Nike + Kinect Training: sore calves and a sweaty head

I woke up this morning with extremely sore calf muscles. How sore? The sore that travels up and down your muscles when you walk around.

I blame former American NFL player Alex Molden for those sore calves. Well, not him personally, I’ve never met the guy, but his virtual self in Nike + Kinect Training, the fitness program for Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor that will get me athlete fit apparently. I think it was the fitness assessment he put me through that bought about those tight calves (and, perhaps, pushing a big gear on the big when I really shouldn’t have been). He was so nice about it the whole time, too.

Disclaimer: These are not my calves. Actually, I don’t think I’d want calves that big.

Nike + is quite a scientific piece of software, unlike other console-based fitness programs  I’ve tried in the past where you might have to wear pick ups on your arms or the exercises were just a little tame: Nike + Kinect Training is based on some serious scientific principles and will push you to your limits (hence the sore calves). By the end of the assessment phase, sweat was dripping off me and my wife thought I’d been soaked with a hose.

That’s console Alex on the left and if it was a screen capture of my workout, that would be me on the right.

The second day (today) was a strength-based workout and it was 30 hard minutes – then at the end of it console Alex asked me if I wanted to do another 15 minutes or try out some challenges so I could brag to my friends! I politely declined: my body had been through enough, what will all the lunges, squats, star jumps, core training exercises, bunny hops, virtual hurdle jumping  and other strength-based moves I’d put my 40+ something body through. Again, the sweat was pouring off me.

I’m impressed with how well Kinect is tracking my body movments, too,  as I’ve been quite critical of Kinect in the past. The voice commands work really well here, too: understanding my Kiwi accent flawlessly most of the time. Sometimes I had an on-screen message pop-up saying “Move back” but sometimes I just couldn’t: I’d moved the furniture as far back as it would go, and a handful of times the Kinect though my jiggling right arm was a signal to pause the game, so it did – mid-session. I just yelled at it to resume session and it did.

Most exercises are 30 seconds in duration, meaning you have to do as many of that exercise as you can in the time limit, or are in reps of 15, and the intensity is high enough to keep you motivated. I also liked how console Alex was able to “notice” that my positioning wasn’t quite right and he’d ask me to correct it – then tell me “Nicely corrected” when I’d done so. Kinect games have come a long way since simple party games like Kinect Sports.

I’m playing golf this afternoon so I’m hoping today’s strength exercising this morning will help in my driving. It’s unlikely, I suspect: I’ll still suck.

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