Monday, October 13, 2008

Wii Fit It Into Our Schedule When We Can

I got the call at work, just as I was leaving. My wife, Monique, out shopping at a nearby Target store, sighted one of the rarest sights in the modern consumer jungle - a Wii Fit. Since its release in May, the Wii Fit package - which comes with the balance board and Wii Fit program disc - has been as elusive as the Wii itself in the wild. I had never seen one myself.

But this Target store is somewhat of an anomaly. It's one of the last holdouts in a consumer dead zone, an area of empty strip malls and closed stores near our apartment. Being built just one exit off of the freeway down from that doomed Target is another, newer Target store in a booming area of homes and stores that has supplanted the old one. All of this makes this Target less visited, and thus my wife saw not one, but two Wii Fits just sitting there for sale.

So she bought it, and we've been working out with it every day ever since. It measures your balance, weight, and BMI (body mass index or something like that, which means how much you weigh corresponding to your height), and then logs it so you can do day by day comparisons.

Designed in Japan, the Wii Fit has clearly been made - and I'm treading dangerously close to racial stereotypes here - for the body types found there, and not for the many shapes and sizes that might be found in our American melting pot. And it's also lacking any sense of tact when dealing with those weight variances. Step on the board and you'll get an "ohh!" from the board's onscreen avatar, which kind of comes across as "Ooooh! Even though I'm designed to handle up to 300 pounds, your 190 is really straining me, fatty."

It gets worse. The Wii Fit program, after measuring you each day, chides you for any increase at all, even when it's less than two pounds, which it states is generally the amount of weight that everybody gains or loses each day through regular eating. It categorizes anyone without the exact BMI required as "overweight" or even "obese".

It criticizes posture as well, and warns of dire consequences if you rely on one leg even slightly more than the other. Excuse my leg breaking accident 11 years ago, Nintendo. Sheesh. In addition, it gets all snippy if you don't exercise at the exact same time every day. Again, maybe life in Japan is more structured, I really don't know, but ours is a freaking circus, so we should be rewarded for stepping on the damn board every day at all, regardless of if it was an hour later than the previous day.

But wait, there's more. This morning, during my workout, the Wii Fit asked me if I'd noticed any problems with Monique's posture. It gave me four answers to choose from, and of course since she was standing there watching me work out I answered "looks good", as any husband who wants to live another ten minutes would. The question really took me off guard, though, and made me wonder if this insidious piece of plastic and circuitry was trying to start some shit between me and my wife. Hey Wii Fit - if you have any issues with my wife's posture, take it up with her and leave me the fuck out of it.

All that being said, Wii Fit is fun and yes, I can feel the burn. There are Yoga and Strength Training exercises which are the real meat and potatoes of working out, and there are Aerobics and Balance Games which are the dessert, and thus a lot more fun. There are more exercises for each category unlocked as you continue to work out each day, and it keeps and compares scores between each user, so Monique and I compete for the high score in each category.

So Wii Fit is good, and it will probably do what it's supposed to do, as long as we stick with it. The question is, will we? We're commited to do so, but if we go out of town or some emergency comes up, and we miss a day, I've got a feeling that the harsh taskmaster that is the Wii Fit program will be so snotty about it as to discourage any further attempt at commitment.

As always, time will tell.

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