In pursuit of ‘perfect’ shape

February 4th, 2010

The Nintendo Wii game Your Shape lets you see yourself working out onscreen beside an anatomically perfect virtual trainer.

It’s very easy to set up. It gets you moving. It has hundreds of moves available.

What is it?

It’s a game – a console game that I play on my Nintendo Wii. Your shape is a game featuring Jenny McCarthy (famous from Weight Watchers) containing nearly 400 exercise routines. Launched late last year, Your Shape comes with a Ubisoft (the game developers) camera that you mount on top of a TV, very similar to a webcam. After feeding in my details like age, gender, height and weight, the camera scans my body in two different positions.

What happens next is the part that I love. Within the TV screen is a picture-in-picture projection of my living room (or something that resembles my apartment) that helps serve as a mirror so I can watch myself exercise. I have to make sure that I stand closer to the camera, of course. Beside me, McCarthy’s anatomically perfect body moves as fluidly as any live trainer. She can sense when my body movements aren’t in sync with hers, and she quickly offers tutorials to teach me.

While I have the freedom to set my goal for the game - such as weight loss, and thereby get the recommended workouts, time for workouts, and how many days a week to do them, what I don’t like is McCarthy’s digital avatar correcting me to “refocus on the hands” or worse chides me by saying “you are doing it wrong” when I am honestly sweating and puffing from all that physical trauma. There are many of the cardio and warm up exercises that will kill your shoulders , but McCarthy demands you do perfectly else she will fail you at the end of the game!

Before I launch the exercise routine, I am required to tell McCarthy (my trainer) how motivated I am feeling at the beginning of each workout, and this determines how challenging the workout will be. My answer is usually “Tired” or “Sleepy” yet I am yet to end a routine on a high note. I have already abandoned the exercise routine thrice out of the total 4 attempts.

Sometimes McCarthy’s digitally manufactured voice can be very jarring. Like when her anatomical avatar on my TV screen tells me that to “straighten my back and bend more,” I find myself glaring at the TV and mouthing words that I can’t really write here.

I have to admit that this exercise programme must be working because it really makes me break into a sweat whenever I hear McCarthy telling me to “straighten up.” In fact, a 15 minute workout with this digital exercise routine burns about 200 calories, or so I am told. Bottomline: if you don’t want to watch yourself work out and escape McCarthy’s reproachful voice then you may want to head to a gym nearby but if you love the idea of getting rid of the Wii controller (like in the Tennis games), then Your Shape is can get you that perfect shape (provided you please the digital trainer!).

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