New Year, New Me- a January recap

>> Saturday, January 29, 2011

Last January I resolved to have a blog I was proud of. My first post of the year was "New Year, New Blog". This year, my goal is to work on improving my physical self.

My blog has been sitting silent for two weeks now. I walked over to my desk several times to write something but then couldn't think of anything worthwhile to say. This morning I woke with a bad headache, (I think I am feeling the next round of snow storm moving in) so I took some execedrin migraine which always makes me lie in bed staring at the ceiling unable to fall back to sleep. I decided best get on with the day, wandered into the kitchen, started some coffee and sat down here at my desk- determinded to blog.

So what have I been up to?

Yesterday our littlest, Avery, turned 5 years old. And his mama weighs precisely what she did when she left the hospital after having him. ugh. Okay now let me back up to December.

I asked Santa to bring me an exercise game for Christmas. We are not a Nintendo family, so asking for a Wii AND the Wii Fit game PLUS the balance board just for me seemed excessive- especially since we are basically a one income family of five. So I did a little research and found an exercise program developed by EA Sports. They actually make it for Wii, Playstation and X Box. It's called EA Sports Active 2 and since my brain isn't fully awake yet, I'm going to use some excerpts from Amazon to tell you about it:

EA SPORTS Active 2 with Total Body Tracking features an innovative wireless control system powered by motion sensors in leg and arm straps that provide complete freedom of motion.

Additionally, it will feature a heart rate monitor that provides constant on-screen monitoring, allowing users to capture intensity and optimize performance over time. Exercise hands-free and customize your workout with your own fitness equipment!

EA SPORTS Active 2 tracks your fitness data online via automatic uploads to your online profile and allows you to share your data and connect with other users through workout groups - all while reaching your own personal fitness goals.

Create unlimited customizable workouts with over 70 exercises and activities to choose from, including foundational exercises like squats, lunges, and bicep curls and fun fitness activities such as mountain boarding, basketball, and boxing.

Unlimited customizable workouts
Build muscleFeatures
70 Exercises and Activities
Track your heart rate on screen in real-time with the innovative EA SPORTS Active heart rate monitor to capture intensity and optimize performance over time.
Designed by certified trainers, the EA SPORTS Active 2 9-week program provides total body conditioning using progressive exercise.
Track your progress on the web via the EA SPORTS Active online global community.

Fast forward to January. I started Phase 1 of the 3 Phase program on January 11th and I completed Phase 1 yesterday. So while I say "ugh" about my current weight, I need to brag for a minute that I have earned 34 of the 88 possible trophies (workout milestones)

and am down 5 pounds in addition to losing 1 inch off my waist and 1/2 an inch off my arms. Nothing off those stubborn thighs or hips yet- but I am remaining hopeful- there's a lot of jiggle down there to sift through before finding the muscle underneath, lol!

Things I like best about EA Sports Active are:

1. The milestone tracking:

I am a list ticker. There is nothing I like better than to see a long "to do" list and be able to go at it, crossing things off that I've accomplished.

2. My "personal trainer":

The game comes with your choice of two different personality types to workout with. I chose the female trainer who speaks gently and uses encouraging words. I don't need someone barking at me while I'm bouncing around, huffing and puffing doing my best to to complete a difficult exercise.

3. The exercise variety: Each day that you workout is different. Day 1 might focus on your lower body, Day 2 on your upper and Day 3 on your core. The variety ranges from a fitness trail where you must sprint to pass other runners, to side planks, to soccer drills, to cardio kick boxing. Which means that boredom is not a factor and neither is is that dreaded "plateau" we all hear about or experience when trying to get into shape.

4. My character:

Upon starting the program, I was able to create a look-alike character that I can watch on the screen. The 3 body sensors that I wear while exercising track my movements and translate them to the "me" onscreen.

4a. There are 3 body trackers you wear while exercising.

Each is slightly larger than a matchbox car- I wear one on my right thigh and one on each arm. The left arm tracker also has a heart monitor, so I am able to watch my heart rate go up and down as I workout and track my long term improvements- which are remarkable in the 3 short weeks I've been doing this!

Other things that are really cool about this program are:

1. The daily journals you can fill out:

Which track your eating, sleeping and activity levels outside of the game's program.

2. The ability to change my workout schedule whenever I need to:

The game does keep track of the calendar date and works on a 4 days of exercise/3 days of rest pattern, but which days are which are which are purely up to me- so if I happen to always work out on Monday but have a particular Monday that is extremely busy, I can adjust and select Tuesday (a typical rest day) to exercise instead.

2a. I can also create custom extra workouts on my rest days- great if I treat myself to some of Avery's birthday cake and want to burn off some of those excess calories!

3. I can see at my overall accomplishments:

To date, I have burned a total of 2016 calories, travelled 22.28 miles and completed more than 6 hours of exercise time. There are a few milestones that I'm quite far from reaching- such as 1,000 squats and 624 miles in mountain biking- but can you imagine how cool it'll be for me to realize that I've finally achieved those goals?

4. There is a large online community of EA Sports Active gamers: The PS3 system is wirelessly connected to the web, so every workout I completed automatically uploads to the profile I completed online and I can track my progress from my desktop. Within the online community there are workout groups that you can join. Once you do, you are able to sync up and workout with other people for some friendly competition. There are discussion boards on the website where you can chat with people, share experiences, ask questions and support each other to stay motivated.

So far, I am really happy using this game and if I could offer any suggestions on improving it, I'd say:

1. Allow me to edit my character's body type:
I'd like to be able to enter body measurements in addition to weight so the "person" on the screen REALLY looks like me and I can see a visual change in her as my measurements change.

2. Allow me to free-type my daily intakes of food, water, etc:
I want to track my actual meals instead selecting from a predefined choice list. (I'd like to be able to type that I ate chicken breast, butternut squash and green beans for dinner instead of just saying I had 2 vegetables at dinnertime)

3. Provide a more indepth calorie tracking screen shot:

I'd like to see the actual exercise I was performing at the time, so I know where I need to work harder and where I kick butt! (there is currently just a line chart that shows what the game predicted I'd burn and what I actually burned, but it doesn't tell me what I was doing at any given point)

Okay, so after this super lengthly post that sounds like a paid advertisement, I just want to say that it is NOT. No one asked me to write this post, I was not compensated for writing it in any way. I am just happy to have found something I enjoy (which coming from an exercise loather is a BIG DEAL).


Terra January 29, 2011 at 12:40 PM  

Tara, you should be proud of your successes in finding and using this exercise program and I like that it has a nutrition component; I think that is key. The program sounds like fun, and I like walking along the ocean and exercising at a spa (for 10 years now). If you like it, you will keep doing it.
I am proud of you girl!

Mee2 January 30, 2011 at 3:58 AM  

Great job!! Thanks for the review. I've wanted this game for a while. I have to start working out on the Wii Fit I have though. And the Wii Fit 2. It's been a while. Once I get going on that, I will be able to ask for the EA Active.

Congrats, again, on your accomplishment.

You go, girl!!!

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