Supernatural Adds Boxing to Its Roster of VR Workouts

Oculus Blog
October 26, 2021

If you’re interested in VR fitness, odds are you’re already familiar with Supernatural. From core and cardio to stretching and meditation, Supernatural offers a range of activities to keep you engaged and help you achieve your fitness goals. Hundreds of workouts, over a thousand hit songs, high-energy coaches, and an inspiring community—what more could you ask for?

If you answered “boxing,” then you’re in for a treat because that’s exactly what Supernatural just added to its core offering. From “Boxing Basics” to “Pros Only,” get ready to punch, block, shuffle, and slip to the beat in stunning environments, all while digitally tracking your fitness without ever leaving home.

We sat down with Supernatural Head of Fitness and Muay Thai athlete Coach Leanne Pedante to learn more.

Tell us about the work that went on behind the scenes to bring boxing to Supernatural.

Leanne Pedante: It has been a complete team effort, with every single department working tirelessly to help bring Supernatural Boxing to life. As soon as we did a very early, very rough prototype and passed it around, everyone just lit up with excitement. The combination of the powerful movements, the music we already love, and having the coaches in there to pump you up made it a no-brainer as soon as we got it started.

Everyone dove in with tons of enthusiasm. Early on we gathered together, and I led cardio boxing workouts for Supernatural employees so that everyone could get a feel for it in real life. The content team started taking boxing classes and lessons. Our design, product, and engineering teams spun up a plan and immediately started churning out innovation after innovation. We became obsessed with finding ways to bring classic boxing moves into these workouts and make them uniquely Supernatural. Our marketing teams and customer care teams have been working endlessly to prepare for the launch and to make sure that all members, new and current, feel supported in this new chapter of their fitness journeys. Every team member and their partners and their moms have been asked to beta test, give feedback, and weigh in. Truly, every single person at Supernatural has worked hard for months to bring this to life. And I think I can say that we’re all really proud of what we have and can’t wait to hear our members react.

How does boxing complement the rest of Supernatural’s offerings?

LP: This isn’t the most technical answer, but the vibe of boxing is what makes it such a beautiful complement to our other offerings. When doing a Supernatural Boxing workout, I feel undeniably powerful. When doing a Supernatural Flow workout (what we’re now calling our classic Supernatural workouts), I feel undeniably fluid and strong. When doing a stretch or a meditation, I feel like I’m connecting and caring for my body and mind. All of these things provide distinct value, unique experiences, and they mean that you can really choose to move in whatever way feels most useful to you on any given day.

From a movement perspective, you’re changing up your patterns, rotating differently, and using different muscles. When gathering feedback internally from team members, I heard so many folks say, “Oh wow, I didn’t know that I had muscles in all of these places that are now sore!” Boxing is a hugely effective cardio workout—it’s great for training reaction time and agility, it requires you to really use your whole body, and it forces you to focus mentally in a way that lets you get into a flow state. And, like our Supernatural Flow workouts, it’s also just really, really fun.

What’s your favorite part of the new boxing workouts?

LP: Training in combat sports has been a big part of my life and one of my biggest sources of joy for years now. I’ve been teaching cardio boxing for almost a decade, and I took up Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) about six years ago. So my favorite part is that I get to now do this sport that I absolutely love in Supernatural, which I also love.

Outside of my own selfish satisfaction to see boxing and Supernatural come together, I am most excited about how many people are going to get to connect with the pure joy that I know they’ll feel when they start throwing combos in these boxing workouts. I know from my own experience how intimidating it can be to try to walk into a boxing gym or class. I spent months driving by my Muay Thai gym before I finally got the courage to walk inside. And I’ve heard from so many members how this “gym-timidation” barrier disappears with Supernatural and finally allows them to build a workout habit that they actually love. The fact that so many people are going to get the chance to fall in love with this beautiful sport, without fear of judgement, in the comfort of their own home, with a huge online community of fellow members cheering them on, feels like a dream come true.

What’s your favorite track to box to and why?

LP: Oh, it’s so hard to choose just one. I really love the Yellow Claw / Vince Staples remix “Little Bit Of This” that’s in our High Intensity “Break Stuff” workout. I also really have fun doing Devo’s “Whip It” in our Low Intensity “Retrofit” workout.

What advice would you give to someone who’s new to VR and/or new to working out?

LP: For someone who’s new to working out, my biggest piece of advice is to take a moment to shift your thinking around working out before you start a new routine. Many people jump into a new fitness habit while still thinking of it as something “extra” that they’re going to simply fit into their already-packed schedules. But there is rarely “extra” time in anyone’s day, so those new workout habits quickly get shoved aside.

The way I think about it, and the way I’ve seen it sustainably work for others, is to think about that workout time as vital and non-negotiable. Carve out the time (I prefer first thing in the morning) and then protect the time you set aside in the same way that you would honor a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with your boss. Research has shown us over and over again that moving our bodies consistently can make us feel happier, less stressed, and improve our chances at longevity. So it’s not self-indulgent and it’s not just a “nice-to-have.” It’s OK to structure your life and to set the expectations of your loved ones to acknowledge this. Working out is something I’m not just doing for myself—it’s something I do so that I can show up at my best for everyone in my life who relies on me.

And for someone who is new to VR, don’t let the tech scare you. One of my favorite moments of 2021 was getting to see my mom (who definitely doesn’t consider herself tech-savvy) experience VR for the first time. I have a video of it on my Instagram—and you can just see the look of awe in her face. She immediately bought an Oculus Quest 2.

What’s next for the Supernatural team? Anything on the roadmap you can share?

LP: I can’t share much, but I can tell you that we have lots of exciting stuff on the roadmap, and that we’re always focused on finding innovative ways to make health and wellness one of the most joyful parts of your life.

How do you think VR might continue to positively impact people’s relationships with their bodies in the future?

LP: It’s a long list! I constantly tout the benefits of being able to exercise without mirrors, without judgement, without comparison. I think this is a hugely valuable thing that VR offers. But we’ll also see VR continue to offer adaptability and accessibility that isn’t available in other fitness spaces. For many adaptive athletes and folks with varying needs, their only option might be to go to a special gym or work at a high cost with trainers who can modify movements to their needs. With VR, you’re going to continually have more and more options to calibrate your experience to you, with no added cost.

Another aspect of why I think VR helps people transform their relationships with themselves is because, in the metaverse, you loosen the chains of identity. When I’m doing a Supernatural Boxing workout, standing on top of a mountain, throwing powerful punches, and listening to Skrillex hype me up, it is impossible to question whether I am a powerful athlete. I’m not trying to trick myself into believing it—I am living the experience. I am experiencing proof that I am that athlete—and then I get to carry that with me when I put the headset down and go live my life. It’s incredible.

And if you don’t believe me, you can just dip into the Official Supernatural Community, our beloved Facebook Group. It’s literally full of stories about how VR has positively impacted peoples’ relationships with themselves and with their bodies. We call it the “happiest place on the internet.”

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

LP: The coaches will be doing a Facebook Live warmup + boxing prep session on Thursday, October 28 at 7:45 am PT at the Official Supernatural Community. We’d love for you to join us!

Break out the (virtual) gloves and get ready to break a sweat with Supernatural Boxing on the Quest Platform.