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Buff(ing) for BlizzCon: Dog days

Rafe Brox

Buff(ing) for BlizzCon is a bi-weekly fitness series written by ShrinkGeek authors Rafe Brox and Michael McGreevy. Join the team in getting in shape for the ultimate WoW geek event: BlizzCon 2010.

No, it's not another worgen post. I'd roll a goblin, anyway, and not merely because of factional preference. I spent too many hours as a n00b getting repeatedly pwnt in Silverpine Forest, which has made me as bitter as powdered aspirin towards those furry bastards; I'd gank myself. No, this is the midsummer swoon, when folks tend to go through the motions in the long, hot stretch (at least in the Northern hemisphere), twiddling their thumbs between increasingly monotonous dungeon runs, idly considering rolling yet another alt or take a hiatus altogether to go hit some conventions and interact in the big blue room.

In our case, it's also just past the midpoint of our six-month journey towards BlizzCon, when motivation may flag and adhering to healthier eating and exercise habits can begin to wane. Maybe you've hit a plateau. Maybe you're bored with your program. This point in time is, to quote everyone's favorite Mon Calimaran, a trap. OK, maybe it's more of a pothole, or yet another slog through Desolace/Stranglethorn Vale/[insert your least-loved zone of mid-game grind leveling here].

So what is there to be done about it?

The easiest answer, of course, is to keep practicing the good habits you've developed over the last couple months. Like building any good tanking, casting or DPS rotation, this is something you've gradually tuned and honed as you've done it, occasionally spicing things up when you get a new skill or try out a re-spec or need to adjust to accommodate a new weapon. But with familiarity comes boredom, and you can slip back into doing encounters you've been farming on something like autopilot. While zoning out on the treadmill or exercise bike or even going for a jog isn't a bad thing, it's not exactly the ideal headspace from which to pick up heavy things, especially if you're going to be holding them over your head.

But let's say that you're still feeling that creeping ennui about your fitness routine. Here are some ways to rekindle your enthusiasm.

Do something completely different

Maybe you've had your eye on a group fitness class that you saw a flier for at the supermarket. Maybe you have a birthday coming up and when someone asked what you wanted, the idea of getting a bike for the first time in years flashed across your mind. It could be something simpler, like giving up a particular vice or potentially troublesome foodstuff for a month. In my case, I have done a couple of different things, both out of necessity (I didn't pick up anything heavier than I am for a month to let an injury recover) and from pure curiosity ("How does this intermittent fasting thing make me feel?"). I also joined my company softball team.

Recruit a friend

Recruiting a friend works in WoW to rekindle some passion and enthusiasm, right? You've got someone new to run with, and revisiting content with a fresh pair of eyes can make some of it new all over again. The same is true when you have someone new to go for your daily walk with or someone new at your gym, even if it's a friend who is just starting out with this whole "getting healthy" thing. It's amazing how much more attention you'll pay to your own workout when you're tutoring or mentoring someone, even if it's something as simple as sharing bike routes or telling someone where the good water fountain is. Maybe your significant other/best friend/favorite sibling would be interested in joining you as you do your routine. Maybe they're doing something that you want to try; you could both join something new together. Having a workout buddy is a great way to make sure that you'll keep going.

Take a short break

WHAT, you say?!
Seriously, a mini-vacation may be just what you need. In weightlifting parlance, this is called a "de-load" (though that can also mean just taking it easy and lifting lightly for a week). The mental break can be as beneficial as the physical one, so you can come back refreshed and renewed. You might just find that you missed exercising. Giving yourself a chance to recover and reload might just reward you with a renewed surge of progress when you get back on the horse. Just remember that you need to get back on, so that a short break doesn't turn into abandoning the quest altogether.

Navigating the August doldrums requires a bit of creativity and a little effort ... but for those of us who don't have Cataclysm beta keys, what else have we got going on?

Have you ever wanted to write for Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions for articles via Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to The next byline you see here may be yours!

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