Posted by: L1H | April 11, 2009

How to Exercise and Not Miss a Raid

It’s not easy balancing game life with real life.  Implementing exercise is especially challenging for a gamer because there’s only a limited amount of hours every day, and it’s a constant tug of war between doing things you have to do (work, sleep, etc …) and doing things you want to do (game, eat pizza, etc …)

Mastering RL and GL requires some serious time management skills, but more so, it also requires you to be creative about your RL obligations like exercise and make them as efficient as possible.

If you think you need to live in a gym to get in shape you’re dead wrong: just like your favorite MMO, there’s the hard way and then there’s the optimized way to grind out whatever results you’re looking for.

Where to start?

Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits, especially if it’s a part of a routine exercise plan.

Traditional cardio, like running, involves 45 minutes to one hour of steady state jogging.  Having a nice jog can be very relaxing and invigorating, but who has an extra hour each night when you’ve got a level to ding?  I mention steady state because after the first fifteen minutes your body “figures out” the stress you’re throwing at it, it gets into a rhythm, and jogging in this way isn’t the fat burning exercise you might believe it is after the first few minutes unless you want to run for miles upon miles.

If you have ever experienced a second wind during exercise then you know what I’m talking about.  Once you hit that threshold you can go on for hours before hitting a wall – it feels that way anyhow.

If your goal is weight loss, to just “feel better”, or to be able to outrun a pack of brain eating zombie dogs, there’s a great method of cardio training that can fit into any hardcore raider’s schedule.

Do you have 25 minutes?  Guess what, you can complete an intense workout, burn massive amounts of calories (read: fat), and be home to make the raid.

A method of cardiovascular exercise called high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, has been the secret weapon of many exercise experts for years.

No matter what your health level is, HIIT is one of the most efficient ways to implement exercise into your life and not sacrifice too much couch/computer time.

The way HIIT is different than traditional cardio is this: you never want your body to settle into a steady state so HIIT involves short bursts of high intensity running followed by a “rest” interval where the speed is dropped down to a brisk walk or light jog.  The sprint/jog ratio for a HIIT workout is usually 1:2, and the total workout time is usually 15-25 minutes.

It’s all about keeping your body guessing, keeping it out of that steady steady, to maximize your CPS (calories per second), to put it in gamer’s terms.

HIIT is customizable for different health levels, time constraints, available equipment, and you can mix and match many different variations of HIIT to keep your workouts interesting.  Do a Google search and you’ll find lots of information about HIIT.

Here’s a couple examples that I use:

Warm up: 5 minutes

I spend about 5 minutes doing a brisk walk (usually 4.5 mph for me) to get the blood flowing, to prepare my joints for the impending impact, and to mentally galvanize myself for the task at hand.

Everyone is at their own level, so warm-up at your own pace.  You’ll know you’re warmed up when you first start to lightly sweat.

HIIT Method 1: The Noob Ladder

This method begins at your warm-up pace, lets say it’s 4.5 mph, for example.

1 minute: 4.5 mph
1 minute: 5.5 mph
1 minute: 6.5 mph
1 minute: 7.5 mph
1 minute: 8.5 mph
1 minute: 9.5 mph
1 minute: 10.5 mph
1 minute 11.5 mph
1 minute: 4.5 mph <—- starting cycle over
1 minute: 5.5 mph
etc …

You’ll notice that in this method you increase your speed up +1 mph every minute. You do this until you reach your maximum sprint speed, 11.5 mph in this example, then start the cycle over.  Try to complete at least 3 cycles to begin with, increasing your maximum sprint as your endurance and strength increase over time.

Method 2: The Speed Bump

Warm-up as above.

1 minute: light jog/brisk walk (4.5 mph, for example)
30 seconds: sprint (12.5 mph, for example)
1 minute: light jog/brisk walk
30 seconds: sprint
1 minute: light jog/brisk walk
30 seconds: sprint
etc …

Rinse and repeat until you complete your 15-25 minute workout.

Advanced: Increase your sprinting interval to 60 seconds, making your sprint/jog interval a 1:1 ratio.

You can make your HIIT workout fit your goals and needs and change any of these numbers to what you’re comfortable with, just remember to keep your body guessing and start with a sprint/jog ratio of 1:2.

I used HIIT during Quest 1 and continue to use it as a great way to sneak in a quick workout.

Oh, and remember: consult your cleric, doctor, or shaman before beginning any exercise program.


  1. Hmmmm…. good advice. I need to get into something like this.

  2. Okay, I’m starting today. Gotta get going on something.

  3. Well done Mal!

  4. Monday was a success. Round 2 today. Out of work early FTW!

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