Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wii Fitness Coach - In Depth

I was asked by a friend to give a more thorough evaluation of the Wii Fitness Coach. So here it is.

When you initially log in, you're asked if you'd like to complete a fitness evaluation. In that eval, you enter your height, weight, gender, etc and then do a few physical fitness trials. First it has you take a resting heart rate, then again after two minutes of jumping jacks. Then it has you see how many squats you can do in proper form as well as abdominal crunches and modified push-ups. After entering this info, it tests your flexibility with a toe touch exercise. After it's complete, it gives you a recommendation on where it thinks you should focus in terms of the exercise programs available (weightloss, aerobic fitness, upper body strength, lower body strength, or flexibility). You are then allowed to 'over-ride' the recommendation for your 'default' program. Keep in mind that you can over-ride the default program at the beginning of every workout session, so it's not locking you into anything.

It asks you what equipment you have available for your workouts including hand weights, cardiac monitor, exercise ball, and aerobic step. Again this can be changed at the beginning of any workout.

It then asks if you'd like to commit to a schedule. It brings up a 7-day calendar and you get to pic which days and the length of the routine for each of those days. You can change session duration at the beginning of any workout.

You then get to pick your music. I believe the three options were hip-hop, Latin, and something else (sorry for the bad memory here but I've only played it once). You then pick the graphical environment that your trainer appears during the workout session with options of: dojo, outdoor garden, penthouse apartment, and others.

The workout begins with the question, how are you feeling today? You're options are (paraphrasing here) On top of the world!, I'm okay, and You're lucky I'm here. Not sure how this impacts your routine but it may adjust the intensity up or down accordingly?

Then the routine begins. It's a combination of different exercises and from the reviews I've read, it is never the same thing twice, so no risk of getting bored. The workout appears to be broken into segments with rests in between (a lot of rests for me since I'm out of shape). It asks you during your rest time how you're doing. Options are Piece of cake!, I'm working hard, and I can't keep up. The program says it will adjust future routines accordingly based on your response to that question. It automatically includes exercises that include the equipment you've said you have available, so make sure you have it right there when you start. Understand that it will NOT give you time to put your step in front of you and then move it out of the way when you move to the next non-step exercise, so plan accordingly. For me, one half of my area has the step and the other half is open, with a mat available for floor work exercises that are interspersed throughout your routine. There is a cool-down period at the end with some simple stretching. That's it.

The evaluation period really seemed to do an effective job at identifying an appropriate workout for my fitness level. I was very impressed.

The only thing I felt was missing was an option for low-impact only workouts. My knees are bad and they were crunching quite a bit from all the hopping, skipping and jumping...which wasn't pleasant.

I hope this answers your questions about the Wii Fitness Coach. :)

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