I have not blogged in a while, but I do have a lot to say. Rather than come up with a huge post with all of the different topics, I will break each post down and limit it to one main topic.
I have been playing about 1 hour of Dance Dance Revolution, and fitness wise DDR ranks right up there with the following influences in my life:
* Westside Barbell/EliteFTS conjugate training method (for powerlifting) - 2000
* Earning Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) certification - 2007
* Earning my ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) certification - 2008
Since trying DDR around Thanksgiving of 2008, I have lost about 13 lbs with no loss of strength (and I consider myself pretty strong). I can literally take off my jeans without unbuttoning them now. DDR is so much RIDICULOUSLY better than "cardio" treadmills and exercise bikes for the following reasons:
- You actually move you body while doing it. You move left, right, forwards and backwards. You jump in those same directions. You move rhythmically. You need to not only move, but it also encourages hip rotation. This movement of your whole body means that: 1) you burn more calories, and 2) you are moving like a human being instead of a hamster (if you think that I am being flip, go to the gym and watch the treadmillers actually try to walk - they walk like apes.
- It improves reaction time/reflexes
- This is one of the few things that feels like a sport. I really felt this when I was playing the game at Gameworks and had about 7 people watching me.
- The song does not slow down because you are tired. You are forced to keep up.
- You proficiency is measured quantitatively and objectively. Each step is graded on a scale of (Marvelous, Perfect, Great, Good, Almost, and Boo) and point are accumulated and records for max combos and total points are recorded. Also a letter grade (AA,A,B,C,D,E) are given. DDR has not problem telling you that you suck (unlike the rest of our PC world). Some of my most defining moments in my life have come from someone (parents, soccer coach, boss, friend) telling me that I suck.
- DDR encourages "efficiency of motion". Because the song comes at you, you are rewarded for minimizing wasted motion. Examples are: 1) Trying to keep your feet "under" your shoulders. 2) Trying to keep your feet as low as possible. What is funny about this is that these are the exact two things that I learned as a soccer player about 30 years ago.
- The jumping and frequent change of direction work your calves like nothing else. It works the calves and tibialis anterior in all direction and planes of motion (i.e., no shin splits)
I am now playing on EXPERT level and can keep up with most songs on DDR/Hottest Party. Here are the songs that I got an A on:
* Black or White
* Makes Me Wonder
* Come Rain Come Shine
* I Ran
* Don't You Forget About Me
I also have 11 songs with a "B" grade and I am on the cusp of getting more As.
Here are some parting final observations/notes:
* I recently included the "Marvelous" rating
* I scaled the arrow speed up to 1.5. I noticed that because there was less arrows on the screen, I danced more "instinctively" and my scores went way up. I mention this because in personal training you should try to initially position the "athlete" (not hamster) so that they instinctively do the exercise correctly. This is how you create that "aha" moment that has closed a lot of my recent sales (both inside and outside Family Fitness)
* I would like to get a glass dance pad. I am not a huge guy (about 5'6"/188), but I am killing that dance pad.
* I recently place the game where I kept my legs together except if there were double arrows. This meant that I needed to hop from arrow to arrow in all different directions. Best calf workout imaginable.