Xbox Fitness

April 21, 2014 – 7:07 am

If you have an xbox one and a gold account you get access to the new xbox fitness application and a library of workouts for a year. At launch one of my friends said it was good but aside from a quick glance I spent my launch week playing my regular next generation games. Around the end of January however I heard about someone hoping to 100% xbox fitness before the complimentary years access ran out. (This was on but they have since turned into some weird fitness secret site.)

I do like trying to get 100% on my games and it helps me feel that I got better value for money having explored ‘everything’. In this instance I’ve effectively gotten xbox fitness for nothing so it would be incredible value to 100% it :)

For some background; Since the 360 introduced me to achievements I’ve also enjoyed the idea of gamification and have put a significant amount of time racking up miles on the Nike+ run tracking software and subsequent evolution to Nike Fuel. When I first got Kinect I messed around with the Dance Central game but I found it difficult to use as the room I had it in didn’t really have the space and I had plenty more opportunities to go out for a run than take over the TV. A few years later I got Dance Central 3 for Christmas and around that time of year I can never get myself out of the house to run in the cold (I run outside, gym memberships are expensive). So I managed to arrange the living room to give a bit more space for Kinect by putting a shelf on the wall behind the TV to put the sensor on and sliding the sofa round.
Dance Central 3 became my workout for a few of the winter months but just like the other Harmonix games the higher levels still elude me. So having established that you do need space to get the most out of the Kinect and I’ve used and enjoyed similar ‘games’ before let’s move on to some impressions.

To start my Xbox Fitness experience I decided to try out a 10 minute beachbody cardio workout. So having selected the workout and read/skipped the health warnings what you get is a fitness video playing in about two thirds of the screen. In the right hand side of the remainder of the screen you can see your kinect tracked body, an accelerometer interface to show you how well you are keeping up with the current activity, if you keep the speed up you earn more fitness points (FP) and these are shown underneath. Below that you get a star rating for each activity and along the bottom of the screen shows the progress through the workout with an indication of what the current/upcoming activity is. Throughout the activities messages will pop up to congratulate you on keeping up with the trainer or giving you pointers to improve your technique. Occasionally during the workout a challenge target will appear to show how your performance is compared to the average for your age range with the expectation that you will try and work harder on that activity to beat the score. At the end of the 10 minute workout I was pleased with my progress and keen to try out something else.

I’d heard people at work mention the insanity workout and this was also what my friend had mentioned was so good about the fitness app so I though 10 minutes of that wouldn’t be too bad. So having started the new workout I realised I had made an error. The Insanity workout is 40 minutes in length. I carried on regardless but within 10 minutes I was struggling and had to end the session about half way through. Insanity has an appropriate name and is full of high intensity interval training exercise, definitely not one for beginners.

I do like a challenge though so as a glutton for punishment I went straight back to insanity the next day. Without the extra 10 minutes before hand I managed to struggle through to a 4 star rating and was very proud of that. The workout is broken up slightly by some breathing and stretching exercises but the full 40 minutes is a punishing experience.

I read up a bit more on the challenge that had inspired me to try out the feature and he expressed an affinity for the fight workout programs. I tried Mossa fight 1, this was a more manageable 30 minute workout and I enjoyed the punching and kicking movements that I guess you would expect from a fighting workout. I can see myself revisiting this range a lot and have already tried out Mossa fight 2 too.

With such a varied library I have also tried out one called Tracy Anderson body sculpt 1. This workout was less active than the others, it was also about 30 minutes and I was surprised at how much I was sweating from mainly stretching and balancing. I did have some problems with this workout though as I found the Kinect sensor would randomly lose sight of me during some floor exercises event though I hadn’t moved. The only way it would re focus was to stand up in front of it. This was very distracting and could be because of how the kinect is positioned but I wouldn’t recommend this workout for that reason.

So far I’ve managed to complete 4 workouts this month and it is starting to build up a nice record of my progress and a few achievements as I progress. The 100% idea is pretty daunting though since the last achievement is to complete 100 ranks and so far each rank up requires almost twice as many stamps to be earned from completing challenges.

In summary, I would recommend any Xbox One owners at least trying out some of the 10 minute workouts to see what xbox fitness has to offer. If you enjoy it and have the space the fight workouts are an enjoyable intermediate step and insanity is an experience that you won’t soon forget. I’ve never used fitness video/dvds before and this is little more than a new way to experience those but with the kinect feedback to correct your form and set you challenges it seems like a good evolution to me.

Anyone else had a go? Inspired to try it?

Originally posted over on the Gamersrespawn Forums

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