[Review] Tripping Through Nike+ Kinect Training (Xbox 360)

I am not athletic, but always wished I was. I can’t run fast, can’t catch, and I throw a ball like a 4 year old. I can’t jump very high, and I can hardly do a push up…forget putting one foot in front of the other…ask anyone who knows me. I am clumsy.

Periodically, my Mom reminisces about all her athletic pursuits she participated in when she was in school – basketball, volleyball and track and field. I’m not sure if my father was athletic, but there are photos that exist of him doing karate. Not me. My athletic prowess was so bad that one year when I was tested for the yearly Government of Canada elementary school fitness test, instead of getting a patch to show how fit I was like all the other students, I got a sticker. Whose genes did I inherit??

The sticker.

The sticker.

Regardless of my lack of athleticism, I have always tried to incorporate fitness into my life. For example, I elected to take Phys. Ed. every year in high school just to force myself to stay active. I’d take long walks every day and I watched what I ate. In University, I used the campus gym. Later on out there in the real world, my husband and I got into going to the Y. Ever since, the two of us have worked at keeping each other’s diet in check to a certain degree. We have derailed our diet a few times, but we are always willing to admit weight-gain, and jump back on the treadmill when our fat jeans become too tight.

One thing I hate about adapting a healthy lifestyle, though, is exercise. If the skinny pill existed, I’d be all over that. But, the fat doesn’t disappear on its own, so there I go putting on my running shoes.

To supplement our treadmilling, my husband, forever a gamer, looked at different exercise programs that exist on gaming systems. There is, of course, the ever popular Wii Fit, but looking at the reviews, he settled in on the Nike+ Kinect Training program for the Xbox 360. He tried it, and thought I might get something out of it (why not?). The program uses the Kinect motion sensor device, which means an infrared camera follows your shape around the room (and you don’t have to hold onto an Xbox controller while exercising, which frankly, would blow). The camera sees you as a white shape and avoids details like facial features. Seeing my fat-ass blob on a TV screen is a GREAT motivator to get into an exercise regimen, if I ever needed an excuse.

When you first begin Nike+ Kinect Training, you get to choose from two fitness gurus – a brawny dude with ‘tude named Alex (I think), and Miss Marie, a fit chick with cool pink Nike runners. I went with Marie immediately when I could tell the dude was going to be a bit like the Duffman! from the Simpsons. The program then has you do a series of tests to determine your fitness and athleticism levels. These tests made me sweat, and reminded me that I have lost all my flexibility in a short period of time. I also almost knee-capped meself with the Burpees, push-ups, and Mountain Climbers…Dude, I was hurting by the end of it. I really didn’t like Marie.

A few days later, I began my first “Get Lean!” cardio session. By the end of it, I thought the program really had no idea how physically unfit I was. I was breathless for a majority of it (and not in a Madonna way…), yet it forced me to do every single rep without stopping. In one exercise, you hop on one foot in an imaginary square for 30 seconds. If you switch feet before Marie tells you to, the program will force you to switch back until you have completed 30 seconds in total on that foot. I kept losing my balance, while Marie reminded me to use “my core” to keep me on one leg. She obviously didn’t realize the “2-pack” my core has to work with…

The push-ups were something else; the program has you kneeling sideways to the TV, and Maria instructs you to not look at the screen. But, I wanted to see if I had my form right; Marie was too smart for me and kept telling me to stop looking at the TV. That portion of the workout took a while…Then, onto Mountain Climbers, which have you start in a push-up gesture, then switch your legs back and forth, like you’re climbing stairs while still touching the floor with your hands. My Mountain Climber looked more like I should be singing, “Heyyyy Macarena” at the end of it.  Marie caught on to my poor execution by saying: “You can do better than that,” and other judgmental rhetoric. Balance is integral to the program – and there was a lot of falling. Dude, I was hurting by the end of that session. I hated that bitch, Marie.

Hell, NO Marie...

Hell, NO Marie…

For about three months straight of the Nike+ Kinect Training program, I could finally do Mountain Climbers (even though I hate them!). Or, I should say, they were looking less like breakdancing and more like they should. The longer I kept with the program, the stronger I got, and the more weight I lost. The program makes you sweat – no doubt about it – but my muscles hurt less as I proceed with my routine. Marie is still irritating, but there is a volume button for that.

Technically speaking, if you are buying this thinking it’s a game, you would be mistaken – it’s a fitness program, and in my opinion, if you are serious about losing a little weight and increasing your flexibility, you have it all in Nike+ Kinect Training.

Nike+ Kinect Training
Publisher: Sumo Games
Released: 2012