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Initial Impressions – EA Sports Active

May 19, 2009
Today is launch day, and marks the start of my own 30 Day Challenge. I have succesfully set up my profile and completed my first work out. Here is a run-down of my initial impressions, with a few observations on how EA Sports Active compares to Wii Fit.

Equipment:

Included in the box is the resistance band and leg strap (for the nunchuk controller). I also received a 30 day trial membership for Bob Greene’s Best Life website, which is a nice bonus. As mentioned in other reviews, the resistance band is pretty light weight. I’m not in particularly good shape and I can already see the need to step it up to a higher resistance. The balance board is not included, but it is supported as an optional peripheral.

Set-up:
It is quick and easy to set up your fitness profile. Your profile consists of a customizable avatar, your name, gender, age, height and weight. Your weight is used to calculate your projected calorie burn, and the manual encourages you to “please be accurate”. Here is the first major short-coming in the product: a game that uses a highly accurate scale as a peripheral is asking you to enter your weight manually. Using the balance board would make it much easier to track my progress, and eliminate any errors due to guessing or fibbing. Not to mention that in my house, the only scale I have is Wii Fit, which means I’m going to have to switch back and forth between the two to track my progress.
The avatars look decent, and there is a fair bit of customization. Your avatar’s physique is at your discretion, not based on your measurements. If you find watching the fitter version of yourself motivating, you have that option. Personally, I prefer that to my Budah-like Wii Fit Mii.
After you are done creating your fitness profile, there is a nicely done video by Bob Greene welcoming you to the program and then you’re ready to begin.
Workouts:
There are a number of preset workouts of varrying lengths. They each have a general focus such as upper body, endurance, etc. Each workout is made up of short excercises, and each exercise has a video of your real-life trainer demonstrating proper form. You can add or subtract exercises from the preset workouts or create your own custom workout by queing up your own series of exercises. The included 30 Day Challenge mode has it’s own preset workouts so that you’re not exercising the same muscle group day after day and includes rest days. Before beginning your workout, the program gives you a projected calorie burn graph based on your fitness profile. It also is apparently tracking your form and force throughout the workout, as my final calorie burn amount was about 20% higher than projected. Go me!
Audio:
The music is fairly generic, but of better quality than Wii Fit. There are a number of different music styles to choose from and you can create a custom playlist if you desire. The music isn’t great, but it’s not irritating either.
Gameplay:
The exercises were clearly explained, and there is a well-done information screen at the begining of each one depicting the required equipment. The trainer clearly demonstrates the correct form, and you can replay the trainer video at any time during the exercise. I chose a preset workout and was pleased with the variety in exercises. For day one it was a moderately intense workout, alternating between cardio and weight bearing exercises. The workout screen shows trainer feedback correcting your form if required, and inset display of the trainer doing the exercise, and workout summary information such as total workout time and calories burned.
There is an optional journal section to record other physical activity and a very basic lifestyle and nutrition quiz that will get you thinking about how many veggies you eat, how much water you drink, etc. An experienced exerciser or long time dieter would find these fairly rudementary, but they’re a nice addition for people who are trying to get active for the first time.
So after my first encounter, I am overall quite pleased with EA Sports Active. It’s impossible to review a product like this after just one use, but I’m already looking forward to my workout tomorrow and am curious to see how easy it is to make a part of my daily routine. Follow my progress as I continue through the 30 Day Challenge, and let me know what you think of EA Sports Active by leaving a comment below or via Twitter.
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