I've been using the Xbox 360 version of UFC Personal Trainer for almost three weeks now, and a few people have asked about the game - there's definitely been more interest in this from the VideoGamer.com community than almost every other fitness game on the market combined. I imagine that's because it's based on a sport where men punch and kick each other very hard, and sometimes in the face.
I've been keeping a diary of my progress, which should shed some light on what it's actually like for a grumpy fat person to attempt one of its 30-day programs.
Spoiler: it's not pretty.
Thursday July 7
Like many human blobs, I'm enormously fat. Even as I type this I'm thinking about going to the shops and buying a share-sized bag of Doritos all for myself. I'm also incredibly poor and surprisingly lazy, so while I've always wanted to have a body that other humans find attractive I'm clearly unprepared to put the work in. Still, an opportunity to (try and) get fit on company time while messing about with a Kinect sounds like it's far too good to pass over.
So, away we go! I'm going to be using THQ's UFC Personal Trainer and one of its 30-day challenges, and in the interests of full disclosure I am also taking part in a fitness competition sponsored by THQ.
Friday July 8
I didn't exercise yesterday, sadly, as I was much too busy thinking of an introductory paragraph for my fitness article. Today, however, was the Fitness Evaluation test. I also had to run the Kinect Tuner and move most of the furniture in the living room: some of that furniture is quite heavy, so I'm fairly sure that's enough calories burnt that I can treat myself to a free pie or something.
The Fitness Evaluation goes like this: some video of a really muscular dude with nipples the size of a 50 pence piece instructs me that I'm going to get really fit (disclaimer: neither THQ nor Zuffa, LLC are responsible if I do not get really fit) and then I have to do as many push ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks as I can over the course of a few minutes. I can't do very many, so I sort of floundered around on the floor feeling a bit sorry for myself.
With a noticeable whiff of pity, the game declared that my fitness level was 'Beginner' and said that I could get better if I tried really hard. There was even a moment where the game insinuated I could get the body of a real UFC fighter and I laughed, and the game and I had an awkward moment.
Saturday July 9
Exercise! Exercise is happening! Greg Jackson has trained some of the world's best UFC fighters, such as Jon Jones and George St-Pierre, and now a virtual Greg Jackson is taking on his toughest challenge yet: me.
You have to start with a warm-up routine, which is always arm circles, a few leg raises, some squats, and then some mountain climbers.
Mountain climbers, if you ask me, are the kind of exercise designed by really fit and athletic people purely to humiliate fat, lazy people. I can't do them. I do about five seconds before I'm knackered, and then I sort of sit on the floor puffing away while virtual Greg Jackson carries on for another minute. Why do none of these exercises seem to involve rolling around gently on the floor and drinking milkshake?
The game offers you six different kinds of workout - 30 and 60-day variations of building strength, building endurance, and losing weight. I'm doing the latter, because I am rotund and spherical.
I'm going to be painfully honest, here: these exercises sting like a mother**ker. I feel that the game is kicking me when I'm down, and then asking me to do ten more leg lifts while I'm at it. Virtual Greg Jackson would probably say something about how I need more passion and intensity, but I am actually doing the best I can.