Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. His new book 5 Pounds is out now. Tweet him @harleypasternak.
I’ll admit it. I’m hooked.
Monday morning, after reading about it all over the news and hearing people talking about it everywhere I went, I gave in to my curiosity and downloaded Pokémon Go.
Now, I’m not much of a video game person (or at least not since my youth), and if you had asked me three days ago what a Pokéball was, I almost certainly would have guessed it had something to do with the sushi salad with which I’ve become obsessed. But when I heard the game requires venturing out into the world and walking around to gain points, and read about formerly couch-bound kids (and adults) getting outside and getting moving, I knew I needed to know more.
I am constantly looking for ways to get people moving more, as my entire mantra relies on “work out less, move more,” and I recommend that my clients take at least 10,000 steps a day. So an app that was taking the world by storm and getting people walking? I was in.
I charged up my phone and Fitbit and headed outside to hunt some Pokémon. I got about three blocks and stopped at my first “PokéStop” (a mural in the neighborhood) where several other people were also standing and walking past, staring at their phones. I stood confused staring at mine.
“Do you need help?” one woman asked me – I must have looked like a tourist – “…with Pokémon?”
I laughed and she helped explain by showing me her app.
“Walk around with your app open until you find Pokémon or PokéStops. You can find different Pokémon in different locations, and you can hatch new ones by walking two, five or 10 kilometers.”
She was going on in a little more in detail when I realized that the green bar that signifies that she’s on a call lit up at the top of her phone. I was apologizing for interrupting her call when she said: “Don’t worry. That’s just my boss. He’s out hunting for Pokémon, too. Our whole office is.”
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Before I knew it, I was getting the hang of it. I passed so many people on the street walking and staring at their phones, occasionally flicking or swiping their phones in the telltale Pokémon Go way, or pacing back and forth in front of a bank or church or landmark.
Someone passing by on their bike knowingly shouted from their car, “Gotta catch em all!” as I walked down the street. I heard a woman dragging her boyfriend down the street, “C’mon! Just another three or four blocks and there’s two PokéStops and a gym!!”
As the battery on my phone dwindled, I glanced down at my Fitbit and noticed that I had already walked 10,000 steps – and it wasn’t even 1 p.m.! I was so excited not just for me, but for the millions of people that are having fun while getting off their butts and moving around! I can’t wait for all the Pokémon Go weight-loss stories that I know are coming soon – I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of them.
As I was walking home with my family from dinner last night, I stopped at a PokéStop with a lure module (man I sound like a dork) that was on our way. There was a group of about 12 people gathered – men and women, old and young.
A young man pointed at my Fitbit and said, “How many steps did you ring up today?”
“23,100,” I answered proudly.
He then showed me his with pride – 31,000.
“I’ve never even made 15,000,” he said, grinning. “Not even close.”