This week, I cheated on Nike+ Kinect Training.

I don't mean to say I used some kind of pattern input like the famous Konami Code to make the programme easier. If you were to ask me, I'd tell you that translating up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, then A into interpretive exercise would be a killer workout in itself. What would those motions even mean?

Something a lot like a burpee drill, I imagine.

No, I didn't cheat on Nike+KT in the classic gaming sense. You see, my living room workout sessions with Virtual Alex Molden have stirred something within me. I find myself thinking about exercise when I'm at my desk. Temptation follows, and I give in.


So I've been cheating, so to speak, by chasing extra workout time at the Herald's social club gym, deep in the bowels of our office building. Most of the equipment has been around since the Nintendo 64 era, but the unintentionally hilarious motivational posters that lined the walls have long gone.

I'm no relationship expert, but I've heard a theory or two about people using the proverbial piece on the side to supplement or spice up their home life. I'm not about to take sides on that one, but I suppose there might have been a slight pang of remorse since I know that Actual Alex Molden read and retweeted a link to my last blog. So, I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

I think he'll be okay with it. When I switched on my Xbox 360 for the first time after lifting dumbbells and making silly faces at myself in the gym's mirrors, I felt like I was doubly prepared to handle whatever Virtual Alex would throw at me.

Apparently I startled my wife and dogs when he announced a round of burpees. If you don't know what they are, then don't be fooled by the reasonably innocent-sounding name, supplied by the American doctor who developed them.

From a standing position, you squat, you place your hands on the ground, you kick out into a plank, and then you do it all in reverse. Then repeat.

What I said when Virtual Alex called for burpees won't be repeated here, but I was told later that our dog hid under the bed for a while because of my vociferous reaction. The burpee has never been my friend, but we're getting along fine after the latest round of virtual drills. Why, I even feel like a bit of a burpee machine now.

Another great drill is the Split Decision, which is an arcade-style exercise that pits you against a series of rushing glass panels. Your job is to find the gap in each one and move through without making contact and breaking the glass. To do this, you'll need to leap upwards or to the sides, squat, or even drop to the floor, before springing back to your starting place in time for the next one.

After a fortnight in (and out of) the programme, I've smashed a few personal bests and even managed to keep up with my virtual trainer, pose for pose and motion to motion, on a few exercises. I'm feeling fitter, stronger, and I keep checking my limbs and body for added tone. It's there, and I'm digging it. It's a nice reward, but the job's not done yet.


This game's only just getting started.