12/1/2004

Yourself! Fitness for the Xbox

By Laura Moncur @ 4:45 pm — Filed under:

Yourself! Fitness for Xbox

I picked up Yourself! Fitness a couple of weeks ago. I have really enjoyed exercising with Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix on my Xbox, so I thought that this game might be interesting. I had no idea how much I would like it.

The game starts out with the typical warnings about seeing a doctor before starting any workout routine. You can’t skip the warnings, so you will have them memorized if you use this game regularly. There was also a pretty impressive demo video that came up. I’ve seen it only once because I skipped it every time afterward.

When you start up, you can choose to workout with a guest pass or sign up as a member. When you sign up, you tell her your name, do some simple exercises and tell her your age and weight. This gives the personal trainer, Maya, an idea of how hard to push you. It’s really helpful to have a heart rate monitor during this phase because counting your heart beats after two minutes of jumping jacks is a little difficult. More than one person can use this program and sign up as members, which is really cool if there is another health-conscious person in your home.

You don’t need to buy equipment, but if you have a heart rate monitor, hand weights, flexibility ball, or aerobic step, the trainer will work those items into your workouts (giving you greater variety). Since I workout on a hardwood floor, it was helpful to also have a yoga mat for kneeling and other exercises that are performed on the floor.

Before your workout starts, you get to choose quite a few settings such as the length of workout (15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes), the accompanying music (Hip Hop, Eighties, Latin, etc.), the workout environment (What the workout space looks like) and which equipment you want to use today.

The best part of the personal trainer is you can tell her how you’re feeling, whether a workout was hard or easy and how often you want to work out. She doesn’t have a sense of humor, so she won’t tell any silly jokes or make fun of you if you need to stop the workout every minute to learn how to do the moves. If you tell her you want to work out for thirty minutes every day, she doesn’t chide you when you ask for a fifteen minute workout. When you’ve missed for a couple of days, she doesn’t reproach you for your absence. I was really scared that she would say something like, “Long time, no see.” It’s amazing, she isn’t programmed to be mean.

The cool thing about when you’re doing an exercise routine is the tutoring section. When I try to do workout videos, it bugs me if I can’t do the steps. It also bugs me when they spend too much time explaining it. If I’ve played a workout video a few times, I’ll learn the step and then all I’m left with is the vague irritation because the teacher keeps trying to teach me. With Maya, she doesn’t explain the move. You have to go to the tutoring section to learn the move. The game stops the workout while you learn the move and then starts it over at the point where you left it when you return from learning. The first couple of times, I stopped it over and over to learn the moves. Now, I know the moves and we just do them when they come up without irritating explanation.

You can do a yoga workout in the “Meditation Garden.” That is strictly a yoga workout and doesn’t really count toward your workout goals. If you choose a Flexibility workout, it will give you some aerobic workout with yoga moves at the end.

One unfortunate thing is when you stop or cancel a workout or meditation garden, it counts the workout as completed. I didn’t read the directions before I popped in the game and didn’t know what “Meditation Garden” meant, so I started it. Now, Maya thinks I’ve done one more workout than I really did, even though I stopped the workout within seconds of starting it.

There are so many cool details that I just love about this game/workout. Maya’s clothes change from day to day. I don’t know why I like that, but seeing her in different workout outfits makes her more real to me. The visual details in the workout environments are surprising and enjoyable. For example, when I’ve worked out with the Urban Oasis environment, there is a cool helicopter that flies by the building every few minutes. The music is not irritating and has very little vocals, so I haven’t been bothered by it at all (unlike Project Gotham, where I was turning off the music after just a few races). Additionally, you can adjust the volume of Maya’s voice, the music and the sound effects for the workout environment.

I don’t care for workout videos. I’m the kind of person who memorizes things and when I get something into my head, I’ll repeat it over and over. Workout videos get played so many times that I end up memorizing every stupid joke that was said and every misstep. This “game” however is different every time. After two weeks of regular use, I haven’t had any duplication.

As far as difficulty, it is really hard for me to complete a workout and I’ve had to cut them back to no more than 15 minutes with her because I was really hurting after each one. I’m sure I’ll be able to work back up to more time each day, but right now, she’s really kicking my butt.

Would I recommend buying it? Yes! I hate workout videos, so this thing is the perfect option for me. I get the total body workout that I would get at the gym without having to go to the gym, figure out weird machinery or watch irritating videos over and over. I want this “game” to be only the first in a wave of fitness games. Hopefully, the next one will use the dance pad from DDR so that the personal trainer can tell if I’m doing the workout or not.

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4 Responses to “Yourself! Fitness for the Xbox”

  1. Andrew Brannan Says:

    This is exactly the sort of thing I think home consoles should be looking at doing. Especially with the ability to integrate all sorts of special controllers. Workout videos are BORING after a few weeks, and with today’s graphics, there is no reason they couldn’t do this with all sorts of different workouts. There is also no reason they shouldn’t port this to the PS2.

  2. Laura Moncur Says:

    Yourself! Fitness is scheduled to be released for the PS2 format in late January or early February.

  3. brett Says:

    I agree with most of what you are saying however I find Maya to be kind of mean when you miss a work out. Well not totally cruel but she will give you a lecture if miss a multiple amount of work outs.

  4. Ali Says:

    Hi Laura, after reading everything you wrote about this on Starling Fitness, I decided to take the plunge and bought this online just tonight for our PS2. I can’t wait to get it!

    I’m just starting to get serious about getting fit and more healthy and this looks like something I can start with. My daughter has DDR for the PS2 as well, so between the two, (oh and hopefully biking as soon as the weather here cooperates) I can switch off and not get bored.

    I really appreciate the indepth critique you’ve done for this. I can’t wait to get started!

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