Since I reviewed Gold’s Gym Cardio for the Wii Last week, I thought I should take a look at the other game I got myself last month – My Fitness Coach.
I’ve been playing My Fitness Coach for the last couple of weeks, to give myself time to decide if I like it or not. My Fitness Coach is an apt title for the game, because it’s all based around a personal trainer character, Maya, who guides you through the workouts. Maya asks what equipment you have (balance ball, weights, step, heart rate monitor), how long you’d like to exercise (15, 30, 45, or 60 min), and what you’d like to focus on. The first time I played the game, I was prompted to take a fitness evaluation; pushups, sit ups, jumping jacks, stretching, etc. I was also asked to measure myself at various points, give a resting and active heart rate (that’s where the jumping jacks come in), and a few other odds and ends. Then Maya made a recommendation for what my primary workout goal should be. The game focuses on areas like cardio fitness, upper body, lower body, flexibility, etc. Maya will work you through all the areas, but the workouts will focus more heavily on whatever the primary goal is. You get the option to go with her recommendation or to choose your own.
After all that – the set up took about half an hour (yeesh!) – I was ready to workout. My Fitness Coach is just like having a real personal trainer put you through your paces. There’s a cardio warm up with the usual aerobics and step moves, then on to weight/resistance training and a little cool down and stretching at the end. After a certain number of workouts, it’s time to do another evaluation, and yes, you go through the whole schmiel all over again. I’ve been do 30 minute workouts three times a week since mid November, and so far had one re-evaluation. Do I like the game? Have I seen results?
Eh, to the first question, and maybe to the second.
Eh, because My Fitness Coach is almost exactly like having a personal trainer… but one you can’t really interact with. Maya does ask at various points in the work out how you feel. Was that section too hard, too easy, or just right? Then she stores that feedback for reference when building future workouts. But that’s about it for interaction. The game barely uses the Wii remote, and never uses the balance board. Although I wish it did use the balance board to at least check my weight during the evaluations.
Beyond that limited interaction though, My Fitness Coach is a lot like working out to an exercise video. It’s more varied, obviously, because the game switches up the workouts every time, based on the evaluations and the feedback. So it’s never the same thing twice. But it’s kind of dull, and the most I can stand to do is 30 minutes at a time.
Having said that, I get a solid workout in 30 minutes with My Fitness Coach. The warm-up segs right into a cardio session so I’m jumping and dancing around for 15 minutes or so. That gets my heart rate up pretty dang quick. So far, I’ve only been asked a couple of times to pull out the weights for the resistance training, which follows the cardio, but I’ve been using them anyway, otherwise I’m not getting any workout there, even though I’ve repeatedly told the program, “That was too easy.” Hopefully, Maya gets the hint soon. The cool down and stretching at the end last two minutes at most, but then I am only doing 30 minute workouts. But even on the days when I’m supposed to be working on flexibility, I’m still not doing a lot of stretching. Again, I keep telling Maya, “Bump it up a notch, bitch!” She’s slowly getting there.
So, results? Yes, I’ve seen some, but I honestly can’t say if it’s because I’ve been playing My Fitness Coach for the last month or because I’ve been doing water aerobics for the same period of time. It’s probably a combination of both. I do like that I’m getting plenty of strength training and that I don’t have to fiddle with an elastic band to do it (I’m lookin’ at you, EA Sports Active!). It’s much easy to follow along with weights in hand and the remote on the table. But then again, My Fitness Coach can’t tell me if I’m doing things right or not because it doesn’t use the Wii remote to get any feedback.
I will say that so far My Fitness Coach hasn’t killed my knees, but again this may be because it doesn’t rely on the feedback from the Wii remote to see if I’m doing the move exactly right. EA Sports Active did kill my knees, and doesn’t really allow me any way to modify the problem exercises to a level that’s comfortable for me (although it does let me skip them; My Fitness Coach doesn’t have that option).
I’ll stick with My Fitness Coach for a while, mainly because I had to make a commitment to do so many workouts a week. I’m slooooooooowly unlocking the new environments to work out in (another downside, there are so few goodies in the game for continued participation, and earning a new environment isn’t nearly as fun as earning new outfits to dress up your trainer in; I’m lookin’ at you, Gold’s Gym Cardio, and your hottie trainer Alex too!).
Honestly, so far, the best fitness game has been Gold’s Gym Cardio, although the focus there is almost entirely on the cardio. It’s fun, like Wii Fit, but it offers more of a heart thumping workout. EA Sports Active just kills my knees, although I do like the sports games and the ability to make my workouts or modify a premade workout. Wii Fit Plus spent too much damned time developing new mini-games and not enough time focusing on upgrading the cardio and strength training portions of the game. And My Fitness Coach is challenging, but dull.
With no perfect fitness game out there, what’s a gal to do? Continue to mix and match between the games I already have, and keep trying out new ones. At the very least, I’m getting some good variety in my exercise routine this way.