lose weight with wii and nutrisystem

Archive for February, 2011

Replacement Resistance Bands for EA Sports Active 2

UPDATED 7/25/11

My original title to this post was going to be “my workout yesterday was a snap!” But I figured I’d go with a more direct title.

I’ve been using the same resistance band since I first opened my original EA Sports Active box in 2009. Yesterday while doing my workout on EA Sports Active 2, the inevitable happened–it snapped right in my face. (EA Sports can rest assured I won’t be pressing charges–happily, the resistance band was so flimsy in the first place it could not possibly have inflicted damage. Plus, the thing had been fraying for a long time, so out of sheer curiosity I kept using it until it finally snapped).

Broken EA Sports Resistance Band

If you read my original post, you’ll note how flimsy I felt the band was. Happily, the one that was included in EA Sports Active 2 (the green one) is a little sturdier. I decided to refer back to my original post for instructions on how to assemble the EA Sports resistance bands (while the EA Sports Active instructions were confusing, I can’t even find instructions in EA Sports Active 2 on how to do it!)

Green resistance band

EA Sports doesn’t sell resistance bands unless you buy them when buying a second set of sensors. A great (and cheap) set of replacement bands from Psyclone Games is available at Amazon. Their Wii Resistance Bands come in three sizes and have pretty good reviews on Amazon. What’s unique about these versus other similar bands is that the straps are wider, giving you room to hold your Wii remote and nunchuk. At less than $10 for three bands, the price is certainly right.

For the ultimate replacement for EA Sports Resistance bands, consider these well-reviewed Bodylastics Resistance Bands with 254 pounds of resistance bands.

These are “industrial strength” resistance bands which come in varying degrees of tension, meaning that depending on how you’re feeling any given day you can adjust the amount of the weight you use each day.

With the flimsy EA Sports resistance band, they tell you to “increase the amount of the band under your feet to increase the tension, which is not the best technique, because you end up stretching the band more than it was designed to be stretched).

The nice thing about these is that you’re not limited to using them with EA Sports Active–you can use them to work out anywhere, anytime (the Bodylastics bands come with a book of ideas).

Two Players on EA Sports Active 2: Exercising with a Friend

Today, I hit my halfway mark on my 9-week fitness program with EA Sports Active 2. Interestingly, the workouts are getting more intense now. When I only had to do 180 “footfires” before, now I have to do 250. Who knows what’ll happen on the ninth week–I may be “foot firing” for hours!

Have been meaning to write about one of the pretty cool features of EA Sports Active 2: the ability to work out with a friend.

I had a chance to talk with one of the product managers of NFL Training Camp for Wii a few months ago (I still haven’t written a formal review of that game, but it’s a lot along the lines of EA Sports Active 2). He told me that when they interviewed NFL players to ask them what motivated them the most, most of them gave one reply: competition.

With other Wii fitness games, sometimes I stop because the games get a little tedious. But the ability to add a second player to EA Sports Active 2 really expands how fun this game can be.

To get started with two players on EA Sports Active, you need a second set of controllers. You can get these in one of two ways: by purchasing extra controllers from EA Sports directly, or by purchasing EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp. Specifically, you will need three things: the arm band, the leg band, and the wireless USB receiver dongle that communicates with the controllers.

Once a set of controllers are associated with a given player, they remain that way (in other words, player 1 will always use one set of controllers, player 2 will always use a second set). You need to be very careful when setting up the controllers, as if you do thing in the wrong order you can confuse the system.

If you do end up finding that one or both controller are not recognized, you’ll need to reset them. Here’s how I did it:

1) Unplug all the USB receivers from the Wii and turn the Wii off. Make sure all controllers are off.

2) Plug in one USB receiver, turn the Wii on, and start up EA Sports Active 2. Open up one of the profiles.

3) Go to Help and Settings. Click “Settings” and then “Rebind Peripherals”. You’ll be walked through a simple process. First, you’ll hold down the power button on the arm band to associate it with your profile. Then, you’ll do the same with the  leg band. Make sure you turn on only one arm band and leg band.

4) Repeat steps 1 through 3, this time plugging in the other USB receiver and choosing another profile.

5) Now, each USB receiver is associated with a respective player. Plug in both receivers, and you’re good to go.

For some reason, the nine-week workout program doesn’t support with two players–that you need to do alone. But any individual workout (or custom program you put together) can be played with two. Here’s my girlfriend Lisa and me competing in a number of sports activities.

As you can see, the calculation of calories burned is different depending on the player (yes, I weigh a LOT more than she does).

The “winner” of the competition is not so much who runs faster or is stronger, but who does the  exercises most accurately and efficiently. Some of the games get downright competitive. It’s a great way for couples, friends, or family members to get a great workout together.

If there’s going to be an EA Sports Active 3, I would hope that they could figure out a way to introduce more “head to head” type competition and more interactivity. But for now, this is probably the best multi-player exercise title out there.

And the Nutrisystem begins…again.

So, I returned home to New York yesterday from Florida. Thus endeth the string of business trips to warm, temperate climates.

Now, over the last week, I’ve been saying that I was going to start the Nutrisystem. So it became a running gag that each meal I had was going to be the “next to last meal before the diet starts”. There was that breakfast in the Holiday Inn Express in Scottsdale I told you about. And the gourmet lunch at the resort in Florida. And the burger and fries at Darryl Strawberry’s Sports Grill. You get the idea.

Well, today the diet officially begins…again (it’s been almost 2 years since the last time I tried this diet). As I mentioned, prior to my trips I totally cleared out my fridge except for the Nutrisystem shipments that came in a few weeks ago.

So today for breakfast, I had this:

Nutrisystem Pancakes

For lunch, I had the “meatball parmesian sub”.

Nutrisystem Meatball Parm Sub

For dinner, I had the stuffed shells (also a delicious-but-small entree from their frozen collection) and I also enjoyed a coconut almond bar and crunchy nacho crisps for my “snack” and “dessert”.

A far cry from the sumptuous meals on Marie Osmond’s infomercials, eh?

Both of these are from Nutrisystem’s frozen foods, which are a standard option in the plan nowadays. The frozen foods taste much better than their non-frozen foods, but the portions are much smaller. I did supplement my meals with a banana and apples (I bought a huge bag of apples and a huge bag of oranges to prepare for the diet–with Nutrisystem, you are supposed to supplement their meals with fruits and veggies).

It was a big contrast to the all-you can eat buffets in Florida I was enjoying only a short time ago. Although after a week of pigging out, it actually feels kind of good to “reset” my body again.

I don’t plan on staying on Nutrisystem forever, and I won’t make the mistake again of forcing myself to fanatically adhere to the diet day in and day out. I did that last time, and because the habits never became part of my lifestyle, once the diet ended the old habits reverted and I regained most of the weight I’d lost.

So this time, If I’m out at a ball game or on a date or whatever, I’ll still eat “real” food. But for the rest of the time I’ll use the Nutrisystem to try to force myself to get used to eating smaller portions and lower glycemic foods.

And of course, there’s the exercise. One thing I’ve found after three weeks of EA Sports Active 2–weight loss will not come if you don’t mind BOTH diet and exercise. What I found myself doing was, the more I exercised, the more subconsciously I felt I could indulge when eating (it was so easy to justify that extra dessert knowing I’d work it off).

Speaking of EA Sports Active, I have fallen behind a bit–I couldn’t bring the Wii to Florida with me, which meant I couldn’t work out for the whole week. So today (a rest day), I made up two missed exercises, and on the next few rest days I’ll plan to make up the remainder of them. I’m up to 11 total, which still puts me behind dbqhams (with an impressive 25), holythorn, DancingLaura, and dianska…but I will catch up!! 🙂 For the others in the group–chop chop!! 🙂

Wii Fitness on the Road: Traveling with the Wii

lunch at the desert botanical garden in phoenix arizonaSo, I’m writing this from 2500 miles away from home and 35,374 feet in the air. My company sent me on a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona. Believe you me, it was tough spending the week away from the 6 degrees (yes, it was 6 degrees when I left) and 19 inches of snow in New York to come to the 73 degree sunshine in Phoenix, but I manged to survive.

I haven’t started my Nutrisystem yet (I will when I get home), but I started the week trying to eat healthy. Here’s a picture of me ordering a veggie wrap at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. As far as veggie wraps go, this one was phenomenal. It had mashed sweet potatoes, avocados, onions, and I think a little potato salad. It was really tasty, I wish I had asked them for the recipe.

Now business trips are always dangerous for my waistline. I always end up eating all kinds of junk, and if I have an exercise routine going, it usually throws me way off. Not this time, I told myself. So I decided to haul my Wii with me on the trip so I could keep up on my 9-week program.

For all the talk of how Sony or Microsoft’s new game systems are going to take over the world, this is yet another point in the Wii’s favor. It’s very easy to lug around. I can’t imagine hauling a heavy appliance like the Xbox or the PS3, but with the Wii, I just threw it in a padded bag and put it in my checked bag. No fuss, no muss (TSA regulations do say you need to take it out separately, like a laptop, if you’re carrying it on).

I made a list of things I had to pack. They are:

1) The Wii
2) The power adapter
3) The video cable (you need to check with your hotel to make sure they have a TV that can accept audio-video inputs–thankfully my Holiday Inn Express did)
4) One Wii Remote
5) The EA Sports Active Resistance Band
6) The Sensor Bar

That’s it. It didn’t add too much extra weight (whatever weight it did add I just considered strength training for the trip :)).

It was a snap to set up at the hotel. I stayed at my favorite Holiday Inn Express (located at 3131 Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, AZ), and they had new LCD TV’s with audio/video connectors in the back. All I had to do was plug everything in, re-configure the Wii sensor for above the TV versus below, and I was set to go.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the Wii connected to the hotel Internet because the hotel’s Internet has a screen where you have to accept terms and conditions on a Web page before proceeding. But the Wii’s Internet Channel is designed in an annoying way where you can never get to the screen to accept the terms and conditions, so it just kicks you off. Hopefully Nintendo will fix this in an update to their Internet channel, but I’m not holding my breath. In any case, for those in the NutWiiSys Exercise Group, rest assured that I’m still plugging away! Hopefully my numbers will update as soon as I plug in when I get home.

So, for the week, I got three of my four workouts in. I put a bath towel or two on the floor to do the floor exercises. Being on the third floor, I was a little afraid that “foot fires” were going to make too much noise for the folks downstairs or send me crashing through the floor, but happily neither happened.

I was a little burned when I did my Tuesday exercise. I finished the exercise at about 10:00 PM. To my dismay, after I finished the exercise, EA Sports Active 2 told me that I hadn’t done my Tuesday exercise at all. Turns out when I finished the exercise, it was already past midnight, so my exercise counted towards Wednesday (which was normally a rest day). Maddeningly, I didn’t have any option to go back and have the exercise count towards Tuesday. Which means I’ll need to make up Tuesday later on in order for the system to know that I “finished” my 9-week program. Oh well, I guess I can spare one “free” exercise, but hopefully EA Sports will fix the very limited control you have over workouts (I actually remember it being much more flexible in Sports Active 1).

Anyway, I think overall it was a positive experience travelling with the Wii. I ended the week on a rather unhealthy note–the Holiday Inn Express breakfast buffet is truly sumptuous–today before my flight home I had bacon, an omelet, a biscuit with gravy, cranberry juice, and a banana…I figured I may as well treat myself to one last bad meal before the Nutrisystem starts as soon as I get home (I won’t have a choice, because I completely cleared out my fridge before my trip!)

UPDATE: I wrote the above from the plane and never got a chance to publish it. Right I’m now typing this from West Palm Beach, Florida. Turns out I had two days at home before they shipped me out again for business. Now before those of you in more frigid temperatures start throwing shoes at me, bear in mind that while I am technically sitting in a Club Med, the room is stiflingly hot and the air conditioning is not working. Although I gotta say, the food is good. Too good.

In any case, I’ll be flying home tomorrow and have a lot of EA Sports Active workouts to make up. And I will make them up, I promise! And I will start the Nutrisystem too. Because there are no more business trips coming up for a while. 😛