Friday, February 26, 2010

EA Active - Over and Out!

Well, I made it through the 30-day challenge for the EA Active Wii game and... it was OK. Towards the end of the challenge, I'd primarily done workouts in the Advanced category, with only a few Intermediates snuck in when I didn't have time for a fuller workout.

The four main elements that every workout uses are:

  1. Cardio: there were several things that were slipped into this category.
    • My favorite was the boxing (no surprise here): alternating between punching targets, punching the bag and standing on the balance board and kicking the bag. Good stuff, always raises my heart rate and gets me sweating. Also good for getting out that aggressive energy.
    • Also quite good: the track running, high knees, and kick backs. The track workouts were surprisingly good for what is essentially just running in place. The high knee and kick back intervals particularly really got my heart pumping and I'd be sweating by the end. The visuals were fun and having other people run on the track actually worked to make me speed up to pass them. No interval was ever longer than 6 minutes, but as long as I don't use EA Active as my primary source of cardio workouts, that's just fine.
    • My least favorite here was the Dance. So lame. It was basically a much less exciting version of DDR (either just upper body with the Wiimotes or upper and lower using the balance board). Sorry, it was just super lame and no matter how vigorously I tried to do the moves, I still didn't feel particularly worked out.
  2. Upper body strength: a variety of the standard either isolated or combined strength moves using the band. They were pretty good, I've definitely felt a difference in my upper body but the band isn't great for all the moves. Also, I think it would have been a smart move to add some pushups or something along those lines which I feel is much better for ramping up the upper body strength. One thing I really didn't like here was that with two workouts in a row, 2 days back to back, it had me do one workout that focussed on upper body the first day, but then still had me doing upper body strength the second day, instead of resting it. Not cool.
  3. Lower body strength: decent array of squats, lunges, with some interesting challenging moves thrown in, like the jump squats, the stationary squats and stuff like that. In general, this focus felt effective. I definitely had days when I was brutally sore after a lower body focus workout.
  4. Sports: Now this part is just fun. I really enjoyed all the sports (tennis, basketball, volleyball, baseball and skating) and they typically felt like a good distraction from the focus of the workout while still doing something of a workout.
Having completed the challenge though, I don't know that I would do it again, since it doesn't seem to scale to my ability level. One of the things I liked about Maya and Yourself! Fitness (aka My Fitness Coach), was that there was a check in each workout to see how it was and if it was too easy, the program would adjust to make it harder. There were also fitness tests every certain number of workouts to gauge my improvement. With Wii Fit, while the workouts aren't as challenging as EA Active can be, I can both track my ability to do certain moves and see improvement, as well as track my weight.

In the end, that kind of interaction with the program makes it something that's worth going back to (and ultimately owning). With EA Active, I'm only likely to do one of those workouts every once in a blue moon, if I'm bored with whatever else I have going on. The awards that the program gives me aren't interesting enough for me to come back for more. The only thing that keeps me coming back is being able to track my progress.

1 comment:

Tamsen said...

I'm betting Wii Fit will evolve and become more challenging, since nothing of this nature can remain static and survive. (But when I Google "Wii Fit competitors," only EA pops up, so maybe my bet is premature.)

I hope any future (or current) fitness program designers understand that scalable is the key selling point - the Goldilocks rule, if you will: this workout is tooo hard! this workout is tooo easy! but this workout rocks my quads! (Goldilocks was always - heh - ready for bear.)