VR vs Fitness and Fat - 28 Days Later
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VR vs Fitness and Fat – 28 Days Later

VR vs Fitness and Fat – 28 Days Later

Hope’s Thoughts

 Day 1Day 7Day 14Day 21Day 28Day 30
Weight (kg)83.681.982.482.582.382
Waist (cm)8282828179.579
Upper Thigh (cm)686968686868
Chest (cm)104100100101102102
Bicep (cm)333333323232
Resting Heart Rate (BPM)747473687070

I missed my weigh in again yesterday because my love of sleeping in on a Monday when I can get away with it is just too strong. So once again, I experienced weighing myself initially to discover a much heavier me. I decided to weigh myself randomly throughout the day and found my weight range could change by about 4 kgs. Weight fluctuation during the day is normal but this seems huge.

Today sleeping in wasn’t an option, so the regular time of day weigh in occurred and I’ve gone down a little. My waist, when measured has dropped a centimetre and a half and everything else is pretty normal. Realistically, it all seems about on track.

Coming up to the big finale we’ve decided to talk more about the games we’ve been playing and how we found them. Unlike Hewso, I’ve only got two games to really talk about, Beat Saber and Box VR. I think as this experiment continues I’ve managed to learn a bit about their long-term use.

Box VR

Box VR is 100% designed to be a fitness app first and a game second. It’s not the kind of thing I want to do because it’s fun. It is, however, pretty good at getting in a quick session of cardio activity.

The workouts are all divided into lots of time so you can tailor it around how long you have – but the starting load up time can add a few minutes on to that. Once you’re in the game the load times are fine but this initial delay bothers me. Most of us don’t need more barriers to exercise.

My biggest complaint is that it’s impossible to know how difficult a workout is going to be. I’ve had a ten-minute programme kick my ass and breezed through 30-minute routines. I sometimes worry when I load it up that what I’m about to experience will be a waste of the time I have because if it’s not difficult enough it really can feel like I’m achieving nothing.

The other issue with this is I found it really hard to track personal progression. At first, I thought being able to go for longer was a metric but I’m not so sure. Also, my accuracy has more to do with how I’ve learned the games tracking systems than anything else. I’m still going for every punch, dodge, and squat and probably burning the same calories regardless.

If Box VR added difficulty levels to routines or allowed you to see how many of each action a workout contains (like it does after you’ve completed one) that would be really helpful. The game has an option for no squats, presumably to help people who can’t do those so it has to be possible. I need one with all squats because that kills my flabby ass.

Even if I only had ten minutes a day, being able to pick a high energy ten-minute routine would be beneficial. Currently, I can try that but it’s a bit of a roll of the dice as to what I’ll get. Without these features, it’s a somewhat ineffective fitness app. That being said, when it works it can really get the blood pumping.

Pros: Timed Routines, Can be very intensive, squats.

Cons: Impossible to know the difficulty, Not very fun, starting load times, squats.

Beat Saber

 

I’ve been a long advocate of Beat Saber because it can really get you moving and it’s so much fun. The biggest downside to Beat Saber as a fitness app is you absolutely only get out what you put in and it’s perhaps a bit too easy to not put anything in.

Once you have learned the pattern of a song, even on expert mode, it can be easy to phone it in. Sometimes when I play I go into a psuedo meditative state and forget what I’m doing. This would be fine but I think it’s causing me to not give it 100% and just hit the notes with minimal movement.

I’m lucky in a sense, that my natural way to play is to kind of bop and dance as I do so. I have been trying to add an extra effort to actively do this. It makes it more fun and it keeps my heart rate higher. I also try to add in my own squats because it’s pretty rare Beat Saber asks you to bend those knees.

The other answer to this is to up your difficulty and Beat Saber provides a few ways to do this. All songs can be played faster, or have directions disappear, and other little modifiers. There’s also simply to go to a higher level but the gap is so great that this is often a bit too much of a step up. I really wish Beat Saber had more incremental difficulties for songs to aid with this.

On the upside, this makes it really easy to notice your progress in Beat Saber. Each song has scores but also just noticing yourself get better. When I started this challenge I couldn’t do any songs on Expert + but now I can do three. It sounds small but it’s tangible and gives me goals to work toward that feel more reliable to me than Box VRs do.

Pros: Fun, Clear difficulty, You get out what you put in

Cons: No squats, big difficulty jumps, You get out what you put in

Overall for me, Beat Saber is the clear winner. The thing that makes Beat Saber more successful to me than Box VR is that I want to do it. Beat Saber is fun and finding an exercise you enjoy is often half the battle. Just need to do squats on the side.

Others who want a more traditional exercise routine will probably prefer Box VR. It’s a bit more regulated, familiar, and doesn’t feel as silly. Personally, I like silly but it’s not for everyone.

Matt’s Thoughts

 Day 1Day 7Day 14Day 21Day 28Day 30
Weight (KG)148.4145.9144.2143.4141.9140
Waist (cm)142139137133131.5129
Upper Thigh (cm)7572706666.565.5
Chest (cm)132130129127128127
Bicep (cm)39.5383940.540.540
Resting Heart Rate (BPM)696871666767

So another good week of losses. Some interesting things have come about too. My chest and thigh both got bigger, something I was not expecting, especially with the 1.5 kg weight loss. My only guess is that my muscles are starting to tone, and therefore getting a little bigger. I expect this to continue for as long as I am doing the VR fitness work and as long as my weight and waistline keep going down, well I am happy man. Now it is time for my thoughts on the games themselves.

BoxVR

This has been my primary program for the simple reason that it feels like it works. Each session has me sweating, busting my butt to get through it as best as I possibly can. It is clear that the fitness component is more important than the game side of things because there are a few areas that need improvement.

As Hope said, the lack of sorting options for the workouts is a little bit of a negative, because you can’t quite tell what you are going to get. That being said, after playing the game every night for the past 4 weeks, I now know which workouts are my favourite and I gravitate towards them. The create a workout option is nice in theory, but it is really just a case of picking your favourite songs from the playlist and the game doing the rest. It would be nice to have an actual workout creator, where the player can design the workout from start to finish, not just an automated thing based on music selection. Another wish I have for the game is the ability to use custom music, perhaps a link with Spotify. I can see a world where a game like this uses technology similar to that found in Audiosurf to create workouts using custom tracks. Of course, this isn’t likely to be patched in, but it may be something for a future version.

All that being said, BoxVR gives me what I am looking for in a fitness program. It tracks my stats pretty well (now that it has been patched) it pushes me without crippling me and it offers some nice incentives like scores and trophies to keep coming back. I am looking forward to continuing to use BoxVR for some time to come.

Pros: Good workout, feels like it is pushing me, easy to use.

Cons: Wonky UI, no sorting of workouts, custom workout feature feels tacked on

As for the other games I have been playing, I have been essentially using them as cool-downs since the end of week one, so I won’t go into as much detail but here we go.

Beat Saber – A lot of fun and, at higher levels, gets the sweat going. The thing is it never feels like it is the right type of movement to get the most out of my workout. This is, of course, totally understandable because it is a game and not a fitness program. I enjoy my time playing it, but I don’t think it has contributed to my weight loss in a significant way.

Creed: Rise to Glory – Once again, a game first but one that offers short bursts of high-intensity activity. As it is simulating boxing and registers how hard you are swinging your arms, it is very easy to build up a sweat and feel like you are busting yourself, especially against the tougher AI opponents. The thing is, it is very easy to lose track of your real-world location in this game, making sustained exercise difficult. For short bursts of hard work though, it is certainly worth considering.

In Death – A late addition to my workout schedule, it really is a cool down game. Physical activity is minimal but what it does do is stretch my upper body quite well. Just holding my arms up, especially after a BoxVR session really makes sure I get a good relax. A fun game, with minimal fitness value but some benefit as muscle loosener.

So there you have it, my thoughts on the VR fitness experiences to date. With only two days left in the challenge, I have to say I am proud of what both Hope and I have achieved so stay tuned for a challenge wrap on Friday.

 

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