I've been working off the baby weight lately. I've tried a few different programs, and I'm still jumping around from thing to thing, but I've found a few favorite ways to burn calories using technology!
1. Wii Fit
You need a Wii and the Wii Fit program for this one. The only thing I use this for lately is tracking my weight and setting goals. The Wii Fit comes with a board that acts as a scale and balance sensor. It graphs my weight and BMI for each time I get on, and I can easily set goals. My first goal? Get that annoying thing to stop saying "That's overweight!" every time it measured me. Check. Next goal? 130.7 lbs. by February 15. That might be a little ambitious. Honestly, the value of the Wii Fit is knowing I have a good scale, setting goals, and having accountability for my gains and losses, even if it is to this guy:
Yeah. He has the audacity to question me, even though I am standing on his face. The workouts focus more on balance than calorie burning, so I don't see them being hugely effective as far as actually making you lose the weight. For that, I turn to my favorite household appliance . . .
2. Xbox Kinect
I think people thought that once Wii came out with motion controls, people would be more active while playing video games. Those people didn't know my friend's little brother, who would do all kinds of crazy dances while playing Sega games during the nineties. But since not everyone can do gymnastics while holding a controller and guiding a tiny man through a 2D sidescroller, the Xbox invented the Kinect, where you guide a 3D character through all kindsa' crap BY doing gymnastics WITHOUT a controller. Essentially. Besides the games listed below, there are plenty of others that get your body moving, but I haven't tried them, because they cost like $50-60 each.
A. Dance Central
Dance video games used to involve stomping on a mat like an idiot. Now they involve actually dancing like an idiot. Honestly though, Dance Central is one of my favorite games, and is great for getting a cardio workout. I have the first game, and it's awesome and fun, but hard to get a good burn on since songs only last a few minutes and then you have to stop and use the menu again. I've heard the sequel, Dance Central 2, has a workout mode that keeps you dancing non stop. It's on my Christmas wish list, since the dances are actually a fun whole-body workout, and if I can go non-stop for 30 minutes to an hour, I'll be set for the day!
B. EA Sports Active 2 (Also available for Wii)
This guy is not kidding. EA Sports Active 2 will really give you a workout. It tracks calories and heart rate, and has a boatload of different activities that will make you sweat. You'll be sore like you went to the gym, with none of the embarrassment of actually doing so. The reviewer says it's pricey, but we got it at a discount for the price of about 2 months at the gym. You may not be getting a bunch of equipment, but you get what is essentially an electronic personal trainer. I'm going to warn you, though: wear a sports bra. There is jumping and bouncing galore.
The internet, with all of its horrors, actually has some perks now and then. If you haven't discovered Hulu for catching up on TV shows, you should at least take a look for the exercise videos. I have seen a ton of them, but recently I started working out with Kathy Smith. It's like buying a workout DVD, but it's FREE.
You can either hook up your computer to your TV or get a program like PlayOn running on your Xbox, which allows Hulu videos to be played on your TV through your computer and Xbox via network connection. Hulu Plus won't work, since a lot of videos can't be played on a TV (only a computer) because Hulu is run by the Internet Television Nazi Party. Anyway, this is the workout I did this afternoon. It was awesome, got me sweating, and involved my whole body. Besides a few 1:30 commercial breaks, it kept the burn going so I'm fairly sure I spent some calories as well.