Personal Training at Home: Nike+ Kinect Training

Tech Test Lab Review

Product: Nike+ Kinect Training
Price: $49.99
Rating: Recommend*

With weight loss a common New Year's resolution, it's the perfect time to share a review of my time using the Nike+ Kinect Training. The XBox title was part of my Tech Top Ten for 2012, and it's been an integral part of my fitness routine even after I completed the 4-week program. Read on for why it's my favorite Kinect title and for a review forged from many, many Nike+ Kinect Training sessions.

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Nike+ Kinect Training as you might have surmised from the name, is a title for the Kinect and Xbox 360 that was created in partnership with Nike. Nike+ Kinect Training (NKT) promised to change up the way that one thinks of at-home fitness by creating customised programs that are challenging, engaging, and tailored just for your work out needs. Being a veteran at-home athlete I was eager to try NKT after I played an early demo several months prior to the release date. During that demo I met one of the Nike trainers, Marie, who is featured in the title. Remembering just how kind she was during that event has almost prevented me from cursing her on screen pixelated visage during my NKT trials. Almost.

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NKT is set in a rather beautiful looking virtual workout space that is filled with natural light and heavy on browns, whites, and blues. No complaints from an aesthetic perspective as the virtual environment looks good and the menus are stylishly flat. While the virtual Marie does look quite a bit like the real Marie, Nike manages to avoid the uncanny valley.

Before you can get cracking, NKT runs you through an assessment that will provide you with your FuelPrint. I am ashamed to share what mine was, but let's just say that my grandmother's was better. NKT uses this assessment to build the four week program and also takes into consideration your specified fitness goals. For example, are they to gain strength or slim down? You can also specify what days you'd like to workout every week so that it can build your schedule of Personal Training Sessions accordingly. Because of the level of customisation and that you can choose from one of two trainers, the aforementioned Marie and Alex (both of who are trainers with Nike) the workouts that you do as part of the four week program are called Personal Training Sessions.

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Like many workout titles there is an option for shorter sessions which are around 15 minutes that are separate from your Personal Training Sessions. I'm a bit of a sucker for the data and seeing where I am on the calendar, so I almost always opt for Personal Training Sessions and rarely do the shorter sessions. The Personal Training Sessions range between 30 -40 minutes, this time includes the warm up and cool down periods. Downloadable additions like the newly released Upper Body and Core workouts are also in the works and these are shorter than the Personal Training Sessions.

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The Personal Training Sessions fluctuate between Strength and Cardio routines which you can clearly see in the calendar view. During each session you'll be able to view the name of the current activity as well as what is coming next at the bottom of the screen. On the bottom if the screen is also where you'll find out your Fuel score that you've earned for each activity. Fuel is the Nike metric which they use to measure the level of physical activity. I found this information to be helpful and motivating.

I'm not a big fan of exercise, so I need data and gamification to help make it as pleasant as possible. I'm also a little competitive, and Fuel a metric helps me compare against others regardless of their weight; I like using Fuel to see how I stack up against friends as motivation. Speaking of friends, NKT takes advantage of the camera built into the Kinect in case you wish to workout with a friend together virtually.

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Unlike some other fitness titles that I've tried, you do not want to be barefoot when you workout with NKT. The shoes that you use should have good ankle support, especially if jumping is not your cup of tea. There is a lot of jumping in NKT as well as running in place type activities, and without the right footwear your feet will not be very happy.

As I mentioned in the last paragraph, many of the exercises require jumping. You can skip any part of the routine, but it does not give you another exercise to replace it, nor does it learn that you really hate certain ones and will always skip them. I tried for testing purposes to be a good soldier and not skip anything for sheer dislike and instead would only skip when the Kinect sensor could not read my movements properly and register that I was doing the activity and move on.

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Some of the exercises are timed, others are by repetitions, so if the sensor cannot read that you're doing the activity you can end up on your 24th push up when you were only supposed to do 12. To avoid cursing and much anger I recommend using your voice (voice commands work pretty well) to skip the exercise when the sensor does not recognize your movements/body properly. I wear a Nike Fuelband while working out, so if NKT is not giving me credit for the exercises that I've done, I can still tally my physical activity total for the day via the Fuelband.

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To help the Kinect sensor read body movements accurately, even when doing floor exercises, you really do want 6 feet of space from your workout area to your TV. If you do not have that large of a living room get your Kinect up high. Mounting it on the wall above the TV, about 6 feet in the air helped improve visibility in my living room.

Despite the headaches that come when the Kinect does not read what I'm doing accurately, more often than not it does work, and it works really well. While I cannot complete every activity it throws at me with grace and finesse, I have gotten much better over these several months of use. Nike+ Kinect Training is the cornerstone of my fitness program.

My little sister's wedding and my desire to help get my asthma under control by increasing my physical endurance were what made me leap at the opportunity to try the Nike+ system, and the the results are undeniable. In case you're wondering, I've lost 25 lbs since starting, dramatically increased my endurance, and improved my FuelPrint. What is it now? Well let's just say it's better than most women almost half my age.

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Pros:
  • Customisable routine
  • Motivating data
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • If you stick with the program, you'll have good results

Cons:

  • Needs a much larger playing space than some other Kinect titles

  • Lots of jumping

  • Not the best title if you have noise sensitive downstairs neighbours


Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend
Recommend
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by manufacturer for testing and review purposes.

(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)

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