Xbox Fitness

Xbox Fitness is an app on the newly released Xbox One that features a variety of different works outs. The app gives you sorting options to decide if you want a work out that will take 10 minutes, 20 minutes or less, and 20 minutes or more. The Xbox One takes advantage of the Kinect, as users will give it permission to track their movements and heart rates.

Accuracy of movement is scored and the on-screen interface gives immediately feedback if the user is not doing the exercise correctly or quick enough. By doing an exercise correctly, a color-coded circular bar begins to fill and if all the blocks are filled, a multiplier is given. The user will also be able to see how they rate against their peers in their age range.

The best part about it is that most of the workouts are free for Xbox Live Gold members until December 2014.

What Works

The workout choices are some of the best in the genre and include:

  • P90X®
  • Insanity®
  • Jillian Michaels: Ripped in 30®
  • 10-Minute Trainer®
  • Brazil Butt Lift®

Being familiar with doing Insanity and P90X, I wanted to see what it was like working out in front of the Kinect. I selected Insanity’s Plyometric Cardio Circuit and was taken to a health warning, which is typical even on the DVDs. The workout video is displayed on the left side of the screen, while a gray silhouette of the player is on the right. Below the player’s image is the multiplier and stars which will show how well you are performing that particular exercise, and below that is a timeline that shows how much time is left in the work out. Occasionally beside that the user will get a pop-up showing them the average of their age group, and how well they are doing. I found this to be very encouraging to give myself that extra push to stay above the average. The heart rate monitor is one of the best features, as the Kinect can actively see how quick your heart rate is.

When you complete a work out you are given a barrage of statistics that show you where you stand amongst your age group, how you did on each workout contained in the program, and how many calories were burned. You also receive stamps on a scorecard that are earned by completing challenges within the workout. Challenges provide a fun way to keep a workout fresh and make you want to try it again so you can earn more stamps and beat your friends. Achievements can also be unlocked to boost a user’s gamer score.

What Doesn't Work

The first thing you may notice after you complete your first Insanity work out is that there are no other Insanity work outs. P90X is equally limited, as there are only two choices to choose from. At first I made the assumption that I would have to pay to access more work outs, but that is not the case. In fact Beachbody has made a statement that when it comes to getting more workouts for Xbox Fitness that there will be “just 1-2 workouts per program. If Xbox users like the workouts they will have the opportunity to purchase the full programs through Beachbody.” Currently, if you try to purchase the full program you will be directed to Beachbody’s website to purchase the program on DVD. DVDs are fun and all, but they would be even more fun if they utilized the Kinect.

Up above I mentioned the heart rate monitor and the gray silhouette that displays how you appear to the Kinect camera. I have found the heart rate monitor to be iffy at best, as it has only worked in 1 of my 3 work outs even though I was given calories burned results at the end. The heart rate monitor to me was a major selling point, and to see it only working part of the time is a point of concern. Furthermore, I often had to adjust my Kinect camera during workouts that brought me down to floor level. Often times if my face was turned away from the Kinect for a push-up or sit-up exercise, my facial recognition would be lost and I would get no credit for the exercise I had just performed. It seems weird that my silhouette is still clearly in its view, but once my face is out of sight, everything falls apart. 

Final Thoughts

Xbox Fitness is a breath of fresh air in world that is saturated with workout programs each fighting for people’s attention. By combining the workouts with the power of the Kinect, users get to work out, be competitive, and track their health all in one place. With some tweaking of the Kinect’s heart rate monitor and facial/body recognition, and if additional workout programs are added in the future, the Kinect has potential to find itself into every home and gym.