January 14, 2013

Healthy Gaming Diary: Week 1

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Dear Diary,

Nike  Kinect Training boxartWell, I did it. I actually took my first step and began this new fitness plan. I always told myself that I would start one before but it never happened.  It’s been over a year since I’ve done real, proper exercise and, although this first workout seemed tough, it felt good to get moving again.  This week I will be going through a program designed specifically for me to target high heart rate and fat burning courtesy of Nike+ Kinect Training.

Today’s activity was simply a test to determine my Nike+ Fitness and Athleticism scores in order to develop a set of activities tailored to me and my goals.  My Fitness score is 35 and my Athleticism score is 61.

“Fuel Print is your fitness benchmark. It’s made up of the core pillars of Fitness and Athleticism and is calculated as a percentile.”  – Nike

Fitness pillars consist of Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance
Athleticism pillars are Power, Balance, and Speed, Reaction, & Agility

After a 4 week program, a fitness test can be taken again to see how these numbers changed. It may have just been a set of drills to test my abilities, but, my goodness, I am wiped.

Nike+ Kinect Training did a good job tracking my movements and I didn’t really encounter any major problems. There were audio cues to notify me that I was doing something wrong and it was quick to pick up the corrections.  As I progress through my program I’ll keep an eye on whether or not this stays true.  For now, I have scheduled a 4 day program that actually starts tomorrow.

They say that people who publicly advertise that they’re doing a new fitness routine stick to the program more often than those who don’t. I hope this bodes well for my success.  I guess we’ll know if that’s true if I show up again tomorrow…

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Dear Diary,

Nike  High KneesWhat have I got myself into? Nike+ Kinect Training is kicking my butt. Big time.  I wasn’t even through the warm up when I already wanted to quit; I couldn’t catch my breath.  Today was Day 1 of my training program as yesterday was just drills to assess my abilities.  I think it thought I was better than I actually am. Nonetheless, I survived the 27 minute workout which, I am happy to say, included both a proper warm-up and a 5 minute cool down which is something that other workout programs tend to forget.

Today’s workout was all cardio and my heart rate was through the roof for most of the session. They really pushed me hard but each individual workout was only about 30 seconds or less.  It’s the speed at which they get you to perform that keeps it challenging.  At one point, I was even playing dodge ball as several balls were thrown at me and I had to move out of the way fast enough.  Other drills include a hurdle jump from left to right, but to succeed, my feet must actually clear the on-screen hurdle.

This program certainly has a great variety of exercises to keep it interesting and fast paced.  As I progress, it measured not only the calories burned, but the NikeFuel I used.  NikeFuel is a general measurement of how much activity someone exerts and is the same calculation for everyone. This is so that everyone, no matter your skill, can compare results.

So far so good. I’m out of breath, sweating, and ready to quit.  I must be doing something right, eh?

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Dear Diary,

Nike  Roman DeadliftI’m beginning to think Nike+ is trying to kill me. I think I test better than I actually perform. Today was the second day of the 4 week program that Nike+ Kinect Training put together for me on my journey to better cardio and fat burning.  While Tuesday’s session was all about cardio, today was all about strength and mobility training. Exercises such as the Single Leg Hip Lift, the Plank, Kneeling Pushups, Mountain Climber, and Lunges were on the menu.

The more I use this program, the more some of the flaws come out of it, but these are probably more due to the Kinect hardware than the game itself. A few times the program just wouldn’t recognize that I was doing what it wanted me to do and kept telling me to do it. For example, one of the exercises required one hand on my hip with the other hand straight down at my side.  While I was mimicking the trainer exactly and my silhouette on-screen was in position, Nike+ kept telling me to put my hand on my hip.  I was! No matter what I tried, it just wouldn’t recognize it.  Eventually, it turned off tracking and the exercise continued.  Additionally, some of the floor drills have trouble seeing me completely even though my Kinect sensor is above my TV and should be able to see me without a problem.  None of these issues break the workout, however, and it still continues to try to kill me with exercise.

I do have to question the order of some of the drills, though. First it had me doing pushups which, this time around, took me to fail.  Immediately after, and with no break, it went straight into doing the Mountain Climber, another drill that requires me to hold myself up off the ground with my arms! My arms were already failing due to the pushups! It seems to me that these two exercises should have been spaced apart to allow the arms to gather strength again.

30 minutes and I was completely exhausted. I honestly believe that this program may be trying to give me too much all at once. To go from no exercise program to this seems to be overkill and I wonder about the accuracy of the initial assessment tests. It may think I’m more fit than I actually am.

I guess we’ll see if I’m still alive after tomorrow, the final day in this week’s program. Until then…

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Okay so I didn’t do my workout on Saturday like I was supposed to. I had some friends over for a night of gaming so my 3rd workout was pushed to Sunday.  The positive thing is that I still did it!

Dear Diary,

You know, as much as these Nike+ Kinect Training workouts have been brutal and I feel like I’m dying every time I do one, I have noticed already that I feel so much better overall.  I’ve been beginning to sleep better and I feel like I have more energy during the day.  While I haven’t noticeably lost any weight yet, I know that will come with time.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve done any kind of fitness activity like this and I’m sure my body just needs time to adjust to the sudden change before it decides to give up on some of this excess fat.

Anyway, today’s workout was another cardio session that lasted around 24 minutes total.  Instead of 10 or 12 different drills, this one consisted of the usual warm up followed by two sets of 5 drills with a two minute break in-between each set.  Today, Nike+ had me doing High Knees, Burpees, Dodgeball, Mountain Climber, and Hurdle Matrix.  While it may not sound like a lot of exercises, this combination sure does get the heart pumping and breath short.  Each drill only gave me around 15 seconds to catch my breath before moving on to the next which was hardly enough time to grab a drink of water.  Overall, though, the 24 minutes did seem to move fast.

Nike+ Kinect Training is a tough program to follow as they really push you hard. It will definitely take some strict discipline to bring oneself back to this every day.  Those that do, however, will certainly benefit from the programs here.  Anyone looking for an intense daily workout need look no further than this title.  Nike+ also has a free iOS companion application for this program in which you can track your progress, the drills you’ve completed and even see what coming up in your next day’s activity.  Nike+ has a full line of products for the fitness enthusiast and Nike+ Kinect Training is evidence enough that they really know fitness.

It may be a tough and intense program, but it is definitely worth the effort.  My body and mind are already thanking me for doing this.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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