This is an article from NF Team Member Staci.
I recently decided to re-play the Legend of Zelda – the game that got me hooked on video games – and I made one big observation:
The boss battles are really weak.
Seriously, you go through the dungeon, through countless rooms full of ridiculously hard bad guys, just to get to a boss that takes three or four hits. Yep – a few hits and you’re done.
But then I got thinking – maybe this is how it is SUPPOSED to be. Maybe boss battles shouldn’t be built up to be ridiculously hard. And maybe boss battles shouldn’t be so hard in real life, either.
The first time I played the Legend of Zelda I immediately got my sword and wandered around for a few screens until I found the first dungeon. And so I entered, promptly died over and over again, and yelled and cried at the screen until I convinced my cousin to help me out (hey, I was 5).
“You can’t just go into the dungeon right off the bat and expect to beat it, dummy,” he said.
Uhf, okay. So I tried it again, this time starting with the process of beating countless enemies and learning the basics of the game before I went back to the dungeon. And 5-year-old me learned an important lesson… because this time I beat it easily on my first try.
This second time around as an adult, I headed into the game with the experience of my childhood – I knew going straight to the dungeon was a death wish. So I spent an hour wandering around, having fun! I collected heart containers, upgraded my gear, and collected enough money (rupees) to get the blue ring (for you non Zelda nerds, it reduces damage taken).
“Man, I love this game!” … “Oh yeah, there’s bosses I need to go kill”
Once I was ready, I beat the first four dungeons without dying, before heading to bed.
Why was it so much easier for me this time? Well, first, I’m not five anymore, but I spent the time and put in the work to get ready to beat the boss. When I got to the boss, it was just like another room in the dungeon, another piece of the process… not some epic battle that I was expected to die repeatedly on.
I had all of the experience, equipment, and knowledge I needed to get through it easily. Not only that, but I let myself have fun – you know, actually enjoy the game instead of rushing off to get to the next zone. This time around the boss battle wasn’t so dramatic – it just was the next thing.
Your journey in fitness can, and maybe even should, be the same way.
Let me give you an example: If you haven’t exercised once in the last five years, and I said “drop and give me 20,” would you be able to?
If you just started your fitness journey, this would be insanely difficult. But if you put the months and months of training, slowly making progress and enjoying every moment – by the time the challenge came along it would be no big deal: “oh, I do close to that for my regular workout – no problem!”
The same would be true with running a 5k: untrained, it might seem like a daunting task. But if you’ve been going for a 3 mile fun run every week with your running group, suddenly that 5k just seems normal.
That’s the way boss battles SHOULD be.
We have a tendency to glorify the boss battles – those big achievements that show the world how fit and different we really are. A certain squat, deadlift or bench press. A certain mileage or time. Our first real pullup or pushup. A favorite parkour or tricking move. And we envision these while we’re working out – they help us stay motivated and can keep us moving forward.
But if we’re not careful, we get too eager and we end up forgetting to enjoy the game itself. Then we find ourselves pushing ahead to the boss and we’re not ready – we might even die and have to respawn.
So, take it easy on the dramatic boss battles:
- Collect your experience and rupees. And have fun with it! Think of this as your time training or early quests. Every repetition or every meter you run is like an enemy you are killing, and collecting rupees. Rupees, of course, are traded in for strength, stamina, endurance, etc. Enjoy this part!
- Start now, and learn as you go: Get out there and start killing those easy enemies! Meanwhile, you can read up and tweak your strategy as you progress. If you are reading a strategy guide and haven’t started playing the game, you’re doing something wrong! Likewise, if you spend more time reading about fitness and health then practicing it, it’s time to get out there in the real world and get in the game!
- Upgrade your equipment: And I don’t mean gym equipment. A weak shield won’t protect you from a River Zora, just like a bad diet won’t help you lose the weight or get stronger. Make sure you’re equipping your body with what it needs to succeed. This isn’t optional; sometimes you literally can’t progress until you equip yourself properly.
- Go into battle with full health: Overtraining, not getting enough sleep or recovery will all make it harder for you to succeed.
- It works outside of fitness too: See somebody you’re interested in talking to at a party? Don’t make it a boss battle: talk to EVERYBODY ELSE at the party you’re not interested in, so by the time you get to a conversation with that person, you’re already warmed up and the conversation is no longer a monumental jump from “I’m a mute” to “I have to be witty and engaging.” Simply jumping from one conversation to the next, no big deal!
Have you ever let your excitement outpace your character, winding up at a boss you couldn’t handle?
Which boss battles dominating your routine need to be set aside for now, so you enjoy the grind?