Exercise and nutrition both play a key role in your short-term and long-term success in poker. At my heaviest I weighed about 190 pounds, now after making some drastic changes to my diet and beginning an exercise routine, I weigh about 177 pounds. I decided to make these changes in order to be more successful at poker while also being able to play longer sessions, and oh yea, be a healthier human being.
Before I never cared a whole lot about what I ate. I was on the “eat anything at anytime diet”, if you’re looking to add some weight and reduce your overall health, it’s highly effective. On top of that, I pretty much never exercised, unless you count walking from the car to the poker table. Living my life this way, I found that I always felt fatigued and lethargic. Once I changed my eating and exercise routine, I not only felt better but I was able to play much longer while maintaining sharper focus which helped me to rarely go on tilt. My decision-making became much clearer as well.
Choosing the right diet is really an individual decision. A big thing for me was giving up pork, pork always made me feel sluggish. As far as meat goes, I only eat red meat, chicken or turkey once or twice a week; instead I eat a lot of fish. Additionally I include a lot more fruits and vegetables (mostly organic) in my diet and cut out sodas completely. I rarely if ever drink alcohol and cut back on sweets. I was a big (literally and figuratively) fan of brownies and cookies. As far as when I eat, I try to eat within 2 hours of waking up and 3 hours before going to bed. My goal is to get down to about 155-160 pounds, I feel like this would be a very healthy spot for me.
Ultimately diet and exercise are two lifestyle changes that can really add dimensions to your game that most players don’t care about. You can physically endure more, you play sharper for longer and if you have a long session, your body will be ready. But just like poker they take discipline and dedication. Diet and exercise are two things I focus on daily and are by no means easy, but I am very happy with the gains they provide and the overall feeling of health.
Next week we will discuss physical tells and betting patterns.