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Address Your Sedentary Lifestyle: Health Tips from Poker Pros

Written by Fiona

July 26 2018

Sedentary lifestyles are all too common and it can be hard to change your routine or get out of the rut of inactivity. We hear from a surprising source, five poker professionals, who still manage to stay in shape despite their physically inactive profession. Read their ace ideas!

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Leo Margets appreciates an escape from her comfort zone. Credit:

Leo Margets is a poker pro from Barcelona, Spain, who hasn’t allowed the game to get in the way of her health. Daily exercise and healthy nutrition are part of everyday life.

In 2014, she even took part in the Spanish version of “Survivor”. Leo says that at first, she was hesitant about participating, but “later realised that those who do nothing end up living with regrets”.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to take a leap of faith. Getting out of your comfort zone is a scary thought for many, but the benefits of doing so are out there for you to take.

If you are living a sedentary lifestyle and are trying to turn things around, you don’t need to start with a bang. Take small steps, for example, by giving up one unhealthy snack or doing 10 minutes of exercise every day.

Find a Greater Purpose

Walter Fisher lost 70lbs. and 24 percent fat in 6 months. Credit-

Walter Fisher is a professional poker player and a good one. In fact, he was so good that at one point he got bored with the game and turned to blackjack. But Walter then found himself on a losing streak and in debt. He sought refuge in fattening foods.

His life was a mess when a friend bet him $100,000 that he couldn’t get fit in six months. It was the challenge that he needed.

The word got out, and other players also took part in the action. In the end, the betting pool grew to $1,000,000, with half of it going to Walter, provided he completed the challenge.

After six months, Walter had lost 70lbs, reduced his body fat to nine percent fat and won the $500,000, which was more than enough to get him out of debt.

The lesson here is that if you struggle to keep a healthy lifestyle, you need to find a stimulus that’s bigger than you. If you need extra stimulation, you can turn to a psychological model called Fogg’s Behaviour Grid. The idea is to that get someone (or yourself) to do something three things need to align: Trigger, motivation and ability.

Find the Balance

Prolonged sitting is a killer.

Daniel Negreanu is the world’s wealthiest poker player and credits his winning ability with his healthy lifestyle. Several years ago, Negreanu even skipped some tournaments so he could focus on his workouts and nutrition goals. It also helps that as per his words, he “is not a foodie”.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you’re living a sedentary lifestyle, you need to watch what you eat. Daniel is a vegan and enjoys vegetable juices while he plays, but he never fails to stress that everything needs to be done in moderation.

He stays away from extreme diets and tries to eat nutritious food that gives him the power to win on the felt. If you’d like to turn your dietary life around, consult with a nutritionist on how to change your diet. You’ll get an expert opinion on how to maximize benefits without going to extremes.

There’s Always Time for a Workout

Fatima Moreira de Melo finds time to exercise between poker sessions. Credit:

Before becoming a professional poker player, Fatima Moreira de Melo was playing for the Dutch field hockey team. She took part in close to 200 games and won everything from the World Cup to Olympic gold.

So, what does a former top athlete do to keep an active lifestyle while having a profession that involves lots of physical inactivity? Apart from watching what she eats, Moreira de Melo also makes time for sports.

When asked about how she keeps up with her hectic schedule, Moreira de Melo responds that there is always time to sneak in some exercise and you need to be flexible.

The lesson that Moreira de Melo teaches is that no matter how busy your lifestyle might be, you can always squeeze in some time to do some physical activity. Be it during the lunch break or before or after work, doing a 10 to-15-minute workout is much better than not doing one at all.

If a professional poker player, one who travels all the time and works around the clock, can find the time to work out, then it’s likely that you can do it, too.

Variety Will Keep You Entertained

Patrik Antonius prefers to go out for a run than lift weights in a gym. Credit:

Patrik Antonius, from Finland, is another poker pro who was on the way to becoming a pro athlete. He was preparing to join the club of professional tennis players before an injury stopped him in his tracks. But the habit of keeping an active lifestyle stuck with Antonius.

As a result, he is among the fitter poker players thanks to a simple regiment that he has adopted — healthy nutrition and staying active. When it comes to exercising, Antonius prefers biking and running over weight training.

What you can take away as a lesson here is that you don’t need to spend your day at the gym to stay fit. Choosing nutritious foods over fast carbs and doing some physical activity go a long way in keeping you healthy and fit.

Another benefit is that by changing the setting of your workouts, you get more motivated if you find it too dull to go to the same gym over and over.

As you see, none of these poker players perform miracles to stay healthy. It’s simply that they think smart both in their game and away from the felt.

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