I’m in a hotel suite surrounded by strangers with a monitor on each arm and a woman I’ve just met lifting my skirt to strap a third monitor around my thigh.
Minutes later, I’m half squatting with my butt in the air while on the screen in front of me, my ‘virtual personal trainer’ encourages me to run on the spot. Toddling up to my left, 20-month-old Jed keeps grabbing at my arm, interrupting the monitor tracking my heart rate.
To distract my son, Melinda Messenger (former glamour model, TV host and mum of three) bribes him with rice cakes.
This was the strange position I found myself in last week at the soft launch of fitness game EA Sports Active 2 that hits shops today, just in time for the Christmas gift rush.
The programme combines up to 70 customisable exercises and activities led by virtual trainers (but created by real fitness gurus) to offer a one-of-a-kind gaming experience.
I was invited to the launch as part of the brand’s plan to reach out to mums (and dads) who can’t fit the gym into their busy schedules. EA Sports Active 2 aims to help you shape up in the relative comfort of your own living room.
Having just bought my sister a Nintendo Wii Fit Plus for her birthday, I wanted to know what makes this package so different?
First, EA Active 2 can be used on any of the motion sensor gaming platforms including Wii, XBox 360 Kinect and PlayStation Move. Also wireless tracking through the leg and arm monitors allows for total freedom of movement.
But the main selling point is the built-in heart rate monitor which, I’m assured, is the best way to tell if your workout is getting results.
And it’s definitely a workout. After barely 20 minutes of pretend running, boxing and cycling, I was breathing hard and getting noticeably sweaty. You can pick and mix from areas you want to work on, or enrol in the 9 week total body conditioning programme that builds in intensity over time.
What struck me is how family-friendly this product is – it’s easy to fit a quick workout around the little ones and there’s a 2 player option so you can exercise side by side with your partner or a mate.
‘Ezra would have loved this,’ I thought, as I watched a Metro newspaper reporter get strapped for action. My four-year-old would have wanted to try the basketball and the mountain biking game. And he would have given Mummy a high five when I got an ‘Outstanding’ from the virtual trainer after my first workout.
From the super friendly PR team, to ambassadors Melinda Messenger, Olympic cycling champ Victoria Pendleton and Ben Shephard of GMTV (pictured) – shooting promos at the hotel – everyone at the launch was buzzing about this product and it’s no wonder.
EA Active Sports 2 is easy to use, fun to play and a great way to get your whole family off the couch. It’s pricey at £79 but that’s considerably less than a gym membership and there’s no worry about bum jiggling or mummy tummy wobbling in a room full of body fascists.
Plus it’s infinitely more motivating than a video of the latest D-list celeb in spandex promising you ‘Abs of steel’ after the holiday excesses.
Visit the EA Sports Active 2 site to
ogle watch brand ambassador David Beckham getting busy