Mixed reality has arrived, and fitness brands want in.
Back to the future. Billed as the next big thing, VR fitness has yet to take off. But, recent developments have reignited the hype cycle.
New reality. Getting serious about VR, Apple’s $3.5K Vision Pro goggles debuted in June. And last month, Meta announced its new, cheaper Quest 3 headset, priced at $499.
Blending real-life surroundings with a computer-generated world, both companies now see mixed reality (MR) workouts—not the fitness metaverse—as the holy grail of immersive exercise.
A key feature, “passthrough” transition from one perspective to the other opens the door for new modalities — and fitness brands are gearing up.
- Teaming with Meta and Litesport, Xponential Fitness is bringing Club Pilates, PureBarre, and StretchLab studios and “live” trainers to Quest 3, beginning Nov. 2.
- FitXR partnered with dance fitness provider Zumba to launch both MR and VR class experiences this November.
- Les Mills recreated its BODYCOMBAT cardio-boxing class for MR, incorporating bigger, safer ranges of motion.
After pivoting from boxing to VR, Litesport CEO Jeff Morin believes MR’s ability to deliver “conversational fitness” unlocks new possibilities, including its own strength feature:
“Beyond streaming, by blending real trainers with smart AI, your workout will adjust in real-time based on what your body’s doing, becoming super personal and motivating.”
For others, like XPOF, the potential for hands-free tech, form tracking, and social functionality will enable concepts like cycling or rowing.
Default mode. Meanwhile, hardware players are enhancing their own ecosystems. Meta’s fitness app Supernatural is gaining “Full Body Synthesis,” using AI to better track upper limb and estimate leg movements. And Apple will likely soon make Fitness+ compatible with Vision Pro.
Punchline: Greater accessibility and functionality will be key to the adoption of VR fitness. For Apple, that means dropping price; for Meta, it’s making MR exercise effective; and for fitness brands, it’s about getting in the game.