I wrote about the EA Sports Active in the post ‘What’s New at Costco? Find out at Costco.com‘ last week. It really grabbed my attention because it sounded like it had a lot of the things that I would upgrade about my Wii Fit if I could. So, I picked one up last week when I was there getting something else. Dave and I have both used it a few times now, so I figured I should write something about it.
The game was $51.69, around the same price of $51.79 that it is on Costco.com. Aside from the game itself, you get a resistance band and a leg strap. The resistance band is used for various exercises to simulate holding or lifting weights; things like rows and curls. The leg strap is kind of interesting because it allows you to really take advantage of the motion sensors of the Wii. You put the nunchuck in a little pouch on the strap and it tracks leg movement during exercises like running or walking. Both of these little additions are nice improvements over the Wii Fit and help you get a better, more effective workout. If you’ve got a Wii Balance Board you can augment the exercises for more of a full body experience; using balance to determine if you are lifting a leg or not for things like kicks in boxing.
Much like in the Wii Fit you get a personal trainer that is an animated and encourages you and shows you what you should be doing during the exercises. Before you start an exercise you can see a video, of a real person, doing each exercise usually from a couple of different angles to make sure you really understand how you should be moving your body. This is a really good idea because it gives people an opportunity to really see how the exercise is performed and hopefully will mean less chance of an injury. You also have a picture-in-picture image of your trainer during the exercise to show you what you should be doing and that helps to keep your on track too.
Of course, you’ve also got the knowledge of Bob Greene (Oprah’s exercise physiologist trainer guy) since he helped develop the game. I think he’s really helped them come up with great pre-set exercise programs, including the 30 Day Challenge. I also like that they have a nice variety of activities, like inline skating, that get you fit without just being a regular exercise like squats or lunges. You can also customize the exercise programs to fit in with your interests and the intensity that you’re looking for. And it responds to your progress, just like a regular trainer would.
I’m working my way through the 30 Day Challenge now. It gives you a concentrated 20 minute workout everyday that increases in difficulty and expectations as you go through it. You can still choose your intensity level but the rest of the workout circuit is geared towards increasing your fitness level everyday. However, they do have ‘rest’ days built into the schedule, just like you should if you’re working out at a gym. During the workout, you can see how long you’ve been working out, as well as the number of calories you’ve burned during your workout. At the beginning of each workout session, they show you a goal for calories, so seeing the calorie count is a good way to see if you’re working towards that goal or by how much you will exceed it. The impressive thing is that it does actually seem to base the calorie usage on the weight you entered for your profile, as well as the actual intensity of your workout.
At the end of the workout you see a summary of information like your calories burned, workout time, and the number of exercises completed, along with notes from your trainer. It also shows you the percentage of your goals that you have completed (calories, time, and exercises). There’s also a journal where you can keep track of other activities you are doing, as well as take a lifestyle and nutrition survey of how you are eating and sleeping and stuff.
The really great thing about the EA Sports Active is that you can create your own custom workout. This is something I’ve been wanting in the Wii Fit for a while now. The pre-set workouts are a great starting place, or a good idea if you’re not sure what exercises to combine for your workout. However, after a while you’d like to just be able to make your own workout and the Sports Active lets you do that and then save it so that you can do it whenever you want. It does help you by letting you know what the exercises will workout: upper or lower body, or cardio. This way you can create a workout that combines some cardio and upper body and then another workout for some cardio and lower body. Or you can make a workout that is just cardio. You can also make them as long as you want and combine things however you want. During your customized workout, you see the calorie count and time information just like if you were doing the pre-set programs.
The one thing that the Wii Fit has that I wish that EA Sports Active had is the yoga. I’m a big fan of yoga and think that it is a great way to increase agility and flexibility. In general, that’s the biggest area of weakness in the workout: there’s not really flexibility exercises. I also think that if you’re new to exercising, you’re going to need to add your own stretches before or after using this, otherwise, you’ll be very sore the next day. I also wish that the EA Sports Active weighed you using the balance board, like the Wii Fit does. It seems like something that would have been easy enough to do, and something that they only had to offer to those using the balance board. So, that’s a bit of a let down. However, it is nice that this doesn’t depend on using the Wii Balance Board for the exercises, and only augments the workout if you do have one.
I could go on and on, but in general though, this is a good, solid workout. It’s nice to have the customization aspect and the increased level of tracking over the Wii Fit. Since you can customize your own workout, you can increase the time and intensity, along with add in different exercises quite easily as you get more fit. I’m sure I will still use my Wii Fit, especially for the yoga and balance exercises that it has that the EA Sports Active doesn’t. However, since the EA Sports Active is geared more towards cardio and muscular fitness, I’ll most likely use it on a daily basis for my workout. And definitely will be using it to complete my 30 Day Challenge. I included some screen shots, they’re a little fuzzy because I couldn’t use my flash, but I think you’ll get the point.
And if you’re going to buy it, you should definitely get it at Costco where it is only $51.69. Whereas, at Amazon you’re going to pay $59.99, which seems to be the general pricing at most other places too.