If you’ve been looking for a simple beginner’s training course, look no further.
VR Fitness Insider is filled to the brim with information about choosing the right games, gear, and health hacks to boost your fitness-building potential in VR. But when you’re new to the site, it might be tough to navigate around and find exactly what you’re looking for.
You might not even know what to look for.
So today, you’re going to get the resources to build out an 8-week training course that you will use to acclimate to playing and working out in VR. For 8 weeks solid, you will want to spend at least an hour playing in VR each day. Each week, you will play one specific game for that full hour period. That game will be your VR workout for each day of that week, Sunday through Saturday. Luckily, you won’t be dropped directly into high-intensity stuff. And if you let yourself enjoy it, you’ll have a ton of fun.
Week 1: SUPERHOT
During your first week, you will play SUPERHOT VR. This is a must-play for anybody who buys a 6DOF VR system, so you’ll get to kill two birds with one stone. Or two orange guys with one machete. Whichever violent metaphor you prefer.
Get yourself through the entire campaign at your own pace. If you get caught at various points where you keep dying over and over, so be it. That’s the fun of playing SUPERHOT in VR, and it’s giving you a workout, thus the purpose of having you play this game during your first week.
If you beat the campaign ahead of time, you can play with SUPERHOT’s various post-campaign modes, such as ‘Endlessness’ mode. Sometimes I like to go back to SUPERHOT just to mess around with the different modes, despite it being the first game I played and beat in VR.
Week 2: Beat Saber
I wasn’t seriously going to keep you from playing Beat Saber longer than a week or two. Honestly, there’s a 60% chance you’re here because of Beat Saber. Look no further then, because your workout is an hour of Beat Saber on Easy and Normal modes. You want to master those modes because, unlike the more difficult modes, you will learn how to give your swings force and how to accurately hit the center of each box. Remember that your score is determined by the followthrough of your swings.
Besides getting used to long, natural swings, you will also want to practice keeping your controllers in your hands.
When I first began playing Beat Saber, my hands would sweat so profusely that I couldn’t keep a firm grip on the controllers. I also tried to begin playing the game with Hard and Expert difficulty modes.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to play Beat Saber on the toughest difficulty modes as a new player, first because it wouldn’t be a fun way to learn, and second because you could do some damage. If you aren’t careful, you could hurt yourself, or break your TV, or smack a loved one in the face with one of your controllers.
Week 3: Beat Saber (cont’d)
By the third week, you’ll want to move up to Hard and Expert levels in Beat Saber. Assuming that you played through the previous week without any days off, you should be ready to go.
Hard and Expert modes will push your speed and endurance much harder than you might be used to. If you’re not used to the intensity, they will leave your muscles feeling weak. You might get strained on some days, but instead of taking a day off entirely, what I’d recommend is reverting back down to Normal and Easy modes on the days you feel too strained to push yourself further.
Finally, you should spruce up your Beat Saber experience using mods. Here’s how to get started. Note that most custom tracks only come with Hard, Expert, and/or Expert+ modes. And remember that if Robert Long and Bill Lindsay could transform themselves through Beat Saber, you can too.
Week 4: Creed: Rise to Glory
This week, you’re going to beat Creed: Rise to Glory. It’s similar in length to SUPERHOT, so it might be easy for some players to rush through. When you’ve finished the campaign, use the ‘Freeplay‘ mode to facilitate your hour-long workout sessions each day.
While there is a competitive multiplayer mode present, I wouldn’t dedicate workout time to multiplayer in Creed: Rise to Glory. Waiting times can be quite long depending on where you’re playing from and the time of day, which will cut into your workout time if you sit waiting in queues for too long.
As with Beat Saber, it’s understandable if you need to take time off to recover from strain. If you find yourself taking multiple days off because your strain persists, you have pushed yourself too far in your previous session and will need to reel it in sooner next time. Take as much time as you need to recover; the last thing you want is to incur an injury.
Week 5: BOXVR
BOXVR is jammed with workouts. It’s one of the only games designed from the ground up to facilitate VR fitness boxing sessions curated and designed by personal trainers. For the first week, you should play around between the different pre-built workouts that are set up for speed, endurance, and strength training. Stick to a series of six-minute workouts that you can recover from between each round.
As a word of advice: The game is set up for you to take left and right stances during each interval, but I’ve found that standing my feet to the left or right actually hurts my ability to squat. What I do instead is stand with my feet spread apart, with my entire body leaning to the left or right based on the recommended foot stance.
Week 6: BOXVR (cont’d)
During your second week of BOXVR, you should start playing the super endurance (30 minute long) exercises and creating custom playlists with your own songs. I currently have my own 30-minute playlist with a ramping BPM per song; the first song is 128 BPM and the last song is 179 BPM.
The trick to curating your own playlist is to find the music you’d like to work out to, get it into your iTunes, load it into your game, and let BOXVR’s algorithm take care of the rest. Also, always play your own personal music on Hard mode. Otherwise, you might get tracks that are too easy to beat, as the game itself is coming up with the levels through procedural generation, and may play too safely on lower difficulty modes.
As for evidence of BOXVR’s effectiveness, we documented the case of Juan Espinosa, who lost 15 pounds while playing BOXVR.
Week 7-8: The Thrill of the Fight
Ian Fitz’s The Thrill of the Fight is the reigning grandmaster of home VR HIIT. No other games reach the same level of intensity that this one does. Not even Beat Saber.
Over the course of two weeks, you will challenge yourself to beat each of the boxers on the Normal difficulty mode. This will not be easy. It may be the most difficult challenge you’ve faced in VR thus far. But you will certainly get through it if you set your focus on it.
It may take you longer than two weeks, which is fine. Keep shooting for it until you get it. If you beat Duke Bell and unlock Challenger mode within the two-week span, then start over with Challenger mode and try to beat each boxer again.
And if you get tired, which you most likely will, do not try to push past your limits. I’ve made the mistake of severely straining and involuntarily decommissioning myself, from pushing myself “just a little further” in The Thrill of the Fight.
It’s not worth it.
Here are some ways to fight effectively, so that you don’t have to strain yourself at all.
VR Fitness Equipment
Besides obvious things like gaming hardware and a headset, you will want two additionally important pieces of kit.
- A weighted vest.
- A fitness tracker.
Naturally, you’ll play games that are lower in intensity, or you’ll play games that previously gave you more intense workouts before. The weighted vest is an important facet of a VR fitness routine that is less intense and more elongated. If you’re engaging in any standing LISS (low-intensity steady state) activity with lower stakes, a weighted vest will help you passively burn calories and build muscle as you engage. Here’s our guide for weighted gear inside Beat Saber.
Without a fitness tracker, it’s very difficult for you to track your physical progress. For example, I would not have noticed the number of calories I’d been burning when I first started playing SUPERHOT, had I not had the assistance of my Apple Watch 2 to tell me the readout of my caloric burn.
VR Fitness Lifestyle
At a certain point, you’re going to want to improve your lifestyle. What’ll happen is, once you start feeling a little healthier from spending an hour completing aerobic exercises each day, you’ll want to keep feeling awesome. So you’ll probably start cutting back on junk food. But that ‘cutting back’ strategy only leaves a void if you don’t replace it with a good habit.
Instead, you should create a healthy eating plan that helps you stay energized and removes the need for you to consciously think about your meals and snacks. It’s easy to go the route of prepping the same combo of brown rice, protein, and vegetables that you see every other gym junkie hauling around in Tupperware. Here are some other ideas.
It also goes without saying that you need to stay hydrated. So much so, in fact, that I’ll say it again for extra effect. Stay freaking hydrated.
When you get a hang of playing VR fitness games and working out for an hour at a time in VR, you will slowly come to a point where you will want to try out new games.
The truth is, your perfect VR workout might be totally different than any of the ones that I listed out. You might want to do much more to challenge yourself, or you might find that you prefer to split things up and play a bunch of different games in one session. New games are coming out all the time. Who knows what the next big active VR game will be, or if any of these games will still have relevance by the time that one comes out.
Ultimately, what you do with VR is up to you. You may falter and fall back on your old habits. You might not get anything out of VR. But if you take everything that’s available this article and use it to build yourself up, I promise that you will start to understand what all this VR fitness talk is about. You will see and feel improvements, even if they’re fleeting.
Could you hold yourself accountable to stick to this 8-week trainer course? Let us know in the comments!