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As we all know, technology is taking over the world, including the way we exercise. For our Urban Sport of the Week, weve explored the world of Virtual Fitness to find out what the future holds for the sports industry…
What is Virtual Fitness?
Virtual Reality and fitness training make the perfect partnership.Virtual Fitness uses VR in the gym to create immersive fitness solutions that can range from running through the streets of Tokyo (when youre actually on a treadmill) to fitness classes from world class instructors projected on to the wall of your studio.
Our Virtual Fitness class was at Holmes Place, Bismarckstraße in West Berlin. Holmes Place is a network of luxury health clubs and spas located across Germany and the Middle East, and this year theyll be introducing the world of Virtual Fitness to our everyday lives.
What can you expect?
Holmes Place certainly knows how to do luxury. I was greeted by friendly staff at the sleek club in West Berlin, given a fresh towel and directed to the state-of-the-art changing rooms. Today's class was a 45 minute Legs, Bums and Tums workout. The only difference being that instead of a fitness instructor I would be following the class from a film projected on the wall of the studio.
A screen outside the studio space allows you to select your workout of choice on-demand. Holmes Place have pre-scheduled virtual classes, however when these arent scheduled members are able to select a workout on-demand. Its totally flexible – you can just turn up, choose your class, press play and start your workout.
Photo: Holmes Place
How was the workout?
A familiar face popped up on screen – the personal trainer from The Biggest Loser, USA – Jillian Michaels. Im a big fan of American reality TV so this was a definite plus (Catfish = best TV show of all time).
The class began with a light cardio warm-up of jogging, star jumps and knee-ups. Jillian Michaels is one of the best trainers in the world – having her teach the class was extremely motivating. The video included two other trainers in the background who were doing alternative exercises – an easy and a difficult version. I tried my best to do the difficult one throughout but it was actually quite, erm, difficult.
Jillian started the workout with a leg circuit. This involved a minute of low front squats, then reverse lunges and then a low sumo-squat raised on to our tiptoes (this was killer). We did this for three rounds. Jillian kept staring straight at the camera and yelling encouragement/threats – I really thought she might jump out and whoop my ass if I took a rest.
After this we did an abs circuit which involved a front and side planks. In-between we did hip-lifts. It was painful but Jillians yelling kept me motivated.
Then we did more squats, Spiderman planks and lunges and then on to the bum circuit. This involved being on hands and knees and lifting one leg repeatedly, then the other. Then more hip-lifts and on to the next leg. Jillian talked (yelled) us through a few variations of this exercise until I thought I might yell back at her, but by then it was time for the cool down.
How did I feel after?
I wasnt sure what to expect from a Virtual class – I thought it could be less motivating than having a real instructor in the room. However, it felt just like I was being taught face-to-face. The exercises were just as easy to follow and the way Jillian trained was genuinely funny and very motivating.
I felt just how I feel after a gruelling exercise class with a face-to-face trainer – tired, sweaty and happy.
Benefits of Virtual Fitness
The same benefits of general fitness, except you can take a class whenever you want with this on-demand format. Its very flexible and fits with your schedule.
The videos provide options for differing levels so you can vary the exercises according to your abilities.
Holmes Place plan to have real-life trainers in every scheduled class to make sure members are exercising correctly. This makes it more like a personal training session and it means that technology wont be replacing humans (not yet, anyway).
Dont forget to bring…
Gym clothes, towel, water – and a very thick skin if your class is run by Jillian.