Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My Fat Ass Review: Wii Sports Active & Wii Fit Plus

So a few years ago when I bought my Wii system I had to sell it to TC…I know what you are thinking – I had to sell a gaming system to a man…yes I did as TC isn’t into gaming at all; preferring to do all his playing on the hunting field with real guns instead of remotes.

Anyway in my mind was the fact that with the Wii you had to get up and move…so therefore, when you played a game you didn’t feel so guilty downing that Reeses Peanut Butter Cup later.

So of course when Wii Fit came out – I had to have it…if for nothing else to make myself feel even less guilty about that Peanut Butter Cup…and it held my interest…for awhile…

The thing is I have never been good about being focused on exercising…my fat ass is a testament to that. Don’t get me wrong there have been periods of my life I could have been classified as a gym rat…well at least for a few months…but inevitably I get bored.

But it is a good thing MORE games came out for the Wii – like My Fitness Coach and EA Sports Active.

Now since I dropped off the face of the earth for a bit I didn’t get around to doing a Fat Ass Review about the Sports Active – so I will do it now…


Wii Wii EA Sports Active is about $50 and can be found at leading retailers; such as Best Buy, Target and on-line at Amazon. It comes with the disk, a leg strap and a stretch band.

The Sports Active have a variety of different strength training and cardio exercises, along with sports activities, such as basketball, baseball, inline skating, boxing just to name a few, that combine stretching, cardio and movement.

You can choose to do a few different things with the AE Sports Active

  • Choose to do a single activity

  • Create your own workout by choosing from among all activities

  • Do a pre-set workout - ranging from ~10 minutes up to ~60 minutes

  • Do a 30 day challenge - easy, medium or hard levels

What makes the AE Sports Active different from the basic Wii Fit is the fact that you can combine activities to create a fairly seamless workout that moves from one activity to the next. I say fairly seamless because there is some downtime between each activity as it shows reminders on how each activity is done.

After playing around with the EA Sports Active for a bit and learning how to do most of the activities I was ready for the 30 day challenge. The object of the 30 day challenge is for you to complete a cycle of workouts within 30 days – the system sets days for you to workout, along with rest days. It does not hold you to those days – if you choose to workout on a rest day or have to miss a scheduled workout day the calendar readjusts itself. Something I found nice, since the My Fitness Coach god forbid you miss a scheduled workout you start back from the beginning as far as “unlocking” new localities and music.

There are 3 levels of the Challenge – easy, medium and hard – the workouts vary in length from day to day. I started my first Challenge on Easy and after a few days switched to the Medium level.

When doing the Challenge you have to option to check if you are using the Wii Balance Board or not. The Balance board is not a necessity for the program…but I think it makes it more fun and a little more challenging. I will say there were certain days when I felt the workout wasn’t long enough – on those days I usually broke out the Wii Fit and did some of the activities on that since I had some workout momentum going. A few of the “rest” days I popped in My Fitness Coach and choose to do a Core workout, as the Sports Active is a bit deficient in that area.

Speaking of unlocking – there is nothing to unlock on the EA Sports Active game – everything is available for you to play – which is nice – no busting your butt only to be disappointed by what you have unlocked…KWIM.

The thing I really liked was being able to create your own custom workouts…not so much for myself but more for TW and PWG. While I can do a workout for 30 minutes – the little ones…not so much – remember they are 8 and have the attention span of a gnat. So it was very easy to make their own workout – they really enjoyed picking out what they wanted to do and I could keep it in a reasonable time frame.

No matter what type of workout you do Sports Active keeps track of both the time and calories burned throughout your workout. The calorie count is an estimated number, from some reviews from people who have worked out while wearing a monitor the calorie burn seems to be fairly accurate.

You do get a good workout from the EA Sports Active – I did break a sweat and my muscles felt it, especially on days mainly devoted to the lower half of my body. My sister, a very sports active fit individual, gave it a whirl and promptly declared it kicked her butt and mumbled something about squat kicks being the devils work.

I will say you will need to invest in a pair of bike shorts or pants that hug close to your body – the leg strap can chafe your skin (or course it could just me and the friction of my flabby thighs). The stretch band is fairly thin– for a beginner like me it is perfect – but for a more advanced person you may want to invest in a heavier band. Furthermore the band is thin – so if it gets a hole in it (like say for example from a cat taking a swipe at it while you are working out…) it can easily tear – so if you find an extra band (look for long physical therapy bands) go ahead and grab it…you should be able to attach the handles to a new band with no problem.

I adore my EA Sports Active and highly recommend it, especially if you are just starting out in attempting to get a bit healthier and get yourself moving more - There will be an addition available come November that promises more workouts, including core workouts and a 6 week challenge – I know what I will be asking Santa for Christmas.

Wii Fit Plus

Ok moving on to Wii Fit Plus. From what I can figure out there is no more basic Wii Fit…it is now Wii Fit Plus. If you don’t have a Balance Board yet and plan to buy one – make sure you buy the Wii Fit Plus package and not the Basic Wii Fit.

The Wii Fit plus is available as a package with the balance board for about $100 or stand alone for $20. The stand alone version is for those of us who already own the Balance Board.

If you have Wii Fit already when you put the Wii Fit Plus disk in it will go through an update and update your Wii Fit Channel to Wii Fit Plus. The Plus version has everything the Basic version has and more…

The big changes are in addition to keeping track of the time you spend it now also calculates calories burned. As with the Sports Active this is only a general estimate and your calorie burn could be higher or lower – but at least you can see an approximate amount – which is nice. At the end it will show you how many calories you burned and show you examples of what that calorie count corresponds to food wise…for example last night I burned about 143 calories…which corresponded to a glass of milk or 1 ounce of fudge…hummm which one to partake in…

The Plus version adds a few more yoga poses and a few more strength poses, but the big draw is the addition of 15 new “games” and they are FUN – they range from having to shake your hips to add numbers up to 10 (while doing this I was reminded of a naughty joke that ended with - nickel, nickel, quarter, dollar...but I digress) to using the balance board to drive a segway through the sand while trying to pop balloons to rhythm Kung Fu to making your Mii dressed as a chicken fly through the air by flapping your arms, and many more. So far my favorite new activity is the snowball toss…you aim to throw snowballs at other Mii’s while trying to avoid getting hit yourself – the really enjoyable part of this is the fact that while there are random Mii’s milling about it draws on the Mii’s set up in your system. I managed to cream TC, my sister and my dad with snowballs last night…must keep playing until my Mom’s Mii shows up.

Another upgrade to the Plus is the ability to challenge other people – up to 9 people can play at one time – play is done by taking turns as all the activities involve the use of the balance board. I really like this aspect as now the girls and I can play Wii Fit together rather than having to switch the Mii’s back and forth.

The last big upgrade is the ability to do preset workouts based on different goals and the ability to create your own workout. However, there are a few drawbacks to this area, when compared to a program like Sports Active. The preset workouts do combine yoga, strength training exercises along with a game activity here and there – in flipping through them last night I noticed most of them were fairly short in duration lasting less than 10 minutes each. In the custom workout area you are only limited to yoga and strength training – so if you want to put together a whole yoga workout or a whole strength training workout then this is a great feature. I only wish you could throw in an activity or two to break up the possible monotony of the workout.

When compared to the Sports Active the Wii Fit Plus falls short in the custom workout mode. This is my personal opinion – one of the big draws for me for the Active is having the (at some times boring) stretching and strength training activities broken up with a round of hitting baseballs or throwing basketballs…thereby making working out seem more like fun and not a chore that it can sometimes be.

There are a few little extras built in; such as being able to weigh a baby or your pet, the ability to choose right and left handed for some of the games, along with some educational information about exercise and calories.

But you all probably want to know what the bottom line is – is Wii Fit Plus worth the money????

YES…absolutely it is. If you don’t have Wii Fit already now is definitely the time to invest in the balance board (especially since more and more games are coming out that are Balance Board compatible) and Wii Fit Plus…and if you already have the Wii Fit – the $20 you spend for the upgraded Plus version is not a waste of money at all – I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent playing it last night and look forward to sharing it with PWG and TW tonight (after all the homework is done) in the multiplayer mode.

Note to myself: work out enough tonight so there is not so much guilt when you sit on the couch eating your Edy’s Tart Honey Frozen yogurt while you watch The Biggest Loser.

For working out and pushing myself – it is EA Sports Active all the way…on my Sports Active rest days or just to have some fun, while burning calories and putting some movement in my day I’ll be popping in the Wii Fit Plus…

1 comment:

jpmayo said...

Great review, Jen:)

I was just about to sell my Wii Fit and EA Active stuff...but maybe not?