Sep 27, 2009 Product Review
Last week I went to an event at Chelsea Piers featuring Jillian Michaels (that’s my friend Beth Feldman of Role Mommy on stage with Jillian – Beth hosted the event). You know Jillian. Even if you don’t watch “The Biggest Loser” you’ve probably still seen the commercials or seen her on a talk show. (At least I have, and I’ve never seen the show.) On “The Biggest Loser” a bunch of really overweight people compete to see who can lose the most weight, and Jillian Michaels makes them work out until they cry. So I was simultaneously excited and nervous to go to a launch event for her new Wii workout game, “Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010.” Why nervous? I was told to wear workout clothes.
I took a bunch of pictures at the event. I was looking at them as I went along, so I know they were being saved. I got home and put my SD card into my computer, and a strange, scary thing happened: only the first picture showed up. All of the pictures from the event – actually, all of the couple hundred pictures on my SD card – were gone.
I’m not going to go into it all here. Just suffice it to say that when I got my laptop, it was fast and beautiful. Then a couple of years of overeating (big media files) caused it to get slower and slower, until finally, downloading a photo recovery program pushed it over the edge into morbid obesity, and it couldn’t get out of its chair.
Much like my own weight, this happened to my computer so gradually that it didn’t seem like an emergency. At any point I could have put it on a diet-and-exercise program (transfered files), but I was just too lazy. Until it was almost too late.
I eventually recovered the pictures, but not until after my computer went through emergency surgery (sending my husband to PC Richards for an external hard drive). And the lesson here, I think, is that if I would just take care of these things consistantly, stay on top of them, panicky emergency measures wouldn’t be necessary. Packing for trips wouldn’t be sweat-inducing.
So, back to the event. Nobody gets fat overnight, and nobody gets thin overnight. But I’m definitely lazy, and being able to do some meaningful exercise in my house would be fantastic, especially over the winter. I have a couple of Pilates DVDs that I like, but I get bored with them very easily. I have some hand weights, but they’re gathering dust. Jillian Michaels’ new workout game is the next evolution in working out at home. Instead of a DVD that’s always the same, you can design your own workout, and get encouragement as you go along. Or, if you’re not working hard enough, have Jillian Michaels’ avatar yell at you!
She looks nice when she’s not yelling, doesn’t she!
Jillian didn’t just slap her name on the game and collect some fees. She helped design the game (it’s set on a desert island because she’s a big “Lost” fan!) and she did all of the exercises wearing one of those ridiculous motion capture suits covered with ping pong balls, so the instructor on the screen really is moving the right way. Some of the moves incorporate the Wii balance board, and you hold a Wii controller. So if you’re not raising your arms high enough, you get a red line on the screen. Do it right, you get a green line.
I tried the game while Jillian was giving interviews, a few feet from the stage but with her back to me. The last thing I need is a real person yelling at me in a room full of people. I have no problem with what she does on the show – those people are volunteers and they know what they’re in for. But for me, there was no prize at the end to make getting yelled at worth it. Getting told that I’m fat or not working hard enough just makes me want to eat. But on the game, in my living room, that could be fun. I tend to yell back at the TV anyway.
I’m fairly clutzy and uncoordinated, so I didn’t expect to be able to master the moves right away. I was surprised I was having as much trouble as I was, though. I was getting red lines all over the place! Then I realized that I was mirroring what the Jillian avatar was doing, when actually I was supposed to be doing the same leg and arm as she was. Once I got that I was more or less OK but again, this would be a lot easier to master if you weren’t in a room full of people. Each move has a tutorial you can go to, or go right to the move. You can choose the music, the location – lots of the game is customizable, which is great for moving from fitness level to fitness level or for when you get bored.
Not surprisingly, Jake caught on way faster than I did:
I don’t have much use for the Wii game because I don’t have a Wii, but there’s also a travel version for Nintendo DS, which I do have, so I’m excited to get that one when it’s released on October 20th (the Wii game will be out on October 6th). Jillian’s mind is already on the next version – she’s trying to incorporate weights and other stuff to take it to the next level.
I’m all for making exercise easier. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but if I have to go to too much trouble to get to the actual exercise part, I wont do it. I’ve been a member of some excellent gyms that I never got my ass to – too much trouble. I love riding my bike, but I have to be dressed a certain way and then I have to put on sneakers and carry my bike down the stairs and put on a helmet…meh. But if you’ve got a Wii in your living room, and you can kick your kids off of it for long enough, then I think this game would be a great way to help you get fit.
UPDATE: Our hostess Beth Feldman posted a whrrl story about the event
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