I am all for trying the latest and craziest new workouts. It’s kind of my job. But when a certain app suddenly launched and invaded every conversation (and phone) around, a very different exercise assignment came to me. Okay, I sort of volunteered: Pokémon Go was to replace my cardio. (Hey, no one else on the edit team seemed to have played Pokémon Snap growing up or knew who Jigglypuff was.)
In case you haven’t been on the Internet in the past few days, Pokémon Go is a new augmented reality game you can play on your phone in which you’re supposed to find and catch Pokémon creatures IRL. It’s been praised for getting children and otherwise sedentary people moving (people on Twitter are saying it’s one of the sneakiest health initiatives of the past decade), but also hated on for causing people to walk in traffic, never look up from their phone, and just flood your social media feeds with Squirtles and Doduos galore (these are Pokémon, in case you don’t know).
So we figured we’d take Pokémon Go to the next level and turn the game into a workout. Challenge accepted.
After I downloaded the app, a Squirtle immediately appeared across the living room. Sure, I could leisurely stroll over, but I had to get my heart rate up. It’s a small apartment, so I chose to lunge over to it.
Workout: Do 10 lunges before you reach and capture Squirtle.
That evening I had to take my dogs on a walk (great excuse to catch some Pokémon—if only my dogs could see the creatures on the sidewalk with them). As I turned the corner, a Rattata appeared. Before I cleaned up after my dog, I did some jump squats and then caught the Pokémon in front of me (priorities).
Workout: When you see Rattata, do 10 jump squats before catching it.
As I was getting ready for bed, I figured I’d see if there were any Pokémon lurking around. Fortunately there was. A Growlithe showed up a few feet away.
Workout: When you see Growlithe, drop and do 10 push ups before you catch it.
What better inspiration to go for a morning run than to catch some new Pokémon (right…)? Perhaps my inner nerd is being unleashed, but at least I’m breaking a sweat at the same time.
As I ran down 72nd Street to Central Park, my phone buzzed. It was alerting me to a nearby Spearow.
Workout: When you’re near a Spearow, sprint as fast as you can toward it.
Once I reached the park, I figured it’d be wise to just run toward the Pokémon (you can see the ones in the area on the app’s map). So they dictated my running route.
Workout: When on a run and a Pokémon appears nearby, sprint toward it. You’ll be racking up miles and points in no time.
Later on in the office (and much to the surprise of my colleagues) a Pidgey appeared in the hallway. I had to improvise.
Workout: When you see a Pidgey, do 10 jumping jacks before catching it.
On my lunch break, I figured I’d turn my walk into more of a workout. There were actually lots of Pokémon nearby, so for each one, I did some lunges.
Workout: When walking outside and you approach a Pokémon, do 10 side lunges (five on each side) before catching it.
By my third day, I had my Pokémon Go workout down to a science. Whenever I got an alert that a Pokémon was in my area, I broke out into a cardio move before I was allowed to capture it. Sometimes you just need to earn your prizes.
Did anyone look at me like I was absolutely insane? You bet. But did I get cardio bursts throughout my day all while playing the most popular game on earth right now? I sure did. My legs and glutes were sore after three days of cardio bursts in the name of catching Koffing and other such creatures.
I’m going to delete the app and continue my life in ignorant bliss of the Pokémon around me. The Pokémon Go workout isn’t going to replace my gym membership, but hey—if you’re intent on catching them all, you can turn the journey into one big sweat sesh.