FitnessThe Real-Life Diet of the Dude Who Got Into Shape Catching All the Pokémon
Professional athletes don’t get to the top by accident. It takes superhuman levels of time, dedication, and focus—and that includes paying attention to what they put in their bellies. In this series, GQ takes a look at what athletes in different sports eat on a daily basis to perform at their best. Here’s an unorthodox one—a look at diet of Nick Johnson, Pokémon master, who lost and kept off 15 pounds.
Pokémon Go is, somehow, still inciting human stampedes from Central Park to Taipei. There’s no way to know how much longer it will be with us, or what newly resurrected thing from the ‘90s will replace it, but for now at least we have our first IRL Pokémon Master.
Nick Johnson, 28, lives in Brooklyn. He caught all 145 Pokémon currently available only three weeks after the game launched, and he did it by walking everywhere. By making tweaks to his daily routine and walking to and from work instead of taking public transit, he logged an average of eight miles a day and after a few weeks, lost 15 pounds.
“It blew my mind,” he says. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. Then I hopped on a scale after a week and realized I had lost six pounds. When I realized that there were some health benefits I kind of doubled down on them and decided to walk as much as I could and to start eating a lot healthier.”
Johnson’s fitness regimen was pretty common for guys his age: mix of weights and cardio and a target of three trips to the gym a week, though normal human life tended to knock that down to one or fewer. And in the last few months he had taken up hour-long rowing sessions, but nothing had as big an impact as Pokémon hunting.
The newly super-active routine forced him to make smarter food decisions, too. He realized he could eat a fried chicken sandwich and be sedated for the rest of the night, or go for something lighter and be able to go out and catch Pokémon. “Fried foods and ice cream,” he says, “all of that was out.”
“It didn’t even occur to me to try to ‘catch them all,’” he added, “let alone be the first one to do it, until I was a few away from catching everything in the US. Before that it was just going out and levelling up and it was a good way to spend time with my girlfriend and friends and enjoy the summer.”
Once he realized he had caught all the 142 North America-available Pokémon after a late-night hunt, he posted some screenshots to Reddit and went to sleep. In the morning he woke up to thousands of upvotes, comments, and messages. He’d accidentally stumbled into Internet fame.
There’s a little wrinkle though if you want to follow in Johnson’s footsteps: four rare Pokémon, which are only available on certain continents. One is mercifully is in North America, but for the other three you need to go to Europe, Asia and Australia, which Johnson did by calling Expedia and Marriott Rewards and actually convincing them to fund his hemisphere-hopping safari.
Last stop: Australia. (To nab a Kangaskhan.)
“I spent the whole day walking around and finally got to the last place on the list which was Hyde Park [in Sydney]. I decided I was just gonna stay out until I caught this thing so at this point it was four in the morning in the rain and cold, because it was winter there yet, and someone messaged me that it popped up nearby. I grabbed an Uber because you don’t know how long they’re gonna stay there, but it turned out there was construction down the road. So I got out and literally sprinted through the construction, in the rain, and I caught it, out of breath, at four A.M. in front of a Tommy Bahama store.”
Kale, cucumber, celery, orange juice
Acai bowl with granola, peanut butter, bananas
Watch Desiigner go wild catching Pokémon: