How To Get In Better Shape

Photo: Ilia Yefimovich / Stringer
Photo: Ilia Yefimovich / Stringer

We’re just one week away from Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to start thinking about losing all the fat you’re about to gain. On today’s Kotaku Splitscreen, we’re here to help.


First up, Kirk and I talk about the news of the week (6:00) on loot boxes, a rumored Mario movie, and harassment at IGN. Then we bring on Wirecutter editor and fitness expert Casey Johnston, the columnist behind Ask A Swole Woman, to talk about how to get SWOLE (26:06), by lifting heavy things and putting them down. Finally, we get into some more game impressions (1:00:36): Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein, Xenoblade 2, and Horizon Zero Dawn’s DLC.

Get the MP3 right here. An excerpt:

Jason: If I am a Kotaku Splitscreen listener and I am thinking, ‘Hey, I want to get in better shape. I want to lose 20 pounds. I want to gain 10 pounds of muscle,’ where do I even start?

Casey: There’s a lot of places you can start. Walking is a thing that a lot of people start with, for instance. But I am a huge proponent of people getting started with strength training. Not just going to the gym and doing some dumbbell curls, but going and lifting heavy weights, doing what we call compound movements that use a lot of muscles at once, like a squat, everyone knows what a squat is. You go and you use as much weight as you can for only a few reps, you do only a few sets, and it’s really not as hard a thing to get into as I think a lot of people are aware. It’s actually pretty simple. So that’s where I’m at, if you want actual practical steps.

Jason: So I am Joe or Jill Splitscreen listener. I love the idea of lifting heavy things, but then I get to a gym and I see all these huge dudes picking up giant barbells and I’m like, where do I even start? How do I even know what to do? Are there programs I should start with?

Casey: Yeah. I would say yeah, don’t start by walking into the gym and trying to do things. The beauty of the internet is there are many resources online that allow you to learn about this stuff. I got started personally with an actual book called Starting Strength, which teaches a very simple program that’s five total movements, you do three on one day, three on another day, and alternate. And then there’s a very similar thing called StrongLifts, that’s a handful of movements that you do for just a few reps, just a few sets.

I would say either check out one of those and just do a little reading, read up a little bit on what these programs are and the basics of how to get them done.


Jason: We’re talking squats, deadlifts, bench press...

Casey: So the five moments are: squatting is the bar is on your upper back or shoulders... It’s like teabagging. Deadlifting is basically bending down and picking up something in front of you, using your legs not your back. Benching, I think everybody knows benching. There’s rowing, which is picking up a weight and pulling it towards you with your arms, any kind of movement like that. And then there’s overhead pressing, which is, you hold a bar in your hands under your chin and push it over your head.


Jason: These are all more simple than they seem.

Casey: The reason these movements are what they are is because they’re very natural to your body, and they’re things that your body is very good at doing. They use all of your muscles together in ways that your muscles are meant to be used.


For the rest of the discussion, check out the full episode. As always, you can find Splitscreen on Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Leave us a review if you like what you hear, and reach us at with any and all questions, requests, and suggestions.


I’ve been losing weight slowly, but steadily, over the last several months just by eating FAR less than I used to. I was also walking the treadmill pretty regularly, till Destiny 2 came out :/ But even after stopping, I’m still losing weight - just a little slower. I had a horrible habit of snacking when I was bored, and buttery, salty popcorn was my absolutely favorite. I also drank a ton of pop. Now I drink water and diet Mountain Dew (tastes better than diet Coke or diet Pepsi, at least), cut out virtually all my snacking (save for a rare instance), and actually look at the calories in what I eat. I don’t really keep track of them, but even just paying attention to them helps me eat far less than I normally would.

I’ll still grab a snack ocassionally. I’m seeing Thor later today, and as I rarely get to go to movies anymore I’ll help myself to the popcorn :) But I know I won’t be terribly affected, since I’ve been going pretty strong so far, and I’ll keep going.