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Death by Video Game

With Olivia being a two-year old, servant leadership at home is leadership by example. Anything I say or do is repeated back to me. The good and not so good. My eating and (lack of) exercise examples are not something I want her to pick up.

We fell into a bad habit of getting fast food for dinner once a week. Before kids, I didn’t really care about that. Olivia, though, loves french fries. She’d always have dinner before V brought home fast food, but we’d give her a couple of fries since she wanted to eat with us. Anytime “Mom is picking up something”, she’d start getting really excited for french fries. My two-year-old’s favorite food cannot cannot cannot be french fries.

Call it a New Year’s Solution started early (secular calendar) or late (ecclesiastical calendar), but we’ve decided to utilize a fitness program we were given for the Xbox and correct some of our eating habits. We jumped into it starting a few days after Christmas.

It almost killed me.

I go through spurts of athleticism and exercise—a marathon in 2008, a half-marathon in 2010, and random other runs. In that, I’ve never done a workout “program”. Always just ran. Until last week.

Between Z-Steps, lunges, and exercises whose name I can’t remember, to use the cliche, muscles hurt I didn’t know I had. The “game”, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved by Ubisoft for Xbox Kinect, is incredibly accurate and corrects you on everything you’re doing not quite in step with your virtual trainer. (Note: The 2012 edition is currently being sold; we’re using the previous version. It, um, took us awhile to take it out of the box to try it….)

I love The Biggest Loser on NBC. As a rule, I can’t stand reality shows, but this one sucked me in. I found myself sitting for the entire two hours each week to watch these folks lose incredible amounts of weight. It left me the impression that a workout routine needed a trainer to be effective. I’ve never given workout DVDs or anything like that any stock. I can watch someone workout from my easy chair, ya know.

Video game systems, furthermore, were supposed to be what caused me to get have the extra pounds in the first place. They’re not supposed to help me lose it. Just give me a NES controller, Super Mario Brothers 3, a six-pack of Josta, some Doritos and leave me alone. The Wii changed that tune for me somewhat. It made you move, but not gym-style workouts (disclaimer: never tried Wii Fit).

This game for the Kinect has reversed my opinions of video games. Much like the rest of the technological landscape, you have to be aware of how you’re using it and ensure that you’re not abusing any aspect of the technology. But, damn, it’ll make you sweat.

One small feature of the new theme is sharing of how effective a Xbox workout routine is at trimming down. I’m going to try to eat a little better and workout via Xbox most evenings. Occasionally (no more than weekly), I might run outside in the real world. I’ll include some delta figures to give you an idea if it is working.

Before this solution, Olivia would watch 15 minutes of TV with me at 7 pm before heading upstairs to begin the bedtime routine. The Biggest Loser became her favorite show to watch during this time. I’d tell her it was time to shut off the TV and she’d respond “No, I wanna watch big people!”

Leadership by example: time for me to stop watching other people get in shape on TV and start having the TV kick my butt.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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