Virtually fit

In one of life’s odd coincidences, I happened to be watching the news last night when they featured FitXR - a game development start-up co-founded by kiwi Sam Cole. The pandemic lockdowns have boosted the company’s user base as people attempt to stay fit from the safety of home. FitXR is the virtual fitness game I’d been using while on holiday and I was all set to write this when they came up on the news.

Full disclosure, I still think the XBox Kinect is a better overall experience than the Oculus Quest if you’re using gamification for fitness but where the Quest really comes into its own is the portability.
I was tossing up whether to take the Quest with me on our roadtrip holiday last week when my other half said “we’re driving so there’s plenty of space: just throw it in.” So I grabbed its carry case and added it to the pile. I ended up using it twice a day - my intentions to walk a lot fell pray to the weather - and really sampled FitXR as a result. 

What was transformative, however, wasn’t that I used it as a convenient travel fitness option; it’s that since the holiday’s been over, it’s been re-homed to the gym where I have used it as part of my day-to-day fitness regime. It’s just so convenient to pop it on, grab the controllers and choose a class of appropriate length either to serve as warm-up or the day’s exercise. The Quest has really made a positive impact to my day-to-day.


FitXR is a boxing game: you hit the lights as they reach you with a combination of jab, cross, hook and uppercuts. You can add squats as an option which allows for some lower body workout and decide whether you want to do classes solo or with other players from around the world. Since I’m competitive, having classes with other people really incites me to punch fast. 


  • Very portable: you can purchase a travel case for the Oculus Quest so it’s easy to grab and go.
  • A good workout: even if you choose a light intensity, 3 minute class, you will work up a sweat and feel muscle fatigue.
  • Can work by yourself or in a class setting. I really enjoy both options and it’s cool to look around and “see” your classmates punching and squatting with you.
  • Can do anywhere you have space to punch and step for the side squats so even a hotel room would do and you don’t need to plug in to anything so long as the battery is charged.


  • Scoring is based on a combination of accuracy in hitting the ball and the speed of the punch. Whilst this is good for encouraging you to use your hips as you’re meant to in boxing, I did find my form getting lax in the pursuit of enough speed. The Kinect’s form correction capability is much better in this regard.
  • My muscle memory places my guard up - years of practice to come back to guard - and I find myself banging the controllers against the VR unit.
  • You can quickly become uncomfortable - the sweat builds up on both the visor and the controllers. Half-an-hour or so tends to be my limit.
  • Goggle-face: my other half tells me I look like I’ve been swimming with deep impressions of the VR unit on red, sweaty face that takes about half-an-hour to fade.
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