We are living in amazing times.
Technology is complementing the fitness industry. We have access to smart watches such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Samsung Gear that can monitor our performance and assist us with reaching our goals. There are effective digital apps such as Nike and Freeletics that can guide us through our workout session. There are apps such as ClassPass that connects studios and customers in a more effective and convenient way.
We also have access to specialty fitness studios providing programs that are more effective and challenging yet more fun. For example, modern spinning studios have attracted many to their energetic programs, and riders attend a high intensity group workout session where they cycle to the rhythm of the music while being led by amazing instructors.
Unfortunately, these great fitness programs are mostly available in larger cities. Hence, many do not have a chance to benefit from these programs. In addition, many of us are busy with our jobs, families, and other important things that occupy most of our time, so attending studios at a specific time has become a challenge. Moreover, many go on business travels and are limited on access to fitness studios. Also, some of the workout sessions could be a little pricy and may not be affordable for some to attend frequently.
One solution to these challenges is virtual fitness programs. There are some good virtual programs out there, but many can only be viewed on flat screen devices and do not give the users the complete feeling of the studio environment or a group’s energy. With improvements in virtual, augmented, and mixed realities (VR, AR & MR), we now have a chance to change this.
It has been reported that over $3 billion dollars was invested in the VR/AR market in 2017. Some companies such as Icarus, VirZoom, and Black Box VR have made good progress in Virtual Reality Fitness. They are combining virtual reality gaming and fitness in innovative ways.
At VARGYM, which stands for Virtual and Augmented Reality Gym, our goal is to bring virtual and augmented reality physical and mental practices to the community.
A workout session is more effective when a professional instructor is leading it. At the same time, working out as part of the group will assist in boosting an individual’s energy. Hence, the ultimate workout will be attending an instructor-led group workout where we have guidance from experts while feeding off of a group’s energy.
Since not everyone in our community is able to join the group sessions due to hectic schedules, location limitations, financial challenges or other reasons, what if attending studios virtually becomes available to the community?
We have started with 360 degree videos of physical and mental exercise sessions so that anyone without location or time restriction can join. Users will be able to attend the classes via their VR headsets, which gives them the feeling that they are part of the class. We are working to bring the workout session to the users and make them feel that they are physically part of it. These sessions can still be watched through flat screen devices such as tablets, monitors, and TVs for users based on a user’s preference. However, the VR headsets will provide the ultimate experience. You feel like you are physically present at the session along with others.
VARGYM initial virtual fitness programs are available on social platforms such as YouTube, and we hope everyone gets a chance to try them. As mentioned, they can be watched with any virtual headsets or flat screen devices. We believe these types of programs will become even more popular as the devices improve. As an example, Oculus Go, which became available in 2018, is an all-in-one device that does not need smartphones or PCs.
This is only the beginning for us. Our goal is to make our virtual programs mixed with reality so that during workout sessions, users see their body parts or a representation of them in the virtual world. Our belief is that augmented reality glasses will play an important role as well. As augmented reality devices improve further, there will be augmented assisted workout programs where you can see virtual instructors guiding users throughout their workout session. For example, you could be going to the gym wearing AR glasses while your virtual instructor guides you.
Technology has benefited us in many fields. We truly are living in amazing times, and the future looks even more promising.