GiS Podcast Episode 3 – The World of Warcraft Workout Plan

This week, I cover one of my favorite topics: World of Warcraft. Oh how I love me some WoW! I could play World of Warcraft for hours. But what doesn’t love me playing WoW for hours on end – is my cholesterol. Talk about a cataclysm. It is incredible how much idle time this game has. There are so many minutes in the game in which I’m sitting and waiting for a Zeppelin, flying from the top of the continent to the bottom, or waiting for the stupid mage to drink some water. While this idle time is mostly unavoidable, that time doesn’t have to go to waste…

Use that previously wasted time level up your fitness!

I took note of some of the most common periods of unaviodable inactivity in the game and I created the World of Warcraft Workout Plan to fill up the in-game down-time with real-life up-time.

 

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WoW Workout Plan Exercise 1: The Zeppelin Burn

Did you know that most of the Zeppelins, Boats, and Blimps you use to travel between continents are on a 4 minute cycle? They take a minute to get from one place to another, and they stay at each place for a minute. This means that you can spend anywhere from 1 minute if your lucky, up to 5 minutes waiting and traveling. Well guess what: Time is money, friend.

Use this time to do a quick bodyweight circuit and give aimed at giving you +5 to strength.

*Since you need to be at the keyboard to get on the boat when it arrives, this circuit only has exercises that keep you near the computer.

This circuit works you legs, arms, abs, and chest.  Doing this a couple of times a night and will definitely get your muscles burning.

WoW Workout Plan Exercise 2: Epic Flight

The flight paths in WoW take up a lot of time – mostly with you just sitting and staring at a gryphon’s butt.  The average travel time in World of Warcraft is 2 minutes 24 seconds.  Chain a few flights together, you could be flying for 10 or more minutes.  Don’t waste that time slouched in front of the screen…

Use it to DPS your body fat % with a high intensity cardio circuit.

*Since you don’t have to be right at the computer for this, step away from the computer, give yourself plenty of room to move, and get ready to work up a sweat.

  • 30 seconds of walking in place
  • 30 seconds of running in place.
  • 1 minute of jumping jacks (do power jacks if you want to step it up a notch)
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 split jumps
  • 30 seconds of  light jump rope (no rope needed, just go through the motions)
  • 30 seconds of rest

This curcuit takes anywhere from 3 and a half to 4 minutes, but repeat the circuit as many times as you can while your character is flying. Every round should burn up to 50 calories, so if you fly four times during a night of play, and complete at least one circuit every flight – you have just burned 200+ calories! That’s definitely enough to work off that handful of funyons you downed while taking out the Lich King.

WoW Workout Plan Quick Hits

Photo courtesy of brianjmatis on Flickr

  • Scanning the auction house? Activate Aspect of the Cheetah and go do some sprints up and down your street.
  • Waiting for a mob to re-spawn? Send your muscles a lesser healing wave by doing some light yoga stretches.
  • Waiting for a ready check? Cast Tranquility on yourself by closing your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

I’ll discuss more ways you can turn you love for WoW into a way to get fit in future episodes. But don’t let that stop you from getting creative, and coming up with a workout plan of your own. There is so much more idle time in the game that are perfect to get in some much needed physical activity. You can mix and match what you do and when you do it.

Just be aware of the time you spend in-game doing nothing — and try to change that.

You will be amazed how many calories you can burn or how many pushups you can do without giving up any play time at all.

I’d like to hear your results of following this plan. I’d also like to know what other ways you stay fit while playing WoW. Post a comment here or hit me up on twitter, @geekintoshape.

Have fun, be geeky, and get fit!

A Geek’s Guide to Going to the Gym

Hello, my name is George, and I am a nerd. As you might have already guessed, I look like I belong in a gym.  I fit right in. Me and muscles over there… tight. That bar thingie with the circles on it, got it under control. The girl with the tight booty shorts, oh yeah, she was looking at me doing my hip thrusts.  Oh I forgot, I’m a liar.

I have always kept my distance from gyms in the past, but in my grand plan of being a sexy bitch, I needed to step up my workouts. So, I recently signed up for a two week trial to a gym, and let me tell you, gyms are hard to walk into as  an overweight semi-geek type. I never had an issue in high school with the whole geek vs. jock shenanigans, but the whole concept of a gym reminds me of that stereotypical divide.  Muscle bound dudes. Super fit aerobics instructors. People with tans. I am not a shy person by most standards, but I was definitely a little intimidated my first time stepping through the gym doors.  I can see how a lot of people have bad gym anxiety.

However, a gym provides so much benefit, so sometimes we have to just suck it up.  And that is exactly what I did, and so far it has worked out great.

So, since I have recently been through the process of getting into gym mode, I thought I would share some tips that helped me ease the transition from couch and office chair to step class and weight bench, both mentally and physically.

Step 1: Get your mind right

You can’t begin to take advantage of the gym until you get over (or at least bury deep inside) any gym anxiety you may have.  Here are some small things that helped me:

Realize that people in the gym look the way they do because they go to the gym. A good number of the people that go to the gym are already in a maintenance mode, and are exercising at a rate in accordance with their fitness level. This makes it hard Joe McFlabbybelly, who is 30+ pounds away from his goals and gets winded from pouring milk into his Lucky Charms, to feel at home in a gym.

You have to start somewhere.

Just realize that you are on the right path.  Sooner than you think, you are going to being that guy/gal you see throwing up dumbbells that are bigger than your head. Just stick with it.

Nerd out on research and bring the knowledge! Would you start a new software project written in a new programming language without going through the quick-start guide, multiple tutorials, and a few screencasts? Would you dive right into a raid without looking at boss abilities, discussing strategy, and doing a ready check? Sure, if you expect to wipe. The correct answer is:  No!

One thing that I think all of us geeks have in common is our insatiable curiosity and our ability to gather as much knowledge as possible to be prepared for whatever it is we are obsessing over at the moment. The same applies to the gym.  Make goals and research how to meet those goals. Come to the gym prepared. Know what classes you want to take, what workouts you are going to do, and come with a purpose.

Don’t cause yourself to crash and burn just because you don’t know what to expect.


Step 2: Equip the right gear

Since I don’t know what level of geek you are, I will not assume that you know not to wear your storm trooper outfit to the gym.  So no storm trooper outfits. But don’t let that prevent you from showing your geeky side while whipping your ass into shape.

Embrace your geekiness in the gym! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to stick out from the crowd.  While most people at the gym are wearing their MMA Tapout shirts or skin tight Under Armor gear, I proudly wear my Nerds 2^2 Ever shirt to the gym.  I embrace my horn-rimmed glasses that fog up when I get sweaty.  I enjoy stripping down to my whitey-tighties in the locker room… Ok, not that last one. But seriously, don’t be afraid to let your geek flag fly in the gym, our t-shirts are way funnier than their t-shirts, and chicks dig funny t-shirts.

Make gym time your geek news time with podcasts. I assume, like me, you have blogs you read to keep up on the latest tech trends or the latest news to your favorite game(s). Well, lucky for you, someone probably produces a podcast that hits all of the major tech, gaming, political, woodworking, or Local Causal and Markov Blanket Induction for Causal Discovery and Feature Selection for Classification news your heart desires.  The last one might be hard to find, but the others are definitely covered!  So load up your MP3 player of choice with some great news podcasts and make gym time learning time as well.

Step 3: Crawl, Walk, Run

When going to the gym for the first time in a while (or ever), you are bound to get sore. But never use that as an excuse to stop going to the gym. Start somewhat easy (don’t be a wuss, though) and plan on being sore the first few times back.  If you aren’t sore, you’re probably taking it too easy and need to step it up (remember when I called you a wuss about a sentence ago?).

The burn says its working. Plan for the inevitable muscle soreness that will follow your first few workouts.  Don’t plan any major physical activities the first few days after your first trip to the gym.  My first day at the gym resulted in 3 days of pretty bad muscle soreness.  Unfortunately, not much can be done for muscle soreness.  The best thing that helped me was going for long walks to keep my muscles warm and light stretching. Take the pain lightly and don’t let it dissuade you from going back to the gym.  While it sucks, it means that your body healing itself to prepare you better for the next time.  After a few weeks, your muscles won’t be as sore after each workout, so you can hit the gym hard after that. You can even treat the pain as an immediate result from your workouts… you may not see the results right away, but you can sure as hell feel them.

Step 4: Give me a ‘C’! Give me an ‘O’! Give me a ‘NSISTENCY’!

(I ran out of header room)

Grind out reputation with your gym’s faction. Make sure you take advantage of the gym. Take extra time to get to know the gym common folk.  Make sure you know where to find a good mead (protein shake). Know how to find your (aerobics) class trainer. Know how to get to the the local smith (machine) to help craft your armor (muscles).   Use the chat channels (your mouth) to make new friends (friends). Do your gym dailies and grind your way from Neutral to Friendly and beyond. Keep at it, the rewards are well worth the daily grind.

Step 5: Have Fun!

The end goal is to get fit, but you have to have fun doing it. Treat the gym as a fun place to get fit and meet new people who are trying to (or already have) achieve the same goals. If you genuinely don’t like it, stop going… Remember that a gym is just one of many methods to reach your goals.

Hopefully these thoughts and tips might ease your transition into the gym… it did mine.

George

World of Warcraft Workout Tip #3 – Exercise Ball

Have you packed on a few pounds since you started playing World of Warcraft? Are you never able to get to the flag in Warsong Gulch because you you need to stop and catch your breath halfway up the entrance tunnel? If so, then listen up!

A great way to increase your daily fitness is to push that old, squeaky office chair out of the way and replace it with an Exercise Ball during your game time.   Using an exercise ball will improve your balance and tone your core muscles just by sitting down and playing WoW.   Using an exercise ball for brief periods of time is also known to help improve posture and body alignment.  To get that extra calorie burn, bounce on the ball or do hip circles while you play.  But the fun doesn’t stop there!  An exercise ball opens up a whole new world of quick and easy exercises to do while playing, such as Squats, Lunges, and Bridges.  If you play Warcraft while on the road, a popular portable alternative to an exercise ball is a Fit Disc.

Caution: You’ll want to make sure you slowly transition into the use of an exercise ball and only use it for a few hours at a time.  It is not recommended to permanently replace your office chair with an exercise ball.  And as always, consult your personal doctor before attempting any exercise presented here.  This has been your World of Warcraft Workout tip of the week.  Have fun and stay active!

Also, I would like to thank Scott and Randy and the crew over at the Instance for including the audio version of the World of Warcraft Tip #1 in ther latest episode.  I’ll keep the segment regular as long as they keep playing it!

World of Warcraft Workout Tip #2

Have you packed on a few pounds since you started playing World of Warcraft?  Are you constantly breaking polymorphs because you were hungry, and you thought the sheep was for you to eat?  If so, then listen up!

Start using quest turn ins as a trigger for doing ab workouts.  For every quest you complete, make it a priority to to 10 sit-ups as soon as the yellow question mark disappears.  Don’t accept another quest until you are finished.  I average around 7-10 quest turn-ins on a good night of playing.  This means that I have done 70-100 sit-ups in one night!  This only takes a few minutes away from your game play, and will put you on the path to having killer abs.  Note: If you can’t finish the sit-ups, switch to another abdominal workout such as planks or bicycle kicks.  When you do these, try to hold out for at least a minute, but don’t stop if you can keep going.

As always, consult your personal doctor before attempting any exercise presented here.  This has been your World of Warcraft Workout tip of the week.  Have fun and stay active!

The Diggnation Workout – Outdoor Edition

One of the best things to add to your regular exercise routine is some sort of spontaneity and uncertainty.   Breaking the mundane aspects of working out really helps you look forward to your workouts.  This is why people who get their exercise through sports, such as basketball, soccer, and tennis, are 47% more likely to stick with exercising (I just made that up that statistic.  It sounds great, right?!).  But I suck at sports.  I’M A NERD!  I need a different way to add some variety to working out.  So, I hijacked an idea I heard about a while back: Podcasts and drinking games!

No you don’t get to take shots during this workout, but you are going to play the Diggnation Drinking Game without the booze.  Here’s how it works: You turn on Diggnation and listen for certain triggers in the show that will cue you to do a specific workout.  A trigger could be something Kevin or Alex says, does, or implies.  Some shows might not give you much more than a simple walk in the park, others might make you pee yourself because you are too sore to go to the bathroom.  Either way you are listening to one of your favorite podcasts and slimming down at the same time.  So lace up your running shoes, set your Ipod to the latest Diggnation, and let’s get moving.

Warmup

1. Start off by walking for at least 90 seconds
2. If the show is recorded in San Francisco, stop and do 60 seconds of jumping jacks, then continue walking
3. If they are drinking beer during the episode, lightly jog for 60 seconds, then continue walking
4. Walk for 30 more seconds.

The warm-up should take 2:30 regardless of which combination of exercises you do.  If you hear any triggers during this time, ignore them.  Trust me, there will be plenty more to come.

Workout

Note: After completing every individual workout, walk for at least 60 seconds, regardless of whether any triggers come up during the time you are finishing your workout/walking combo.  This gives your body a chance to cool down.  If you are in very good shape, you can relax off this constraint as long as you feel comfortable doing so.

  • Alex mentions his girlfriend: 60 seconds walking lunges
  • Alex yells something in a high pitched voice: Jog for 60 seconds
  • Either of the guys starts on a new beer/tea (not counting the first round): Stop and do squats for 30 seconds
  • One of the guys admits to doing something illegal: Sprint for 30 seconds
    • Sprint 60 seconds if they make a failed attempt at covering their tracks
  • Kevin or Alex tastes either of the other’s beverage: Jog for 60 seconds
  • They massacre one of the “submitted by” user’s names: Stop and do 60 seconds of Jumping Jacks
  • Either one of the guys makes a sexual innuendo: 60 Seconds of stair climbs (If you can’t find a full set of stairs, just step up and down on a curb.  Make sure you alternate your leading leg when stepping up)
  • A female Diggnation listener submits a sexy picture of themselves and Kevin and Alex gawk at it: Sprint for as long as you can. This is the worst, but you know you are almost done with the show.  Once you feel like you can’t run any more, just finish walking for the remainder of the show.

That’s it!  You have an instant unique workout.  If you want to kick it up a notch, any time either of the guys cuss, start jogging.  Don’t stop jogging until you hit another trigger from above or you hear a second cuss word.  Another way to step it up is double the workout times if it is a live show.  This will definitely add some extra kick to the entire workout.

The good thing about this is that you can make up your own triggers, your own workouts, etc.  In fact, if you have any good ideas, please post them below so I can make an updated Diggnation workout. This is just a fun way to get us geeks into shape and the community will only add to the fun, so please comment.  And remember that whenever you pass somebody while doing the workout, you have to give them a big, hearty: “DIGGNATION!”

As always, consult your doctor before attempting this.  Stay active, have fun, and get into shape.

World of Workout Tip of the Week #1

Have you packed on a few pounds since you started playing World of Warcraft?  Are you tired of walking into World’s End Tavern and overhearing the group of Scryers at the bar comparing you to a Tauren?  Are you a gnome that is starting to resemble a dwarf?  If so, then listen up!

When using the gryphon or wyvern to travel the vast expanses of Azeroth and the Outlands, instead of just sitting there and staring at the pretty landscape pass by, get up and do some jumping jacks.  The average travel time in World of Warcraft is 2 minutes 24 seconds.  Doing jumping jacks for this amount of time burns ~36.5 calories for a 225 pound person.  Four travels a night results in a total of 146 calories burned, just enough to work of that handful of Cheez-its you threw down during the last Kara run.  To kick it up a notch, fly everywhere.  Stop using your hearthstone and stop taking shortcuts… I’m talking to you mages.  For the long flights, switch it up halfway through and do some crunches.  This little bit of exercise will get your heart rate up and pick away at your waistline without taking any time away from your game play!

As always, consult your personal doctor before attempting any exercise presented here.  This has been your World of Workout tip of the week.  Have fun and stay active!