As creator of WiiFitForum.org, I'm obviously a fan of Wii Fit. I'm also the first to acknowledge that it is far from perfect. The main criticisms have been the lack of structured workouts and the time wasted between exercises. So I'm always looking for something to complement the Wii Fit, and for the last few weeks I have been trying My Fitness Coach (MFC).
MFC takes a different approach to Wii Fit, eschewing attempts to be a fun game. Instead think of it as a 21st century exercise video. Your virtual fitness coach, 'Maya', creates an exercise routine based on your current fitness, the time available, your aims (toning, weight-loss etc) and the equipment you have available (free weights, a step, balance ball, or pulse monitor).
My first MFC session started with a fitness test. This recorded my heart rate before and after exercise, my weight, and height, waist, thigh and chest measurements. I did both cardio exercises and strength tests, measuring how long I could work at a given rate. The only thing you will need for the test is a tape measure, but a pulse monitor may be helpful if you are not confident about taking your own pulse. This is a proper measure of your fitness, and a detailed assessment of your body shape. It is much more realistic than the one used in Wii Fit which just uses your BMI and balance. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.
Once the test is done Maya suggests what you should be concentrating on. Unsurprisingly, my target was weight loss. I then specified how much time I wanted to commit to exercise on each day of the week. I found this commitment idea much nicer than Wii Fit's continuous nagging, Maya only nags you if you don't keep your commitment, not just because you don't use it every day. I found the whole tone of MFC much more positive than Wii Fit. There is no melodramatic demonstration of how overweight you are, or nagging you when you put on the occasional pound or two.
Before you begin you pick a focus for the routine from a set of categories, such as cardio, flexibility, etc, one of which will be recommended for you. I've mostly been doing cardio, but it's good to mix things up. MFC doesn't use the Wii Fit balance board or controllers, which at first seemed like a major handicap, but it frees you up to move around much more than with Wii Fit. In fact I had to rearrange my living room a bit to make more space to exercise. I found it much easier to work up a serious sweat than with Wii Fit because of this extra dynamism.
The exercise routines are similar to what you might find on an exercise routine DVD, but are different each time, and adapt to how you are feeling. Periodically Maya asks how I'm doing and adjusts the intensity of the workout accordingly. This seems to work quite well, and recently my routines have been spot on in terms of intensity. They are varied and well structured, starting with a warm up and finishing with a few stretches, with brief rests and water breaks. Maya doesn't waste much time and the routines are very efficient for burning calories (you get an estimate at the end). Lately I've been burning around 300 calories in 30 minutes, nearly as much as I did at the gym. At the end of a session I really feel like I've had a good workout, something I can't always say of Wii Fit. The almost continuous movement helps keep your pulse up and your muscles warm.
It's fair to say that MFC is not made for fun (unless doing jumping jacks and crunches are your idea of a good time), but it is made for genuine fitness. I'm pushed for time, but MFC lets me fit in a real workout without wasting time switching between exercises or clicking through screens. I also find the whole tone of MFC more encouraging and less patronizing than Wii Fit. The lack of active feedback is a shame, but at the same time frees you from the balance board and WiiMote, allowing you to really push yourself. My only problem with it was the lack of tutorials for some moves, but you quickly get the hang of them after a couple of goes.
If you are serious about your fitness, and have found Wii Fit too limited, then MFC may be for you. It is certainly doing me a lot of good.
I bought this and I've only completed 4 workouts so far but I'm wondering if at some time you do a reassessment of your fitness? My initial feedback was that I need to work on upper body strength but I'm not really that concerned myself so I generally choose a different focus. There's really not much instruction with this program and not much on line that is very helpful either.
Has anyone purchased "My Fitness Coach 2?" If so, can you post a comparison between it & the original Fitness Coach? Does it make use of the balance board &/or remote? How valuable is it if you have no extra equipment such as hand wts, exercise balls, etc.
_________________ "The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down." ~Rita Rudner
I've been using My Fitness Coach for a couple of weeks, and I love it! I alternate it with EA Sports Active More Workouts. I find the variety in MFC to be very motivating, and I like that the exercises increase gradually in difficulty, according to your feedback.
As to the lack of tutorials in MFC, they're there, you just have to look for them. When she starts a new exercise, if you aren't getting it, just wave the remote at the screen, and a box that says "Tutorial" will appear at the right side, above the bar that shows your progress through the exercises. Click on it, and you'll switch to the Tutorial version.
Or, press '-' to pause, and I think you can choose the Tutorial from there. You can also change the intensity, location, and music from the pause screen, or just outright quit (though I hate to think about what Maya would have to say about quitting!).
The only thing I don't like is that in many of the exercises you have to look away from the screen, and there's no cue when you should change your pose.
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