The Wii Workout

357826514_2e0fb74d7eThe idea for the Wii Workout hit Mickey DeLorenzo in late November as he stood in his South Philly living room, virtually boxing his fiance.

They were playing one of the those new Nintendo systems that allow you to control the game by actually waving your hands. (Movement of the remotes directs the on-screen action.)

"We just went at each other, throwing punches," he said by phone Tuesday.  "Ten minutes later, we're dripping with sweat. We couldn't even breathe. I'm thinking 'Oh, my God - this thing is working us out pretty good.'"

What would happen, he wondered, if he devised an exercise regimen based solely on the Wii?

This was the spark that led DeLorenzo, a 25-year-old-computer programmer, to begin a six-week routine of daily, half-hour work-outs on the Wii's boxing, tennis and baseball games. (He avoided golf, which he deemed not worth the time.)

The experiment ended Monday. The results can be followed on his blog, called He also posts a video there that shows how one works the Wii with ones hands. The site, which is independent from the manufacturer, also acknowledges some of the Wii mishaps people have suffered. The only damage DeLorenzo chronicles is to his laptop, which once caught a remote that slipped from his hand and flew across the room.

He tracked his weight, body mass index, calories burned per session, body fat percentage, heart rate, as well as something called "Wii fitness age" -- some with measurement devices sent to him for free after a New York Times column mentioned his experiment in passing last month.

The idea, DeLorenzo says, was to keep to his normal habits, with the exception of the 30-minute workout. "I ate Christmas dinner," he says. "I had drinks. This was my only exercise - I didn't jog or bike. I just walked around the city."

Go to his site to check out the intimate details, but the headline is that his waist melted from a 34 and a half inches to 31 inches. "I might actually have to have a belt on," he says.

He lost a total of nine pounds off the 180 he's weighed for the past two years. Before and after photographs (he's pretty dedicated to this project; there are charts and a video, too) show a man who has lost his love handles.

And when he began the experiment, the machine told him he had a Wii age of about 46. Six weeks later, he played like a 20-year-old.

So what's next? More of the same, says the man who got his first Nintendo system at age 5 on Christmas, 1986. He's addicted.

"I didn't do it yesterday," he says. "I kind of felt guilty, like I'd missed the gym. I play video games normally. I will keep something up."

There's been a healthy side-effect. His 42-year-old father was impressed enough that he went out and bought a Wii for himself.


Posted 01/17/2007 09:51:35 AM

Wii Fitness Age is really not telling you how old your body acts. It's really not an excruciating workout to do the fitness test. I got 38 then 28 on my first two tries. Most of them are just a test of skill, like get as many spares in bowling as you can (like the training mini-games). I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds on a similar routine, but after one week of being sore every morning, I figured out how to do all the games without killing myself :D Actually, I still get way into tennis, marking up my black TV stand with gigantic white streaks from the Wii controller, and that thing is still kicking. It's fun. I have Zelda too, but I've been pretty loyal to Wii Sports... it's just too damn fun. And my friend in Reading (from college) and I send WiiMails to each other of our highest bowling score (I'm winning with 258, he's winning in the training mode with almost 600, unless he's lying :P ) So that has sparked a lot more Wii playing time. I'm winning in Golf with -6 on 9 holes, as well :D Alright, I've gone on enough... can you tell I'm a fan?!

Posted 01/17/2007 10:10:06 AM

As crazy as it might sound, this thing has actually helped my son to hit a baseball. He couldn't do it before we got the Wii and now after playing Wii baseball, he actually hit eight out of twelve pitches that I threw to him the other day!!!

Posted 01/17/2007 10:45:21 AM

Wow, that's amazing. I know I wouldn't be able to go to Playhouse Lanes and bowl 258 from my extensive experience on Wii Bowling, but I could see it definitely helping out with teaching someone baseball. Just don't let him think that boxing will help him if he ever gets in a fight! In real boxing, I think there's pain, usually :)

Posted 01/17/2007 12:30:41 PM

He'll be on Colbert before the end of the week.

Posted 01/17/2007 04:36:02 PM

first time nintendo ever helped anyone get thinner. it may also be the first time nintendo helped someone get some.

Posted 02/01/2007 04:33:08 PM

Something from the European rumor mill: Nintendo is going to set a conversion rate of 4:1 for Star points to Wii points according to German mag: go now