Your Shape Fitness Evolved: Week 2 Diary and Giveaway

IMGP4764_thumb1 This week, I tried out Your Shape Fitness Evolved’s Glutes, Toning, Abs, Arms, and Sports preparation workouts.

On Saturday, I burned 110 calories. First, I worked out my glutes  with some squats and kicks (10 calories).  Next, I moved into pushups to work out my arms and burn 12 more calories.  After this, I worked my abs out with some crunches (8 calories).  Then, it was time for some toning.  I had no weights, so I just ran through the motions.  Still, I burned 16 calories.

So far, it seemed like an easy workout.  Then came Sports Preparation: Football Basic Preparation.  Instead of 2 groupings of 3 workouts, I had to run through 6 sessions of 3 workouts!  At the end, I had burned 64 calories.  Yes, this one selection burned more calories than all of the other workouts combined.

P1070372On Tuesday, I decided to keep better track of the names of the workouts.  First up was Arms 100% (B).  This entailed two reps each of Knee push ups, slow mountain climbs, and triceps knee pushups and burned 25 calories.  Next was Abs 100% (B).  This put me through two reps of slow mountain climbs, up & down planks, and fast mountain climbs.  I burned 13 calories and learned a valuable lesson.  Don’t do Abs right after Arms. Ow, my back!

Up next was Toning: Build Strength (B).  This burned 18 calories by working me through 4 reps of bicep combo lunges and 2 reps of dumbbell squats.  Then came Glutes: 100% (B) and 21 more calories were burned.  This had me perform 4 reps of dumbbell knee-up side-kicks and 2 reps of dumbbell squats.

P1070377Then it was time for Sports Preparation.  This time I selected Soccer Basic Preparation.  I burned 55 calories by running through two reps each of power jogging, dynamic leg curls, knee-up punches, dumbbell step squats, curtsy lunge raises, balance skating, jumping jack punches, plyo leg curls, and jab knee-ups.  If that seems like a lot of exercises, it was!  All totaled, I burned 132 calories this day.

Finally, on Wednesday, I burned 219 calories.  How did I exceed my calories burned from the two previous days?  Well, first I ran through Glutes: 100% (C).  This burned 19 calories with 2 reps of braced squats, dumbbell sumo squats, and lunges.  Then, I worked on Arms: 100% (C).  This 38 calories burning workout consisted of 2 reps of Push ups, fast mountain climbs, and triceps knee push-ups.  Next up was Toning: Build Strength (C).  I burned 15 calories with 4 reps of reverse fly lunges and 2 reps of triceps squats.  Next, I tried the Abs: 100% (C) and burned 22 calories with the supported leg stretch, roll up & down, pulse crunch, up & down plank, slow mountain climb, and fast mountain climb.

P1070378If you are counting, you’ll realize this only totals 94 calories.  The other 125 calories came from Sports Preparation: Soccer Cardio & Endurance.  Yes, one hundred twenty five calories!  Instead of the usual 6 sessions of 3 workouts, this had 7 sessions of 3 workouts: Jumping jack punch, triple run punch, front kick punch, slide jump, high knees run, plyo leg curl, power skate, sumo knee lift, x-jog, sprint jump, sumo jump, sprint jump, muscle man twist, dumbbell squat, muscle man twist, single-leg squat, sumo squat, single-leg squat, push-up, up & down plank, and fast mountain climb.  Yes, I was ready to collapse after all of this.


You could win a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved.  Simply post a comment to this blog post.  When my five week series is finished, one commenter from across the five posts will win a copy of the game from Ubisoft.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved by Ubisoft and financially compensated for this  Clever Girls Collective, Inc. campaign.  In addition, I was loaned an XBox 360 and Kinect for the duration of the campaign.  The opinions expressed above, however, are my own.

Your Shape Fitness Evolved: Week 1 Diary and Giveaway

Your Shape Fitness EvolvedI’m always looking for ways to burn calories.  (Running after kids only gets you so many burnt calories.)  Going to the gym may be for some people, but I just can’t take the time to drive there and back often enough.  Any workout I do needs to be able to be able to be done from the home.  Preferably during down time when the kids are asleep or otherwise occupied.  For this reason, I love the latest generation of workout video games.  Don’t let the "video game" name confuse you: these suckers can really make you feel the burn.

During the next five weeks, I’ll be posting my progress with Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved for the XBox 360.  My goal will be to workout 3 times a week and burn at least 150 calories per session.

For my first workout, I began with some warm up activities.  First, I did Hu-La-La, where you wiggle your hips as if you are playing with a hula hoop.  This was very intense and I really felt the effects of this exercise in my stomach.  This burned 8 calories.  Next up, I selected Run the World: New York Times Square.  Running burned 70 calories.  I could have burned more, but I had some trouble with the Kinect losing me while I was running in place.  (This isn’t a fault of Your Shape Fitness Evolved, but seems to be an issue relating to the small size of my room.  After this, I repositioned the Kinect and it seems to be better.)

Testing YSFE at B's parents' houseAfter this, I tried Stack ‘Em Up: Hard, a balance game where you need to hold up a platform to catch falling blocks, to burn 4 calories.  Then, I played Jump Rope: Easy (exactly what it sounds like) for 19 calories.  Next, Wall Breaker: Medium (where you punch/kick to break bricks hovering in front of you).  This one really helped me work up a sweat and scored 23 calories.  After this was Juggle It which is kind of like a virtual hacky sack game (only with a ball).  This surprised me and burned 15 calories.  I didn’t think it would burn that many.  Finally, I played Stomp It: Easy (where you need to stomp panels "in front" of you to the music) for 10 calories and Wall Breaker: Easy for 7.

Total calories burned in this session: 152.

The next session, I tried Pump It (where you flap your arms and bend your knees to inflate and then pop a ball) for 26 calories, Kick It (a soccer goal shooting game) for 19 calories, Hurricane (where you roll your arms around in circles to levitate some balls) for 19 calories, Stack It: Medium for 4 calories, Wall Breaker: Hard for 23 calories and Run the World: New York 5th Avenue for 70 calories.  Total calories burned: 161.

I was going to have a third session, but life intervened.  And by life, I mean JSL got sick and I had to tend to him instead of working out.  I do plan on doing three workouts for next weeks’ installment.


You could win a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved.  Simply post a comment to this blog post.  When my five week series is finished, one commenter from across the five posts will win a copy of the game from Ubisoft.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved by Ubisoft and financially compensated for this  Clever Girls Collective, Inc. campaign.  In addition, I was loaned an XBox 360 and Kinect for the duration of the campaign.  The opinions expressed above, however, are my own.

Aloha Friday: Mind The Floss

johnny_automatic_open_mouth On Tuesday, I went to the dentist.  As usual, my teeth were fine.  They just needed their semi-annual cleaning.  However, also as usual, came the awful question: "Have you been flossing?"  This was followed by my embarrassment-filled: "No."

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have anything against flossing.  I know that it is good for my teeth and gums.  I just can’t seem to work it into my routine, though.  I’ll floss for a few days after my checkup.  Then I forget about it completely until a few days before my next checkup.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: How good are you with flossing?  Do you floss every day?

P.S. If you haven’t already, go visit FollowerHQ and let me know what you think of my Twitter application.

P.P.S. For a bit of fun, try my other Twitter Application, Rout. It’s a +F in Fun!

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #121

Disclaimer: The “open mouth” clipart above is from

Tomato Paste and the Pizza-Vegetable

The news programs and blog sites have been a buzz recently about Congress declaring Pizza a vegetable.  Not some eggplant, pepper, spinach, and broccoli laden version of pizza.  What was being referenced was your typical school lunch slice of pizza.

I have bad memories of school lunch pizza.  I clearly remember a girl taking her fist and punching her pizza.  The indentation she made was clearly visible… until the pizza began to “recover.”  It morphed its shape back to the pre-fist-punch shape.  This pizza apparently had healing capabilities or was cooked with a liberal dosage of rubber.  Possibly the latter considering that kids also used to bounce the meatballs around the lunch room.  (I wish I was joking.  And, yes, I usually brown-bagged it.)

So pizza a veggie?

Well, despite the reactionary tone, Congress didn’t exactly make this declaration.  They did do something nefarious to anyone who wants kids to get nutritious school lunches, though.   Currently, an eighth of a cup of tomato paste counts as if it had the same nutritional value as a half cup of vegetables.  Most other veggies need to be half of cup’s worth before they are counted as a serving.  The Obama administration wanted to remove the tomato paste exception.  Congress blocked this.

Some, mostly the food companies, hailed the decision pointing to the fiber and other nutrients that tomato paste contains.  I’ve used it in my cooking from time to time, too.  So I wondered.  How nutritious is it?

The Washington Post tried stacking tomato paste against various fruits.  They found it fared pretty well.  Still, they pointed out, fruits and veggies vary wildly in their nutritional content.  As they put it: “A half-cup of avocado is quite nutritionally different from a half-cup of zucchini.”

I got to thinking that the best thing to compare tomato paste with are actual tomatoes.  After all, tomato paste isn’t claiming to be zucchini or spinach or apples or oranges.  So why stack it up against those.  Let’s see how 1/8th cup of tomato paste compares to 1/2 cup of tomatoes.  Thankfully, Calorie King let me easily look this information up.


So 2 tablespoons (1/8th of a cup) of tomato paste contains nearly twice the calories and much more sodium as the “equivalent” (as defined by Congress) amount of chopped tomatoes.  (They could use low sodium tomato paste, but let’s be honest here.  They’ll likely use the regular stuff.)  It also has nearly twice the sugar, twice the carbs and none of the calcium.  Tomato paste does best chopped tomatoes when it comes to potassium and slightly beats it out in dietary fiber.  Still, I don’t think the calorie/sodium/sugar tradeoff is worth less than 1 gram of added fiber.

Tomato paste clearly doesn’t stack up, but perhaps it has more vitamins?  Calorie King didn’t display this information, so I found another website, Self Nutrition Data, that did.

Here is the nutrition data for 1/2 cup of tomato paste.  (They didn’t let me modify the amounts.)


Now, here is the information for 1 cup of chopped tomatoes.


They look sort of the same until you realize that you need to divide the tomato paste percentages by 4 and the chopped tomato percentages by 2.  Here’s a handy chart with the final “serving size” percentages:



Vitamin A

Vitamin C



Tomato Paste (1/8th cup)





Chopped Tomatoes (1/2 cup)






You can see that tomato paste still falls short in vitamins A and C.  It has a slight lead in calcium which is interesting given that Calorie King showed it as having 0mg.  (I’m guessing that was due to rounding for a 1/8th cup serving.)  It also has a decent lead in iron.

So, should pizza (or, more accurately, tomato paste) be defined as a vegetable.  Most certainly not.  First of all, there is the nutritional data that I showed above.  Perhaps, the best reason comes from NHL, though.  My third grade son, upon hearing this, declared: “But tomatoes are fruit, not vegetables!”  He’s right.  They are.  You might as well declare apple pie a veggie.  Perhaps we need to hire Jeff Foxworthy to run a special of his TV game show for Congressfolks.  We’ll call it: Are You Smarter Than A Third Grader?

Blood Donated, Lives Saved

IMGP0171_cropOn Saturday night, fueled by a rush of coding creativity, I stayed up way too late.  It was 2am before I shut down my computer and crawled into bed.  Luckily, the next day, B & the boys let me sleep late.  (Well, after NHL’s usual 6am wake-up call to ask if it was ok for him to stay out of bed, go to the couch and watch TV.  Why can’t he learn to sleep in on the weekends?!!!)  I couldn’t sleep too late, though, because I needed to go give blood.

I try to give blood often, but I’ll admit that in recent years I haven’t gone as often as I could.  When I heard that my Temple was running a blood drive, though, I figured I should attend.  So I headed on down, read the now-familiar introductory pamphlets, got the various health-related tests (the iron finger-stick still hurts), answered the now familiar screening questions and then was shown to a cot.

I showed them my blood-giving arm, my right arm with the big vein popping up.  As always, the needle stick didn’t hurt.  It’s more of a quick pinch.  I still can’t watch it be done, though, for fear that I’ll flinch at the worst moment.  The little needle stick was uneventful, though, and soon blood was flowing into a collection bag.

At that point, I asked what was likely an unusual question.  I asked about taking  photos  I explained that I was a blogger and would be blogging about this.  She said I could take photos anywhere except for the questionairre area (due to personal information that is discussed/displayed there) and of the needle itself (as people might be scared off of giving blood if they see a needle close-up photo).  I completely agreed and she took a photo of me giving blood.


As I squeezed a rubber ball, keeping the blood flowing, the collection bag quickly filled.  The needle was carefully removed and a bandage was applied.  Of course, before I left for the snacks area, I had to take a photo of my blood in the collection bag.


Then I was off to the snacks area for the usual assortment of juices and cookies as well as a special treat: cannolis!

IMGP0167 IMGP0168

All in all, giving blood is mostly painless.  The slight pinching of the needle stick and pain of the finger stick are minor when compared to what you are giving.  The blood you give is separated and given to up to three people.  Yes, three people’s lives might be saved because I took an hour out of my day to give blood.  I’d say that’s an hour well spent.

Although my kids couldn’t come with me, I talked with them a lot about it afterwards.  I showed them my bandage and let them know everything that was done.  I told them that it didn’t hurt much and wasn’t scary.  I emphasised how good it was to save lives and promised that they could come with me to give blood when they are older.  I look forward to the day when I can walk into a blood drive with my two boys and watch as they give blood for the first time.  (NOTE: “Look forward to” doesn’t mean “can’t wait.”  Stay little for as long as possible, NHL & JSL!!!)

If you would like more information about giving blood, you can head on over to the American Red Cross Blood Donation website.  Have you ever given blood?  If so, when was the last time you’ve given?

Disclaimer: The American Red Cross didn’t compensate me for this post in any way.  I did this because I feel that giving blood is important.

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