Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wii Fit versus My Fitness Coach


Friends of ours asked for us to compare and contrast the Wii Fit and the new My Fitness Coach that my wife just picked up. Both have good points and bad points - it'd be nice if there was a combination of the two.

Based on my VAST knowledge of ONE session on the My Fitness Coach, here's my totally subjective, non-scientific opinion and observations.

In a nutshell:
- My Fitness Coach is like an interactive version of an exercise video, you just follow along with what Maya tells you to do (after you've told her what your goals are and what you want to work on).
- Wii Fit actually measures your actions and your progress with the Wii Balance Board and the Wii Remote, but the personal trainer doesn't really give you a full workout. You have to choose each exercise you want to do, so you pretty much make up your own exercise program.

Detailed Comparison and Scorecard:

Monitoring performance and improvement:
- Wii Fit uses the Wii Balance Board plus the handheld Wii Remote to measure your weight and your balance, as well as your timing and rhythm in the aerobic exercises like step aerobics and boxing. During the exercise, your personal trainer will tell you good job if your timing and balance are good, or will comment on your balance being off or your leg wobbling a little and giving you pointers for focusing your exercise and how to improve your balance and strength.
- My Fitness Coach relies on the user to obtain the data such as body weight elsewhere and then manually input the data into the program. During the exercises, Maya gives you encouragement and tells you that you're doing a good job, but she has no way of knowing. You could be sitting on the couch eating a tub of Ben & Jerry's for all Maya knows.
Importance: High. I like the one-stop shop of Wii measuring you and telling you how you're doing. It provides a sort of accountability.
Score: +3 for Wii Fit

Leading you through a complete workout:
- My Fitness Coach asks you how much time you want to spend working out and what you want to focus on (upper body, lower body, core, flexibility). After telling it I want to work on flexibility for 15 minutes, then Maya leads me through 15 minutes of exercises designed to improve my flexibility - some stretching, some yoga, some calisthenics, some aerobics.
- Wii Fit leaves your fitness program entirely up to you. It's sort of like exercises a-la-carte. Each exercise lasts 2-5 minutes or so depending on the exercise, but you click on one, then click on another, then click on another... It doesn't give you a recommended program or plan of what exercises to do today. This has been my primary complaint about Wii Fit and the primary reason why I was interested in trying My Fitness Coach.
Importance: High. Like I said, this was my primary complaint about the Wii Fit.
Score: +3 for My Fitness Coach

User Interface:
- Wii Fit doesn't require you to aim the handheld Wii remote at any particular target on the screen. You can just use the cross-pad or the +/- buttons to toggle between options and click the A button to select.
- My Fitness Coach requires you to precisely aim your handheld Wii Remote at very small buttons on the screen and push the A button to click on the up or down arrow on the screen. This is tedious and frustrating when you've been exercising hard and your arms feel like jello and you can't aim the Wiimote all that accurately.
Importance: Medium. Wii fit's use of the cross-pad is a lot easier to use.
Score: +2 for Wii Fit

Choice of Trainer:
- Wii Fit lets you choose whether you want the male or the female personal trainer. It's kind of funny to see their hair get longer over time. Every once in a while the other trainer will show up on the screen and say that your trainer is "out" today but he/she will be glad to work with you today.
- My Fitness Coach gives you a choice of Maya, or Maya, or Maya. Maya's okay, but I like working with the guy on Wii Fit better.
Importance: Low, it's a minor issue
Score: +1 for Wii Fit

- Keep in mind, the Wii game system was NOT developed for high definition graphics. Nintendo put all their R&D money on this one into the motion-sensing equipment in the Wiimotes.
- That being said, Wii Fit didn't try to make anything super fancy graphics-wise. They made the graphics to fit what the system was capable of.
- My Fitness Coach appears the designers tried to bite off more than they could chew. They tried to make a game with better graphics than the system is capable of. The result is that Maya looks freaky on my big screen with visual artifacts (random pixels turning on and off) all around her teeth as she talks. I found it distracting and kind of annoying.
Importance: Medium, the visual artifacts were annoying me
Score: +2 for Wii Fit

- My Fitness Coach offers a variety of backdrops for your exercise routine. You could be in a garden or a city apartment or a cruise ship.
- Wii Fit doesn't offer any sort of backdrop for most of the exercises. If you do the jogging in place, it takes you on a tour of a Wii-cartoonish island, but that's about it.
Importance: Low, I can do without the scenery
Score: +1 for My Fitness Coach

- My Fitness Coach offers a variety of genres of music to choose from while you work out.
- Wii Fit uses the same music all the time.
Importance: Low, I can do without the music
Score: +1 for My Fitness Coach

Monitoring Performance: +3 for Wii Fit
Leads you through workout: +3 for My Fitness Coach
User Interface: +2 for Wii Fit
Choice of Trainer: +1 for Wii Fit
Graphics: +2 for Wii Fit
Scenery: +1 for My Fitness Coach
Music: +1 for My Fitness Coach

Bottom Line

Wii Fit: 8 My Fitness Coach: 5

Now, my scoring above is weighted based on my preferences. If you put more value on different criteria than I did, then feel free to modify the scores to see how it adds up in your book according to your preferences.


Sagey said...

My biggest complaint about the Wii Fit is that there is no way to set up a continuous flow for so many minutes of exercise. So Fitness Coach got a big plus for me on that one. In regards to measurement of body, I still have the Wii Fit and you can just hop onto the balance board without switching the disks and see if you lost weight.

But yea, Maya had NO way to know that I was doing modified push ups (on knees) when she wanted me doing full fledged push ups (straight legs), but then again, the Will Balance Board wouldn't know that either. :-)

I will do another session tomorrow with Maya and give you some feedback, I will tell you that her "warm up" of cardio before my upper bod work out, just about killed me.

Sagey said...

Maya is still kicking my butt, I was sore after Wii Fit, but not like this... I really like the fact that she says "I think you should work on X today". So I have done upper body and core so far. I am guessing tomorrow she will say legs... so then none of my body will be able to move. :-)

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T said...

I purchased the Wii console and Fitness Coach. I appreciate this comparison. Although Wii Fit rates higher, the things I preferred weighted the scoring towards the trainer side, i.e. Fitness Coach. It keeps things interesting and I'm still involved several weeks in.

Wendy said...

After using My Personal Trainer for a year, I can tell you a huge flaw in the program. Maya asks you what you want to focus on, and you tell her, then she does whatever she wants. For example, if she suggests lower body, but you say upper body, more often than not she'll spend a majority of her workout on your legs doing squats, lunges and extensions. This will drive you nuts if you, like me, just use this game as a small piece of your overall workout strategy.