Move It Mama Monday! Rekindling old exercise flames

I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks, exercise-wise. After Ravencon at the beginning of the month, I was completely wiped out and had a lot of work to catch up on so I skipped my heavy workouts at the Y and the dojo. Then last week I suddenly found myself without a car for most of the time, which also prevented me from getting to the Y and the dojo. Which means I’ve been doing all my workouts at home, mostly on the Wii.

However, I’d once again hit a slump in my love for Wii workouts. I run into this problem every now and then. The two best games for Wii workouts, in my opinion, are Wii Fit Plus and EA Sports Active. These are my workhorse games. However, I’ve run into some problems with them lately.

For starters, I had gotten a little bored with Wii Fit Plus. Wii Fit Plus has plenty of games, but a limited number of yoga and strength exercises, thus the reason I bought EASA. I figured I’d do the bulk of my cardio in Wii Fit Plus and the bulk of my strength training in EASA. And this would have been ideal but I snapped my strength training band for EASA a couple of months back and hadn’t been able to find a good replacement in the local stores. The one replacement band I did find turned out to be way too short, causing the handles to dig painfully into my hands and making certain exercises impossible to do in EASA.

So what to do? Fortunately for me, one of my good friends, Mich, has worked with both games. She recommended I go online and order a package of Therabands to replace the band for EASA. This turned out to be ideal. The Therabands come in varying degrees of resistance, and each package holds about 6 yards of elastic band. So no problem getting a band to fit. I just cut one to the length I need. I also decided to buy a pair of weight lifting gloves to protect my hands from the resistance band handles. This has worked like a charm!

As for Wii Fit Plus, Mich mentioned how much she enjoyed the bike ride game. It is, after all, the only game that allows you to roam free all over WuHu Island, the setting for Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort. I had played the bike game a few times, but had abandoned it in favor of the running games because I thought the running games made me work up more of a sweat. But I liked the idea of being able to explore the game environment, so during my next workout, I decided to try the bike game again. If nothing else, being able to steer around on my own while hunting for flags would help stave off the boredom.

Well guess what I found? After successfully completing what I thought was the highest level of the biking game, I unlocked the “Free Ride” mode! I’m sure everybody else in the universe knows about this mode, but yours truly was completely in the dark about it. If you’ve been in the dark too, the Free Ride mode lets you roam the island for 30 minutes without having to hunt down any of those flags. There are 20 little striped balloons tucked away here and there that you can ride over and pop, but they aren’t the main point of the game. Instead, you can just roam wherever you like.

And I like that a lot!

So suddenly I’m biking on WuHu Island every chance I get. And now with my new elastic band and gloves, I can get back to strength training in EASA. I’m back to enjoying my Wii workouts, which is good, and I’m putting in more exercise time, which is even better. Yes, I’m sure I’ll hit another slump again, but I’m predicting by the time that happens, the new version of EASA will have come out, or I’ll find another workout game to add to my collection. In the meantime, I’ve been browsing around the Wii Fit Forum, finding out about all sorts of little Easter eggs hidden in Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort. Naturally, I am now tracking those items down in both games. Oh, and Wii Sports Resort can cause me to work up a sweat as well.

So I’m in love with my Wii again and enjoying every minute of it!

Move It Mama Monday! Combinations In Wii Fit Plus

Last week was an interesting week, exercise-wise. If you recall, I made the decision to switch up my schedule, saving my writing time for the evenings after the girls were in bed and using my mornings before the girls got up to exercise on the Wii.

That plan sort of worked. Last week I was still recovering from being sick with a sinus infection, and then Princess came down with some sort of stomach bug, and then we had a snow day so all my usual carefully laid plans went right out the window. I did manage to get on the Wii to exercise most mornings, but many days that was the only exercise I got, and I’m really striving for 2-3 periods of exercise each day. Those periods include: early morning Wii session before everyone else gets up; daytime fitness class at the Y or dojo; and half an hour or more outside working on the yard and garden. I only managed to get all three sessions in on one day, Friday. I must admit I felt tired when Friday evening hit, but I also felt good. Thanks to getting up early, the day’s schedule had gone well and I got in plenty of activity and even some fresh air. But that was the only day I accomplished all my physical activity. Most of the week I only got to workout on the Wii, and I was frustrated with that because those workouts were not as challenging as I would have liked.

Then I stumbled across a comment on the Wii Mommies forums about the “Combine” feature in Wii Fit Plus. One mom noted that when she combined the preset routines in Training Plus, she got a really good workout that burned 200 calories. That’s far more calories than I’ve usually been able to burn using Wii Fit Plus, so I decided to give this a try.

Sunday morning, I popped in Wii Fit Plus and went straight to Training Plus. I selected the Routines option and hit the “Combine” button where I picked six of the routines available and told Wii to let ‘er rip. Forty-two minutes later, I had actually worked up quite a sweat and burned 146 calories. Amazing! By combining the various routines, I was able to go through all areas of Wii Fit Plus – cardio, balance games, yoga and strength – and I even had fun in the process. The combined routines mixed everything up so I did a little of this, a little of that, and never got bored.

What I really liked is that I did all that exercise, burned plenty of calories, and still managed to take it easy on my knees. It’s that time of the month, folks, and with my hormones in full swing, my knees are really killing me. Wii Fit Plus is about the only home exercise I can do that won’t leave me crippled for life during this time. But compared to EASA and Gold’s Gym Cardio, Wii Fit Plus seemed seriously lacking in the calorie burning department.

Well, no longer. I’ll probably spend most of this week doing combined workouts so I can continue to take it easy on my knees. With luck, I’ll be able to work up a sweat every morning, and then go on to my next exercise period ready to rock and roll. We’ll see how this works out!

If anybody else is using Wii Fit Plus and has thoughts on the Combine function, let me know. Or if you have any tips on getting the most out of Wii Fit Plus, feel free to leave them here. I still think Wii Fit Plus is the most fun of all the fitness games I’ve tried, but I really want to sweat with it. If you can help me figure out how to do that, I’d be very grateful!

Move It Mama Monday! Getting my figure back!

Okay, so I mentioned yesterday that I had been undergoing fertility treatments the last three months. The treatments didn’t work, which is okay. I knew going in they might not work, and now we can move onto other plans, i.e. adoption. What isn’t okay is all the extra pounds I packed on during the last three months thanks to the medications I was on. Geeze Louise! One day I suddenly weighed an extra 9 pounds! Nine pounds packed on in just one day! Then I’d drop maybe 4 or 5 the next day, only to shoot up another 2 pounds the day after that. It’s been nuts, I tell ya. I’ve had to wear the same three pairs of pants the last three months because I can’t fit into anything else. Ugh! And of course, since I had to spend so much time traveling to and from the doctor’s office, not to mention the time actually spent in the doctor’s office, I missed a lot of days at the dojo and in the pool, so I barely worked out some weeks. Oh, and those meds gave me massive cravings for salty foods and chocolates. Hmmm… maybe those extra pounds aren’t all water weight after all.

In any event, now that I am free of fertility meds and doctor’s appointments, I need to get back on track with my workouts and yes, my eating habits. I’m not going to be too strict about the eating habits becaue hey! The holidays are coming, and I want to do some serious baking and candy making this season. But I do need to get my tushie back to exercise, so here’s the plan for that.

A friend of mine, Patty, took me to a water aerobics class two weeks ago. Did I mention this already? It was killer. Patty and I were the youngest people there and we got put through the wringer. So naturally, I loved it. If I feel like I’m getting a workout, then I’m happy, ya know? Plus water aerobics have two big benefits. First, it’s very easy on my knees. And B, the water aerobics class always takes up most of the pool, so there are no swim lanes left. If I can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

So I will be going to water aerobics classes two mornings a week. That’s two hours of exercise. I plan to get back to the dojo at least two days a week, so there’s another 2-3 hours of exercise a week. Aaaaaaaaaand my good buddy, the Wii, has some new games for me to play.

I know I mentioned that I was getting two new workout games for the Wii – Gold’s Gym Cardio Boxing and My Fitness Coach. I’ve had them both two weeks now and I am a happy little camper. I enjoy Wii Fit, but Wii Fit Plus spent too much effort on the new minigames and not enough on upgrading their original components. I mean seriously, would it have killed Nintendo to through in a few new step routines, or add something new to the cardio boxing and hula-hoop games? Sheesh!

I still want to do another week or two with the two new games before I give an actual review, but suffice to say, I’ve got something to help round out my workouts, something that I look forward to doing along with karate and water aerobics. So here’s to seeing if I can lose those pesky pounds I’ve put on in the past three months. This mama is seriously ready to move it!

Move It Mama Monday! Too many choices?

I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s good to have choices when it
comes to exercise. Relying on just one activity for my daily exercise
needs is not a good idea. For instance, if I only swim, then what do I
do on the days that the pool is closed? If I only run, what do I do
when my knees hurt to bad to jog even five minutes? If I only do Wii
Fit Plus, how will I get my upper body workout in (an area that Wii
Fit Plus is still sadly lacking in)? No, it’s best to have choices,
that way when one kind of exercise won’t work, I can simply turn
around and do another. Good, yes?

Except that lately it seems like I have too many choices, and I’m not
getting much of any exercise done at all.

My problem is that I want to exercise all my options, and I really
only have time for one a day. I can’t run and do Wii Fit and go swim
at the Y all on the same day. Or rather, I could, but then I wouldn’t
have time to do anything else, like work or clean or even eat. I’ve
put on a few pounds lately, so I’m chomping at the bit to go, go, go
exercise, but I simply can’t do it all. Add to all of this the fact
that my schedule has been so erratic lately, I’m having a hard time
figuring out what it is I should do when I finally do get time to
exercise. In the face of all my choices, I sort of freeze up. I can’t
decide which form of exercise would be best to do right then, so I end
up doing nothing at all. This all results in a very frustrated,
unexercised me.

So what to do? In my case, I’m assigning specific days and times for
each activity. On Mondays and Fridays, I plan to go to the Y and swim.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’ll take karate class. On Wednesdays and
Sundays when I’m home, I’ll hop on the Wii (and if Wii Fit Plus has a
problem with me not training with it every day, then it can go soak
its head in a bucket). That leaves one day, Saturday open. In theory,
I could take black belt class at the dojo that day, and I will
probably try to fit that in as often as I can, but if I only get to
two karate classes a week instead of three, I’m not going to sweat it.

Beyond that, I’m wondering if I should continue to do my
mini-workouts. I’ve started running again lately, and I’m back to
running the entire neighborhood in just 20 minutes. I’d like to keep
doing this because it’s the best exercise for me when I’m trying to
lose weight, but I can’t figure out yet when during the day I’d fit it
in. It will take some thinking to work this out.

Anyway, that’s my dilemma for the week. If anybody has any thoughts or
ideas on this, let me know!