Xbox Fitness


By: Matthew Codd    On: Xbox One
Published: Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 11:01 AM
 
 
 
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Xbox Fitness is an odd piece of software to review for a gaming website, given that it’s not really a game. Rather, as the name suggests, its a workout app, with some game elements thrown in to help motivate you to do your best and stick to your fitness regime.

In light of that, I’m not reviewing Xbox Fitness as I would a standard game. Things like graphics, gameplay, music, and so on are tangential to the actual purpose of the software. Instead, I’m looking at how well Xbox Fitness achieves what it sets out to do - create an accessible, yet challenging exercise framework for people to enjoy in their living rooms.

Xbox Fitness takes workout tapes from well known fitness instructors, and then uses Kinect to track how well you’re following the video’s instructions. The harder you push yourself, the more “Fitness Points” you’ll earn, and the higher your score at the end of the regime.

This “workout DVD with points” mechanic is the bulk of what the software has to offer - and the simple driver of trying to better your score every day can be pretty motivating - but Xbox Fitness also makes use of other gamification techniques to help drive you along. There are plenty of achievements (both standalone in-game achievements and those connected to your Xbox profile), and a “stamp card” system that rewards you for using the software daily.

 

The big thing that Xbox Fitness has over just going out and buying a fitness DVD is the new and improved Xbox One Kinect. This is a great title for showing off just how good the new hardware is at tracking your movements, because throughout your workout, a little silhouette is displayed on screen to relay information about your actions back to you. As well as drawing an outline of your person with impressive detail (which will pick up even slight movements), Kinect is also able to measure your heartbeat and track heat the heat signatures of your muscles. Using this information, the game calculates your energy expenditure and rewards you with Fitness Points for high intensity exercise.

The only real issues with Kinect are the space required, and that the tips offered when you’re performing poorly are often not helpful. How much room you need will naturally vary from workout to workout, depending on what exercises are contained within, but I had issues with being too close to the camera or straying out of view with all the ones I tried. Admittedly my living room is small, but it’s not tiny. As for performing poorly, the game often doesn’t tell you what you’re doing wrong, and when it tries to help, the tips tend to be rather vague.

Challenging yourself to one-up your friends (or complete strangers) can be a great way to pump yourself up, and the folks behind Xbox Fitness have captured this well with leaderboards. As well as your standard rankings for each workout, the game will tell how you compare to the average scores for your demographic.

Just as important as rankings, though, is privacy, and the developers have realised this too. With body image issues as common as they are, many people might feel uncomfortable with having their results shared with others out of a fear of not living up to expectations. To combat this, the game guides through privacy settings on the initial start-up, so you don’t have to go digging through menus to get it set to what you prefer. While you have options to have your results shared with everyone, just friends, or just yourself, the latter option is the default, so you actually have to opt in if you want to share. This is a welcome touch, and will hopefully help avoid the issue of people sharing more than they’d like.

Overall, Xbox Fitness is a fantastic app for anyone who wants get a bit more active. There are workouts of all skill and fitness levels, and the game elements and incredibly accurate Kinect tracking combine to do a great job of motivating you. What’s more, the app is free for Xbox Live Gold members, so you lose nothing by giving it a go - except, maybe, some fat.


The Score

Xbox Fitness
"If you want to work out but lack motivation, this is for you."
8.0
Great
Rating: G   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 5 Min

 

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Comments (13)

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OrkMischief NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 11:55 AM Posted by OrkMischief
Fitness games/apps have always been one of the most positive experiences with using Kinect. I'm personally not a fan of the peripheral and don't like to wave my arms like an idiot or control a car with my head movements etc, but paired with fitness games and the range of feedback Kinect shows you, it's a great tool.
I've used the fitness app on Xbox One and found it to be very accurate and a worthy fitness fix for those in need of some exercise.
 
 
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HeWhoAteTooManyNachos
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 11:55 AM Posted by HeWhoAteTooManyNachos
I think that this is a great idea but I think that should be used just as motivation as I think that exercise shouldn't be done in front of a television. This IS a good way to learn new workouts but television exercise can't match normal exercise.
 
 
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KatalystaKaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 1:10 PM Posted by KatalystaKaos
17 December 2013, 11:55 AM Reply to HeWhoAteTooManyNachos
I think that this is a great idea but I think that should be used just as motivation as I think that exercise shouldn't be done in front of a television. This IS a good way to learn new workouts but television exercise can't match normal exercise.
Not sure if we should be taking health advice from someone called HeWhoAteTooManyNachos, fitness maybe but definitely no nutritional advice ;-)

Personally found previous fitness apps, Wii, XBox 360 etc to be to inaccurate and boring to keep up(due to as HeWhoAteTooManyNachos pointed out the indoorieness). Sounds like the improved Xbox One version has remedied the accuracy part at least. Will pick this up when I purchase a XB One as it's free but I'll be sticking to morning beach workouts for my primary fitness regime.
 
 
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koyukon NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 2:07 PM Posted by koyukon
I've already lost a definite 1.8kg off it. There's a few workouts that lose track of you but there are ways around that. There are also a few drills where the tracking needs abit more tuning because I'm doing correct form and it's judging quite harshly (but only a few). Overall it really is a fantastic app, what you see is what you get. Just don't go in thinking you'll get the full P90X and insanity programs. There are only a couple videos of each available at the moment and they aren't saying what's coming in the future except that "they will add more content over time". I'd guess there are up to 30 free workouts available which cover most - if not all muscle groups. Due to the amount of workout programs and videos available, you have a huge variety available to keep things interesting for longer. Lastly the app/service is free for gold members until Dec 2014.
 
 
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Bank NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 2:32 PM Posted by Bank
Does it teach you to deadlift and frontsquat ass to the grass?

Great for people with pure solid upstair foundation or one floor house with space. As for me it's not possible. But the premise is very good in that you can push yourself without a care in the world.

Group this with cardio, sprints, chinups and a gamer can be quite powerful.
Or you can just get a friend to spot each other in the garage which yields the same results.
 
 
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koyukon NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 2:47 PM Posted by koyukon
17 December 2013, 02:32 PM Reply to Bank
Does it teach you to deadlift and frontsquat ass to the grass?

Great for people with pure solid upstair foundation or one floor house with space. As for me it's not possible. But the premise is very good in that you can push yourself without a care in the world.

Group this with cardio, sprints, chinups and a gamer can be quite powerful.
Or you can just get a friend to spot each other in the garage which yields the same results.
I think there are some deadlifts in the Mossa series but they are more speedy and lighter weight lifts. All the workouts are quite varied but seems more focused on performance/athleticism/cardio rather than bodybuilding. If you up your weights to build muscle, chances are your score will drop if you cant keep up with the trainers on screen.
 
 
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NZBuc NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 2:47 PM Posted by NZBuc
17 December 2013, 02:32 PM Reply to Bank
Does it teach you to deadlift and frontsquat ass to the grass?

Great for people with pure solid upstair foundation or one floor house with space. As for me it's not possible. But the premise is very good in that you can push yourself without a care in the world.

Group this with cardio, sprints, chinups and a gamer can be quite powerful.
Or you can just get a friend to spot each other in the garage which yields the same results.
I enjoy using this for cardio/fat burning stuff (and ease of access is a big plus too)

For muscle and strength building, I still go to the gym
 
 
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SolomonLaw
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 6:37 PM Posted by SolomonLaw
These games were to glitchy and inaccurate on the 360, would be interesting to try with the one Kinect but I bought a ps4 instead.
 
 
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Mattress NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 11:46 PM Posted by Mattress
Xbox Fitness - the best app / feature that I never would have guessed I wanted until I tried it. Bravo Kinect!
 
 
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Gadgetgamers
On Wednesday 18 Dec 2013 9:44 AM Posted by Gadgetgamers
I have this, I think I have to get off my chair and do it would really make this exercise work hehe
 
 
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ReaperCrew NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 18 Dec 2013 10:33 AM Posted by ReaperCrew
I think the best part of this title is that it is a reasonably good quality app that MS is offering to its (gaming) community for free to encourage them to remain/become fit and healthy rather than becoming couch potatoes. Kudos to MS for taking some social responsibility and initiative.
 
 
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Teamkaos
On Thursday 19 Dec 2013 11:33 AM Posted by Teamkaos
Why are all the pictures of really super fit people? Maybe if they had some big Kim dotcom looking characters doin the workouts might have a better response. lol
The Kim Dotcom fitness workout game, now theres a number one seller!
 
 
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Bappernz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 1 Jan 2014 8:47 PM Posted by Bappernz
might have a look when the xbone finally makes it into my house
 
 
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