Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Potential Cash Saver – Screw the Gym

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I remember how easy it was in college to stay in shape.  As a member of the varsity women’s fencing team, I got at least three hours of exercise four times a week, plus all day fencing meets on weekends.  It was a no brainer – I had fun and never had to worry about things like calories, carbs, or scales.  Ah, the folly of youth.

A year ago I signed on to a trial gym membership.  I dutifully went almost every day, loved it, and then forked over a substantial sum to become a member.  I can count on my fingers the number of times I went back.  Because just like everyone else, I too am dumb.

I can’t afford a gym membership now, and I’ve proven that I wouldn’t use it like I should, anyway.  Seeing that I don’t know a bench press from a french press, I wasn’t sure what to do.  Jog?  Eh, I live in the city.  Bike?  Can’t – my bike was stolen.  Lift weights?  Sure, if I knew what to do with them.

Well, I do have a Wii.

Yes, a Wii is not the cheapest device out there.  It’s an investment, in a sense.  I decided to put it to work.  For around $50.00, I bought the EA Sports Active Personal Trainer kit.  Along with the workout game for the Wii console, the kit was complete with leg strap for the Wii nunchuck and resistance band for muscle training.

photo credit:

photo credit:

I started off with the 30 Day Challenge (I’m in week 2 now) and I was very pleasantly surprised.  The program is structured by two days of working out and one rest, repeat ad nauseum.  Per average workout, expect to run in place, kick box, lunge, and resistance train.  You’re guided along the way by a chirpy virtual personal trainer who is encouraging but is also quick to correct your form (with some help from the sensors in the Wii controller, which you hold in your hand, and the nunchuck, which is strapped to your right leg).  My trainer may get on my nerves, but I couldn’t do the workout with out some guidance.

You can select your level of impact and difficulty, and there are customized sessions beyond the aforementioned 30 Day Challenge (haven’t tried those yet).  My plan is to start slowly; I’m beginning the 30 Day Challenge on easy, and when that’s done I’ll do it again on medium and then again on hard.  I’ll post updates as I go along.

So far, I think this program has a lot of promise.  While it’s too early to really see much in terms of results, my aching arms, legs and back are testament to the fact that something positive is going on.  Really, I’m in pain.  And I can really feel the workouts.  When I’m done with a 25 minute session I’m left sweatier than I ever was at the gym, and I’m definitely sleeping more soundly at night.  In short, I think I’m on to something.

Does this completely replace the gym?  It’s too early to tell.  I can say this, though – I’ve used my EA Active Thingie more than I went to the gym when I was a member.  There’s absolutely no excuse for me to eschew working out when I can do it in the middle of my living room with bed hair.  I can even put the Pixies on my stereo and have Apply Yourself‘s mascot Willow cheer me on with extreme disinterest.  The point is, I’m now active, when I was happy to watch Buffy reruns when I should have been on the treadmill.

Fifty bucks is roughly twenty percent of what I paid for a year of gym membership, and I got nothing out of it.  With this kit, I’m more aware of my body, how I move, and I’ve even been inspired to cut meat out of my diet (I discovered that I actually really love tofu).  I’m healthier, I think.

To me, EA Sports Active is better than a gym, because I can afford it.  The initial investment of the Wii is steep, I know, but it’s much easier on the wallet than forking over a ton of cash to join the ranks of gym rats.  This is really something you can do at home, on your own, and in the long run, it’s a very economical choice.  It’s innovative enough that I felt it deserved a place on this blog.  If you can stick with it, it very well could be the perfect DIY home based workout.