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July 22nd, 2009:

Day Eleven: Recap – The Case of the Space Case from Outer Space

Today’s recap is brought to you by: OUTER SPACE!

If you head toward the first star to the left and straight on 'til morning, you'll run into that damn giant space baby.

If you head toward the first star to the left and straight on 'til morning, you'll run into that damn giant space baby.

I’ve been feeling weird today. Spacey. I’ve had trouble remembering things. What I’m doing, passwords, names, etc. It’s not uncommon for me to walk into a room and have no idea what I came in for. But today it’s been like that across just about everything. I’ve also had trouble concentrating. If my brain were a record album, it seems to be jumping between grooves every few minutes. How’s that for a dated reference!

Aside from being a total space case, I fell great. I still have a bit of soreness in my thighs and upper body, but I’ve got plenty of energy.

I don’t really know to what I should attribute the mental wandering. I know some people can get spacey or irritable when their blood sugar gets low. Maybe that’s what’s going on. I’m used to running on a high calorie diet of fat and sugar with no real physical activity. Now that we’re a few days in to adjusting that pattern, maybe my brain is freaking out a little.

Obviously I’m not a doctor or nutritionist. Otherwise I wouldn’t describe a neurological response as “freaking out”. But I would assume that our bodies get into a routine and build an equilibrium around that, and when the routine is disrupted things can get a little dodgy.

At the moment I’m not super concerned about this development. But if you find me on the side of the freeway wearing every article of clothing I own and muttering about balance boards, maybe you should give me a cookie.

Nutrition Facts:

Total Calories: 1156.5
Calories from Fat: 313.17
Fat: 34.85 grams
Carbohydrates: 121.03 grams
Fiber: 13.7 grams
Protein: 95.05 grams

Exercise Level (Moderate):

Walking    2.8 Miles    Easy
Walking    1.0 Miles    Easy
Wii Sports – Bowling Test    X
Wii Sports – Putting Test    X
Wii Sports – Heavy Bag Test    X
Wii Sports – Test    6 minutes (Age: 27)    Easy
Wii Sports – Baseball    15 minutes (7-9: Loss)    Easy
Wii Fit – Basic Run (Long)    68%    Moderate
Wii Fit – Super Hula Hoop    791 points    Moderate
Wii Fit – Basic Step    203 points    Moderate
Wii Fit – Basic Run (Long)    73%    Moderate
Wii Fit – Sideways Leg Lift (10)    62 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Sideways Leg Lift (10)    58 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Single Leg Twist (10)    63 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Single Leg Twist (10)    77 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Rowing Squat (15)    100 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Rowing Squat (15)    100 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Lunge (10)    100 points    Moderate
Wii Fit – Torso Twists (3)    79 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Push Ups & Side Plank (6)    100 points    Moderate
Wii Fit – Single Leg Extension (6)    28 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Single Leg Extension (6)    66 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Deep Breathing    90 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Standing Knee    81 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Palm Tree    66 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Sun Salutation    90 points    Moderate
Wii Fit – Warrior Pose    97 points    Easy
Wii Fit – Balance Bubble    1:21.55    Easy
Wii Fit – Total Time    40 minutes    Moderate
EA Sports Active – Batting    2 minutes    Easy
EA Sports Active – Back Court    2 minutes    Easy
EA Sports Active – Bump & Set    2 minutes    Easy
EA Sports Active – Passing    2 minutes    Easy

Foods Devoured:

Water
Raw Almonds
Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte
Water
Ciabatta Bread
Balsamic Vinegar
Water
Chicken Breast
Broccoli
Ciabatta Bread
Sauce
Water
Water
Trader Joe’s Almond Butter
Fuji Apple

I got a late start to the day today, which explains the relatively low calorie count. The quality of food today is a bit better than it has been this week. The chicken breast was fresh, not frozen. Not locally grown, but what can you do. The Ciabatta bread only had about five ingredients, all pronouncable. The sauce was from scratch. And the almond butter was made out of only almonds, and the apple was made out of just apple.

This is the first day where I’d say that the bulk of my food wasn’t something processed. While I wouldn’t call it nutritionally perfect, I’d say it’s a step in the right direction. I had my usual coffee craving, but I haven’t had the urge for chocolate. Until just now when I typed it. Damn.

Day Ten: Recap – Mamma Said Punch You Out

The Pope, a Rabbi, and an otter walk into a bar. The Pope says to the Otter, “I know a man with a wooden leg named smith.” The bartender says, “Get out of my bar.”

Punch Out

I woke up today feeling sore in my neck, shoulders, and thighs. I guess the fitness test and yesterdays, albeit light, workout are catching up to me. It just goes to show how out of shape I actually am. The soreness wasn’t bad enough to interfere with today’s workout, but it did cause me to dread it a little.

After completing the Wii Sports and Wii Fit activities I popped in Punch Out, switched it over to motion control, and activated it with the balance board.

The punching takes a little getting used to. Just punching will always throw a low punch. You need to hold up on the directional stick to punch high. Since I had just played Wii Sports boxing where you can change the angle of your punch by changing the angle of the remote and nunchuk, I was a bit disoriented at first. Glass Joe got some good hits in and almost knocked me out. Glass Joe!

Once I was acclimated to the punching though, Joe was a piece of cake. So was Von Kaiser. Where it got dicey was Disco Kid.

When you’re playing with the balance board you dodge punches by leaning left or right. The problem is, the balance board isn’t very sensitive when it comes to detecting your lean. I understand that the designers wouldn’t want players accidentally triggering a dodge, since that could be very frustrating. But you really need to shift a lot to trigger the dodge animation.

If you’ve played Punch Out you’ll know that Disco Kid is essentially a dodging tutorial. He’s the first opponent where the direction of your dodge matters. If you dodge the wrong way, his strong punch will connect. The delay between me throwing my weight to the side and the character animating was a problem. But a bigger problem was that Mac would often dodge the wrong way. I was very confused, until I realized that I was pushing off with my other foot in order to push myself in the direction I wanted to dodge. This meant that just before I leaned to the right, I’d press down with my left foot – or vice versa.

I’m not blaming the game for this. It’s just the way my body was compensating for the speed and magnitude of the shift necessary to make Little Mac respond. But it would have been very helpful if the game had a sensitivity slider that let you fine tune how much of a weight shift was necessary to dodge. It also would have made the balance board more responsive to my feelings, and after the game we could have read The Bridges of Madison County together.

I eventually beat the Disco Kid by removing the off foot from the board when it was time to dodge. For example, if I needed to dodge right, I’d pick up my left foot which put all my weight on the right. This worked, but created some unnecessary complication and dissonance between the control scheme and the animation.

On to King Hippo! I figured King Hippo would be pretty easy compared to the other three. His pattern is simple, his punches are slow and easy to dodge, and you only have to knock him down once. As I expected, the fight went really well until he got down below half-health and started doing his ear boxing punch.

I knew I needed to duck, but I couldn’t figure out how. The controller help said to hold down on the analog stick, but that definitely wasn’t working. I tried the d-pad, holding Z & B, no good.

Then I ducked. And then Little Mac ducked. And all was well.

Unlike dodging, I found the ducking to be super responsive and actually fun to use. After figuring it out I started ducking all of Hippo’s punches, and he was knocked out most soundly.

So how is Punch Out as a workout? It’s not as vigorous as Wii Sports boxing. There isn’t so much constant bobbing and weaving. The punches are timed around the opponents attack patterns, so you’re swinging less frequently. But despite that, I did find myself working up a bit of a sweat before the King Hippo match was over.

The balance board was a mixed bag. Dodging, a really central part of the game, disappointed. It was unresponsive and worse, sometimes backwards. But the ducking felt great. When playing Punch Out for a workout rather than as a game, I would recommend the balance board for the extra activity and immersion. Just expect some frustration with it and stick to opponent’s whose patterns you’ve already learned.

I first played through the game with the NES control scheme. But now I feel like it could be fun to play with the motion control, sans balance board. It is somehow more satisfying to pummel with your fists rather than by tapping buttons. As with the balance board, I feel like imprecision with the motion control could become a problem with the hardest opponents where split seconds count. But if you’ve mastered the game it would breathe a fresh challenge into it.

Nutrition Facts:

Total Calories: 1387
Calories from Fat: 399
Fat: 48.9
Carbohydrates: 182.9
Fiber: 20
Protein: 84

Exercise Level (moderate):

Walking
Wii Sports Test
Wii Sports – Boxing
Wii Fit – Basic Run (short)
Wii Fit – Sun Salutation
Wii Fit – Tree Pose
Wii Fit – Half Moon
Wii Fit – Warrior
Wii Fit – Single Leg Twist (10)
Wii Fit – Rowing Squats (15)
Wii Fit – Lunge (10)
Wii Fit – Torso Twists (3)
Wii Fit – Pushups & Side Plank (6)
Wii Fit – Hula Hoop
Wii Fit – Hula Hoop
Wii Fit – Basic Step
Wii Fit – Super Hula Hoop
Wii Fit – Soccer Heading
Wii Fit – Total Time: 30 minutes (moderate)
Punch Out with Balance Board

Foods Devoured:

Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala w/ Cumin Flavored Basmati Rice
Water
Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte
Water
Water
Soy Milk
High Fiber Joe’s O’s
Chicken Breast
Emmentaler Swiss Cheese
Trader Joe’s 50/50 mix
BlackBeans
Water
Vanilla Yogurt with Chocolate Chunks
Water

Overall I’m pleased with today’s food choices. I’ve taken in less calories than I was eating each day last week. A lot less. And yet, I haven’t felt hungry or deprived. My meals have been small, but scattered throughout the day. While a lot of the foods were still packaged convenience foods rather than real fresh foods, they were less offensive than some of the fast food I had been grabbing before.

The yogurt and chocolate snuck on there again. As long as they were sitting there in the cupboard and fridge, they were taunting me. They needed to be dealt with once and for all. I will avoid the urge to bring more chocolate into the house, which should curb my tendency to combine it with everything.