This article is written from the perspective of Jordan “JTruth” Clouse about his weight loss journey and how it impacted his physical and mental performance.
Jordan “JTruth” Clouse
Jordan “JTruth” Clouse is an American player who has played Fortnite competitively for Evil Geniuses and Space Station Gaming.
What Will You Learn?
- Introduction to weight loss for gamers
- Importance of Confidence as a Professional Gamer
- Problems with the "Grind Mentality" in Esports
- Integrating Dietary Changes for Gamers
- Increasing Activity Levels for Gamers
In addition to featuring content from subject matter experts in medicine and performance, we consider it important to feature insights and perspectives from players and coaches. We’re excited to share this piece from Jordan “JTruth” Clouse, a Fortnite and Valorant player, about weight loss for gamers as a professional esports competitor.
I was a professional Esports player for three years and I have almost a decade of experience in competing in esports titles. Towards the end of my professional career I found myself struggling immensely with my physical health. It was to the point where it was holding me back from pursuing things I wanted to do most. I lost about 50 pounds while I was competing and another 40 pounds after I stopped. Having a healthier lifestyle was something that I always wanted, but always pushed back for the sake of putting in countless hours into pursuing my dream of being a professional player. I neglected my health for many years for the sake of the “grind”, not realizing the impact getting healthy would have not only on my physical appearance but also on my mental health and confidence. I made several small changes to my daily routine and diet that helped me immensely and still allowed me to get the same amount of practice and competing in.
Importance of confidence as a professional player.
Confidence is at the forefront of all professional athletes’ mentalities in esports or traditional sports. It’s what drives them and empowers them to make decisions that they can actually learn from. Being confident in your decisions is what allows you to take the most from your mistakes and your successes. Professional esports players are extremely confident with their gameplay, but many struggle with self doubt when it comes to confidence in their health. There is no time to doubt yourself when you are constantly in a high stress environment being forced to make confident split second decisions. Confidence in your physical health contributes immensely to your overall confidence.
I went to many tournaments while I was competing that I was not confident in my physical health. I dealt with consistently being nervous about being on stage or on stream, doing potential interviews, or meeting people for the first time knowing I wasn’t confident with the way I looked. Losing weight and seeing visible evidence of progress not only has a positive effect on your physical health, but also has great effects on mental health and boosting your self confidence and overall confidence levels. Professional players are already equipped with the accountability and mindset it takes to self improve. They just need to apply it to different areas of their life. If living a healthier lifestyle will show improvements in not only your mental and physical health, but also in your gameplay, why wait to change your lifestyle?
Problems with the “grind” mentality in Esports
The “grind” mentality is something that many professional players are stuck in that is holding back their physical and mental health. Many professional players, myself included, choose to operate on a daily schedule of waking up, getting some food, and hopping on the game until inevitably becoming too exhausted to play at their full potential and going to sleep. It felt like there was no option for anything else in my day if I was going to be the best player I could be. This “grind all day every day” mindset is what players believe to be the way to achieve that. But it’s not the way to be the best player you can be and definitely shows no mercy to the setbacks it causes to your mental and physical health.
In other sports, they condition their bodies and their minds to not only perform better on a day to day basis, but also increase the longevity in which they can still perform at the highest level. In esports, being the fastest growing sport in the world, the infrastructure is still being built. Many players aren’t being provided with a system that makes their physical and mental health important. As the space continues to grow, player health is becoming more important to organizations, and the industry as a whole has much to benefit from putting more of a focus on their players health. Nevertheless, there are many ways to introduce changes in a professional player’s lifestyle that are simple and effective that do not require any outside help, only the self motivation to start.
Small changes to diet that can be easily integrated into a professional player’s daily regimen
Diet is the biggest factor when it comes to losing weight. The first and most important thing for me was cutting out all sodas and sugary drinks and drinking a gallon of water everyday. The good thing about this is it doesn’t require a lot of preparation and is easily achievable for professional esports players being able to have it on hand constantly while playing. Having a gallon sized water bottle also helps you achieve your goal easier, because you have a physical measurement of your daily goal rather than counting how many water bottles you have at your setup.
Managing what you eat is also very important. A big thing to address with professional esports players is realizing they operate on different time schedules. It is very common for professional players to wake up as late at 3 or 4 PM making their eating schedules much harder to plan. If you eat your first meal of the day in the late afternoon, it often leads to ordering an unhealthy food option like fast food late at night simply because those are the only restaurants open at that time. Finding time to go to the grocery store with a plan of meals for a few days ahead and healthier snack options can be very beneficial for having more access to healthier foods when ordering healthy food is not an option. Even with ordering food, there are still many ways to get out unnecessary calories from foods you already eat. For example, something that worked for me was getting a bowl from chipotle with brown rice, chicken, black beans, fajita veggies, lettuce, and salsas, instead of the burrito with cheese and sour cream. Once you begin to be more conscious about what you are actually eating, it becomes much easier to regulate and count calories.
Incorporating exercise starting with small improvements
Exercising also plays a large role in weight loss and has many other perks that can be very beneficial for professional esports players. The method of exercise I introduced first into my daily routine was walking. Walking was very beneficial for me not only in losing weight, but also with my mental health, daily energy levels, and my sleeping pattern. At first I only considered it to be something to help me lose weight, but after the first few times I realized it gave me time to step away from my setup to clear my head and come back to the problems I was having in the game with a refreshed mindset. Finding time to go for a walk may seem like a hassle to professional players, but the benefits of being outside and having a chance to clear your mind in preparation for a session of scrims or after a long night of playing vastly outweigh the alternative of doing nothing.
While I was playing I went for a walk twice a day every day, once in the afternoon before I started scrims, and once at night after I was finished playing. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, any exercise is an improvement from nothing even if you’re only able to commit to walking for 20-30 minutes each time. When I started, I was walking for about 30 minutes twice a day. Once I was comfortable in my routine and started to see the results walking was having on my weight loss as well as the benefits it was having on my mental health, I started to push myself further by walking longer distances and introducing jogging or running into my walks. Pushing yourself is an important part of exercising and introducing running or jogging in intervals during your walk to raise your heart rate is very beneficial to losing weight.
I started by running for a few 5 minute intervals within my walks and as time went on repeating this everyday it became easier to run for longer increments. Improvements and changes to your physical activity are the key to hitting long term goals with weight loss and fitness, and finding the limits of your capabilities can only be improved on by always pushing yourself to improve.
Pursuing a healthier lifestyle and becoming a better version of myself everyday has helped me immensely in becoming more confident and growing as a person. Seeing the progress I have made in my mental and physical health has changed fitness and being healthy from being a far fetched goal, into a passion I continue to improve upon everyday. I found many similarities in my journey of becoming healthier to the journey I had in becoming a professional player. Reflecting on and understanding the amount of perseverance and dedication it took to achieve my goal of becoming a professional player fueled me to start my weight loss journey, and continues to fuel me everyday to grow and strive for the best version of myself. Goals will always remain goals until you dedicate yourself to getting started and putting in the work it takes to make them a reality.