I used VR fitness app Supernatural for a month and this is what happened
I love walking and occasional yoga, but I’ve never been a gym buff. I’ve never had a gym membership and I have probably stepped into a gym twice in my life. However, since turning 30, I made a conscious effort to incorporate a fitness regimen into my daily routine. So, when I was contacted earlier this spring about trying out the virtual reality (VR) fitness app Supernatural, it seemed serendipitous!
Launched just over a year ago, Supernatural is a VR application founded by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin, who also founded the app’s development company Within. Supernatural is unlike anything I’ve experienced—having only played around once before with VR during a visit to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The application runs exclusively on the Oculus Quest, the popular Facebook-owned VR device, and features a vast library of professional, coach-led stretching, meditation and workout sessions. The unique workout sessions are the heart of this app. Using the two controllers of the Oculus, the player, or “Athlete ”as the app calls them, must use their arms to swing at and strike the black and white flying orbs coming towards them.
What makes Supernatural especially fun and immersive is the stimulating visual and auditory landscapes the workouts are set in—photorealistic VR footage of some of the most gorgeous natural landscapes on Earth, like Ethiopia’s Erta Ale Volcano or the Galapagos islands, accompanied by some of the hottest music in every genre. The accompanying smartphone app is really useful in helping you keep track of your workout goals, see your workout scores, follow and interact with friends who also use the app, keep up with the latest updates and more.
I decided to start my Supernatural journey by committing to four sessions a week: a 5-6 minute stretch, followed by a low intensity 10 minute workout.
The workouts are categorized into “Low,” “Medium” and “High” which allows you to slowly get your body used to the movements and get the hang of things. I recommend always doing one of the coach-led stretching sessions (I personally love Coach Leanne and Coach Raneir) before doing one of the workouts to warm up your body and avoid pulling a muscles—trust me, I’m speaking of this from personal experience. Also, don’t go straight to the “Medium” or “Hard” sessions, work your way up gradually to avoid injury. I was so tempted to jump straight into the recently-added Medium-level, 16-minute “Nonstop K-pop” session on my first go, but held back until I felt that my body was used to the movement and intensity of this specific type of workout. If you have one, I recommend standing on an exercise mat while doing the workouts to avoid sore knees.
I tried Supernatural for a month and was very surprised by my results.
I did my sessions first thing in the morning Monday to Thursday and noticed that getting my heart rate up kept me more energized and focused for the rest of the day. I also noticed that I slept better at night. I’m not a doctor or a fitness trainer, but that’s pretty darn impressive. Not to mention, since the sessions feature such great music and are designed by professional choreographers, it’s super fun and doesn’t feel like exercise.
Now, let’s talk about price.
The Oculus Quest, the device that the app runs on, has a starting price of $459 CAD. That sounds steep, but it is in the same price range as traditional gaming devices but provides so much more in terms of exercise-focused content. The Supernatural app itself is subscription-based and is roughly $23 CAD per month. You can also opt for the yearly subscription at just over $220 CAD which works out to around $18 CAD a month. Not that much different in price than a gym membership, so I think it’s totally reasonable. You can also make up to four fitness profiles per subscription, so convince your family members or roommates to get in on it and split the cost!
So, with all that said, here’s a summary of my thoughts:
- Super user-friendly in terms of interface design and app instructions
- Free 30-day trial for new subscribers
- Accessible for people of all fitness and stamina levels
- No additional equipment other than the Oculus headset is required
- Subscription costs comparable or cheaper than gym membership
- Can make up to four profiles per subscription, so can share with household members and split cost
- New workouts are added daily, so you don’t have to repeat the same workouts over and over. Won’t get easily bored.
- Only for the Oculus Quest, so not currently accessible to those who own other VR headsets such as the HTC Vive or Sony Playstation VR
- Lots of space required (at least 6 feet all around you), so not practical for those who live in tight quarters or in small, one room apartments
OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10
Are you ready to #GetSupernatural? Check out their website HERE to learn more and sign up for a 30-day free trial!