With Zumba Fitness hogging the top of the charts, the Kinect-powered UFC Personal Trainer is out to muscle in on the action with a more macho take on keep fit. There are versions for PS3 and Wii as well, but for this test we stuck to Xbox 360’s motion-controlled wonder cam.
Endorsed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and fronted by leading mixed marital arts trainers, UFC Personal Trainer is more gruelling than its rivals. There’s none of Wii Fit’s gentle encouragement or Zumba’s exercise-is-fun vibe. This is fitness as taught by guys with broken noses. There are even motivational videos offering pep talks about staring in the mirror to remind yourself that your only enemy in fitness is you.
Anyone expecting Kinect-enhanced UFC fights won’t find them here. Instead there’s a wealth of workouts, warm ups and exercise regimes, from quick bursts of push-ups and punch bag bashing to 60-day programmes to build strength, improve stamina or shed pounds. There are also a plethora of progress data that prove rather addictive after a few days of workouts.
But while it offers variety, encouragement and challenge, the Kinect sometimes misreads your movements awarding points for mistakes or failing to recognise correct moves. We’ve seen enough Kinect games to know about Kinect’s limitations, but it’s annoying all the same. Another problem is space. At times you will need to lie horizontally or vertically to the Kinect, so if you’ve barely managed to carve out enough room for the Kinect to work your warm up will probably involved lugging furniture around.
But for those with the space, UFC Personal Trainer is an effective fitness tool that is cheaper than gym membership and is determined to craft a leaner, fitter you.