When YourselfFitness launched more than a year ago, it represented an evolution in the gaming industry. Retailing at $49.99 it was targeted at a neglected segment of the market: women. The developers of YourselfFitness married some of the best aspects of workout videos with the Xbox gaming console, but then they took it a step further. By making the program interactive complete with fitness tests, new workout areas that open up after a period of commitment and goal setting, they provided their users with a personal trainer for an overall cost that is less than some hourly fees that personal trainers require.
What’s Great About It?
The novelty of YourselfFitness doesn’t fade in the first two or three times you use it. The interactive Maya acts as your personal trainer. She talks, she offers encouragement and there is a function to step the workout down or step it up depending on how you are feeling at the moment. The program begins with a fitness assessment. She checks your base flexibility, cardio and balance. Maya needs the information in order to build the comprehensive program based on your goal.
Goal orientation is also important. The workouts include cardio, lower body, upper body, core, weight loss and flexibility. Whether you are in shape, out of shape or somewhere in between, Maya offers a little something extraordinary. She offers encouragement.
There is something to be said when you can curse at a virtual figure that cannot respond in kind. But Maya is cheerful without being sappy. She is practical and her voice is rather soothing. She doesn’t do the irritatingly chirpy thing that many workout videos employ. Frighteningly enough for a video interactive personality, she sounds more like a friend than a workout coach.
What Takes Some Getting Used To
You can schedule your workouts to meet your schedule. When you haven’t been around for a while, Maya will chide you. The Xbox has a time/date stamp so the program is keyed to pick up on its last interaction. The first time it happens, it will be a surprise. There will be periodic fitness assessments. If you don’t like jumping jacks, you’ll get tired of them but as a spot check on fitness progress they are pretty useful.
You can set the time of your workouts to correspond with the length of time you want. The options are 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes. Now, every workout is different. Even if you choose to do cardio four to five times a week you won’t get an identical workout. If you allow the program to choose for you, then you will likely do the different courses in a series based on your end game goal.
Every workout begins with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up session. You do a lot of aerobic motion, arms swinging, stepping side to side, back and forth and the pace picks up as you warm up. For beginners and people looking to get back into the fitness game this is a great way to get motivated and stick it out because once the warm-up time is over, the workout begins.
If you have workout equipment, there’s a feature that lets you tell Maya what you have. She allows for a step, balance ball, free weights and a heart rate monitor. She incorporates different forms of Pilates, yoga, balance ball work with weight lifting and step dancing. Don’t worry if you don’t have the equipment, none of it is a requirement. A week spent on an equipment free workout was still a pretty tough week.
The program also features diet options, meal suggestions and pithy comments designed to be food for thought as well as a little mental stimulant. The only major drawback for some may be the background music. It’s rather muted, no matter what style you select and while it’s not muzack, it’s not jamming to your favorite CDs either.
YourselfFitness is a great idea for moms and anyone else who already owns an Xbox. The price has come down considerably from the launching price and is generally available in the $34.99 range. The success of YourselfFitness is spawning another revolution in console gaming technology including Dance Revolution and Kinetics. Yes, YourselfFitness requires some commitment to turning it on and getting jiggy with it on a regular basis. Little ones love it though and kids enjoy ‘working out’ with mom almost as much as they like watching their favorite television shows.
Ultimately, if you balance what it can do versus what it can cost, Xbox owners are getting a real bargain. Maya and YourselfFitness are ready to make an investment in your overall health and fitness.
From a personal point of view, I used YourselfFitness for three months and enjoyed it. I didn’t care for all the exercises, but that was a very small percentage that I didn’t like. The comprehensive way it tackled what I wanted to do was a real boon. The first time I heard myself grumbling at her during a 5 a.m. workout, I knew I’d gotten hooked. While YourselfFitness is no longer a part of my daily workout, I still use the program once or twice a week for flexibility training.