I don’t think I can drive five miles from my house without coming across a fitness center. LA Fitness there, 24 Hr Fitness here, Curves that way. Everywhere I turn, there’s a flyer or coupon touting great deals for new members. Sure, I get tempted. Goodness knows this body needs more exercise. But in my past are countless neglected gym memberships and monthly dues that only lowered the numbers in my checking account balance, not my bathroom scale.
Oh, how did I shirk working out. Let me count the ways. I didn’t know how to use the machines properly. A personal trainer was too expensive. The wait was too long on the machines I knew how to use. I didn’t have the proper workout clothes. Classes didn’t fit my schedule. Too many beautiful people around. Didn’t want to leave the house to make that 5 mile drive. Hey, gas is expensive!
I think Nintendo heard me and created the Wii Fit. Now I had no excuse. There was no else to compare myself to, no traveling required and it was up to me to work it into my schedule. It didn’t care what I wore and it made working out fun. The Wii Fit was a wonderful step in the right direction of getting people moving. However, I honestly did not appreciate it’s brutal honesty or the “Ohh!” sound it made when I stepped on the balance board. Yes, the BMI information and physical age testing was helpful, but also a little more disconcerting than it was motivational.
Enter EA SPORTS and the latest interactive fitness product for the Nintendo Wii: EA SPORTS Active. Where Wii Fit emphasized Eastern health and wellness with balance and yoga, Active emphasizes Western fitness that gets the heart pumping and the body sweating. It is balance board compatible, but it’s not required, and it incorporates use of the nun-chuck, with a specially-designed leg band, as well as a resistance band with hand straps. Like Wii Fit, users can create a Fitness Profile to track their personal fitness progress.
EA SPORTS Active is composed of easy-to-learn exercises that you can do on your own or with family and friends like in-line skating, tennis, and volleyball, along with the standard bicep curls, shoulder presses, squats and lunges. I’m not a big fan of the running but when interspersed with high-stepping and kick-backs, I can deal with it. My favorite exercise so far is the kickboxing.
There are a variety of activities to do and plenty of fun trophies for you to earn along the way. The tracking emphasis is on intensity and calories burned rather than weight and BMI. EA SPORTS Active collaborated with Bob Greene, of Oprah Winfrey fame, and top fitness professionals to give you the experience of having your own personal trainer right in your living room. You can choose between a male or female trainer. Where Wii Fit involved a lot of reading, the trainers talk you through your exercise and provides visual feedback and demonstrations. I went with a female because I thought she’d be nicer. So far she’s been kind and encouraging.
EA SPORTS Active includes many interactive tools to track your progress while you’re working out and having fun. The Journal tracks your workout progress and rewards you with a daily medal for practicing a healthy lifestyle. You also have the opportunity to record how active you’ve been outside of EA SPORTS Active.
For the truly motivated, there is the 30 Day Challenge. The 30 Day Challenge is purposefully designed with 25-30 minute workouts created from a variety of fun exercises. As you get used to the program, the intensity of the workouts gradually increase. The thought of a 30 Day Challenge may sound daunting, but don’t worry. The 30 Day Challenge incorporates specific rest days right to allow you to recover. The 30 Day Challenge has three different levels of intensity, so after you’ve completed your first 30 Day Challenge, you can try it all over again at a harder intensity level.
You can set three different goals, and they all can be tracked as long as your Fitness Profile is active. You can reset or delete your goals at any time, and EA SPORTS Active gives you feedback upon reaching them (or not). You can set your goals for how much calories you want to burn, how many total hours you want to work out, or how many total workouts you want to complete.
EA SPORTS Active doesn’t come with the balance board, but for someone like me who has trouble staying on it when running “in place” anyway, it’s not such a bad thing. Where Wii Fit would cost a person approximately 4-5 months of the introductory price for most fitness centers, you can have EA SPORTS Active for a price equal to 3 months worth of $20 dues. Studies show three months is about the average most people use of their annual gym membership anyway. However, with the EA SPORTS Active, you can still use it even long after your gym membership expires.