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Whenever I find my belly becoming disproportionate to the rest of my body, I don't hit the treadmill. And while the Ab Circle Pro seems to bring a strange sense of euphoria to the workout experience (check out those smiling faces!), I can't justify spending $250 on a piece of equipment that will likely become my official dust collector in three months time–my Iron Gym pull-up bar, Guitar Hero drum set, and air hockey table fill that void. I'd play Wii Fit, but I don't like my workout equipment insulting me.

When seat belts start digging into the underside of my stomach, I bust out Dance Dance Revolution and (as the kids say) start busting-a-move. I've been on the DDR regimen on a few separate occasions, and I've been able to shed some poundage every time.

If you, too, are looking to get on the DDR regimen, here are a few tips to get you started.



Choosing among the many versions of DDR


DDR hasn't been relevant since 2004, but it's still available for almost every current-gen system.

Save yourself the headache of deciding which DDR to get–every version is pretty much the same. Some versions have a tacked-on mission/story mode, and the Wii renditions include the obligatory half-assed motion controls that allows players to use their hands, but the games are pretty similar beyond that.

I love wasting my money, so I bought three versions of DDR for the Playstation 2: DDR Extreme, DDR Supernova, and DDRMAX2.



Not to be confused with "DDR:  Super Maxtreme Awesome-fun 10th Mix."

Besides the increasingly intense subtitles, the only major differences among these games are that Konami changed the menus and swapped some mediocre J-pop songs for other, equally mediocre J-pop songs. That's okay, though, because every version usually has 10-15 tunes that are decent enough to repeatedly come back to.

You have to get good before you get thin

Most versions of DDR have a workout mode that keeps track of how many calories you burn every play session. You can burn 300 calories in a half hour on Heavy/Expert, but you'll have to build your foot/eye coordination on the lower difficulty levels before attempting the harder modes.

Skip the handicap-friendly Basic mode and go straight to Medium/Standard. You will quickly build your coordination this way, allowing you to get to the tougher difficulties faster.

An important thing for newbies to remember is that staying in the middle of the dance pad isn't necessary. Most people who try DDR for the first time want to step on an arrow and quickly move their foot back to the center of the pad. Just remember to loosen up.

Playing DDR comes at a price

Go ahead, try to watch watch someone play DDR and not ridicule and/or pity them. I'll even supply some links (Note: choreographed moves are not necessary).

DDR is one of the most embarassing games to play, period. The only game that is more humiliating to be caught playing is Pokémon. Maybe.

The first (and last) time I played DDR in front of my non-gamer girlfriend, she said, "You look like someone from Riverdance." While I played, her incessant giggling wounded my pride so viciously that I had to turn off the game. Micahel Flatley never faced such degradation.

If your non-gamer friends find out about your DDR habit, they will mock, scorn, and de-friend you, in that order. You've been warned.


Dealing with sweaty, smelly, and grunting muscle-heads at the local Snap Fitness is annoying. Playing DDR in your own home is a good alternative to the gym because it gives you a great workout without the sounds and smells that come with a public gym

But if you decide to try out the DDR regimen, just remember to lock your door and close your blinds before you play the game. You want to lose weight–not friends.