You may remember from a couple of months ago that I was looking for ways to lose weight. If you don’t remember then I heartily suggest you go back into the archives and read that one.
I never did get that elliptical. It would be heavy and I’d have to carry it up the stairs and everything. Where’s the point in that? It’d be a lot of trouble and, frankly, I’d probably give up halfway to the second story.
For Christmas my mom got me an XBox 360. I toyed around with the idea of getting a Kinect and one of those dancing or exercising programs. That way I could stay indoors, exercise along with the program, and work my way into fitness.
This morning, with a complete lack of anything to do, besides getting ready for work, I clicked on “Biggest Loser” on Hulu. I didn’t have to move the mouse very far so it seemed like the best thing to do. And I watched these people tell their tales and do a challenge to get on the show. And I was hit by a feeling and a question: Is it really a good idea to have people who weigh between 280 and 400 pounds, whose most trying task in the last fifteen years has been to unwrap a Twinkie, run a mile? But, also, it made me determined to get that Kinect and a copy of “Your Shape Fitness Evolved” by Ubisoft. And I did.
First, a couple of observations about the Kinect. It is pretty cool. I’ve never really had anything good to say about it, or the Playstation Move, but in use I’ve only had it flake out a couple of times. I’ve only been using it for an hour or so, though.
Second, “Fitness Evolved” is scary. It’s scary because I’m standing in front of the TV and I see a big orange blob on the screen and I can tell that it’s me. I’m not sure why I’m orange. My shorts are gray and black stripes and they come out as orange and black stripes. Either way, there I was.
My blob was on the screen and “Fitness Evolved” was going to scan me. It looks me up and down and I get the uncanny feeling that I was about to be drawn into the computer world itself, to compete on the Game Grid. But, no, that didn’t happen. Instead, it told me how tall I was, how long my legs were, my should width, and other things. Remember that, because I’m going to get back to this information.
The program then asks for some information. Are you male or female? How much do you weigh? And here we’re hit with the same problem as fitness equipment having a weight limit. It starts with the weight being around 170. People who are actually looking to lose weight and get fitter have to stand there waving at a ‘+’ for a half an hour to get it up to their weight. At some point all this is over and then the program has to figure out what it’ll take to you kill you.
It started off innocently enough. Some sort of simple sideways leg step while your arms go up and down. You have to stay in sync with the trainer, though. I’m going back and forth and it’s telling me I’m not in sync. It was driving me nuts. This went on for a full fifteen minutes before I start moving around, wondering if the Kinect is having a problem seeing me (even though the orange blob was perfectly within the playing area). It took me a while before I tried widening my step. Ah ha! I got back in sync. And then the program told me that it would tell me things like when my stance wasn’t wide enough or whatever. That’s about when I flipped it the bird which, in retrospect, may have been a bad idea.
We switched over to another exercise: squats. I breezed through the squats but it was about then that my legs were hurting (remember, I’d done fifteen minutes more than I had gotten credit for). So, being a big fat guy, I’m tired. And the voice is asking if I’m ready for the next set. I thought I remembered there being a built-in mic in the Kinect so, logically, I start screaming, “F**K no, you crazy bitch! I’m not ready! Can’t you see I’m dying?” But no one was listening.
Next up was some kind of lunge. I tried doing them. I really did. But my legs were burning up, my lungs were bursting, I needed a cigarette.
Now here’s the thing: the program knows everything about you. It sees you and shows you on the screen. It shows you waving your arms or jumping up and down. It knows where my waist is, where my head is.
So it knows there’s an orange blob, weaving back and forth, bent over, wheezing for breath. And it wants to know if I’m ready for the next exercise? “Hell no!” I scream, futilely. It was at that moment that I had a weird feeling of dread and fear. This thing can take pictures. What if it took a picture of me? Right now, sweating and wheezing, and falling over? And posted it on Facebook? Good God, did I put in my log in information for Facebook?! Thankfully, I didn’t. That costs an extra $10 a month. I collapsed, gracefully.
Total calories burned? 71. And you need to burn something like 1,500 for one pound? No wonder people lose heart. The least it can do is make that orange blob a little smaller. You know, for a little self-esteem boost.