Using Kinect Fitness to Drive a 6-Week Training Program

Yes, I know. The Xbox Kinect is a long-dead tech. I guess that would make me a zombie player. The fact is, I’ve lost more weight with playing Kinect fitness games than any other method. And it’s still something that engages me to this day.

And that’s really the best exercise you can do…anything that keeps your attention over the long haul.

Some people love to run, others might want to ride a bike every day. I like to play various Kinect fitness games. As long as it works for you, who’s to say you’re doing it wrong?

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Why Kinect Fitness for Personal Training?

The original purpose of buying the Xbox 360 years ago was because we needed a way to get ourselves and the kids active. Since the household was full of gamers of varying degrees, we figured it would be a great investment.

After all, we did alright with the Nintendo Wii. That is until kids started cheating by sitting on the couch and playing. Not to mention I really couldn’t get into a lot of the games on the Wii.

With the Xbox Kinect, you have to stand in front of the unit. So, slacking on the couch was no longer an option. And I was able to find a slew of games I thoroughly enjoy.

Games Range from Easy to Hard

As I began buying up all kinds of Kinect fitness games, I found that the difficulty level ranges from just getting the heart rate slightly elevated to breaking out in a sweaty mess.

For example, I could play Avengers: Battle for Earth and burn just under 12 calories per minute. Or, I could play something like Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and burn closer to 15.

Now, that may not sound like a massive difference. But in reality, it’s the difference between sweat on the brow and soaking your tank top.

But Xbox Fitness is Gone, Now What?

It seems like I’m always on the ass-end of a trend. Just as I was getting interested in Xbox Fitness, it dissipated. But does that mean I can’t play Kinect games to keep losing the weight?

After Microsoft pulled the plug on Xbox Fitness, it’s up to you to find ways to stay active.

Although the social engagement and competitive aspects of the system are gone, I can still find ways to gamify the experience overall.

For instance, I am always looking to break my own personal records in Virtual Smash, a mini-game in Your Shape: Fitness Evolved where you break bricks as fast as you can.

Finding What Works for You

The best exercise or diets are those that work for you, not anyone else. Everyone has unique needs and specific interests. As long as you’re achieving personal goals, then that is what works best for you.

For me, playing Kinect fitness games is what works. From my perspective, it’s cheaper, easier, and more fun than going to the gym. Mostly, because I’m focusing a lot on cardio.

If I wanted to get in a grueling 30-minute workout, I can quickly strap on some weights and throw myself into most games that I have on my shelf. And this is what’s fun for me.

I’ve Lost Most of My Weight Thanks to the Kinect

Out of the various things I’ve been doing to lose the last 80 pounds, playing Kinect fitness games has been the most effective. Like I said, it’s all about finding what keeps your mind engaged.

If I start to get bored with one game, I move on to another. However, I often go back to those first games because I find them fun, overall.

By playing as often as I do, I’ve burned quite a few calories and added a great deal of muscle definition. Well, more than I had before, anyway.

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Do You Really Burn Fat Playing the Xbox Kinect?

I use my Fitbit Charge 4 to track heart rate and calorie burn. And after performing several case studies on myself, I can say it’s a fairly accurate device.

So, when I play Kinect fitness games, I can see that I’m burning quite a few calories. This translates into melting away a lot of body fat…which is easily seen when you compare pictures of me from several years ago.

4 Year Difference

However, there is a bit more involved than simply playing a game. You can half-ass play something on the Kinect and barely raise your heart rate.

Throwing Yourself Into the Game

One of the ways I burn so many calories is by really tossing myself into the game. For instance, if I play Kinect Sports Season 2: Tennis, I REALLY play tennis. I am all over the living room, making exaggerated movements, and push as hard as I can.

Don’t just stand in place and make necessary movements to play. Immerse yourself and get as much out of the experience as possible.

When I fight as Iron Man in Avengers, I AM IRON MAN.

Keeping the Body in Motion

The key to any great workout is keeping your body in motion. The longer you can sustain an activity, the more fat you burn.

Even during the loading screens or cut scenes, I am still moving. Usually, this is from quickly walking in place just to keep the heart rate over 100 bpm.

The whole purpose of things like Kinect fitness games is to increase physical activity. And if you’re not maintaining that high level of movement, your not getting as much out of the experience as you could be.

Adding Wrist Weights, Gloves, and Leg Weights

And lastly, adding wrist, glove, and leg weights will vastly increase the intensity of playing games on the Kinect. Even a single pound on each hand can affect muscles across your back, chest, biceps, and lats.

Of course, this also depends on the game you’re playing.

For example, I can feel the burn in my obliques when playing various mini-games in YSFE. In once instance, I felt the burn for several days. And in one particular game, I feel the burn in my glutes and thighs.

I wonder if I can get America’s Ass by playing Virtual Smash?

Why a 6-Week Training Program?

In reality, you can use Kinect fitness games for any length of training program. I only picked 6 weeks because that is a common theme that I see on the Internet.

Starting on September 25, 2020, I am going back to playing two times per day while maintaining a diet that all but guarantees I’ll melt almost half of a pound per day.

Mostly, I would love to look amazing by Halloween. But, I’m not sure if that’s going to be possible considering that’s only five weeks away.

I’m also doing a case study on myself to see how many calories I can burn using the Bodyblade. It’s not as much as playing something intense on the Xbox, but it does burn a few calories.

At any rate, I plan on showing my progress from start to finish to demonstrate how effective Kinect fitness play is for losing weight and toning up.

So, if all goes well, there should be a considerable difference in my appearance on November 6, 2020.

The 6-Week Plan

It’s simple, really. I’m going to record everything I play and eat over the next six weeks. But to give you an idea, I’m going to:

  • Maintain a decent diet of lowering my caloric intake. It should be around the 1400 to 1700 calorie mark per day. I’m using MyFitnessPal to keep track of intake.
  • Play Kinect games twice per day; once in the morning, and again before lunch. I usually burn more than 3,000 calories per day when doing this.
  • Adding the hand, wrist, and leg weights while playing various games. I’ll keep track of which weights I use every day.
  • Use the Bodyblade at least once per day for the case study on my other blog. I’m recording calorie burn while using the device.
  • Taking before and after photos to see if there is a noticeable difference after six weeks of playing Kinect Fitness games.

The hard part for me is maintaining this schedule. My mind is often all over the place, and I often forget what I’m trying to accomplish.

However, this will give me content for both the blog and the YouTube channel. So, I’m going to focus on trying to keep it all together this time around.

Will I Stream or Upload YouTube Videos for Kinect Fitness?

I would love nothing more than to stream the Kinect on Twitch or YouTube. Unfortunately, that would mean moving my computer system across the house every morning from my office.

I really need another computer system set up.

I’m currently saving up for a gaming rig to put out in the living room. However, I have mortgage payments and credit cards. But who knows, maybe I’ll be able to squirrel away a few bucks for a new machine.

Anyway, the short answer is yes, I do plan on streaming and uploading Kinect fitness play eventually. Hopefully, it’ll be sooner than later.

Because it is a good method for me to lose weight. And if I have viewers, I am more likely to maintain a good workout schedule. The audience will help me maintain accountability.

An Xbox Fitness Replacement Depends on You

Although Xbox Kinect Fitness is long gone, it doesn’t mean the device itself is worthless. On the contrary, it’s helped me move from 300+ pounds down to maintaining 220.

Again, it all comes down to what you find engaging and fun. The key is to make sure you’re keeping yourself in motion while you play.

It’ll be a sad day indeed when my Kinect takes a crap on me.

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop to name a few.