Monday, September 7, 2015

Throwing Your Weight Around with the Balance Board

"You're not going to lose weight by playing video games," my doctor said. Well, let's see what my newly acquired Wii balance board has to say about that!

"You're obese."

Oh, screw you, balance board. I should have left you at the Goodwill where I found you!

"Hey, just sayin', man."

Well, you could have been a little more tactful about it. "Obese" is such an ugly word. It suggests that you're too fat to even be human, like you should be dragging a space princess behind you on a chain or something. 

But hey, I've lost weight before. I can do it again. And I can even do it on a budget! The balance board only cost me $2.50... Nintendo sold over forty million of them during the Wii's brief rise to fame, and now that the system is a distant memory, nobody wants theirs anymore. Similarly, a copy of Wii Fit cost just five dollars on eBay, including the shipping. So that's less than ten dollars for a focused training regimen... not bad when you consider that the price of a month's membership at the local gym is substantially more.

The only thing left for me to supply is the willpower... and that may prove a little challenging. It's gonna take monumental effort to pull out the (heavy!) balance board and play Wii Fit day after day after day. Hell, I don't even turn on my Wii U every day! However, I'm gonna to have to start if I want to drop this excess tonnage.

On the next American Gladiators...
(image from Amazon)
Luckily for me, Wii Fit seems like a fairly entertaining way to get in shape. Using the balance board, it can not only measure your current weight, but detect subtle changes in your balance and the position of your feet. This opens the door to a wide range of mini-games, from the expected (stair stepping) to the slightly bewildering (ready to bust a hip spinning an imaginary hula hoop?). There are even jogging trails which don't require the balance board at all; just a Wiimote tucked in your pocket. That strikes me as a cop-out on Nintendo's part, but keeping pace with your virtual jogging partner is just as strenuous as anything the balance board can dish out.

So I guess this is where I'll be investing my wafer-thin attention span for the rest of the month, if not longer. Wish me luck, folks!

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, the balance board is pretty damned worthless for Punch-Out!!. I tried it on a lark, and found myself lifting my feet off the board to make Little Mac dodge punches. I was able to beat Glass Joe- after three rounds- but unless you relish the thought of waggling from both ends I'd suggest sticking with the classic NES control scheme.)


  1. Good for you, Jess! I know Wii Fit isn't for everyone, but I've personally found it to be pretty useful and helpful on a number of occasions since I got the original release some time ago. My favorite exercises are the push-ups and side-planks, the push-up challenge, and the lunges, although I've added a few other exercises into my routine now and then, too. Anyway, I hope you find it beneficial, too--and I hope you'll report back sometime soon even if it doesn't prove beneficial!

    1. Well, what bugs me is that the stupid thing can't seem to recognize my weight. I keep getting told that I'm dropping an unbelievable amount of weight (five pounds after the first two days, and four after the next two), when there's absolutely no way that's happening. Maybe this is why the board was taken to Goodwill... it's just not working properly. It seems to properly recognize my movements but I *strongly* question its ability to weigh me. My weight fluctuates, but not that much!

    2. Hmmm, are you using it on carpeting? If so, do you have the little, uh, add-ons that are supposed to be used when you use it on carpet? If not, maybe that's the issue? Otherwise, I'm not sure what's going on. I feel like mine always calculated my weight pretty well...

  2. I put a large piece of cardboard under the balance board whenever I use it. I thought that would be enough to offset the softness of the carpet underneath, but apparently not. (shrugs)

  3. "You're not going to lose weight by playing video games," my doctor said. Well, let's see what my newly acquired Wii balance board has to say ...