VR Fitness Insider Podcast – Episode 1: Intro To Preston and Ryan

Welcome to the first episode of the VR Fitness Insider Podcast! In this episode we will let you know the who, what and why of the Podcast. You'll learn about Preston Lewis & Ryan DeLuca (the hosts) and why they are creating this first-of-its-kind podcast. Learn about the power of VR, and why it will have limitless applications in the future.

Welcome to the first episode of the VR Fitness Insider Podcast! In this episode we will let you know the who, what and why of the Podcast. You’ll learn about Preston Lewis & Ryan DeLuca (the hosts) and why they are creating this first-of-its-kind podcast. Learn about the power of VR, and why it will have limitless applications in the future.

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VR Fitness Insider Podcast – Episode 1

Preston: Welcome to the VR Fitness Insiders podcast, for the creators who are building the future of the VR and AR sports and fitness industries that will revolutionize the way the world will play sports, Work out and get fit with your hosts. Preston Lewis and Ryan DeLuca, the founders of Black Box vr, who are building the world’s first full fitness VR gym and bring decades of experience from creating some of the largest fitness technology companies in the world.

They’re bringing together the best and brightest minds to help you and your company succeed in the VR fitness revolution.

All right. What’s up? What’s up? Um, so this will be kind of fun. Welcome everyone to our, first episode of our first podcast. Things will be a little bit different today. We’re gonna keep it organic, going back and forth. Really we want you to know the who, what and why of this podcast.

Introduce ourselves, go over some VR Fitness Q&A, and just have some fun. So that being said, yeah, man, take it away. Let’s talk about the who, what, and why we’re even doing this thing.

Ryan: You know, we started, a company Black Box VR about six years ago now. I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Preston: Crazy.

Ryan: We really fell in love with the idea of using virtual reality for fitness and just all the great benefits that it brings. And we’ve met so many great people that are also now building VR, AR fitness apps and devices and experiences. And what we realized is it’s not getting enough attention. People need to know about this, there’s this like kind of small industry of people that are really building cool stuff and there’s also not a great resource for people to be able to go to, to learn more about how to build these things, right? There’s, you can talk to people on Twitter, you can, reach out independently, but there’s no single resource where we can actually talk to each other, learn from each other.

Because all of us together building this new industry is gonna help it to be successful. So we, want to learn as fast we can. We wanna promote each other. We want to get the best out there, the best practices. And so we’re super excited to, share what we’ve learned, and to interview people that are in the industry that are building things and what they’ve learned as we can all do this together.

Preston: Yeah, all sorts of crazy stuff. Last six years, met all sorts [00:02:00] of fun personalities. So excited to share that with you guys. Speaking of personalities, let’s talk about who we are. Who, who are you? Ryan? Why don’t you tell the world, Tell all of our listeners, man. Hi, mom and dad.

You know, let’s tell, everyone.

Ryan: That’s right.

Preston: I’m sure there’s probably at least a million people listening to this already.

Ryan: Oh, minimum, minimum. Yeah. I think it’s just with the counter, just went, Oh, it’s up to 2 million now. Wow. That’s crazy.

Preston: Oh man

Ryan: So, I’m Ryan DeLuca, previously I was the founder of Bodybuilding.com. Back in 1999, just a few years after high school, started a website for fitness and sports nutrition and, grew really fast to over about,

$420 million in revenue selling sports nutrition products like whey protein.

And it was also the most visited fitness site in the world, largest fitness community at the time. So just learned a lot there about the fitness consumer and the problems that people work through as they’re trying to get fit and just all the psychology of that. And just with 800 employees and Preston, we did that together, for many years, building it up. So we learned a lot there and then, sold the business at the end of 2015 and took a little break and said, “All right, let’s get back into it.”

and this is my co-founder, Preston Lewis, tell them a little bit about you.

Preston: Yeah, what’s up? Yeah, so as Ryan mentioned, we were at Bodybuilding.com together. To kind of rewind the tapes a little bit, I grew up in a family of athletes and so I’ve always been around athletics and sports and I’ve always loved it, always been obsessed with it. Also at the same time, kind of a young entrepreneur started my business when I was 13, grew it to a 7-figure creative agency in college

Exited that and, as Ryan mentioned, joined Bodybuilding.com. Wild ride. That was, that was super awesome, to go from, so early up to that insane, like you said, 450 number and higher. And along the way, you know it was just cool to see all the lives changed. I think the big thing also about us is that we have a passion, and a calling to do things that are gonna change the world and help people’s, live healthier lives.

So, that passion for tech and helping people obviously helped at Bodybuilding.com because we were building, the world’s largest

social fitness communities. The largest fitness content site and advanced tracking apps so, all sorts of things.

So many awesome stories from [00:04:00] that. And we wanted to keep doing it. We saw this, stuff on the horizon with virtual reality and thought, “holy cow, how could this be used for fitness” again, like tech tools, purpose, like how do we combine this? And so, yeah so then we started Black Box VR six years ago. Um and uh, here we are.

Ryan: Box VR like six years already.

Preston: Isn’t that crazy? It was by, and you said 2015 and I was like, what the heck. That feels like

Ryan: it was a long time ago.

Preston: many years ago, man. So speaking of Black Box VR, one of the questions we’ve gotten over and over again as we were building this company was

why the heck are you guys doing this? Especially at the beginning they were like, you guys are nuts.

But, yeah Ryan, why don’t you talk about why we even did this?

Ryan: Sure. Yeah. So, at the end of 2015, that’s when we started to see that virtual reality was started to become a big thing. It was around the time when like Oculus was sold to Facebook for like $2 billion.

You know, there, the technology was finally getting to a place that it could be used and at Bodybuilding.com we were always using the newest technology. We were obviously just internet shopping and e-commerce in general, and then, you know, content and video streaming and mobile apps and, communities.

We’re always seeing like, what’s this new technology and how can we use it to help people stick to their fitness goals and reach the goals that they’re, trying to reach.

And so, that’s when we said virtual reality, it looks like this new technology that could be really helpful for actually turning your workout into a game and making it fun. So really the whole idea of Black Box is how do you take all the fun parts of video games, the psychology of video games, the things that get you addicted and excited to where you wanna play until 3 in the morning.

You know, like we all know, like right now, honestly, my Xbox, I have no idea where it’s, I’ve made my wife walk away, hide it, I said, take the Xbox, hide it. Don’t tell me where it is, don’t give it back to me. Even if I beg, you know, cause it’ll be just too much time. Or I’m gonna sit down just for a second play Rocket League or Modern Warfare and next thing you know, hours go by. Just such a waste. But how powerful is that that video games can do that. That gets you so addicted to it and that itch to come back. You know, these great mobile games, and that’s basically what we said is let’s go and figure out how we can use that and virtual reality going inside, playing a video game and actually making it a fun and exciting workout.

Preston: Yeah we also both traditionally have loved the gym. We’ve been in the fitness for a long time ourselves and growing up, obviously there was no VR gym for us to go to. And, it’s crazy to think now about traditional fitness, right? And not to bash on traditional fitness. Cause obviously everyone has their own thing.

Ryan: No, we can bash on it.

Preston: Okay, fine. Let’s bash.

Ryan: There’s a lot to bash,

Preston: Yeah. You know, and the thing we always talk about, is that people can’t stick to their workouts. Quitting is the norm, and it’s unbearable. We kind of joke about fitness studios, and gyms are full of literal torture devices.

The first treadmills were actually created for prisoners, as torture devices, you know, Now we.

Ryan: And that is what’s crazy is like we all know January that gyms are packed, everyone’s gonna be there. But then you know, the joke always is like the New Year’s resolutionaries, don’t worry, they’re all gonna be gone in two weeks. And that’s what happens every year. Everyone gets excited. They say, this is the year I’m gonna reach my goals. I got these emotional reasons why I need to lose fat or gain muscle or get more fit or feel more healthy and they join the gym and all the promises are made. They download some new apps, they get new supplements and, diets and books. And then two weeks later they’re off their plan and they blame themselves of course. And then next January comes around and the cycle repeats. And the fitness industry has failed, the stats, like

87% of people are not able to adhere to the fitness program over the long term. And

our strong belief is that the only secret to fitness success is adherence. Mm-hmm. It doesn’t really matter what you do. People like get so complicated. We’ve seen so many crazy complicated programs and diets and they’ve spent all this time researching, figuring out all these variables, and then, they do it for a couple weeks and then quit. Where if you just did the basics, it just were consistent. Every week, every month, every year, you’re going to see results and that’s really all there is to it.

And that’s basically what the biggest thing we learned at Bodybuilding.com was that our biggest competitor was the couch. And that’s what we’re trying to solve with Black Box. And so Preston, you’ve been very much into fitness all your life, and now we’re exclusively working out inside virtual reality.

Tell me a little bit about like what is it like to work out at Black Box and what does it entail?

Preston: Yeah, totally. This is always the most fun thing to do because it’s a lot of hand gestures and waving because it’s like you’re doing this and, Right. Yeah. And that’s the other thing that we’ve had to battle at the beginning of Black Box is that virtual reality is so powerful, but when we talk to people and try to explain it, they just have to go in and try it, right? And so, whether you have a Meta Quest 2, or your friend has one, we highly recommend you just get your hands on the tech, experience it now. Yeah, you just have to try it so,

the user journey with Black Box VR is you visit a gym location ,

you go into your own private, booth space, that is about a 10 by 10 foot space.

And in that space you have the machine that we invented, we call the Dynamic Resistance Machine, which is essentially, this giant peripheral, if you wanna think of it that way, in Black Box, your body’s the controller.

So one of the things we’ve always been passionate about is not just [00:09:00] cardiovascular fitness, but also resistance training. So when we created this dynamic resistance machine, we wanted to make sure that you could actually be doing full resistance movements,

in virtual reality, with these movements under tension so that you can build lean muscle mass and get the full spectrum of fitness benefits.

So yeah, so you go in there, you have this machine, you put the headset on, you’re in this epic battle arena. You can see the machine still cause we mapped it in VR. You can reach out, you can touch the handles, you can touch the bench pad and stuff that pops out. And it’s, epic. And then as you’re doing chest press, back row, shoulder press, squat, deadlift, all these different compound movements, you’re hurling projectiles, onto this field to defend your base.

So I’ll stop there. You wanna talk a little bit about, the actual, like why we chose the exercises and how many exercises and stuff you can do.

Ryan: Sure. Yeah. So, the basics is it’s a 30 minute intense workout. We recommend three to four times per week. And the reason why we can do it in 30 minutes is because you’re completely focused.

You’re competing in this battle arena, and [00:10:00] there’s no time for looking at your phone or, going to get a drink, and spending time with the water. Yeah. Fountain. And so basically in 30 minutes, you’re gonna get a full body workout,

like you said, with like compound exercise, like squats, deadlifts, rows, chest press,

like you’re gonna get every muscle worked, you know, great

core exercise from doing things like squats and deadlifts and

overhead press and you’re gonna go basically doing, heavy 12 to 15 rep kind of sets.

And it’s gonna automatically change resistance for you. So that one important principle of fitness is progressive overload, where you’re constantly trying to do a little bit more. Um, so you know, you don’t just stagnate like, you know, a lot people just pick up the 20 pound dumbbell, they do their bicep curls.

You gotta constantly be improving that so, make it a heavier or doing more reps. So we have AI that automatically does that for you. It’ll give you the resistance and as you’re getting stronger, you actually get stronger in the game. So you’re doing, 15 to 20 sets of resistance exercises.

In between exercises. You’re doing like punch and slice patterns, what we call ’em, where you’re building champions and doing strategy. So there’s like this active rest kind of cardio, keeping your heart rate up. [00:11:00] And at the end of it, you’re doing like 12 to 15 reps. So we’ve mentioned like going to failure, so it’s like 60 to 70% of your one Red Max.

So you’re doing true resistance programming. And what’s great is like we’ve seen the results that people get from that. It’s crazy because they just adhere to it. They push themselves every time. You know, we always joke like, I’m gonna take it easy today just in Black Box, a little bit tired, but I’m just gonna get my workout in and the next thing you know, like I’m, there’s this rock dude coming to you attacking your crystal, and you’re like, Oh, I guess I’m doing another set of deadlifts and couple more reps, you know?

Preston: Yeah.

Ryan: And that’s what really does develop the results for people, in their bodies, and we’ve done UCLA studies proving it, showing that compared to a group of people doing Black Box 30 minutes at a time three times a week, versus someone doing traditional resistance training five times a week and hours at a time, you have better results.

More lean muscle, mass loss, more fat, improve their VO2 max more, their resting heart rates their, heart rate variability, everything. Flexibility, improved more in the Black Box group, doing it less amount of time per week. That’s the thing that I’m excited about is having fun [00:12:00] and getting results in less time.

Preston Overdub: It’s so true. You know, obviously we’re so, so close to it, but some of these studies have blown even my mind, right? Because when we were building , the technology and, the volume calculations and the progressive overload calculations and all that stuff, it was all based on these meta-analyses that we looked at, right?

It was all based on all these studies, but still seeing not only the results the UCLA has gotten with the Black Box experience and the machine, but just generally out there, like in the VR fitness world, using this technology as this distraction tool, that makes it way more fun, boosts the adherence, like we always talk about, even the results people are getting even are blowing, my mind. I mean, this, podcasts not all about plugin, black box, obviously we’re just kinda giving you guys the history. But we did a 90 day transformation where we had

these two, guys go through it and, they did 90 days, they only worked out three times a week, for 30 minutes each workout in Black Box VR. And, they could only use Black Box VR and one guy lost 30 pounds of fat, gained eight pounds of lean muscle mass. The, other [00:13:00] guy had amazing results as well . So it’s legit. And that’s when we were like, okay, we designed it to do that and holy crap, it’s actually doing that.

So, super exciting technology. We could talk about all day. Maybe, just last thing without going too, heavy on the black box stuff, but like, just the data. So you mentioned the data we’re collecting and the AI.

Maybe, maybe talk a little bit about the app and how we use that data to make people have a better fitness experience, give ’em better results, help ’em have fun.

Ryan: It’s one of the cool parts about VR is you know, they’re inside of our experience so we can track everything they’re doing, every movement and every set and rapid amount of volume work that they’re doing.

And all these little details that we can track thousands of data points per workout and we can actually track it automatically for you, which is great cuz you don’t have to like, track things in an app or write it down, which is an important part of fitness. Tracking what you’re doing so you can make sure that you are, improving and that you are changing the variables so that you’re getting those results. We can do it automatically and just show it to you in app. So you go to our companion app after your workout,

open it up, all your stats are right there, just automatically track for you. So people love that. You can see your results graph, like you’re getting stronger in this [00:14:00] exercise and here’s how many calories, you, bird, all these different, uh, aspects of your, of your program.

But then we can also use that with some machine learning to make it so we can actually personalize the program to you and make sure you’re getting the right amount of resistance and make sure that it’s working for you and you can compare to what other people are doing.

So that is, that’s one of the cool things about VR is like by default we’re tracking everything you’re doing because you’re inside of experience and not trying to do it manually and writing things down.

I remember those days, had a lot of notebooks.

Preston Overdub: And I definitely did not adhere to those man. I’d be like, okay, I do one week, two weeks, and I’m like, ah, whatever. You know, games are the other side, as you mentioned right? So it’s like we, we talk a lot about like they’re addictive, you have to lock away your Xbox and stuff because it’s a treat it primes our brains with this dopamine response and so, as you were talking about that stuff made me think about how we’ve also, specifically in Black Box VR, we’ve shortened the feedback loops because we have all that data as well. That’s the cool thing with VR is that you can get all this input data and you can intelligently use it to adapt the user’s experience and because we can track, we built the machine to be able to change the weight on [00:15:00] a 0.01 pound fidelity, we can actually give people. You, listeners, everyone else, you, can get incremental progress, and not feel like you’re having to have all this cognitive overload and, we have family members going to Black Box VR and my mom I think has completed 21 sessions now, uh, has had a hard time sticking to any workout in the past. Calls me after every single workout, And she’s like, “hey, I’m feeling stronger, that was hard, but it was so fun and I was just distracted, I couldn’t believe it was so fast. And, she’s starting to get those results and starting to feel better, mentally and physically. So it’s, it’s just super cool.

Ryan: And what’s great is like seeing it close to home like that and just, hearing those type of stories, that’s a great thing about the fitness industry in general. All of us building AR and VR fitness and sports experiences is, you’re creating something that’s not just helping people have fun, which is great, but it’s something that actually changes their life fundamentally. Some of our members, like just their life just improved when it comes to what they’re able to do.

We had somebody that went on a trip to Iceland with a group and before would never have wanted to [00:16:00] go climb up the volcano, cuz it was like, be quite a hike. And would probably have said, “Oh, you know what, I’m okay. I’ll, I’ll stay back. You guys go do it.” But because he’d been doing Black Box for a few months, he felt great.

He was the first one to the top of the mountain and he’s like 48 years old. He’s like, I never was able to do that. So that’s the fun part, as we all know, right? Building these things is you can get that type of testimonial on. It just, it creates a lot of meaning, like the importance of what we’re doing, you know, versus. Just gaming or, just experiences that are just for fun in general. This has a purpose and it changes people’s lives and that’s what’s we’re most excited about.

Preston: Absolutely.

Ryan: I think it’s probably a good transition too, is so that’s a little bit about Black Box. And obviously we’ll talk about it more throughout these podcasts and, people can learn more about it, by coming into the gym or going to our website at Blackbox-VR.com but, what we wanna do is also promote just VR fitness in general and help people understand the value of. You know, Preston, why would somebody want to use VR fitness versus a traditional, workout? When there’s gyms on every block and everybody can get barbells and, [00:17:00] Pelotons.

Preston: Yeah. I don’t know. Yeah. Barbells are so fun, right? Treadmills are so fun. I mean, jokes aside, this, this technology is super, super powerful in a lot of different ways. We can go over, one of the things. Is the fun aspect, basically just distraction. As humans, we’re not that great at multitasking. So, you basically having so much fun with, any VR workout, there’s so much stimulus, your brain can only focus on a certain amount of things, right? We always joke if a robber breaks into your house and you stub your toe, you’re probably not thinking about the toe, you’re thinking about the robber, right? Cause it’s a bigger threat and so with this, stimulus that virtual reality is uniquely positioned provide people, it can actually block out pain, and the immersiveness can increase flow and one of the things we talked about is uh, maybe I’ll just go on in, on the pain aspect of it.

There was, this pain study where they had these, people that had third degree burns on their bodies and they had to go through these really, really painful skin stretching routines, often. And so normally they [00:18:00] give the patients morphine to deal with pain management.

And this study instead put them in a virtual reality, icy, environment where they were going down this icy river and they had this like little clicker and they were able to click throw snowballs at these little penguins and they found that it was just as effective at pain management as morphine. So, right there, a tiny nugget of the power of VR is as we know, the, ability to block out that pain, increase the immersiveness and have fun. Because a lot of people are really, intimidated by, “Oh, it’s gonna hurt.” or, Oh, it’s gonna be boring. So that’s, that’s one reason. What about you? What do you think?

Ryan: Yeah, that’s such a good point is we always say if you wanna create a habit, one of the worst things to do is create a habit where it’s actually painful, you’re feeling punished, you’re not seeing results, it’s boring, you don’t get immediate rewards. Everything with fitness is so boring in that way. And, and like I said, physically painful, you’re breathing hard or your, legs are, hurting.

And so if we can remove some of that misery, that’s a big part of just why this could be more effective for people. And that’s what we’ve basically seen, and studies have shown other studies directly [00:19:00] of fitness. They had a study where somebody actually went into a VR environment and they literally were like lifting a dumbbell.

You can see either like, I’m outside of the environment. You know, rate your, pain, how much pain do you feel? And then they would do it inside VR. Same exact thing, they see a virtual hand of virtual dumbbell still lifting a real life dumbbell, and they rate it as feeling, less pain, when they’re in VR.

And then when it gamified that, there’s studies that show like if they actually doing exercise and doing any kind of game, even there’s a ball bouncing in VR just count, how many times it bounced or you’re in some immersive environment, that distracts you, that distraction made people rate the pain way less, than if they were not distracted like that.

So, it is basically a brain hack where you’re inside a virtual environment immersed into this thing, and it makes it so that you notice less pain. You’re in that flow state. So that’s part of it. The other part is the time perception. They’ve also done studies showing the same thing where like time goes by faster when you’re in that flow state, when you’re playing a game, when you’re, using your, brain to create strategies and to figure things out like you are in a game. That’s why games sometimes, like we always say, you know, I’m only gonna play for 20 more minutes. [00:20:00] And then, four hours have gone by where, on a treadmill’s opposite, it’s like, Oh, I must have already worked out for 30 minutes you look down, it’s only been 10 minutes, you know? Oh man. Yep. And so that’s what’s cool is they, studies are shown, like it helps that time to go by. So just right out the bat. Working out in VR can make it so you feel less pain, which makes you enjoy it more, makes you push harder because you’re not, focused on ” Oh, I wanna stop,” makes the time go by faster.

So instead of like just, you know slogging through this workout, you look up and it’s already over, which makes you enjoy it more. And the other big part of it is just the overall game. It also does make you push harder and you’re actually going to get better results because when you are in a competitive or cooperative kind of mindset or you’re trying to strategically win, you are more likely to push harder.

And, just like if you’re in an actual sport, it’s fourth quarter and it’s coming down to the wire, you’re gonna be pushing harder than if you’re just, looking in the mirror at the gym. Yeah. And trying to force yourself.

Preston Overdub: That’s a good kind of segue, what are your favorite parts about VR Fitness? Like just VR and it doesn’t have to be Black Box either. I mean, just could be anything VR fitness.


Ryan: Yeah, that’s a good question.

Cause I love doing Beatsaber. I do Beatsaber for cardio all the time. And of course FitXR, Supernatural, Les Mills. There’s a lot of great experiences. Thrill of the Fight, that’s a great one because you get a great workout, you’re really pushing hard because you feel like you’re getting punched and you wanna win.

And for me, it’s also the social aspect of it, being on a team and doing cooperative quests like at Black Box or things where you’re actually, working together on something. That accountability is great too. In games and sports, when you’re part of a team, you actually enjoy it more.

You want to perform better. So those aspects have been really, important to me also. So it’s not only is it more fun time is going by faster I used to do elliptical in the morning and try to distract myself with TV or reading, and now the time just goes by fast and I just want to do it again and again because the experiences are just, they’re just more fun.

And if you want to do it, you’re gonna adhere to it, you’re gonna enjoy it, you’re gonna actually stick to it. And like we said, it’s the only secret to fitness success is just sticking to it.

Preston: Yep. Yeah, I totally agree. For me it’s similar. There’s a lot of VR [00:22:00] fitness titles out there that are great. They’re at home. You can just do ’em from the comfort of your home and you’re kind of just flailing around. We kind of joke, we use the term flailing, but really, you’re kinda just moving your arms around really fast you think you look cool, see video of yourself like that, but you sweating, you’re feeling good.

Exactly. And so even though you’re not doing necessarily like crazy fitness specific movements, you’re still moving your body. You’re still getting the blood pumping and things like that.

And so that’s been really cool to see in the industry. Being able to just have a VR headset as a super low friction tool, to be able to be their first step into fitness. And these people that are quote unquote, just flailing around with some of the at home titles, they’re still getting a lot of cardiovascular benefits. There are stories out there we’re seeing that are people losing a hundred pounds, things like that. So that’s really cool. So me personally, I love that it is distracting, it’s great for cardio and, On the kind of the gym side, you know, Black Box side. For me, one of the biggest things is the, efficiency side of it. Most people don’t have a ton of time to kill these days. And also you just dread it. I mean, being in fitness my whole [00:23:00] life, I still go in, I still dread it, And I’m like, Ah, I don’t wanna do legs today.

Like you mentioned, I’m like, I’m not gonna do legs this week.

Ryan: Put legs on Friday so you can, you can skip legs.

Preston: Yeah, exactly. True. Yeah. But with, with intelligent game design, whether it’s an at home workout or, the Black Box system, we designed it so that you have to do a well-rounded workout. And so sure enough, five minutes into the workout there comes the big guy, the big Rock Dude, and I have to use specifically the water attack, which happens to be legs. Okay, here we go. I can’t skip it. And so I think the immersiveness kind of the forcing you to do a well-rounded workout. And the fun, I think the last thing I’d say is, the data and competition data goes with the efficiency. I don’t have to ever think about changing my weights. All I have to think about is winning the game and pushing really hard. And that’s awesome because, we’ve all been in the traditional gym and you’re on your phone, you’re changing the peg in the weight stack and stuff like that.

So love the efficiency, and the data for, getting the results without having to think about it. So, um, so maybe, I mean, since we, we, we kind of touched on the at [00:24:00] home stuff a little bit, maybe we could talk a little bit about some of the cool at home titles.

Ryan: Yeah. I mean, today, VR and fitness, you know, it really is, is a lot of great at home titles, you know, for cardio direct workout games and apps that are for that. There’s ones where you accidentally get a workout, kinda like Beat Saber and some of these other games like, the Climb and, Blaston where it’s like, you know, it’s not meant to be a workout, but like you, you do get moving.

That’s the great thing is like you’re moving in these things and you’re getting a little bit of exercise. But there’s also treadmills, that you can go out there and buy that you can actually, put on a headset and, be running through a different environment.

There’s, things that are more direct, fitness experiences like FitXR and Supernatural and Les Mills and things like that. There’s, rowing machines, there’s bikes, there’s all sorts of cool stuff like that to kinda do it at home workout. And then of course, our goal is to add that resistance training aspect to it, which today is a, boutique gym environment.

Will be coming to a US town near you. That’s gonna continue to proliferate as we continue to get more locations open and other people also see the [00:25:00] value of this and be able to add resistance training. So we’re still early days. The headsets are still, kind of big and bulky. There’s not that much awareness of this out there, even though Mark Zuckerberg and others are constantly pushing the value of, fitness, inside VR.

So it is going to become a bigger thing when Apple releases their headset. There’s a lot of people that believe that, Fitness Plus will be a big part of that, because fitness is just such a, great thing for them as well. So today it’s early days, but as the technology gets a little bit better and as more people build this, and the people that we’re talking to, build even cooler, more fun experiences, it will become the mainstream way to work out. We’ll look back and like, remember we used to go to the gym and just like, lift things up and put ’em down, it’s kind of joke, and just look at a mirror or run in place or run outside in circles. It’s like we’re gonna be in these amazing fantasy sports environments and gamers will be the most in shape people instead of the opposite.

Preston: I know it’s crazy. Do you have a, do you have a favorite. Favorite at home title?

Ryan: I think you still gotta go with Beat Saber, just cuz it’s fun to get in that fun environment and if you get a lot of custom music tracks, there’s always something new.[00:26:00]

Love, thrill to fight, And of course FitXR and it’s just fun because there’s like so many different options that you can just, what do I wanna do today? What’s my goal? What am I trying to accomplish? And, it’s always something, but what about you?

Preston Overdub: Yeah I think my favorite is Beat Saber as well for the variety. If you

wanna like get sensitive or rage out, you can listen to some, Britney Spears or you can listen to some Metallica, you know,

Ryan: Are you crying? Actually? No, I’m sweating…

Preston: Yeah, exactly, yeah tears. Um, no. Yeah. Beat Saber’s. Awesome, because that is one of those accidental fitness ones. And, speaking of that, like that flow state-wise, that one’s legit because it’s designed in such a way, that it has the music, the beats, the movements, a darker kind of more mood moody environment. Yep. Like a club.

Ryan: So there’s still scoring and leaderboards and stuff. So it’s like you’re always trying to like, Oh, I wanna beat this one on this level, and there’s some very difficult tracks, so it’s like there’s always goals.

Preston: Yeah, totally. And I think the cool thing about the accidental fitness ones is the thing I’ve been liking about those is that they, focus on the, power of VR [00:27:00] to be immersive, to put you in that flow state to have the full gamification of mastery and stuff. Whereas a lot of the at home fitness titles, not to knock ’em, cuz they’re still great and immersive, but a lot of ’em are kind of fitness first, and maybe it’s just me personally. There’s something about thinking too much about fitness when I’m trying to just think about the mastery and the fun and the game that makes it hurt more.

Ryan: Get this many minutes done and, get these many calories burned versus just thinking, play this game. They call it autotelic where I’m playing the game for the fun of playing the game versus I’m playing the game cuz I gotta like get my, reps kinda thing.

Preston: Exactly. Yeah. Cuz when they’re constantly talking to you about, “Yeah, do some squats, do some squats,” and I’m like, no, they, okay, I know I’m doing squats. Versus, the things like Beat Saber and Thrill of the Fight, you’re just freaking in there and then holy crap, come out and it’s been 60 minutes. I’ve had way more mind blowing time dilation, experiences like that with games that are designed that way.

So I think that’s an important note for any of the, the VR Fitness creators, listening to this as well is try to, [00:28:00] start with the end in mind. You’re trying to get people to have fun and almost forget that they’re working out to get them the results. And so rather than thinking, “Oh, I’m just going to create what the fitness world has seen, before, and then just port that over.” Yeah. So I think that’s something I’m happy that we’ve done at Black Box. Maybe we just end on, why the world needs this.

Ryan: Yeah, that’s the thing that we’re super passionate about is, if everybody’s already in shape and the fitness world was serving their needs, then there wouldn’t be as much of a need for this. But everybody knows, obesity is, higher level than it’s ever been.

There’s more people overweight, including kids and adolescents. All the negatives that come from that, sometimes it’s like, Oh, it’s, you know, it’s bad to be overweight cuz you know, it might just feel bad or, or you look bad. and it’s not even about that. It’s like there’s so many aspects of health that come down to being fit and healthy, that helps you to be the best you can for your family, for your life, and just build that confidence and obviously be sick less, live longer, all the benefits.

Preston: Yep.

Ryan: That’s what we’re delivering. And there’s more money’s being spent on the fitness industry than ever before. Like we all have [00:29:00] access to gyms on every corner, trainers. all the streaming services, free content on YouTube and, websites. There’s all sorts of, personal coaching. You can get DoorDash deliver healthy food.

It could be here literally, like if I were to order at the beginning of this podcast, I’d have all the healthy food I wanted just right here. Yeah. I know what healthy food is because there’s so much content, all sorts of wearable devices that track everything. It’s just crazy when you think billions of dollars more than ever being spent on this.

And we’re actually more out of shape and unhealthy than we’ve ever been in history. So something’s gotta change. We can’t just keep doing the same thing. And that’s what I think. Bringing video games into it. That’s really is the, power, the power of the psychology of video games, the world’s best behavioral psychologists, we say like video game designers, they figured out how to get you addicted to pixels and lights and, you know, sounds, and how do you use those same psychological principles to actually get people to get fit. On accident, like we say and enjoy that. And if you can enjoy that, you’ll adhere to it and stick to it.

And so I think that’s the value of what we’re all creating and I’m just super excited to, to interview a whole bunch [00:30:00] of people and to learn more from everybody and uh, really bring this together cuz the world needs it. Right. You know, Preston, you’ve seen the same thing.

Preston Overdub: A hundred percent man. Couldn’t agree more.

Only other kind of piggyback I have on that is, like you mentioned, “globesity,” you know is getting mentioned. Cuz you always think about it, as just like a maybe a US thing. You hear all those scary stats, but actually, before we jumped on, I just, I wanted to look it up and, apparently globesity, the global obesity has tripled, that’s tripled 3x since 1975. According to the, World Health Organization, 40% of the world’s adults are overweight, and over 13% are obese.

Ryan: In the US alone, I think it’s like, you know, almost 50% people are obese.

Exactly, which is insane when you think about it.

Preston Overdub: I know, I know. And to hear that that’s starting to trickle out, everywhere in the entire globe. I think it could be catastrophic for the world if it’s not changed and totally agree with you, games can be super unhealthy in some ways, but used in the right ways, they can be the brain hack that helps you finally stick to fitness. Well, [00:31:00] super awesome to chat obviously. Thanks everyone.

Ryan: Oh I just noticed, we weren’t recording.

Preston: Oh, no. No! I looked up like the mic. I’m like, “Oh, are we actually recording audio?

Ryan: Yeah.

Preston: But yeah thanks everyone for, listening. Anything else you wanna say?

Ryan: If anybody’s building something in AR in or VR Sports and Fitness, we wanna hear from you. So please contact us. You’ll see the information on the show notes here, but, let us know. We’d love to interview you. We’d love to learn more from you. So, we’re looking forward to chatting and we’ll be doing a podcast episode at first, just every couple weeks. Not too often, but kind of 30 minute episodes and then we’re gonna be, expanding that to more often as we continue to build it up. So please share, please let us know your feedback. And we look forward to learning more from you.

Preston: All right, sounds good. See you.

Ryan: Haha see you.

Preston: Thanks for listening to the VR Fitness Insider podcast. Do you know of anyone that should be on our show or have feedback? Don’t forget to email us at podcast@vrfitnessinsider.com and follow us at VRFitnessInsider on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. You can [00:32:00] also join our Discord channel. Until next time, keep creating and dreaming up the next big thing that will revolutionize the world of fitness.

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Preston Lewis
Preston is the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Black Box VR. Preston is a fitness fanatic, UXUI junkie, product design ninja and product visionary. Preston has provided creative direction and product management to some of the largest brands in the world. His passion for amazing products and solving difficult design problems has earned him numerous awards for projects ranging from traditional print campaigns and packaging design, to chart-topping mobile applications with complex information architectures. After helping grow multi-million dollar brands, Preston decided to leap back into the world of entrepreneurship with a mission to combine his passions for technology, games, fitness, and changing lives, to create the future of fitness; with this vision, Black Box VR was born. When he's not creating new digital products and growing brands, he can be found enjoying paleo treats with his wife that she posts on her blog, AmazingPaleo.com, playing the guitar, singing, working out in VR and dreaming up the next tech innovation.