I tried burning 10,000 calories in VR fitness games and apps in just one week. And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. Burning 10,000 calories is no easy feat. It’s the equivalent of running 4 marathons, except I would have to do it while working a full time job and within the confines of my 2m playspace.
Join me as I sweat, struggle, and try to succeed in some of the most popular and intense VR workout games out there.
Table of Contents
Day 1: FitXR, Les Mills, X-Fighter
It was Monday morning and instead of sleeping in, I decided to clock in a one-hour workout using the subscription-based fitness app, FitXR. I’ve been using it for a month now and have done about 40 or 50 classes.
With the subscription, you get access to 5 different studios, a bunch of different professional trainers, a companion tracking app and new weekly content and updates. Normally I gravitate towards the boxing or combat classes as I find them the most enjoyable and get the best workout. They also have scalp where you normally do a bunch of lunges, squats or those arm raises that only really burn because you do so many of them. They also have HIIT which is okay but I feel a bit limited in VR and I feel like this class desperately needs AR or mixed reality support to be good.
Finally, they have dance classes which are fun but not my forte. Overall, I’m still not convinced the subscription is worth it and feel like it doesn’t offer enough over some of the other titles we’re going to be using this week. But I will say that after this session I felt at least ten times better than I do most Monday mornings and a morning VR workout might be a habit I keep.
After getting home from work, I got into another dedicated fitness app, this time Les Mills Body Combat. This is a buy-once game with just body combat classes and they release content far less frequently. I actually hadn’t played this one in a couple of months and was quite surprised to spawn into a Lord of the Rings arena. But what absolutely makes Les Mills my favorite are the coaches. They actually crack me up when I work out and I just find them a bit more relatable.
This workout in particular was a 30-minute absolute blaster and had me completely wrecked. So after this, I decided to put on a YouTube video and take a quick stretch and foam roll before dinner and chilling for the night.
At 11 pm, I did my final session before bed in mixed reality with a game called X-fighter which is essentially a rhythm-based boxer. Once again getting some encouragement from the cat.
I ended day one with about 2 hours 45 minutes in VR and burning over 800 calories putting me in a very humble 11th place on the leaderboard. Sure not exactly explosive out of the gates but for a Monday, I was feeling pretty good.
Day 2: Beat Saber, Until You Fall, Ragnarock
On Tuesday, I decided to start the day with the crowd favorite, Beat Saber. I don’t really think that Beat Saber needs any introduction at this point. it’s the famous light saber rhythm game.
After this session, I had breakfast and got into some work for the day. Then I got into a rogue-like sword-fighting game called Until You Fall. The whole point of this game is to die like a lot in which I have definitely mastered. Each time you die, you earn some ether which you can use to upgrade your weapons and come back stronger than last time. Each level gets harder and harder. You can either choose to dual wield which will give you that choppy motion like Beat Saber or you can grab a two-hander and put your whole body into it.
Finally, I finished up with some Ragnarock which is probably my favorite rhythm game of all time. I just always come back to it. Gotta be a little bit careful on the elbows though but this one got me jumping.
Recently my friends and I picked up Deep Rock Galactic in the Steam summer sale and have been playing this as a normal flat-screen game so I was very happy to learn that they have a VR mod. Then played Deep Rock Galactic mod with them.
Deep Rock Galactic obviously didn’t really move the needle in terms of calorie output but hey, it’s far better than being seated. And finished the night off with a late-night Les Mills session adding another 200 calories bringing my daily efforts to almost 1.2k cals, 4 and a half hours spent in VR and me up Crossing us past the 2k mark total and finally setting onto the podium in second place globally.
Fitness apps or Games for Burning Calories in VR?
If we forget about the game for a moment and compare the two workouts (FitXR Vs Beatsaber), we can see the vast difference between each app. I don’t think there’s any arguing that shadow boxing and lunges aren’t a good workout. They’ve been used for thousands of years. Compare this to the motions of Beat Saber and other rhythm games. Yeah, nah maybe not as much.
But what these rhythm games do have going for them is their effect on time perception. In a HIIT class in FitXR, I can really feel the time starting to drag. If you compare this to your favorite rhythm game where you’re rocking out with some of your favorite songs, the time will just fly by or Until You Fall. You know, I just died after a 10-minute run. And yeah, just one more game mentality.
And this is what really excites me. It’s not about replacing traditional fitness. It’s more about a fun way to get some cardio in and turn my gaming addiction into something slightly more beneficial.
Day 3: Creed, Pistol Whip
I started the morning right with a quick stretch and into a couple of rounds of Creed. Where I got my butt kicked in but eventually came back for the win.
For my lunchtime workout, I picked up another crowd favorite, Pistol Whip, a rail shooter and will be the closest thing you will get to feeling like John Wick in VR. They’ve recently added custom songs where you can either mod your own songs or just download from the community playlist.
If you want to maximize the calories or the intensity of the workout, there are a few modifications I would recommend changing. Firstly, it’s Bulletproof so you just don’t die and therefore you don’t have to restart. More bullets and finally, vengeance. These modifies will basically increase the amount of projectiles or bullets flying at you, and the result is you having to do a whole lot more squatting, lunging and side-stepping which makes it a killer lower body workout.
I felt like coming back for a little bit more gaming before dinner so launched up Pistol Whip again before calling it a night. Another 1.1k calories and 224 minutes in VR.
And while I ended Wednesday feeling great and on the path to success, I had no idea that it was all about to change.
Day 4: Crimen, Broken Edge
This morning, I woke up in a bad way. I think the extended Pistol Whip sessions from yesterday were a bit too intense. My glutes, hamstrings and quads were completely fried – like sore to touch let alone trying to crouch, squat or stand up all day playing VR.
I knew I’d have to work around this by focusing on upper body and a bit of a sword-fighting day so I started off with Mercenary Tales Creament. It’s mostly a story-based comedy. But to be fair to them, the swordplay is actually pretty decent with the period and then counter-attacking. But I do have one little problem with it and that’s the climbing. I just hate climbing in VR. It sucks even in flat-screen games going down ladders gives me nightmares. Anyway, I did a few levels and clocked 300 calories.
For my lunchtime session, I installed a new game that I had never played before which is Broken Edge. It’s a 1v1 dueling sword-fighting game.
And I absolutely loved this. So much so that I could barely even focus on my work. I just wanted to get back in the game. And that’s just something I’ve never said about traditional workouts in my life.
I came back again immediately after work and I think this is the closest thing I’ve played in VR to real sword fighting.
We’ll take our 1.2k calories in VR today.
Day 5: Moon Rider, Devine Duel, PunchFit
The realization was starting to sink in that I might not be able to do it. I only have three days left and I’m not even halfway yet in terms of calorie goal.
It’s also Free-to-Play Friday, so I’m restricting myself to only games that are completely free.
Starting off, we have MoonRiders which can be accessed via web browser with virtually any headset. It pulls songs from BeatSaver and has three different modes – by far the best is punching in my opinion.
Then we have the new kid on the block in the 1v1 dueling shooter space. So Blaston was one of my favorite games but Divine Duel looks to give it a run for its money. Very similar concept but with better art and characters in my opinion. You have to shoot your enemy with various guns and weapons that spawn around you all while they are doing the exact same thing to you. Basically, there’s a bunch of bullets and projectiles flying your way and the result is you doing a bunch of lunges or squats.
I’m now at the point where I feel like I may as well not even have legs.
We finished up Friday with a free boxing simulator on Steam called Punchfit. Super surprised by the quality of this game especially since they don’t really have a traditional free-to-play model. Essentially, you’ll get a combo given to you and you have to execute. Tracks last from a couple of minutes to 30.
Very challenging workout.
After five hours in VR today, we added another 1.3k calories to the brining us up to a total of
Day 6: Thrill Of the fight, Ragnarock
Two days left, a race against time to burn 4500 calories – basically everything I’ve done so far I have to do in just two days.
I channeled all the positive energy I could muster. I have been keeping one secret ace up my sleeve. The absolute pinnacle of VR workout games. Seven years old and still to this day the most realistic boxing simulator – Thrill of the Fight.
I wanted to see if I could get past all 10 fighters in one session. I breezed past the majority of them but knew that money maker would not go down so easily. Exhausted, I was getting pounded in the first three rounds and it wasn’t until round four where my second wind kicked in. My form had gone out the window and I was just trying to finish him with some sloppy right hooks. Not pretty but we got it done.
I can’t believe I’m writing this but I did three more long sessions of Beat Saber, Ragnarock and Pistol Whip.
My biggest day yet. 2.2k calories burnt and over six and a half hours spent in VR today and I’m gonna have to do it all again tomorrow.
Day 7: Blade & Sorcery, Thrill of the Fight
This is it. My legs still haven’t come back and now I can barely move my arms from all the boxing and rhythm games yesterday. All the positivity from yesterday was gone.
I decided pure rage and hatred would be the only thing to get me through the morning session. So I booted Blade and Sorcery and unleashed carnage on some unsuspecting NPCs.
After a coffee break, I came back with some Beat Saber for as long as my arms could last. I’m going to need to rethink my strategy. So I hit legs with Pistol Whip which was nasty and I really struggled here.
I moved back over to Ragnarock to get a few more calories done.
And to finish it off, I can think of no better way than to try and survive 12 rounds with Money Maker in the dungeon.
After seven more hours today bringing my total time in VR this week to over 34 hours, we had done it – 10,000 calories on the Pico 4 and a very comfortable global number one.