Wii Fitness Game Reviews

Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout for Wii Review

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t started the Nutrisystem diet yet. The food is still sitting in the freezer and in the box. What I’ve been doing all week is clearing out the fridge of all the food that was in there, and once the fridge is clear I’ll start the diet. Ironically, this means I’ve been eating a bit more than usual these days. But happily, my weight seems to have stayed somewhat stable.

I did get in the mail the other day a copy of Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout for the Wii. I’ll post a short review in the Best Exercise Games for the Wii section of this site, but I figured I’d post a full review here.

Overall, I’d say it’s a decent workout game, nothing spectacular, but a nice game to have in your arsenal of Wii workout games. There are really two major parts of the game: one where you do boxing with your Wii-mote, and the other where you do traditional cardio workouts using the Wii Balance Board.

The boxing part is pretty comprehensive. The on-screen instructor teaches you all about how to properly throw different kinds of punches: jabs, hooks, upper cuts, cross, as well as defensive techniques like weaving, and dodging.

You go through training for each kind of punch, and you can even take a series of exams to see how well you do. As you pass each test, you unlock new exercises and you earn “Gold” (in some shameless product placement) in order to buy new on-screen clothes and accessories for your character (which is not your Mii, unfortunately). While you can use a Wii and a Nunchuck, two Wii-motes are highly recommended to get the precise movement down.

The cardio part is good. It doesn’t introduce any exercises you can’t already do on your own without the game, but having the game with its music and its graphical on-screen tracking of your progress is good motivation. It uses the Wii balance board, but it doesn’t use it as part of the actual exercise as much as just as a “spotter” for counting the number of reps you do dor things like squats and situps. It’ll measure shifts in your weight to determine if you’re doing the exercise correctly. For example, when doing squats, a voice will tell you to “squat down” and “rise up”, and you have only a short time to do the rep for it to count in your total.

Both these kinds of exercises come together in the “Workout session”. You can follow a prepared regimen, or you can choose exercises a la carte. When you select a prepared workout, like the other Ubisoft title “My Fitness Coach”, you get a virtual trainer who’ll talk you through the exercises. You can choose an environment (forest, seaside, gym), and work out amid the scenery and the appropriate sound effects. They also introduced a music selection, but the only really recognizable song is Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, which they must have paid a lot of licensing costs to use, because they use it over and over. Still, if it worked for Rocky, why not you?

Here are some other observations:

  1. Sometimes the movements are not picked up easily. Your best bet is to use highly exagerrated moves when this happens. For example, when throwing a left hook, position your hand all the way to the right and the quickly sweep it as far and as fast as you can to the left. Sometimes it helps to point the tip of the Wiimote toward the sensor bar, even if it makes you slightly lose form.
  2. The opposite is true too. Punches may not be detected precisely, so when you’re asked to do a right upper cut and you do a right cross, it’ll accept it. In these cases you’re on the “honor system” for throwing the right kind of punch.
  3. The sound is a little unsynchronized at times. Sometimes it’s spot-on, while other times you’ll throw a punch and you’ll hear it register a half second later, which takes getting used to.
  4. In order to get the “cardio” part in, they tell you to weave back and forth all the time you’re boxing. Again, you’re on the “honor system” to do that.

Whatever the flaws of the game, it’s the right price and it’s probably the best upper body workout I’ve found so far. DDR and Outdoor Challenge tend to be good for the lower body, Wii Fit is good for overall wellness, but this game really gets your arms and torso in shape. It’s a good choice when you’ve mastered Wii Sports Boxing enough to the point where you can beat all opponents without a sweat, and want to try something on the Wii that simulates real boxing a little better.

Like Wii Fit and Outdoor Challenge and DDR, you get to “stamp” a calendar every time you do a workout. I wish Nintendo would come up with a way to consolidate all these different calendars into one view,but I guess that would mean working with all different vendors who are producing competing products.

My rating is a 4 out of 5. Workout intensity is a 4 out of 5, while Fun is a 4 out of 5 too.


The Nutrisystem Arrives!

So, wanting to give the Nutrisystem folks a fair shake in this blog, I placed an order for both the regular Nutrisystem Plan and the new “Nutrisystem Select” plan to see what I’d get.

The regular NutriSystem for Men plan came first. It was a HUGE box delivered by a UPS guy, who made the comment, “this box is heavy”. The poor guy had to carry it up two flights of stairs. Ironically, he’s the one that might be losing the most weight because of this company.

The first thing I noticed was the box was non-descript. Good idea. The last thing someone needs is to have a big box delivered emblazoned with the words “Delivery for Chubby”. For all the neighbors know, it could be a new home stereo system or something.

Opening the box was like Christmas morning. I had no idea what to expect. Here’s what I saw:

I have to say, I was pretty excited. Normally, it’s me spending hours at the supermarket and lugging bags and bags up the stairs. But this was a very well presented array of a ton of food. Let’s just say if Y2K were to hit today, I’d be good for a whole month.

There are bowls of cereal, bowls of soup, snack bars, taco kits, bags of pretzels and chips, and cups that look like those cup-o-noodles where you add water (in this case, instead of fat-filled noodles, they’re dishes like pasta parmesan, macaroni and cheese, and black beans and rice).

There are also entrees like lasagna, pot roast, pasta fagioli, cajun chicken and rice, and more. I won’t kid you–I’m a little skeptical about these. It looks like they don’t need refrigeration until they’re opened (it took me a while to figure that one out). They’re plastic trays which seem well sealed and there are instructions on how to cook them in a microwave or on a stove top. Ever the trooper, I’ll give them a shot and let you know what my honest opinion is.

The best thing is that each meal is labeled very clearly. You have “Breakfast Time”, “Lunch Time”, “Dinner Time” and “Dessert Time” marked out. Using the handy book, you can plot out exactly what you’ll be eating each day. The breakfast portions are easy to eat when rushing in the morning, and the lunch portions are perfect for bringing to the office.

But as I was saying, as if that weren’t enough I decided to also sign up for the frozen NutriSystem Select program.

If the regular NutriSystem package was like Christmas morning, getting this delivered was like Christmas morning, my birthday, and winning the Publisher’s Clearing House all in one.

A big bag was delivered to the door by someone with a Schwann Food uniform:

I opened the bag and on top were two big ice packs (so the package could stay fresh at your door even if you weren’t home”. Underneath it I found this.

“Okay, this is looking good”, I thought. Then I saw the rest of the package.

If you can’t see the package, it’s chock full of amazing meals, again perfectly portioned and demarcated for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, or Dessert. You’ve got breakfasts such as a Steak and Cheese Melt, a Garden Vegetable Omelet, and pancakes. Lunch options include frozen pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches. And the dinners look amazing. Chicken alfredo, ravioli, roast turkey medallions, asian beef tips, and a lot more. And of course the desserts jumped out at me. You’ve got ice cream sandwiches, a blueberry parfait, a fudge sundae, and more.

I think the main point of the Nutrisystem diet is not to give you some kind of magical pill or potion to lose weight instantly, but to train you in good eating habits. I admit, it’s going to be hard for me to go from eating two meals a day to eating six meals (as the plan dictates), but when all is said and done, the good Lord didn’t design our bodies to be hungry all day and then gorge at night. That’s like running a car on empty, and then at the end of the day trying to fill a 15 gallon tank with 30 gallons of gas. With good eating habits, supposedly my metabolism will be such that my body will take in only as much energy as it needs, and not have to store excess in the form of fat. At least we’ll see.

The diet starts soon. Get ready!
Nutwiisystem Information 3

Welcome to the Nutwiisystem Blog!

The Center for Disease Control reports the staggering figure that 66.3% of American adults are either overweight or obese. A recent study by Johns Hopkins projects that by 2030, 86% of Americans will be overweight or obese.

I’m one of those American adults. Chances are you are too.

There’s an entire industry of people selling diet books, low-fat foods, exercise videos, exercise equipment, and gym memberships. And yet, we are fatter than ever.

How did it come to this? It comes down to one thing: bad habits.

I was shocked a few weeks ago when someone posted a picture of me when I was in high school on Facebook. I was thin as a stick. But since the end of high school and continuing now for 20 years let’s just say my peanut butter has been on the chunky side. I can’t say I’ve been morbidly obese, but I’ve been a good 30 pounds over what all medical experts say I’m supposed to be.

I’ve started and stopped exercise programs and diets about twice each year for the last 20 years. Gyms didn’t work for me, because it was hard to get to one, I’d be too mentally tired at the end of the day to exercise, and they were just so danged expensive. Diets didn’t work for me, because my career kept me so busy that I didn’t have time to prepare the right meals–I’d just go out and grab whatever I could at the local fast food restaurant.

Two things happened last year. First of all, I bought my nieces and nephew a Wii. When I played it with them, I had a ton of fun with them. It was only afterwards that I noticed that my heart was pumping and I was sweating more than I would after a great workout.

Second, I kept hearing and hearing the commercials for Nutrisystem on ESPN radio, and I finally decided to look into it. As gimmicky as the commercials are, it all started to make sense. I tended to skip breakfast and sometimes I’d even skip lunch, thinking that this would help me lose weight. It never did, because my metabolism slowed to a crawl and I’m sure I would subconsciously gorge at dinner time. I don’t have time to control my own portion sizes, so why not have someone do it for me?

And so, I decided to start the “Nutwiisystem” diet and exercise regimen. In this blog, I’ll be tracing my own progress with a new regimen of diet and exercise with Nutrisystem and the Wii. In it, I’ll tell you details about both what I’m eating and how much I’m exercising. I’ll also chart my progress of weight loss, with a goal of getting to my target weight of 175.

Oh yes. There will be no pictures of my belly on this site. We all don’t need to see that.

Sit back and enjoy!