The following two sessions at the gym with trainer Nanci S. Guest are increasingly more intense. On the second of three 45-minute sessions, I find myself holding a 12-pound dumbbell while skipping sideways down a long corridor at the gym.
“Faster, faster, deeper, pause, do you feel that now,” says Nanci, who stays in front of me the entire time. When I get to the end of the corridor, she instructs me to do 15 pushups before skipping back the other way.
By the third session, Nanci has me doing bench presses while she continually adjusts the weight. When I’m on the verge of stopping because my arms feel as though they’re just going to give out, she encouragingly says: “Just two more, you can do it.” And I do.
Despite the intensity of the exercises, the time flies by as she and I chat away throughout the session. Topics range from setting reasonable weight loss goals, to avoiding indulging unhealthy food cravings, to making healthier menu choices when dining out. After all, as Nanci points out, getting back into shape involves how and what I eat just as much as exercise.
Yesterday, on what would be my fourth training session, instead of heading to the gym, I head to my basement and turn on the TV for my first virtual personal training session using Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved for Xbox Kinect.
I’m greeted by a female voice that takes me through the steps in setting up my profile and doing Ubisoft’s personal training fitness test. The questions are the same as what a real personal trainer would ask initially: age, weight, level of activity, etc. It’s more a test of my patience as I miss a few of the prompts and must start over. Finally, after about 15 minutes of setup, I’m ready to begin the session.
Tips, such as always keep your back straight when exercising and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, pop up on the screen throughout the session.
A camera tracks my movements so I can see my image on the screen next to an image of a trainer. The name of each exercise pops up on the screen, as does the number of reps. My job is to match all the movements of my trainer and stay in rhythm. I lose points each time I fail to do both — something that seems to happen quite frequently. For 45 minutes, I go through a series of toning and cardio exercises. The experience reminds me of following a fitness video, but one that gives you feedback. Although I don’t break a sweat, I do feel better for being active.
Stay tuned, on Thursday I’ll report on my following two Ubisoft training sessions.