Pure Fitness' latest gym, which is opening on 1 December, has the first virtual reality (VR) bikes in Singapore. We've found that these bikes might just be the key to helping you build up your stamina and lose weight.
As gimmicky as it sounds, we found that the VR was actually pretty effective at challenging you and improving your workout.
How do these magical bikes work? We tried them so we can give you a full breakdown.
You get on a bike, choose what games you want to play on the attached screen in front of you, put on a virtual reality headset with adjustable straps that will fit snugly, and begin pedalling to get the game started. Don't worry about sweat and other ick, as the headsets come with removable velcro components that are thoroughly cleaned by the staff after each use.
Photo: PC World
And we weren't saying it lightly when we said 'magical' just now. One of the VR simulations involves a pegasus that you mount and fly with over mountains, while collecting as many gems as you can. It sounds hilarious, and almost a bit
The virtual reality sucks you into another world, and since the games are the kind which you have to focus on in order to win, you barely realise how quickly you are pedalling in real life.
Case in point: We played the game Cowboy, in which we had to pedal faster to make the horse we're straddling gallop more swiftly. There were various bandits who were escaping on horses of their own, and it was up to us to get behind them as quickly as we could and lasso them down (with a press of the + button on the bike's console).
We found ourselves eagerly pedalling faster to get to the bandits, almost like playing catch. At the end of each game, you get to see your stats such as how long you've been working out, how many calories you've burned, as well as the scores of the game.
Constantly improving and changing
There are a total of 7 virtual reality games you can try as of now, but a new game is dropped every three months. The games include Le Tour, a real-time multiplayer game in which you compete with other players around the world in a bicycle race; Thunder Bowl, in which you play as a mech and decimate tanks; and Lotus Pond which is a bit more mellow as you get to feed ducks scraps of bread in a pond. The games are not too complicated, but if you're unsure about anything, the friendly folks at Pure Fitness will be there to guide you.
After using the bike, be sure to input your feedback in the nearby kiosk as your feedback actually helps determine if the bike continues to stay in the gym. The feedback is monitored and used to determine which equipment stays or goes, every quarter.
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There's more cool stuff to experience at Pure Fitness though. We really enjoyed The Trip, an immersive cycling experience in front of a large 270 degree curved screen that makes it seem like you're traversing across different landscapes. It could be mountains and nature, futuristic cities, or even underwater. A pumped-up fitness instructor will be there to guide you through the cycling and telling you when to increase or decrease resistance, to match up to the slopes in the screen.
We wished the intensity and resistance of the bike was automatically matched to the visuals, as having to constantly reach for the knob to adjust the resistance drew us out of the experience. Still, the visuals are beautiful and we can see ourselves returning for more rounds. The visuals are changed every quarter too, so you can expect something new once in a while.
Tracking your progress at Pure Fitness is also really easy. There's a private consultation room where you can measure your body fat percentage up to 98% accuracy, and keep the records in an app, so you can see how your workouts have been improving your health over time.
Best of all, the shower facilities are impeccable. Steaming hot showers, large vanities, easy-to-use lockers, and free-flow sportswear and towels help your experience end on a great note. But if that's not enough, you can sweat it out further in the sauna or steam room, and grab a post-workout smoothie created by the in-house nutritionist. Pretty sweet.
Pure Fitness' latest gym is at Level 8 of Ngee Ann City, and is open from 6am - 12am (Mon - Sat) and 8am - 10pm (Sundays).