Zombies, Run 2

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

The new version of Zombies, Run has finally arrived! You can see it here:

They made a pretty cool commercial for it here:

I love this game so much that it doesn’t really feel like exercise when I do it. I can’t wait to hear the new episodes!


Weight Watchers ActiveLink System Requirements

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

I’ve been gone from WW for about two years, and things have changed a bit. One of the more exciting changes is ActiveLink. It’s a little accelerometer that tracks your daily movement just like BodyBugg, except it’s WAY smaller.

Weight Watchers ActiveLink from Starling Fitness

The only reason I was enticed by it was because it promises to make things easier. I don’t have to figure out if my exercise was high, medium or low intensity. I don’t even have to log my workouts. All I have to do is remember to wear the thing all day long and then plug it into my computer at the end of the day.

But does it work with my computer? The stupid box at WW didn’t say what the system requirements are on the outside and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to return it after I plunked down the $40 for it. I couldn’t even find the system requirements online when I went home and looked it up. One member said that it worked on her Mac Mini, so I figured I was safe to use it on my MacBook Air, but there were no guarantees.

The website for ActiveLink, however, DOES tell you the system requirements:

It just didn’t show up in any Google searches I did. For your benefit, ActiveLink works on both Mac and PC. Here are the minimums that you will need:

ActiveLink System Requirements from Starling Fitness

I am currently in the assessment stage, so I have no idea how this will work for me. I’ll post updates about whether I like it and whether it’s as easy as they say it is to use.

Update 05-05-13

I’m out of the assessment stage and I have to say that I LOVE ActiveLink! One of the reasons that I left Weight Watchers before was because I didn’t lose very much weight.

I went to every WW meeting and I followed the program for a year. My progress was minimal at best. I lost approximately ten pounds in that year, which is better than gaining that same amount, but it was a CONSTANT struggle to even have those minimal results.

Since I followed the program exactly, I was very frustrated that I was only losing minimal amounts of weight. I now know why. I am such a SLUG during the day, that I was over-counting my exercise points. What I would have counted as four points, is only showing up as two points with the ActiveLink because my workday is so sedentary.

I knew it MUST be something to do with exercise because when I didn’t eat my exercise points, I made a lot more progress than when I did. That’s because my calculation for exercise was completely wrong.

Now, I don’t even need to think about it. I just wear the ActiveLink all day long, try to get my butt out of the chair every once and a while and exercise a little harder (or longer) than I used to. I can completely trust the results when I pop my little gadget into my computer every day.

I just wish there was something like this for eating. What if I am UNDER-counting my food? I do my best to be accurate, but that was the case with exercise as well. I wish there was a little gadget that could analyze every morsel of food that I eat and record the points automatically. That would be one less place where I could screw up.


How To Get A Treadmill for CHEAP!

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Mike and I just bought a new treadmill…

How To Get A Treadmill for CHEAP! from Starling Fitness

…new to us at least! Here is what we learned from the process. (more…)


Nike+ Kinect Training

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Nike+ Kinect Training at Amazon.comBack in 2004, when I fell in love with Yourself! Fitness, I dreamed of a game that could tell if I was doing the moves right or not. With Nike+ Kinect, it looks like that dream has finally come true.

I haven’t tried this game yet, but there are lots of videos on YouTube, showing how the game plays and what it does. I’m excited about it and I can’t wait until my copy comes in the mail!

Here is the E3 Trailer for the game:

Here is a quick video showing a five minute drill.

I love the moving obstacles in Split Decision. It reminds me of a Japanese game show called Human Tetris.

You can see full-blown workouts on YouTube. This guys shows everything, so if you want to try to workout with it, you can.

It looks like a good workout game with lots to do. Some people complained that they had to have LOTS more room than they usually have for Kinect games, so that worries me a little.

In nine short years, exergaming has gone from Maya telling me what to do and never knowing if I was following along or not to a game system that can see my every move and log each rep and whether I did it correctly. It’s one of those rare times when I am pleasantly surprised at how much technology has advanced!


Dance Central: Dance Your Butt Off!

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Dance Central at Amazon.comWe bought a Kinect for our Xbox over a year ago, but I just wasn’t in the mood for exergaming. I had played with Wii Sports and DDR for a long time and the Kinect had such an awkward user interface that I just threw those games into the game drawer and forgot about them.

Until last week…

I reconnected the Kinect to the Xbox and dropped in Dance Central 2. It had the same awkward interface, but Sean noticed something that I had never realized before. You can control the menus with a game controller! Suddenly, that frustrating and stupid game turned out to be lots of fun! (more…)


Zombies, Run! 2 Is Coming This Spring

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

I’ve been running with an app on my iPhone called Zombies, Run! It’s a compelling story about Abel Township and their desperate survival despite the swarms of zombies. It really has made my exercise more intense and, paradoxically, easier to finish.

I’ve talked about Zombies, Run! before:

The whole premise is that I am Runner 5 and it’s my job to leave the safety of the bunker to get supplies, distract zombies and ultimately find out the truth behind the strange occurrences in Abel Township. It has made my running much more intense.

Run like zombies are chasing you from Starling Fitness

Original photo via: Zombie Walk 2012 by Grmisiti on Flickr

I run like zombies are chasing me because in my headphones, they are. If you’d like a description of what it’s like, here is a fan-made film by Mars Rising.

I just found out that they are working on Zombies, Run! 2 and it should be released in the spring, so you have a bit of time to download the original and get caught up before the 60 new missions are ready.

I like that I can run outside or inside on the treadmill. I can’t have zombie chases when I’m on the treadmill, but that doesn’t bother me. The noises of the zombies on the audio tracks is enough to keep me running. Additionally, I’ve also been able to use this app while I’m on the exercise bike. I put it in accelerometer mode and put it in my pocket and it works pretty well while I’m pedaling away on the bike. That helps ALOT when it’s particularly cold or miserable outside.

Here is where you can download the app:

Here’s a teaser video for the new update:

They have been talking about it on the Zombies, Run! Blog:

If your running, walking or biking has felt boring lately, download this app. It is a little pricey, but it is WELL worth the money. Enjoy your runs and get away from the zombies!


Zombies, Run! Makes Exercise Fun

By Laura Moncur @ 10:28 am — Filed under:

Zombies, Run! from Starling FitnessI haven’t been this excited about an exercise iPhone app for a LONG time. It’s called ZOMBIES, RUN!. While you are running, whether it’s outside or even on a treadmill, it feeds you audio cues telling you when you need to run away from the zombies. The better you perform, the more supplies your base will get and the more likely your crew will survive. It works with your music playlist, so the audio cues will cut into your very own workout mix.

Here’s a video from the creators describing it:

I wish I could download it RIGHT NOW for today’s workout, but I’ll have to wait until the end of the month when it will be released for the iPhone. If you are an Android user, you’ll have to wait a little longer. It is available for preorder and I’ve paid my amount so I can start training for the zombie apocalypse now.

Via Zombies Running App For iPhone and Android

Update 02-25-12: The Zombies, Run! game went live for people who pre-ordered yesterday, but it was too late for me to take on my run, so I ran with it this morning. I haven’t gone running outside in the cold for MONTHS, so I was worried that this workout would be too intense for me. Fortunately, this app works with every fitness level. If you can barely walk, all you have to do is walk a little faster when the zombies are coming for you. Believe me, the story is captivating enough to make you WANT to walk a little faster.

My usual walks have been at about 3mph, but after I finished my workout today, I walked/ran an average of 4mph. Sure, it was hard, but it felt good to get away from the zombies, especially the previous Runner 5.

While this app works on the treadmill, you cannot enable Zombie Chase Mode unless you’re running with GPS. I ran outside in the cold wind today, but the unpleasant weather was hardly noticeable. I was planning on just doing a treadmill workout, but I really wanted to experience the zombie chases, so I dug into my workout drawer and found the winter sweatshirt and ear warmers to brave the chill.

I planned on doing a 20 minute walk, but when the game told me to make a detour to the hospital to pick up some first aid kits, I LITERALLY extended my planned workout and walked to the nearest InstaCare. I don’t believe the game could see that I was close to the local hospital, but it was an added bit of realism that extended my workout to 33 minutes without feeling like drudgery. In fact, I felt proud that I was able to pick up all those bandages and first aid kits on the way.

There is a robotic voice that breaks in during my music that tells me when I’ve picked up supplies. Most of the time, I can’t understand what it said, but I can see my complete inventory when I get back from my run. I guess just knowing that I picked up SOMETHING is enough for me.

I didn’t get caught by the zombies, but the game says that if I can’t run fast enough, I will have to drop supplies in order to distract them. Mostly, the sound of a zombie behind me was enough to keep me going faster. The idea of needing to run in order to survive is a great motivator. I’ve talked about this before:

Instead of a pack of rabid dogs, this time, I’m running away from the zombie apocalypse. This app is EXACTLY what I wanted from a primal workout. Strangely, I can’t wait to go running again tomorrow.

Photo via: work sweat achieve


Lose it! App: Best Weight Loss App I’ve Found

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

I originally downloaded Lose it! last May when I first started going low carb. I don’t think I used it for more than one or two days before abandoning it for two months.

The main reason I stopped using it was because their food list is kind of limited. I couldn’t find myzithria cheese (no matter how I spelled it) or a taco salad without the shell. There are other apps with far greater food lists and I used them.

The one thing those other apps don’t have, however, is support.

I’m not talking technical support. Quite honestly, Lose It! is so easy to use, I haven’t had to contact tech support. I use both the website and the iPhone app and they work seamlessly together (Hello, WW! Are you listening?! Your app sux!).

I’m talking about weight loss support. There are TONS of people using Lose It and if you make some of them your friends (and set up your privacy settings), they can see your workouts, your weight losses and your food log. They can give you kudos for getting out there and exercising. They be a shoulder to cry on if you show a gain on the scale. They can even be an inspiration to you when you see that they exercised their butts off when you sat on the couch yesterday.

It’s everything that WW promised me about their meetings, but I never got. That’s a bit of a lie. I had one friend at WW and seeing her every week was the only thing that kept me going that last year. I’ve kept in touch with her via email, but I really do miss seeing her in person every week. All the people on Lose It! have filled that void for me.

There are so many people using Lose It! that I have been able to find a whole group of friends that are eating low carb. It has been refreshing to have a group of people who eat the same way I do without the constant lecturing about the “benefits” of whole grains and fruit.

Lose It! isn’t a program for people following low carb. It tracks calories, but it also allows you to watch other macronutrients, so I have it tracking calories AND carbs. Lose It! isn’t about dictating a diet to you, it’s just a tool that allows you to formulate a diet of your own that works specifically for you.

I absolutely LOVE Lose It!’s reports. I can analyze my nutrients so that I am sure that I’m eating a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet. I’ve never been able to do that analysis before, so it gives me a piece of mind to know that I’m on the right track. There are many other reports for exercise trends, favorite foods, and calorie expenditures that give a visual reminder to keep on track or change course. I adore how they crunch my data for me so I don’t have to pull out a spreadsheet.

And the badges! I love getting little prizes for working toward goals and Lose It! badges are PERFECT for that. I’ve earned a couple of small badges, but seeing all the things I could earn on other people’s profiles makes me want to work harder. One of my friends had earned these badges and I am on a mission to earn them as well.

I love how they reward you for exercising regularly and tracking your food consistently. It’s so inspiring to me!

Once I’ve earned those badges, I can order a t-shirt with one of them on it. When I get that Die Hard badge, I’m definitely getting a t-shirt. Oh, and the Goal Achieved badge, too. In fact, I’ll have to order a t-shirt for the Exercise King badge, as well. I can’t wait until I can do that!

Of course, if you’re shy about sharing your information, Lose It! has privacy settings that allow you complete secrecy. Your friends can only see what you allow them to see, and the rest of the world is blind. Or the entire world can be blind to you. You have that option and I love Lose It! for it.

In the end, I have been extremely happy with Lose It! If you feel like your diet is getting a little stale, log onto their site and see if it helps you as much as it has helped me.

Update 09-20-11: I’ve found two more badges that I’d like to earn: The Pool Shark and Om badges.

Of course, neither of them have gotten me to swim or do yoga yet, but they are even more badges that I can work toward.


Nexercise: Not Worth The Bother

By Laura Moncur @ 3:40 pm — Filed under:

Update 08-14-2011: Please read the comment from Benjamin Young, the CEO of Nexercise, below. The reason the app doesn’t multitask (and allow you to lock your screen) is because Apple doesn’t allow it with the current OS.

The new update of the app DOES allow unverified time, but it has crashed so many times on me that I’ve stopped using it. Perhaps the next update will fix those crashes.

I did win a $5 Amazon gift card while testing the app. That was a nice surprise and made me want to use Nexercise more, despite the bother it is to use it.

Update 08-31-2011: I’ve continued to try Nexercise with my workouts and I stand by my review. They do allow unverified time and it only beeps at me if I click away to take a picture or see my Runkeeper stats. The crashes, however, make it not worth the while. Just today, I had a 53 minute walk that failed to be submitted. It just sat there spinning, failed and then disappeared from my calendar.


I’ve been trying a free app on my iPhone called Nexercise. The premise is brilliant. It logs your physical activity and for every fifteen minutes you exercise, you get a chance to win prizes and badges.

Unfortunately, the execution isn’t as brilliant.

It’s easy enough to run the program and it doesn’t suck down my battery while it’s running, but it does NOT multitask. It’s kind enough to go into “sleep” mode so exercising with it doesn’t turn it off, but pushing the normal sleep button will pause the program.

Additionally, if I answer a call, it pauses the program. If I take a picture of something beautiful on my walk, it pauses the program. If I don’t run Runkeeper BEFORE I start Nexercise, it pauses the program. What is this? 2009? iPhones have been able to multitask for a while. Why doesn’t Nexercise?!

The lack of multitasking is irritating enough, but Nexercise also has the additional problem of pausing itself because it thinks you’re not moving enough.

I wouldn’t be bothered by this problem if it didn’t happen about once or twice each walk. Sometimes it’s because I have stopped to scoop doggie poo, but rather than waiting for me to let my dog do her business, it beeps me with an annoying sound with a reprimand.

Other times, it thinks I’m not moving enough for no reason whatsoever. Maybe I don’t jiggle enough when I walk or they’ve set the sensitivity wrong, but there have been times when it has paused for inactivity in the middle of a walk when I haven’t stopped moving. It’s the same irritating problem that Nike+ had without the benefits of tracking that Nike gave me.

Worst of all, when it has paused and I didn’t notice, sometimes it won’t give me any credit for my walk at all because it didn’t log fifteen minutes of activity while I was walking. Sure, my walk was an hour long, but the stupid thing paused itself and I didn’t happen to hear the irritating beeps.

To be fair, I’ve had a couple of walks with no pausing, but the added problem of loading up an additional app and dealing with the lack of multitasking just makes Nexercise not worth it.

As far as those rewards go, I haven’t won one. I HAVE earned a couple of badges and I have to tell you that it felt good to earn them.

Are the badges and the promise of gift cards worth the extra hassle? No, they’re not. If they get multitasking to work or if they change the sensitivity of the app so that it won’t pause itself, maybe Nexercise will be worth it. Until then, I’m not going to bother with it.


How To Use Edibles with Weight Watchers PointsPlus

By Laura Moncur @ 12:26 am — Filed under:

Weight Watchers is launching a new program. In the UK, it’s called ProPoints, but in the States, they are calling it PointsPlus. The old Points system has been completely changed, which will change how you’ll calculate the new points on your Edibles program.

According to Wikipedia, the new PointsPlus formula is as follows:

PointsPlus Formula

Where pp is the PointsPlus value, p is the amount of protein, c is the amount of carbohydrates, f is the amount of total fat and b is the amount of fiber, all in grams. This formula is an empirical match to the Weight Watchers calculators and may not be exact; Weight Watchers has not published their actual formula.

This formula is pretty convoluted and very difficult to enter into the Edibles Calculator, so Mike converted it for me. This is how I entered it into my Edibles Calculator:

Edibles PointsPlus

Even if you’re using the Weight Watchers iPhone app, there may be a few days WEEKS when you won’t be able to track using your phone because the app won’t be available as soon as the program starts.

The App may not be available for a day or two after the new program launches. We appreciate your patience during this time. You can use the website for tracking, and everything else you usually do on your phone.

You might just want to try out Edibles to see if it works better than the official Weight Watcher app.

Update 12-02-10: Due to differences in food labeling in the US vs. the UK, the PointsPlus formula is vastly different than the ProPoints formula. I changed this entry to reflect the proper formula for the United States.

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