Since my car accident in 1999, I’ve had chronic pain in my neck and migraines. For the past 13 years, I’ve lived on antidepressants, muscle relaxants and painkillers. I have an injury that has caused bone spurs to grow on either side of my vertebrae in my neck and when the muscles stiffen, those bone spurs put pressure on my spinal cord and cut off the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid. This is what causes my migraines.

Exercise has had a huge impact on my pain levels, but stretching has really made all the difference. After injuring my knees over a year ago, I realized I needed to get some stretching into my routine. Building muscle isn’t a great idea if those muscles don’t have some elasticity to them.

Thankfully, UFCPersonal Trainer has a wonderful warm up and cool down program. The cool down, specifically, has many of the stretching exercises I really enjoy. Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 also has stretching in the form of Yoga and Tai Chi, but some of the postures aren’t appropriate for someone with osteoarthritis among other things.

My well-worn neck brace.

After just 2 months of doing the stretching exercises, I noticed the pain in my hips was so much better. I could once again sit Indian-style on the couch while writing! I love sitting Indian-style, it makes me feel thin!

If I don’t exercise, my pain comes back almost instantaneously, and I become very grumpy. I’ve been pretty grumpy lately! I’ve been horrible about getting my workouts in, and my pain is back with a vengeance. I can just feel my muscles tightening up because I haven’t been stretching, and my abdominal muscles are atrophying. So, why can’t I convince myself to get my ass of the couch and workout? I have an excuse…

My husband was just diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. He needs to have surgery to repair it and because it’s a workman’s comp (WC) thing, he has to wait for them to pick a surgeon, schedule his consult etc. Meanwhile, I’m stuck doing all the chores, and he can’t move from the couch. Unfortunately, he’s not making any money sitting at home waiting on WC to decide when he can have surgery, so there’s a strong possibility we’ll get behind in bills. To make up the difference, I’m trying to write my little heart out, but it’s really hard to do when you have to take care of everything else in the house as well.

Trying to fit in a workout is proving to be impossible, and not just because I’m not motivated. I really don’t have the time at the moment. Consequently, my pain is getting worse and a vicious cycle is perpetuated. I know I should probably cut myself some slack, but I’ve worked so hard to lose the weight that I have, and I really don’t want it coming back. But, at the rate I’m going, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Despite my attempts to schedule time in my home management notebook and gain extra hours in the day with a biphasic sleep pattern, I’ve failed miserably at getting everything done that I need to get done.

Something has to give. Stretching was so beneficial in controlling my chronic pain that if I need to remove a few things from my to-do list so that I have the time to work out, then that’s what I’m going to have to do. I just have to stop being lazy about it.

“Working out is a personal triumph over laziness and procrastination.” – Unknown


UFC Personal Trainer Game Review with In Game Video

Since I was rather disappointed with the new Your Shape Fitness Evolved  game for the Kinect, I decided to try something new. I’ve always been interested in boxing; my dad won golden gloves boxing in the Navy so it seems to be in my blood. I thoroughly enjoyed the Cardio boxing classes in the original Your Shape game. When UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System was released, I couldn’t wait to try it

I wasn’t disappointed.

UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System  provides a grueling workout while teaching MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting techniques. There are a number of ways to train in the game as well, which keeps things interesting. (I haven’t tried all of the premade workouts yet. I have to work my way up to the more advanced techniques. I’ll be updating this article as I try new workouts).

The game also gives you the capability to create your own workouts, which I have found to be extremely helpful. I’ve been able to isolate areas that I really want to work on such as my abs and arms.

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The New Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012

I recently purchased the new Your Shape game. I hate to say it but I’m a bit disappointed. There are some great cardio programs on there, and the abs and arms classes are awesome, but the Cardioboxing contains the same classes as the first game. 

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 also has warm ups and cool downs now and an option to “run the world.” Run the world is awesome with exception of the fact that since you’re running in place, those with flat feet will inevitably get shin splints. 

There is also yoga. Unfortunately there is only one class that is broken up into four selections. Not alot of variety here. 

Boot camp is another new feature. It’s actually decent. Lots of cardio and strength training at a very fast pace. 

The strength and toning classes however, are not as tough as they were in the first game. This was quite disappointing to me because I really like feeling sore the next day. It makes me feel like I did something. No pain, no gain, right? Many of the toning classes have some of the same exercises as the first game, but fewer reps. To me, this is ridiculous. If you’ve been doing all the reps on the first game for awhile, is lowering the repetition going to build muscle? I think not.

Last but not least, calorie counting. The new game has changed the way it counts calories, or at least it seems that way. For example, the platinum cardioboxing class that I do almost every workout, burns about 150 calories on the original game in a 15 minute time frame. The same class in the new game burns only 60 calories in the same amount of time. If you’re like me and used to burning close to 1,000 calories or more during a workout with the original game, the amount of calories you burn in the new game is VERY discouraging!

All in all, it’s not a terrible game, there are some great classes, but it’s missing some of the good stuff from the first game. Thankfully, I only paid $10 for this game, I definitely don’t think it’s worth the retail price of $50.00. If you can get it cheap, it’s a good add on to the original. If they’re going to charge $50, they should allow you to import classes from the original to the new version. Your score carries over, why not classes?