So I finally gave up humming and haw-wing and bought a Wii Fit when I was in London the other week (well Bluewater with my sis and her niece to be exact).
I’d been thinking about getting one for a while, but really kept thinking well I swim a lot, is it really going to make any difference, and is it worth the 69.99. Keep reading for my thoughts!
What kind of got rid of my post-purchase isn’t-this-an-expensive-gimmick guilt was when I put the Wii Fit in the car in the Bluewater car park. An old man (and we’re talking late 60s here) saw it, and came up to me and said that it was the best thing he’d ever bought, and that he used to weigh 19 stones, and his new svelte self was all down to Wii Fit. I’m 5’8" and just under 10 stone, so I don’t think I need to lose any weight, but I do need to firm up so I was eager to see what Wii Fit ccould do for me.
Getting it all set up with your Wii is really easy, also you don’t need much room in your living room or wherever you’re going to use it. That was a bit of a concern of mine, as I have a small living room, but it’s totally fine.
When you get on the Wii Fit and start it up, the first thing it’ll do for you is a body test. Tell it your height and the weight of your clothing, and it’ll do a BMI test for you, weigh you and do a centre of gravity type test, and give you your Wii Fit age. Weight and BMI are the things I’m most interested in – posture and your centre of gravity seem to be a big thing on Wii Fit, but I’m not sure about that, it is a bit annoying that emphasis sometimes.
Do your body test every time you use Wii Fit, and you’ll be able to see how you are progressing in terms of losing weight, your BMI and your centre of gravity.
Once you’ve done your body test, you are left to your own devices to pick what exercises you want to do. And that’s one of the main down-falls of Wii Fit. I thought you might be able to tell the software what you want to get from it, and it would build you a routine, but it can’t and won’t do that. You pick and choose whatever exercises you want, although you can set yourself goals such as losing X amount of weight or lowering your BMI. In addition, it is completely up to you how many reps / how long you exercise for each time you use Wii Fit. So for example, say you’ve been doing 6 press-ups a day in one of the exercises for 10 weeks, you can still keep carrying on doing that – additional amounts of reps are unlocked after you get good at doing exercises, but it’s up to you to motivate yourself to move up to the next limit of reps.
There are three types of main exercises built into Wii Fit:
- Yoga (above) – here, a trainer shows you how to do different yoga poses and actions. They’re easy to follow, but be warned, you will definitely feel the effects of this in a few days if you’re not used to it! There are a wide range of different routines here, focussing on different parts of the body, such as your waist, thighs etc. Your performance here will be measured by how well you keep in your “centre of gravity” – shown by a yellow area on screen. You’re represented by a red dot, and your aim is whilst doing the exercise to stay inside the yellow area. It’s definitely harder than it looks, but this does seem to help ensure you do the exercises properly and aren’t straining your body. The trainer will also give you encouragement and tell you when you’re going too fast.
- Muscle Workouts – again, you select the workouts you want to do, and the trainer from the Yoga section shows you how to do them. These include exercises such as jacknives (press-ups, but where your feet rest on the balance board and then you form a V shape) and press ups (where you place your hands on the Wii Fit). These were the two exercises I was probably most reluctant (and therefore most needworthy of doing) about, so I was pleased they were on the Wii Fit. These workouts all seem to work as well, given the aches and pains I’m experiencing at the moment!
- Aerobic Exercises – these are a number of different games almost which aim to get you sweating and burning fat. Probably the most famous one is the hula hoop twists routine, shown below
- This looks deceptively easy. It’s not. Think about swivelling your hips constantly for 6 minutes, (the most I’ve got to so far is 700 hip twirls in that time) and you can imagine it’s easy to get a sweat on with that. Other exercises in this section include jogging – where a little character runs in front of you and with the Wiimote in your pocket (and without using the balance board) you both jog around a scenic park. What’s nice is that you have a couple of Miis set up on your Wii, you can see them jog past you (or fall over in front of you as my little sis did yesterday). Two other exercises in this section are Step Routines and Rhythm Boxing. Once you’ve got pretty good at them, again the time you can spend doing them increases, but you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to (not a good thing if you’re easily led!)
- Finally there are some novelty balance games, like slalom-skiing and being dressed as a penguin and trying to catch fish – by leaning over one way or the other. These are just fun little additions, so I kind of use them to reward myself after using a workout.
So is it worth it?
One thing’s for sure – Wii Fit isn’t going to get you fit unless you work at it. It’s too early to say if it’s worked in terms of firming me up, as I’ve only had it two weeks, but it feels like something is being firmed!
You will need to dedicate probably about half an hour a day to using it, and you will need to motivate yourself to move up to the higher number of reps / longer times at aerobic exercises.
+ves – you don’t need any special equipment apart from what comes with Wii Fit.
you can do it in your (even relatively small living room)
the exercises are not just novelties – they could work provided you put the effort in
it’s cheaper than a gym membership
-ves – it won’t build a routine for you
it won’t tell you what exercises to do based on your needs
you will need to get into the habit of using it regularly – it’s an expensive piece of furniture just to have lying around
My conclusion is that it’s money not bad spent for 70, particularly if you don’t want to join a gym. That is if you can get your hands on one (I got mine in an HMV, Amazon only ever seem to have stock through third parties). Although I’m a member of one, I use it just for going swimming, and I can’t be bothered going to the gym just before or after I go swimming, but I can be bothered doing more exercise by the time I get home before I cook dinner. If you want to get fit, it’s a good, fun way to do it, and more fitness titles will be coming out later this year for the Wii which will make use of the balance board. Built it into part of your daily routine, and hopefully you’ll see some benefits!