Supernatural VR makes sports more accessible than ever

Gyms have never been my friend. Like, presumably, 99.3 percent of the adult human population, I hate sports. I check myself in gym mirrors, berate my form and technique, and imagine everyone in a gym is secretly smiling at me for even trying to inhale their smoothie-powered, protein powder-laden air. I tell myself I’m fat, I’m old, and I’m out of shape, and this is all at least a little bit true. I’m actually afraid to go to a gym or participate in any kind of fitness activity, but if I don’t then I blame myself for being a loser. It turns out I’m definitely not alone in this.

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

There I met people like Joanne, who refused 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 learning she was going blind. She explains that she is “extremely short-sighted” and uses a 38-inch TV as a computer screen 1.5 meters away. Because the Quest’s lenses are so close, she feels like she can see everything better, and she says the benefits of Supernatural far outweigh the strain VR could put her eyes on. She says she couldn’t drive herself to the gym anymore and hated relying on others to drive her around. “Supernatural kept me healthy,” she says, “and I’m also in better shape than I’ve ever been.”

There’s also Alex Duffey, who has been overweight all his life and says he weighed 550 pounds at his heaviest. He says he and his wife started raising a child last year, and he quickly realized he wanted to be there for his son. “I’ve had coaches before, and if they make me feel sorry for them, that’s the end,” he says. “Don’t judge me if you haven’t lived my life. Thanks to Supernatural, I felt safe and guided without shame.”

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