After spending $500 on a new console, Xbox One owners are hurrying to find ways to justify their expense. For those with an Xbox Live Gold membership, the new Xbox Fitness app provides one of the best values available on the system. The app is a free download, but many of its lessons are free for Gold members. As someone who hasn’t worked out much since high school — and who enjoys saving money whenever possible — this app gave me an interesting opportunity to work on improving my health without buying a gym membership.

Beyond the cost, it’s also hard to get to a gym since I’m unable to drive because of vision issues. My goal with Xbox Fitness isn’t really to lose weight — at 6-foot-1 and 135 pounds, I just want to stay in good overall shape and work on my cardio. While I haven’t formally worked out since high school, I do walk about a mile each day while running errands: going to the post office, picking up cat food at the vet, or getting groceries. So, while my cardio isn’t the best, it’s also not too terrible. At least that’s what I thought before getting into the Fitness app.

Tons of choices are available, but with an Ultimate Fighting Championship show coming up, I decided to go with the mixed-martial-arts influenced MOSSA training system. I also dabbled with an ab-core workout, but I couldn’t get the hang of the stretches. So, I decided to go with something that used practical movements I would likely make and not have to struggle with. I chose the 35-minute workout and paid attention to the directions. The dude in the middle did advanced motions while the guy on the left and girl on the right did easier workouts. Since the blonde chick was cute, I generally looked at her side of the area and benefited from the easier motions as well. A triceps pushup portion ended up being a bit too much for me, but her version of it focused on standing to going down on your stomach, then back up quickly with a squat. This variation was much easier on my knees.

The workout went in various stages, starting with punches, elbows, and knee strikes and evolving into spinning versions of them. These movements were a great way to work on my hip flexibility, which always gives me a bit of trouble. As a fairly tall person, it’s easy to lumber around, and sitting around a lot while typing doesn’t provide much of a hip workout. So, this setup is perfect. I can get some writing in, then fire up Xbox Fitness whenever I want to set up a new routine or just wing it and go with my own little midday workout plan. The Xbox Fitness app features a game-style layout with challenges listed on the right-hand side while a playback bar on the bottom of the screen lets you know how far into the workout you are. Thanks to that feature, you can pause at any time and take a water break or just rest a bit, stretch, and then get back into things when you’re ready.


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Achievements make the app even more game like. While it might seem a bit ridiculous, they’re actually a fantastic way to encourage you to work out. The newer, more thorough achievement setup lets you see how close you are to accomplishing each objective. While the workouts themselves have goals, you can decide to focus on the achievements instead. If you just want to throw 1,000 punches and not worry about getting a bunch of workout points, then you can. This is easily the most user-friendly, cost-effective (for Gold members), and customizable workout program you’ll find that will allow you to go at your own pace. Unless you’ve got a friend who can cut you an amazing deal at a gym, this app is a must if you’re looking to exercise. Microsoft came under a lot of criticism before the Xbox One’s launch, but this app and its year of free lessons are one way the company can really do some good for people beyond gaming.

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