For decades, tech developers have promised an immersive entertainment experience capable of transporting us to another world. And for years, it remained the stuff of science fiction. But with today's virtual reality devices, we can leave our living rooms for The Himalayas or Mars or 18th century Scotland, and on and on. There are no limits to what VR can simulate.
But at least one company is asking, "How can it stimulate?" That's the idea behind Supernatural, the premier VR fitness service on Oculus Quest.
Seizing on the entertainment value of virtual reality, Supernatural seeks to address a consistent problem with at-home workouts: they're boring. And when we get bored with our workouts, we stop.
Peloton exploited this problem, garnering brief success for its line of stationary bikes whose computer screens lifted homebound cyclists out of their laundry rooms onto myriad country trails with inspiring vistas.
But let's be honest. Peloton is an online spin class in front of a computer monitor. Supernatural's Oculus Quest VR system is much more sophisticated and immersive.
Virtual reality thoroughly screens out the real world, making it easy to forget where you are within seconds. Like TRON, you are immersed in the world of your video game.
But virtual immersion doesn't guarantee you're going to break a sweat. That is, unless an in-game character takes a swing at you, prompting you to enter a boxing match. Or a virtual fitness coach challenges you to a series of high-impact cardio sequences, offering the most motivating, exhilarating, and productive workout sessions you could imagine.
Supernatural hopes so. The company website bills its services as "a high-energy, full-body workout that targets every major muscle group and gets your heart pumping."
The program doesn't just rely on visuals to stimulate activity, although the company boasts "the most beautiful landscapes on Earth and beyond!" Your workout is enhanced with "songs from the world's most popular artists," as well as "motivating instruction and guidance from our expert coaches." Supernatural promises sessions that are "fun, fast, intuitive and will blow you away!"
Sessions are divided into low, medium, and high intensity levels. But within each level, Supernatural personalizes your workout based on your own metrics, which you can recalibrate whenever necessary.
Motivation comes from seeing your efforts and "strike power" light up targets in a range of colors as you "send shockwaves towards the horizon." You finish each workout with a score and can compare your progress with users on the leaderboard.
Supernatural also promises something all of us living in isolation can appreciate: an inclusive community.
Right now, sessions fall into four categories:
- Boxing — Take on "music-synched targets and obstacles that teach you how to throw a jab, cross, hook, uppercut, and block." On the defensive side, activate your core as you "slip, duck, bob, and weave."
- Cardio flow — You'll "strike targets to the beat of your favorite music," but in routines that flow in rhythm. Get your heart pumping by executing squats, lunges, quick footwork, and leg lifts.
- Stretching — We all need to improve flexibility, mobility, and recovery by gently extending, contracting, and releasing our muscles. Regular stretching is key to avoiding athletic injuries.
- Meditations — Users can transport themselves virtually to some of the most beautiful places in the world while relaxing to "guided and non-guided meditation sessions."
Supernatural has modest startup costs. All you need is an Oculus Quest Virtual Reality Headset and a Smartphone. Monthly subscriptions start at less than 50 cents a day. Supernatural is currently available in the United States and Canada but plans to go global.
While there's currently a great hunger to get back to the gym, many still rely on home workouts. If that's your situation, Supernatural can be a transformative experience that shakes up your routine and reinvigorates your home workouts.