After one week of use, what is Nintendo's fitness revolution looking like?
It's officially out in North America today, but I've had Wii Fit for a little more than a week now. That's been plenty of time to get to grips with what Nintendo's thinking with the game, but still not quite enough time to prepare a final review on it. Until we feel we're ready for that, I want to give everyone a quick take on what I think of using it so far.
With the help of Wii Fit, I've lost five pounds in seven days. If that seems like a big drop in weight from just stretching, balancing, and Hula Hooping, you'd be right. I've been doing some exercising outside of what the game offers, namely, light weightlifting and some hardcore Dance Dance Revolution action. I'd been in the mood to get active and lose weight before Wii Fit arrived, but now that it's here, it's becoming a handy tool in my quest for a better me.
We've always known our family bathroom scale was off some, but we didn't bother to care how much since it always said we were lighter than we actually were. It said I weighed 220 pounds, but the Wii Balance Board showed no such bias. It tagged my initial weight at 228.3 pounds, a significant difference. I kind of knew this all along, but seeing my Mii puff up to match my "obese" body mass index rating kind of drove the point home.
I object to Wii Fit placing so much emphasis on BMI, which is a ratio of your weight compared to your height. The index is a grossly generalized system that doesn't factor in that two people of equal height could have totally different weights and both still be perfectly healthy. (BMI usually classifies bodybuilders as overweight or obese. How does that work?) It's the first value you see when doing a daily body check. If you want to see your weight, you need to flip over to a new screen.
I know that I'm overweight, so I'm not trying to make excuses. The thing is, though, people's minds work in pounds (or kilos, stones, etc.), not arbitrary points. I would rather see myself drop 2.5 pounds between sessions instead of losing .35 of a BMI point, whatever that means. Going through an extra step to see your progress the way you want to see it, with no option to make it the default, is kind of stupid.
Whether or not you decide to hide behind your BMI number or be a man (or woman) and see your actual weight, every day that you check your weight is plotted onto a chart. After only a week, I can see a definitive downward trend in my weight graph. Although I can't really feel that five pounds I've shed, I can certainly see it on the chart. The purpose of the graph is for you to track your progress, obviously, but to also make you think about the times when the chart plots went up instead of going down or staying level.
When I checked in this morning, I didn't lose any weight from the day before, despite doing so each of the previous days. I burned plenty of calories over a good hour of DDR time (in sweltering Southern California heat, even), so what was the deal with the flat-line? I realized I had a pretty big dinner the night before, and some of it was probably still inside me at the time I checked myself. After digestion runs its course, with the help of a couple of Yoga repetitions on the Balance Board and some weightlifting on my back patio, I'm sure I'll drop a little bit more weight for tomorrow's check-in.
Wii Fit does a good job of reminding you to weigh yourself at about the same time every day, since your weight can fluctuate up to two pounds or so throughout the day. (That was probably why my weight spiked to over 230 pounds when I checked myself the evening of the second day.) The body check also measures your central weight distribution, which is another way of making sure your posture is correct. The task is a trivial one for me while I'm standing on the board, since I've got pretty good posture. However, the real benefit of doing the check is that is has made me realize how much I tend to lean on one foot or the other when standing in place. With Wii Fit's help, now I immediately catch myself doing and correct my posture. I feel a lot better standing up correctly, which is helping me getting through days a lot better.
I'm getting into a routine of doing the Wii Fit thing every morning a few hours after breakfast. So far I'm digging the Yoga exercises and the balance games. I don't yet see myself needing the strength training or aerobic exercises since I am getting those exercises done outside of the game. Still, in the event that I can't lift weights because of rain (highly unlikely in my neck of the woods) or decide that I need a break from dancing, I think what Wii Fit offers in those categories would work adequately.
That's what I like about Wii Fit so far. I can use it in the way I think it will best help me achieve my goal of getting under 200 pounds before summer ends. I know I could have done it without Wii Fit, since I dropped about 15 or 20 pounds on my own last summer. But with a little help in the posture, balance, and weight tracking departments, I might be able to improve on that.
We'll have the full review of Wii Fit up next week. It'll have a unique perspective on what the game is really about, so please look forward to it!