December 13, 2012

Virtual Active videos review

Thank you so much for all the nice comments on my post yesterday. I am still so, so excited to be at goal!

Yesterday afternoon, Eli was complaining about a stomachache. He's not the type to make that stuff up, so I felt bad for him. He was moaning and lying on the couch. At around 6:00, he said he felt like he was going to throw up, and he started crying because he hates the feeling of throwing up. I took him into the bathroom, and sure enough, he threw up everything he'd eaten that day. Poor kid. His stomach felt much better after that.

I had plans to meet Stacie at Tim Horton's again at 7:00, so I left as soon as Jerry got home. I spent about an hour chatting with Stacie, and when I got home at 8:15, Jerry said Eli threw up again a few minutes prior. He didn't have a fever or any other symptoms, and he felt better after that, so he went to bed.

At 1:00 in the morning, he came into our room and said he felt like he was going to throw up again. So again, into the bathroom he went, and again, he threw up. I'd already decided to keep him home from school, but I really hoped that it was just a short stomach bug or something. He hadn't eaten anything that I thought would be suspicious of food poisoning.

This morning, I kept him home, but he was much better and hasn't thrown up again. He's been eating just fine, so who knows what was going on.

I went to weigh in at Weight Watchers, then came home and ran 4 miles on the treadmill. Last week, I got some DVD's from a company called Virtual Active. I was really excited when they asked me to do a review of them, because when I looked at their website, I remember wanting to order those DVD's a LONG time ago. I don't remember where I'd heard of them, or why I didn't order them, but they looked interesting.

The DVD's are for viewing while you're on a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike. The videos are supposed to give you the feel that you are running (or hiking, or biking) through different places in the world. They sent me a variety...
Since I did a few treadmill runs recently, I was able to try them out. I did the American Southwest run and the Northern Italy run. It was fun to try something new, and here are my thoughts:

*There is an option to have a (rather good-looking) "trainer" on each video, telling you when to change up your speed or incline, so you're not running the same speed the entire time. It's nice variety within the workout.
*The trainer doesn't give you specific speeds or incline--he may tell you "easy pace, moderate incline" and YOU choose the numbers. He'll give you a PRE number (perceived rate of exertion). It's a scale of 1-10, 1 being very easy and effortless, 10 being as hard as it gets. So again, YOU choose the speed and incline numbers to hit that PRE. Anyone (fast or slow, beginner or experienced) could do it.
*There is a little graph that pops up occasionally to show you were you are in the length of the workout, and its difficulty level. I liked seeing this to know how much I had left.
*It's easy to watch while exercising--sometimes it's hard for me to watch TV shows when I exercise hard, but this was so simple that you don't have to focus or think much.
*If you choose, you can watch the video without the trainer, and just go whatever speed you want. But I really liked the trainer. He talks to you about the scenery that you're seeing and gives you running tips occasionally.
*Each video is broken up into a handful of different locations, spending roughly 5 minutes in each. This would be great for beginners, to try and make it through one location first, and then two, and then three, etc. But they all play back-to-back, so advanced runners/bikers/walkers don't have a lag between each location.
A screen shot of the workout. The 6 is the PRE, and the arrows pointing to
the right are the speed (moderate, because two are highlighted);
the arrows pointing up are the incline (also moderate).

*I think I would get bored with the same DVD after a few workouts. Part of the reason I liked it was that I didn't know what was next, so if I watched the same one a few times, I would know what to expect.
*A couple of times, I actually felt a little dizzy watching it! I would get caught up in the scenery, and not realize that I was getting off-center on the treadmill. That could just be my clumsiness...
*The workouts are short (at least compared to what I'm used to). They are 35 minutes (which includes a 5 minute cool down). It would be nice to have a longer option, or even a "continuous repeat" option.
*Cost. The DVD's are priced at $19.95, and I think that's a lot for a 35-minute workout. However, there is a download option (where you download the video instead of getting a DVD) and that is much more reasonable at $7.95. You have to choose between "guided" and "basic" download--the "guided" means with the trainer; the "basic" is just the scenery. Personally, I would choose guided.

Anyway, you can see sample videos on their website--and what you see in the samples is what you get (except the samples change scenes much faster than the video)--which is nice so that you aren't disappointed when you get it. I am going to be giving away at least one, if not two, of the DVD's as a prize in the virtual 5K next month. They sent me a biking one, which I know I won't use, so if you use a stationary bike, you might like it :)

(In full disclosure, I was given the Virtual Active DVDs for free to review and/or give away; but opinions, as always, are my own).

I've got a busy evening today. We were invited to go to my aunt's house to decorate Christmas cookies. She has her grandkids over every year to decorate cookies, and she always includes my kids as well--which is very nice, because my kids don't have any cousins to do stuff like that with! From there, I'm going to an "Advent Tea" at Renee's church.


  1. Poor Eli, there is a nasty stomach virus going around causing vomitting. I am in WI but it seems that everyone I know has it. And, once it hits, it lasts and can come and go for a few days. I hope he will be on the mend. I agree with him. Throwing up is scary and awful. I hope everyone else stays well.

  2. Congrats on getting to your goal weight! I can't even imagine how good that must feel! But I hope to experience that feeling someday...

    My daughter was sick for days with the throw-ups,it is awful. Hope Eli recovers quickly.

  3. How do I sign up for the virtual 5K?

    1. Just follow the "virtual 5K" link in the post, and it's explained in there :)

  4. This is unrelated, but this shirt made me think of you:

    (Map of the midwest made by people not from the midwest)-- haha :)

  5. The idea is great, being able to run through Tuscany, or along the beach in Maui... maybe it would be better as a subscription, where the places and workouts change often. The company could charge so much per month and you would just set up your laptop as usual.

  6. I've never heard of these videos! They sound very cool... but I can totally see how they'd get boring if you are doing them over and over again. It would have been better if they would do maybe a monthly subscription download where you can get get unlimited scenes and they keep adding new ones. Or they might be better for rental.

  7. We had a similar stomach bug run through our family recently. My younger daughter got it from somewhere. There was vomit and the next day, although she was feeling much better, diarrhea. My husband and I just had the diarrhea and my older daughter caught the vomiting with diarrhea the next day. You should possibly watch out for that and make sure he remains hydrated.

    I hope Eli is feeling better and that the rest of you don't get it!

  8. Those videos are a pretty good idea in theory but they'd be really great if, like you said, they took in account for longer distances and times.

    Sorry Eli was feeling under the weather :(

  9. Sorry he's sick! My kids got a stomach bug thing when we went to Disney last year around this time. They'd throw up, seem to get better, then throw up again. I went on for a couple days for each of them. Then I got it when came home. I spent ALL night Christmas night throwing up in the bathroom. It was one of the worst nights ever. I seem to very sensitive to stomach bugs and always get sicker than everyone else when I catch one. Those dvds seem cool, but I know I'd get motion sickness doing them.

  10. Yay for your goal weight! You are amazing! Boo for the stomach bug! I was up with my little puker all night - she threw up 8 times! Hope your little man feels better. AND congrats again on reaching goal - that is so exciting!


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