Last month I wrote an article about Why I Hate Working Out, and in that article I explained that I hate working out because I haven’t found a workout that I enjoy doing enough to want to work out on a regular basis. So I decided to embark on a quest to find a workout that works, and share my experiences with you on the journey.
I have tried working out at home with many different methods. My initial thought with home workouts was that it would be easier and more convenient to work out at home because I could work out any time, I wouldn’t have to go anywhere and I could wear my ugliest sweatpants and shirts and no one would see me but my family and my dog. Not that I care about looking my best at the gym-believe me; but there are some looks that aren’t meant to be seen outside of the home.
Ultimately, the convenience of working out at home became the downfall. Since I didn’t have to leave the house, I made excuses and procrastinated; “I can work out later since the elliptical is right there in the other room!” or “I can work out tomorrow because since I have the DVD, I can work out whenever I want!” Well, whenever I want quickly turned to ‘never’ in my previous home workout attempts.
I have an [amazon_link id=”B003O6EE4U” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]X-Box with Kinect [/amazon_link]which is primarily used for family games like [amazon_link id=”B0050SYZ2G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kinect Sports[/amazon_link], or for my daughter, [amazon_link id=”B0058SHO5I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Just Dance Kids.[/amazon_link] I love the Kinect because we can get moving while we play games instead of sitting in front of the TV with a controller for hours. I decided to try a workout or fitness game for my X-Box, so I searched for “best X-Box Kinect workout games” on Google and did some research. While there were several games that got great reviews, there was one game in particular that seemed to consistently rank at the top, so I decided to give it a go.
The game I chose was [amazon_link id=”B002I0H27E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Nike+ Kinect Training[/amazon_link]. According to the game’s manufacturer, ” With Nike+ Kinect Training you can now experience personal training, at home. Using real time feedback and elite level coaching, Nike+ Kinect Training delivers a personalize program that evolves as you do”. Reviews on the game from several places seemed to indicate that the workouts were easy to follow and complete, and did a great job of simulating the experience of working out with a trainer.
One of the most successful fitness regimens I had was with a personal trainer many years ago, but since I can’t afford personal training now that I’m a parent, I liked the concept of a having “virtual” personal trainer. Nike+ Kinect Training definitely has the personal trainer concept and feel. When I first launched the game I was given the choice to select from two personal trainers, both of whom had a professional bio and “introduced” themselves to me and described their experience, background and training philosophies. Once I chose the trainer I wanted to work with (I can also switch trainers if I choose), I completed a fitness test to determine my level of fitness in order to create a training plan customized for me. Once the fitness test was complete, a four week training plan was created for me and I chose the number and days per week I wanted to work out.
During the virtual training sessions, the trainer provides instruction and demonstrates the exercise, and provides feedback and encouragement throughout the workout. In addition, each exercise is monitored by the Kinect sensor to determine if I’m using proper form, alerts me when I’m not and gives instruction for maintaining good form.
The feature I like best about Nike+ Kinect Trainer is the tracking and rewards. I’m someone who is motivated by results and rewards; whether that’s being able to do more reps, longer workouts, or lose weight and improve my overall fitness, and this game does a fantastic job of motivating by results. With the training plan, I can track my results and overall fitness improvement every week. In addtion, each exercise has a personal best which is displayed on the screen; the goal is to improve on my personal best each time I perform the exercise, and I am able to see if I’ve beaten my personal best immediately. Not only that, completing workouts and improving personal best allows me to earn Nike Fuel Points, which are activity points based on movement that can be used to visually track my progress, compete against friends or other Nike+ members, and earn badges and other rewards. With Nike Fuel Points, I am consistently receiving recognition for my accomplishments and I can see and track my results. This motivates me to want to continue to work out and improve.
Now, to the workouts themselves. The workout routines overall are easy to follow and complete, and most don’t require a lot of space to complete them. Many workout games or DVD’s have a lot of big movements that would almost require you to have a workout room in your house to be able to complete them, but these exercises can be completed in a relatively small space. I also really like that the Nike+ Trainer gives instruction and tips for maintaining good form; proper form is very important for getting the most benefit from your exercise routine and avoiding injuries.
There are two things about the workouts that I think could be better, and these may be more about my personal preference than shortcomings of the game. First, the exercises are mostly circuit training based routines; for example, your routine may consist of 20 seconds of jumping jacks, a few seconds rest, then 20 seconds of high knee running in place. While these are great exercises and really get the heart pumping, they get a little monotonous after awhile. I tend to enjoy workouts like kick-boxing, aerobics and dance, so I would like to see more exercises incorporating these types of exercise. This would keep it a little more interesting and add variety. I will add that I’ve only been working out with Nike+ Training for about a month, so there may be options for this further in the program. The game also has downloadable content, so this may be something available in the future.
Second, some of the exercises, while effective, may not be appropriate for all fitness levels. There are some that are nearly impossible for me to perform-at least early into the program, due to previous injuries to my knee. There were also others that were difficult at first, mostly because I am really out of shape. 🙂 While this is understandable since I’ve just started this program after not working out for awhile, this can be discouraging to people just starting out with the game. There isn’t an option to skip exercises, and for some exercises, if you aren’t able to get the form right, you can’t start “counting” your reps and there isn’t a way to move on (although some have an option to stop tracking your form after a period of time in order to finish the activity to move on). I actually had to stop my workout on a few occasions because I couldn’t get the form right to start counting my repetitions, and I couldn’t stop tracking my form in order to move on.
As I mentioned earlier, I have been using the Nike+ Training Program for about a month, and for the first time in awhile, I’m actually looking forward to working out when I get home from work, and I’ve improved my personal best on most exercises as well as my overall fitness score. While I wish the game had a little more variety and some of the exercises are challenging, I am enjoying using Nike+ Training and I love being able to track my progress and earn rewards. I don’t know if this will ultimately be the “Workout that Works”, but it is certainly a good start.
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