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Fitness Plus WoW: Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming community

The worlds of fitness and gaming haven't always been thought of as a natural fit. But with gaming now solidly dug into the adult demographic, we can crunch contentedly on our Cheetos without fear of silly stereotypes. We're not shocked to be called in with an alt to fill in for the off tank, who's dialing back for a couple of weeks before running in his next 10K. We're not surprised to learn that a guildmate is a high school soccer player, a 45-year-old yoga teacher, or an active duty soldier who whips out beastly chin-up sets alongside beastly DPS.

Being a fit gamer may no longer be an eyebrow-raising novelty, but gamers haven't exactly become a prime target for fitness company marketing. Yet fitness and gaming have gone hand in hand so long for one WoW player that he's managed to nab a sponsorship from a fitness company anxious to tap into the gaming community. Bodybuilder and WoW player Bajheera of Darkspear (US) is pumped up at the prospect of connecting with his growing YouTube audience about not only gaming but fitness as well. "Merging fitness and gaming on the channel is natural for me," he explained to WoW Insider. "I am definitely encouraging gamers to get active and interested in fitness and am doing my best to encourage fitness-related companies like my sponsor Cellucor ... to reach out to gamers looking to incorporate fitness into their lives. So I am definitely interested in cross-promotion and have been making an effort to bring the fitness and gaming together."

Bajheera reports that the twist is building a surprisingly positive response. "[The company] is excited about what they've seen so far and are planning on marketing campaigns/products intended for gamers," he notes. Will we see this sort of cross-genre marketing more frequently in the future? Bajheera spots us through some insights.
Fitness Plus WoW Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming community
Main character Bajheera, human arms warrior
Guild Bajheeras Army
Realm Darkspear (US-Alliance)

WoW Insider: Is your story of fitness and gaming a weight-loss or a shape-up odyssey, or have you always been an active gamer?

Bajheera: Fitness has pretty much always been a big part of my life, both for leisure and competition. Even at a very young age, I always had a drive toward becoming stronger and more physically capable and took pride and joy in training my mind and body in a consistent, disciplined way. My actual gym-going days began at 12. When I was 11, after being inspired by my favorite TV show Dragon Ball Z, I told my dad I wanted to start going to the gym with him. He told me to start doing push-ups to build some strength and I imagine to show I had the discipline to train at a gym (normally you have to be 14 to work out at the gym, per the rules). After consistently doing up to 250 push-ups a day at the age of 11, at the age of 12 I began my journey in the gym.

Through the years, I was always active in sports -- basketball in grade school, distance running in high school and college. Now in the past year, I've picked up bodybuilding and have had a blast!

Fitness Plus WoW Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming communityHow has gaining sponsorship affected your in-game activities or the time you devote to WoW?

The sponsorship is more intended for me as a gamer who enjoys and actively promotes fitness, less as a sponsorship for me as a bodybuilder. It has given me a chance to not only promote fitness but also help provide the tools for people to be most successful in achieving their fitness goals.

In terms of how it has affected my time spent gaming, I still usually spend six to seven hours gaming. There's still big focus on the gaming, YouTubing, streaming aspect of things since that's the main focus -- but my training is very important to me as well, so as long as I get my workout in for the day, I'm good! The fact that I get to work from home also makes it much easier to stick to the diet required to attain a bodybuilding physique.

Do you consider yourself a professional or an amateur bodybuilder?

In my case, I'm sponsored by Cellucor as a gamer, not a bodybuilder. Since I do have a vested interest and commitment to fitness, however, the partnership makes a lot of sense. I've used and loved Cellucor products for five to six years now, even longer than I've been playing WoW!
Fitness Plus WoW Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming community
And so what exactly is the company sponsoring you to do as a gamer?

Cellucor is sponsoring me as a good example of a gamer who makes fitness a priority in their lives, which is something both Cellucor and I believe in. Luckily enough, I pretty much get to be myself and show what is possible for gamers in terms of health and fitness, while directing my viewers to Cellucor to help them achieve their various fitness goals.

I get to recommend products I use and love to my viewers who may be interested in starting, continuing, or improving on their fitness journey. I like to think that Cellucor sees the gaming community as place where fitness is a growing interest and wants to help foster and support that interest by providing a wide variety of products designed to help individuals achieve their various fitness goals.

Give us a peek into your daily training regimen.

My own training generally involves a four-day rotation that focuses on different muscle groups each day. Legs, push (chest and shoulders), pull (back and legs), arms and shoulders, repeat. I will also sometimes incorporate 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity as well.
Fitness Plus WoW Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming community
What about gaming? What's your playstyle like?

The storytelling aspect of games has always been a huge draw, but historically a lot of my favorite games to play always involved a heavy focus on character development where the more time you put in to leveling and grinding on that character, the more powerful they became. Similarly with my athletic and fitness goals, I have always enjoyed the discipline of sustained effort, knowing that over time I will see progress in my own strength, endurance, and performance. So just like your efforts to level up your character in-game yield a stronger and more powerful avatar, your efforts to train and grow in real life yield a stronger and more capable version of yourself.

What about in WoW?

In WoW I play the warrior class, an in-your-face, tanky melee DPS. I'm primarily interested in PvP and spend most of my gaming time in battlegrounds or arenas. I have a very aggressive playstyle relying on dealing as much damage as possible while layering CC to put my opponents on their back foot and build on that advantage to win.
Fitness Plus WoW Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming community
Speaking of pushback, have you encountered much pushback in the fitness world about your fondness for gaming?

It's usually the other way around, with my gaming viewers wanting to ONLY see gaming, but I have had a few comments saying they didn't know I played video games! Mostly people have been very supportive, and I feed off of the positivity and support and keep on doing and sharing what I enjoy.

Let's talk about the opportunities and possibilities you envision for cross-pollination between your fitness and gaming interests.

I really think that fitness can and shout be part of the gamer lifestyle. If you can play video games four to six hours a day, you can definitely get in the gym for one hour. That will help you stay healthy, happy, and give you something to work toward that directly benefits your well-being.

In terms of gaming becoming the part of the fitness lifestyle, there's nothing like training your butt off and then getting a chance to rest, recover, and game it up. For people like me who love to work hard and make progress, gaming provides me with a way to fulfill that desire for progress even when I'm physically spent for the day.
Fitness Plus WoW Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming community
Plus there is this stereotype of gamers being out of shape and fitness lovers for being disconnected from the technological realm, and more often than not, those stereotypes fail to accurately depict the average gamer or fitness lover. Making it okay or even cool for gamers to train is something I'm interested in, and I think it's great to have Cellucor's support.

What's next on the table?

I plan on competing in my first bodybuilding competition this year, which will require a lot of hard work and discipline in terms of training and dieting, but I also fully intend to keep rocking with my YouTube channel, livestream, and gaming success as well. Hoping to also achieve my very first Gladiator title in WoW and pwn it up in PvP, so I've there is certainly a lot of work to be done -- but I love to work hard and make progress, so I'm definitely up to the task!
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) or a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to lisa@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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