سه شنبه 17 دی 1392
نویسنده: Randall Farris
I’m soaked in sweat, balanced on one shaking leg, trying to bend at the waist, extend my other leg behind me, and lift two (tiny) dumbbells to my chest. It’s a kind of full-body jackknife move called, serenely, by the miniature blonde on my iPhone, the Single Leg Deadlift Dumbbell Row. I’m meant to repeat it for two minutes. “Fight through the fatigue,” she says cheerfully. “Step it up!”
There’s no way. Because she’s already made me do Mountain Climbers, Crazy Ivans, Squat Jumps, Flutter Kicks (I more or less sat out the Flutter Kicks), and half a dozen other circuit training exercises. The timer on my screen tells me I have seventeen minutes of workout still to come.
The big surprise about the Nike+ Training Club smartphone app—to which Nike provided a new, sleek update on New Year’s Eve—is how hard-core it is. The guided workouts range from fifteen to 45 minutes in duration, approximate sessions with a personal trainer, and are divided among four buoyantly titled categories: Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, Get Focused. I’ve been using it for months, have never once ventured above the Intermediate level—and still find each session to be stagger-out-of-the-gym challenging.
“Challenging is good!” says Marie Purvis, one of the Nike specialized trainers who designed the app’s workouts. “Training outside your comfort zone is the only way to get results.”
My wife turned me on to NTC, because she understands, as I do, that staying fit is not about discipline or mental fortitude so much as the willingness to buy in wholeheartedly to exercise fads. Liz and I have remained in reasonable shape over the last decade by dabbling in everything from novelty gym classes to niche weekend sports, and freely purchasing new gadgetry and equipment whenever the mood strikes us. Because nothing says lace-up-the-running-shoes like downloading a new GPS-equipped, calorie-burn-monitoring jogging app.
The good folks at Nike certainly have our number—given that they are already responsible for one of the all-time greatest fitness gadgets: the Nike+ Fuelband SE. Liz and I fully embraced life with Fuelbands last year, competitively compared our activity-tracking point totals at the end of every day, gave Fuelbands to friends and family as gifts, and have now put ours in drawers next to our old heart-rate monitors, Wii Fit equipment, and yoga DVDs.
NTC, however, is holding strong as motivator du jour. Since its launch in 2011, the free app has apparently had ten million downloads, but it still feels pretty underground to me. I’ve gotten a lot of curious looks at my local gym as I prop my iPhone on a towel to watch the tiny blonde demonstrate how to do, say, Ski Jump to Cross Back Lunge. The new version has an attractive redesign and several much-appreciated improvements (customization options, a preview function, the ability to download and discard individual workouts, a few seconds between exercises to grab dumbbells or that medicine ball). It includes four-week programs, and new sessions from athletes like snowboarder Silje Norendal and tennis pro Maria Sharapova, who writes in that she relies on the app when she goes on vacation: “after so many months of training with a fitness coach next to me, it’s nice to change it up.” Sharapova’s contribution is a fifteen-minute killer called New Year’s Crush. Here’s to making those resolutions stick.