TL;DR: I now need willpower in order to not-workout (!). I wish someone would have told me this a long time ago when I was looking for some workout that would resonate with me.
Is it actually a workout?
- I get tired and I sweat, especially in a specific intensive game (Thrill of the Fight, aka TotF)
- I saw someone play that game for under 3 minutes and collapse on the sofa in exhaustion for about half a day
- Here's a graph from my activity tracker (Oura Ring gen 2, not optimal for tracking workouts!, but still adds some info and also everyone likes graphs, right?) :
To give context to this graph (of me playing TotF several times during the day): When I do a rollerblade trip with a group that's better than me, the hardest part is usually under the "high" line. TotF is often above it.
Can you build muscle with VR?
People who know stuff (I don't qualify) say one needs resistance to build muscles, so maybe using wrist-weights or elastic bands that connect one's limbs to one's torso. I didn't try any of those myself. Other people said "consult with a specialist, some movements that you'd do with resistance can cause harm".
It does seem to be amazing for aerobic exercises, and specifically for interval training.
Which games are good for workouts:
- Classic: Beat Saber, almost everyone likes it.
- I rate it as a "medium" workout (and if it seems too easy, wait for the harder levels).
- I recommend starting from the Tutorial.
- I tried Pistol Whip which is somewhat similar but with guns.
- Also rated as a "medium" workout.
- Thrill of the Fight (TotF) is by far the most intensive workout I found on VR.
- This will not be a good fit for everyone, it's scary (at least for me).
- I have lots of beginner tips for it (including safety tips and things that I bet the game would explain if it had a tutorial).
- FitXR: I played the boxing game a few times and like it so far
- They have a subscription model ($10/month + short trial), this is really interesting to me, because they have a strong incentive to get me addicted to working out long-term, which is very aligned with my own desires!
- There are reviews of VR games for workouts, like this or this
- Adding: See lots of suggestions in the comments
Which VR do I have?
Oculus Quest 2 (Amazon link)
How much does it cost?
$300 on Amazon, plus ~$10-$40 per game. Expect to try out a few games, you won't like them all.
If you enter someone's referral code, you both get some money to use on games. I don't have a referral code, but if you do (check here), please post it in the comments.
How to decide whether to buy one?
I recommend trying it at a friend who has VR. You might not like it, you might get nausea, who knows.
Most games are not so "polished" (except for Beat Saber), so I wouldn't settle for only one "round" of the game before you decide if you like it. I'd start with the Tutorial (if it exists), and I'd try playing the game for ~30 minutes before deciding.
What about getting addicted to games?
If it's a workout game: I get tired, I can't play it "forever", especially Thrill of the Fight which gets me extremely tired after playing for 15 minutes (or less).
My recommendation is: only download workout games, so that if you get addicted to anything, it will be to working out. (I wish someone would have told me that in advance! Let's just say I downloaded some other game too)
How much do I know what I'm talking about?
I had my VR for about 6 weeks. I might decide that I'm fed up of it tomorrow, but it doesn't seem to be the direction things are going. I tried optimizing my workouts for a long time, experimenting and looking for solutions that won't require constant willpower from me. This is the first time in my life where my workout is trying to get me addicted to it. Some friends found this useful, I hope you will too!