Wii Be Not Fit

A hectic schedule, drinking, and poor diet habits, have led to a lifestyle that is a lot less fit than in my 20’s. While I wouldn’t consider myself obese, it wasn’t until a few months ago I realized just how much larger I had become. My friend Ricardo graciously offered to take some pics of Michelle & I just before Sydney was born. When Michelle & I reviewed the proofs, I was suddenly hit with the reality that I was heavier than I imagined (or not as skinny as saw myself daily). In fact, at 5ft 6in my weight hit a peak of 220lbs in January, but when I looked in the mirror I saw the beer belly that made me appear as pregnant as Michelle this past year. I didn’t notice how round my face had become or that I was slowly losing my chin as my neck had widened a great deal. The brutal truth had been revealed, and I could see what other people had been commenting on for over a year.

I had a chance to pickup the Wii Fit game released earlier this month, but had not set it up until this past week. I chose the Wii Fit mainly because the idea intrigued me, and I have already seen the benefits of playing Wii Sports. The game comes with with Wii Fit controller pad, which is a large floor unit roughly 18×9 inches. The unit is plastic, but felt solid and was fairly heavy. It’s powered by four AA batteries, which come in the package. Setup was a breeze, I simply inserted the Wii Fit game disc, and was walked through the process of creating my fitness profile.

In creating my fitness profile, I was asked to choose a Mii. This is the first game I have played where the Mii had hands & feet. That was not the only visual adjustment made to my Mii. After choosing the Mii you are put through a Body Test. You are asked questions about your height, age, and the weight of the clothes you are wearing. The test measure BMI, weight, and balance. The results of my first body test:

  • BMI 30.46 – Considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 196.5lbs
  • Balance – Poor (Afterwards, I realized the measurement is based on how quickly you find your balance)
  • Wii Fit Age – 42

Upon being told my Wii Fit age, my Mii character suddenly transformed into a heavier obese version. I was impressed and disgusted at the same time. Family & friends had chided me about my weight, but now the Wii Fit was piling on too. My results were certainly less impressive than when Ben Sanders jumped on his Wii Fit.

After completing the Body Test, I was asked to put a stamp on the Wii Fit calendar to mark my results. From there I had the option to go and try different workout routines. There are four main areas including Yoga, Strength Training, Balance, and Aerobic Conditioning. Keeping with the gaming theme, users are awarded Wii Fit points, which unlock various fitness games within the Wii Fit plaza. Being the first day, I simply went through a sample of each area.

I did well in the Yoga & Aerobic areas, but was weak again in Balance, which I attribute more to learning to master the floor controller, and my Strength was decent, but not great. You are led through the various routines by a virtual fitness instructor, and your overall fitness time is tracked to help create the graphs found in the Wii Fit plaza. I kept my first day pretty light, and worked out for about 45 minutes.

This morning was the second time I had used the Wii Fit, and upon entering the plaza I was told it had been 5 days since my last workout. The reminder can be encouraging or nagging depending on your mood when playing the game. I was asked to do another body test, and was surprised to see the following results:

  • BMI 30 – Still considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 193lbs
  • Balance – Good (Better since I understood how to take the test)
  • Wii Fit Age -31 (Yeah me! I’m 11yrs younger)
  • It was nice to see the progress graph after taking the body test.

Conclusion – My first impressions of the Wii Fit is that the game is well suited for anyone new to fitness. The instructions are clear, and the exercises are challenging, but not overly difficult. The gaming aspect is a nice touch to keep your workouts fresh & interesting. For someone who is active already, and in good shape, your opinion might be different. I think a fit person will initially enjoy the game, but soon become bored by the routines. However, I have not unlocked all the fitness routines, and I could be mistaken in that assumption.

I’m going to continue to use the Wii Fit to see if the routine can actually achieve some quality results. Not only am I trying to achieve good health for the sake of my family, but I was recently inspired by the CNN story on Muata Kamdibe who reduced his body fat percentage from 44% to 6.5%. His progress is documented on his blog “Mr. Low Body Fat.”

Update 6/6/2008Laura weighs in on the Wii Fit over at her blog.

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