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15 Minutes of Fame: Discover your inner ShrinkGeek


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

We've already shown you how one WoW player got lean and mean while playing WoW. This week, we'd like to introduce you to what we think is one of the coolest new web resources for geeks and gamers seeking to uncover their inner Hugh Jackman: ShrinkGeek. ShrinkGeek is exactly what it sounds like: a fitness blog for gamers and, well, geeks.

Take a look at some of these post titles:

Yeah, we're geeking out, too. "In the words of the immortal Mr. Spock," writes ShrinkGeek cofounder (and former WoW guild GM and blogger) Michael C. McGreevy, "our ultimate goal is to help you 'Live long and prosper.'"

To bring you this behind-the-scenes on ShrinkGeek, we visited with WoW-playing ShrinkGeek Rafe Brox. To be honest, actually, we merely directed the flow by interjecting the occasional question or comment. We suspect we've pinpointed one of the sources of ShrinkGeek's pump-it-up energy -- no shrinking violets here. Come geek out while getting pumped, after the break.

Main character Kiesh, Troll Priest
Server Lothar, Lothar, and then some more Lothar; I think I have a couple of low-teen and single-digit alts on other servers (I know there was a BElf Hunter in It Came From The Blog when that started up on Zangarmarsh)

15 Minutes of Fame: Before we get into your Shrinking habits, Rafe, tell us a little bit about your WoW habit.
Rafe Brox/Kiesh: At this point, it's more of a social hangout than a driving-to-achieve thing. (The depth of my loathing for the achievement system cannot be adequately expressed without scientific notation.) I've recently resigned from the "casual raiding" guild that was my only home, Horde-side, and am now in what we've half-jokingly called a "retirement community" with a handful of former guildmates who just want to spend some relaxing time bopping around in the world's prettiest chat client.

My original Alliance guild, Cosmic Groinpull, was in a very real sense me, a couple of buddies from high school (we're in our mid-30s now and keep in touch via online games and an annual vacation), my girlfriend, a buddy from work and one guy who happened to run Razorfen Downs with us one time and hit it off with us. Not exactly the sort of crew you're going to tackle C'thun with, but we had a lot of fun.

I've never been anyone's idea of a serious or hardcore player. I took care to cultivate an image of "this guy has no f***ing idea what he's doing" for quite a while to a) avoid being bugged to heal stuff until I wanted to, b) make people underestimate me, and c) genuinely was pretty much wearing a [Noob Hat] half the time. Despite that, I more or less assumed the mantle of "Priest Officer Ex Cathedra," since the official Priest officer had some very heavy RL demands on his time, and despite my best intentions, I turned out to be a very good healer (and obnoxiously proficient Holy DPSer; our MT bet me that I couldn't top the damage charts for a Kara clear. If the Hunters were counted separately from their pets, I did).

I've cut way back from, say, raiding Kara three nights a week two years ago. I was on our rotation two or three nights a week until I wanted to cut down to two, and then to one, before stepping away from raiding altogether.

What about other games?
I cut my teeth on Anarchy Online, after developing a scathing antipathy towards Everquest due to a former living situation. This was really early in AO's life -- the neutral, contested zones hadn't even come out, and the level cap was something like 90 -- and the three of us (the CGP core group) had absolutely no idea what we were doing.

I've always been a real-time strategy guy (Command & Conquer, in a very real sense, got me into the IT industry, since we had to figure out how to hook a couple computers together to beat on one another), so there's usually been something from the C&C or Red Alert food chain nearby. Total Annihilation is probably the game with the most time /played after WoW, lifetime. I also do some console gaming -- I have a 360 -- which was usually for sports (Madden, EA's NHL title du jour) and driving stuff (I was a fiend for the original Project Gotham Racing until my original Xbox's hard drive bought the farm). Now, much like everyone else, I play Guitar Hero and Rock Band. (I really suck at drums.)

So how did you come to be involved with ShrinkGeek?
My day job has embraced the "corporate wellness" thing, and there were a couple of lightly competitive events geared towards helping folks get healthy. One of them was a weight-loss challenge. A few of the other IT guys and I got together, and I called us "Team ShrinkGeek."

Mike (arguably the "head honcho" at SG, and my former guild leader; he's my current boss at the day job -- why, yes, I do tend to have tightly-knit friendships, why do you ask?) liked the name, and kept it in the back of his mind, where it sort of germinated the idea for the site.

I've developed something of a following at the office due to my penchant for having a big mouth and not being afraid to do some crazy stuff. I brought my own kettlebells to the office gym. The fact that I bust my ass and get results opened some eyes, and it's really gratifying to see the transformations of some of my coworkers from your standard, vaguely pudgy IT cube-dwellers into guys who are seriously into pushing themselves towards their fitness goals.

What do you think are the most common downfalls of unfit geeks, the things that keep them mired in flab?
First is the obvious thing: We spend way too much time on our butts in front of a computer screen. Not moving doesn't burn a hell of a lot of calories and doesn't develop a hell of a lot of muscle tone, except maybe in your mousing forearm.

Secondly, and this is partially a byproduct of the first point, is that convenient, computer-friendly food pretty much sucks from a nutritional standpoint -- plenty of calories, not much in the way of vitamins, protein, complex carbohydrates and veggies. And don't get me started on how bad high fructose corn syrup (i.e., the sweetener in pretty much every non-diet drink going) is for you.

There's the stereotyping that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy -- from the skinny dork from Revenge of the Nerds to the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons or the villain in Sword of a Thousand Truths -- that folks might not feel up to challenging.

Honestly, it's more like raid progression than anything else. You take on instances with trash mobs and simple bosses, and then more complex and challenging ones, and once you're prepared (sorry, had to be said), hack away at the main bosses.

There's a reason that folks hold up the conversational tidbit that Vin Diesel plays D&D. He doesn't look like a geek. He looks like someone who takes good care of himself, and who happens to enjoy the feel of some polyhedrons and a mechanical pencil in his hand. There is absolutely no reason any of us can't do something like that; it just takes time, and discipline, and the desire to get there.

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