Friday, December 30, 2005

Second Workout with Kinetics

Well, I just did my second workout with the Eye Toy: Kinetics and things are looking better, but I'm still not in love.

First, I had to move the camera (our new DVR keeps freezing and we have to reboot which means I have to move the camera) and I got a better position in the room. More of the suggested 5' distance than the 8-9' that I had to do with the first workout. As a matter of fact, I kept move closer to reach the ends of the screen.

I also discovered how to set up a program. So I feel better about that. Yes, I know there is a manual... but who actually reads the manuals that come with games??? (I mean, isn't that what is for?). So we'll do the suggested workouts for 12 week... if my knee can take it.

The bent leg/twisted movements isn't very good. The quick dodging might be good for the cardio, but not so good on the knees. It's the dodging games that are an issue.

The warmups and cool downs are hands down better than Yourself!Fitness. A much better stretching routine. I didn't do the strength workouts yet. We'll give that a try tomorrow.

I'm not sure how to feel about the grading system. I think with some it will motivate, but with others it will discourage. I think that for the type of person who is goal oriented, it's a great motivator. However, there are a lot of people that will give up because they didn't score well, or they don't see improvement. Yourself!Fitness is much better in that department. It's always encouraging, non-judgemental. Maya only reprimands if you miss a workout. She is always positive in her comments (unless you miss a workout). So it's very different motivational strategies. I'm more likely to success if I'm encouraged. I will get frustrated and give up if I don't see get better "grades".

So each program has it's plusses and minuses and that's to be expected. I still think the workout with Kinetics is a bit short, but that might be because I'm starting as a "beginner".

My best bet for right now? Use them in combo. I'll switch days with each program.

Look for the return of Weigh In Wednesday next week (and we'll see the damage of the last 4 slacker months + the holidays). I'll be setting up a table for better tracking, too.

I'll also set up some goals for 2006.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Eye Toy

The Eye Toy: Kinetics showed up yesterday. I'm waiting to pass judgement until I do a little more with it.

First impressions: the eye toy pretty much sucks. I spent a lot of time getting it set up and I don't have a lot of space to work out. I guess they assume that people have huge rooms to workout in. I'm as far back as my space allows and I've already run into issues with it.

I played a little with it last night and I did an actual workout today. So far I'm still in the "eh" stage. I'm not really sure I'm going to get the kind of workout I'm looking for with it.

I'm already seeing where it's going to bother my knees. There's a lot of kicking, and at weird angles. Not good for me. Going into deep squats while trying to dodge things doesn't feel comfortable on my knee and I'm not sure how practical using this is going to be. Since there's a "score" involved, I can't just modify the exercise like I do with Yourself!Fitness.

I do like having my image on the screen to compare my movements with the instructor, but right now that's really the only thing that I'm excited about.

Either I'm not doing the workouts right, or they're really short. I don't seem to get any suggestions for what to do or for how long. The combat was very short (and fairly intense), but again, for a weight loss program, that ain't gonna cut it. Since I'm still figuring out the game, I'll have to see if I set it up properly or if there was more to the workout and I just missed it?

This might be an Xbox vs. PS2 for me... what ever game I'm playing on that system might be the program that I end up using (and I'm playing Star Wars Republic Commando right now on the Xbox).

We'll see how it goes. I'm not fond of passing judgement until I've used it more. Right now I'm just thinking that the 2 biggest drawbacks are going to discourage me from using it (space and knee issues).

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Last year I got a new heart rate monitor for Christmas. It's pretty spiffy. It has a zone feature (giving a warning if I drop below or go above my target heart rate). It also can track my calorie burn. It knows how much I weigh and my height and how hard I'm working, so it's a pretty good estimate to how many calories I burn during a workout.

I'm not fond of wearing it. I don't wear a watch and I find it annoying when I'm working out... and it's freakin' cold to put that strap around my ribs this time of year. So I got lazy as the year progressed and stopped wearing it.

Tools are important. The heart rate monitor is a handy one, and for many reasons. Since I'm a big believer in a calories in vs. calories out system for weight loss (eating a healthy balanced diet), knowing how many calories I'm eating and how many I'm burning is fairly important.

However, there's the mental aspect of wearing the HRM that I forgot about. Things like: how hard burning 200 calories is. That even if I'm tired, when I look down and see I've only burned 60 calories, I know that I can't stop. It keeps me working out, even when I don't want to.

It even has benefits when I'm not working out or wearing it. I look at my food choices a lot differently. It's that tangible number that stitcks in your head. Is that cookie really worth it? I know that it will take me 20 minutes to burn off the calories of that one cookie. I evaluate my choices a lot more when I exercise with it, that's for sure.

I definitely got lazy with my workouts and my food choices as the year progressed. I baked this year, which I haven't done for a while. I enjoyed the junk and the exercise break, but I am paying for it. I've lost some muscle definition in my arms and my weight has creeped back up.

I'm still waiting for my Eye Toy: Kinetics to show up, so I'm still working out with Maya. She still challenges me more than the treadmill or stationary bike does. I just need a way to warm up those sensors on the HRM!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New Toy

Well, I stumbled across a new "game" for working out. Nike has published a PS2 game using the Eye Toy, called Eye Toy: Kinetic. So I ordered it and I'll give it a try.

I'm very disappointed that respondesign has not made a single comment about an update or expansion pack or anything about Yourself!Fitness. It's a continual question on the forum, yet they never bother responding. I'm assuming no news is bad news in a situation like this. I simply can't continue waiting to hear if something is going to be released, and it's very obvious that nothing is coming soon. I loved working with the program and I felt I got a good workout. However, it was too easy to unlock all the environments and music, and after hundreds of workouts (I lost count after 300, as my Xbox died and I had to start over), the program has become tedious. No new music, no new steps, no new environments. The "no two workouts are the same" feature really isn't true for me anymore. It's become very repiticious and I've run out of ways to try to make it more interesting... (the short multiple 15 minute workouts running thru each "concentration", the close your eyes and pick an environment so you'll be surprised, the changing the arm movements to an exercise just for a change up).

I always thought that Yourself Fitness was a great first attempt at this type of program, but there was a lot of room for improvement. For example: you really shouldn't use the program everyday. She has you do the same weight baring exercises every single day, even tho' common practice is to rest a muscle group at least 48 hours. The amount of lunges in the program is completely unbalanced (again, to have them every workout is not a good idea. If Maya can keep track of my workouts and knows if I missed a day, then she should know that I worked out the day before and shouldn't have me do the same weight exercises two days in a row).

The weight loss concentration spends too much time on weight training, and not enough on cardio. To lose weight the idea is to burn more calories than eating. While weight training is an important part of weight loss, it shouldn't be 63% of my workout. It should be the other way around. In a one hour workout, 40 minutes of cardio, followed by 20 minutes of weight training makes more sense than only 20 minutes of cardio followed by 40 minutes of weight training. Here's what Maya suggestion for me to lose 30 lbs:

5 days a week, 45 minutes:
  • Monday: cardio this is the only workout that I got a larger volume of cardio compared to weights. It's a 30 minute cardio with a 15 minute general weights... Usually a lot of lunges

  • Tuesday: upper body 15 minutes cardio followed by a 30 minute weight training workout (that always included lunges)

  • Wednesday: core body 15 minutes cardio followed by 30 minutes of core exercises, but always included was some lunge exercises

  • Thursday: day off

  • Friday: lower body 15 minutes cardio followed by 30 minutes of lunges. That is not an exaggeration. Most of my lower body workouts where just different lunge exercises

  • Saturday: flexibility 15 minutes of cardio followed by pilates and yoga styled strength training exercises... and yes, that does include some lunges

  • Sunday: day off

Rinse and repeat.

Now, as you can see, it's actually a balance workout (except for the amount of lunges) and I still think that there's a lot to be said for the workout. However, I don't think it's enough for weight loss. You'll also notice that Maya actually never had me do a weight loss concentration workout. I think the workout is great as a start, but as a person develops their cardio capacity, they need more cardio to lose weight than this program suggests.

I don't want to discourage anyone from using the program, as I think there are a lot of really great things about it, but I wouldn't let it be my only workout, as I had done for a year. It's just not enough if you're trying to shed those last 30 lbs. I think it's more geared to people who do other cardio work and are looking to add a strength training routine to their regimen, because I just don't think the program is designed to be used every day (notice the lunges keep popping into conversation around here).

So I'll give the EyeToy: Kinetics a try. I'm not sure it's gonna be my taste. They've incorporated more "gaming" into it (typical eyetoy stuff... you have to punch and kick things) and you're actually scored on if you do it right. eh. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I know that my postings have been a lot more sporatic lately and part of that is guilt that I'm not doing much. I'm still getting a workout here and there, but it may only be 20 minutes, low effort and there's a part of me that feels very guilty about that.

Back when I started using Yourself!Fitness over a year ago, I was so excited. Well, okay, not at first. At first I struggled to get thru the workouts. I couldn't keep up, even on a low difficulty. I didn't understand the steps. I spent a lot of time crying in frustration and even embarrassment. However, I stuck it out, I felt stronger, I understood the steps and I saw a significant improvement. I had a wonderful sense of accomplishment each day as the steps clicked and the workouts became stronger.

It was such a great improvement that I think I set myself up for unrealistic goals. I thought that if I stuck with the program and pushed myself harder I would continue to see results and I would look great, feel great and be super healthy.

Well, none of those things really happened. I stopped losing weight. Hey, that happens. You don't do this for 8 years without realizing that weight comes off in stages. I figured I just needed to push myself a little harder. That didn't work. Not only didn't the weight come off, but I tweeked my knee. Yes, I did get healthier. Those pounds I did shed are always good and I was able to drop my blood pressure and my cholesterol into the healthy range (with room for improvement). However, I'm still a good 30 lbs overweight. I still have a lot of wobbley bits.

I must admit, I sorta gave up. I was tired of the process. I still try to keep the eating in check, I still try to get some kind of physical activity, but even that slowly started being less and less... and then I was hardly doing anything.

I've lost site of a goal. My health goals have been met (and yes, I need to continue with the lifestyle to keep those goals). I caught on to Maya's workout, but I couldn't increase the intesity without causing injury, so I couldn't push myself to any more goals with her. She became boring when I realized that I had maxed out to my ability.

Now I'm starting to slide backwords. I dream of an active and healthy lifestyle, but I just don't have the discipline to implement it for any length of time. Which is why I've been doing this for 8 years. I get motivated, work hard, lose weight, get bored, slowly allow bad habits to creep back until I hit an other point where I must do something. sigh.

So as we turn to the new year and knowing the gyms will be full of people with good intensions I ask myself how can I do more than just do this in these little spurts, but make them a part of my life from more the 8 or 9 months at a time?