Personal fitness journey
One of Patron‘s core inspirations is the belief that video games can serve as a force for good in the world, catalyzing positive transformations in people’s lives.
As for my personal journey — while I’ve always loved games, I was far from being healthy or fit.
By my late 30s, seven years of weekly work flights and becoming a first-time founder had taken its toll on my body.
I’d given up exercise, adopted a poor diet, suffered from lack of sleep, and put on over 20lbs.
It all came to a head when my doctor delivered a sobering message about my eventual risk of severe cardiovascular problems one year ago.
Something had to change dramatically.
Completing an Ironman event had been an aspirational goal, but as a time-strapped founder — I dismissed it as an impossible dream.
And training for it seemed like a form of self-inflicted torture.
However, as I prepared for my first triathlon event, I was surprised by the advancements in tools designed to make the training game-like and very efficient.
Today, many fitness apps offer an experience akin to gaming, making exercise fun and highly trackable. They incorporate mastery and progression, much like games like League.
The crucial distinction is that every minute invested in this ‘game’ yields tangible health benefits, enhancing my focus, energy, and drive to become a better founder, father, and husband—leveling up in the real world.
Allow me to share some of my favorite apps that I ‘played’ to prepare for my first IM race, making the process not bearable but enjoyable AND efficient (<10 hours of primarily virtual training).
TrainingPeaks became my daily quest log, with my coach prescribing my workouts. Upon completion, they automatically uploaded via my Garmin watch, and I was ready for the next challenge.
Zwift transformed indoor cycling into an actual MMO. By connecting my bike to a smart trainer, I could simulate outdoor rides, compete in group events, race others, and upgrade my in-game bike using ‘drops,’ the in-game currency.
Strava became my ultimate source of positive reinforcement, with PRs, segment leaderboards, kudos from friends, and detailed mapping keeping me motivated.
FORM revolutionized lap pool swimming, offering a HUD akin to an FPS game, and seeing real-time strokes completely took the monotony out of lap pool swims.
Peloton Interactive tread proved to be a game-changer. I’d always preferred outdoor runs, but leaderboards, PRs, and live group classes made me prefer indoor ones over outdoors.
Transforming fitness and longevity into a video game propelled me to a top 20% finish in my first Ironman 70.3 event and the best shape of my life.
I now firmly believe the existing apps are just scratching the surface of what’s possible — and would love to back founders building in this space.