Supernatural VR Makes Working Out More Accessible Than Ever

Gyms have never been my friend. Like, presumably, 99.3 percent of the adult human population, I hate working out. I scrutinize myself in gym mirrors, berate my form and technique, and imagine each and every person in any fitness space secretly laughing at me for even attempting to breathe their smoothie-fueled, protein-powder-laden air. I tell myself that I’m fat, I’m old, and I’m out of shape, and all of these are at least a little true. I dread actually going into any sort of gym or participating in any sort of fitness activity, but then when I don’t do it, I beat myself up for being a loser. As it turns out, I’m absolutely not alone in any of this.

I know this because, recently, I’ve found myself lurking quietly in the 58,000-member-strong Facebook community for Supernatural, a workout app available on Meta’s Quest virtual reality device. While most fitness-oriented groups are seemingly full of burpee monsters and Weight Watchers warriors, the Supernatural group is more like an island of gym-shy misfit toys.

There, I’ve met people like Joanne, who declined to give her last name to protect her privacy and who lives in Manitoba, where the winters are long, dark, and cold. She found Supernatural after she learned she was going blind. She explains she’s “extremely near-sighted” and uses a 38-inch TV as a computer screen 1.5 feet away. Because the Quest’s lenses are so close, she feels like she can see everything better, and she says that any benefits from Supernatural far outweigh any strain VR might potentially cause her eyes. She says she couldn’t drive herself to the gym anymore, and hated relying on others to drive her around. “Supernatural kept me sane,” she says, “and I’m also in better shape than I have ever been.”

There’s also Alex Duffey, who has been overweight his entire life and who says, at his heaviest, he weighed 550 pounds. He says last year he and his wife started fostering a child, and he quickly realized he wanted to be around for his son. “I’ve had coaches before, and when I get the look of pity from them, that’s the end of it,” he says. “Don’t judge me when you haven’t lived my life. Supernatural allowed me to feel safe and guided without shame.”

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