Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Things I've Bought That I Love: Wii Fit

Remember how my brother got me a Wii for my birthday last year? Well, I finally got a Wii Fit Board to go with it. Yes, I realize it's like a year later, but whatever, I've been busy and had lots of other important things to but first, give me a break, guys! Anyway, it's mostly M-D's fault, she had one at her apartment, I went over there to hang out and drink martinis, then got distracted playing Wii Fit while drinking my martini...a fantastic combination, I know. But, seriously, it's super fun. Really.

When I was at M-D's, I did the Wii Fit Body Test, to which the Wii responded that I was underweight and had the body of a 42-year old. Awesome. So, that image of my weakening, sickly, decrepit body in my head, I vowed to get my own Wii Fit, so I could mold my body into the shape it should be at my rapidly advancing age. Unfortunately, Best Buy was all out of Wii Fits when I went the next day, so I had to order it online from Amazon and wait a few days for it to be delivered. I also ordered the Wii 5-in-1 Fitness Bundle, because I'm very wealthy and buy whatever I want, no matter how useless. The real reason was that I wanted a bright green yoga mat.

Since I had a few days off before being forced to exercise daily, I made the most of it by mainlining cheese and crackers and eating as much dark chocolate as I could get my hands on. Once the Wii Fit arrived, I immediately hooked it up and set up my account. Upon doing my first body test, the Wii again told me I was underweight (and shrunk my Mii down to a minuscule size) and gave me a Wii fit age that may have been 46, I can't remember. Whatever it was, it's clearly well beyond my years. So, with my even more aged body in my minds-eye, I set to work on unlocking various fitness items on my Wii Fit.

Now, I do yoga on a fairly regular basis - I take two classes a week after work and do at least two, maybe even three days of yoga at home, so I figured I'd start with the yoga poses the Wii teaches you how to do (there are four sections to the Wii Fit: yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance games). I chose my trainer (the male one, I'm not looking at some jacked up female trainer for an hour, especially in my allegedly sickly state, besides, I could refer to the male trainer as Ed without getting as many weird looks) and opened up the yoga menu. Here he is doign some sort of single leg extension:

Most of the initial poses are based solely on balance, not really flexibility, like tree pose and half-moon. However, it's really tough to keep your balance while standing on the board and while leering at the tiny red dot, flitting across the screen, showing you how ridiculous your center of balance is.

The first days were tough, but I think I got a little more used to it aver time, my average ratings have definitely increased since the start. Once you unlock more yoga poses, you still focus on balance, but also on strength and flexibility, which is the point of yoga, after all, and what makes it a good set of exercises to do. I just wish there were more yoga poses available, as of now, I do the Wii Fit poses, then do a few more on my own.

The strength training exercises are actually pretty good. They mostly focus on your core muscles and are mostly rated by how well you keep your center of balance and how much pressure you put on the Wii Board. I'm particularly fond of the "challenge" exercises, where I get to try to beat Ed by holding plank pose longer than him, or doing more jackknifes. He gets all out-of-breath and when I beat him, which is kind of funny. Plus, I get to yell, "In your face, Ed Helms," when I beat his ass, which is something I'd never yell at the real Ed. It'd be awesome if I could work out with Ed one day.

I haven't done many of the aerobic workouts on the Wii, but the ones I have done do get your heart pumping. There's a step one, a boxing one, and a hula hoop one that almost made me collapse on the ground in a panting heap. I clearly need to incorporate more cardio into my daily life. The balance games are pretty fun, too, although I'm not very good at them. I like the table tilt, where you lean while standing on the Balance Board and the "table" on the screen tilts around, as you try to get a series of colored ball (TWSS) into various holes on the table (TWSS). There's a ski jump, which I'm the reigning champion of, and ski slalom and snow boarding game, which I SUCK at and some other balance games which I haven't played so much, but I'm sure they're fun - you get to dress up your Mii as a penguin for one of them!

Full disclosure: that's not my Mii, I got that picture from Flickr, via Google Images, so apologies if it's yours...I'm at work, or else I'd take a picture of my own Mii in that ridiculous get-up.

Bottom line, I think the Wii Fit is a good complement to other exercise, or, if it's your only exercise, it's definitely better than nothing. It seems to be better at strength building and helping train you to have better posture, rather than weight loss, but I guess that's kind of the nature of the program. I think it's very useful for tracking your exercise progress, as you can just sign in once a day to do a quick body test, which checks you BMI and calculates your Wii Fit age. As long as your BMI goes in the direction you want it to go and your age decreases, you must be doing something right, with or without the Wii Fit Board. You can also add in other exercise you do, outside of Wii Fit, in your exercise log, so it's a good way to keep track of how many hours you spend exercising. It does yell at you if you don't do a body test everyday, so don't skip them. Or, skip them if you want, I feel bad for the little cartoon Wii Fit Board, so I try to do a body test everyday. If I kepp it up, maybe I'll gain the 1/8 lbs I need in order to be within the healthy weight range!

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