Interactive fitness trainer

This is a Playstation 2 “game” (but available on other platforms such as the XBox and PC) that is actually an interactive fitness program. It starts by conducting a physical assessment (measuring your heart rate before and after aerobic activity, seeing how many crunches, push ups, & squats you can do and gauging your flexibility.) Next a personal trainer named Maya appears and suggests your goals (building strength, losing weight, whatever) and coaches you through setting a workout calendar and setting a weight loss goal, if appropriate.

Then the fun begins. You show up for your workouts and are given choices of music, locale and optional equipment if you own it. You set the time and go. The workouts are fun – Maya is animated and picks routines based on your fitness level. You never know what she’ll throw out! It’s different every day.

I’m 50. I’ve been using Y!F for a month and have lost 8 pounds. I feel like I’m addicted to exercise now. I loved Body for Life but hated dragging my tired overweight body to the gym. I’m able to do Y!F in the privacy of my home and am now feeling like maybe I could face the gym again.

There are some glitches in the program. Occasionally Maya stutters, chooses a piece of equipment you don’t own and gets her beat mixed up for a few seconds. I’m not sure every move she shows is safe but there is no problem adapting her routines to fit your own space and situation. In the end, I’m responsible for my own health and I apply common sense. I guess I have the most problems with high impact moves (I modify to low impact) and some of her jumping over a step (I just do the basic step move when jumps and hops on the step.)

I love it and look forward to future releases as I’m sure it will only get better.

-- Mary Mcavanaugh 08/1/05