Train hard, play hard: Black Box unveils VR gym experience


No pain, no gain. It’s the mantra of committed gym-goers worldwide, spending hours each and every day in the pursuit of optimum fitness and the perfect body.

Personal fitness is now very big business – almost 6 million Brits held gym memberships last year and that number seems to be ever rising, particularly with the dawn of another new year.

For so many of us, sweating and toiling alongside others in a crowded gym is now a firm way of life.

But what if there was another way?

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas saw Black Box VR demonstrate an approach that could radically alter the personal fitness landscape.

The team of fitness fanatics behind Black Box have created “the world’s first full-fitness virtual reality gym experience” – comprising of a specialised weight resistance machine that’s accompanied by a HTC Vive VR headset.


Dubbed the ‘VR Fitness Revolution’, Black Box’s innovative approach combines hands-free VR control with real-time resistance and automated handle movement to place participants’ bodies firmly in control.

Tracking user movements and using machine learning to customise workouts, this “game changer” doesn’t require a ton of movement to make a difference. It’s based largely around strength and resistance training, allowing users to remain mostly stationary.


And when movement is required, the VR headset comes equipped with a wipeable face band to eradicate any pesky sweat. Nifty.

The VR experience itself, demonstrated at CES, placed users within a giant arena full of excited fans, watching on from the sidelines as the VR character goes head-to-head with a host of virtual foes. With the resistance machine serving as the controller, chest presses produce virtual fireballs to combat enemies, with each move becoming progressively harder, physically, to execute.

This highly novel fresh take on gamification looks to transport users away from the pain and relentlessness of working out through an addictive and fun experience, one that distracts while pushing through mental boundaries simultaneously.

VR and personal fitness are perfect companions: in fact, Mintel data shows that 44%  of UK consumers would be willing to take part in a VR class while at the gym. But Black Box’s high-profile launch takes the concept one step further with total immersion, drawing on the principles that have made virtual reality such a sought-after immersive technology by brands within an experiential setting.

Whether it’s sharing a life-saving message, delighting animal lovers, dazzling movie fans or serving up a one-of-a-kind experience, virtual reality continues to immerse, captivate and inspire. Black Box’s latest innovation, which gets set to roll out in VR gyms in San Francisco’s Bay Area, is the latest example to join that ever-growing and impressive list.

Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.