Yesterday morning, I decided I was tired of avoiding eye contact with myself in the mirror before and after showers, so I pulled out the $60 game Robert and I bought almost three months ago to help me deal with this very issue. The game is EA Sport’s Active for the Wii. The game kit comes with an adjustable leg band, which holds the nunchuk controller and tracks lower-body movements, as well as a resistance band with handles for upper-body resistance workouts.
I strapped the leg band to my upper right thigh, having to use the extender to get the band to stay in place without cutting off my circulation, and put the game in the Wii console. Right away, my skepticism and anxiety whether this could be something I would enjoy or stick to were evaporated. The game greets you with a peppy soundtrack as well as the encouraging and motivating narration provided by physiologist Bob Greene (of Body for Life fame). After making my profile, I selected the thirty-day workout challenge. It comes in three intensity levels: low, medium, and high. Although I had myself up to a medium-to-high intensity level this time last year, I had fallen back to my lazy, couch-potato ways and thought I should ease into the program to increase the chances of my enjoying it and returning to it.
After choosing my trainer (the female trainer for accuracy of demonstrations–women’s bodies are different from men’s, after all), I began Day One of my thirty-day workout challenge. She started me with a lap around the track at a walk (which looks like marching in place), and then had me do a couple of laps around the track at a run (jogging in place). The best attribute of this game, from my very first impression, is that it is only ever positively motivational. Rather than saying things like, “You can do better than that,” the game says instead, “You’re doing great! Keep pushing yourself like that, and you’ll meet your goals!” Inevitably, when the game gave me a positive remark like that, I picked up the pace. By the time the run was finished (only a couple of minutes at my intensity level), my trainer said, “Wow! Great job! With a run like that, you own the track!” She was so enthusiastic of my attempts that I could scarcely shut the compliment down with a negative thought. This is huge!
Other activities that I did yesterday included boxing (and the strength of the hit determines whether or not the target is merely tapped or broken apart–you want to break the targets apart), squats, biceps curls with the resistance band, rows, and inline skating.
I have decided that the inline skating is my favorite activity of them all yesterday. It required me to hold a squat for a period of time, and the deeper my squat, the faster my character would skate down the hill. Because I was so focused on the character’s speed and accuracy, I gave little thought to my actual squat. Scattered on the hill, however, are ramps off of which the character is to jump and do tricks. This requires not only a deep squat (to approach the ramp at top speed) but also accuracy in the jump–if your jump is too late or early, the character is unable to perform the trick, which does affect points earned (as well as calories burned). So, the inline skating is not just about squatting, but it is about squat-jumps more to the point. I enjoyed this one the most because by the time I played the inline skating for the second round, I managed to make 7/9 tricks instead of 5/9.
I also earned two trophies yesterday. The game awards trophies for every achievement. No achievement is too minimal for this game, which can really help those who are highly competitive and need more than an encouraging word to keep going. The first trophy I earned was for starting my 30-day challenge, which was considered meeting a first goal. The second trophy I earned was for burning over 100 calories in that workout.
From what I’ve understood, the game is highly customizable according to the user’s needs and goals. There’s even a sliding scale off the profile page where the user can adjust his or her goals at will–meeting goals is another excuse to earn a trophy! Right now, my goals are the default ones given me by the game.
I will take advantage of the customization of the game when I am more confident in understanding my own needs. I believe that if I complete the 30-day workout challenge at all three intensity levels (for a total of 90 days), then I will begin to see what I need more of in order to see the results I’m after.
So, bring it on, Active! I’m ready for you!
P.S. A quick glance over at the EA Sports page for Active, it looks like there’s an entire community for players! Also, a new expansion of the workouts comes out in November. I’m excited! 🙂
P.P.S. I forgot to mention the length of my workout and how much I ended up sweating. It lasted about 45 minutes, I think, and I sweated like I was working out outside, even though I had my A/C turned all the way down. I was sore when I woke up this morning, as though I had gone to the gym. I’m really looking forward to seeing more results!