Wii are getting fit

Michael Boylan's picture

That headline, while clever, is a little misleading. I am the one trying to get fit with the new Wii Fit. My wife is already in great shape. Just two months after the birth of our daughter, she is already back to her weight before we even had kids. And yes, I am more than a little jealous. I enjoyed all the sympathy weight gain while she was pregnant with our son, Colin (another brownie sundae, dear?), but didn’t get to enjoy any of the calorie draining breast-feeding after he was born.

Although I was a svelte (more like emaciated) young man after college, marriage has packed on the pounds and I have been slowly changing my eating and exercise habits to battle it. I had a physical recently and at the end, the doctor told me I could stand to lose a few pounds. I decided to battle the bulge this summer and then, like a sign from God, Nintendo released the Wii Fit and we just happened to get a Wii to celebrate our 33rd birthdays and our seventh wedding anniversary.

Let me start by saying, the Wii is awesome. If you haven’t played it, go to XPlayground in Peachtree City and try out bowling or golf on Wii Sports. It’s really fun. You stand up with a remote attached to your hand and go through the motions and your Mii (the little Nintendo character designed to look like you) does what you do. Swing too hard in golf and you’ll hook or slice, tip your hand on your follow through in bowling and you’ll roll a gutter-ball. We had played with the Wii at my in-law’s house the last few times we visited and loved it, but were reluctant to buy a new gaming system. Thankfully, we decided to go for it this summer.

The Wii Fit is an extremely popular program that offers balance games, aerobics, yoga and strength training. You set up an account and the balance board, which is the very heart of the Wii Fit, acts as a scale and weighs you and then calculates your Body Mass Index.

How cute and clever I thought until it marked me as obese. It made my Mii plump and had me set up a weight loss goal for myself. If I had felt a little defensive about my pudgy belly before, the Wii Fit woke up the bear. I was determined to show this pixie-voiced machine who was boss. Yes, the balance board is also an icon on the intro screens with a cute voice that welcomes you back to your training and tsk-tsks you if you’ve been gone for a day or two.

A lot of the early stuff with the Wii Fit focuses on balance as it calculates your Wii Fit age, which I am happy to report is the same as my actual age and that is a good thing. Now if it would only change my Mii from looking like Chunk from “The Goonies.”

Sabine and I started with the balance games, mostly because they looked like the most fun. One game has you distribute weight to move you Mii and head soccer balls, while another lets you slalom ski down a mountain or perform a ski jump. Soon, you open a game that lets you walk a tightrope between two buildings. I am a master at the tightrope.

After balance games, we moved on to aerobics which featured hula hooping, step aerobics and jogging. Virtual hula hooping sounds crazy considering a hula hoop is 99 cents and the Wii and the Wii Fit will run you just under $350, but honestly, when was the last time you hula hooped? If you went out and bought a hula hoop today, how often would you use it? I think the last hula hoop I had became a pool toy and my family hasn’t had a pool since I was 16.

The jogging is a hoot. For this one, you get off the balance board, toss the remote in your pocket and jog in place. The remote senses how fast you are moving and for the next few minutes you jog around Wii Island and see all the other Miis you’ve created or have hooked up with (Oh yes, it is quickly becoming a Wii World). One guy you pass is out running with several of his Wii dogs.

When we moved to strength training and yoga, the graphics shifted from the cartoony Miis to a sleek personal trainer of our choosing. I picked the female and Sabine picked the male. I’m not sure what that means, if anything. If she has named her guy or started dreaming about him, she hasn’t told me. My interest in my trainer is purely platonic.

The trainers walk you through the exercises which are much harder than the balance games and aerobic exercises and they help keep you motivated and can sense when you are putting too much pressure on one side of the board or not enough on the other.

For every minute you spend on any of these activities, you earn Fit credits and with the more credits you collect, the more games and exercises you open. You can also log activities that you do in the real world and, I can’t stress it enough, you need to keep doing things in the real world too. I’m sure that 45 minutes on the Wii Fit is better than 45 minutes watching television, but I know that if I want to get under 200 pounds, I’m going to need to keep going to the gym, the track or the pool this summer and lay off the junk food.

Needless to say, Wii Fit is very popular in our house right now and Sabine and I have quite the rivalry going in some games. She and I are constantly knocking each other out of the top spot in the ski jump and I am determined to top her hula hoop score.

Also, (and a recent summer cold has had a lot to do with this) I am no longer classified as obese on the Wii Fit. I reached my goal of losing three pounds in two weeks early and am now considered overweight. It might just be semantics, but I think my Mii looks a little slimmer already. Before you know it, I’ll look as buff as Sabine’s trainer and then maybe I can challenge him to rhythm boxing.

login to post comments | Michael Boylan's blog

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 11:27am.

I doubt I'll spring for this (though I probably need it worse than you do).

But this was a fun read with some well-placed humor.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.