Tag Archives: basics

Fitness – It’s all in the game

14 Dec

My avatar

Having spent weeks playing Gears of War 3 on the Xbox I thought I would look into the world of exercise gaming.

While Nintendo lead the way with this type of gaming with their Wii Fit, Playstation and Xbox have now caught up offering their own get-fit-at-home games. I would even argue that Xbox has gone one better with their Kinect, which leaves your hands free from controllers so that you can use apparatus during the game.

Having seen EA Active 2 on Xbox being sold for just £10 (bargain), I decided to give it a go.  Luckily I already had a Kinect, but if you don’t, you’ll need one.

It’s simple enough to set up and by using the Kinect sensor you get a pretty realistic avatar straight off, so no faffing around trying to find the right pair of eyes, hair or nose. Although its a little creepy. At first, I got the niggling feeling that ‘the Matrix starts here…’, but don’t let my over active imagination put you off.

Once you have your avatar in place you have to enter in a lot of data, which takes a bit of time, but that’s only the set up, so do it once and then let the Xbox work its magic. The only thing I would say about this part is that it could be a little more constructive. Having updated that I hadn’t eaten any healthy food or done any exercise the day before, I was told that I was making good lifestyle choices. As it only took the day before into consideration, I would have to disagree.

Once I was set up I picked my personal trainer. There are two options, cardio and tone or flexibility (yoga, pilates, etc). I went for cardio and tone and picked the hardest setting, which I came to regret once I’d started…

Before I did start however, I had to put in my work out routine for my programme, with a minimum of three days a week – so no slacking there. There are also options on where you want to work e.g. Legs, abs, etc and for how long.

Now there are a couple of pieces of apparatus you need to use when you start, the first is the heart rate monitor (impressive, I know) and the second is a resistance band. The former is easy to set up and pretty high tech, the latter is not… I would suggest going back to the menu screen and opting to use dumbells if you have them.

The exercises were all very simple and explained well. While the majority are done in a one on one format with your personal trainer, there are also foot and bike races against computer adversaries. The bike races are quite fun as they combine running on the spot to go up hill, with squats to gain speed going down hill. You can also perform tricks by jumping at the right moment when hitting a ramp. All of which is a nice distraction from the effort you are putting in.

I really threw myself into it, so after a 45 minute workout I was worn out completely and have to admit still ached 2 days later, having worked little used muscles, especially in my calves.

On first impressions I rate this game, if you think you can stick to scheduled work outs, get involved as I’m sure you’ll see results. Its also great for supplementing the gym as you can log activity done outside of the game so it really does cover all bases.

Now all I have to do is see how the game progresses and how well it tracks progress.

Supplementer Challenge 1: Results

6 Aug

So it’s two weeks since I declared that I was going to run the 5-6km home from work every day (well except the weekends). The idea of the challenge was to supplement my lifestyle with a little exercise to get me back into running, having not kept to a regular running schedule for many months now. The second and most important role of this challenge was to help me get some sleep, having gone through a spell of bad sleep and more often plain old fashioned insomnia.

I’ve found out a few things about working exercise into your day from this challenge such as…

Life gets in the way

Life and more likely work, gets in the way. When you stay in he office until 9pm you can’t really run home and expect to achieve a good night’s sleep. Which brings me onto my next point

Be flexible

If you have to attend to social affairs after work, or at any time you have earmarked for exercise, improvise. I was caught out when I had to attend a friends leaving meal after work, so I popped into my gym on the way to the meal and knocked out a quick 20 minute run and 10 minute work out on the mats – some exercise is better than none. Even if you make time to walk to the event your attending you’ll be doing something.

It’s not as simple as lacing up your trainers and hitting the streets

Sadly it would appear that my legs were completely out of shape at the beggining of the challenge, which lead to shin splints as my calf muscles strained to keep up. I’ll be blogging shortly on how to combat this, but it’s definitely something to bear in mind if you try and pick up running after a long break.

So that’s the main things. Having finished the challenge I’m defintely getting back to the fitness I used to have and think that I look a lot more in shape than I did before. I’m also sleeping a lot better and am more enthused about fitness in general. I think I’ll keep this up, so expect more running blogs in future.

Now onto the next challenge…

Live long and prosper,

Ni, The Supplementer

Sit ups – simple to learn, easy to do badly

21 Jul

Keeping good form during sit ups is essential

Sit ups, they seem so simple and yet I always find myself having to concentrate on getting through them without losing my form.

They aren’t fun and doing set after set can seem never ending, so there’s every temptation to let your mind wander and forget your form, which can lead to injury.

remind yourself of the basics with this quick tutorial


Just don’t forget these three rules.

1) Don’t rush or let your mind wander
2) Know when to stop, if you’re using your hands to pull you up, you’re doing it wrong
3) Go for harder variations, sit ups build muscle. If you want to lose weight around the abs use aerobic exercise

Hope this helps,

Ni, the Supplementer