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HMX Fitness Challenge Update: Close To The Finish Line

Leading up to the launch of Dance Central 2, a group of Harmonixers joined forces to participate in a Dance Central Fitness Challenge to get in better shape and improve overall health while having fun. As part of the fitness challenge the group has been separated into “Crews” for accountability and motivation. One of the guidelines of the fitness challenge is to make Dance Central or Dance Central 2 a primary source of exercise (that’s where the fun part comes in). Participants are required to weigh in every two weeks and keep journals for progress tracking.

A few of us recently started using Fitbit devices to see if using a device to track progress would affect our activity levels and results. Let's see how our crews are doing!


Name: Jessa (HMXJessaBrez) Age: 23 Total weight loss percentage: 9.5%

I’ve hit a winter slump, which is always a bummer. I think it’s harder to stay motivated to eat healthy and work out after the holidays rather than during them. When there are cookies and cakes everywhere, it’s hard to not at least be a little bit aware of what you’re eating, and easier to work out to make yourself feel better about eating all that pie. But when January hits and it’s just cold and dark (and the world is full of melted snow if you’re in Boston), I’m highly motivated to just sit on my couch and carb load. My Fitbit is helping get me off my butt and standing/walking as much as possible (I no longer sit on the subway!), but I’m not surprised my weight is in a holding pattern right now. Sometimes it’s okay for “staying the same” to be your goal for a while, as long as you aren’t just giving up on yourself completely!

As for the Fitbit device I'm using, the main motivating factor for me is that the website it syncs your activity data to shows you a very clear pie chart of time you spend sedentary, lightly active, moderately active, and highly active. Actually seeing the breakdown of how much of my day I spend sitting on my butt motivates me to stand more, walk more, and move more. When I’ve looked over the activity log for Dance Central sessions, I can clearly see the difference between quicker and slower songs, breaks I took, etc. At least when I’m looking at a chart of my dance session, it makes me want to push myself more next time!

Name: “Jake” (@juliusblaise) Age: 31 Total weight loss percentage: 12.6%

I'm down 37.4 lbs. That's 12.6% lost, which means I’m 7.8 lbs away from my original goal. I feel really good about that. As it turns out, when you are a nearly 300 lb monster person, dancing a lot takes its toll on your knees. @Ligeri gave me some awesome tips for stretching. I also went and bought an exercise bike so I could give my legs an additional workout. I’m not saying that this is a replacement for DC -- quite the contrary. I’m hoping this will, over time, reduce dance strain by strengthening my legs and knees! As for diet tips, eat something terrible for you at least once a week, but no more than once a day. It keeps you sane while in the maddening sea of Dietland.


Name: HMXcj Age: 27 Total weight loss percentage: 4.2%

I’m down almost a pound from the last weigh-in. It’s been slow-going, but the steady pace is encouraging. I’m still walking a lot and trying to play DC2 more. I also have been tracking with the Fitbit and trying to remember to start Runkeeper more often on walks – seeing my stats and getting badges on those systems helps me stay motivated. Cutting out the snacks is probably my biggest challenge, especially with my coworker Abby bringing in to-die-for toffee bars, not to mention Girl Scout Cookie season is in full effect.

The Fitbit was a breeze to set up and is super light and inconspicuous to wear. Being able to see the steps, miles, and flights of stairs climbed is awesome. The stairs report is especially motivating -- after having done a 61-floor charity stair climb at the John Hancock Tower last year, it bums me out when I don’t hit the ten-flight goal each day.

I wore my Fitbit for two days at Universal Studios and was so excited to watch my steps soar as I walked around the park and through lines for roller coasters (20,000+ steps each day!). Seeing me hit the top of my friend leaderboard for steps (take that, HMXamgo & HMXjessabrez!) motivated me to keep my step count high after my vacation ended.

I’m enjoying tracking my food on, and I just downloaded the iPhone app so I can track on the go. Fitbit really seems like a holistic way of looking at your health – rather than just tracking calories or just wearing a pedometer, I can see how my activity levels and my food intake are affecting my weight together.


Name: John D. (HMXJohnD) Age: 27 Total weight loss percentage: 3.5%

This weigh in was completely neutral. We've been traveling a bunch for Harmonix business and it's hard to stick to a diet/work out plan on the road. Mostly I just miss Dance Central! I'd like to be making steadier progress and getting my groove on. Hmph.

Some of the new extensions of DC have had me back into the world of dancing again, though – I've been trying to beat everyone (except for our QA folks) on all the leaderboards in the game! Since I have all our DLC, that's a lot to work through, but it's a fun motivator to keep me playing!

Name: Annette G. (HMXamgo) Age: 25 Total weight loss percentage: 1.2%

Not quite at zero like I was at the post-holiday weigh in so that's a good thing, I suppose. Reworked my diet and eliminated all junk food from my kitchen to see how that affects the next weigh in. I've also been using Fitbit along with a few of the other ladies in this race and definitely found it to be a huge motivator to keep moving. The device's robust website shares a lot of information from steps taken to how many times you wake up in the middle of the night -- all of which is taken straight from this tiny device you just clip onto your clothes. Since my competitors are also on my friend leaderboards on the Fitbit site, I'm driven to hit first place for highest number of steps taken by always taking the stairs, taking long walks on nice days, attending all of my dance classes, and always going for longer Dance Central sessions. It blew my mind to discover how much time I was spending just sitting  in one day! Now I'm all about less sitting around and more dancing!


Name: T-Money Age: 40s Total weight loss percentage: 2.2%

Sadly, I gained over these past two weeks after doing so great during and post-holiday. Recent business trips have taken me away from DC where I didn't have time or a place to exercise, and ended up eating more than I should. Very sad to not only have gained weight, but I also really miss dancing and the energy it gives me when I am consistently working out with DC on most mornings before work. That said, I am planning to get back to 3 to 4 times week dancing when I'm in town. Unfortunately, I have a lot of travel in the near future so I need to figure out a strategy for on the road! I can't wait to get back to the custom playlists. I enjoy making single choreographer ones as I really like getting into one of their styles at a time. It feels like you are in their dance class. Love that! When I'm having so much fun just dancing, I don't even think about how hard I'm working out. It's the best benefit there is.

Name: Big Cent Age: 31 Total weight loss percentage: 1.4%

So I backslid since last time and am very disappointed. I have a tendency to let food-related discipline out the window whenever work gets busy, and that’s basically what happened. That being said, I’m gonna take inspiration from the song “Beautiful Morning” by Little Brother: "Each day is another chance to do the things I could’ve done the day before, but didn’t and known I should’ve."


Stay tuned to over the coming weeks for the final results from these Dance Central Fitness Challenge members! Want to get involved? Share your own Dance Central Fitness Challenge progress and tips on our official Facebook page, in the forums, or tweet @Dance_Central on Twitter with the #DC2Fit hashtag.