Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-My Thoughts on EA Active for Wii!-

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Yep...that's me!


Monday morning, one of my clients told me she’d just gotten EA Sports Active, and she asked me to take it home to try it out and see what I thought.  Of course, I was excited because i’m a big kid and love video games!  This particular client, along with her hubby and two daughters, realized this about me because they bought me a Wii for Christmas this past year.  Really awesome, huh?!  The girls were SO excited and wanted me to open my present that day, so it bummed me out to have to tell them that i’d already bought myself a Wii a few weeks before!

May I just reiterate how awesome my clients are? 🙂

Wii Fit

Wii Fit

I’ve messed around with Wii Fit a great deal of times.  I love the ski jump, downhill skiing, & soccer ball-heading games.  For a while, a few friends and I would get together to play Wii Fit.  We’d drink a few beers (yes, I drink beer, lol) and laugh as we watched eachother perform yoga poses.  One of my friends is the ski jump champion, and she and I had a competition going for a while.  I’d beat her, and she’d keep having to do the jump until she beat me.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that i’ve beaten her top score while playing Wii Fit at home! 🙂


jillian-michaels-wii-ds-screenshotI’ve also messed around with the Jillian Michaels game.  I wasn’t impressed.  The graphics are atrocious and on top of this, you have to endure listening to Jillian’s nasaly snarly voice as you exercise.  Who wants that?  She says things like “you’re doing great” and “keep it up,” with a less-than-genuine tone!  How motivating!  For the Jillian fans out there, don’t get mad at me.  Obviously i’m not a Jillian fan – I question her credentials, background, and techniques…but hey, she’s a TV star, right?

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Selecting intensity level!

So, back to EA Active.  You start out by entering your basic information and creating a character.  I was surprised to find quite an extensive collection of outfits for my “mini me,” yet sadly, there weren’t any cool-looking black tanks and black shorts.  Oh well.  Also, the shoes left something to be desired…

BUT, I did make her wear sunglasses!

After you create your character, you go on to choose your program.  I chose the “30 Day Challenge,” and then selected the “High Intensity Workout.”  I had done a half hour kettlebell/bodyweight workout earlier that day, and was fiddling around with EA Active while having a glass of merlot.

I know, I know…I make it sound like all I do is drink!  

Trust me, I don’t drink ALL the time…just when i’m playing physical activity games on the Wii!  LOL!

The thigh strap thingy that holds the nunchuk!  It took me forever to locate my was hidden underneath my TV stand...forgotten, as i've been a Guitar Hero addict since January!

The thigh strap thingy that holds the nunchuk! It took me forever to locate my was hidden underneath my TV stand...forgotten, as i've been a Guitar Hero addict since January!

My workout was said to take 37 minutes, including the video clips.  Being Sarah, I opted not to watch the video clips throughout the workout, as that’s a time-waster!  The workout started off with some jogging.  I was barefoot on my tile floor, and this was okay, but after awhile, I realized I was running on the balls of my feet.  I corrected this, and soon realized my arches weren’t happy.  I have had metatarsal stress fractures in the past, and although I work out barefoot at home most of the time, I am definitely not used to running without shoes!  I paused the game, put on my Mizunos, and started back up.  My calves were like, “hello!”



Here I am, on the way up from going too low!

Here I am, on the way up from going too low!

After running a bit, I then did squats.  The game has this little sidebar meter thingy that shows you how low to squat.  I soon found out that my “ass to grass” squatting ability was not wanted in this game, as the trainer chick chastised me for going too low! 😦  After the squats, there was more running…”kick ups,” I believe they were called, which were like butt kickers.  I was sweating a little at this point, and a bit aggravated at the fact that it didn’t matter if I ran faster…my character was cruising at top speed.  Grrr…too slow!  

No, this wasn't the band I used...

No, this wasn't the band I used...

Anyhow, the next exercise was biceps curls, which required me to use this flimsy flat resistance band.  This band was not unlike the Therabands PT’s use with shoulder rehab patients.  I tied the ends of the band to the strappy handles, stood on it, and thought “WTF?”  I mean, my 92-year-old Nanie would have thought this was too easy!  By this point, I was pretty much over the game.  I mean, my gigantic biceps weren’t getting a pump or even remotely feeling the burn!  Obviously, you can use your own band, but come on cheapo EA/Nintendo…package this game with several levels of resistance bands, please?  After the curls came bent-over rows, and I was obviously not doing them as the game wanted.  Come to find out, you have to row with the nunchuk and controller facing the TV, then point them toward the ground as you return to starting position.  Huh?  Why does this matter?

Next on the hitlist was some boxing, which was actually quite fun.  You stand in front of this machine thing that flips out targets.  You alternate left and right jabs as well as crosses, and if you hit them hard enough, they shatter.  I had a blast trying to get each one to shatter, and when they didn’t, I was a bit peeved!  Yeah, i’m a goober!  After the boxing came more squats and then some inline skating, which was fun as well.  It was also quite painful, as you’re required to maintain a crouched position prior to launching yourself off ramps.  I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t matter if I tried to steer or not, because my character stayed on track the entire time.  I think it would be more fun if you had to steer, but that’s just me!  Once you jump, you can flip and do various tricks by moving your arms about furiously!


Biskit was over it too!

Biskit was over it too!

Overall, it’s a pretty cool game, but I personally would not continue to use it.  I stopped after 20 minutes and was ready for more wine!  I’m not the “average” consumer.  I’m a trainer.  I like to call the shots…I don’t like being told what to do…I mean, I know EVERYTHING, right? 😉  Y’all know i’m seriously joking about knowing everything, I hope!  Anyhow, for the sedentary individual, I can see how this game would be a good thing.  It tracks your progress, keeps you on schedule, and has a good variety of exercises.  I didn’t even get to mess with the tennis or baseball!

So, for those who are needing something to help them start exercising at home, without spending too much money, this is a good option.  It’s not expensive, it’s convenient, and it makes exercise a game.  The problem with many people trying to do things on their own at home is that they end up throwing in the towel after a short while without any accountability.  Can a game provide accountability?  Perhaps, but it’s nothing compared to that of working with a trainer (either in real life or via the Internet…I do both).

Obviously, i’m a big proponent of working with a qualified fitness professional if you’re in this situation!  Nothing beats the personalized attention a personal trainer provides, and this is extremely important for those who have never exercised and/or are wanting to get started on the right foot!

Just for those who are curious…my quads were killing me (and still are) yesterday!  I don’t know if it was my kettlebell/bodyweight workout that afternoon, or the inline skating and squats on EA Active…lol…i’m thinking it was a combination of both!  I did a lot of squatting Monday…clean/squat/press, swing/catch/squat, deck squats (YAY!), and then the EA Active stuff.  Quads are still saying “holla!” 😀

14 responses

  1. DDRdiva

    Nice review! I don’t have EA Sport Active, but I think I’d agree with a lot of your points if I had it, which is why I don’t. Sounds like it is geared to beginners and intermediates, kinda the same group who does workout DVDs. Nothing wrong with that, but I like my games to feel like games, not like instruction. Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout is about the most “workout-ish” Wii game I have, with chatty instructors, but once you get past all the chit-chat the boxing portion is a lot of fun and sweaty. Plus it was a good buy at $20.

    Have you tried Active Life Outdoor Challenge? That uses a floor mat similar to DDR, so you can run and jump on it, and it can be killer! It also has a speed skating game where you have to steer with the Wiimote while running and jumping on the mat, and it has a mountain boarding game where you sometimes have to lean over and hit the mat with one hand to “duck” under a tunnel. We Cheer, where you have to do a cheerleading routine to music while holding 2 Wiimotes, is another one I love. The Wii can be an excellent fitness tool. Thanks for being open to the possibilities of fitness gaming, instead of closed-minded like some trainers.

    June 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    • Hey Sue!
      I will have to take a look at the Outdoor Challenge, because it sounds awesome! Actually, I feel DDR is one of the hardest, and it really helped bring “active” games to the forefront. I STINK at it though! Maybe that’s just because hte few times i’ve attempted to play it, i’ve been at places like Dave & Buster’s, with a crowd all around. Talk about self conscious! So, i’m gonna have to bite the bullet and get it just so I can update YOU on my progress! How does that sound? 😀

      I love the Wii! I love the fact that many of the games get people on their feet. Heck, even Super Mario Galaxy makes you move…you have to shake the remote to make Mario spin and shoot off in the star, etc. You don’t just get to sit there like a tree stump! It’s funny b/c when I first got Guitar Hero, I played it mostly sitting on the couch with my feet propped up on the coffee table! I would play for HOURS into the night. I love GH! It makes me focus and helps my ADD/anxiety go away. These days, though, I like to stand up to play, which is also great b/c I get a calf workout…I tend to bounce a bit to the rhythm! Thank goodness my mom is musically-inclined, because it definitely helps!

      What strikes me as funny is how people figure out how you can cheat on these active games. Although it didn’t lead to my highest score on the Wii Fit ski jump, I discovered that if you prop your hands above your knees when you’re crouched down, you can steady yourself, which helps in preparation for the takeoff. I don’t know if i’d count this as cheating, as it still burns your legs, but it does detract from your having to balance & control your body! lol Also, we’ll just say that i’ve witnessed a friend’s high score on the same game, and it was fueled by flatulence! Talk about a HILARIOUS moment! She held on, laughing, and landed the jump without falling off the balance board. Everyone else who was there missed it b/c they were outside smoking…yeah, no lie…smoking…wow…I could write a HUGE blog post about that matter!

      Yours in Health,

      June 3, 2009 at 7:52 pm

  2. You were running on the balls of your feet when barefoot because that’s the natural way humans run. Shoes force us to run with a heel strike. Google “pose running” for more info. I don’t know if it’s a good idea for you due to your previous stress fractures, but once you get used to it it’s a very efficient way to run.

    Your review of the game is about what I expected. A lot of my girlfriends were ecstatic to get themselves a Wii and Wii Fit for Christmas, but I haven’t heard a peep abou it in months and none of them look much fitter. You can’t buy accountability.

    I think if some cheap game told me I was squatting too low I’d throw my wiimote through a window.

    June 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    • Hi Amy!
      Thanks for your comments! I’m most definitely going to check out “pose running” b/c it makes sense to me! I want to strengthen my feet! I train barefoot at home most of the time, especially when working with kettlebells. I have been saying I will order some Five Fingers and/or Nike Frees, but haven’t yet. I’m leaning more towards the Frees now b/c i’m training for a triathlon. 🙂 The stress fractures I dealt with in the past were b/c I was a neurotic exercise-obsessed fitness competitor and 5k racer…with the “more is better” mentality. No problems with ’em now! I’ve actually also broken both feet (5th metatarsal on both; separate occasions) but never been an issue! Whew!

      You are definitely right-on with the Wii Fit stuff…my friends haven’t played it in months either! The “latest craze” soon becomes forgotten. What’s here to stay? Good ol’ fashioned basic exercise, with no gadgets and gizmos! lol Also, kudos for being a “low squatter”! My friends and clients constantly marvel at my squatting ability, and it most recently came in handy when we were painting the pool…I was the one who was able to get down with the brush and reach some difficult spots! Yay for hip mobility!

      Great blog, too! I’m gonna spend some time checking it out!

      Yours in Health,

      June 5, 2009 at 12:05 pm

  3. I would love to write and say what a great job you did on this, as you have put a lot of work into it.

    June 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

  4. Pingback: -My Thoughts on EA Active for Wii!- « “Outside the Box” Training

  5. Hey Sarah! I was looking forward to this review! I have the Wii but haven’t done much with it as far as fitness programs go. My son and my husband really use it more. Sounds like I’m better off with regular exercise than hanging out in my living room with someting on my leg. In the time it would take me to figure it all out I could have done 20 minute sprints :).

    June 5, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    • Hey Julie!
      I honestly think most of us who are familiar with “intense” exercise would soon tire of the game’s novelty! There are too many things you have to fiddle with, in my opinion. I’m of the “let’s just get to work” persuasion, as I know you are, and I just wanna call the shots! Sprints would most definitely get things done, versus watching the videos, waiting for the next exercise screen to pop up, etc. This is great for beginners, and I applaud the game’s abililty to make sure you’re doing things safely, but it’s not for advanced exercisers! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Twitter buddy!
      Yours in Health,

      June 5, 2009 at 7:33 pm

  6. Yep Amy’s right. Run around your house barefoot and notice where on your foot that your weight is centred. That is the correct way. Shoes just muck up your proprioception, and the raised heel encourages you to place your weight on your heel, often landing with a straight leg, forcing your bones to absorb the shock instead of using your muscles as you should. Your legs should be like springs and the only limitation is muscle fitness.

    Look up Pose and Chi running, ignoring their cult-like sales hype. The Pose site has tons of articles/pics/vids. Even better, download Gordon Pirie’s free book “Running Fast and Injury Free” from – that’s all you’ll need. It’s a hassle to change your running style though, and you might not have enough time to do it comfortably before the tri, but you can take what you like from the concepts.

    June 5, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    • Hola Anna!

      I checked out the Poser site earlier today and was excited to see so much info! I want to spend more time on it tomorrow (barring a long ordeal at the Jeep dealership, lol) and I will also check out Pirie’s book! I gotta get after this! 🙂

      More soon!
      Yours in Health,

      June 5, 2009 at 7:56 pm

  7. Pingback: -A Week’s Worth of Training!- « “Outside the Box” Training

  8. I bookmarked this page. I really like your site. I’ll bookmark the other pages when I have time 🙂

    June 11, 2009 at 8:14 pm

  9. Pingback: -A Week’s Worth of Training!- « "Outside the Box" Tri Training

  10. Pingback: EA Sports Active is a hit « Arrow Dynamic Mom

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