From everyday enthusiasts to esports professionals, the gaming industry surged in 2020. This growth also increased competition, challenging esports’ premier athletes and novice gamers alike to find ways beyond the screen to level up their play.
Enter Jasper Schellens, a fitness trainer and gamer who is shedding light on how gamers can sharpen their competitive edge with a healthy and active IRL lifestyle. “In my opinion, both mental and physical wellness are very important in the competitive world of esports,” he told For the Record. “Not only is it important to be on top of your game for hours on end, you have to be mentally strong to withstand the pressure from outside.”
Jasper, who is a fitness coach for the professional esports organization FaZe Clan, looks at the gamers he works with like any other sport’s class of elite athletes. “A lot of pro gamers are actually very talented athletes inside and outside of the game,” says Jasper. “They’re driven and understand that hard work leads to improvement.”
Still, you don’t need to belong to the upper echelons of the esports community to reap the benefits of a fitness routine—Jasper is looking to show that any gamer, even beginners, can improve their virtual performance by taking care of their physical and mental health. Jasper is even teaming up with YouTuber and Twitch streamer Marcella de Bie for a livestream workout class.
For Marcella, wellness encompasses more than just consistent trips to the gym. She says getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, staying hydrated, and taking time to unwind are essential to keeping a healthy mindset, which is key for gaming. “I find it very important to be in a good mental state when playing or streaming games,” she says. “You can’t sit behind a PC for hours a day without doing something that calms your mind and helps you relax.”
If you’re looking to take control of your fitness, it doesn’t need to begin with a top-to-bottom lifestyle overhaul. Gaming sessions can be long and intense, so Jasper recommends trying to get up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour when possible. This is a good tip for players and really anyone who may be working from home and spending a lot of time in front of a screen. Outside of gaming, the coach suggests committing to at least 30 active minutes daily, like a long walk or easy jog, while tuned in to Jasper’s favorite gaming podcasts, The CouRage and Nadeshot Show or Mom’s Basement.
If you’re ready to up the intensity, Jasper gave For the Record a few gamer-specific workout tips. “Gamers tend to lean forward, especially when it comes to clutch moments,” he says. “So some exercises and stretches that allow you to work on your posture are very important.” Try Jasper’s suggestions: Loosen up with some stretches like child’s pose, cat-cow pose, and neck retraction. Next, he suggests some gym exercises like:
- Face pulls: “One of the best exercises to train your rear deltoids which can be a huge factor to good posture. I’d recommend it on a cable machine with a rope attachment. Another fun way to try is with a barbell, using a very wide grip to pull the bar directly to your face.”
- Pull-Ups: “A staple back exercise which will help with overall back development! There are a ton of variations that help you target different parts of the back. I recommend doing a wider or neutral grip to start off with—assisted if needed!”
- Reverse Fly: “Another great exercise for the rear delts & lower trapezius. You can do this exercise with a cable or dumbbells.”
Behind every great workout is a high-energy, heart-pumping playlist. Jasper likes to break a sweat to Tiesto and NF, with an emphasis on inspiring lyrics to soundtrack his bigger lifts. Marcella focuses on rhythm, preferring to listen to hip-hop and hardstyle EDM tracks when she’s gaming and exercising.
Find new music for gaming or your workout routine with Jasper’s takeover of our Start Select playlist, which sits alongside an ever-growing platform of curated gaming playlists, gaming-centric podcasts, and Original Game Soundtracks as part of Spotify’s Gaming Hub.