Wii Fit Balance Board
Prior to purchasing the Wii Fit Balance Board, my health had been on the decline for years. After getting married, having a child, and buying a home in New Jersey, I stopped exercising due to a perceived lack of time and at the age of 32, I thought physically my best days were behind me. I felt weak when moving things around the house and my eating habits were atrocious. I frequently ate fast food and surrounded myself with chocolates and donuts at work for snacks. My waist had ballooned up from 29 inches in high school to 34 inches (with a nice pot belly to match) and I reached a new personal low when I had to buy new pants because I no longer squeeze into my old ones. To top things off, I developed an unexplained randomly occurring facial tick on the right side of my face that had become rather distracting to friends and family.

Three weeks ago, I reach my breaking point and decided it was time to turn things around not just for me, but also for my family. My wife, Regina's weight had also increased dramatically to borderline unhealthy levels and the last thing I want would to do is pass that along to my soon-be-three year old son Ryan. I decided this isn't the lifestyle I wanted for me and my family and that 30 years old wasn't the end, but only the beginning (Thank you Tony Robbins). I went out and bought an inexpensive bench from Sears, converted our sun room into a little make-shift gym and started to lift weights every other day. I also power walk my way to work and during lunch break every weekday for cardio and my wife and I started doing the Atkins diet to improve our nutrition.

So two weeks into weight training and one week into Atkins (Induction phase), I had already lost 7 pounds and I much felt stronger and more energetic. I realized that Regina needed to do more cardio on a daily basis and I wanted to mix things up to keep my workouts fun and fresh. I just ordered this funny-looking punching dummy and was considering a rower when I realized the Wii Fit was due out in stores this week. I'm weary of gimmicky exercise equipment, but I liked the idea of Wii Fit being able help my family squeeze in more cardio exercises on busy days and in the least, I thought it could serve as a weight monitor to track my overall progress.

Wii Fit Screenshot

So on Monday, during my lunch break, I walked over to Nintendo World in Rockefeller Plaza and stood on line for 30 minutes to pick up my Wii Fit (damn it was much heavier than I expected). Once it was synced up with the Wii console at home, Regina and I registered our profiles through a series of questions about our height and age and a couple of balance tests by stepping on the board. My BMI (Body Mass Index) was 23.50 (generally good) and my weight was 173.5. Through the program, I set a goal of losing 13 pounds in three months (the Wii recommended no more than 3 pounds per two weeks) and Wii Fit wanted to see my BMI go down to 21.74. The program also assigned me a Wii Fit age of 30, whatever the hell that means.

Afterwards setting up my profile, I didn't have time for a serious workout so I went through the series of exercises to get more acclimated. The training is divided into four categories: Aerobics, Yoga, Strength Training and Balance Games. In going through the initial exercises (more gets unlocked as you progress and earn fitness credits), I learned the following:

  1. The degree of difficulty and intensity between exercises can vary wildly depending on your sense of balance, core strength and body type. While most exercises were simple in nature and I had no problem doing them, the push-up and side-plank was an absolute bitch for me. I wasn't use to doing push-ups with such tight hand placement since I have fairly wide shoulders. I couldn't properly complete six reps on each side. This answered any doubt I might have had about the Wii Fit providing enough a physical challenge for me.
  2. The Yoga breathing exercise highlighted my life-long breathing and cardio struggles. My natural instinct was completely counter-intuitive to the inhaling/expanding to exhaling/contracting process that I was being instructed to do. I look forward to seeing if Wii Fit can help me make improvements in this area.
  3. My balance is horrible. Not surprisingly, due to the nature of the balance board technology, the Wii Fit program puts a lot of emphasis on balance. Nearly all the exercises will display and monitor your balance at all times. I think for men, balance is not something we focus on a lot so I'm interested to discover what kinds of benefits I might reap from improved balance.
  4. In terms of space issues, I have what I consider to be a medium sized living room and I managed to negotiate the required space by pushing my heavy coffee table over by a few feet and moving the board around as needed. I couldn't place the board directly in front of my television as preferred in the manual, but I'm happy to report that the balance board had no problems with that or the frequent movement and seemed pretty accurate in pressure sensitivity.
  5. I wasn't sure what I should be doing with the Wii-mote during exercises. While the visual instruction makes no mention of it, the Wii-mote is required to navigate through the many menus and options. It was a bit awkward feeling to put the Wii-mote down during training and picking it back up afterwards so I ended up doing the exercise while holding the Wii-mote at all times (including Yoga poses). Is this recommended? Does this change my balance in anyway? The Wii Fit program should have clarified this more clearly.
  6. There aren't any recommended routines. You basically pick exercises at your own discretion and workout for as long as you like. So far, I encountered one recommended checklist of two exercises for legs, but it appeared randomly and without any further guidance or structure. I think I would have preferred a little more instruction and detail in some of the exercises as well (especially the Yoga ones which involve intricate movements and specific breathing technique).

Wii Fit Screenshot 

Once each exercise is completed, you are giving an arcade-like score and ranking for competitive fun and tracking improvement, Wii Fit credits are awarded for unlocking stuff and workout time is accumulated. My first day ended with 25 minutes of training and a generally positive reaction. I'm hopeful that Wii Fit can provide me with decent supplemental training and have a positive influence and benefit to my family. I'm excited to see how the Wii Fit will perform in days to come.

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui

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10 Comments on "Wii Fit training log – Day 1: Fitting the Wii Fit into my life"

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Dan Sheehy
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Dan Sheehy
6 years 8 months ago

I though this was a funny comment: Three complete generalizations with no reasoning/evidence given. In response to Mike’s point 1: The Wii fit may not be perfect, but it can certainly help people on the road to improving their fitness. Point 2: And, obviously, you’d have to change your lifestyle to get a benefit from it (i.e., you’d have to use the Wii fit). Point 3: ????

Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 8 months ago
My wife and I gave each other the Wii console with Wii Fitness for Christmas. Fitness was our prime reason for buying the Wii. OK, it’s not the same as hitting the gym or playing adult soccer (which I did for years) but it’s better than sitting in a chair watching TV; which we were tending to do more of. An hour of Wii fitness CAN be much better than nothing at all but like traditional training, you have to push yourself; and that is one thing going for Wii Fitness. It’s fun, motivational and can be challenging. I’ve used… Read more »
michael gentry
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michael gentry
6 years 9 months ago

So for my first Wii Fit rehab program, I thought it would be a good idea to start with 10 min of aerobics to get the heart going, 15 min of Yoga to stretch out and around 30 min of strength training to get my core back into shape.
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michael.gentry

[http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/custom.asp ]workout routine

Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 10 months ago

Body building is not fitness training. Body builders are bloated and take drugs and are definately not fit.

Surely you’d prefer to be lean like a predator, not bloated like prey?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 10 months ago

The WII fit is a million miles from true fitness training and anybody who thinks it is a beneficial fitness machine is deluded.

If you get any benefit from it at all, it says more about your own lifestyle than the product.

If you don’t understand what fitness is by the time you are 30, you never will.

Mike

Janelle Troyer
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Janelle Troyer
8 years 4 months ago
My husband got me the wii fit for my 30th birthday (last week). At first I was a bit disappointed, I was hoping for a Nikon d60, but hey…we can’t always get what we want. I have to say, I’m in LOVE with my wii fit. I have 3 children, a tiny living room and it’s still FABULOUS. My two older children (4.5 years and 6 years) love it too–especially the 6 year old, she’s got better motor skills, so it’s more fun for her. So you wonder if it’s challenging??? Ever tried hula hooping for 6 or 10 minutes… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
8 years 4 months ago
[quote=Anonymous]You might want to redraft your writing before uploading it though, or get a proofreader. There are some occasional typos or grammatical errors which have no place in a professional site. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s worth doing all the same.[/quote] Our reviews and features normally go through a more rigorous proofing process, but this is my personal blog and I typed it up 3am the morning to get it up for Wii Fit launch day before I went to work. We’re not a professional site, but its I appreciate that you think so highly of us to… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
8 years 4 months ago

Thanks for an interesting and informative article. It was a pleasure to read.

You might want to redraft your writing before uploading it though, or get a proofreader. There are some occasional typos or grammatical errors which have no place in a professional site.

It’s not a huge issue, but it’s worth doing all the same.

Gene Pizzark
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Gene Pizzark
8 years 4 months ago
I don’t plan on getting Wii Fit until I hear more impressions, but I also plan to use it as a supplementary form of exercise, primarily for its yoga and keeping track of my weight. Weight, however, has never been a problem for me, it’s muscle mass. And as far as I know, it only tracks BMI, so if I was a hugely muscled guy, I’d probably be considered overweight. However I’ve always floated around the 160-170 lbs. range, and with my height of six feet tall, weight is definitely not an issue with me. Therefore I don’t see any… Read more »
Mike Doolittle
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Mike Doolittle
8 years 4 months ago
As a trainer, I’ve always felt like selling fitness equipment is a sort of “freezers to Eskimos” kind of business. Some home gyms can be effective, but they tend to collect dust. And much of it is completely worthless, but sells on empty promises and bad science. When I look at the Wii Fit, I wonder how many of the exercises will be truly demanding. Something I find often in practice is that very few people, even those who have been working out on their own, are really aware of how hard they have to work to get results. It’s… Read more »
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