Yes, I said it. Exercise. I know, I know. It’s a nasty word! Before anyone jumps to conclusions or gets upset I wanted to let you all in on a little secret. With new technologies like Wii, PSMove, and Xbox Kinect, we now have the option of getting an extremely beneficial workout at the same time as playing video games.
Back in the early days of the PlayStation2 I actually lost about 35 lbs using the Dance Pad with Dance Dance Revolution and got a pretty nifty little benefit of cardio endurance during my marathon trainings. Most of the time I didn’t even realize I was working out because it was so much fun dancing to the beats and trying to remember the combos to score extra points.
Then, came the Wii with motion controls. When I had a FirstGen Wii, I loved playing games like Wii Sports and Wii Dance. I never did get a chance to experience the Wii Fit but I heard it is pretty fun. There are many more options to choose from now. EA Sports just released Zumba Fitness and some other really awesome games like Football Trainer and likewise there are many versions of Just Dance as well. Unfortunately, I had to “donate” my Wii to someone else, but was lucky to have kept my Ps3, a feat I am proud of to this day.
This brings me to the purpose of this blog. I recently had been released from the doctor to work out again and wanted to do something different than I had done before. It’s boring going to the TV and popping in a DVD or watching Fit TV to get a boring exercise routine out of the way just to say I did it. Blechhh!
Like many, I don’t like using my gym at the clubhouse here either because people are gross and leave many things unclean. I also don’t have confidence enough to walk in to a local gym with Barbie and Ken doing their 5 mile hill climbs and 30 mile recumbent bike rides when I am walking briskly for 1 mile and feel like, “I am going to DIE!”
I found a solution. It’s completely awesome and so much fun. The game is called EA Sports Active 2. It’s a second version, similar to the EA Sports Active that was previously only released on the Wii a few years ago. This newer version however is available for all 3 platforms and uses Kinect for Xbox360. The cost is about $99.99 but I’ve seen it around the web for as low as $69.99. Pretty cheap considering the average gym membership is about $50.00 or more plus a personal trainer is going to cost you extra.
This game lets you personalize an avatar. Mine happens to be a bit curvy and has some junk in the trunk. Exactly my type of avatar! I don’t want to work out as Kim Kardashian if I don’t look like her. Maybe one day! Ha!
After you personalize your avatar, you create personal goals, and make a workout calendar for yourself. I began working out 4 days a week with 3 rest days as recommended by the game. I also chose the 9 week workout plan. It starts you off at a beginner level and then presses you through workouts at 3 interval phases throughout the program. You get to choose your own personal trainer. Mine is a motivating dude who lets me know when I’m doing a strength training move incorrectly by saying politely, “Stay still and make it count!” To which I usually reply, “Shut Up I hate you. No More Reverse Crunches!” Only because the game really makes you work hard but really it is truly fun. It’s definitely challenging for sure.
EA Sports Active 2 mixes cardio, boxing, kickboxing, step aerobics and strength training exercises all together. There are really entertaining exercises like Soccer Block, Bike Riding, Rail Sliding, and Basketball Shooting. We had a friend over on Thanksgiving when I got the game and he is an ex personal trainer at a well known gym. He did the exercises to try the game out for us for about 30 minutes and he was sweating. He said, “This game is way better than any of the other games I have played. It’s more real and makes you move.”
How does it track your movements? With the game comes three censors and a USB drive. There are two arm bands and one leg band. One of the arm bands has a censor on it to track your pulse and the other two are for motion censing. Now the first time I played, it was a bit awkward and the leg band kept slipping off my leg but I think because I didn’t have it tight enough was the problem. It also comes with a resistance band to help with the strength exercises like curl arm presses and reverse flys. It works pretty great at toning. I am already showing a bit of tone in my arms especially and my legs too from all the squats they have. The USB stick keeps track of your progress so that if you want to switch consoles or take it to a friend’s house to work out together you can travel and keep your progress on your stick. It’s pretty rad.
Your progress is kept daily. The games contains fitness goals, nutrition logs, tracks calories burned, fitness levels attained, weight loss and heart rates achieved. It’s rather thorough I’d say. You can also create custom workout groups to workout with friends and watch each other’s progress. Unfortunately, you cannot use cross platform groups. A friend of mine purchased Wii version of the game and created a group and I tried to join on my Ps3 version and we could not. However, we did make an online group on the EA Sports Active 2 website and were able to track each other’s progress that way. I like to track my progress on facebook using the Ps3 feature of posting my achievements on my facebook profile page via Ps3. It’s motivating for me.
As far as the game goes, if you are looking to workout but you hate gyms or monotonous workout videos, give EA Sports Active 2 a try. Similarly, if you have a Wii, try out the Football Trainer that just came out this month. I would be interested in hearing if anyone gets it going and how they like it. It’s really a blast and the health benefits are already showing for me after only 4 weeks of training. Run out and grab your copy! Happy Fitness New Year!