet café, partying every weekend, sleeping only 4-6 hours each night while still attending university and running marathons. However, I needed to catch up by sleeping late on weekends, napping some days, etc.
This all changed after I met my girlfriend. I now get 7 ½ hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights and I feel much better. I don’t nod off during dinner, my face looks fresher, and I have more energy for daily life. So if we listen to the scientific consensus and my recommendation, its 7 ½ hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Do this up to Diablo 3’s release and you will be fresher and more powerful. This is the most important advice!
Step Three: Nutrition and Hydration
The healthier you eat – the better functioning your body will be. There are plenty of official recommendations for fruit and vegetables, fish, wholemeal bread and dairy products. I will not go into that here, because this is not a question of how to become 100 years and avoid cancer, but how to get the most out of your gaming night at diablo 3 release. Of course, a body built of the right amounts of essential macro and micronutrients, added a good dose of exercise may be the most optimal.
What to do on the day?
First we need to know your energy needs, to find out how much energy you burn per hour while gaming. There are a lot of methods to calculate it using height, weight, physical activity, gender, and age. It does not need to be done exactly when it’s gaming we are talking about.
What is energy? Your body is like a car. It requires fuel (carbohydrates, fat and protein) in order to function. Your heart, lungs, eyes, brain, muscles, etc. require fuel to operate — without it they will eventually halt. If you one day you get too little energy, your body takes it from your fat and muscle depots, to maintain cell division, the agencies’ functions and more. The converse is also true; if you get too much energy, your body will just deposit it in your stores.
An average normal person gaming Diablo 3 burns 600 kJ (to convert it to calories, divide by 4.18 = 143.5) per hour, you can get 600 kJ from eating two bananas. By comparison, burning rate is 4,000 kJ per hour when running at an average marathon speed.
With this we can conclude that the game Diablo 3 is not so energy consuming that it is necessary to eat protein bars and sugary drinks to feed your body enough energy during this physical expression. Normal food items will be more than enough.
When I worked at the internet café, I wondered often over these people who voluntarily sat and drank 1 ½ liter cola while gaming. Their body just sat quietly, and they had no shadow of a need for 165 grams super readily available carbohydrate. Well, you should probably accept that people who sit quietly and consume cola, is doing this because of taste and they just want to enjoy themselves, and hardly gives it any thought about the body energy needs.
So what to eat then?
Two to four days before Diablo 3 servers go live
Too little fluid reduces your ability to concentrate. Too much and you lose time to constant pee breaks. Measure your fluid needs as follows: Weigh yourself at the weight, go inside and play computer for 3 hours, without taking anything for eat or drink. Now go out and weigh yourself again. Now you have an estimate of how much you approx should be drinking. Depending on your weight, size and temperature in the gaming room, it’s hard to come by an average of much fluid your body must have. Fear not, your brain tends to be good to tell when it’s thirsty.
Morning and afternoon before Diablo 3 servers go live.
Eat regular food without sugar – simple and good.
Evening before release.
Make sure to have dinner with lots of fiber and starch. Complex carbohydrates will give a good blood sugar concentration and a long flow of energy for a long time. Pasta, potatoes and rice with lots of vegetables, is the perfect formula. Make plenty of it, so you have something extra to the following night and morning hours.
Ingestion of many fibers will do, you may need to visit the toilet more often, but also means that you will complete your visit to the toilet quickly. If you used to be a rusty catapult in the toilet, then with a high fiber diet, it will be like a bazooka on the toilet. Kapow and you’re done within 1 minute. Fibers drags fluid to the intestine, and will make your stool more smooth. Enjoy.
Low blood sugar. It is not good, we lose concentration, become irritated and feel uncomfortable (same symptoms of high blood sugar – wnich you get by eating and drinking sugar). Low blood sugar, is something we all heard of, many believe they have tried it, but few have. We think we know it when we visit the national park and walk around a few hours, some will be inclined to believe that they now have low blood sugar and need a big ice cream or a soda. The reality is that our bodies can handle 2½ -3 hours of hard physical training before blood glucose levels in the body will fall hard. Computer gaming is not very demanding, so there will never come a time when sugar is needed for a gamer. Drink therefore rather light products without sugar, so you’ll still taste and get caffeine.
Instead of sugary products (soft drinks and candy). Have the following at your computer side. A bowl of fresh fruit, water, brown bread and a caffeine products – then you have all the energy you need.
Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant in the world, and is found in more than 60 different plants. How it works, I’ll skip over – it just works. This increases performance, and can ruin your sleep patterns, which is good here because you need to keep you awake longer than usual.
The important thing here, how much should be consumed and when. Caffeine takes approx. 1 hour before it reaches its maximum level in the body. If you consume 3-5 mg caffeine / kg body weight pr. day there are no or only mild side effects. Are you overweight, then stick to a max of 400 mg per day.
Coffee — 225 ml — 118-179 mg Starbucks coffee — 225 ml — 250 mg Nescafé — 225 ml — 106 mg Red bull — 225 ml — 80 mg Other energy idrinks(EU) — 225 ml — 80 mg Coca-cola — 330 ml — 46 mg Regular tea — 225 ml — 43 mg Pepsi — 330 ml — 40 mg Green tea — 225 ml — 30 mg Hot cocoa — 225 ml — 8 mg Caffeine pill — 200mg
Please do mind, that you can normally get above options without sugars. A larger list of caffeine in every sort of liquid can be found here. Note that some large coffees and some energy drinks contain more than 300mg of caffeine in a single dose.
If you are into science and nutrition and want see source of information. Just message me and I’ll be happy to send some PDF files with more information.)
Other drugs, alcohol and stuff? Not healthy, not trustworthy for the average person – so I rather not go into that.
Is it healthy not to sleep? Not really, you need sleep or your body will collapse at some point. Danger signs are:
Hard sweats Pale mucous membranes Blood in stool Swollen lymph nodes
If you get any of above, please go to sleep or call a doctor, if feeling really bad.
So what if you dont give a shit? If you just want to have a fun night with lots of sugar. Be my guest, but you will have less concentration and will fall a sleep before the dude on a starch-rich diet, taking moderate caffeine and avoiding sugar : )
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