EA Sports Active: Halfway through the 30-day Challenge

Day 5 - Me doing DDR Universe I splurged on the EA Sports Active back in June after hearing rave reviews. The title was created for the Nintendo Wii and I was eager to compare the ‘game’ to the Wii Fit. Surprisingly, I haven’t taken the time to write about my experiences with the Wii Fit, so I’ll try to squeeze in some thoughts here in comparison with the EA Sports Active.

After you make your profile, you can choose between using preset workouts, creating your own or taking the 30-Day Challenge. It’s clear from the title that I chose the last option. I first set my 30-Day Challenge in June, but due to an injury and general busy-ness, never completed it. I decided to start over and stick with it as much as possible.  When you do the Challenge, you’re given a calendar that tells you went your next workout day and  it gives you days of rest. July 21st was my first day back below are my thoughts on the first half of this Challenge.

The purpose of the Wii Fit is to use the balance board. You can not do the exercises on Wii Fit without it if you want them logged in your Wii Fit profile. The workouts on the EA Sports Active can be completed with or without the balance board. This is actually a good thing. The EA Sports Active unit comes with a leg band complete with nunchuk holder and a resistant band. You spend a lot of time switching between using the resistant band and putting your nunchuk into the holder, the balance board becomes one more obstacle since you must remove your shoes to use it. I did my first EA Sports Active workout with the balance board and never again.

One nice touch of EA Sports Active is how fluid the exercises are. With the Wii Fit, you exert 30 seconds of energy and then spend minutes finding a new exercises and waiting for that one to start up. As you progress, the exercises get longer; 60 seconds, 90 seconds, 2 minutes, but you are still spending time between each one getting a new exercise. Each day you log in to do your 30-Day Challenge with EA Sports Active, you are shown the exercises you’ll complete. My first exercise module was 22 minutes long consisting of 12 exercises; running, side lunges, boxing targets and bicep curls were just a few of the exercises included. As I progressed, more exercises were added. I am now at the point where I’m am completing 18 exercises in 22 minutes. There is very little waiting between exercises. It is completely dependent on how quick you are pressing that A button. New exercises have “show me how” videos before them, but those can be skipped too.

Both the Wii Fit and EA Sports Active come with a male and female trainer. The trainers on the Wii Fit are human figures. If I recall correctly, you can adjust how talkative they are. The trainers on EA Sports Active are humans. Voices are recorded to give you encouragement. The stock phases get annoying quickly, though can be encouraging when you’re getting tired. With both titles, the trainers show you how to do the exercises correctly. It is a feature that shines with EA Sports Active since you can find yourself stuck because the sensor bar isn’t reading the Wii-mote. The training videos show you how to correctly hold your Wii-mote and nunchuk to continue the exercise.

Wii Fit has exercises broken down by module. They are: Yoga, Strength Training, Games and Aerobics. This means you can go from doing your Sun Salutation to Step aerobics to hitting soccer balls with your head.  The balance board games are the most fun simply because the other modules are relatively boring in comparison. With EA Sports Active, in particular with the 30-Day Challenge, the exercises are created with the goal of keeping your heartrate up and working certain muscle groupings. For example, on Aug. 2nd, my exercises focused mostly on my arms. The next day, the focus was on my legs.

One thing both titles can use is some sort of way to keep track of your exercises online. It should be simple like Xbox’s profile info. I don’t understand why I can’t have a Nintendo profile that shows what exercises I’ve done and when. To that extent I log my EA workouts at MapMyFitness (my profile).

If you are like me and lack the time and money to go to a gym, the EA Sports Active is most likely your best bet. There’s simply no excuse for not doing the exercises in the comfort of your own home. I’ve always had a gym membership and I used to spend an hour there. Unless I was doing cardio, I barely broke a sweat. The machines just were not doing it for me. They were good for general toning, but I never felt like I had worked out. My first 3 days exercising with EA Sports Active were probably some of the hardest workouts I had done. I was sore, but felt good. The fact that you get little trophies is also a great motivator. They don’t hand out trophies at the gym.

In the last 2 weeks I’ve lost 2.25″ off my waist, 2″ off each thigh and almost an inch from each arm. I feel much better and I am definitely more motivated to make sure I do my exercises than I was when I had a gym membership. I find that I’m not just motivated to do the 30-Day Challenge.  I’m more movitivated to exercise period. On my days of rest from the EA Sports Active, I do workout videos streamed via Netflix on my Xbox. I’ve also decided to train for next year’s Los Angeles Marathon. It seems the purpose of the 30-Day Challenge is to get you used to working out. The rest should take care of itself.

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