Levelling Up Into a Wall-Scaling Monkey

I have been very interested in the idea of using aspects of video games to solve real-life problems and accomplish real-life goals. A blog post on just this topic is currently Freshly Pressed, and I’m going to reap its contents for my own purposes. (Thanks rarasaur). A big goal I have always wanted to reach is to become a traceur (a practicer of parkour or freerunning). The thought of being a traceur lulls me to sleep most nights, but the truth is that I can’t lift myself up an inch on my pull-up bar. I just dangle there for a few dozen seconds.

I am definitely out of shape, have always carried around a bit extra padding (which I’m not too flustered about, especially during winter time, when it makes me feel like a hibernating bear who has smartly reserved for warmth and survival), have useless arms, don’t regularly exercise to begin with, and am pretty shy about launching myself over ledges and, probably, into awaiting dumpsters. Nonetheless, here is my tentative plan to Level Up Into a Wall-Scaling Monkey.

There are FIVE levels to this game. 1) Do 30-minute parkour! exercises every day for 3 weeks. 2) Focus on arm and/or ab strengthening every day for 2 weeks. 3) Run 3 miles every day for 3 weeks. 4) Try out my skills in fairly unpopulated areas every other day for 2 weeks. 5) Join a parkour! session with a local parkour group.

“Cheats” will be a day off of exercise, obviously. I’d always rather be reading than running. Really, who wouldn’t? To earn a cheat, which will be represented by a New Belgium bottle cap (that’s a rapidly growing collection I need no game plans to assist with), I will have to do an extra 20 minutes of exercise, or run an extra 1.5 miles, or go out and prematurely hurl myself over fences and off of cliff sides (without getting killed).

In my arsenal will be a notebook where I’ll log my progress in reps and sets of exercises so I can constantly improve and challenge myself. Also, parkour is all about places — much more than things or other people, so I’ll be on the look out for prime parkouring spots (hopefully ones devoid of people and filled with fun obstacles, structures, and different, jump-able levels). I will need to explore deeper into neighborhoods and branch out into nearby towns to build this memorized arsenal of places.

If I have to restart a level, I will, with the knowledge that it will be easier the second time, and I will only be getting better, faster, and stronger. “ZZZgggt zzzzggggt zzzzzgggggt.” That was me just jumping down into the Magic Mario green warp pipe.

Here we go!

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