In early 2022 Kenneth L. Grimes was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. He was 394 lbs overweight and had stopped taking care of himself. "I had fallen into depression and my inner battles were getting the best of me,” he explains. He turned to his doctor for support but was simply prescribed mountains of medication.
Kenneth knew there had to be a better way. “I was determined not to let my health control my life, so I began walking every day, starting with just a mile and increasing day by day.” Then he found the BODYCOMBAT VR app on META’s Quest 2 VR headset. "To my surprise, it was just the challenge I needed." He enjoyed it so much that he started doing the workouts five or six days each week, going hard and changing his diet and portion sizes too. He's now down 263 lbs and training for his first marathon. He is now happier and healthier and credits BODYCOMBAT VR as playing a fundamental role in his journey, “It has helped me climb out of a dark and scary place in my life.”
Dan Scott* had spent many years exploring different ways to get fit. "I've tried regular fitness (with and without a trainer), team sports, running, and Switch and Wii games. Nothing worked." He’d concluded that he just wasn't made to move. Until he stumbled across BODYCOMBAT VR. "Finally, a fun way to work out! … It makes me sweat and I barely notice that I'm doing physical activity. It's that good. I can't recommend it enough!"
These are just two of the countless individuals who have recently stepped inside the metaverse to fuel their fitness. They are not seasoned exercisers exploring the latest training innovation. These savvy individuals are a new breed of exerciser – people who wouldn’t typically go to the gym, but who are enjoying having fun working out and lapping up life-changing benefits that come from high-quality structured fitness in the metaverse.
What is working out in the metaverse?
Working out within the metaverse involves exercise within a virtual-reality space (typically using a VR headset) in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users – and it's not a passing fad. This new frontier for fitness is fast gaining traction.
The BODYCOMBAT VR app, which first hit the scene in early 2022, is proving to be a popular way to venture into the metaverse. It was named the ‘Best App of 2022’ in the Meta Best of Quest 2022 awards and featured as the top recommendation for any health guru in the MetaQuest Gift Guide.
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Why is BODYCOMBAT VR such a hit?
Gamified fitness has been a popular feature on gaming consoles for well over a decade, but most of these early options were created by gaming companies seeking to dabble in fitness. As a result, the quality of the ‘exercise’ experience has always been questionable. “With BODYCOMBAT VR, the fitness comes first, gaming second,” explains Lisa Edwards, Les Mills Digital Innovation Director.
She says BODYCOMBAT VR represents the first time two industry leaders have come together; one is an expert in fitness (Les Mills), and the other (Odders Lab) is an expert in VR app development. Edwards adds: "As a result, we have an inspiring tech-based interactive workout experience based on the safe and effective ‘on the beat’ movements and motivational coaching synonymous with LES MILLS workouts.”
“The BODYCOMBAT VR workouts are created in a very similar way to the LES MILLS workouts delivered in gyms all over the planet. So it’s not just about what’s going to get you the most points if you hit the hardest, but what’s actually going to make you fitter, stronger, and give you a full-body workout.”
Chris Asahara, Les Mills' Head of Social and Content, says it's been fascinating to see how the BODYCOMBAT VR experience resonates with different audiences. “It’s not exclusively gamers and LES MILLS superfans, although the user base has plenty of both. It’s appealing to many people who wouldn’t usually go to the gym. And now they love the game and have started to become more active, they want to go to the gym to experience a live fitness class.” He adds that many parents are also getting in on the action, making use of VR headsets purchased for their children and simply downloading the app for their own use.”
Right now you can step inside the BODYCOMBAT VR world using either a Meta Quest 2 headset, a PICO 4 headset, or a PlayStation 5 VR2 headset. And Edwards reports that new platforms and technology partners are also on the horizon, so it will soon become even easier to add this futuristic dimension to your training.
“Evolution in this space is rapid and exciting,” says Asahara. “The tech is getting better, headsets are smaller, and lighter and mixed reality is coming. The future is bright and the potential is massive – and all of this can help to create a fitter planet. As fitness in the metaverse grows, we can spread connection and motivation wider, inspire more people to move with us and help more people improve their lives.”
Keen to give it a go?
*names have been changed.