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Work Off Holiday Calories 

Break a sweat at home with the Nike+ Fitness Trainer

Ready to sweat? Ready to burn off those impeding calories from holiday feasting? Then Microsoft's 360 Xbox team and Nike may have just the thing for you.

Nike+ Kinect Trainer is a progressive home fitness regimen developed by personal trainers for the 360 Kinect video-game system. Like a lot of home fitness regimens, the program has been designed by fitness experts and geared to provide a calorie-burning routine.

What helps the Nike+ system along is the integration of the Kinect camera that watches the user move to ensure that the movements and exercise routines are being performed correctly.

Jay Blahnik is a Nike trainer and one of the consultants on the program. He graciously took time to sit down and answer some questions we had about the program, how well it works and what makes the game both a workout and fun.

Question: Realistically, will people actually experience physiological changes, or is this just a fun supplement to an exercise regime?

Jay Blahnik: Like with any training program, the more consistent you are, the more workouts you put in, the more you're actually going to see results. But, the great part about "Nike+ Kinect Training" is that it's a true, authentic training program. It's not just something designed to keep you active and burn a few calories; it's really designed to actually train your body in a way that's going to get results.

So if anyone makes a commitment to this, they should expect to see the same kind of results they would get if they're working out with a personal trainer or a coach. And, of course, you get the convenience of doing it at home, which makes it more likely that you'll be able to stick to it.

Q: Does the program have an emphasis over cardio or endurance training as opposed to strength, or would you say that it melds these together?

Jay: "Nike+ Kinect Training" is definitely created to meld the two together. If you do the assessment and fitness challenge, you're going to be served up a unique program that makes sure you see the best results based on how your assessment and your fitness challenge came out.

Q: How good is the program at determining if a person is doing the exercises right?

Jay: The sensor is actually looking at your body from left to right, front and back, side to side. For example, if you're doing a lunge and we start to notice that your balance is off or you're not stabilizing through the core, you're going to be prompted with queues to do the most important thing to correct the move first.

All of the corrections and queues have been labeled in order of priority, the same way a trainer would need to do that. So, you're not getting too much information, you're getting exactly what you need to correct what you need to at the moment and get the most out of each workout and out of each exercise in each drill.

So, what you're going to find is a really high degree of accuracy at looking at the body, almost as good and in some cases better than a real training would be able to because it's able to pick up the nuances of your movement in a way that's hard to do without that sensor technology. It's as close to having an authentic training session as you can have it be without there being a real trainer right there in your living room.

Q: There's some fun in here, too, though, right?

Jay: We realized right from the beginning that programs have to be motivating, interesting and exciting. Otherwise, even if they're authentic, no one is going to stick with them. So you won't just see lunges and pushups, you'll also see really fun experiences like dodge ball, where you get an opportunity to play an old-school game that provides a cardio element but in a really reactive and interactive way.

Q: What are your favorite elements of Nike+ Kinect Training?

Jay: My favorites are the social elements. I think it's really great that I can train at home, on my own schedule when I want, but I'm also connected to an entire community; people that are looking to get the same results. So you're motivated; you get to push, you get to be challenged by other people but you don't have to show up at a dedicated time.

I also really love a number of the drills in the program because they're designed to actually give you benefit but they're designed to be fun.

Of course, we love it if anyone wants to supplement with the other activity. But you really can get everything from this program. But, then if it fits nicely with other training things that you may already be doing, it's going to get you stronger, it's going to get your more fit, it's going to be able to measure and give you proof of progress. So whatever else you're doing, this is going to complement it.

technology is crazy.


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