Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Visit Gold’s Gym on your Wii without ever leaving your living room


By Heather Wardell

My favorite Wii Fit exercise is the Rhythm Boxing workout. However, it started to seem a bit repetitive, and so I wanted something different that would still give me a solid workout. Ubisoft's Gold's Gym Cardio Workout looked like it might be just the thing.

Since the game is billed as "a more intense cardio workout than most Wii fitness games", you might expect it to be tough, and it is. However, it is almost entirely a boxing workout. There are additional exercises, like running and sit ups, but these are done exactly like the standard Wii Fit versions and I never use them. As I wanted a purely boxing workout, I am happy with the game, but some reviewers were disappointed by the focus on boxing. As I'll show you, though, it is definitely a full-body workout.

The basics

When you begin, you're asked to create a character to use. I find it odd that the game doesn't use the Mii characters that have already been created on the Wii, but I think it's because the graphics are slightly more to the anime side than the usual Wii graphics. They suit the game, though. Figure A shows a Gold's Gym character hard at work on a set of squats. (picture courtesy of Ubisoft's web site)


The Gold's Gym graphics are well done and make the game interesting. (click for larger image)

While the game does use the Wii Balance Board, it's only for a few of the exercises. It doesn't allow you to weigh yourself; you instead need to enter your own weight. Since the game doesn't require the Balance Board, I suppose this makes sense, but I think it would be better for the system to decide whether to weigh you or ask for your weight based on whether the Balance Board is present.

Regardless, once the dread number has been entered and your character has been inflated to the necessary size, you can take your first boxing lesson. The game walks you through a few basic punches and then puts them into a combination for you.

Learn from my mistakes

On my first session, I was careful to keep myself to only fifteen minutes so I wouldn't be sore the next day. I work out regularly and am training for several mid-distance running races in the fall, so I was sure this would be fine.

I should have gone with ten minutes, because I was solidly in pain the next few days even though I'd been doing the Rhythm Boxing. I did recover quickly, and after about six weeks with the game, I am now doing thirty-five minutes a session, but I strongly advise not doing too much at the beginning.

It's difficult to stick to that, though, because the boxing is a lot of fun. I have special Wii boxing gloves and a wireless nunchuk, as shown in Figure B, but even before I got those it feels so real.