Global fitness company Les Mills is turning its signature boxing workout into a game on Meta Quest.
As VR fitness heats up, brick-and-mortar brands are taking notice.
Fists Up, Goggles Down
New Zealand-based Les Mills, a leader in group fitness, has built its business by licensing its signature classes to gyms big and small across the world — it claims 140K+ certified instructors in 21K locations in 100 countries.
Well before the pandemic, as early as 2015, Les Mills also launched on-demand digital workouts, hosting its BODYPUMP strength training, BODYFLOW yoga, BODYCOMBAT boxing classes, and more programs both live in person and streaming.
Its new partnership with Spanish VR development studio Odders Lab is a big deal, though. While countless VR fitness startups—and even other boxing-focused options—are on the rise, most claim to be technology companies first and fitness companies second, with no other presence outside the VR goggles.
Les Mills’ gamified BODYCOMBAT adaptation represents one of the first, if not the first, foray into VR by a legacy brick-and-mortar fitness company.
Available as a one-time purchase in the Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest) store, BODYCOMBAT users get a martial arts-based workout, racking up points in virtual worlds, like on Mars or in ancient Rome. Digital versions of Les Mills’ most prominent trainers will be on-hand to offer support and provide form cues.
As mentioned, Les Mills may represent a new avenue, but they’re far from a first-mover in VR.
- FitXR, launched in 2020, offers virtual “studio” classes for HIIT, boxing, and dance.
- Meta (formerly Facebook) acquired VR fitness company Supernatural for a reported $400M.
- Quell just debuted improved hardware to complement its cardio boxing-based fantasy game.
- Connected boxing fitness startup Liteboxer is launching subscription-based VR workouts on the Quest platform in March.
Takeaway: Speaking about group fitness in a Fitt Insider Q&A, FitXR chief product officer Ben Jones declared VR as a winning methodology:
“It’s an immersive fitness destination that’s safer than gyms, more fun than traditional studios, and more authentic than app versions of studio fitness. It’s the best way to have a social fitness experience in the comfort, safety, and convenience of home.”
With Les Mills entering a fast-moving VR fitness space, omnichannel operators may follow them into the metaverse.