Sunday, July 03, 2011

Video Game Work-Outs....Hype or Help?

Kerri O, from Adventures in Dietland does a Hype or Help blog post every once in a while to review weight loss programs, DVDs, etc.  I LOVE THEM!!  She's the one that actually directed me to Supreme 90 Day.  After reading her review about it, I decided to try it out...and I'm really enjoying it.

I decided to steal borrow her idea and do my own version of Hype or Help.  I told you a couple of days ago that Hubby bought me EA Active Trainer 2 for PS3.  Today, we're hoping to go out and get UFC Trainer for PS3. 

For my first Hype or Help, I'm going to be reviewing EA Active Trainer 2.  I will review it for 30 days, and then next month will review the UFC Trainer.

OK, so I wanted something I could do at home - but a little more fun than just regular work-out DVDs.  I wanted something that is challenging, but also mixes it I'm not doing the same routine day after day.  I also needed something that would complement my Supreme 90 Day work-out plan without leaving me too drained - or taking too much time.  Will EA Active Trainer 2 be what I've been looking for?

I decided to start my "training" on Friday. I was amazed at how much stuff the game comes with.  There are two motion sensors. One is strapped to your right thigh, and the other straps to your right arm.  There's a heart rate monitor that straps to your left arm that records your heart rate during the exercises.  The  game also comes with a resistance band - a good one, too!  Did I mention Hubby got the entire set for $25 at Wal-Mart? Yep - that's it.  Looking online, it appears the average price is anywhere from $30-$40..depending on where you buy it.

OK, so once I was all strapped up, I was ready to go. Of course, you have to start out by getting all of your stats entered, customizing your avatar, and picking your trainer. There's a male or female trainer option. The male is a "strength and muscle tone expert" and the female is a "cardio, aerobic and yoga expert". I went with the female, because I wanted to use the game for cardio - to compliment the strength training from Supreme 90 Day.

Once my stats were entered, it was suggested that I start on the medium intensity that's what I did.  You can customize the intensity level from easy, medium, and difficult if you want to.

Side note:  When I first started my weight loss journey, I bought a Wii Fit.  I really liked it, that was until I discovered that I could slack off on the exercises - and my "personal trainer" on the screen had no idea.  If I didn't feel like doing an exercise, I could just stand there and flick the controller around a little - and the system responded as if I were actually doing the exercise.

I was worried that EA Trainer might be similar.

The work-out consisted of 28 exercises, and I was going to be spending approximately 28 minutes working out.  I started off with stretches, and then moved in to some cardio moves to get my heart rate up.  While doing some of the exercises, I decided to try out the "slack factor".  I wanted to see how accurate the motion sensors were - and if I was going to run in to another situation where I could basically put as much effort as I wanted in to it.

Well, the slack factor was ZERO!! If you didn't do the exercise as it stated, you didn't get credit.  I was amazed at how accurate my avatar moved to my movements.  If I barely sat down for the squats - my avatar barely sat down.  If I put my knees down on the plank hold - so did my avatar...and I didn't get credit for the move and had to start over. 

What I loved about the work-out was the mixture of exercise routines, and simulated sport routines.  One minute I was doing boot camp style exercises with a personal trainer...the next minute I had to "run" around a basketball court, lunge to catch basketballs and jump to shoot.   After some basketball, it was on to mountain biking. 

I really liked the mountain biking simulator.  While the bike was going down hill, I had to hold a squat position.  To make cool trick moves, I would have to jump up from the squats when the bike went over small hills.  If my jump was weak - so was my move.  If my jump was high - I was able to do some kick a$$ moves.  To go up hill, you had to run as fast as you could while the avatar peddled her bike.  It was a lot of fun - and very challenging.

In the middle, there was strength training.  Something I wasn't expecting.  That's when the resistance band came in to play.  What I loved about the strength training was the "burst factor".  There would be a cardio exercise like jump rope - to get the heart rate up.  Then some strength moves like tricep curls, that brought the heart rate down.  Then there was another cardio move and then more strength. 

There was only one thing I didn't like - and that's how much the resistance band hurt my feet.  I'm not sure why - because I was wearing tennis shoes - but the band put a lot of pressure on my feet...even if I lowered the intensity of the pulls.  To remedy the situation, however, the game suggests that hand weights can be used in place of the resistance band - if I so desire.  I think I will be desiring that on Monday.

By the end of my work-out I was drenched in sweat.  I really felt like I had worked out hard.  I had also burned 204.7 calories...according to the game.  I don't often trust those game calorie monitors - so I decided to see what my BodyBugg said for calorie burn for that time period.  It was amazingly accurate, showing that I had actually burned 208 calories.  That's not bad for playing a video game for less than 30 minutes.

I am scheduled to do the trainer every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  The duration of the program is 9 weeks - at that time, you have the option of moving up in level intensity.  The game promises that each work-out is different, and there are lots of different sports thrown in like soccer and boxing.  The game also comes with the ability to upload stats online.  I haven't tried that part yet, but plan to look in to it.

I plan on reviewing the week's work-outs each Sunday for the next 30 days.  I know I said I was going to review the Supreme 90 Day each week.... but I think I'm just going to stick to doing a "before and after" post with that.  The EA Trainer gives more room for weekly reviews...cause the program is supposed to change as the time goes on.

Starting impressions of EA Trainer are good.  I enjoyed the work-out, and actually had fun with it.  I'm looking forward to what the game has to bring tomorrow.

Do any of you own EA Active Trainer 2.  If so, what do you think of it?

Till next time. ;)
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