THE VIRTUAL TRAINER
The latest celebrity fitness trainer has never even lifted a weight. Or done an actual chin-up. Or dropped a bead of sweat. Welcome to the brave new world of the virtual trainer, the animated video game characters who walk the modern-day fitness enthusiast through exercise routines and shout digital encouragement with bon mots like “You can do it!” and “You’re doing great!”
In games such as Wii Fit and EA Sports Active, you get to choose the look and gender of your trainer, and you can control how much or how little feedback you get — which isn’t a bad bonus (if you doubt that, next time you’re pedaling away at the gym try telling your spin class instructor to keep it down). The interactivity of the games also make it simple for exercisers to modulate a workout regime to their appropriate fitness level, making the games an increasingly popular option for older fitness enthusiasts, who may not be up for more intense workouts. It’s clearly catching on: Since the release of the Wii Fit in 2006, the game has sold more than 22 million copies (as of mid-2010), making it the third highest-selling console video game of all time.