For about as long as I can remember, I've had a bit of a spare tyre. I used to think of it as puppy fat but, well, I'm in my twenties now. That excuse doesn't really fly any more.
So, when Guy, Seband Alexsigned up for MCV's UFC Personal Trainer challenge, I figured it was win-win. Either get a bit fitter, or get fitter and win a trip to Vegas. So I sent off an email and jumped on the scales.
It was at this point I discovered to my horror that I'd already given myself a bit of a head start. See, when I joined GameSpot UK about four months ago, my commute doubled in length. With the extra cycling to and from the office, I managed to shed a stone and a half without noticing.
And it all counts for nothing.
A quick change in tactics ensued - this challenge was no longer about weight loss, but toning up. I decided my only chance at victory lies in shredding the remaining fat on my abs and getting some definition on those bad boys. It sounds simple, but there are three key obstacles in my way. Namely:
1) I don't have sufficient space to use Kinect at home. Seriously, there just isn't room. It's stinking up the GameSpot UK games room or nothing.
2) I don't enjoy 'feeling the burn'
3) My girlfriend enjoys baking, and she's REALLY good at it.
I made some changes to my diet straight away - mostly just being careful about what I eat and when I eat it. Fish has become far more prominent in my diet, and I've cut out a lot of carbs. Unlike Guy I haven't cut out booze entirely, but I'm avoiding beer and sticking to spirits (I'm a big whisky fan so this is no hardship).
When the game turned up, I was really keen to give it a go, despite the massive window in the games room permitting everyone in the building to see me flailing like an idiot. By the end of my first session though, I was fairly demoralised and more than a little irritated. Most of that irritation, I'll admit, comes from me simply not enjoying many Kinect titles. while some are blindingly brilliant, I tend to find the kinect experience pretty patronising. While I found the trainer surprisingly motivating at first (particularly with the calls for extra reps), the fact it will often fail to register, say, a completed push up, very quickly got to me. The game ended up treating me like an idiot despite it actually being the thick one in the room.
Also, (and this next bit is also going to sound fairly pretentious,) I have reservations about it as a martial artist. I've been doing karatefor twelve years now, and was intrigued by the prospect of an MMA themed fitness title. In my first strike the mitts challenge, however, I had to adopt a really shoddy technique in order to get kinect to register the reps. As a result, I got less out of the exercise than if I was just training by myself - not ideal. I know I'll be in the minority having this reservation but, being an avid fan of martial arts, I consider myself to be more or less the target audience, which is slightly disconcerting given the execution.
In short, I feel THQ have made a good game with a decent structure and I have every intention on pursuing it over the rest of the challenge - I just wish it didn't rely quite so heavily on something which (let's face it) is still a fairly fledgling piece of technology.
That said, I ammaking headway. I've lost 2KG in the past two weeks, which was unexpected - I'm now under 11st for the first time in about six years. I've also noticed I recover far more easily from exercise - generally I expect to feel stiff the day after I train, but I feel fine. This in turn has let me increase my training further, which is immensely satisfying. I've noticed a very slight increase in my strength, but mostly I'm just focusing on parting with that childhood friend of mine, mr spare tyre...