Fitness Wish List: Nike+ Kinect Training
With the holidays inching closer, we’re on a hunt for the fittest gifts we can find (our gift guides will be live later this month, so stay tuned). From lightweight running shoes to waterproof earbuds, a lot of gear and gadgets pass over our desks, and once in a while there’s a product so impressive that we want to talk about it right away.
Last week, Nike+ Kinect Training ($50, if you already have XBox 360 and the Kinect sensor) hit store shelves. We recently had a chance to test the controller-free at-home personal training program and chat with its developers and trainers. Here’s why it gets a thumbs-up:
The motion-tracking technology is spot-on. If you’re squatting or holding plank with bad form, you’ll know it. Then you'll be given cues on how to reposition your body to make the move as effective as possible. This type of one-on-one attention typically sets you back hundreds of dollars at the gym.
Progress means more than pounds lost. While stepping on the scale is a good way to measure whether or not a fitness program is working for you, sometimes you want to know more (Am I getting stronger? Do I have enough endurance to run my first 5-K?).
Nike+ Kinect Training takes a baseline reading that includes height, weight, age, and gender along with how well you perform a series of drills that measure levels of fitness (flexibility, strength, and endurance) and athleticism (power, speed, agility, and balance). From there, you’ll get a training plan based on your goals—options are get strong, get lean, and get toned—and how much time you have to devote to exercise. Then every four weeks you’ll circle back to the fitness assessment to see how your body has changed.
Trainers are true-to-life. On-screen trainers—you can choose to work out with a male or female—are modeled after two master trainers who work with athletes at the Nike World Headquarters training facility in Beaverton, OR. The graphics are great, so if you can’t take cartoon-like avatars seriously, you’re in luck. At the same time, since your trainer won’t really be in your living room, the program is a good fit for someone who prefers to exercise alone.
It’s just plain fun. On top of a dodgeball agility drill, Nike+ Kinect Training has several features that make it easy to stay engaged with your workout. For example, an intensity gauge appears on screen during certain drills, like high knees, and your goal is to drive up a meter that displays how hard you’re working. You can also connect with friends and compete in fitness challenges via video chat. Finally, your workout will earn you Fuel points, and Nike+ Kinect Training can also be paired with other Nike+ products, like the Nike+ FuelBand, an accelerometer that tracks your daily steps and overall activity.
—Hollis Templeton, associate editor
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