I've never been a gym-goer. I used to be pretty athletic, simply because it was fun and that's what we would do growing up to play. We were lucky enough to have a pool in our backyard (something that has grown increasingly more rare for insurance reasons, which saddens me to no extent). And we were all water babies, so during summers we would live in our bathing suits, and spend the majority of the day in the water. And if we weren't in the pool, we would be on our bikes riding around for hours on end, or just running around outside in general. We didn't really play organized sports till we were in high school, and that was mainly because it was required. So I chose volleyball, and really enjoyed it. But I wouldn't usually choose it over swimming or bike-riding unless I was on the beach with friends.
Over the years, I've found other ways to be outside and exercising (mountain biking is another one that I would love to get back into, but haven't found the motivation). The point being, I like to be active and be strong, but not from lifting weights or doing cardio at the gym. How is that fun? I've gotten on spurts where I'll do it for a little while - especially for those few weeks when I had a personal trainer, which was amazing, and I had the results to show for it. But who can afford to keep that up? Not me, even when he is a family friend.
So back to the Wii Fit. I know that it's not the end-all, be-all answer to getting back in shape. I don't expect miracles. I do think that it's a fun way to be active again, and I can do as little or as much as I want. There's strength training, yoga, balance games, and aerobic games. So I can mix and match those as I please. And I think it might just be the stimulus to get me interested in being really active again, and maybe getting into that gym more often.
In the past three days that I've had the Wii Fit, I've played it twice. And so far I've spent about 45 minutes each time doing actual exercises (a little over an hour of total time including exploring and such). That's not bad. Certainly better than the sitting around I was doing before. And I got a pretty good sweat going. Plus, Saturday after my Friday workout, I was actually feeling a bit sore. Now, it still stands that what you put in is what you're going to get out of it, so if you don't push yourself on the exercises, you're not going to feel it so much. But what I really like is that they force you to move slowly and focus on your balance and where your weight is held, so you really work those muscles and it's much more difficult to cheat.
I'm not super impressed with the "trainers" they have, so I chose to turn my female instructor to face away from me so I wouldn't go crazy over the lack of lip synching (it's the fact that I'm being trained to animate, so those things bug me a lot more than they probably would a normal person). But they're good at showing you clearly how to move your body to do the exercises, and the little yellow circle with the red dot shows where your weight is balanced through the whole exercise. Thus, you concentrate on that instead of how your muscles are burning. Not a bad idea, right?
So, practical comments. They sell silicone covers for the balance board, and I definitely will be spending the money for that. It's not necessary for the feet (although I have read about some people getting sweaty feet - the manual demands you have bare feet on the balance board). But I am incapable of doing a decent push-up and/or plank on the balance board because my hands just don't get any traction. And I'm actually pretty good at push-ups usually, so I don't feel like selling myself short on that upper body action. (That picture there, though - yeah, I don't ever smile that much when I'm doing push-ups). I think I'll invest in a carrier for it as well, because I don't like the idea of it just sitting out and possibly getting kicked or jumped on or some other fatal accident.
I'm curious to see how motivated I stay to use it. But it really does help that it tracks how often you've done the body test and how long you play it. It has a cute little chart that shows your change in BMI and weight. Not that I like seeing this part, and we don't even own a normal scale because we're not believers in going by weight as much as by feel and how things fit. But I know that I have to see the results tracked on that screen every time I log in, and that makes me more aware throughout the day.
The Wii Fit does not pull punches (see this hilarious blog post for an idea), and uses the BMI terminology, including overweight and obese to tell you where you stand. I'm disappointed that they're only working from the BMI instead of the body fat percentage, which is what most scales these days do in sending an electric current through your legs to figure out your density and make a more educated guess as to your fat to muscle ratio. BMI simply works off your height and weight, which has been proven to be inaccurate, especially if you're muscular and have a larger frame (hi there, broad shoulders and big arms from swimming and strong legs from biking!)
So, as much as it may not be perfect, it's still a motivator. And it really does fill the fun quotient. Come on, hula hooping is fun! And their step dancing is pretty amusing as well, especially since it uses your own Miis to be the other dancers. Andrew's Mii on one side, and our version of South Park Kenny on the other - yeah, that keeps me amused as I step on and off the board in time with the music.
I wanted to post my initial reaction to the Wii Fit and see how things stand a few weeks, months, etc. down the line. Besides, now that I'm working/struggling my way through Rock Band drums on Hard, I need something to get my kick-pedal leg and arms in shape to power through those crazy beats! Priorities, right?