Xbox Fitness: challenging you to go that little bit harder
8th Jan 2014 | 17:56
Gamifying fitness might be the best motivation you could possibly have
Fitness and the Xbox have gone hand in hand ever since the Kinect arrived for the 360 and made us all get off our beanbags and start using our body as the controller.
The Xbox One and its supercharged Kinect takes that to a whole new level, with cool new features at the the beating heart of the next generation of fitness technology.
Xbox Fitness brings fitness and workout videos to life by using your Kinect to see exactly how hard you are working, allowing you to experience workout routines from some of the world's most renowned fitness instructors in the comfort of your own home.
It does this is three very cool and distinct ways. First up is muscle mapping, which uses Kinect to monitor and interpret which of your muscles are taking the strain and giving you the tips you need to make sure that you are getting the optimum bang for your exercise buck.
The Xbox One can measure just how hard you are working and pitch the challenge just where it needs to be for you to cut out the lazy lunges and actually start to build up core strength.
Next up is the Kinect's rather fabulous pulse functionality that means you have nowhere to hide if the routine is not putting you under some pressure.
The Kinect detects microfluctuations in your skin via the camera to work out your heart rate from up to ten feet away - without any need for cumbersome heart monitors or sensors.
That's a big deal, because unless you are getting the blood pumping, you aren't ever going to be owning the bleep test or showing off a carefully cultivated six-pack.
What will really drive you on, however, is the energy meter - which will give you a visual readout of just how hard you are working (or how much you are slacking, of course) prompting you to push a little harder.
There's nothing quite like pushing the meter out of the amber and into the green to make you raise your game and keep your performance at the highest level.
We all know that gamification is a great way of making fitness seem less like a chore and more like an enjoyable part of our day, with consoles at the heart of making repetitions feel like opportunities to one-up ourselves or our friends.
The Xbox One takes this to the logical conclusion by rewarding you as you push past your personal best.
Of course, none of this would work as well if the fitness instructor wasn't up to scratch on the screen, and some of the world's best known trainers are at the centre of Xbox's Fitness regime.
You may well already be aware of Tony Horton, whose P90X program has become one of the most celebrated and widely adopted fitness routines in the United States and who has spent 25 years becoming a key figure globally in the workout world.
Horton has worked with celebs, sports teams and professional athletes, honing fitness and performance with workouts like 'Plyometrics'.
Tracy Anderson's 'Metamorphosis' fitness program has been a huge hit in Hollywood, and is at least partly responsible for some of the most celebrated celeb figures including Iron Man stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr.
Jillian Michaels is a familiar sight on television, bringing her own personal mix of fitness, life coaching and training, and she's now a fixture on Xbox Fitness as well, with exercise routines like 'Ripped in 30' and the rather scary sounding 'Extreme Shed and Shred'.
Last, but you certainly wouldn't suggest to him that he was least, is Shaun T who is something of a legend in fitness circles with his INSANITY 60-day conditioning workout.
This is considered one of the most challenging routines on the block - and we all know what happens when you taunt a gamer with a massive unreasonable challenge, even if it requires a bit more than merely flexing the thumbs or toning up the trash talk
You actually get unlimited access to Xbox Fitness with Xbox Live Gold for a time, and there will always be another routine available to keep things interesting.
Let's be honest - working out can be a dry experience, and it's all too easy to go through the motions and not really get the best out of your time.
But with Xbox Fitness driving you on, you have personal challenges and something not just checking if you are doing it right, but if you are doing it well. And being challenged is the best way to actually stay motivated.
So, if you're looking to get the ultimate beach body, or just stretching out those back muscles ahead of that lengthy Call of Duty marathon, it's definitely worth checking out Xbox Fitness.
And in the meantime: get down and give me 20 you slacker...