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Get Fit - With VR!

FitXR Quest Fitness VR


With 2022 upon us finally, as most of us do we resolve to have a much fitter year. It can be difficult to find the time or motivation to be able to work out, but this is where VR really shines.

With VR on the rise, (I see you, new Quest 2 owners) this also means there are a LOT of options out there for cardio games that don't feel like working out!

This blog post will go over some games and apps that are FANTASTIC for getting that workout in, as well as what muscles they'll work so you can plan your workouts better. Near the end I'll also add in some optional accessories for getting the most out of your VR workout!

I actually recommend buying multiple games/apps because as your body gets used to one, it will be looking for more challenges and if you get temporarily un-motivated or frustrated with it, you can always switch over to another!

Fun fact about me: I used to compete in bodybuilding and was once as NASM certified personal trainer (I eventually transitioned into more VR related roles).

I'm not going to get too much into much detail on this because I know you all just want to see the games, but remember when setting fitness goals in order to get the best results, make sure they are SMART goals.

SMART goals


That is, specific (which is the what, why, who, where, and which), measurable (something you can track), achievable (or realistic and attainable), relevant (or making sure the goal matters to you), and time bound (setting multiple deadline goals such as 1 week and 1 month from now, etc).

You can actually use the SMART goal system for any resolutions or goals you may have, but for the purpose of this blog we are assuming you want to work on working out more.

I'm going to break down the type of VR fitness games/apps into three different categories, dance cardio, boxing games, and general fitness but also inform you of the calories you may burn and the muscles you'll be working while playing these games.

All of these games are primarily going to be good cardiovascular or heart health exercises. None of these are going to be considered resistance training although you can add weights in some ways (see accessories at the end of this article)

Note: Calories per minute as well as some other data came specifically from the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise. If you are interested in learning more about VR and its relation to health, I highly recommend checking out their website. They work with San Fransisco State University's Kinesiology department to determine the actual impact of VR games.

Dance Games

Beat Saber
Quest Store $29.99

Beat Saber Oculus Meta Quest

                                                                                                                                                                         
If you are completely new to VR fitness, Beat Saber is an excellent choice to start with. Using a colored saber in each hand, your goal is to slice blocks of the same color in time to the music.

Muscles Used: Beat Saber will primarily be a good cardio workout but can also work out your shoulders and forearms. Beat Saber does not require you to use much leg movement however, but there are some maps that contain squats (such as 'Fit Beat'). 

To increase the amount of time you spend getting your heart rate up (if you don't care about scoring) I recommend you turn on the "no fail" setting, as well as try out the 360 mode as it requires you to move around a bit more.

You can burn around 6-8 calories per minute playing Beat Saber, or the equivalent of playing tennis.

Oh Shape
Quest Store $19.99

Oh Shape Meta Oculus Quest Store                                                                                   
Oh Shape is a game similar to the Japanese game show "hole in the wall" which requires you to fit yourself into human shapes coming at you. While it sounds simple, the moves they incorporate actually make you feel like you are dancing!

Muscles Used: Unlike most other dance/rhythm games though which are primarily arms, this one does require you to shuffle side to side (and potentially squat, depending on the pose). You basically hold the post for half a second (depending on the difficulty) before moving on to the next.

Pistol Whip

Quest Store $29.99

Pistol Whip Oculus Meta Quest

Pistol Whip is an unstoppable VR action-rhythm FPS. Journey through a cinematic bullet hell powered by a breakneck soundtrack to become the ultimate action hero legend.

Muscles Used: Surprisingly, you'll be activating a lot of lower back and leg muscles (quads and calves) here. Shooting will actually be the easiest thing you do.

In order to dodge bullets, you need to crouch, bend and lunge. The game also contains terrain in which you need to squat or duck down or around to avoid and you'll also be using your arms to attack opponents occasionally in melee.

Pistol Whip burns 6-8cal/min or the equivalent of playing tennis.

Synth Riders
Quest Store $24.99

Synth Riders Oculus Meta Quest

Let the music move you in Synth Riders, a dance-action VR rhythm game with custom song support and a thriving multiplayer community!

Muscles Used: Similar to Beat Saber, this may primarily be a cardio game - your shoulders and forearms will be getting a workout although there are a couple of walls to dodge. The "rails" require you to extend your arms out and reach, which can be good for the triceps. 

Synth Riders is an excellent companion or alternative to Beat Saber - remember that switching things up now and then is great because it keeps your muscles guessing!

Synth Riders burns around 4-6 calories/min, or the equivalent of being on an elliptical.

Ragnarock or Smash Drums
Quest Store $24.99/$19.99

Ragnarock Smash Drums Meta Oculus Quest

Both of these games are on this list because they both involve upper body and drumming, it just depends on which theme you like more!

In Ragnarock you lead your viking ship to victory! Pound your drums to the sound of epic music, from Celtic rock to viking power metal, and set sail against your rivals in multiplayer mode.

In Smash Drums, embark on an epic drumming journey that will have you destroying multiple environments through chaos and flames! Be prepared to smash drums to 30 great rock songs, and more to come!

Muscles Used: Both games will have you utilizing biceps, triceps, forearms and shoulders to hit the drums in front of you. Utilizing more force will help you get an even better workout in.

Audio Trip
Quest Store $19.99

Audio Trip Oculus Meta Quest 2

Audio Trip is another smooth rhythm game very similar to Synth Riders requiring the user to hit colored shapes with the correct hand, hold rails, and move your entire body to avoid obstacles.

Last year they added in a cardio mode which is mapped in a way that you need to move a lot more, containing big, full range single beat repetitions. Audio Trip also has playlists in which you can add your favorites to a continual list so you can keep that heart rate up and limit downtime between songs!

Muscles Used: Primarily cardio, some shoulder, forearm work. Some more squat heavy maps or cardio mode may give you slightly more of a triceps/hamstring/quad/calf workout.

Audio Trip burns around 6-8 calories per minute, or the equivalent of playing tennis.

Boxing Games

When it comes upper body exercise, nothing beats these two options. You WILL get sore and burn a ton of calories, so these sessions may have to be shorter.

You can throw punches, jabs, and block blows utilizing upper body strength but also some lower body if proper form is used and for blocking/dodging punches.

For best results, use proper form when punching. In a traditional boxer's stance your non dominant shoulder and foot should always be pointed towards your opponent, and your legs should be shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Make loose fists and keep your dominant hand by your chin, other hand down in front of your face (make sure to protect your head at all times!)

Boxer's Stance


Thrill of The Fight
Quest Store: $9.99

Thrill of the Fight Oculus Meta Quest

Thrill of the Fight pits you against fighters of increasing difficulty, each fighter having different styles and techniques. Besides the actual fighters, you also have access to a gym area in which has various bags and dummies around that you can use to perfect your skill, track your accuracy and hits.

The game also features 4 difficulty levels, plus custom difficulty, meaning your workout can be as easy or as difficult as you need it to be.

Muscles Used: Cardio, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms, Shoulders, Chest, Quads, Calves, Core, Hips (a great, all over workout)

Thrill of the Fight burns 8-10 calories per minute, about the equivalent of rowing.

Creed: Rise to Glory
Quest Store: $29.99

Creed Rise To Glory Oculus Meta Quest

In Creed: Rise to Glory you play as Adonis Creed, fighting toe-to-toe with the world’s top opponents to establish your boxing legacy.

Besides career mode there is also a customizable free play mode in which you can pick your opponent and the arena, and there's also mini games around various training aspects.

Creed also has a multiplayer PVP mode in which you can beat up your friends!

Muscles Used: Cardio, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms, Shoulders, Chest, Quads, Calves, Core, Hips (a great, all over workout)

Creed: Rise to Glory burns around 6-8 calories per minute or the equivalent of playing tennis.

General Fitness

These "games" are centered around fitness first, gaming second, but that dosen't make them any less fun! Most are subscription based so you can take advantage of every new class and update these apps have. These apps are all going to be giving you a better "full body workout" - legs included.

FitXR

Quest Store: $6.99 monthly - one week free trial

FitXR Meta Oculus Quest

FitXR gives you a new class every day of the week! You can choose from boxing, HITT (high intensity interval training) or dance workouts, and they feature songs from popular artists such as Tiesto, Calvin Harris and more.

While the app itself is free, FitXR requires a membership ($6.99 a month billed yearly, or $9.99 a month billed monthly) to continue your workouts, however you can try a free one week trial.

VZFit

Quest Store: $9.99/month - one week free trial

VZFit Oculus Meta Quest 2

Ever wanted to bike around the world? Now you can in VR! VZFit is one of the most immersive biking "games" out there, however you do need some equipment in order to get the most out of it. You'll need an exercise bike as well as cadence sensors for each pedal so your actual movements will translate into game speed in real time.

If you don't want to purchase an exercise bike, there is a standing mode available in which you move your arms in order to propel forwards, and you can do a variety of guided exercises while traveling the world.

The free version of VZFit allows you to explore a set amount of locations which rotate weekly, but paying $9.99 for monthly membership gives you unlimited access to the world (if google maps has a street view of it, you can go there) as well as multiplayer access to be able to bike with your friends!

Supernatural

Quest Store: $18.99/month - one week free trial

Supernatural Oculus Meta Quest

Similar to FitXR and VZFit, the app itself its free but you must may a monthly membership in order to make the most out of its features.


Supernatural features 500+ workouts but also new ones daily, you can workout in many different locations with thousands of tracks from your favorite artists, and coaches to guide you through your workouts.

Supernatural features boxing, stretching, meditation and "flow" with arm movements similar to Beat Saber, but with a ton of squats and lunges added in.

Cool Down/Mental Health

For the best optimal health, you need balance not only with your body but also just as importantly - with your mind. Here are some recommended apps for freeing your mind and achieving inner peace.

Guided Meditation VR
Quest Store: $14.99

Guided Meditation VR Oculus Meta Quest

Guided Meditation VR has a session for all your needs. Featuring 40+ different environments to choose from and 200+ relaxing audio tracks, you can choose between different guided meditations around Anxiety, Depression, Maternity, Resilience, Sleep, or Zen.

Guided Tai Chi

Quest Store: $9.99

Guided Tai Chi Oculus Meta Quest

Guided Tai Chi has over 200 different tai chi inspired workouts across 20 beautiful nature scenes. Running low on time, or have all the time in the world? You can choose between 3 minute to 60 minute sessions. You can also customize your sessions such as foot, audio, teacher and vibration refinements to you liking.


TRIPP
Quest Store: $4.99/month - one free trip

Tripp Oculus Meta Quest

TRIPP is a mindfulness app that features over 75+ different sessions in original, trippy living environments. You can also use their companion mobile app to track your progress.

Other Apps

To keep track of all your fitness progress - Oculus/Meta has it's own free built in fitness tracker app called Oculus Move!

Oculus Move

Oculus Move keeps track of how all the games you've played, how long you've played, estimated calories burned, and allows you to create either daily or weekly goals for yourself which you can keep track of on a fitness calendar.

Accessories

Looking to add more resistance challenge to your VR workouts? Give these accessories a try!

Kiwi Dumbbell
KIWI Design: $49.99

Kiwi Quest 2 Controller Dumbbell

 


The Kiwi weighted dumbbell is an accessory for your Quest 2 controllers. It features multiple weighted plates (1.80z/50g each) that you can add to give more resistance to your punches and swings. The three weight plates per controller weigh 5.3oz/150g total, and because it attaches to your controllers it works universally for all VR apps.

Exercise Bands

Exercise bands fitness


Exercise bands can also be utilized in VR, but use EXTREME caution, and do not use them with games that require a lot of fast movement. The best games for exercise bands are those that require you to stay in one place most of the time such as Ragnarock, Smash Drums, etc. You can use the bands around your thighs and use them to hold a squat throughout a song for example, to get some leg work out of your non-leg using VR games.

Wrist/Ankle Weights

Wrist ankle weights


Alternatively you can also buy weights that you can wrap around your wrist or ankles. These work great as they won't hinder your motion, but do be careful not to overdo it. What might feel too light initially can easily cause more strain as you start working out and swinging your arms around (especially when it comes to wrist weights) so make sure to ease in slowly when it comes to these weights.

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Wishing you a happy, safe and healthy new year - now let's kick some butt and show 2022 who's boss, virtually! Remember to set SMART goals, rotate between different games and apps to leave your muscles guessing, and add some resistance to the mix. You got this!

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