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You Too Can Start Your Own 30 Day Sports Active Challenge
I had been presented with one of the most awesome things I think I have ever been offered in my gaming life. I was asked to join a special panel by EA to participate in a Sports Active 30 Day Challenge.
They shipped me not one, but 2, Wii Sports Active video games. I ended up giving one of the games to my sister who is also taking part in the 30 Day Challenge.
The challenge you ask?
Well it's simple. Use EA Sports Active for the Nintendo Wii daily, for 30 consecutive days and see the results as you go along. The best part about this challenge though is that while getting a work out, I was also having fun! Who would have honestly thought working out could be fun?!
I am not one who has ever enjoyed working out. I find work outs to be tedious, and frankly I managed to always convince myself that 'I didn't have the time' to incorporate a workout into my busy daily routine (this is something that many people do, convince themselves that they don't have the time). When EA presented me with a 30 Day Challenge though, I considered it one of the best motivational gifts to have ever been given. The gift was a challenge, and the competitor in me simply adores a good challenge.
Sit back and take a journey with me from day 1 to day 30. For those interested in possibly starting their own 30 Day Challenge, I will be recording weekly how things went for me, if I saw any results, and if it is a challenge that you yourself should embark on.
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The EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge
2 days ago my shipment arrived. A large box sat on my porch, and I knew exactly what was inside. Inside sat 2 EA Sports Active Wii games.
I ripped open the box and my heart pumped with excitement; to be honest I was also a little scared.
Would I be able to commit 30 consecutive days to complete this challenge? Would I be able to keep up with the routine? I mean heck, I have not worked out in close to 2 years (unless you count walking to the refrigerator as a work out?), I worried that I would not be able to keep up, because from what I hear EA Sports Active delivers a fun, yet vigorous work out!
Since they were nice enough to give me 2 EA Sports Active kits, I knew I had to commit, I just hoped I didn't fail. My goal was to stick to it, and hopefully lose around 10 pounds during the challenge.
The game itself is quite unique. It is basically a bunch of really fun work outs that actually feel like games while you are playing them. Not till you work up a sweat do you realize that you are getting a work out, because seriously the workouts are that fun.
The title includes numerous workouts which will cover all areas of your body. Your rear end, tummy, arms, love handles, and thighs. Some workouts will work on pumping up the cardio, while others allow you to tone up.
In the EA Sports Active Kit you'll find an odd looking red stretch band that feels pretty cheap. It was as if they tied a long balloon to two handles, and called it workout equipment! Included is also a leg pouch that wraps around your leg. You can adjust the size using the velcro. The pouch is used to place the Wii nun-chuck in for workouts that will not need it.
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Day 1 of the EA 30 Day Challenge, was literally a nightmare for me. Each challenge for 30 days includes a 20 minute workout. I don't think I have worked out for 20 consecutive minutes in over 3 years. Before the workout began, I got to put together my own personal little avatar, that would mimic all my moves on the screen. After putting a Wii Mii together to my liking, I then chose if I wanted a male or female workout trainer. I chose a female.
After that I chose the intensity of my workout (low). There are 3 levels, low, medium, and high intensity workouts. If you are new to working out, and are a little rusty, I suggest a low intensity workout.
The first day workouts were all really fun, and I actually worked up quite a sweat. I started off with some simple walking, which progressed into about a minute of jogging. The controls worked flawlessly, and I was surprised that my avatar stopped walking, when I stopped walking.
The screen will let you know when you are keeping up a perfect pace, or going too slow.
After a quick warm up of running and walking, I was then launched into squats. This was where I had difficulties due to the quirky controls. The Nun-chuck was to be placed in the thigh pouch, but I kept reading on screen that it was facing the wrong way. I know I had the Nun-chuck placed in the slot properly so it was irritating, especially since none of my squats were being counted. I moved the Nun-chuck around some more and still got the error stating it was facing the wrong way.
Although they were not being counted, I did in fact do the squats. It was annoying however to see my avatar not moving at all on the screen, and it was also annoying having the trainer telling me I was doing it wrong. The controls are quirked during squats, and it was a pretty big let down.
Next I got to use the long red stretchy rubber band equipment. Using the bands was pretty fun, and the workout included in my day 1 session basically allowed me to stretch the bands up, and then release down. I thought the bands would eventually snap, because they seemed of really poor quality. I was surprised though, they held their own and gave me a nice efficient workout in my upper arms.
The bands were used again for another exercise but did not work as efficiently as the previous workout. In this workout with the bands, I was supposed to crouch, and pull them up, and release. The bands however were too long, and pulling them up did not produce any resistance (kind of like pulling a potato chip up to your mouth; no resistance! Ha-ha).
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Day 1 Continued
Another day 1 simple work out was side stretches which had me stretching each leg out far out away from the other, while leaning my whole body into it. I actually felt a really nice burn in my loose love handles, and enjoyed knowing that after 30 days my loose handles would likely tighten up.
Target practice is basically boxing. You follow the on screen instructions and smack at targets that pop up on a set of punching bags. You have right punches, left punches, right hooks over to the left side of the screen, and left hooks over to the right side. I felt a good burn in my shoulder blades while going at the targets. Target practice was probably my favorite workout in the set of workouts I had on day 1.
Roller blading is also added to the workout set in day 1. Roller blading however was a bit quirky, as I thought I would be moving my feet. Instead the workout asked for me to crouch low, and jump whenever a ramp appeared on screen. I felt like an idiot doing this particular workout, but was shocked at how quickly I grew tired of crouching low, and jumping whenever I saw a ramp. The one thing that is bugged about this workout though is that the on screen trainer, will tell you to jump too early. You have to wait to be at the edge of the ramp in order for the 'trick' to be counted. I was annoyed at first at the 'JUMP' action being commanded too early on, which caused me to fail at my jump, and trip up.
After the workout finished up with a long run to the finish line, my calorie burn total was placed on a final diagram, next to a projected amount of calories burned.
On day 1 I burned 13 more calories than the projected 94 calories which made me feel really good. All in all, the 20 minute workout managed to make me sweat, it worked at creating a burn on certain areas of my body, and had my heart pumping.
The really excellent thing about this first day challenge was that when I finished, I did not dare touch a can of soda. My mind wanted a can of Sprite, but after checking the calorie content, there was no way I was drinking down those calories, after I had worked so hard at burning them off.
Although day 1 was tough and I was sweating like crazy, I got through it, and felt pretty accomplished after doing so.
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End of Week 1 Results
As the days went by, new workouts were added to the daily set. The plus side of the challenge is that after working out for 2 consecutive days, you get a day off. After completing week one, I was able to view my progress and see how many calories I had crunched away. After working out on Day 4 I actually did not get tired. My body was getting used to the workouts, I was finally ready to step up my workout into a medium level intensity.
My body did feel sore after day 2, but having a day off in between allowed my muscles to recuperate, which got me ripe and ready for my workout the following day.
As far as changes in my body after week one, I do see a very subtle difference primarily in my thighs. They seem much tighter. My love handles are sore as well as my upper arms, so I know if I can keep it up, in due time my pants should be falling off of me. Ya!
One issue however is the controls on certain exercises. It seems that the controls are not as responsive as they should be when crunching down to do squats. It's a bit annoying that while you are doing the exercises, the on screen avatar is just standing there not responding. The coach will also let you know you are not doing them right, or that the nun-chucks are facing the wrong way.
Another aggravating note I have to add is the leg strap. In the videos it shows the models placing the nun-chucks easily into the leg straps slip. It's not easy though at all, and it will fall out while doing a few high action exercise sessions. The slips are made too small, and shoving the nun-chuck into the small slip is awkward.
The included stretchy red rubber band also came apart on Day 4 of my challenge. I had to tie it back into the black hand slips. Thankfully it did not break, but I imagine the band will not last a full 30 days.
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My body is really feeling the burn, as all of my muscles are aching and sore. This however is a good thing, and I like the fact that I can feel muscles actually toning up. I have not lost much weight, but my thighs and arms look tighter, and I can actually make a muscle now, ha-ha!
I am pretty surprised at how quickly I am seeing results, especially considering the fact that I have only dedicated 10 days in so far (2 days on, 1 days off)
I managed to beat my projected calorie loss by nearly 20 calories this week, and I even managed to unlock a few trophies.
It was really hard keeping up on week 1; week 2 has been a lot easier, and I was actually looking forward to my workouts, and slightly saddened when I got a day off. During week 1, I forced myself to do the workouts at first, and I cheered when I got a day off from working out.
Workouts are changed up with every daily session, but walking and running seem to always be thrown into the sessions, which I really enjoy. The groovy part though is that I enjoy doing a fast paced run more than I do walking.
As with week 1, the controls when crouching down low do not respond as well as they should. I actually got so annoyed with doing squats that were not being counted, that I had to end the workout, and skip into another one. This really angered me because your workout is recorded at the end on a graph which tells you how well you did for the days workout. Having to skip through one of the included workouts effected my overall performance. The controls however seem quirked. I know I am doing the workout correctly, and I know that the Wii Nun-Chuk is placed into the leg pouch correctly, and still an error will pop up on the TV.
Regardless of having to skip through lower crunching squats, I did manage to work up a sweat each and every time I used EA Sports Active.
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Week 2 Results
Like week 1, I am definitely sore. The thing that really is interesting though is that while working out, I do not get fatigued, or even feel like I am pushing myself all that hard. It seems that the workouts are designed to make you sweat, and target problematic areas without you feeling sore, or tired while doing the workouts.
Only the following day do you really feel the aches. As of right now I can totally see a difference in my upper thighs and upper arms. These were the main areas I wanted to focus on toning up, and slimming down, and I can say, yes, I definitely see some results. Although the results are small, they are present, and it makes me happy knowing that only 2 weeks into this EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge, that I am not only pushing toward a healthier lifestyle, but my body is showing results.
I really have been enjoying the fact that each workout targets one particular area, instead of jumping around into a bunch of different target areas during the workout. Upper body toning is an entirely separate daily workout, while targeting thighs and the lower regions is another entirely separate workout.
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It's been easy keeping up with the workouts thus far, and week 3 has been going quite well for me. The only issue I have been having lately is with the stretch band. The band is tied to the straps you are to hold in your hands and continuously slips during some of the workouts when the band is incorporated.
I ended up buying myself a better quality stretch band to use during workouts, because the included one got too annoying, especially when it would slip off the handles during a workout. When I first got a look at the band, I knew it would eventually break. Although it did not snap, it refuses to stay tied to the handles. I highly suggest that if you are going to go out and buy EA Sports Challenge, that you also pick up a stretch band.
As of right now it is day 18 in the challenge, with only 12 more days to go. The most exciting thing about completing the challenge is not the fact that I no longer have to work out or push myself; it's the fact that I actually want to work out, and push myself even further after the entire challenge is over. I am already seeing really wonderful results, and I know if I could incorporate the EA Sports Active workouts into my life on a constant, I'd live a healthier lifestyle, and my body would show improvements.
The one thing that really makes me take note is the fact that I won't drink soda anymore. I have been drinking water, and avoiding high calorie beverages and fatty foods due to the fact that I now understand a lot better how much heart pumping work goes into losing just a few of those calories. Although I was not forced to change my eating and drinking habits, I actually wanted to, due to the challenge.
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Week 3 Results
As far as results go in week 3, my body still gets sore in target areas. Primarily this week workouts focused mainly on my upper body and arms. Tennis, and target practice (boxing) were some of the funnest added mini workouts. My upper arms feel toned, but they could still use some work.
Each workout consists of around 19 to 20 different mini workout sessions, however with each workout I have ever done, I have come across one workout that just refuses to work properly as far as controls go. The issue with squats is one I wanted to mention because it seems to be the same workout I have controller issues with time and time again. Even though I am doing everything correctly, squats just refuse to work right for me, and I hate when they are added into my routine because I am forced to skip through them. Skipping through them though effects my calories burned total at the end of the workout.
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The end is almost near. With just 8 more days left, and only 6 more workouts to go, I'm thrilled to say that I will make it through the 30 day challenge; frankly I did not think I would make it this far. Even more thrilling though is knowing that I will continue even though my challenge is complete.
Once I got started, and I began seeing fast noticeable results I actually grew more motivated to continue on with the routine, even after the challenge ends.
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With the EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge there are a few cons that I feel I need to mention. The first being an issue I encountered time and time again while attempting to do squats. The controller just refuses to respond properly.
The second thing I need to mention is the fact that my body really felt the workout the next day. My muscles would be sore however this is not the con, sore muscles is a good thing; the one area that EA Sports Active didn't really touch was my stomach. Even now as I write this I have slightly sore arms, thighs, and my back feels it as well. My stomach however feels fine, and looks the same. No toning of this area is noticed at all.
I would have liked a full body workout to focus on all of those major problematic areas, so I was pretty surprised to see that the stomach area got no prime target area focus, and not once did I ever feel sore muscles in the stomach region.
As I also mentioned before, the leg strap contains a pouch for you to place your nun-chuck during certain exercises. When I first got the kit the pouch was too tiny, and the nun-chuck would sometimes slip out. The more I used it though, the more the pouch stretched. It took about 2 weeks for it to stretch out though, and it made my beginning workouts more tiresome and annoying than necessary.
Last but not least is the stretch band that comes included with the kit. It is poorly constructed and after a few sessions with it, you will notice it will slip from the handles that it is tied to. Another issue with this band is the fact that when you are raising it high above your head, and back down, it will sometimes rip out little hairs on your arm. Little annoying disturbances like this can effect the workout.
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The pros definitely outweigh the cons, and the pros are obvious.
The workouts are all a lot of fun, and they are timed to not exhaust you to the point where you feel you cannot go on.
A mini session of running/walking combination will last about 3 minutes, shooting hoops will last 3 minutes or less, and doing leg stretches will only require that you do 10 of them. The timed break down of each individual workout is perfect, and when I got really good at everything I hoped some of the funner workouts (such as tennis) would last longer than they did.
Another major benefit of EA Sports Active is the number of workouts included in the game. Overall there are 25 exercises, and these exercises will be mixed up with each workout to ensure you don't grow bored of the same stuff over and over again.
A huge pro is the fact that you will feel the burn the next day, which is a sure sign that you worked out muscles that likely haven't been worked in years.
Finally the biggest pro is the results. As you progress further and further into the challenge you will notice subtle changes occurring. Your body will look more toned, you may notice the build of muscles, and you will shed a decent amount of pounds.
All in all, EA Sports Active is a good push into a healthier lifestyle, which is something many of us could use.
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Overall Results & Opinion
The 30 Day Challenge was actually much easier the further I went along. At first it was slightly difficult forcing myself to do the workouts, but telling myself it's only 20+ minutes, made getting through it a lot easier. About 6 workouts in though, I looked forward to hopping in front of the TV, in the privacy of my own home, to get my workout on.
Many of the workouts were a lot of fun, so while getting exercise, I was also having a good time. Some truly fun sessions that are my favorites include basketball, tennis, and target, which is punching targets, and mutilating a punching bag till it falls to the ground.
All in all, since doing the 30 Day Challenge, I have managed to shed 7 pounds. The weight loss however is not what I am most happy about, I am most happy about the toning, and the visible muscles in my thighs and my arms.
What makes EA Sports Active so interesting though, is not only the fact that it managed to provide fun workouts, but it made me think twice before grabbing a can of soda, or high calorie snack. When I realized how much work went into losing those calories, I wanted to incorporate a healthier eating style in with my challenge for even better results. Without EA Sports Active, I doubt I would have changed anything about my eating pattern.
EA Sports Active is a package I would recommend to those looking to tone, looking to build some muscle, and for those looking to shed a few stubborn pounds.