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Gears of War Training

How an Original Gear Got in Shape

Think it’s hard to live up to your own expectations? Try satisfying 17,000 people whose lives depend on your weight loss. OK, it’s their digital, gaming lives, but still. Rod Fergusson, executive producer of the massively successful Gears of War franchise, used his Twitter account as a watchdog for his weight loss goals. Fergusson’s guarantee to his horde of Tweeps was extra Experience Points (XP) for every pound lost. The goal was 10 pounds lost in four weeks, which would mean 10 times XP for the gamers. Here are some of the methods Fergusson used to satisfy his legion of followers.

“I Need Enough Calories To Exercise”
Fergusson stresses that starvation diets are not the way to go. “[They] don’t work because your body thinks it's dying and tries to retain as much it can." When trying to lose weight, make sure every calorie you take in is nutrient packed. You also need to make sure you avoid empty calories—things like soda, beer, and most sweets. Fergusson suggests using MyPlate on Livestrong.com to keep track of your daily intake.

“I Need To Exercise”
Looks like the Gears producer has been reading MF. “Bigger, stronger muscles need more calories, so staying at the same caloric intake, you’ll burn more of it off and your body will be forced to use some of its fat reserves to power those muscles.” Compound movements that recruit lots of muscle groups, like squats and deadlifts, are the best way to build maximum muscle. If you’ve never lifted weights before consider signing up with a personal trainer. They can teach you proper form, a must for maximum strength gains.

Follow a Program
Fergusson followed a simple plan to keep himself on track. You’ll workout more efficiently if you have a goal when you enter the gym. Here’s what Rod did:

  • Monday — Chest and Biceps (3 different exercises for each area)
  • Tuesday — Back and Triceps (3 different exercises for each area)
  • Wednesday — Shoulders (3 different exercises for each area)
  • Thursday — Circuit of all areas (1 exercise for each area)
  • Friday — Off day
  • Saturday/Sunday — at a minimum I’ll do cardio but I often lift when I can

Pick up an issue of MF if you don’t know where to start!

Workout With A Partner
Exercising with Epic Games QA Manager Prince Arrington helped Fergusson stay motivated. “To this day it's our friendship that pushes us to go the gym and some of my crazy late night workouts are just so I can text him and say ‘See, I’m working harder than you.’” A little bit of healthy competition between friends can go a long way. Just make sure your friend isn’t a Locust. That could end poorly.

So What Happened?
Gears players were treated to a 22x XP event, as Rod wound up losing 20 pounds over the four weeks. But he didn’t stop there. He stuck with his program for another three months, losing 18 more pounds, cutting six inches off his waistline, and dropping one size in his shirt. He also increased his dumbbell press from 25 pounds to 55 pounds. If that’s not motivation for nerds to get off the couch, we don’t know what is.

Gears of War 3 drops on September 20, 2011. You can also read the first hand account of Ferguson’s weight loss here here.

Check me out on Twitter! @swd515

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