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Jan 10 2011

EA Sports Active 2 is a tool of Satan

DDR was getting a little tedious to play every single day. And while it’s good cardio, it doesn’t really work out any other parts of my body. That’s why I was all excited when my package came in today containing EA Sports Active 2. I could, you know, go to the gym or something, but I’m a hermit with a PS3, so why not.

With the hokey opening sequence and mind numbingly simple initial explanations, I assumed this game must be made for old people who are trying to get in shape using their kid’s video game console. Based on that observation, I thought it would be perfectly fine for a young adult who’s been playing DDR for a week to start on Medium instead of Easy.

Holy fuck.

I only made it through half of my work out before quitting because my legs were cramping up and I felt like I was going to vomit. That’s including watching minute long tutorials before each exercise. And by watching, I mean flopping onto my couch like a beached whale and frantically pressing the “Show Tutorial Again” button.

No one should have to do mountain climbers followed by bent arm side planks.

The salt in the wound was having the game tell me I only burned 55 calories, despite the fact that all of my muscles burned and I felt like I was about to die. Maybe it was supposed to make me vomit. That would certainly get rid of some calories.

Fuck you game.

EDIT: 20 minutes have gone by, and I still feel like heaving. I’m having flashbacks to middle school gym class… Except my legs hurt so much I don’t know if I’d be able to dash to the toilet in time.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    AHH

    So “55 calories” is actually a lot for exercise. That’s the thing people rarely understand–even as a scientist, it really took me off my feet the first time I did the potential energy calculation for how much I burnt rock climbing or weightlifting (yeah, yeah, body’s not 100% efficient, but it gives you a lower bound on energy used…)That’s why the cold hard truth is that 90% of fitness is in your choice of diet. Exercise is important for strength and speed and metabolism, but the energy you “burn” directly is pretty much inconsequential compared to, say, drinking an extra glass of milk at lunch. Heck, the *kind* of stuff you eat is also really important: more starch, sugar, and other carbohydrates in your diet prompts changes to your blood chemistry that induce storage of fat and increase your appetite. So not only will a 10% change in calories you eat mean more than an hour jogging every day, but you’ll have an easier time by far cutting those 10% calories if you stop eating pasta, grains, and the like and instead eat fat and protein–you just won’t be as hungry. For a fascinating read on how nutritional science got so fucked up (read: why you’re about to tell me that “healthy whole grains are good for me, and I should eat less fat or I’ll get heart disease”) and the conventional wisdom is so wrong, check out Good Calories, Bad Calories. Really well-researched, interesting book about how easy it is to do bad science. Depressing, really.So the bad news is that 55 calories is inconsequential…but the good news is that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good workout.

  2. 2
    Owen Christy

    Yes yes yes. Also, the author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, Gary Taubes, just came out with a new book, Why We Get Fat, which is GB,BC lite. I’ve read all of GC,BC, and about 3/4 through WWGF. I’d suggest reading WWGF first, because although GCBC is first rate science journalism, it can be incredibly dense, and lacks clear specifics on losing weight, as it’s a science book, not a diet book. After reading GCBC though, I lost over 70 lbs and am still losing weight.

  3. 3
    Akshay Bist

    You ought to be a little careful. Overstraining yourself can get you down for a few days. I used to be pretty active & used to play sports everyday. Then it became football(soccer) every weekend and then football once in a while. And everytime I go now, even if I don’t do much, there are moments when I do over exert myself & though I don’t feel it then, I almost always feel very drained for the next few days, like I was sick or something & my muscles ache like hell. So maybe another workout would be more beneficial than EA Sports Active

  4. 4
    Thomas Everett Haynes

    Don’t worry. It was like that the first few weeks of basic training. Just keep drinking water (a good day before a workout) and make sure you get electro… wait you know biology. Eat healthy and stay in there, we believe in you! :)

  5. 5
    Thomas Everett Haynes

    BRAWNDO – electrolytes. But seriously you are an inspiring person, I’m in college now maybe because of you… and your getting into a good (well it seems good) exercise program will maybe inspire some others to do the same and make this a healthier place! :D

  6. 6
    Anna Jobsis

    You can burn about 100 calories for every mile you run.

  7. 7
    loreleion

    What, like outside? Crazy talk.

  8. 8
    Jose

    Intense exercise doesn’t burn much fat, it burns mainly muscle because it’s easier access. When you do intense exercise, your body needs energy RIGHT NOW and lots of it, and fat just isn’t fast enough, so you’ll consume whatever is in your blood at that moment and then you will start burning muscle most of all. Sure you’ll burn some fat too, but in a smaller percentage, less efficiently.If you are out of shape and do intense exercise, you’ll become skinny fat. Fat is only lost through diet and low intensity, long duration exercise, like jogging calmly. The traditional rule of thumb is, you go jogging with someone else and you should be able to talk easily to each other all the way. If you’re out of breath at any moment, that’s too intense.

  9. 9
    Patrick

    And the heavier you are, the more you’ll burn, as you might expect. At Jen’s last reported weight (181.8lbs), she’d burn 712 calories if she ran 6 miles (according to http://www.runtheplanet.com/re…. I can’t do all that at once, but I did run 4 miles yesterday, and then the mile to work and back.

  10. 10
    Sami Elo

    So is the PS3 version more demanding than the Wii version? I thought that wasn’t too bad on medium, though it obviously was a sweaty workout.

  11. 11
    Sam Barnett-Cormack

    Sounds to me like that workout might be doing more (compared to, say, DDR) for conditioning than for calorie-burning. That said, I agree with others that calorie-burn figures for exercise are lower than a lot of people think. Stuff that gives a good cardio workout is often the best for simple calorie-burning. When I temporarily had access to a good gym, I used to enjoy the cross-trainer, which does moderate conditioning and decent cardio – and I’m not big on exercise.The good news, if it is doing good conditioning, is that it should get easier quite quickly. That at least applies to the burning limbs. I have very little idea about the nausea.

  12. 12
    Dominic Thibodeau

    You should start with light workouts until you get the hang of it. Are you on the Wii? We could create a workout group to track our progress!

  13. 13
    Gregory marshall

    This part “No one should have to do mountain climbers followed by bent arm side planks.” Sounds like what I (we) had to do in the military (Marines) as a form of discipline. Changing rapidly from one exercise to another. The Drill Instructor would yell, push-ups, then you would do push-ups until he yelled another exercise (then you would start doing that exercise) or until he yelled stop. So, the positive sounds like you are getting an intense workout.P.S. “And by watching, I mean flopping onto my couch like a beached whale and frantically pressing the “Show Tutorial Again” button.” Best line ever.

  14. 14
    Ben L

    I think that’s a myth – here’s a random google link: http://www.weightlossforall.co… Though perhaps someone is aware of a more reliable source/has better GoogleFu?

  15. 15
    Gus Snarp

    Huh, according to my calorie counting app, I burn 170 calories in a half hour walk. So I wouldn’t say exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as we think, it’s just that strength training doesn’t burn calories as fast as walking, and that increasing the intensity doesn’t necessarily do that much over just getting up and moving for a while.

  16. 16
    Aardvark Cheeselog

    Also, when you first start a new style of exercise you often waste a lot of effort on inefficient movements. You may find it becomes a lot easier in a few days.

  17. 17
    jose

    The link says: “I think it’s safe to assume that just about anyone could do up to 45 -60 minutes of low to moderate cardio a day, 6 to 7 days a week without losing any muscle – as long as the proper nutritional support is provided.”There is no difference between my “diet and low intensity, long duration exercise” and his “low moderate cardio, 45-60 minutes a day and proper nutritional support”.

  18. 18
    Dylan

    Here’s a fun one, along those lines. Shuffle a deck of cards. Pick four exercises, one for each suit; the last time I did this we did mountain climbers for clubs, push-ups for diamonds, burpees for hearts, and squat jumps for spades.Flip the top card and do that many reps of the associated exercise. Aces are worth 15, not 14. If it’s a joker, run 400 meters. Repeat. You’re done when the deck is empty. Best done with a group, so that you can all groan together when the ace of burpees shows up.

  19. 19
    the_Siliconopolitan

    Huh? I’m having trouble seeing how something that’s trying very hard to kill a prominent atheist can be “a tool of Satan“. Isn’t it more like God trying to strike you down?Thanks for posting this. I’d considered joining a gym, since there’s a little one on my way to work, but now I’m sure that I’m better off sleeping as late as possible instead.

  20. 20
    John Brummund

    Whoa whoa whoa…Get some Underarmour Coldgear, and go for a mile run every morning.

  21. 21
    Kevin Lyda

    What are you running these on? I have a Wii but I’m thinking of getting a Kinect but don’t know if it does DDR and if it works good enough for exercise-type games.

  22. 22
    Steve

    Regarding the above posts discussing cardio:Go with low-impact, low-intensity. I usually burn about 225 calories with 20 minutes of cardio on an elliptical machine. The key is to keep your heart rate at around 140 bpm. Any higher, and you’re just burning what’s in your stomach. On the nutrition side, reduce carbs, drink more water (especially right after you wake up), have a larger breakfast, and pare back the sweets to just after a workout or wake-up. A fatty/protein snack before bed will help too.Psychologically. And this is important. Go to a gym. Just do it. Be where you have the proper equipment and can focus. I remember the horrors of gym class as well, but you have to move past that. You will be just like everyone there this time of year; trying to be healthier and more fit. You also might be surprised at the geeky vitamin deficiency or protein bonding conversations you can have with the most unlikely of people…

  23. 23
    SpitefulFox

    Kinect has a pretty nice dance game that actually keeps track of your entire body’s movements instead of just pushing buttons on a pad with your feet. I don’t know how effective it is for exercising, though. ;)

  24. 24
    breadbox

    Probably more than that if you ran a mile this morning, what with all the extra effort you’d need to expend not to slip and fall. (loreleion’s icon seems extra appropriate right now.)

  25. 25
    ERV

    I have EA Sports Active I (and ‘More Workouts’, the semi-sequel) and Gold Gym Cardio Workout (its a boxing game thats like Guitar Hero, much better than the EA SA ‘boxing’– it has its quirks, but its underrated as a workout game) for the Wii.You can get them used for a hellovalot cheaper than a Kinect, and theyre good games :)

  26. 26
    Drakk

    Dammit! I was so hoping for this to be a post about something another kooky fundie said.

  27. 27
    William

    I got the same game a few weeks ago, and ended up with almost the same result… A half hour of ‘normal’ exercise? Sure, that’ll be fine, I’m in decent shape. And 15 minutes into it I was lying on the bathroom floor nearly ready to puke. I think what got me was pushing far harder than I should have. My heart rate hit something like 189 bpm (just past the zone five top for me) and it showed an absurdly high average heart rate for the workout. Since then I’ve tried it a few more times, setting it for a 20 minute workout and not pushing as hard when the heart rate started shooting up, and it’s been much more manageable.

  28. 28
    ProfessorMoriarty

    55 calories? I played on Easy and it said I burned 94 in about 25 minutes. Maybe Easy burns more than Medium, haha.

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