Guest post by Faizal S. Enu
There are a lot new weight loss ideas, methods, and concepts emerging in the fitness industry. About every third day the featured article in Yahoo!News is about weight loss, and there are absolutely a lot of effective ways to shed the fat. If the Yahoo! articles were accurate, everyone would be skinny by now, but most of the stuff you see is either hype or scientific puffery.
I know this because I myself have been working on fat loss. After injuring my back and shoulder, I was holed up for a while. Not being able to lift heavy or participate in sports, my weight ballooned from 182 to 233 lbs in a matter of months. After months of physical therapy, I was able to get back to the gym and the weight slowly started to come off. I was even able to work up to getting my DragonDoor Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) certification.
It has been nine years since the my injuries, and the weight keeps coming off. The fat seemed to just drop off EVEN FASTER after I accidentally discovered a video game. What was the video game?
- Wii Fit, …….yawn, NO!
- Biggest Loser……..HELL NO!
Shockingly, it was Dance Dance Revolution (also known as DDR). Before you laugh or dismiss this, allow me to explain why it works and more importantly, if your weight loss has stalled, why you should give it a shot.
1. Melts the Butter
At a high level, DDR weight loss straight up burns fat like a blowtorch. While a lot of current weight loss products tout not working as hard, high level songs on Expert mode burn 30 calories/90 second song — about the same as Max VO2 kettlebell snatches or a 400m dash. This has been verified with the heart rate monitor.
2. Dynamic Balance
This one is kind of hard to see with an untrained eye, but because the movements in DDR are very fast (3-4 changes of direction/second), the game places high demand on dynamic balance, or staying stable WHILE THE BODY IS MOVING. This is the type of balance that is useful in sports and daily physical activities. How do most trainers train balance? Stationary balancing on unstable surfaces, which is fine for therapy, but I find it doesn’t translate to sports very well and makes your athletes stiff.
In Dance Dance Revolution, you move in eight cardinal directions, rather than one or two. This makes is vastly superior to treadmill running and spin classes in balanced movement and injury prevention. Also, there are many movement types: stepping, hopping, jumping, tapping. You are work much more than just the mucles that flex and extend the hips and knees. Given these facts, I strongly recommend every big-box gym sell two treadmills and replace it with a DDR console.
4. Form Follows Function
When it comes to weight loss, people forget this very important fact — your body will change to better handle the demands placed on it (Specificity Principle). It pays to be light on your feet when playing DDR. How do you get lighter on your feet? By getting lighter. If your training is stationary, there is NO REASON TO MAKE YOUR BODY LIGHTER. Ruminate on that for a bit….
5. Precision, Accuracy, and Objectivity
The scoring system in DDR is set up so that it is meaningful. Simply put, you get points for how closely each of your steps matches up with the steps in the song. Each step is graded by one of the following: MARVELOUS, PERFECT, GREAT, GOOD, MISS. Add up all your points for all the steps and there is your score. Since the evaluations are generated electronically, they are precise and accurate. Since no humans are involved, the score, as well as your progress, are measured objectively. Everybody plays by the same rules and is judged by the same standard.
The score is the score…accurate and objective. No internet pissing matches.
6. Works Well with Others
Unlike other cardio programs out there like running and spinning, DDR “plays” nice with other programs, even strength programs. Even though I have lost ~60 lbs., I still deadlift over 450 lbs and incline dumbell press with 90s or 100s. Another side benefit of DDR is that it gives you great feedback on the status of your Central Nervous Systems (CNS): If you are slower in triple taps or double jumps, chances are your CNS is fried. I sometimes use DDR to determine exercise intensity in the gym.
7. Agility Training
This is a big one. In the gym, I noticed trainers using agility ladders to make their clients more agile. Now any trainer who is actually an athlete knows how useless they are. With agility ladders, you encourage your clients to look down with their eyes and pick up their feet. With DDR, you are encouraged to keep your head up and keep your feet low. Which do you think is a better application for sports? Use agility ladders if you want your face sat on in field sports. Play DDR if you want to do the sitting.
8. It’s CHEAP
$40-60 for a game and dance pad. In my consultation sessions, sometimes I just want to say “Get Dance Dance Revolution/Hottest Party 2, play it for 15-20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 2 months and see what happens.”
9. The Most Important Reason: overweight people are not playing it
This one might upset some people, but that is not my intent. When I see someone killing it at DDR SuperNova in the arcade, there is an extremely small probability that the person is overweight. One of the things that got me into DDR, and it was the same thing that got me into Russian kettlebells, was how athletic and graceful the people who were playing were moving.
In many cases, their bodies and their movement were positively changed by DDR. I am one of those people that follows what successful people do. When it comes to anything, success leaves clues. Usually in fitness, success is just a matter of wading the morass of junk to find what works. I have found something that works, and has worked for many others. If you are struggling, you owe it to yourself to give Dance Dance Revolution a shot.
I have used Dance Dance Revolution to shed about 35 lbs. If your weight loss has stalled, there are a lot of great reasons you should give it a try. It has worked for me and a number of others. It is cheap, fun, and can be done at home. It is a great adjunct to whatever fitness program you are doing. I cannot recommend it enough.
About the author
Faizal S. Enu, RKC (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Strength Coach, Weight Loss Consultant, Boot Camp Leader, and Kettlebell Instructor based out of Tampa, FL. Faizal teaches at Xtreme Athletix (Tampa, FL) and Core Fitness Solution (Madeira Beach, FL) and also provides private training and online fitness consulting.