Video Games and Fitness

If you're not aware, I am a gamer. I spend the majority of my free time playing video games. I stream on Twitch, record for YouTube, and even play one game competitively. I love video games. I grew up playing them, sitting by my father's side, and it's something that's never gone away.

The problem, of course, is that I spend too much time playing video games, and not enough time moving around. Video games are largely sedentary; you sit and play for hours with hardly moving more than your fingers. And when you play competitively, it's treated like a job; all the time I'm not at work, I'm working on improving my game. So that hardly leaves time for other stuff, like working out.

Thankfully, there was a fitness surge in the gaming world about ten years ago. Dance, Dance Revolution hit it big in the west, and the Nintendo Wii was a system designed with movement in mind. Being the gamer and fitness enthusiast that I am, I tried out a lot of fitness games on the Wii, and still play some to this day. So let's go over a brief list of some of the greats, shall we? (This list, while not intentional, starts with the least intensive to most.)

1. Wii Sports. This was packaged in with the Nintendo Wii, so everyone who bought the system got this game to try out. And it was a hit! Three of the games were low-impact (baseball, bowling, and golf), great for people just getting into moving around, and two of them got your heart rate up. I loved putting on the tennis or boxing (especially the boxing!) and going at it. In addition, you could train and keep track of your improvement.

2. Wii Fit. Another game that showed off the Nintendo Wii's hardware for fitness, Wii Fit (and its successor Wii Fit Plus) was specifically made to improve users' fitness. A trainer guided you through exercises (yoga and strength training, mostly) as the accompanying balance board made sure you were doing them properly. The balance board was a real strength to the game-- the slightest bit off on a yoga pose, and it showed you exactly where you needed to fix your balance. I did a lot of yoga from that. The balance board also doubled as a scale, so you could weigh in with each use and track your progress on a graph.
3. EA Sports Active/Sports Active 2. To me, this is the culmination of the above two games, and my favorite of them. Equipped with a "personal trainer" and a training plan, you have a different workout each day. One of the games (the second one, I believe) comes with a heart rate monitor to track your progress and calories burned; the other one comes with resistance bands to use during your workouts. It's a whole kit ready to get you active-- and the workouts are intense! Boxing, running, jumping jacks... a high cardio workout is guaranteed.

4. Just Dance. One of the easier dance games, thus easier to get into than the ones I'm going to mention next. Accuracy only counts so much; you can wave your arms around and still get the points. It gets you moving without being intimidating, and always features a catalog of popular and timeless hits. The latest versions even have a "sweat" section where you can put together your own workout playlists and calculate calories burned (very loose calculations though). If you're new to dance games, Just Dance is one to check out.

5. Dance, Dance Revolution/Pump It Up/StepMania/etc. Now, these are games I've never invested much time into, because they require actual coordination of your feet (I'm much better with my arms than legs). But like Just Dance, they can get you sweating and burning calories in no time at all. My friend Woomy tells me, "At a good enough pace and using the results/selection as downtime, it becomes cardio intervals and can be really good for helping regulate your heart rate while doing effort". Sounds like a great workout to me! In addition, StepMania is playable on PC and has a strong community that creates its own beat maps, resulting in thousands of royalty-free tracks being available. Can't beat free!

Are you ready to pick up a fitness game now? Is there one that you really love that I should check out? Let me know!

Just a little blogkeeping...

You may have noticed a tiny change around here. If you go to the regular blogspot address, it now redirects to! I re-registered the domain now that I'm using it again, so it's easier to access. (I'll also be building an entire website, not just a blog, at some point. flexes coding muscles)

It's just a little change on your end, but I'm excited about it! Especially with the things I have in store for the entire domain.

Business inquiries can also now be directed to!

As for me, I'm going swimming tonight! What are your plans?

Motivation: Found?

I've been struggling the past couple weeks, both with workouts and personally. As my depression flares up, I'm less inclined to go to the gym (even though I know that helps it!). I've mostly just been going to the gym once a week, for personal training, and even then I cancelled that last week. For the first time ever, I had to pay GymPact money for missing a workout day, just because I "didn't feel like it". In addition to depression, I've spent the last two weeks trying to get a new Splatoon team off the ground, which has been taking up all of my free time and then some. (Splatoon, for those who don't know, is the video game I play competitively.) So, yeah, there has been a lack of blog posts because there has been a lack of motivation.

I spent the weekend refocusing and working on my depression. It's not a magical cure, just a weekend of relaxation and cleaning, but it helped a lot. I woke up this morning feeling tons better and although the motivation to work out still wasn't there, the resolve to do so anyway was. I've decided to start running again, since that helps my mood more than anything else. So with the commitment of personal training, aqua aerobics (I started doing that again), and running, I should be seeing results again.

Then, motivation hit! Suddenly, just when I needed it, I got an email from my gym. They're doing a fitness challenge starting August 1st! Okay, it's more a weight loss challenge (they're going by percentage of weight lost, not body fat) but hey, I've got plenty of weight to lose too. It's 100 days, and all it requires is weighing in at the beginning/end and buying personal training sessions. Which I already do! So, hey, why not sign up? If you remember, I loved the fitness challenges at my old gym, even winning two out of three times I did it. This is a much bigger gym/competition, but it's still a win in health and motivation even if I don't win the overall challenge.

So, yeah! I'm excited about it! I need to remain excited and motivated over the next month, but that gives me time to work on these mental blocks I've got. The other block I've got is financial (I need to get new running shoes...) but, hey, there's a donate button right over there... ---> ;) (But seriously, don't feel obligated. I'll make it work no matter what.)

Fitness challenges are so exciting!

Seeking Motivation

Has anyone seen it? Anywhere at all?

Weekly Update

I know, I missed last week's weekly update. And posting at all last week. A mini-vacation to the Dells really threw me off my schedule for a bit. But just a bit. I'm back to my routine and ready to go!

Last night was personal training. Last week, I was still sitting at the same weight I've been at for weeks (216) and my trainer was like, "Why aren't you losing?" Well, Memorial Day had a lot of food and alcohol, and then I went on vacation (I didn't overeat, but I also didn't work out at all)... but also, my body lately has just been holding onto weight and then dropping a ton at once.

Which is what happened this week. Suddenly, I'm down five pounds to 211. This surprised my trainer but I know that's how my body's been working lately. As I mentioned before, just trust in the process, and the scale will eventually reflect that. That's all we can do.

As we were working out last night (leg day, I did about a thousand squats I think...), I asked my trainer if he's seen improvements in what I can do. His response? "You've always been capable of everything I want you to do, you just don't think you are." Which... is a pretty good summary of a lot of stuff in my life, I feel. I think I'm incapable a lot more than I actually am. I'm constantly working on that, but it's harder than pull-ups. (Which we did again on Saturday.) But it was nice to hear that from my trainer. It definitely made me push harder last night and keep going when I normally would've taken a break.

And that, really, is why I pay a trainer a ridiculous amount of money to make me sore all over every week. I know how to work out, I've done it before, but a trainer pushes and inspires me to work harder. So, on a day when I wanted to cancel my personal training (there was a huge Splatoon tournament I wanted to watch!), I'm really glad I went and got that little nugget of inspiration to keep me going this week.

(As an aside, he also made me run three minutes straight, which I haven't done since getting back to the gym, and it wasn't even a struggle at all. So he definitely knows that I'm capable of more than I think!)

Hopefully those words will also inspire some of you, whatever your struggles are. Have a great day!