PR Consultant Will Brierly (CC’ed), who is also the creator of the game Soda Drinker Pro, has lost 50 lbs riding his VR VirZOOM stationary bike. Soda Drinker Pro sounds like the exact opposite of what you want for fitness, but when Brierly sat down with VR Fitness Insider he explained that motivation just happens when you’re exercising in VR. Certainly, losing 50 pounds playing video games is not what most people expect would happen.
VirZOOM is a free VR game that comes packaged with many experiences, like a simulator for riding on the back of a pegasus. Because the game responds to the speed of your pedaling, you control the flow and pacing. Brierly loved this concept so much he decided to use the public software development kit for it to begin creating his own “Running Man” style game due out soon.
Brierly accomplished a great deal over the course of a year. Find out how his lifestyle changed, what it was like to start, and how he plans to keep off the weight he’s lost.
VRFI: Do you have a gym membership? Do you workout (now or before)?
Brierly: There is a gym connected to my office that I use from time to time but not very often, mostly use VirZOOM
VRFI: Why VirZOOM?
Brierly: I love VR and in my opinion, VirZOOM is the best way to get around in VR.
VRFI: What was it like to start?
Brierly: The first time I used it I was blown away, there is something amazing about moving your body in VR it really makes you want to keep going.
VRFI: Did you have any quitting thoughts?
Brierly: Not really because it wasn’t as much about working out as it is having fun. It’s more about just playing video games that I enjoy that happen to move my body in the process, so if I don’t think of it as a brutal workout but more an enjoyable experience.
VRFI: What was your nutrition like?
Brierly: I have been really paying attention to what I eat since I started doing this, mostly because I know if I’m doing something active I don’t want to lose all the positive benefits by eating food that will reverse everything. So I try to keep the portions small, ingredients simple and the sugars low.
VRFI: What was the workout really like?
Brierly: Usually I’ll just put on the random games for 30 minutes and play whatever comes up. They are all neat for different reasons.
VRFI: What experience did you like the most?
Brierly: I really like the racecar one and tank the best, but pegasus is pretty cool too (it’s super fun flying).
VRFI: Any special tips for people wanting to do something similar?
Brierly: If you use this liquid for scuba googles it keeps the lenses from fogging up, that can definitely help!
VRFI: Were there any technological limitations you wish weren’t there? -wires? Speed? Variety?
Brierly: Not really because there are a bunch of games in VirZOOM arcade but there are also games you can use with the controller emulator and I’m also working on my own game using the SDK.
VRFI: What’s the plan going forward?
Brierly: Keep eating the best I can and staying active. I’m coming close to my weight goal but once I hit it I want to make sure I maintain everything I’ve worked for.
VRFI: How has this changed your life?
Brierly: It’s seriously helped so much, I used to have plantar fasciitis where my feet hurt so much I would limp everywhere, also I had to take my asthma inhaler a ton. Now I barely use my inhaler and my feet feel fine. I also snore way less. Overall this whole experience has been amazing.
VRFI: Would you recommend VR and VirZOOM for people wanting to get fit?
Brierly: I’d say if you like VR and want to do something active then it’s totally worth a shot, either way, if someone wants to get in shape just find something you enjoy doing and do that, also make sure you learn as much about nutrition if you are doing this for weight loss too.
VRFI: Any stats on how many calories burned per workout etc?
Brierly: It’s weird I don’t really keep track of that for VirZOOM workouts, for me, it’s more about having fun so I purposely don’t track that because I just do it to have fun and do something active.
One of the big advantages Brierly cited was the element of fun. He didn’t need to do a lot of complicated stat tracking to feel the burn because he just wanted to play. We talk a lot about time dilation as a big strength for VR. You don’t realize how long you’ve been working out, but your body will eventually let you know it’s time for a break. In VR, you can go for 30-60 minutes almost without effort.
For the lasting effort, Brierly did have to make some subtle changes to his diet. Nothing major, as he explained. Most people should be able to adapt without much difficulty, so long as you practice good portion control.
The key to lasting results is to keep yourself stimulated with ever-changing environments. Will Brierly became attached to VirZOOM because of the arcade, which offered many experiences to explore. Through working out, Brierly’s feet problems and asthma both felt better over time as well. If you’re concerned about pushing yourself too hard because you have asthma, or because you find it difficult to get started, Brierly is an excellent example of what you might accomplish in VR.