At the end of May 2009, I wrote about the EA Sports Active workout for the Wii. And while I really liked it and did the 30-day challenge numerous times, I also kind of wanted to expand my exercise routine. When I saw the EA Sports Active More Workouts, I wasn’t entirely sure exactly what I’d find in the way of workouts or format. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the updates and changes over the initial version; and I like them a lot! I’m ashamed to say that I’ve had this since January, right before we moved to London, and I’m just now getting around to giving it a through try and doing this review. I kept using the old EA Sports Active and now I think I was crazy to not switch months ago.
One of the really great features of the new software is that you can import all of your profiles and workout statistics from the previous version. While this isn’t a huge thing, obviously, it does make it easier to just get to the working out and not have to set up everything again. Plus, it is kind of fun to see that you’ve done 125 workouts or whatever in the new statistics display. You can see your workout stats per week or cumulative, and either way, it is useful to keep track of how often you’ve worked out and the kind of progress you’ve made. In the weekly stats view, you see how many miles you’ve ran, how many obstacles you’ve conquered through the obstacle course, how many workouts you completed and the total amount of time and calories burned for the week. Oh yeah, and this new version will also weigh you using the balance board so you can keep accurate track of that in your progress too.
The other little progress tracking tool that has gotten a bit of a face lift. The daily journal that users could fill out to track their exercise outside of the EA workouts, as well as nutrition, stress and motivation information. And while it still keeps track of that now, the questions are different and the answers are a little easier to understand because the 1 to 10 numbers are matched with statements. That little change makes it easier to answer somehow. It’s amazing what a huge difference little changes can make to the ease of use and enjoyment.
So, with all of the non-workout parts discussed, we can move on to the heart of the software: the workouts. There are several big and very noticeable changes with regards to the actual exercise stuff. First, instead of a 30-day challenge, they’ve upped it to a 6 week challenge, and let you pick the workout schedule that works best for you. For instance, I have chosen to workout Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday because that works well with my weekdays. However, you can set it up to be the days that work best for you. Another big change is that the backdrop for your workouts is now in a tropical beach location. They change it up a little bit with different exercises too, and there’s no running on just a boring track. I kind of grew to dread the track time in the earlier version. You’ll also do weekly check-ups so that you can track your weight, calories and workouts and compare your progress to previous weeks.
There are several different exercises included too. There seem to be several more exercises with the resistance bands to work on toning your arms and back muscles, like flys. The first day I encountered all the new upper body stuff, I was really pleased, but my arms were killing me afterwards. Another new addition, is the inclusion of several abdominal exercises. There are various types of crunches, some reverse crunches, and then leg lifts too. The additional exercises make for a more complete workout and really push you to overall body strength and fitness that you wouldn’t have achieved with the previous version.
The other changes make the workout more fun by taking the hard parts and kind of hiding them in things like the obstacle course. Oh yeah, that’s a fun one; hard but fun. For the obstacle course, you run through and encounter different exercises like squats and jumps, jumps combined with balancing, lunges, and stride jumps (like jump lunges with a faster pace). The boxing is also more demanding but somehow more enjoyable too because part of it has you sparring with a trainer and part is like a speed drill with falling targets. It still combines jabs, hooks, kicks and knees, so it is all the same stuff, but a better presentation for sure. And while you still get a lot of aerobic exercises incorporated into things, it’s not all running. One of the fun additions is jumping rope. But don’t worry there’s still running, but now it is on a beach instead of just around the track and they give you goals of passing other runners which adds a bit more of a competitive feel to it.
One of the changes that I am really pleased to see is the addition of warm up and cool down routines added to the workouts. It’s so important to warm up and cool down properly for your body to avoid injuries. And you don’t want that because it’ll keep you from exercising. These are both some gentle stretches to get everything limber and ready for the workout. The nice thing is that you don’t have to hold the controllers while you’re doing these stretches too.
I don’t want to take the space to go into all the new exercises and stuff, but there are a lot of new ways that the folks at EA have incorporated the same exercises into more of a game or sport type activity. They say there are over 35 all new exercises and fitness activities. Like, the skateboarding has been replaced by water skiing: jumping and balancing behind a boat. All of the changes make it seem less grueling, in the end. It’s still a hard workout, and probably even a harder workout than before because of the additional abdominal exercises, but I enjoy it much more. And because of that enjoyment and the variation, its far more likely that people will keep working out.
EA Sports Active More Workouts at Costco was $30.99 ($35.99 – $5.00 instant off) when I bought it several months ago. You can also get it through Costco.com for $36.99 currently, including shipping and handling. This version is just the video game and a nutrition book, but it doesn’t come with the leg strap or the exercise band. To get those items, you need to purchase the EA Sports Accessory pack which sells for around $20.00. I did notice on the Costo.com website that they are taking pre-orders for the latest and greatest version, EA Sports Active 2, for the much more pricey $94.99. It sounds like there will be a ton of great new additions and changes that will up the workouts even more when it is released November 16, 2010.