Exercise to me is like Kryptonite to Superman. I will always try to wriggle my way out of a gym date or convince myself – and those around me – that it’s only size zero wannabees who spend an hour working out, when they could really find more interesting things to do. I’m guessing that the EA Sports Active: Personal Trainer for the Nintendo Wii is aimed at people like me – who wilt at the the thought of going to the gym. I don’t even own the right attire to work up a sweat.
Using the Wii nunchuck and the supplied software, you can try a few exercises in the comfort of your own living room, with no prying eyes watching bits wobble and thus avoid any unnecessary ‘fat’ jibes – well, apart from the taunting of a virtual personal trainer (but there’s always the option of hitting the off button if it gets too much).
The first thing the game requires you to do is create a profile. It’s here that you enter your vital stats – height, weight and body type, which, by the way, doesn’t really cater for those of us who embrace our curves. On the plus side you are able to choose your attire for your workout, including a selection of snazzy trainers.
The next step is to fill out a couple of surveys – one for lifestyle and nutrition and another called ‘activity’. Fighting the urge to lie to my beloved Wii – by fooling it into believing its owner was an energy-charged-fitness-freak who would never do such a thing as to follow a night out on the tiles with a Big Mac and fries when I had to be up at 7am – I fill out the survey honestly, realising I’d only be fooling myself if I do otherwise. This task completed, I move onto the hard stuff: exercise. Faced with the option of a ‘30 Day Challenge’ or ‘Preset & Custom Workouts’, I opt for the latter for the fear of my subconscious guilt-tripping me into doing a month’s worth of exercise.
The challenge starts off nice and easy with a quick whizz around an athletic track to warm up. Next it has me doing squats, bent over rows and then lunges. All seems well and my personal trainer, a somewhat patronising female computer bot, is impressed with my sustainability. But, sure enough, it doesn’t last long. After 30 minutes of exercises my trainer orders me to run around the athletics track doing kick ups. By this point, my AC is on full blast in the living room, but I’m still sweating like Jessica Simpson attempting an IQ test.
Despite my best efforts and determination, my personal trainer is now not so impressed with my performance, but I battle through to the end with constant reminders that I’m ‘too slow’ popping up on the screen. At the end of my workout I collapse on the sofa, craving a nice slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake. Thankfully I manage to fight off the urge. After putting myself through what can only be described as 45 minutes of hell, I’m not going to ruin it with a calorific snack!
All in all, Active Personal Trainer definitely puts me through my paces and I’ve used muscles I never knew I had. Suffice to say I pay for it the next day. But it’s worth it and I find myself signing up to the 30 Day Challenge. Whether I’ll go through with the torture is another matter, and my Wii may remain switched off until the guilt has passed.
Ultimately, EA Sports Active is a great way to work out, though it’s never going to motivate you into making exercise a regular activity. This game is for those who are committed to working out, but don’t have the time or budget for a personal trainer at the gym.