interview by +chris kouvopoulos Do you write/design all of the guides on your own? How did all this thing start in the first place?
I am the minion in charge, yes, and I am also responsible for all of the practical side of the project, the drawing and the design. We do have a small team now of extremely dedicated people and we are hoping to make a difference with what we do here.
For me personally it all started with a question: “Why not?” I have always been fascinated with heroes from the games I played and the books I read, I would spent weeks in a world I could relate to, where I could be the hero and coming back from there was always heart-breaking. I asked myself a simple question – why can’t I be the hero? I wanted to be strong just like all the characters and the avatars I have been in the world of Sci Fi and be in charge of my own life, do whatever I wanted to do and be free to make my own choices. Instinctively I turned to fitness and it turned out to be the answer for me. The more I trained the more I realized that this was the missing piece of the puzzle, it gave me the confidence and the strength, both inside and outside, to take control of my life. You have over 170 daily routines. If you have to suggest one of them, as the most representative and wholesome to someone who has just learned of your guides, which one would that be?
The Batman workout, absolutely. Everyone should try to do it at least once. You will suddenly realize that it’s all it takes to be the hero, the first step is to give it a go. We often defend gaming, passionately, because it's our thing. But, truth be told, if taken to extremes, it can be hazardous to our health. Any words of advice to people who play 12 hours on a row on a daily basis? Is there such a thing as "too much gaming"?
I play 12 hours in a row. I can spend a week just playing a game if it takes me into the world I want to be part of. Many people think that pixels are meaningless, that they are not real but I disagree. Anything that is real enough for you is as real as it gets, the meaning we give things is often what it takes to make something real. We can’t slay dragons, we can’t use magic, we can’t save the world and save it again next week if we don’t think we can. It takes one to ask the question: Why not? Perhaps, it is not going to be through magic or dragon slaying but it can happen if you believe it can.
That was the biggest revelation in my life, when I realized that I can, if I wanted to, make my life mean something. It is after all a choice and gaming, after years and years of it, helped me discover my inner potential and transfer it into real life and now I help thousands of people across the globe come to the same conclusion.
Gaming only becomes a hazard when you limit yourself to that world and you don’t believe that you can be just as strong and capable in real life.
The practical side of it lies in the balance. Our bodies are designed to move and they always adjust to the physical lifestyle of their owners. There is a very easy fix: if you play 12 hours per day you also got to exercise and eat healthier at the same time. And I hope that I do my bit to make it easier to do just that. With bodyweight training you can fit exercise anywhere anytime, between quests, during re-spawns and cinematic trailers. What you snack on will also make a difference: you can eat crisps and drink soft drinks or you can eat ham slices and fruit and drink lemon water and your reflexes and how you perform in the game will also improve. That, is how you develop your character, in the game and in real life. You have some other programs as well: a 90-day regime, a push-up training schedule, nutrition tips and others. What's the next step, any future plans, content-wise?
We try to help everyone, it’s not an easy task but me and my team – we do our best. The project right now is developing organically, we respond to feedback and requests and problems people are facing. We see the need and we try to address it. Our only goal is to create the kind of place we would ourselves love to come across, a helpful and easy-to-follow complete guide to accessible fitness that doesn’t cost you anything. We believe we are doing something that means more than just providing fitness advice, we are making the whole world a healthier and happier place, giving the power back to everyone who thought it was not possible. Someone can be easily fooled by the exercises and the sketches and think that these exercises are easy or too simple (i know they definitely are not!). How would you comment?
It’s usually the easy looking exercises that hurt the most. We do get that a lot, people who have never tried any bodyweight training before, even people who are already fairly fit often ‘break’ after just a few sets. Bodyweight training is the ultimate fitness tool, it’s functional and it requires you to have good quality muscle and a system that works together as a whole. It will always push you and it will keep pushing you no matter how fit you get.
Being fooled by the simplicity of it is not really a bad thing. More people are trying it because it seems easy and although they very quickly realise it was a mistake to underestimate it, they also get real results. And that can and will inspire anyone to keep going.How do you weigh in on the exercise/nutrition ratio. Are they 50/50 equally important?
It is true that without correct nutrition exercise is not as effective, but there is a very important thing to remember: visual fitness and functional fitness are not always the same thing. With strict diets and proper portion control you can get better visual results, you can get better muscle definition and a popping six-pack, for example, but you can be fit even without all that – as long as you can do everything you want, you are not limited by your weight there is nothing wrong with having some extra fat in reserve.
So it all depends on your goals. You can always adjust your diet whenever you need to, when you want to get a better definition and lower your body fat % but with regular exercise, being really active all day every day you can hit a point at which you can eat whatever it is you want as long as it’s real food. Educating yourself and your taste buds on that is perhaps the most important nutrition advice I can give. Healthy eating is not about cutting out fat, going full protein or eating only salads, it’s about eating better and making better choices on a regular basis and eating as much as your body needs not as much as you can fit in it.What's your relation with Greece? You've mentioned that you visit for training periods or something?
I’ve been spending more and more time in Greece and I am thinking of settling down here permanently. It’s a beautiful place and I also feel like I can do some good here in the long run, perhaps even establish training centres, places anyone can come and train at for free using our guides, where people can connect and work out together. I don’t even know if it’s possible and if it can ever happen but I feel like this is the right place for that. Greece has tremendous potential and I want to give it a go.Thank you so much for your time. Any closing comments for your Greek fans?
This right here is the birthplace of greatness, there is greatness in people here still, but it’s buried and it’s often unrecognised. A lot of potential is lost.
We should never be afraid to be kinder, be more caring and more heroic even when it’s in trivial things, especially when it’s trivial things. I am changing the face of the world from my tiny apartment doing something that at first glance is silly but I am making a difference and so can each of us. We all have what it takes to be the hero, be the person who fixes something that is broken because we happen to have the tools, we happened to be there and we happened to be able to. You’ve got to understand that and do everything you can to do better, be better and let your greatness out.permalink for the interview (English & Greek versions)http://www.gameslife.gr/neila-rey-interview-80168