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Buffing for Blizzcon: Bring on the con!

Rafe Brox

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

Congratulations, you've made it! Six months is an endurance event more than a sprint, but in the grand scheme of a lifetime of healthy living, it's a start. Hopefully, some of the healthy habits you've picked up during our time here have become part of your daily rotation (and there's no worry about the devs nerfing them or removing them from our talent trees).

With the convention upon us, we caught up with the staffers who came along for the ride, to see how well they've fared. Like the rest of us, they're a varied bunch, with differing levels of success. Even if what you've achieved so far has been relatively modest, there's still (as the poet said) "tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" to keep making progress.

Kelly Aarons: My weight has plateaued due to my being super-stressed and nonstop busy for months on end. I am, however, trying to take better care of myself. My quasi-vegan friend and I are also doing recipe exchanges, and seeing her get so excited over healthy food has gotten me excited to do more cooking as well.

Having friends to do things with is what makes them more enjoyable (and with 12 million other folks in WoW, it certainly seems to work). The invite-a-friend program works just as well in the gym, kitchen and grocery store when it comes to rekindling your own excitement and enthusiasm. Having a workout or fitness buddy is also a great way to stay engaged through shared obligation. You've said you'll be there, whether it's a raid, a walk or bench press day, and it's harder to back out and let someone else down than it is to stay self-motivated all the time.

Michael Sacco: I met my weight goal by accident.

Whether this means he lost a leg in a tragic jewelcrafting accident is not clear. Success is good; amputation is a bit kinkier than we really endorse around these parts.

Michael Gray: Health: Pass! Weight loss: Fail. Sadly, after the basement flood, I did not have time for a daily workout. However, the health benefits are clear, and I look forward to getting back to it.

Even with mixed results, it's certainly great to see any kind of progress, and that's one of the surest ways to keep your enthusiasm up. Nobody likes wiping on the same boss for weeks on end or hitting a weight or performance plateau. Knowing that you're making headway will keep you coming back for more.

Joe Perez: As of right now, I've made it to within 15 pounds of my goal. I've lost a ton just by being more active, walking instead of taking elevators and making healthier choices in food and snacks (go go, hummus and carrots!). I'm going to keep on this path and see if I can't shed some more until I'm at my goal. The biggest success I think was when I cut down massively on soda from my diet. The weight just started falling off at that point.

Mike has talked about switching to low-calorie snacks and beverages in this space before, and Joe is living (or maybe Forsaken) proof. A case of regular soda, at about 150 calories per can, has the same number of calories as a pound of fat. If you make no other changes than replacing that many soft drinks with water, you'll lose about a pound over the course of however long you usually take to go through that case (in my college years and 20s, my soft drink of choice was Pepsi mixed 1:1 with Mountain Dew and a splash of lemon or lime juice, and I'd go through two or three liters a day). Plus, you'll be steering clear of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and causing your blood sugar and insulin to spike; both of these benefit more than just what the scale says.

Colby Moore: I've increased my bench by ~50 lbs. and squat by ~90 lbs. I haven't been doing cardio as much, but that's mostly because of weather (I absolutely hate running when it's hot out). I'm a solid 180 right now, I've increased ~20 pounds of lean muscle mass. Met my goals and then some, going to keep going. I'm headed to the gym in like 30 minutes!

Colby's strength gains are definitely worth celebrating and are far from uncommon in folks who are fairly new to weightlifting and strength training in general. I share his antipathy toward going running in the deep summer swelter. (I'm from Buffalo; we didn't have anything like August in Florida up there. I stepped outside to run and had a Biloxi Blues flashback. "This is like ... Africa hot. I'm not sure I want to stay here if it's going to be this hot.") That lean muscle he's put on will also help burn fat and keep it off, because it simply requires more energy to exist than a similar amount of fat would.

Alex Ziebart: I didn't lose as much as I wanted to lose, but I did take off a few pounds and I'm getting a lot better at paying attention to what I'm doing and eating. The extremely erratic Cataclysm news cycle made it hard to stick to a routine (breaking news texts at 3 a.m.? What? Seriously?), but it put me into a groove to improve once things have calmed down after the big day on Dec. 7. I didn't lose nearly as much weight as I wanted, but I did walk away with a better idea of what I'm getting myself into long term. I think I'll manage.

Alex hits the nail on the head: Even if you didn't reach your ultimate goals, seeing them getting closer is still a good feeling. Knowing what you can do and making a habit of healthier things -- whether they're in the grocery store or your non-WoW activities -- is the best way to ensure long-term success, whether you're following a formal program or not.

We hope you've enjoyed the Buff(ing) for BlizzCon series as much as we've enjoyed crafting it and engaging with the folks who've shared their tips, tricks and stories. It looks like Cataclysm is apt to bring both of us back into the game, so don't be afraid to say hi. And, yes, my main is still an alchemist and can whip up a bunch of different strength potions (tips welcome!).

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

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