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Bridal Fitness on Paper - Nintendo Wii Fit Monday, December 12, 2011

Nintendo Wii workout Late last week, I spent a couple of nights at my parents' house petsitting for them while they were out of town visiting family. While I was staying there, I made some good use of my time and tried out my mom's Nintendo Wii Fit. Chances are, you are familiar with the Wii already...maybe you've played a game of tennis, tried bowling or even spun around playing Super Mario Kart. I don't own a Wii, personally, but I have played a game or two in the past, and I always have a good time. The great thing about the Wii, in comparison to most other gaming consoles, is that it gets you moving. Rather than sitting on the floor and staring at the television screen while your fingers do all of the work, the Wii has you standing, jumping around, swinging your arms up, down and all around to score points! This, in itself, makes the Wii a great machine for kids and adults alike.


However, since this is technically a blog series focusing on helping brides work out and lose weight for their wedding day, I wasn't so kind to the Wii Fit in my evaluation as a serious fitness tool. Because let's be honest, it's no P90X, it's no spinning class or even a mile long run around the neighborhood...it's a game! I had never tried the Wii Fit and balance board before this past weekend, and I'll be up front about the fact that I haven't spent a significant amount of time on it. Maybe the workout experience does change dramatically the more you play it, but my review is based on my experience using the Wii Fit as a form of daily exercise one day for about 45 minutes. It's also important to note that I used the original version of the Wii Fit, whereas now, there is a Wii Fit Plus available that may be different (better?) than the version I used.



Bridal Fitness on Paper - Wii Fit

Overall: Two diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2 out of 5 diamonds
The Wii Fit is a fun program; however, if I'm judging it purely as a reliable workout for brides looking to lose weight, I don't think that I'd recommend it.

Let me first start with the positives. This is a fun game. Once I got the hang of it, I was definitely enjoying myself. However, I think the Wii Fit program is more of a game than a fitness program - it isn't really built and designed for brides aged 20 to 35, who are looking to drop a significant amount of weight. All of the exercises offered are extremely simple, but there is a bit of a learning curve to getting a feel for how the Wii's Balance Board and Game Controller work. Like any video game, you'll also have to take a little bit of time to figure out how the game works. How and which ways to step during aerobics, how to catch the hoola hoops while hoola hooping and how to keep your pace with the other "players" while jogging.

The Wii Fit is divided into different sections: Yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games. Once you have created your profile, which includes a record of your height, weight and BMI, you'll try some balancing exercises to get used to the balance board, and then it'll come up with your Wii Fit Age. Mine was actually high, at about 39 for some reason =P Anyway, once you've finished making your profile, you'll get to choose which game category you'd like to try first. In the yoga section, you'll have a handful of yoga poses to choose from, and the rest of the poses will be blocked out. Once you've completed the yoga poses that are clickable a few times successfully, the game will reward you with a brand new yoga pose to try. The yoga poses get more and more challenging as they are revealed. The other games work very similarly. Instead of yoga poses, the Aerobics game has a handful of workouts available including hula hooping, step aerobics and jogging. The better you get at the individual games, the more exercises that become available to you. For instance, once you've tried the short jog a few times, a longer jogging program will become available to you.

There is a good variety of workouts to choose from; however, I wish that you didn't have to start at the beginning with very easy exercises, and (very) slowly work my way up to the more challenging ones. I work out regularly, I'm young and I have a healthy BMI (according to the Wii Fit), so why can't I could choose to start at a higher level? I started to get impatient after a while, when I had to do the same beginning hoola hooping game three times just to get something a bit more challenging available to me. I don't have all the time in the world to do all of the beginning exercises over and over again just so I can try the intermediate level exercises, which still weren't all that difficult.

Cost & Equipment Two and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2.5 out of 5 diamonds
The Wii Fit Plus is an accessory to the Wii game console, which typically costs between $125 and $150. The Wii Fit Plus bundle costs about $100, and includes the Wii Fit Plus game, Wii Balance Board and 4 AA batteries. Nintendo Wii also offers many different packaged bundles for those looking to purchase everything together.

When you compare the Wii Fit fitness program to any other at-home workout program like P90X, it does cost a bit more. If you include the actual Wii game console and controllers, plus the Wii Fit game and balance board, you're looking at spending at least $300, in comparison to the $150 a dvd workout program typically costs. However, you're obviously getting more than just a fitness program when you purchase the entire Nintendo Wii Fit Plus package. You're also getting a game console that can play Dance Revolution, Super Mario Brothers, bowling, tennis, carnival games and much, much more. The cost is really going to depend on what you use your Wii for - if you know that you'll get use out of it for fitness purposes, and then maybe your husband and kids will get into the other games, then The Wii is a good investment! If you're only buying a Wii so that you can workout, then you might want to consider getting something else.

It's worth mentioning that the basic Wii Fit game that comes with the balance board isn't the only workout game that you can use on your Wii. There are a lot of fitness "games" out there that are probably much more challenging and effective than the Wii Fit game, such as the Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2011 program, Zumba Fitness and Gold's Gym Cardio Workout, which range in price from $15 to $25 each. This in itself makes your Wii a more valuable workout tool, but I'm only reviewing the Wii Fit game today :)

Time Commitment: One and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
1.5 out of 5 diamonds
You have to spend a whole lot of time completing the activities offered in the Wii Fit program, repeatedly, in order to feel like you've gotten any sort of workout.

The Wii Fit consists of many shorter exercises, which makes it easy to do whenever you can find time during your day - whether you only have 10 minute breaks in the morning, afternoon and evening to dedicate to fitness, or if you have a whole thirty minutes in the morning to workout. However, its variety of shorter exercises can also be a big weakness. As I mentioned earlier, you have to do many of these exercises repeatedly in order to get a real workout, in my opinion.

The Wii Fit tracks your time spent exercising using a "Time Bank," which accumulates more minutes as you complete more exercises, and then rewards you by opening up new exercises and workouts as you accure more time in your bank. I spent about 40 minutes on the Wii Fit at one time, and while the game did open up new strengthening exercises, balance games, aerobic and running rountines for me to try, the entire thing got really repetitive very quickly. I would have to "run" the same route twice in a row, just to get another slightly longer version of the same running route. Like I said earlier, I wish that I could start at a higher level, instead of having to spend all that time working up to it doing the same workouts over and over again. The strengthening, balance and yoga exercises are also very slow moving. Your trainer goes through a tutorial before each and every exercise - I couldn't figure out how to skip through them - so I felt like I was wasting a lot of time just standing there waiting to do the actual moves. Interestingly enough, I did find some "cheats" online - different things you could in order to open up more exercises without having to build up the minutes in your time bank. I haven't tried any of them, but maybe this would have alleviated some of my frustration initially!

Level of Difficulty: Two diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2 out of 5 diamonds
I haven't spent enough time on the Wii Fit to see just how difficult the exercises can get if you work all the way up, but regardless, it takes way too long to accumulate enough minutes in your time bank in order for it to get even a little bit challenging.

The Wii Fit is divided into different sections: Yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games. The balance games don't appear to be designed for burning calories, and simply require you to maintain your center of gravity while following the various moves and poses they give you while standing on top of the Balance Board. The yoga is a great introduction, in my opinion, because it breaks down each of the poses in a way that's easy to understand - you can go as slow as you need, and there's nobody else around to keep up with, as there would be in a yoga class. However, yoga on the Wii Fit is also missing the flow of movement and the focus on breathing that so many of us know and love, since the poses are broken down into separate tutorials.

The strength training and aerobic games offered on the Wii Fit were definitely my favorite, and were the most challenging out of all of the games offered in this particular program. The strength training is set up similarly to yoga, where each move or pose is broken into its own little section, your trainer explains and demonstrates it, then you're given time to replicate it yourself. The strength training portion of the Wii Fit includes the Single Leg Extension, Sideways Leg Lift, Arm and Leg Lift, Single-Arm Stand, Torso Twists, Rowing Squat, Single Leg Twist, Lunge, Push-Up and Side Plank, Jackknife, Plank and Tricep Extension. The challenges offered include Push-Up Challenge, Plank Challenge and Jackknife Challenge. Your trainer will tell you the appropriate amount of repeitions for each strength training move, as well. When you first begin the strength training portion of the game, there will be a handful of exercises available to you, with more opening up as you bank in more time. The actual exercises are challenging with familiar moves like push-ups, plank positions and ab/core exercises are all included. However, the slow pace of the entire game makes it hard to get your heart rate up significantly, which I'm not a fan of, personally. Everything is so broken down, that I feel like I'm wasting a lot of time standing and watching the TV screen instead of actually working out!

In comparison, you'll spend more time doing than watching, which is good. The game doesn't spend much time showing you how to do things, and it's easy to skip through any parts that you don't want to watch for the upteenth time. The aerobic portion of the game includes Hula Hoop, Basic Step, Basic Run, Super Hula Hoop, Advanced Step, 2-P Run, Rhythm Boxing, Free Step and Free Run. I was able to try the Hula Hoop, Basic Step, Basic Run, Advanced Step, and a longer run. I had fun doing the hula hooping and the step exercises - they weren't very phsyically challenging, of course, but fun, nonetheless! I really didn't like the running exercises, which just plain boring, and I thought that they could have done a better job of making it more visually interesting or challenging in some way. That, and it kept telling me to try to keep a steady pace, which I never could seem to do like it wanted! =P Each aerobic exercise is no more than a few minutes long, which means that you must do several of them in order to fill that "time bank," as well.

Effectiveness: One and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
1.5 out of 5 diamonds
The first time I tried the Wii Fit, I spent about 40 minutes on it, and I didn't feel all that tired aftward. I ended going for a walk/run around my neighborhood after because I didn't feel like I had worked hard enough.
This is not a challenging enough workout, especially if you're already physically active. However, I'm not one to slam any sort of physical activity...if it's the only thing that will get you up and active, then I say do it, full force! I am reviewing this game from my own perspective though, as a young woman who is phsyically active, so I have to be harsh and say that the Wii Fit program isn't the ideal fitness program for a bride who is looking to lose weight and change their body in a significant way before her wedding day. If you're going to spend 30 minutes or an hour every day exercising, I say that you're better off walking a couple of miles outside around your neighborhood. The problem was that I never felt like I was really working out - my heart rate didn't go up significantly, I didn't really sweat and I was never out of breath.

Enjoyability: Four diamond rings rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
4 out of 5 diamonds
The Wii Fit feels like a game, more than anything else, so most of the exercises are fun!
The Wii Fit is enjoyable in the way that it's easy, and it really does feel more like a game than a workout. I think it's a great option for anyone who is maybe a bit older or even injured, and for anyone who is trying to start exercising again slowly and get moving a bit more than they have before. However, I don't think it's the right option for me, or any brides out there who are trying to actually lose weight within a set amount of time. It's not nearly challenging enough. I have to say that I found the aerobic step and hula hooping games to be pretty fun - I was even dancing while doing the moves toward the end! However, I found the running game to be BORING. The paths are all pretty similar, and they don't even play good music, so really, you're just running in place in your living room while watching a dirt path going through a park on your TV.



If you're curious about a specific workout and you'd like for me to review it, please do leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at Sarah - at - apaperproposal - dot - com.


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