The lights are on
And I’m back. It’s been a few weeks since I first started writing about my experiences with Nike+ Kinect Training, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped using it. I’ve done my best to carve out time for workouts, even when I’d much rather be doing…just about anything else. I can be lazy sometimes, all right? I’ve spent a solid chunk of time with the fitness game, and I’ve got some updated impressions and observations on it.
One of the things that I’ve noticed is the variety in each workout. Even though my sessions are heavily weighted on cardio activities, the routines are different enough to keep them from growing stale. My virtual trainer plugs a new exercise into my program every day or so, which certainly helps alleviate boredom. There’s a nice flow to each session, now that every activity isn’t prefaced by a tutorial. By now, Alex rightfully assumes that I know how to do a mountain climber, so I merely have to get into position for the exercise to start. In addition to maintaining intensity, it also cuts down on the overall time of each session. When I fire this thing up, I want to move around and get it over with, not slog through a repetitive parade of demonstrations.
I did suffer a slight setback right after my first post. I decided to launch right into a challenge, skipping the warmup. About 20 seconds into the challenge (hopping sideways over hurdles) I rolled my ankle. ProTip: Wear shoes. I had to skip a couple of sessions, which was a bummer. Alex didn’t seem to mind. Actually, he didn’t acknowledge it at all. I wasn't expecting to get the third degree, but it would have been nice to get some kind of feedback about how important it is to be consistent. He still says I've had trouble with jumping jacks in the past, which is a complete fabrication. Whatever, Alex.
While the chastising may be lacking, there is an emphasis on “Rah rah! Keep it up, tiger!” style pep talks. You unlock video clips from well-known athletes such as Hope Solo and Manny Pacquiao after meeting certain goals, like doing five workouts in a row. That kind of recognition is nice in a silly kind of way, but the conviction and enthusiasm in their delivery reminds me of hostage videos. Maybe that’s just me.
I do have a couple of quick updates on the technological front. The Nike+ Kinect Fitness app wasn't live when I first posted, but it's here now. I downloaded it on my iPad, and it’s pretty slick. You link your Nike+ account to the game and the app, and then you can track your workouts, progress, and NikeFuel levels.
About that NikeFuel. I mentioned it briefly in the last update, mostly in mock bewilderment. The gist of it is that it’s a number that Nike has developed that allows people of all genders and fitness levels to compare their stats. What about calories, you ask? Well, a small woman doesn’t burn as many in a day (or workout) as a large dude typically does, or vice versa. The Fuel score is Nike’s way of trying to even the playing field. It’s also part of Nike’s fitness ecosystem, whether you’re interested in that or not.
Microsoft loaned me a Nike FuelBand so I could use it while evaluating Nike+ Kinect Training. It’s like a black Livestrong band that has a clock and pedometer built in. It’s a pretty slick piece of tech, and it calculates your Fuel score while you’re just going about your daily business. It’s a nice compliment to the game, and if you have friends to compete with (or root for), I’ve found it’s a pretty fun incentive to exercise more. When I fire up the FuelBand app, for instance, I can see that former GI editor Annette Gonzales has accrued more Fuel than I have for the day. Since I’m a pretty competitive person, that may inspire me to walk around the block or move around a bit more. Sure, you could just pump your fist like a maniac for half an hour (it is basically a wrist-mounted pedometer, after all), but that seems pretty desperate.
Anyway, I’m still toying with the Fuel concept. It’s pretty gimmicky, but it’s also tantalizing stuff for stat junkies like myself. You can log into Nike’s website and track your progress, get achievements, and see graphs showing how you exert yourself throughout the day. Nerdy? Yes. Fascinating? Yes.
One final observation: You can tweak some exercises to make life significantly easier. This may only apply for my fellow weaklings. If you find yourself struggling with pushups or lunges, for instance, you can change the routines from being based on reps to a timer, instead. Just say “Xbox,” and then wheeze out “tracking off.” Ta dah!
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
Haha I love the feedback clips. Reminds me a bit of the attitude in P90X 1 and 2.
I suppose that most gamers (like me) don't want any of that tiring, sweaty exercise stuff. Bring on the thumb mashing!
Im interested to check this out, but alas I don't really want a kinect...ever. Just looks like a waste of $100 to me, since I'm not really into motion tracking gaming...
Keep the updates coming! I'm really liking this new approach to reviewing a fitness title.
Jeff, do you wear the Nike+ FuelBand while using the Nike+Kinect trainer to calculate more accurately your fuel? Or do you have to take it off to not count twice your exercise?
I'm sort of interested in getting this game plus a FuelBand. I'm still waiting to see if I win one of the bundles they're giving away at work.