Saturday, December 29

Top 5 Gym Survival Tips

Avoid Problems with January Gym Membership

January and February are typically the times of year that commercial gyms pick up the most number of new members. The post-holiday gym rush also represents the highest drop out rate.

For people who regularly visit a gym the next two months is a struggle. The gym is crowded, the machines you want to work on are all being used, and you long for April - when you have the gym all to yourself again. Take these five tips with you to make sure you do not end up wasting money or become demotivated.

Tip 1: Never pay a full years membership in advance. Many special offers or attractive deals are tempting you to commit to a monthly fee for a whole year. Most new members do not last past 90 days, and you may be one of them. If you are going to quit the gym, make sure your pocket book can quit too.

Tip 2: Choose a gym that is located closest to your most regularly travelled location. A gym near home is appealing, but when your are so close to home it is all to easy to just "skip the gym tonight". A better option is a gym closer to your place of work, so you can pop out at lunchtime, maybe hit the weights before work if the traffic has been kind.

Tip 3: Do not be put off by the crowds of people and the apparent poor ratio of physical instructors to members. In April the gym will be much quieter, the staff will have more time for you, and fitness machines will be more available. Even after the first couple of weeks you should notice the gym is quieter, so hang on in there!

Tip 4: Make sure you enlist the services of a personal trainer. Good quality gyms will provide excellent fitness instructors to help with the use of the equipment, but if you are looking for better fitness or weight loss you will need a personal trainer to put together a program for you. They will help you sustaining motivation to keep going before you start to see the weight dropping off.

Tip 5: Check the equipment and facilities the gym has to offer, look for sauna, squash courts or maybe a swimming pool. These extras help motivation as fitness equipment can be very boring, and now highly anti-social, as everyone plugs into iPods. Ultimate gyms, such as two in my home town, will have Gamercize Pod fitness machines similar to the picture. A quick game of the latest Playstation or Xbox title never gets old, and is an excellent way to socialise and get fit.

Friday, December 21

Wii Players Need to Exercise

Wii Leads Sales but not Fitness

It comes as no surprise to us at Gamercize of the news today that the Wii is not the fitness breakthrough it has been portrayed as. To be fair, it is not the Wii but Wii-Fit that is intended to generate fitness benefits.

The widely reported story, here from the BBC, shows kids burning an extra 60 calories over playing the Xbox 360. That is about on a par with what we have found for an 170 lb adult. (Fitness experts know calories burnt depends on weight)

If you need more convincing, check out the VideoJug film that compares Wii, EyeToy, DDR and Gamercize. We do love the Wii, but for those seeking to use technology for fitness, there are better options. If you like dance games, Konami's DDR is a great choice and Eyetoy is also fun, but if you want to play all your games then the best choice is the only choice - Gamercize.

Friday, December 14

Exercise for Free

Play Outside or Go Running to Keep Fit

All kids should play outdoors and all adults should going running for five mile runs at lunchtimes to keep fit for free. I've heard this a few times in discussions within the context of fitness technology such as Gamercize.
Obesity has been rising steadily over the last twenty years across the world. All that time kids just needed to play outside and adults needed to go jogging to prevent the rise? There lies the fundamental flaw; twenty years of world wide experience shows that while the option is available, outdoor exercise is not working. Trying to force people outside is wrong, blaming parents is short-sighted and ignoring the changes and pressures of 21st century lifestyles is plain ignorant.
Outdoor exercise does work just fine for keeping kids and adults fit and healthy, but for many individuals there is not enough time, security, motivation or the experience is just downright unpleasant. Entertainment is now easily accessible through sedentary technology, video games consoles, computers and the Internet, all without the need to head outside and be active. Add fitness to this entertainment and you have the principles behind Gamercize; the 21st century way towards reclaiming the enjoyment of being active.
Those that still maintain everyone, regardless of personal circumstances, should be forced outside to exercise can happily have that opinion. As soon as the time machine is invented to take them back to the 1950s their opinion will once again be valid. I think I'll just stick with accepting the progress in technology, and take to the great outdoors when it suits me and when the weather good.

Wednesday, November 28

My Fitness using Gamercize

Getting Fit Again

Last week I was invited for a live interview on BBC Radio. Set for half past ten on a Monday morning there was little time to get stage fright, as the regular meeting on the weekends news, comments and orders lasted until well after 10am.
I was a little surprised with the lack of briefing by the producer, but as a live show the style should be less rigid and more spontaneous.
My personal experiences with Gamercize tended to dominate the questions rather than the products themselves. So rather than post a transcript of the radio show, I thought I would post my personal progress instead.
A year ago I was unfit and unhealthy. I no longer played soccer and only visited the gym for the three weeks after Christmas. Having the time and the motivation to keep fit was difficult, and the odd game of squash just proved how unfit I was. If I took my mountain bike out for a cross country ride, I was back indoors, out of breath 15mins later.
The picture above is of my current health indicators, taken from my GZ Personal Trainer account. Still work to do, but I'm pretty proud of what I have achieved and the outlook is so much better than this time last year. I have lost 38lbs (that is well over two and a half stone in old money) and lost 8" off my waist measurement. After spending a whole evening throwing out now over sized clothes I ended up with very little left to wear and lots of wardrobe space!
My fitness has improved remarkably too. I can now carry my golf bag over 18 holes on a hilly course rather than hire an electric buggy, and when I go out for a ride on my mountain bike, I will return 3 hours later having explored the countryside without getting tiered and having to stop every couple of miles. A lot of people would not class this as extra ordinary and they would be right, but a year ago I would not have thought these things possible for me.
I use a GZ Sport for playing games on PS2 with my kids, I use the GZ Pro-Sport for Xbox 360 and playing online and I use the GZ PC-Sport while writing this blog and browsing the Internet. All of this extra exercise, from previously lazy activities, has helped my burn extra calories each day and maintain motivation by the subtle art of distraction. I have not had to change diet or lifestyle, in fact my lifestyle has become more healthy naturally as my abilities have improved.
I know from the comments sent in to the Gamercize website that I am not alone in reaching a level of fitness and health previously undreamed of. So if we can do it, then so can you!

Thursday, November 15

Getting the Perfect Beach Body

Losing Weight with Gamercize

A lot of customers write in telling us how pleased they are with Gamercize, you can read some of these comments on the official website, but only a fraction of the notes we receive are published. I look forward to my morning email with the previous day’s comments, and I make time to read each and every one. The general theme is weight loss and improved motivation, but it is the personal stories that are most enlightening and encouraging.

One lady wrote in this week, with a story which I think is quite special, and I have been allowed to share it here.

“Dear Gamercize
I am a proud mother of three leading a very hectic life with little time to myself. Running a busy household I hardly ever get time to go to the local gym feeling too tiered to go when I did get the time. Over the years my weight has slowly crept up with the washer getting blamed for shrinking my clothes that didn’t fit as well as they did last year!

My weight was not helped by my children always asking me to play the playstation when I could have been using my aerobics DVD instead. I did find a few of their games enjoyable and was surprised to hear of the idea of gamercize while looking on the internet for a new playstation game. It sounded too good to be true but I had to give it a try. I have had my gamercize stepper for two months now and am very pleased it does work!

At the doctors in October I was weighed coming out at 11st. That was horrifying for me but today I have come back having been weighed at 9st 9lbs! The very best part is that I am going to Mauritius in two weeks time for my first relaxing break in eight years. I would have been self conscious and not fully enjoyed myself without losing all the weight I lost using gamercize. I have told all my friends and family about it and want to thank you very very much for helping me lose the weight to make my holiday more enjoyable”

Friday, October 26

Advanced Deskercise for Workers

Lunchtime Exercise Without the Rain
There have been a few stories in the news about fitness at work recently. Latest advice calls for an exercise hour for all workers.

The advice by experts is often seen as enforcement or unhelpful, but it is not intended to be. The main theme of all the advice is a well meaning message for everyone to get some extra exercise, it's good for you. The struggle is putting the message across in a meaningful way we can all relate to and apply to our own lives, if we choose.

An exercise hour is normally quite easy at work, at lunchtime go out for a walk or play a game of squash or football. It is often easier to arrange sporting activity in your free daylight hour with co-workers, than after a hard days work with chores, family responsibilities and dark evenings.

These pictures show what we have been doing to get more exercise. Typically we spend a lot of time sat at a computer. Working mostly, but some times browsing the web, playing games or posting to blogs. The interesting and enjoyable uses of our computers makes the time fly by. Lunch hours always seem so short, and an hour in the afternoon drags on. If we decide to have an exercise hour, then which hour is it best to use for exercise? The one that flies by is the smart choice, so you don't notice the effort.

The step exercise machine under the desk works well for the cold, rainy weather that is fast approaching. A far better choice than an under desk mini cycle, which tends to be very hard to use with wheeled chairs or low desks! Gamercize lends a hand, when switched into trainer mode, the input to the computer is paused if you stop moving. This is useful when you consider using the computer for enjoyable purposes will take you mind off exercise, and in fact so much so that most people forget to exercise!

As you are sitting there, browsing the web during your lunch hour reading this post, think about how much exercise you get at weekends. Then think about how much exercise you get during the working week. Chances are, if you work in an office, there is a bit more you can do, and maybe an exercise hour might be worth a try for a few weeks?

Monday, October 22

Add This

Share your Blog with the world using just one control
This fantastic little bookmarking and sharing drop down control at the bottom the post is free! It saves a lot of time and effort, instead of adding many different bookmark code snippets, just use one. Compatible with many blog engines, all the popular social bookmarking and sharing sites, AddThis provides stats and looks clean and tidy.

Blogging and the BBC Editors

Blogging at Work

I am taking the rare step of writing a post at work today, to highlight an interesting use of blogs. Normally I'll put up a weekend post or two sharing some information or picture that I find interesting to me. I see it is a personal choice to post; there are no revenue generating adverts and this blog does not generate personal income.

Other blogs have no revenue generation, the best example being the blog of the BBC Editors. In contrast, it does appear the editors have blogging as an unwritten task within their job descriptions. A post from Peter Barron, indicating peer pressure to write posts, asks what frequency of posting is perceived as reasonable. Clearly the number of posts per week has not been written into the contracts yet!

Personally I think a post "only every ten days or so" is probably about right, maybe once a week. I am lucky though, as I am writing for pleasure and not from pressure.

Saturday, October 20

Leisure Industry Week 2007

Gamercize at LIW

Did you see Gamercize at the Birmingham NEC last month? No? I am not surprised, the show was very busy as you can see from the picture! Gamercize was exhibited connected to a junior cycle and a junior stepper, as a two player combination.

This proved a popular setup with visitors starting up fit kids clubs in locations all over Europe. Organisations planning to get kids fit with video games were diverse, a new theme park in the Netherlands, a Premiership Football Club in England, a Local Education Authority in Wales and a health club chain from Spain were most notable.

A common misconception from the show visitors was how the interaction worked. Unlike other exergame equipment, Gamercize does not interfere with the game play. Ok, if you stop exercising the games pauses, but that is less of interference and more prompting. Without this interaction there would be no incentive to exercise. All of the kids (and some of the adults!) were able to keep the game going without any trouble. The skill needed to play the game is not hampered by physical ability or co-ordination. When visitors had this explained, the proverbial penny dropped.

Some direct control equipment was on show, although a poor choice of game did not show its potential to the full. That is a pity because for 100% racing addicts, the equipment is very good. A word of warning from the "Stinger", of The Stinger Report fame, was that heart rates should be monitored on exergames that require effort for progress, especially for children, to avoid health risks. A very good point from a very knowledgeable individual.

Nintendo Wii was on show too, which was good to see but a warning from a school who purchased a number of them was quite revealing. They had found kids started to play the games by sitting down and flicking the wand with small hand movements. Clearly this is not in the spirit the console should be used. A few of the wands have since gone missing too. Wii Fit will probably be a better alternative for exercise on the Wii.

We left our second LIW very happy with the progress in attitudes to exergames and it was great to meet up again with the good people from the dedicated fitness and fun kids clubs. A few words from a very passionate and clearly dedicated Ian Wright on his inolvment and experiences with kids fitness was also very welcome. Have a good year to all exhibitors, and for sure we will all be back at the NEC again in 2008.

Saturday, October 13

Sports Training Reaches the Next Level with Gamercize

Full Size Gamercize Pro-Sport with X360 and PS3
While the domestic version of the GZ Pro-Sport (for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) has been delayed until early 2008, there is a chance for a select few to try out the next-gen HD exergaming fun. The Xbox 360 Elite and PlayStation 3 (nearest and furthest respectively in picture) bring graphics that quite literally take your breath away while you work out. If there was ever a better example of the video games capturing your attention, and distracting you from the effort of exercise, then these consoles provide it.

The first time I played an HD game, I did not even realise the game has started, I thought it was still the opening cut scene! Awesome. There is a down side as this sort of quality does not come cheap and the titles do not come out thick and fast like they used to. It is easy to see why the last gen PlayStation 2 and GameCube titles still have such a strong following. Even in the face of HD gaming competition, low-cost consoles are still in production. While the expense of the newest consoles and games remains high for most of us, the cost is minimal for commercial organisations, eager to appeal to the young generation.

Using Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, gyms and health clubs will be preparing for ladders, league tables and maybe even inter-brand competitions. Turning fitness in to a competitive sport using video games will benefit everyone, and ultimately help reverse the decline in outdoor sports and physical activity. Better still, when more gyms and fitness centers get hold of equipment like these Gamercize Pods, the myths about gamers being solitary and unhealthy will be gone for good.

Don't expect to see these changes to your local club overnight, it has only recently become socially acceptable for anyone over 25 to admit to "playing games". The huge hype and publicity of the Nintendo Wii is helping change attitudes, and the public "in-fighting" between console manufacturers has kept gaming in the news. Now the public in general is being exposed to a new form of entertainment, more and more are trying it for themselves - and they are loving it. The Wii becoming popular has a great deal to do with this, and the low console price has made the smiles wider.

There is evidence that your local club will change in the future - almost every month it is reported a new dedicated exergaming gym has opened somewhere. They are still seen as somewhat of a novelty, so it will take time for their commercial success to be noted by the big health club brands. When they do notice, it will take even more time to plan refurbishments, procure equipment, train staff, update health and safety rules, formulate marketing strategies and advertising campaigns. So keep playing games for now, exergame too if you have the kit. You are training for an emerging sport where skill and reactions will reign supreme for people of all abilities.

Monday, October 8

The W in www (20 Posts from Around the World)

Gamercize posts from around the World

In no real order, avoiding sites with pop ups where possible, selected web pages from the world containing the phrase "Gamercize".

Collated using the Advanced Search in Google, where you can choose a language or a domain, and the Google Search homepage for different countries. Browse through this list and then try a list yourself. It helps to use a brand name that stays the same worldwide, so choose a name that is not used in common language, trademarks form a useful selection.

I have no idea what some of they say, but that does not matter. The diversity in the web is awesome, and it is not often you realise the true world wide nature of it. The real fun begins when you start clicking links on pages from far away!

  1. UK

  2. Germany

  3. China

  4. USA

  5. France

  6. Israel

  7. Japan

  8. Brazil

  9. Spain

  10. Russia

  11. Vietnam

  12. Ukraine

  13. Turkey

  14. Korea

  15. Italy

  16. Poland

  17. Romania

  18. Australia

  19. Hong Kong

  20. Argentina

Saturday, October 6

Reach the Next Level

Fitness Motivation by Stealth

Everyone knows exercising leads to increased fitness and fitness leads to enjoying a more active life. That is why there are gyms, fitness centers and home gym equipment. The biggest problem in reaching that elusive next level in life is maintaining motivation. How many people have bought home gym equipment, only to leave it unused after a few weeks? How many people have bought gym membership at the start of the year and give up going by April?

Too many. Time and money wasted, not because these approaches are no good, but because the improvement is so gradual it is easy to think you are getting nowhere and just give up. It's no fun, it's tough, you don't have the time and you can't see it making any difference. Very easy to understand, most of us have been there and done it.

Just think about PlayStation and Xbox now. How many people buy these things, and make excuses not to use them? How many Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo games consoles sit unused in the garage? Here is a proven formula for motivation and fun! What a shame playing video games is no good for you compared with playing on the sports field.

Attempting to put fitness into video games is not a new idea, it's been tried as long ago as 1982 by Atari. The problem is putting fitness into games has always focused on the exercise, taking away from the game in terms of quality or control. Remember the gym vs the console? - Motivation comes from enjoyment. Putting fitness into a racing game is a fair example of what I mean. The more effort you expend the faster the car goes. Great concept, but in practice it becomes tedious compared with the temptation to change the game for the shiny new disc which arrived in the post this morning and has the internet raving about gameplay and graphics.

So can you see why Gamercize is so popular and successful for people striving to reach the next level? Reduce the interaction, so exercise can be automatic. Like walking and talking on a phone, or running while listening to an iPod, like playing football on the beach or playing in the park with the dog - it is fitness by stealth with the focus on the fun.

Now change the game with that shiny new disc that arrived in the post this morning and the motivation is boosted even further.

Exercising with this much motivation, and without a conscious effort, will take you to the next level.

Gamercize Video on YouTube

Friday, September 21

It's Time to Change the Game

Which is more important - Games or Exercise?

The combination of video games and exercise is undoubtedly the most exciting concept since the first generation of consoles with interchangeable games.

Video games started as dedicated hardware systems with a set number of games, but the real revolution started when cartridge, and later CD, based systems allowed gamers to choose what they play. Game publishers have created a rich and diverse selection of titles to appeal to all tastes.

Now we have exergames, the combination we have been waiting for, to turn our beloved pastime into a healthy sport. But beware... if the novelty wears off all that is left is another piece of fitness equipment to sit next to the unused exercise bike in the garage. Appeal must be kept fresh with the ability to play new games.

How long an exergame keeps the player engaged is a measure of the fitness benefit and the value. So, take one class of 30 or so school kids, give them ten minutes on interchangeable game equipment (Gamercize of course!) and give them ten minutes on a bike with in-built games. Surely the kids will love both and vote equal favourites?

No. Even after just ten minutes use the kids voted Gamercize 2:1 over the bike with the in-built games. It shows kids are a lot smarter than a lot of people give them credit for, listen to them! When it comes to exergames - the game is more important for enjoyment and the exercise is the fitness benefit.

Tuesday, September 11

VideoJug - Video Game Fitness Film

VideoJug: How To Use Video Games To Keep Fit

See the Wii, Eyetoy, DDR and Gamercize in action, all in the same video!


Welcome to my blog.

Video games are the best form of entertainment technology can offer, but they are not exactly the most popular with every single member of the family. What can be done about that? How can hours of gaming be accepted by everyone? Using games to get fit is one answer that works.

It does not matter if you are using a racing controller or the very latest GZ Pro-Sport, it's all good. It is a fact gaming is related to weight and fitness, not for everyone but for most. Prove it? Ok, Utah has the leanest kids in the USA and ranks least for gameplay, D.C. has the heaviest kids and ranks tops for time on video games out of all the states.

Add exercise to video games and you get a workout that you hardly notice, no interference with gameplay, and after a while the exercise becomes effortless. I know this because I have done it and lost 35 lbs without dieting in the process and played a load of great games on X360 and PS2.

So what's next? Gears of War 2 is something we're looking forward to, but for now MOH Airborne and Blue Dragon are sitting in top spot.