Apparently, gaming is more than just pressing buttons.

Today’s top eSports stars make millions, live like rock stars, destroy the competition and train in a completely different way than the computer game freaks and nerds a long time ago … five years ago.

London-based eSports team Fnatic, aged 17, says it has won more Tier 1 tournaments than any other team in the world. Now it has teamed up with Freeletics, an AI-based one Fitness app with 52 million users to get its gamers in shape.

It works, says top gamer and Fnatic team member Jesper Wecksell (aka JW).

A promotional image for the esports game Counter-Strike Global Offensive.

Counter Strike Global Offensive

“I get more energy,” JW told me in one current TechFirst podcast. “I have [an] It’s easier to think about solutions to problems instead of just seeing the problem in something, and … overall more energy to stay focused like a long day. “

Physical fitness also helps with the pressures that come with today’s massive esports tournaments.

Winning or losing can make the difference between winning a $ 150,000 prize … or getting nothing. And there are thousands of fans to witness in person, plus millions more willing to criticize, nag, or ridicule online.

“It’s just like sitting at home and playing online and dominating from there, but then you have to sit in a crowd on a stage with about 20,000 people,” says JW. “It’s different, and you really need a great mentality to deal with it. And in order to build on that mentality, I think you have to do this type of exercise and also this physical training. “

eSports requires focus and concentration that, according to JW, you cannot achieve if you swam around in games 20 hours a week. Movement clears the mind and is a mood brightener, says of the American Psychological Association, helps prevent depression and relieve anxiety, and possibly even toughen the brain under stress.

“Regular exercise could help anxiety-prone people to panic less when they experience these fight-or-flight feelings,” writes Kirsten Weir. “After all, the body produces many of the same physical responses – profuse sweating, increased heart rate – in response to exercise.”

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That could help in stressful in-game scenarios in Counter-Strike, JW’s current favorite game. Especially when you are ambushed from behind and your heart rate rises from 70 to 150 in seconds.

Freeletics says it can help with that AI-assisted training. CEO Daniel Sobhani told me that this happened in Three ways:

  1. Predict what exercises you can do
  2. Create workouts for you based on limited data
  3. Adaptation of the training units depending on the equipment available

The result, Sobhani says, is that Freeletics “knows you better than you probably know yourself,” and cites an example when the AI ​​diagnosed him with (properly) “underdeveloped” legs.

(It can be tempting to skip leg day, right?)

And that can help improve performance.

Especially in the case of JW for – say – players of a certain age. Wecksell has been on the Fnatic team since 2013. And players, even more so than athletes in traditional sports, are not known to stay in top careers well into old age, like 29 or 35, much like traditional athletes.

Jesper Wecksell is an eSports star and currently plays Counter-Strike

Jesper Wecksell

“I think it’s too early to know a player’s lifetime in esports,” says JW. “We might have one or two, maybe three players who [are] like over 30 years old, still in competition. So you do not yet know when you will no longer be able to do this. But I think if you start doing things like this early, knowing that you have to work on your mentality, knowing that you have to work on the physical things, I think you will be working towards a longer career. “

According to Freeletics Brand Manager Eleanor Hughes, the players’ response was “overwhelmingly positive”.

“Two things that I really hope these will be the realizations are, first, that players may feel more seen than more visible in the industry, and that people actually see them as people interested in fitness and performance improvement . ”In the search for their way of thinking. You know, all of these things like confidence, talking to yourself, feeling uncomfortable – I noticed that this is very relevant to Fnatic and other players, “she says. “On the other hand, [they] will actually see this as a doorway and maybe an opportunity for them to change their thinking and realize, hey, actually I can benefit from it and this is an opportunity for me to move up, not just in game but in real life as well. “

Because of course leveling up is not just for gamers.

And it’s not just found in games.

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