Fantastical Fitness

What is it about the allure of an indoor bicycle to a ten-year-old who climbs on and giggles while he pedals as fast as he can? Or an elliptical that causes an 8-year-old to step up and turn the tension to high just to see if she can make it move? Why do kids find sheer joy in exercise equipment when adults look upon the same with complete dread? 

The Switzerland based company Holodia is striving to bring back the kid in all of us and replace the work, in workout with fun by introducing virtual reality, gaming, and a bit of artificial intelligence to indoor exercise. Holodia is part of a growing trend in the digital health market known as Fittech that includes wearables, apps, subscriptions, and gym equipment. The Fittech market has exploded during the past year as gyms were forced to shut their doors during the pandemic leaving fitness freaks desperately searching for a routine that would help them to reach goals, compete, and have some fun. 

Designed for use with rowing machines, ellipticals, steppers, and stationary bikes, Holodia’s Holofit software will end the boredom that comes from hours logged staring at the same four walls. Through the use of a headset, whether Holodia’s version that weighs just 400g and is constructed of washable leather or another brand, the user becomes an avatar complete with virtual arms and legs that is you only better, built and buff. 

The avatar explores carefully designed animated worlds on the equipment of choice and moves in sync with the user’s speed. Row around shipwrecks through the Antarctic, bike through Babylon temples, explore the streets of Paris. Whichever area is chosen will match the equipment used. The ocean that provided the perfect backdrop for rowing, will recede to open up wide beaches that can be crossed by a beach bike. The boat that carefully rowed across the lake will be replaced by a bike with huge floating tires for cyclists. The more than 100 full immersive environments range from fantasy worlds to historical sites to famous landmarks. Each environment can be used in the casual explorer mode– a ride to take in the sites–or more intense cardio training mode for those that want to race and smash their PR’s. 

Holofit’s environments are structured to replace the loud music and lights in the gym and the camaraderie of group classes that are all part of a design to trick the mind into thinking working hard is actually enjoyable.  Holofits’s programs divert the brain to the fun of gaming and competition taking the monotony out of the equation and seemingly the effort out of training. To keep long-term users motivated, Holofit is regularly updated and upgraded with new features and content. 

If competing with fellow workout enthusiasts is motivating, Holofit has you covered with its Holofit community where users can train together or challenge each other to go faster and farther. Through the Holofit app, users can build a profile, track their workouts and scores, and check out leaderboards to see where they rank with other users locally, nationally, or even internationally. This is the place to show off those trophies. 

For those who rely on instructors to keep them motivated, Holodia offers the virtual coaching program, CardioGoals. Real-time data is collected to guide users through each training session offering encouragement, rewarding results, and helping users maintain their fitness plans. The Holofit Companion app tracks workouts and sends them to the cloud so there’s no hiding from your virtual coach. 

Setting up and learning the software is simple to ensure there are no excuses for not getting the most out of a workout. Coordination and tech skills are not required. Holofit is wireless running on a chargeable battery and connecting to the equipment via Bluetooth. It comes with 16 workout tracks and explore mode. Within one month the other modes, Time Attack, CardioGoal and Multiplayer, are available to the user as well and four additional workout tracks.

The Holofit software subscription comprises a fixed price software license and a monthly subscription fee.  Installation requires a VR ready PC or laptop and a VR headset which can be purchased directly from Holofit or from another source. Holofit connects to the fitness machine via Fitness Machine Service (FTMS) Bluetooth protocol which transmits workout data that enables the user’s movements to be tracked in virtual reality. Holodia offers a cadence sensor for a nominal fee for those who have equipment without the FTMS capability. The entire system responds to head movements so a separate gamepad isn’t necessary. Use is as simple as pulling the system out of the box, plugging it in, donning the headset and launching into your usual routine—only this will be far from your usual. 

For those who might be technologically challenged, Holodia offers remote online support 24/7 and assures a quick response time. You really have no excuse to start sweating. 

Holodia may have found the answer to making workouts, and the road to better health, more enjoyable. As you explore Saturn’s Rings or take a ride underwater, your inner child will thank you.