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Product of the Week: Is Supernatural the Best VR Fitness App?
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Product of the Week: Is Supernatural the Best VR Fitness App?

Those looking to add a little magic to their workouts should look no further than Supernatural, available on the Meta Quest

After two years in development, virtual reality (VR) fitness app Supernatural was released in April 2020, coming just at the right time as the world went into lockdown amid COVID-19. Despite being stuck in their homes, users could be transported to exotic locations for their VR workouts.

The Supernatural app, designed for the Meta Quest, uses human trainers who guide users through rhythm-mapped exercises in settings like Cairo, Egypt, the Moon, and the rolling hills of Scotland. Co-founders Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin created Supernatural to help users fall in love with working out.

Athletech News put Supernatural to the test to see how the VR workout app compares to its competitors. 

Pros 

Supernatural is one of the most engaging, fun workouts I’ve tested. The app offers boxing, flow, meditation or recovery classes. “Flow” provides a virtual visual of a lightsaber that’s almost reminiscent of swinging a baseball bat in different directions, while “boxing” involves more standard punching and jabs. To signal arm movements for flow or boxing, buoy-like animations appear on-screen indicating which arm and which direction (up, down, right or left) to move.  In tandem with the arm movements, triangles of different shapes appear to indicate where to squat (left, right, or center).

Supernatural’s training sessions provided an easy-to-understand tutorial on how to flow and box to learn the app’s signals. Coaches are encouraging but not overbearing, striking a great balance between allowing users to enjoy the workout experience and providing instruction. 

credit: Supernatural

Supernatural is a true rhythm-based workout, and its music selections were extensive and impressive. The app had everything from Disney to Lil Wayne-themed classes. Unlike many apps, which do not invest in music licensing, Supernatural clearly prioritized featuring musical hits that different generations would enjoy. I also noticed that the arm and leg movements were perfectly tailored to not only a song’s rhythm but also its musical phrasing and climax. I found myself reaching for the product over and over for entertainment purposes. 

The app also scales well in difficulty—although I am very active, I found the most difficult “Hard” level workouts too challenging at first. The coordination required to pair the arm movements and the squats takes practice. The speed is also no joke—I found myself sweating just minutes into the higher-level difficulty workouts. 

Supernatural’s gamification features are present but not overwhelming. It does show you tracked stats and “streaks” of hitting targets, but they are not the main focus of the visuals. Instead, it feels like a mostly distraction-free world where the movement comes first. Users can also connect a smartwatch to track their heart rate data. 

The app’s other classes are meditation and recovery, which include mindfulness and stretching, respectively. One amazing feature of the meditation classes is that they instantly transport you to a serene location, such as the middle of a beautiful lake. I found this enhanced my ability to relax and be present during the sessions. 

credit: Supernatural

Cons 

Similar to most virtual reality workouts, the headset can get foggy and sweaty during tough workouts. However, because the sessions are only a maximum of around 20 minutes long, the slight discomfort is generally manageable. 

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For those who are focusing on building strength, Supernatural does not allow for the use of dumbbells during workouts, unlike some competitors. Coaches also play less of a visible role in classes. Outside of their introduction and warmup, Supernatural coaches’ instructions are mainly through a voiceover. While some might want the visual presence of a coach, I enjoyed being able to focus on the settings, the movement and the music, as it felt more like working out outside than at home.  

Also, the workouts are not necessarily low impact—although modifications could be taken, the squats and quick arm movements might not work well for those with injuries. 

Final Thoughts

Supernatural is best for those hoping to become more active through music, immersive settings and engaging coaches. Coming in at just $9/month, or $99 annually, it could be the perfect niche for those who hate other workout classes and need the promise of genuine fun to get themselves moving.

Even as someone who has a regular workout routine, I found myself working out more because the classes felt more like a game than a chore. 

Read more ATN Product Reviews here.

Correction: The Supernatural app costs $9/month, or $99 annually. A previous version of this article stated that the price was $19/month.

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