Tuesday, 16 October 2012

EA Sports Active 2 - 9 week program finished

Now I know the name of this blog is "All Things Bikes". Well I started heart rate training properly a couple of months ago by keeping in the low heart rate zone on my commute. I felt that it wasn't particularly strenuous and at the time, football sessions had been dropping off due to not having enough players. You can see below that there was only 1 session (y-axis up the side) from the end of July/beginning of August, with not being on at all some weeks through September.

Number of football sessions (y-axis) in a 17 week period from July 1st to 16th October

Also during this time period, the number of weekly bicycle commutes was dropping. I was regularly doing at least 4 per week until around the 15th August, which was the Lakes trip. My thinking here was "Don't go out and wear your legs out unnecessarily". And then after the trip, my bike was damaged and so were my legs!
Number of weekly commutes (y-axis) in a 17 week period from July 1st to 16th October

So in between all this period of stop-start football and bicycling, I decided to break out the EA Sports Active 2 kit on the PS3 to keep on top of my fitness. I worked through the 9 week program (4 sessions per week, 36 total), starting on the 3rd August. I'd record my results in polarpersonaltrainer.com so I could keep track of how I was going.

Number of  EA Sports Active sessions in an 11 week period from August 1st to 16th October

As you can see the program overran due to weekends away biking, stag party and weddings. In the program you can do any missed workouts and alter your schedule to accommodate things like this. Unfortunately, in PS3 terms, I did not actually complete the full program; I missed the end date by two workouts. This meant I didn't get the "gold trophy" (NOOOO!) but I was able to do a custom workout and select the two I had missed #35 & #36. So in real life terms, I did complete the program.

So let's have a look at some figures from doing this 9 week program:

NOTE: All trend lines have their values up the right hand y-axis.


Weight monitored over the 9 week program
My weight decreased nicely over the first 2/3rds of the program, even decreasing slightly over the big gap in the exercises over the weekend 14th September (Stu's stag party) - not eating properly - maybe? After this it increased back to where I left off training (10th September) at 81Kg, which is a 3Kg loss. Result!

Average Heart Rate

Average heart rate monitored by the EA Sports Active kit
The average heart rate is all over the place. From as low as 82 bpm to 119 bpm, this is influenced by all sorts of external factors:
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • How generally motivated you are
This shows that if my max heart rate is 185 bpm and Polar recommend that the weight loss zone is 70%-80%, this is 129 - 148 bpm. I was nowhere near that, more like 54%, which is in the recovery zone. Perhaps if I did the program again, I'd select the harder intensity and not the medium one.

Average recovery time

Every new week a I was made to perform a "fitness test". Heart rate recovery time is in seconds
The fitness test consisted of doing foot fires until my heart rate was up to around 130 bpm (typically after 2 minutes of the exercise), then I had to walk on the spot until it had dropped to what it was before the test. The trend of the graph is generally good. Initially it took 46 seconds, by the end of the program 33 seconds. With a big jump on the penultimate fitness test, which I can't explain - sorry!

Overall thoughts

I took on the 9 week program to stay active and see if heart rate training helps to lose a little bit of weight - I used to never veer off 82Kg so when I hit 84 I thought it would be a good experiment. And yes, I lost some weight and consequently look a little bit leaner (even if I do say so myself).

Whether I restart the 9 week program remains to be seen as it can get repetitive a bit boring. Although, it works. You need to keep on top of it, keep completing the missed workouts which will occur because life is like that and you'll see changes if you commit to exercise.

I also must add, I did absolutely no dieting, just ate and drank what I felt like.

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